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 below are a basic introduction to the traditions of contemporary Paganism. They are a 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 can be found under the six headings below which are based on the Areas of Enquiry found in the 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.
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.