Modern paganism, often referred to as contemporary or neopaganism, is a collection of spiritual movements that draw inspiration from pre-Christian, indigenous, and folk traditions. These movements emerged in the 20th century and continue to evolve today. They often emphasize a connection to nature, the cycles of the seasons, and a variety of deities or spiritual forces.
Many modern pagans have a strong reverence for nature and the environment. They often celebrate the changing seasons, solstices, equinoxes, and other natural events.
Polytheism and Pantheism
Modern pagans often have diverse beliefs in multiple deities or spirits, sometimes representing various aspects of nature, life, and the divine. Pantheism, which sees the divine as being present throughout the natural world, is also common.
Reconstructionism and Revivalism
Some pagan groups focus on reconstructing or reviving ancient pagan practices and beliefs based on historical records, folklore, and archaeological findings.
Many modern pagans incorporate elements from various pagan traditions, mythology, and other spiritual practices, creating eclectic belief systems that suit their personal preferences.
Rituals and Magic
Rituals, ceremonies, and magical practices are common in modern paganism. These can include invocations, spellwork, divination, and other forms of spiritual practice.
Community and Festivals
Modern pagans often gather in groups or covens to celebrate festivals and perform rituals together. Festivals like Beltane, Samhain, and Yule are widely observed.
Inclusivity and Diversity
Modern paganism is diverse and inclusive, with practitioners coming from various cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Some neopagan groups actively work to embrace LGBTQ+ individuals and promote social justice.
Wicca and Druidry
Wicca and Druidry are two well-known neopagan traditions. Wicca, founded by Gerald Gardner in the mid-20th century, is characterized by its emphasis on magic, rituals, and the worship of a dual deity (the God and Goddess). Druidry draws inspiration from ancient Celtic spiritual practices and places a strong focus on nature, wisdom, and connection to the land.