The Paganism(s) described in this section refer to contemporary, living religious practices in Western culture. These are however inspired by ancient forms of European faith such as those found in ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt and Celtic or Germanic countries, or other ‘indigenous’ or ‘primary’ traditions. Contemporary Paganism (sometimes called ‘Neo-Paganism’, especially in the USA) is a general label for a variety of traditions and individual personal religion, united by the concept of the sacredness of nature. Pagans may be pantheist, polytheist, duotheist, or animist but are rarely monotheist in the sense found in the Abrahamic religions.
The resources contained in the list of subjects to the right are a basic introduction to the traditions of contemporary Paganism. They are a portal or window into the world of Paganism and by following the websites and bibliographies, an enquirer may discover more about this family of religions.
The information provided here can be found under the six headings on the right which are based on the Areas of Enquiry found in recent non-statutory frameworks for Religious Education (2004, 2013). It provides not only a guide to the factual and belief structures of Paganism but also addresses the issues that Paganism encounters as it engages today’s world.
Use the menu on the right to navigate through the sections.
About the Author
This section was written by Denise Cush with advice from the President of the Pagan Federation, Mike Stygal, and other members of the Pagan and Heathen Symposium, particularly in relation to Heathenism and other reconstructionist traditions.
Professor Denise Cush has an MA in Theology from Oxford University, an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Lancaster, a PhD in Religious Education from the University of Warwick, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Uppsala. She was Professor of Religion and Education at Bath Spa University until she retired in 2015. She is continuing to be involved in the world of religious education, for example as Deputy Editor of the British Journal of Religious Education. She taught Religious Studies at St. Mary’s Sixth Form College, Middlesbrough (16-18), trained both primary and secondary teachers in religious education, and taught Study of Religions at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. In addition to religious education, her interests include Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and ‘alternative’ spiritualities such as Paganism. Publications include: Celebrating Planet Earth, a Pagan/Christian Conversation: First Steps in Interfaith Dialogue ed. (2015), Buddhism (1994), The Routledge Encyclopedia of Hinduism (2007) (ed. with Robinson & York) and the website (with Robinson, C.) Living Religion: Facilitating Fieldwork Placements in Theology and Religious Studies www.livingreligion.co.uk
The Pagan Federation www.paganfed.org
The British Druid Order http://www.druidry.co.uk/
The Druid Network https://druidnetwork.org/
The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids http://www.druidry.org/
Children of Artemis http://witchcraft.org/
Pagan and Heathen symposium http://pagansymposium.org/
Pagan Symposium code of behaviour http://pagansymposium.org/code.html
Billington, P., 2011. The path of Druidry : walking the ancient green way. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn.
Carr-Gomm, P., 1993. The Druid Way Shaftesbury: Element.
— (ed.), 1996. The Druid Renaissance. London: HarperCollins.
— 2006. What do Druids Believe? London: Granta
Crowley, V., 1996. Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Millennium. London: Thorsons.
¾ 1996. (Principles of) Paganism. London: Thorsons.
¾ 1997. (Principles of) Wicca. London: Thorsons.
— 2001. A Woman’s Guide to the Earth Traditions.
Cush, D., 1997. ‘Paganism in the Classroom’. British Journal of Religious Education. 19.2.
— 2007. ‘Wise Young Women: Beliefs, Values and Influences in the Adoption of Witchcraft by Teenage Girls in England’. In Johnston H.E. and Peg Aloi, P. (eds.) The New Generation Witches: Teenage Witchcraft in Contemporary Culture. London: Ashgate, pp. 139-160.
— (ed.) 2015. Celebrating Planet Earth, a Pagan/Christian Conversation: First Steps in Interfaith Dialogue. Winchester UK and Washington USA: Moon Books.
Griffyn, S. 2002. Wiccan Wisdom Keepers. Alresford: Godsfield.
Harvey, G. 1997. Listening People, Speaking Earth. London: Hurst & Co.
Harvey, G., 2009. ‘Paganism’ In Woodhead, L. (ed.) Religions in the Modern World 2nd Ed. London: Routledge, 357-379.
Harvey, G., and Hardman C., 1995. Pagan Pathways: a Guide to the Ancient Earth Traditions.
Harvey, G. and Hardman, C. (eds.) 1996. Paganism Today. London: Thorsons.
Heelas, P., 2002. ‘The Spiritual Revolution: from ‘Religion’ to ‘Spirituality.’ In
Woodhead, L. (ed.) Religions in the Modern World. London: Routledge.
Hollinghurst, S. 2015. ‘No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition: understanding how Pagans and Christians can see each other today through the distorted lenses of their mythic histories’. In Cush, D. (ed.) 2015. Celebrating Planet Earth, a Pagan/Christian Conversation: First Steps in Interfaith Dialogue. Winchester UK and Washington USA: Moon Books.
Hutton, R., 1991.The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy. Oxford: Blackwell.
— 1999. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
— 2009. Blood and Mistletoe: the History of the Druids in Britain. Yale: Yale University Press.
Jennings, P., 2002. Pagan Paths. A Guide to Wicca, Druidry, Asatru, Shamanism and Other Pagan Practices London: Rider.
Jones, P., and Pennick, N., 1995. A History of Pagan Europe. London: Routledge.
Jones, P. 1996. ‘Pagan Theologies’. In Harvey, G. and Hardman, C. (eds.) Paganism Today. London: Thorsons.
Main, R., 2002. ‘Religion, Science and the New Age’. In Pearson, J. (ed.). Belief Beyond Boundaries: Wicca, Celtic Spirituality and the New Age. Aldershot: Ashgate/Open University.
Myers, B., 2008. The Other Side of Virtue. Alresford: O Books.
Pearson, J. (ed.). 2002. Belief Beyond Boundaries: Wicca, Celtic Spirituality and the New Age. Aldershot: Ashgate/Open University.
Rain, V. 2015. ‘”All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals”: key practices in contemporary Pagan ritual’. In Cush, D. (ed.) 2015. Celebrating Planet Earth, a Pagan/Christian Conversation: First Steps in Interfaith Dialogue. Winchester UK and Washington USA: Moon Books.
Reid-Bowen, P., 2007. Goddess as Nature. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Restall Orr, E., 2012. Living with Honour – a Pagan Ethics. Alresford: O Books
Starhawk, 1999. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess. San Francisco: Harper.
York, M., 2003. Pagan Theology. New York: NYU Press.
The on-line journal DISKUS had a special edition on Paganism, see especially the following articles:
Bowman, M., 2000. ‘Nature, The Natural and Pagan Identity.’ DISKUS, 6.
Harrington, M. 2000. ‘Conversion to Wicca?’ DISKUS, 6.
Harvey, G. and Bowman, M., 2000. ‘Pagan Identities.’ DISKUS, 6.
Pearson, J. 2000.‘Demarcating the Field: Paganism, Wicca and Witchcraft.’ DISKUS, 6.
Robinson, C., 2000. ‘Druids and Brahmins: A Case of Mistaken Identity?’ DISKUS, 6.
Diskus is an on-line journal which can be found at: http://basr.ac.uk/diskus_old/index.html