Talk:Modern Paganism

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Please don't take over article to insist one POV dominates the subject[edit]

I've reverted all the "Cleanup needed" tags inserted by anonymous user for two reasons. First, this user clearly has a personal view of the subject which insists that any presentation of it emphasize differences among various pagan groups over what they have in common. Anonymous user has a right to their opinion, but I don't think they have a right to insist that their opinion dominate the article by plastering cleanup needed tags all over it. If anonymous user thinks that the differences in these groups should be given emphasis over their similarities, then what anonymous user should do is argue on this Talk page that respected mainstream scholars of the subject take this approach to it, so the Wikipedia article should too. Second, anonymous user's repeated claims that most of the sources cited are "hardly reliable" is wrong. Most the the sources cited are from respectable, mainstream commercial and academic publishers such as Penguin, Routlege, Oxford University Press, Brill, etc. This is not to say of course that the views in these sources must be accepted as correct, but it certainly means that these sources are reliable mainstream academic opinion. If anonymous user thinks the article's general approach needs revising, please discuss that proposal on this talk page, instead of covering the page with their own POV in the form of cleanup needed tags. Littlewindow (talk) 16:43, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

I have reverted the tags. The problems highlighted are not my personal view. The article is a totally unscientific analysis, and lumps together Wicca, new age movements and revival of indigenous religions as if they are the same phenomenon. This is not true: Wicca and European indigenous religions have different origins and aims. The main problem is not constituted by the type of sources used, but by the WP:SYNTH and WP:OR nature of this article. It should be deconstructed entirely, and the topics synthesised here should be re-analysed, independently, in a scientific and factual way.-- (talk) 16:48, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
"I have reverted the tags. The problems highlighted are not my personal view..." followed by a restatement of the anonymous user's personal views, which have also been replastered all over the article. I'm not going to get in a war over this, I'll merely point out that this article as it now stands is about two things: 1) contemporary paganism, and 2) anonymous user 's personal opinions as embodied in the ubiquitous tags. If others interested in the subject are satisfied that this is what a Wikipedia article on it should look like, fine with me. Littlewindow (talk) 20:13, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
My personal experience from what the few neo-pagans I have spoken with and the little I've read from various neo-pagan grouls is that they do emphasise two things, which may be controversial for some other people.
  1. They tend to claim that their faith is not just a revival of old ideas, but a continuation in other forms of some kind of `undercurrent' which has gone on for a long time, in spite of the pagan faiths having been prohibited and persecuted.
  2. They tend to emphasize that different neo-pagan movements in different locations actually more or less are parts of the same movement.
As I said, I do not know to what extent this really is true for a majority of the groups and adherents. However, if it is true, then it should be possible to document this. This would not then be a question of OR, but of finding sufficiently clear such "synthesis" statements among these groups themselves.
To the extent that especially the second point is true, this page is a good place for exhibiting this perceived widespread movement.
Note, that the question about how objectively true the statements are, is a different one. Personally, I suspect both that the unity with the respective older local faiths, and theclaims of a continuity in time, may be exaggerated. As to the claims about the present common movement, I think that there may a bit more truth in this. First, there may be fairly modern impulses (like new age) having influenced many of them. (E.g., theosophists were involved in the revival of Ásatrú on Iceland, which in its turn was a large inspiration for similar movements in the other Nordic countries.) Second, those I've heard, and the texts I've read seem to stress a general attitude, which they share with most of what we know about ancient pagan religions: They are rather tolerant, as regards faiths.
This may be a bit hart to grasp for people who are mainly acquaintainced with Abrahamitic faiths; but the old pagans in general did not believe that belief itself was of a particular value. Their deities might reward their followers for their sacrifices, and for their observance of proper rites and (sometimes) moral rules; but not for belief itself. Therefore, it would be no great matter, if your neighbours, or people you met on travels, partly worshipped other gods, or believed other myths about them. Even the idea of "a religion" or "a denomination of faith" seems to have been foreign. Antique travellers may report on which gods foreign people worship, and how they do it, and a little about their myths; but without treating them as belonging to "another relogion". Instead, Romans or Greek narrators often substitute the names of their own deities for the foreign ones; considering the foreigners as worshipping mainly the same gods, an perhaps a few gods unknown in the narrator's home.
Actually, some of the Nordic neo-pagans seem to have had some trouble of being officially recognised as "denominations", precisely since they are not interested in the kind of dogmas, which traditionally are so central for most Abrahamitic denominations. Our legislations are much better adapted for traditional groups of e.g. Christians, with very sharp dogmatic differences between them. (However, at least in my part of Europe, most contemporary Christians seem not to take the dogmatic differences very seriously. An active minority does.) JoergenB (talk) 19:15, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
I have reverted the unwarranted tags applied to this article by a single user. Neopaganism is a well established field of study and this article has a fair number of citations which establish that. Rather than just dropping tags into the article I suggest that it is more constructive to engage in depth with the article and try to improve any perceived shortcomings. It is easy to dump a tag on a section but it is much harder to do actual editing to improve the article. Simply nay saying other's opinions is not a constructive way to proceed.
editor makes claims that are unsubstantiated and contradictory, for example, "Wicca and European indigenous religions have different origins and aims". This is confusing as Wicca is a European indigenous religion. But the editor says nothing more to this point so it is impossible to discern the intended meaning. Perhaps more talk and less tagging would be more productive. Morgan Leigh | Talk 05:31, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks to Morgan Leigh for deleting those unnecessary, inappropriate and intrusive tags. That simple edit makes the article look vastly better. Other editors please note that since we now have at least two editors who have deleted the tags and strongly object to their presence, WP good practice would be not to re-insert them without further discussion here. Littlewindow (talk) 01:41, 4 July 2015 (UTC)


Dbachmann added a COI tag to this article. I'm not going to remove it, but I think a little explanation would be good. It's true that many of the editors here are Pagan, but that doesn't necessarily rise to a conflict of interest.

*Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 21:36, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

As I've noted above, the article is littered with unjustified tags by one anonymous user, and now there's another intrusive unjustified tag. In effect, the personal opinions of these two users about what the article should be like have taken over the article. I reverted some of these tags before and called for discussion, but the anonymous user simply undid the reversion without waiting for others to discuss it. To repeat, I'm not going to get into a war on this, but because of all these personally biased tags I think the article at present is unreadable. If others agree, then they should make their views known here. Littlewindow (talk) 15:41, 10 April 2015 (UTC)
I see that user Morgan Leigh has deleted these tags, which I fully support. Since we now have at least two editors, myself and ML, who think these tags are inappropriate, WP good practice would be not to reinsert them without discussion here first to reach a consensus. Littlewindow (talk) 01:34, 4 July 2015 (UTC)


Does anyone have any idea why some of the references are numbered and others have Greek letters? Morgan Leigh | Talk 06:02, 29 June 2015 (UTC)


Whether to capitalize pagan and paganism is a controversial issue. My impression is that books written by and for practicing pagans tend to capitalize, while those considered objective scholarly or journalistic treatments don't, though there are exceptions, and at least one book published by a mainstream university press argues for capitalization. The deciding factor I think is that currently the University of Chicago Manual of Style and the AP Stylebook don't capitalize pagan (though both state without qualification that Wicca/Wiccan should always be capitalized, and the UofC manual says that Druid/Druidism should usually be capitalized.) If the current lobbying efforts result in these standard authorities saying to capitalize Pagan, then the WP article should; but though I'm sympathetic to the capitalization personally, I have to admit that so long as the standard reference books don't capitalize, neither should the WP article. (Though of course any capitalization in quoted material should be kept.) Littlewindow (talk) 22:51, 21 October 2015 (UTC)

OK, I mismanaged the edit; it will have to be changed on a word-by-word basis, which I may do if I get time. Littlewindow (talk) 23:22, 26 October 2015 (UTC)
Hi Littlewindow I'm not sure about the correctness or not of the general argument but yes a simple search-replace of these types of things generally can cause more problems than the general point. Unfortunately a lot of things like wiki-links, category and template names, image names, urls, etc are case sensitive. Also things such as quotes and book/article names should also match the source. So such things are never as quick and easy as we would like. I noticed your first part of the three edits was probably correct (as per your ex above) so I just re-reverted that part. All the best KylieTastic (talk) 00:22, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
Thanks KylieTastic for your efforts and information. As I said above, personally I think Pagan/Paganism should be capitalized -- there is a petition to ask UofC and other standard reference works to specify this, being managed through various web sites which can be found by an internet search on something like capitalize pagan petition. But so long as publishing industry standard is that pagan isn't capitalized, I think the article to look professional should follow the standard. Littlewindow (talk) 14:28, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
I think that the reasoning for capitalisation is very clear. First, the capitalised form is that which is commonly employed within the Pagan community itself, and (as is noted in Strmiska's book I believe) many Pagans actually find being referred to as "pagan" quite offensive. Second, the capitalised form is that most commonly employed in the academic, reliable sources on the subject. The Pomegranate, which is the only peer-reviewed journal devoted to the subject, for instance insists on the use of "Paganism" in its editorial policy, while almost all academic studies published over the last decade have also employed this upper-case usage (for instance Pizza's Paganistan, Aitamurto and Simpson's Modern Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Central and Eastern Europe, Rountree's Contemporary Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Europe, Doyle White's Wicca). A few of the earlier studies, such as Hutton's 1999 work The Triumph of the Moon, do use the lower-case term but that no longer appears to be the case; Hutton himself has always used the upper-case "Pagan" in more recent publications. Problems of course arise through the fact that "paganism", as a term, is also used in ways totally unrelated to the modern new religious movement. It is often applied to pre-Christian religious beliefs, for instance, and is sometimes used in reference to the irreligious too. As I understand it, that is why various academics sources that do not specialise in this topic are hesitant about introducing "Paganism". Nevertheless, here at Wikipedia we have more than enough reliable evidence supporting a move to the capitalised "Paganism" when dealing with this new religious movement. Midnightblueowl (talk) 13:07, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

First sentence[edit]

I've changed the first sentence from "Modern paganism, also known as contemporary paganism, and neopaganism," to "Modern paganism, also known as Neo-Paganism" because the only source given for that statement, Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon, 1) nowhere uses the phrase "contemporary paganism," and 2) always capitalizes "Neo-Paganism." Since that is the only reliable source given, the statements in the sentence ought to conform to it. If other phrases or forms of punctuation are used here, their sources ought to be given. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Littlewindow (talkcontribs) 02:06, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

We certainly have reliable references that we can cite to bolster "contemporary Paganism". I shall add them to the article. Best, Midnightblueowl (talk) 13:38, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

Religion vs. folklore[edit]

Do we know anything about how many of those who engage in heathen practices, have faith in the respective cults? Or in other words: For how many is it religion, and for how many is it folklore? Or in yet other words: Is there anybody who actually believes in this nonsense? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:24, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

By "heathen", are you referring to modern Pagans more generally or to the specific Pagan religion commonly known as Heathenry? In either case, then yes this is quite clearly a religion for those who practice it. That isn't to say that they necessarily take the theologies and myths literally; some certainly do, but others prefer to see it as a poetic or metaphorical way of viewing the world, which might be what you were trying to convey with your use of the term "folklore". Midnightblueowl (talk) 16:43, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
Many people who consider themselves Christian don't believe the Bible depicts real-time events, but rather mythological "folklore", to use your term. So, is Christianity not a religion for them? If your question is a to whether or not Pagans believe that certain deities actually exist, well, some do, some don't, and some say that the deities are personifications of natural forces. It isn't a "folklore" vs. "religion" issue at all.--3family6 (Talk to me | See what I have done) 21:57, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

Probable self-promotion / conflict of interest in this article[edit]

I noticed this article repeatedly refers to the name Ethan Doyle White and find it rather suspicious. A quick internet search will tell you that this is a PhD student based in the archaeology department at UCL. He obviously has an interest in Paganism, but is not a specialist scholar in the fields of either Religious Studies or History. In one of the sections, he is listed alongside Professor Ronald Hutton (a well-known, long-tenured historian from the University of Bristol) and Professor Sabina Magliocco (Anthropology professor at Northridge). I suspect someone's using Wikipedia as an advertising platform:) Either the guy himself or a friend. Will someone fix this? There are more accurate & more significant scholarly sources out there. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Thalassa391 (talkcontribs) 22:43, 24 April 2017 (UTC)