Neo-Paganism Versus New Age Spirituality

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Neo-Paganism and New Age Spirituality have very different rules factors. Neo-Paganism, as defined by the Encyclopædia Britannica, is an umbrella term for several spiritual movements that attempt to restore the “authentic pantheons and rituals” of the ancient polytheistic religions of Europe and the Middle East.(Neo-Paganism) These forms of “nature-oriented spirituality” are typically pre-Christian and primarily originate in Europe. (Fisher 478) sheds some light on how people formed these Neo-Pagan religions:

“Druidic religion is based on the faith and practices of the ancient Celtic professional class; followers of Asatru adhere to the ancient, pre-Christian Norse religion; Wiccans also trace their roots back to the pre-Celtic era in Europe. Other Neopagans follow Hellenismos (ancient Greek religion), Religio Romana (ancient Roman religion), Kemetism (ancient Egyptian religion) and other traditions.” (Neopagan & Pagan)

Unfortunately, most of the original rituals and religious practices have long since been lost. Starhawk, a well-known academic of Paganism, explains, “It is not based on dogma or a set of beliefs, nor on scriptures or a sacred book revealed by a great man.” (Starhawk 2-3) Instead, Neo-Pagans take their teachings from nature, and with that, they combine the history they do have about their originating religions to create an eclectic reconstruction of the ancient practices. Although the specific practices of Neo-Pagans vary, most follow a basic pagan ethic of “Do what thou wilt, but harm none”, believe in multiple deities, often including a primary god or goddess, and most Neo-Pagans practice traditional ceremonies in relation to the equinoxes and solstices.(Neopagan & Pagan) According to the...

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