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Depiction from 1887 showing two Roman women offering a sacrifice to the goddess Vesta Die Gartenlaube (1887) b 016.jpg
Depiction from 1887 showing two Roman women offering a sacrifice to the goddess Vesta

Paganism (from classical Latin pāgānus "rural", "rustic", later "civilian") is a term first used in the fourth century by early Christians for people in the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism, [1] or ethnic religions other than Judaism. In the time of the Roman empire, individuals fell into the pagan class either because they were increasingly rural and provincial relative to the Christian population, or because they were not milites Christi (soldiers of Christ). [2] [3] Alternative terms used in Christian texts were hellene , gentile , and heathen . [1] Ritual sacrifice was an integral part of ancient Graeco-Roman religion [4] and was regarded as an indication of whether a person was pagan or Christian. [4] Paganism has broadly connoted the "religion of the peasantry". [1] [5]


During and after the Middle Ages, the term paganism was applied to any non-Christian religion, and the term presumed a belief in false gods. [6] [7] The origin of the application of the term "pagan" to polytheism is debated. [8] In the 19th century, paganism was adopted as a self-descriptor by members of various artistic groups inspired by the ancient world. In the 20th century, it came to be applied as a self-descriptor by practitioners of modern paganism, modern pagan movements and Polytheistic reconstructionists. Modern pagan traditions often incorporate beliefs or practices, such as nature worship, that are different from those of the largest world religions. [9] [10]

Contemporary knowledge of old pagan religions and beliefs comes from several sources, including anthropological field research records, the evidence of archaeological artifacts, and the historical accounts of ancient writers regarding cultures known to Classical antiquity. Most modern pagan religions existing today express a worldview that is pantheistic, panentheistic, polytheistic, or animistic, but some are monotheistic. [11] [12] [13]

Nomenclature and etymology

Reconstruction of the Parthenon, on the Acropolis of Athens, Greece Akropolis-detail.jpg
Reconstruction of the Parthenon, on the Acropolis of Athens, Greece


It is crucial to stress right from the start that until the 20th century, people did not call themselves pagans to describe the religion they practised. The notion of paganism, as it is generally understood today, was created by the early Christian Church. It was a label that Christians applied to others, one of the antitheses that were central to the process of Christian self-definition. As such, throughout history it was generally used in a derogatory sense.

Owen Davies, Paganism: A Very Short Introduction, 2011 [8]

The term pagan derives from Late Latin paganus , revived during the Renaissance. Itself deriving from classical Latin pagus which originally meant 'region delimited by markers', paganus had also come to mean 'of or relating to the countryside', 'country dweller', 'villager'; by extension, 'rustic', 'unlearned', 'yokel', 'bumpkin'; in Roman military jargon, 'non-combatant', 'civilian', 'unskilled soldier'. It is related to pangere ('to fasten', 'to fix or affix') and ultimately comes from Proto-Indo-European *pag- ('to fix' in the same sense). [14]

The adoption of paganus by the Latin Christians as an all-embracing, pejorative term for polytheists represents an unforeseen and singularly long-lasting victory, within a religious group, of a word of Latin slang originally devoid of religious meaning. The evolution occurred only in the Latin west, and in connection with the Latin church. Elsewhere, Hellene or gentile ( ethnikos ) remained the word for pagan; and paganos continued as a purely secular term, with overtones of the inferior and the commonplace.

Peter Brown, Late Antiquity, 1999 [15]

Medieval writers often assumed that paganus as a religious term was a result of the conversion patterns during the Christianization of Europe, where people in towns and cities were converted more easily than those in remote regions, where old ways tended to remain. However, this idea has multiple problems. First, the word's usage as a reference to non-Christians pre-dates that period in history. Second, paganism within the Roman Empire centred on cities. The concept of an urban Christianity as opposed to a rural paganism would not have occurred to Romans during Early Christianity. Third, unlike words such as rusticitas, paganus had not yet fully acquired the meanings (of uncultured backwardness) used to explain why it would have been applied to pagans. [16]

Paganus more likely acquired its meaning in Christian nomenclature via Roman military jargon (see above). Early Christians adopted military motifs and saw themselves as Milites Christi (soldiers of Christ). [14] [16] A good example of Christians still using paganus in a military context rather than religious isone in Tertullian's De Corona Militis XI.V, where the Christian is referred to as paganus (civilian): [16]

Apud hunc [Christum] tam miles est paganus fidelis quam paganus est miles fidelis. [17] With Him [Christ] the faithful citizen is a soldier, just as the faithful soldier is a citizen. [18]

Paganus acquired its religious connotations by the mid-4th century. [16] As early as the 5th century, paganos was metaphorically used to denote persons outside the bounds of the Christian community. Following the sack of Rome by the Visigoths just over fifteen years after the Christian persecution of paganism under Theodosius I, [19] murmurs began to spread that the old gods had taken greater care of the city than the Christian God. In response, Augustine of Hippo wrote De Civitate Dei Contra Paganos ('The City of God against the Pagans'). In it, he contrasted the fallen "city of Man" with the "city of God", of which all Christians were ultimately citizens. Hence, the foreign invaders were "not of the city" or "rural". [20] [21] [22]

The term pagan was not attested in the English language until the 17th century. [23] In addition to infidel and heretic , it was used as one of several pejorative Christian counterparts to goy ( גוי / נכרי) as used in Judaism, and to kafir (كافر, 'unbeliever') and mushrik (مشرك, 'idolater') as in Islam. [24]


In the Latin-speaking Western Roman Empire of the newly Christianizing Roman Empire, Koine Greek became associated with the traditional polytheistic religion of Ancient Greece and was regarded as a foreign language (lingua peregrina) in the west. [25] By the latter half of the 4th century in the Greek-speaking Eastern Empire, pagans were—paradoxically—most commonly called Hellenes (Ἕλληνες, lit. "Greeks") The word had almost entirely ceased being used in a cultural sense. [26] [27] It retained that meaning for roughly the first millennium of Christianity.

This was influenced by Christianity's early members, who were Jewish. The Jews of the time distinguished themselves from foreigners according to religion rather than ethno-cultural standards, and early Jewish Christians would have done the same. Since Hellenic culture was the dominant pagan culture in the Roman east, they referred to pagans as Hellenes. Christianity inherited Jewish terminology for non-Jews and adapted it in order to refer to non-Christians with whom they were in contact. This usage is recorded in the New Testament. In the Pauline epistles, Hellene is almost always juxtaposed with Hebrew regardless of actual ethnicity [27]

The usage of Hellene as a religious term was initially part of an exclusively Christian nomenclature, but some Pagans began to defiantly call themselves Hellenes. Other pagans even preferred the narrow meaning of the word from a broad cultural sphere to a more specific religious grouping. However, there were many Christians and pagans alike who strongly objected to the evolution of the terminology. The influential Archbishop of Constantinople Gregory of Nazianzus, for example, took offence at imperial efforts to suppress Hellenic culture (especially concerning spoken and written Greek) and he openly criticized the emperor. [26]

The growing religious stigmatization of Hellenism had a chilling effect on Hellenic culture by the late 4th century. [26]

By late antiquity, however, it was possible to speak Greek as a primary language while not conceiving of oneself as a Hellene. [28] The long-established use of Greek both in and around the Eastern Roman Empire as a lingua franca ironically allowed it to instead become central in enabling the spread of Christianity—as indicated for example, by the use of Greek for the Epistles of Paul. [29] In the first half of the 5th century, Greek was the standard language in which bishops communicated, [30] and the Acta Conciliorum ("Acts of the Church Councils") were recorded originally in Greek and then translated into other languages. [31]


Heathen comes from Old English hæðen (not Christian or Jewish); cf. Old Norse heiðinn . This meaning for the term originated from Gothic haiþno (gentile woman) being used to translate Hellene [32] in Wulfila's Bible, the first translation of the Bible into a Germanic language. This may have been influenced by the Greek and Latin terminology of the time used for pagans. If so, it may be derived from Gothic haiþi (dwelling on the heath). However, this is not attested. It may even be a borrowing of Greek ἔθνος (ethnos) via Armenian hethanos . [33]

The term has recently been revived in the forms Heathenry and Heathenism (often but not always capitalized), as alternative names for the Germanic neopagan movement, adherents of which may self-identify as Heathens.


It is perhaps misleading even to say that there was such a religion as paganism at the beginning of [the Common Era] ... It might be less confusing to say that the pagans, before their competition with Christianity, had no religion at all in the sense in which that word is normally used today. They had no tradition of discourse about ritual or religious matters (apart from philosophical debate or antiquarian treatise), no organized system of beliefs to which they were asked to commit themselves, no authority-structure peculiar to the religious area, above all no commitment to a particular group of people or set of ideas other than their family and political context. If this is the right view of pagan life, it follows that we should look on paganism quite simply as a religion invented in the course of the second to third centuries AD, in competition and interaction with Christians, Jews and others.

J A North 1992, 187–88, [34]

Defining paganism is complex and problematic. Understanding the context of its associated terminology is important. [35] Early Christians referred to the diverse array of cults around them as a single group for reasons of convenience and rhetoric. [36] While paganism generally implies polytheism, the primary distinction between classical pagans and Christians was not one of monotheism versus polytheism, as not all pagans were strictly polytheist. Throughout history, many of them believed in a supreme deity. However, most such pagans believed in a class of subordinate gods/daimons—see henotheism—or divine emanations. [13] To Christians, the most important distinction was whether or not someone worshipped the one true God . Those who did not (polytheist, monotheist, or atheist) were outsiders to the Church and thus considered pagan. [37] Similarly, classical pagans would have found it peculiar to distinguish groups by the number of deities followers venerate. They would have considered the priestly colleges (such as the College of Pontiffs or Epulones) and cult practices more meaningful distinctions. [38]

Referring to paganism as a pre-Christian indigenous religion is equally untenable. Not all historical pagan traditions were pre-Christian or indigenous to their places of worship. [35]

Owing to the history of its nomenclature, paganism traditionally encompasses the collective pre- and non-Christian cultures in and around the classical world; including those of the Greco-Roman, Celtic, Germanic, and Slavic tribes. [39] However, modern parlance of folklorists and contemporary pagans in particular has extended the original four millennia scope used by early Christians to include similar religious traditions stretching far into prehistory. [40]


Paganism came to be equated by Christians with a sense of hedonism, representing those who are sensual, materialistic, self-indulgent, unconcerned with the future, and uninterested in more mainstream religions. Pagans were usually described in terms of this worldly stereotype, especially among those drawing attention to what they perceived as the limitations of paganism. [41] Thus G. K. Chesterton wrote: "The pagan set out, with admirable sense, to enjoy himself. By the end of his civilization he had discovered that a man cannot enjoy himself and continue to enjoy anything else." [42] In sharp contrast, Swinburne the poet would comment on this same theme: "Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath; We have drunken of things Lethean, and fed on the fullness of death." [43]


Recently, the ethnocentric and moral absolutist origins of the common usage of the term pagan have been proposed, [44] [45] with scholar David Petts noting how, with particular reference to Christianity, "...local religions are defined in opposition to privileged 'world religions'; they become everything that world religions are not, rather than being explored as a subject in their own right." [46] In addition, Petts notes how various spiritual, religious, and metaphysical ideas branded as "pagan" from diverse cultures were studied in opposition to Abrahamism in early anthropology, a binary he links to ethnocentrism and colonialism. [47]



Bronze Age to Early Iron Age

Ancient history

Classical antiquity

Ludwig Feuerbach defined the paganism of classical antiquity, which he termed Heidentum ('heathenry') as "the unity of religion and politics, of spirit and nature, of god and man", [48] qualified by the observation that man in the pagan view is always defined by ethnicity, i.e., As a result, every pagan tradition is also a national tradition. Modern historians define paganism instead as the aggregate of cult acts, set within a civic rather than a national context, without a written creed or sense of orthodoxy. [49]

Late Antiquity and Christianization

The developments in the religious thought of the far-flung Roman Empire during Late Antiquity need to be addressed separately, because this is the context in which Early Christianity itself developed as one of several monotheistic cults, and it was in this period that the concept of pagan developed in the first place. As Christianity emerged from Second Temple Judaism and Hellenistic Judaism, it stood in competition with other religions advocating pagan monotheism, including the cults of Dionysus, [50] Neoplatonism, Mithraism, Gnosticism, and Manichaeanism.[ citation needed ] Dionysus in particular exhibits significant parallels with Christ, so that numerous scholars have concluded that the recasting of Jesus the wandering rabbi into the image of Christ the Logos, the divine saviour, reflects the cult of Dionysus directly. They point to the symbolism of wine and the importance it held in the mythology surrounding both Dionysus and Jesus Christ; [51] [52] Wick argues that the use of wine symbolism in the Gospel of John, including the story of the Marriage at Cana at which Jesus turns water into wine, was intended to show Jesus as superior to Dionysus. [53] The scene in The Bacchae wherein Dionysus appears before King Pentheus on charges of claiming divinity is compared to the New Testament scene of Jesus being interrogated by Pontius Pilate. [53] [54] [55]

Postclassical history

Islam in Arabia

Arab paganism gradually disappeared during Muhammad's era through Islamization. [56] [57] The sacred months of the Arab pagans were the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar. [58] After Muhammad had conquered Mecca he set out to convert the pagans. [59] [60] [61] One of the last military campaigns that Muhammad ordered against the Arab pagans was the Demolition of Dhul Khalasa. It occurred in April and May 632 AD, in 10AH of the Islamic Calendar. Dhul Khalasa is referred to as both an idol and a temple, and it was known by some as the Ka'ba of Yemen, built and worshipped by polytheist tribes. [62] [63] [64] [65] [66] [67] [68] [69] [70]

Modern history

Early Modern Renaissance

Interest in pagan traditions was first revived during the Renaissance, when Renaissance magic was practiced as a revival of Greco-Roman magic. In the 17th century, the description of paganism turned from a theological aspect to an ethnological one, and religions began to be understood as part of the ethnic identities of peoples, and the study of the religions of so-called primitive peoples triggered questions as to the ultimate historical origin of religion. Jean Bodin viewed pagan mythology as a distorted version of Christian truths. [71] Nicolas Fabri de Peiresc saw the pagan religions of Africa of his day as relics that were in principle capable of shedding light on the historical paganism of Classical Antiquity. [72]

Late Modern Romanticism

Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

Paganism resurfaces as a topic of fascination in 18th to 19th-century Romanticism, in particular in the context of the literary Celtic, Slavic and Viking revivals, which portrayed historical Celtic, Slavic and Germanic polytheists as noble savages.

The 19th century also saw much scholarly interest in the reconstruction of pagan mythology from folklore or fairy tales. This was notably attempted by the Brothers Grimm, especially Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology, and Elias Lönnrot with the compilation of the Kalevala . The work of the Brothers Grimm influenced other collectors, both inspiring them to collect tales and leading them to similarly believe that the fairy tales of a country were particularly representative of it, to the neglect of cross-cultural influence. Among those influenced were the Russian Alexander Afanasyev, the Norwegians Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe, and the Englishman Joseph Jacobs. [73]

Romanticist interest in non-classical antiquity coincided with the rise of Romantic nationalism and the rise of the nation state in the context of the 1848 revolutions, leading to the creation of national epics and national myths for the various newly formed states. Pagan or folkloric topics were also common in the musical nationalism of the period.

Modern paganism

Some megaliths are believed to have religious significance. Stonehenge Closeup.jpg
Some megaliths are believed to have religious significance.
Children standing with The Lady of Cornwall in a neopagan ceremony in England Lady of Cornwall.jpg
Children standing with The Lady of Cornwall in a neopagan ceremony in England
Neopagan handfasting ceremony at Avebury (Beltane 2005) Paganavebury.jpg
Neopagan handfasting ceremony at Avebury (Beltane 2005)

Modern paganism, or Neopaganism, includes reconstructed religions such as Roman Polytheistic Reconstructionism, Hellenism, Slavic Native Faith, Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism, or heathenry, as well as modern eclectic traditions such as Wicca and its many offshoots, Neo-Druidism, and Discordianism.

However, there often exists a distinction or separation between some polytheistic reconstructionists such as Hellenism and revivalist neopagans like Wiccans. The divide is over numerous issues such as the importance of accurate orthopraxy according to ancient sources available, the use and concept of magic, which calendar to use and which holidays to observe, as well as the use of the term pagan itself. [74] [75] [76]

In 1717 John Toland became the first Chosen Chief of the Ancient Druid Order, which became known as the British Circle of the Universal Bond. [77] Many of the revivals, Wicca and Neo-Druidism in particular, have their roots in 19th century Romanticism and retain noticeable elements of occultism or Theosophy that were current then, setting them apart from historical rural (paganus) folk religion. Most modern pagans, however, believe in the divine character of the natural world and paganism is often described as an Earth religion. [78]

The hammer Mjolnir is one of the primary symbols of Germanic neopaganism. A copy of the Thor's hammer from Skane - Nachbildung des Thorshammers von Skane 02.jpg
The hammer Mjölnir is one of the primary symbols of Germanic neopaganism.

There are a number of neopagan authors who have examined the relation of the 20th-century movements of polytheistic revival with historical polytheism on one hand and contemporary traditions of folk religion on the other. Isaac Bonewits introduced a terminology to make this distinction. [79]

The overarching contemporary pagan revival movement which focuses on nature-revering/living, pre-Christian religions and/or other nature-based spiritual paths, and frequently incorporating contemporary liberal values[ citation needed ]. This definition may include groups such as Wicca, Neo-Druidism, Heathenry, and Slavic Native Faith.
The Tursaansydan symbol, part of the Finnish neopaganism. Kruszwica kolegiata swastyka.jpg
The Tursaansydän symbol, part of the Finnish neopaganism.
A retronym coined to contrast with Neopaganism, original polytheistic, nature-centered faiths, such as the pre-Hellenistic Greek and pre-imperial Roman religion, pre-Migration period Germanic paganism as described by Tacitus, or Celtic polytheism as described by Julius Caesar.
A group, which is, or has been, significantly influenced by monotheistic, dualistic, or nontheistic worldviews, but has been able to maintain an independence of religious practices. This group includes aboriginal Americans as well as Aboriginal Australians, Viking Age Norse paganism and New Age spirituality. Influences include: Spiritualism, and the many Afro-Diasporic faiths like Haitian Vodou, Santería and Espiritu religion. Isaac Bonewits includes British Traditional Wicca in this subdivision.

Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick in their A History of Pagan Europe (1995) classify pagan religions as characterized by the following traits:

In modern times, Heathen and Heathenry are increasingly used to refer to those branches of modern paganism inspired by the pre-Christian religions of the Germanic, Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon peoples. [81]

In Iceland, the members of Ásatrúarfélagið account for 0.4% of the total population, [82] which is just over a thousand people. In Lithuania, many people practice Romuva, a revived version of the pre-Christian religion of that country. Lithuania was among the last areas of Europe to be Christianized. Odinism has been established on a formal basis in Australia since at least the 1930s. [83]

Ethnic religions of pre-Christian Europe

See also


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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Heathenry in the United States</span>

Heathenry is a modern Pagan new religious movement that has been active in the United States since at least the early 1970s. Although the term "Heathenry" is often employed to cover the entire religious movement, different Heathen groups within the United States often prefer the term "Ásatrú" or "Odinism" as self-designations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Modern paganism</span> Religions shaped by historical paganism

Modern paganism, also known as contemporary paganism and neopaganism, is a term for a religion or a family of religions which is influenced by the various historical pre-Christian beliefs of pre-modern peoples in Europe and adjacent areas of North Africa and the Near East. Although they share similarities, contemporary pagan movements are diverse and as a result, they do not share a single set of beliefs, practices, or texts. Scholars of religion may characterise these traditions as new religious movements. Some academics who study the phenomenon treat it as a movement that is divided into different religions while others characterize it as a single religion of which different pagan faiths are denominations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Theism</span> Belief in the existence of at least one deity; the opposite of atheism

Theism is broadly defined as the belief in the existence of at least one deity. In common parlance, or when contrasted with deism, the term often describes the classical conception of God that is found in monotheism — or gods found in polytheistic religions — a belief in God or in gods without the rejection of revelation as is characteristic of deism. Gnosticism is the belief in personal spiritual knowledge.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hellenism (modern religion)</span> Modern religion derived from ancient Greek beliefs

Hellenism in a religious context refers to the modern pluralistic religion practiced in Greece and around the world by several communities derived from the beliefs, mythology and rituals from antiquity through and up to today. It is a system of thought and spirituality with a shared culture and values, and common ritualistic, linguistic and literary tradition. More broadly, Hellenism centers itself on the worship of Hellenic deities, namely the twelve Olympians.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Romuva (religion)</span> Lithuanian pagan religion

Romuva is a neo-pagan movement derived from the traditional mythology of the Lithuanians, attempting to reconstruct the religious rituals of the Lithuanians before their Christianization in 1387. Practitioners of Romuva claim to continue Baltic pagan traditions which survived in folklore, customs and superstition. Romuva is a polytheistic pagan faith which asserts the sanctity of nature and ancestor worship. Practicing the Romuva faith is seen by many adherents as a form of cultural pride, along with celebrating traditional forms of art, retelling Baltic folklore, practicing traditional holidays, playing traditional Baltic music, singing traditional dainos (songs), as well as ecological activism and stewarding sacred places.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Odinic Rite</span> British white supremicist organisation

The Odinic Rite (OR) is a reconstructionist religious organisation named after the god Odin. It conceives itself as a neo-völkisch Heathen movement concerned with Germanic paganism, mythology, folklore, and runes. As a white supremacist organization, the Odinic Rite limits membership to white individuals, holding the belief in Heathenry as the ancestral religion of the Indo-European race.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Celtic reconstructionism</span> Polytheistic reconstructionist approach to Ancient Celtic religion

Celtic reconstructionism or CR is a polytheistic reconstructionist approach to Ancient Celtic religion, emphasising historical accuracy over eclecticism such as is found in most forms of Celtic neopaganism such as Neo-druidism. It is an effort to reconstruct and revive, in a modern Celtic cultural context, pre-Christian Celtic religions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Western religions</span> Religions that originated within Western culture

The Western religions are the religions that originated within Western culture, which are thus historically, culturally, and theologically distinct from Eastern, African and Iranian religions. The term Abrahamic religions is often used instead of using the East and West terminology, as these originated in the Middle East.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Names of the Greeks</span> Ethnonyms for the Greeks

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Heathenry (new religious movement)</span> Modern Pagan religion modelled on pre-Christian Germanic traditions

Heathenry, also termed Heathenism, contemporary Germanic Paganism, or Germanic Neopaganism, is a modern Pagan religion. Scholars of religious studies classify it as a new religious movement. Developed in Europe during the early 20th century, its practitioners model it on the pre-Christian religions adhered to by the Germanic peoples of the Iron Age and Early Middle Ages. In an attempt to reconstruct these past belief systems, Heathenry uses surviving historical, archaeological, and folkloric evidence as a basis, although approaches to this material vary considerably.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">European Congress of Ethnic Religions</span>

The European Congress of Ethnic Religions (ECER) is an organisation for cooperation among associations that promote the ethnic religions of Europe. The primary goal of the ECER is the strengthening of pre-Christian religious traditions of Europe, emphasizing and fostering their ties with modern pagan movements.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Polytheistic reconstructionism</span> Attempts to re-establish historical polytheistic religions

Polytheistic reconstructionism is an approach to modern paganism first emerging in the late 1960s to early 1970s, which gathered momentum starting in the 1990s. Reconstructionism attempts to re-establish genuine polytheistic religions in the modern world through a rediscovery of the rituals, practices and contextual worldviews of pre-Christian Pagan religions. This method stands in contrast with other neopagan syncretic movements like Wicca, and ecstatic/esoteric movements like Germanic mysticism or Theosophy.

Modern paganism in the United States is represented by widely different movements and organizations. The largest modern pagan religious movement is Wicca, followed by Neodruidism. Both of these religions or spiritual paths were introduced during the 1950s and 1960s from Great Britain. Germanic Neopaganism and Kemetism appeared in the US in the early 1970s. Hellenic Neopaganism appeared in the 1990s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Polytheism</span> Worship of or belief in multiple deities

Polytheism is the belief in multiple deities, which are usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religious sects and rituals. Polytheism is a type of theism. Within theism, it contrasts with monotheism, the belief in a singular God who is, in most cases, transcendent. In religions that accept polytheism, the different gods and goddesses may be representations of forces of nature or ancestral principles; they can be viewed either as autonomous or as aspects or emanations of a creator deity or transcendental absolute principle, which manifests immanently in nature. Polytheists do not always worship all the gods equally; they can be henotheists, specializing in the worship of one particular deity, or kathenotheists, worshiping different deities at different times.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Reconstructionist Roman religion</span> Contemporary movement reviving traditional Roman religion

Revivals of the ancient Roman polytheistic religion have occurred in several forms in modern times. Seeking to revive traditional Roman cults and mores, they have been known under various names including cultus deorum Romanorum, religio Romana, the Roman way to the gods, Roman-Italic Religion and Gentile Roman Religion. A number of loosely related organizations have been created during the contemporary period.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Heathenry in Canada</span>

Heathenry as it is expressed in Canada is used as a universal term to describe a wide range of Germanic Neopaganism. Those who practice the religions or folk-ways of Ásatrú, Forn Sed, Odinism or Theodism are all considered part of a greater Heathen umbrella. In Canada, Heathenry takes a socially liberal standing in its philosophy. The exclusion of adherents on the basis of ethnic origin, sexual orientation, other group affiliation as well as other discriminatory factors is opposed by most Canadian Heathen groups, although there are, as in the United States a small number of racially minded groups that limit their membership to those of "Nordic ancestry".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Modern paganism and New Age</span> Comparison of modern religious movements

Modern paganism and New Age are eclectic new religious movements with similar decentralised structures but differences in their views of history, nature, and goals of the practitioner. Modern pagan movements, which often have roots in 18th- and 19th-century cultural movements, seek to revive or be influenced by historical pagan beliefs. New Age teachings emerged in the second half of the 20th century and are characterised by millenarian ideas about spiritual advancement. Since the counterculture of the 1960s, there has been interaction, mutual influence, and often confusion in the popular mind between the movements.

Modern paganism, also known as contemporary paganism and neopaganism, is a collective term for new religious movements which are influenced by or derived from the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern peoples. Although they share similarities, contemporary pagan religious movements are diverse, and as a result, they do not share a single set of beliefs, practices, or texts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paganism in Middle-earth</span> Paganism in the literature of Tolkien

Despite J. R. R. Tolkien's assertion that The Lord of the Rings was a fundamentally Christian work, paganism appears in that book and elsewhere in his fictional world of Middle-earth in multiple ways. These include a pantheon of god-like beings, the Valar, who function like the Norse gods, the Æsir; the person of the wizard Gandalf, who Tolkien stated in a letter is an "Odinic wanderer"; Elbereth, the Elves' "Queen of the Stars", associated with Venus; animism, the way that the natural world seems to be alive; and a Beowulf-like "northern courage" which is determined to press on, no matter how bleak the outlook.