What are the different types of paganism?
There are many types of Paganism Though Wicca is the most known path, Paganism is a diverse religion that contains many different traditions. This is what we will talk about in detail in our article today
in general, We can define the following types of Paganism:
the standard of paganism, a pagan culture which has not been disrupted by ‘civilization’ by another culture, e.g., ancient Celtic religion (Druidism); religions of the pre-patriarchal cultures of Old Europe, Norse religion, pre-Columbian Native American religions, etc
the religions of ‘civilized’ communities which evolved in paleo-pagan cultures: Classical Greco-Roman religion, Egyptian religion, Middle-Eastern paganism, etc.
a group, which may or may not still constitute a separate culture, which has been influenced by a conquering culture but has been able to maintain an independence of religious practice, e.g., many Native American nations.
similar to meso-pagan but having had to submerge itself into the dominant culture and adopt the external practices and symbols of the other religion, like the various Afro-diasporic traditions.
attempts to reconnect with nature, using imagery and forms from other types of pagans but adjusting them to the needs of modern people. Some examples: Wicca — in its many forms; neo-Shamanism; neo-Druidism; Asatru and other forms of Norse neo-paganism; neo-Native American practices; the range of practices labeled ‘Women’s Spirituality.’
Types of Paganism | Modern Paganism
also, from a Types of Paganism is Modern Paganism has been described in this way: “In the present day, the Pagan tradition manifests both as communities reclaiming their ancient sites and ceremonies (especially in Eastern Europe), to put humankind back in harmony with the Earth, and as individuals pursuing personal spiritual path alone or in a small group …. under the tutelage of one of the Pagan divinities. To most modern Pagans in the West, the whole of life is to be affirmed joyfully and without shame, as long as other people are not harmed by one’s tastes.”
In addition, other Pagan belief systems are highly relevant: Secular Paganism, Naturalistic Paganism, and Humanistic Paganism.
Types of Paganism | Secular Paganism:
Secular Paganism is also, a Type of Paganism and is a set of principles shared by diverse groups around the world. It is a natural outgrowth of many peoples’ ethics and beliefs about life. It is not a religion but rather an ethical view based on the belief that nature is sacred and must be respected and treasured. Secular Pagans believe that we are a part of nature, not her master. There are no particular religious views connected with Secular Paganism. While no organization or group is designating these beliefs, there are commonly held principles.
There are many reasons why people call themselves Secular Pagans. Many have a deep and abiding love for the natural world and the environment. Many believe that all things in nature have a spirit or soul that is unique to them. Many are people whose ethical code is built on their respect for Earth and the environment. Many are scientists who have come to the belief through their research. Secular Pagans include environmentalists, farmers, academics, retail workers, scientists, students, artists, performers, teachers, laborers, writers, teenagers, and children. Many are atheists or agnostics. Meditating on nature and one’s place in it is a ritual of many Secular Pagans as is protecting the environment.
It is not the belief in a deity that unites Secular Pagans but rather a belief in the 15 Guiding Principles of Secular Paganism. Some of which are:
— Ethical behavior does not require a religion
— The equality of genders, races, and all humans
— Our health depends on the Environment’s health
— Our actions can and do have consequences
— Evolution is an ongoing process that occurs in all species
— Respect for ourselves requires respect for the Earth
— Gods and Goddesses can be seen as metaphors Source: For the entire list, see: Secular Paganism
Types of Paganism | Naturalistic Paganism:
from a Types of Paganism is “Naturalistic Pagans support the view of the world that includes those things which one can observe or conclude from observations. Their conception of reality consists of the natural world as supported by scientific understanding. As for claims for which there is no evidence, Pagan naturalists maintain that ‘We are careful to limit our claims about reality to what we can experience and measure… On all else, we are content to admit ‘we don’t know.’”
“Philosophical naturalism seeks to explain the universe without resort to supernatural causes. For most Naturalistic Pagans, ‘naturalistic’ is synonymous with ‘scientific.’ In general, they adopt the most current explanations of science and are skeptical of claims not supported by science. Naturalistic Pagans are skeptical about things like magic(k), psychic abilities, communication with spirit entities, attributing intention to inanimate nature …. To the extent that Naturalistic Pagans speak about ‘magic’ or ‘gods’, they tend to use these words differently than their common usage… Naturalistic Pagan … may understand ‘gods’ as metaphors for natural phenomena.”
In short, Naturalistic Paganism integrates mythic, meditative, and ritual practices with a worldview based on the most compelling scientific evidence.
A paper by the Spiritual Naturalist Society raises several relevant questions which we have abstracted below.
— What defines us? “First, we are Pagans. Our spiritual practices are inspired by ancient non-Abrahamic cultural-religious traditions
…. we draw inspiration from old ways while embracing modernity. Second, we are naturalists. This worldview unites our many varieties and makes us unique among Pagans. What most Naturalistic Pagans mean by it can be summed up simply: ‘only natural causes affect the universe; if there are supernatural causes, there is no reliable evidence yet to support that idea.’
…. natural causes are best discovered via the current most compelling scientific evidence.
… we adopt an appropriate skepticism toward any supposed divine or magical causes outside nature, i.e., supernatural causes as well as those within nature unsupported by the best evidence.”
“While we find little evidence to support most of the metaphysical claims made for deities and magic, we find plenty of evidence for the capacity of Pagan myth, meditation, and ritual. As a result of our reliance on demonstrable evidence, several tendencies emerge, including these two:
(1) We tend to view deities as metaphorical, poetic, or psychological in some sense, and not as causal agents external to and independent of the individual.
(2) Because our worldview does not include afterlives or hidden realms, we tend to be focused on life…. cherishing each moment and improving the world for all life on Earth.”
— Practices. “Although there is great variation, some common practices include: exploring mythology for inspiration and insight; discovering our world through experience and scientific inquiry; and changing ourselves and our society through responsible action. … we may invoke deities although the meaning may be allegorical.”
— The role of science. “Faith claims, extra-sensory perceptions, personal visions, and the like have proven unreliable as guides to reality…. scientific method, though imperfect, has proven the most reliable to date…… we look to the current most compelling scientific evidence.”
— The role of Paganism. “Pagan myth, meditation, and ritual cultivate a nature-based, richly-symbolic subjective experience…. those who come to feel more akin to the environment are more likely to protect it.”
Types of Paganism | Humanistic Paganism
from a Types of Paganism is Humanistic Paganism, as well as Naturalistic Paganism, describes the Pagan path for those who are uncomfortable with or skeptical of the supernatural or metaphysical elements of contemporary Paganism. They are Pagans who are firmly rooted in the physical world. Humanistic Paganism “is a naturalistic path rooted in ancient Paganism and contemporary science.”
“Humanistic Paganism is a form of religious or spiritual humanism. Religious humanism can describe any religion that takes a human-centered ethical perspective as contrasted with a deity-centered ethical perspective. What is good is defined in terms of human experience rather than the will of any god or gods. Religious humanists tend to be atheistic or non-theistic. For religious humanists, human experience and reason provide a more than sufficient basis for ethical action without supernatural revelation
…. Humanistic Paganism can embrace the notion that we humans are part of a much larger community of beings to whom we have ethical obligations. The adjective ‘humanistic’ is intended to contrast with ‘theistic’; it excludes gods, but no other living beings.”
“For those who struggle with anti-pagan prejudices and stereotypes, Humanist Paganism might be a powerful educational tool. It can show that a pagan can be a sophisticated, cosmopolitan, and enlightened person and that a pagan culture can be artistically vibrant, environmentally conscious, intellectually stimulating, and socially just.”
— Source: Brendan Myers, an author known for his contributions to environmental philosophy, Druidry and Neo-Druidism, mythology, and applied virtue ethics.
“…. Humanistic Paganism is a naturalistic way of life rooted equally in science and myth. Modern empirical science has revealed a startling universe that is a wonder to behold, and we have every reason to stand in awe. At the same time, the world’s ancient mythic traditions reveal our inner, psychological universe. Both are valuable in the 21stcentury. When it comes to science and religion, there’s no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. One way of life that fully embraces both is Humanistic Paganism.”
— Source: “Exploring Humanism and Paganism with B.T. Newberg” (Cited in “The Humanist Contemplative: Essays in Spiritual Naturalism” by D. T. Strain) Note: B.T. Newberg is the editor of the website Humanistic Paganism.
Humanistic Paganism. The mission of the website, HumanisticPaganism.com, “is to amplify the voices of Pagans engaged in naturalistic spirituality.” The four goals are “to share a reflection on beliefs and practices, to aid connection with others of like mind, to develop and debate a Pagan naturalistic way of being-in-the-world, and to educate other Pagans and the general public about naturalistic spirituality.” The website includes a section on activism that begins with this ancient Greek proverb: “Hermes will help you get your cart unstuck, but only if you push.” “In other words, if you want the world to change, you would best begin with your own two hands. “They also provide “resources to help you in your quest to live responsibly”. The resources are in environment and green living, humanitarian concerns, gender issues, and interfaith dialogue
In many ways, we are on “the same page” as you will see in the following quotes, first from the Pagan perspective and then the humanist.