Frequently Asked Questions about Neo-Paganism

[Answers below]

1. Are Neo-Pagans Christian?
2. Are Neo-Pagans Satanists?
3. Are Neo-Pagans Wiccans?
4. Are Paganism and Neo-Paganism the same?
5. Are there different Neo-Pagan paths?
6. How are Pagans and Heathens different?
7. What do Neo-Pagans believe about God?
8. Are Neo-Pagans really polytheists?
9. What gods do Neo-Pagans worship?
10. Are Neo-Pagan gods real?
11. What do Neo-Pagans believe about death?
12. Why do Neo-Pagans perform rituals?
13. What are Neo-Pagans like?
14. How many Pagans are there?
15. Where are all the Pagans?
16. How has Neo-Paganism been defined by scholars?
17. Am I a Neo-Pagan, too?

1. Are Neo-Pagans Christian?

No. Neo-Paganism is a non-Abrahamic or non-JCI (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) religion. For more information, follow the link above.

2. Are Neo-Pagans Satanist?

No. The question whether Neo-Pagans worship the Devil or Satan is nonsensical, because Neo-Pagans don’t believe in the Devil or Satan. Satan is a figure from Christian mythology, where he is identified with ultimate evil in same sense that God is identified with ultimate good. Neo-Pagans do not worship the Christian Devil or any evil being or power. In fact, Neo-Pagans don’t believe in cosmic good and evil in the way Christians do. For more information, follow the link above. For more information, follow the link above.

3. Are Neo-Pagans Wiccans?

Wicca is closely related to Neo-Paganism, and the histories of the two movements overlap considerably. However, the two are also distinguishable. Wicca is at once central to and on the margins of Neo-Paganism. For more information, follow the link above.

4. Are Paganism and Neo-Paganism the same?

Many Neo-Pagans call themselves “Pagan” without the Neo- prefix. However, “Pagan” is an umbrella term which includes Neo-Pagans as well as many other kinds of Pagans. Neo-Paganism refers specifically to “earth-centered” Paganism. For more information, follow the link above.

5. Are there different Neo-Pagan paths?

Neo-Pagans use many different names to describe their various paths. They may call themselves “Pagans”, “Witches”, “Druids”, “Shamans” or other names. But not all Witches, Druids, etc. are Neo-Pagan. For more information, follow the link above.

6. How are Pagans and Heathens different?

Heathenry refers to forms of Norse and Germanic Pagan Reconstructionism, including Asatru, the Troth, Odinism, and Theodism. Heathenry is distinct from Neo-Paganism in a number of ways. For more information, follow the link above.

7. What do Neo-Pagans believe about God?

Neo-Pagan beliefs about divinity vary widely. While not all Neo-Pagans hold these beliefs, in general Neo-Pagan theology has four principal characteristics: Neo-Paganism is pantheistic in that it views divinity as immanent and the material universe as a theophany, a manifestation of divinity; Neo-Pagans see the earth, the body, and sexuality as sacred. Neo-Paganism is polytheistic in that it recognizes a plurality of deities or aspects of Deity. Neo-Paganism honors the divine feminine; it recognizes that divinity manifests itself as masculine and feminine, while also transcending gender. Neo-Paganism sees divinity as changing or evolving, as part of a process that is itself divine. For more information, follow the link above.

8. Are Neo-Pagans really polytheists?

Many Neo-Pagans are polytheists. Polytheists believe in many gods, in contrast to monotheists, who believe in one god. Some Neo-Pagans believe the gods are real persons. Other Neo-Pagans see the gods as metaphors or aspects of our inner selves. Some understand the gods as distinct beings, while others view the gods as aspects of a monistic divinity. Some Neo-Pagans use both polytheistic and monistic language, depending whether they wish to emphasize the diversity or the unity of human experience of the divine. For more information, follow the link above.

9. What gods do Neo-Pagans worship?

Neo-Pagans may worship or honor one or more gods of ancient or paganisms or even gods of their own imagining. Often these many gods are seen as aspects or “faces” of an underlying divine unity. Many Neo-Pagans honor an immanent Great Goddess of nature or the Earth, sometimes called “Gaia”. For more information, follow the link above.

10. Are Neo-Pagan gods real?

Neo-Pagans have different beliefs about the nature of the gods. For some they are metaphors for natural processes or human experiences. For others, they are psychological archetypes. For others, they are emergent properties of a complex universe. And for some, they are real beings with independent existence and consciousness. For some Neo-Pagans, the gods are as real as the earth and the physical universe. Indeed, they are the earth and the physical universe. For more information, follow the link above.

11. What do Neo-Pagans believe about death?

Many Neo-Pagans believe in reincarnation. Others do not. Whatever their views on the survival of the soul, Neo-Pagans share a positive view of death. For more information, follow the link above.

12. Why do Neo-Pagans perform rituals?

Neo-Pagan rituals use stylized actions, mytho-poetic language, and evocative imagery, including invocations of deities, recitations of myths, and sacramental acts, like lighting candles, libations, etc., which are all imbued with a sense of mystery and the sacred. The goal of Neo-Pagan ritual is to restore our divine connection with the natural world, with our deeper Selves, and with each other. For more information, follow the link above.

13. What are Neo-Pagans like?

Neo-Pagan culture is a subset of a broader Pagan culture. Pagans are diverse in every way. There are Pagans of every gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and political persuasion. Do to the LGBT-friendly nature of Paganism, there is a higher percentage of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Pagans than the mainstream culture. For more information, follow the link above.

14. How many Pagans are there?

Best guess, around 1 million in the U.S., 85,000 in the U.K., and 27,000 in Australia. For more information, follow the link above.

15. Where are all the Pagans?

In spite of Neo-Pagans iconoclastic and ideosyncratic tendencies, there are Pagan institutions. Some Pagan traditions are established as legally-recognized churches with tax-exempt status. There are other large Pagan organizations. There is a Pagan newswire service and websites which gather news of interest to Pagans. Pagans serve in the leadership of various ecumenical and inter-faith groups. Pagan studies is growing as an academic discipline. There is an academic journal of Pagan Studies. And there is even a Pagan seminary. Pagans in the military have become more organized. Pagan advocacy groups work to protect the rights of Pagans in the workplace, in prisons, and in the community in general. And there are many online forums where Pagans can share ideas and organize. There are also Pagan publications. For more information, follow the link above.

16. How has Neo-Paganism been defined by scholars?

One scholar of Paganism has identified the following as salient elements of Neo-Paganism: corpo-spirituality,an appreciation of or worship of nature, a this-worldly focus, an understanding of enchantment, a plurality of the divine, a humanistic grounding and a sanctification of pleasure. For more information, follow the link above.

17. Am I a Neo-Pagan, too?

Many of us experience our coming to Neo-Paganism as a feeling of “coming home”, by which we mean that Neo-Pagan is an expression of a religious identify for which we previously had no name. For whatever reason, we feel drawn away from the religions of our birth. We feel drawn to the woods, the mountains, or the seashore. We feel a sense of the divine in nature, whether in the earth itself, in the changing of the seasons, or in our own bodies. We are moved by fairy tales, stories from folklore, and ancient pagan myths and art. When we meet other like-minded people, we discover that we are not alone and we realize that we are Neo-Pagans too. For more information, follow the link above.

Updated 1/29/15

One thought on “Frequently Asked Questions about Neo-Paganism

  1. Pingback: FAQ | Neo-Paganism.org

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