“Paganism is not just about beliefs, it’s about stepping outside of the strictures of everyday reality and stepping into full-bodied experiences of the wild, magical world”
— Karen Clark, The Path of She
There is a tendency, when inquiring about an unfamiliar religion, to begin by asking what its adherents believe. Many students of Neo-Paganism, however, remark that this movement is best understood by looking, not at what its practitioners believe, but what they do.
Neo-Pagans use religious ritual to express their connection to and attune themselves to divinity. These rituals are often consciously created, rather than inherited from tradition. The most common form of Neo-Pagan ritual is the celebration of the Wheel of the Year, the eight seasonal stations which include the solstices and equinoxes and the points in between. The Wheel of the Year is a year-long spiritual meditation on the rhythms of nature and the corresponding rise and fall, ebb and flow of our inner lives. Neo-Pagan ritual often begins with an invitation to participants to “ground and center” The ritual may then follow a Neo-Wiccan format, beginning with an practice called “Calling the Quarters” followed by an invocation of the Goddess and the God. The ritual may then include other forms of Neo-Pagan practice, including breathwork, meditation, prayer, invocations, singing, chanting, dancing, drumming, pouring libations, offerings to a fire, enactments of symbolic dramas, and sharing food and drink. The mood of Neo-Pagan ritual may range from celebratory to ecstatic to meditative. Neo-Pagans may hold their rituals indoors, in community centers or in private homes, or outdoors, in public parks or on private land.
Many Neo-Pagans have personal altars where they meditate, pray, and perform rituals.
Neo-Pagans also express their religion through living an ethical lifestyle which embodies their values.
Connecting with Nature
Neo-Pagan Ritual Construction
The Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year
The Quartered Circle and the Four Elements
Grounding and Centering
Exoteric and Esoteric Ritual
Festivals and Pilgrimage