Neopaganism or Neo-Paganism is an
umbrella termused to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements, particularly those influenced by historical pre-Christian European "pagan" religions. [Lewis, James R. "The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements" (Oxford University Press, 2004). p. 13. ISBN 0195149866.] [Hanegraaff, Wouter J. "New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought" (Brill Academic Publishers, 1996). p. 84. ISBN 9004106960.]
Neo-Pagan religious movements are extremely diverse, with beliefs that range widely from
polytheismto animism, to pantheismand other paradigms. Many Neopagans practice a spirituality that is entirely modern in origin, while others attempt to accurately reconstruct or revive indigenous, ethnic religions as found in historical and folkloric sources.cite book | last = Adler | first = Margot | title = Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess Worshippers and Other Pagans in America | publisher = Penguin Books | date = 1979, revised and updated 1986, 1996, 2006 | location = New York, NY | id = ISBN 0143038192 | pages = pp. 3-4 (1986 ed.)] "(see also List of Neopagan movements)"
Terminology and definition
The word "" comes from the Latin "", originally meaning "rustic" or "from the country", and later also used for "civilian". The
pejorativemeaning, "uneducated non-Christian", emerges in Vulgar Latinfrom the 4th century. [Augustine, "Divers. Quaest." 83.] Since Christianity first spread to the cities, the rural Europeans were the last to convert to Christianty. The term "neo-pagan" was coined in the 19th century in reference to Renaissance and Romanticist Hellenophileclassical revivalism. ["The very persons who would most writhe and wail at their surroundings if transported back into early Greece, would, I think, be the neo-pagans and Hellas worshipers of today. " (W. James, letter of 5 April 1868, cited after OED); "The neopagan impulse of the classical revival. " (J. A. Symonds, "Renaissance in Italy" 1877, iv. 193); " Pre-Raphaelitism[...] has got mixed up with æstheticism, neo-paganism, and other such fantasies." (J. McCarthy "A history of our own times", 1880, iv. 542)]
"Pagan" and "Neopagan", when capitalized, refer to religions, or members of a Pagan or Neopagan religion, "in the same way as one would describe a 'Christian' or a 'Jew'." This usage has been common since the Neopagan revival in the 1970s, and is now used by academics and adherents alike to identify
new religious movements that emphasize pantheism or nature-worship, [ OED, s.v. "pagan"] or that revive or reconstruct aspects of historical polytheism.
The term "Neopagan" provides a means of distinguishing between historical Pagans of ancient cultures and the adherents of modern religious movements. The category of religions known as "Neopagan" includes syncretic or eclectic approaches like
Wiccaor witchcraft, Neo-druidism, and Neoshamanismat one end of the spectrum, as well as culturally specific traditions, such as the many varieties of polytheistic reconstructionism, at the other.cite book | last = Adler | first = Margot | title = Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess Worshipers and Other Pagans in America | publisher = | date = | location = | id = | pages = ] Some Reconstructionists reject the term "Neopagan" because they wish to set their historically oriented approach apart from generic "Neopagan" eclecticism.Adler (2006) pp.243-299] Bonewits (2006) pp.128-140]
"Pagan" as a self-designation of Neopagans appeared in 1964 and 1965, in the publications of the Witchcraft Research Association; at that time, the term was in use by "revivalist Witches" in the United States and the United Kingdom, but unconnected to the broader, counter-culture Neopagan movement.Adler (1996) p.295] The modern popularization of the terms "Pagan" and "Neopagan", as they are currently understood, is largely traced to
Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, co-founder of "the 1st Neo-Pagan Church of All Worlds" who, beginning in 1967 with the early issues of " Green Egg", used both terms for the growing movement.
Increasingly, however, scholarly writers prefer the term "contemporary Paganism" to cover all new polytheistic religious movements, a usage favored by [http://www.equinoxjournals.com/ojs/index.php/pom "The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies"] , the leading peer-reviewed journal in the field.
"Heathen", "Heathenism" or "Heathenry" as a self-designation of adherents of
Germanic neopaganism( Theodismin particular) appeared in the late 1990s. [Eric Wodening, "We Are Our Deeds: The Elder Heathenry, Its Ethic and Thew" (1998), ISBN 1929340001]
;OriginsThe roots of Neopaganism begin with the
Renaissance, and the reintroduction of Classicismand the resurgence of interest in Graeco-Roman polytheismin the wake of works like the " Theologia mythologica" of 1532.Fact|date=May 2008
The Romantic movement of the 18th century led to the re-discovery of
Old Gaelicand Old Norse literatureand poetry. Neo-druidismcan be taken to have its origins as early as 1717 with the foundation of The Druid Order. The 19th century saw a surge of interest in Germanic paganismwith the Viking revivalin the British Islesand Scandinavia. In Germanythe Völkisch movementwas in full swing. These Neopagan currents coincided with Romanticist interest in folkloreand occultism, the widespread emergence of pagan themes in popular literature, and the rise of nationalism. [cite book | last =Hutton | first =Ronald | authorlink = | coauthors = | year =2001 | title =The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft | publisher = | location = | id =ISBN 0-19-285449-6 p.22]
;Occultic RevivalDuring this resurgence in the
United Kingdom, Neo-druidismand various Western occult groups emerged, such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawnand the Ordo Templi Orientis, who attempted to syncretize "exotic" elements like Egyptian cosmology and Kabbalahinto their belief systems, although not necessarily for purely religious purposes. Influenced by the anthropologist Sir James George Frazer's " The Golden Bough", several prominent writers and artists were involved in these organizations, including William Butler Yeats, Maud Gonne, Arthur Edward Waite, and Aleister Crowley. Along with these early occult organizations, there were other social phenomena such as the interest in mediumship, magic, and other supernatural beliefs which was at an all time high in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Another important influence during this period was the Romantic aesthetic movement, which venerated the natural world and frequently made reference to the deities of antiquity.Fact|date=May 2008 The Romantic poets, essayists, artists and authors who employed these themes in their work were later associated with socially progressive attitudes towards sexuality,
feminism, pacifismand similar issues.Fact|date=May 2008
;Witchcraft RevivalIn the 1920s
Margaret Murraytheorized that a Witchcraftreligion existed underground and in secret, and had survived through the witchcraft prosecutions that had been enacted by the ecclesiastical and secular courts. Most historians now reject Murray's theory, as she based it partially upon the similarities of the accounts given by those accused of witchcraft; such similarity is now thought to actually derive from there having been a standard set of questions laid out in the witch-hunting manuals used by interrogators. [Hutton, "Triumph of the Moon" pp.194-201] Murray's ideas nevertheless exerted great influence on certain Neopagan currents; in the 1940s, Englishman Gerald Gardnerclaimed to have been initiated into a New Forest coven. " Gardnerian Wicca" is used to refer to the traditions of Neopaganism that adhere closely to Gardner's teachings, differentiating it from similar traditions, such as Alexandrian Wiccaor more recent Wiccan offshoots.
;Germanic MysticismIn the meantime,
Germanic mysticismin Germany and Switzerland had developed into baroque forms such as Guido von List's "Armanism", from the 1900s merging into antisemitic and national mysticist(" völkisch") currents, notably with Lanz von Liebenfels' " Guido von List Society" and "Ostara" magazine, which with the rise of Nazismwere partially absorbed into Nazi occultism. Other Germanic mysticist groups, such as the " Germanische Glaubens-Gemeinschaft" of Ludwig Fahrenkrogwere disendorsed by the Nazi regime. Such distortions of Germanic mythology were denounced by J. R. R. Tolkien, e.g. in a 1941 letter where he speaks of Hitler's corruption of "...that noble northern spirit, a supreme contribution to Europe, which I have ever loved and tried to present in its true light."Tolkien, JRR, "Letters", pp.55-56] Because of such connections with Nazism, interest in Neopaganism was virtually eclipsed for about two decades following World War II.
;Neopagan emergenceThe 1960s and 1970s saw a resurgence in
Neodruidismas well as the rise of Germanic Neopaganismand Ásatrúin the USAand in Iceland. In the 1970s, Wiccawas notably influenced by feminism, leading to the creation of an eclectic, Goddess-worshipping movement known as Dianic Wicca.Adler (2006) pp.178-239: "Women, Feminism and the Craft"] The 1979 publication of Margot Adler's "Drawing Down the Moon" and Starhawk's " The Spiral Dance" opened a new chapter in public awareness of Neopaganism.Adler (2006) p.ix]
With the growth and spread of large, Neopagan gatherings and festivals in the 1980s, public varieties of
Neo-Wiccacontinued to further diversify into additional, eclectic sub-denominations, often heavily influenced by the New Ageand counter-culture movements. These open, loosely-structured or unstructured traditions contrast with British Traditional Wicca, which emphasizes secrecy and initiatory lineage.Adler (2006) p.429-456: "Pagan Festivals - The Search for a Culture"]
The 1980s and 1990s also saw an increasing interest in serious academic research and Reconstructionist Pagan traditions. The establishment and growth of the Internet in the 1990s brought rapid growth to these, and other Neopagan movements.
Many Neopagans and Neopagan traditions attempt to incorporate elements of historical religions, cultures and mythologies into their beliefs and practices, often emphasizing the hoary age of their sources. Thus, Wicca in particular is sometimes referred to by its proponents as "The Old Religion", a term popularized by Margaret Murray in the 1920s, while
Germanic Neopaganismis referred to in some of its varieties as "(Forn Sed)" ("Old Custom"). Such emphasis on the antiquity of religious tradition is not exclusive to Neopaganism, and is found in many other religions. For example the terms " Purana", " Sanatana Dharma", and the emphasis on the antiquity of the Ancient Egyptian sources of the Hellenistic Mystery religions. Some claims of continuity between Neopaganism and older forms of Paganism have been shown to be spurious, or outright false, as in the case of Iolo Morganwg's Druid's Prayer. Wiccan beliefs of an ancient monotheistic Goddesswere inspired by Marija Gimbutas's description of Neolithic Europe. The factual historical validity of her theories have been disputed by many scholars, including historian Ronald Hutton.
While most Neopagans draw from old religious traditions, they also adapt them. The mythologies of the ancient traditions are not generally considered to be literally factual by Neopagans, in the sense that the
Bibleand other Abrahamic texts are often thought of by their followers. Eclectic Neopagans in particular are resistant to the concept of scriptureor excessive structure, considering personal freedom to be one of the primary goals of their spirituality.Adler (1986) p.23] In contrast, some Reconstructionist movements, like those who practice Theodism, take a stricter religious approach, and only recognize certain historical texts and sources as being relevant to their belief system, intentionally focusing on one culture to the exclusion of others, and having a general disdain for the eclectic mentality.
The mythological sources of the various Neopagan traditions are similarly varied, including Celtic, Norse, Greek, Roman, Sumerian, Egyptian and others. Some groups focus solely on one cultural tradition, while others draw from several. For example,
Doreen Valiente's text "The Charge of the Goddess" used materials from "The Gospel of Aradia" by Charles G. Leland (1899), as well as material from Aleister Crowley's writings.
Some Neopagans also draw inspiration from modern traditions, including
Christianity, Buddhismand others, creating syncretisms like "Christian Witchcraft"Telesco, Patricia (ed) (2005) "Which Witch is Which?" Franklin Lakes, NJ, New Page Books. ISBN 1-56414-754-1 pp.94-8] or "Buddheo-Paganism". Since many Neopagan beliefs do not require exclusivity, some Neopagans practice other faiths in parallel.
Since eclectic Neopagans take a rather undogmatic religious stance, and sometimes see no one as having authority to deem a source "apocryphal", Neopaganism has been notably prone to
fakelore, especially in recent years, as information and misinformation alike have been spread on the Internetand in print media. A number of Wiccan, Neopagan and even some "Traditionalist" or "Tribalist" groups have a history of spurious "Grandmother Stories" – usually involving initiation by a Grandmother, Grandfather, or other elderly relative who is said to have instructed them in the secret, millennia-old traditions of their ancestors. As this "secret wisdom" has almost always been traced to recent sources, or been quite obviously concocted even more recently, most proponents of these stories have eventually admitted they made them up.cite book | last = Adler | first = Margot | title = Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today | publisher = Beacon Press | date = 1979 | location = Boston | pages = pp.94-5 (Sanders) p.78 (Anderson) p.83 (Gardner) p.87 (Fitch) p.90 (Pendderwen)| id = ISBN 0-8070-3237-9 Author quotes Alex Sandersclaim of initiation by grandmother as a child in 1933, yet the Alexandrian rituals, "so resemble the Gardnerian rituals [written in the 1940s] that Alex's story of their origin is often questioned." Victor Andersonof the Feri tradition tells similar story, but his rituals also seem largely based on Gardner's writings. Author adds: "Gardner, for whatever reasons, preferred to maintain the fiction that he was simply carrying on an older tradition. This fiction, wrote Aidan [Kelly] , has put modern Craft leaders 'into the uncomfortable position of having to maintain that stance also, despite the fact that doing so goes, I suspect, against both their common senseand better judgement.'" Quoting Ed Fitch, "I think all of us have matured somewhat. After a while you realize that if you've heard one story about an old grandmother, you've heard six or seven just like it." Quoting Gwydion Pendderwen, "Yes, I wrote a fantasy. It was a desire. It was something I wished would happen. Perhaps that's why there are so many of these fantasies running around in the Craft today, and people trying to convince other people that they're true. It is certainly so much more pleasant and 'magical' to say 'It happened this way,' instead of 'I researched this. I wrote these rituals. I came up with this idea myself.'"]
Concepts of the divine
Most Neopagan traditions are polytheistic, but interpretations of the nature of a
deitymay vary widely. In principle, there is the distinction of hard vs. soft (also, "strong" vs. "weak" or "radical" vs. "moderate") polytheism. Hard polytheism is the notion of the existence of gods and goddesses independent from the human mind and from one another, or as distinct entities but however part of a greater unity, such as The Oneof Neoplatonismand Panentheism. The mythology of antiquity reflects this kind of understanding of the gods' natures.Soft polytheism considers the plurality of gods as "aspects" of other notions of the divine, including Monism, Pantheism, Panentheismor Deism, Psychologism( Jungianism).
Historically polytheistic religious traditions in the west were not solely concerned with
religious beliefin gods, but focussed on ritual, tradition(" ethos") and notions of virtue(" arete", " pietas").As Christianity became a rising force, Pagan thinkers such as Celsusand the Roman EmperorJulian wrote arguments against Christian ideas and in defense of the traditional religions, which give us insight into their contrasting beliefs.Fact|date=November 2007Hutton states that the historical Pagans did not see "All Goddesses as one Goddess; all Gods as one God", but some types of modern Neopagans believe that there is but a single divinityor life force of the universe, which is immanent in the world. The various manifestations and archetypes of this divinity are not viewed as wholly separate, but as different aspects of the divine which are ineffable.Fact|date=November 2007
In Wicca, (especially
Dianic Wicca) the concept of an Earth or Mother Goddesssimilar to the Greek Gaia is emphasized. Male counterparts are usually also evoked, such as the Green Manand the Horned God(who is loosely based on the Celtic Cernunnos.) These Duotheistic philosophies tend to emphasize the God and Goddess' (or Lord and Lady's) genders as being analogous to a concept similar to that of yin and yangin ancient Chinese philosophy; ie, two complementary opposites. Many Oriental philosophies equate weakness with femininity and strength with masculinity; this is not the prevailing attitude in Neopaganism and Wicca. [York, Michael. "Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion". New York: NYU Press, 2003. Pg 22-23. ISBN 0814797083.] Among many Neopagans, there is a strong desire to incorporate the female aspects of the divine in their worship and within their lives, which can partially explain the attitude which sometimes manifests as the veneration of women. [Clifton, Chas. "A Goddess Arrives." Gnosis Fall 1988: 20-29.] Other Neopagans reject the concept of binary gender roles.
Worship and ritual
Many Neopagan traditions include occult or "magical" elements in their beliefs and practices. Wicca in particular emphasises the role of
witchcraftand ritual. Other Neopagan traditions may include a belief in the supernatural, but place much less emphasis on the working of magic.
Most Neopagan religions celebrate the cycles and seasons of nature through a festival calendar that honours these changes. The timing of festivals, and the rites celebrated, may vary from climate to climate, and will also vary (sometimes widely) depending upon which particular Neopagan religion the adherent subscribes to.
Main currents and denominations
The term "Neopaganism" encompasses a very broad range of groups and beliefs. Syncretic or approaches are often inspired by historical traditions, but not bound by any strict identification with a historical religion or culture. These are contrasted by a focus on historicity (reconstructionism), on
folklore, or on occultistor national mysticistclaims of continuity from racial memory.
Wiccais the largest Neopagan religion in the USA. Wicca is a modern religion first publicized in 1954 by Gerald Gardner. Gardner claimed that the religion was a modern survival of an old witch cult, originating in the pre-Christian Paganism of Europe and existing in secret for centuries. Various forms of Wicca have since evolved or been adapted from Gardner's British Traditional Wicca or Gardnerian Wiccasuch as Alexandrian Wicca. Other forms loosely based on Gardner's teachings are Faery Wicca, Kemetic Wicca, Judeo-Paganismor "jewitchery", Dianic Wiccaor "Feminist Wicca" - which emphasizes the divine feminine, often creating women-only or lesbian-only groups. [Telesco (2005) p.114] The common denominator amongst all the variants of Wicca are a reverence for nature and active ecology, venerations of a Goddesswith or without a consort, such as the Horned God, elements of a variety of ancient mythologies, a belief in and practice of magic and sometimes the belief in reincarnationand karma.
Neo-Druidism forms the largest neopagan sub-denomination after Wicca, and like Wicca in turn shows significant heterogeneity. It draws several beliefs and inspirations from the
Druids, the priest caste of the ancient Pagan Celts. With the first "Druid Order" founded as early as 1717, the history of Neo-Druidism reaches back to the earliest origins of Neopaganism. The Ancient Order of Druidsfounded in 1781 had many aspects of freemasonry, and practiced rituals at Stonehengesince 1905. The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druidswas established in 1964 and the British Druid Orderin 1979. Neo-Druidism reached the United States together with Wicca, in the 1960s. The Reformed Druids of North Americawas established in 1963 and Ár nDraíocht Féinin 1983 by Isaac Bonewits.
New Age syncretism and nature worship
Neopaganism emerged as part of the
counter-culture, New Ageand Hippiemovements in the 1960s to 1970s. Reconstructionism rose to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s. The majority of Neopagans are not committed to a single defined tradition, but understand Paganism as encompassing a wide range of non-institutionalized spirituality, as promoted by the Church of All Worlds, the Feri Traditionand other movements. Notably, Wicca in the United States since the 1970s has largely moved away from its Gardnerian roots and diversified into eclectic variants.
Neopaganism generally emphasizes the sanctity of the
Earthand Nature. Neopagans often feel a duty to protect the Earth through activism, and support causes such as rainforestprotection, organic farming, permaculture, animal rightsand so on. Some Neopagans are influenced by Animist traditions of the indigenous Native Americans and Africans and other indigenous or shamanic traditions.
Eco-Paganism and Eco-magic, which are off-shoots of
direct actionenvironmental groups, have a strong emphasis on fairyimagery and a belief in the possibility of intercession by the fae (fairies, pixies, gnomes, elves, and other spirits of nature and the Otherworlds).Letcher, Andy, " [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2386/is_2_112/ai_79548469/pg_1 The Scouring of the Shire] : Fairies, Trolls and Pixies in Eco-Protest Culture", in "Folklore" (Oct, 2001)]
Some Unitarian Universalists are eclectic Pagans. Unitarian Universalists look for spiritual inspiration in a wide variety of religious beliefs. The
Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, or CUUPs, encourages their member chapters to "use practices familiar to members who attend for worship services but not to follow only one tradition of Paganism." [http://www.cuups.org/content/chapters/chapter.html#how Official Website of CUUPS] ]
Occultism and ethnic mysticism
Historically the earliest self-identified revivalist pagans were inspired by
Renaissance occultism. Notably in early 20th century Germany with Germanic mysticism, which branched into Ariosophyand related currents of Nazi occultism. Outside Germany, occultist Neopaganism was inspired by Crowleyan Thelemaand Left-Hand Paths, a recent example being the "Dark Paganism" of John J. Coughlin.
In the United States, ethnic mysticist approaches are advocated in the form of anti-racist
Asatru Folk Assemblyfounder Stephen McNallen's " metagenetics" and by David Lane's openly white supremacist Wotanism.
Occultist currents persist in
neo-fascistFact|date=January 2008 and national mysticistNeopaganism, since the 1990s revived in the European " Nouvelle Droite" in the context of the " Integral Traditionalism" of Julius Evolaand others ( Alain de Benoist, Werkgroep Traditie; see Neopaganism and the New Right).
In contrast to the eclectic traditions, Reconstructionists are very culturally oriented and attempt to reconstruct historical forms of Paganism, in a modern context. Thus, Hellenic, Roman, Kemetic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic and Slavic Reconstructionists aim for the revival of historical practices and beliefs of Ancient Greece,
Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt, the Celts, the Germanic peoples, the Balts and the Slavs, respectively.Request quotation|date=September 2008
In the early 2000s, a "Traditionalist" or "Folklorist" current of Neopaganism emerged in Scandinavian Neopaganism, advocated by Jon Julius Filipusson (of
Foreningen Forn Sed, Norway), Paul Jenssen (Denmark) and Keeron Ögren ( Samfälligheten för Nordisk Sed, Sweden), which rejects Reconstructionism and syncretism alike, advocating a strict focus on regional folkloreand folk religion.Fact|date=November 2007
Adherents.comestimates that there are roughly one million Neopagans worldwide (as of 2000), including "Wicca, Magick, Druidism, Asatru, neo-Native American religion and others". [ [http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html#Neo-Paganism Adherents.com] ]
High estimates by Neopagan authors may reach several times that number. [Curott, Phyllis (1998) "The Book of Shadows: A Modern Woman's Journey Into the Wisdom of Witchcraft and the Magic of the Goddess", estimates there are 3 to 5 million Wiccans in the USA alone.] A precise number is impossible to establish, because of the largely uninstitutionalisednature of the religion and the secrecy observed by some traditions, [Edwards, Catherine. "Wicca Casts Spell on Teen-Age Girls " in Insight online magazine, Vol. 15, No. 39 -- October 25, 1999: "There is much to-do about secrecy, and groups do not release membership rolls." [http://www.adherents.com/Na/Na_666.html] ] - sometimes explained by fear of religious discrimination.
In the United States, the ARIS 2001 study, based on a poll conducted by The Graduate Center at The City University of New York found that an estimated 140,000 people self-identified as Pagans; 134,000 self-identified as Wiccans; and 33,000 self-identified as Druids. [http://www.gc.cuny.edu/faculty/research_briefs/aris/key_findings.htm ARIS 2001 study] ] This would bring the total of groups largely accepted under the modern popular western definition of Neopagan to 307,000. Other groups measured in the report, such as Native Americans,
New Agers and a significant portion of Unitarian Universalists, could be categorized under this definition, but many of these adherents would not consider themselves Pagan, nor would the mainstream Pagan communities accept them as such.
The Covenant of the Goddess, "an international organization of cooperating, autonomous Wiccan congregations and solitary practitioners," [http://www.cog.org/ Covenant of the Goddess website] ] conducted a poll of U.S. and Canadian "Wiccan/Pagan" respondents in 2005 and 2006. This poll was not scientific and represents a self selected subset of all Neopagans, but it does provide some interesting insights that confirm what many Neopagans have observed anecdotally:
*39% of respondents were between 26 and 39 years of age
*37% were between the ages of 40 and 49
*94% were registered to vote, a figure much higher than the national average
*There were nearly three times as many women as men (74%)
*6% have served in the Armed Forces [http://www.cog.org/05poll/poll_results.html The 2005-06 Wiccan/Pagan Poll Results] [http://www.cog/org/ Covenant of the Goddess] . Accessed 6 November 2007]
A study by
Ronald Huttoncompared a number of different sources (including membership lists of major UK organizations, attendance at major events, subscriptions to magazines, etc.) and used standard models for extrapolating likely numbers. This estimate accounted for multiple membership overlaps as well as the number of adherents represented by each attendee of a Neopagan gathering. Hutton estimated that there are 250,000 Neopagan adherents in the United Kingdom, roughly equivalent to the national Hinducommunity.Hutton (2001)]
A smaller number is suggested by the results of the 2001 Census, in which a question about religious affiliation was asked for the first time. Respondents were able to write in an affiliation not covered by the checklist of common religions, and a total of 42,262 people from England, Scotland and Wales declared themselves to be Pagans by this method. These figures were not released as a matter of course by the
Office of National Statistics, but were released after an application by the Pagan Federationof Scotland. [http://www.scottishpf.org/census.html Pagans and the Scottish Census of 2001] Accessed 18 October 2007] From a British population of 59 million this gives a rough proportion of 7 pagans per 100,000 population. This is more than many well known traditions such as Rastafarian, Bahá'í and Zoroastrian groups, but fewer than the 'Big Six' of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaismand Buddhism. It is also fewer than the adherents of the so-called Jedi religion, whose campaign made them the largest of the religions after the Big Six.. [ [http://www.statistics.gov.uk/CCI/nugget.asp?ID=297&Pos=&ColRank=2&Rank=1000 National Statistics Office] (2001): '390,000 Jedi There Are'. Accessed 18 October 2007]
The UK Census figures do not allow an accurate breakdown of traditions within the Pagan heading, as a campaign by the
Pagan Federationbefore the census encouraged Wiccans, Heathens, Druids and others all to use the same write-in term 'Pagan' in order to maximise the numbers reported.Fact|date=July 2008
Neopaganism in Scandinavia is dominated by
Ásatrú( Forn Sed, Folketro).
Swedish AsatruSociety" formed in 1994, and in Norway the Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrostformed in 1996 and Foreningen Forn Sedformed in 1999. They have been recognized by the Norwegian government as a religious society, allowing them to perform "legally binding civil ceremonies" (i. e. marriages). In Denmark Forn Siðralso formed in 1999, recognized in 2003 [ [http://www.fornsidr.dk/dk/60 Forklaring til Forn Siðr´s ansøgning om godkendelse som trossamfund.] ] and in Sweden "Nätverket Gimle" formed in 2001, as an informal community for individual heathens. "Nätverket Forn Sed" formed in 2004, and has a network consisting of local groups (blotlag) from all over the Sweden.
German-speaking Europe, Germanic and Celtic neopaganism co-exist with Wicca and Neoshamanism. Neopaganism in Latin Europe(France, Italy, Spain) focusses on Neo-Druidism and Esotericism based on megalithculture besides some Germanic neopagan groups in areas historically affected by Germanic migrations ( Lombardy). Neopaganism in Eastern Europeand parts of Northern Europeis dominated by Baltic and Slavic movements, rising to visibility after the fall of the Soviet Union. Since the 1990s, there have been organized Hellenic groups practising in Greece.
List of new religious movements
*Bonewits, Isaac (2006) "Bonewits's Essential Guide to Druidism". New York, Kensington Publishing Group ISBN 0-8065-2710-2.
*Douglas E. Cowan, "Cyberhenge: Modern Pagans on the Internet", Routledge (2004), ISBN 0415969115.
* [http://www.cuups.org/ CUUPS] - Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans
* [http://www.kithofyggdrasil.org/ The Kith of Yggdrasil] - UK-based Heathen website
* [http://www.mythinglinks.org/ Mything Links] - A meta page about myths and mythology around the world
* [http://www.neopagan.net Neopagan.net] - Neopagan author
Isaac Bonewits's thoughts on the development of Neopaganism, modern druidry and public perceptions
* [http://www.paganfed.org/ Pagan Federation] A UK-based organization promoting awareness and acceptance of Paganism in Europe and the world.
* [http://www.paganassociation.co.uk/ Pagan Association UK] Promoting paganism in the Community.
* [http://www.pfsa.org.za PFSA] The Pagan Federation of South Africa
* [http://www.paganwiki.org PaganWiki] - "Striving to be the most complete pagan resource"
* [http://pagan.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page WikiPagan A free content wiki-based website for Neopagans] ----
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.