Pagan History

Pagan History 102Pagan History is a website devoted to investigating the ancient roots of modern Paganism. Read full story

History of Paganism – A classic joke among pagans is that if you ask four pagans to define paganism, your will usually receive five answers. Some use the broad definition that Paganism is the practice of religion outside the Abrahamic monotheistic religions encompassing Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Another definition supported by the On-line Etymology Dictionary is that Pagans were those individuals that adhered to the old gods after the Christianization of Roman towns and cities. “Paganus” was Roman military jargon for “civilian, incompetent soldier” and rising Christians used this imagery to refer to those who were not “soldiers of Christ.” Another definition supported by Random House dictionary was that it was derived from the Latin word “pagus” or village and thus referred to a country-dweller — probably similar to calling someone a “hick” or “red-neck.” The term therefore would describe someone that continued to practice the local rural customs rather than the religions being observed in the cities. The definition that makes the most sense to me is that Pagan is an umbrella term for groups that practice nature-based religious practices. This can include many modern religions to include Shamanism, Wicca, Asatru, Church of All Worlds, and Druidry. Read full story

History of Modern Paganism – Contemporary Paganism is the restoration of indigenous religion, especially that of ancient Europe. Paganism has grown in popularity greatly during the last hundred years. The growth coincides with a decline in Christianity in Europe, and the increase in knowledge of past and distant cultures. Read full story

Pagan Movements – The origins of modern Paganism and Witchcraft continue to be hotly debated and discussed among practitioners. This is not intended to be anything like an exhaustive history, but rather an introduction to some of the main strands of modern Paganism. (For an exhaustive history of British Witchcraft, I highly recommend Ronald Hutton’s Triumph of the Moon. A more wide-ranging history of American Pagan movements can be found in Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon.) Read full story