Most Neo-Pagans have the following factors in common:
• Their religion was almost or completely wiped out in the past and has since then been reconstructed from ancient information sources
• They are either duo-theistic or poly-theistic in nature (recognizing a goddess and god or many gods.)
• Most followers are solitary practitioners
• Others are involved in small groups called circles, covens, garths, hearths, groves, kindreds, etc.
• They celebrate four main seasonal days or celebrations each year, associated with the equinoxes and solstices.
• They also celebrate four additional days, spaced between a solstice and equinox.
• They prefer to conduct their religious rituals outdoors where practical
• Many do not conduct their religion publicly for fear of abuse or ridicule.
• They have minimal or no hierarchical structure.
• They have a primary concern for the environment and feel close to nature and its cycles.
• They claim to follow a code that requires them to avoid hurting themselves or others following the ethical statement, “Do what thou wilt, but harm none.”
Pagans believe that no one belief system is correct, and that each person should have the freedom to choose the path that is right for them. Most pagan groups do not possess a strict set of dogma allowing members to follow what ever set of beliefs they wish (apart from strongly-held Biblical beliefs, of course.) They stress love for and kinship with nature with a reverence for the life force and the ever renewing cycles of life and death (like the Theme for Disney’s Lion King, and the theme song, “The circle of life.”) They have a strong leaning towards the concept of Goddess and God as the expression of divine reality. (Like most Old Testament pagan religions did)
Why is there a resurgence of these kinds of religions today? Charlotte Hardman, in a book she wrote on paganism says, “The interest in Paganism today in the UK and USA may be interpreted as a response to an increased dissatisfaction with the way the world is going ecologically, spiritually, and materially; people are disillusioned by mainstream religion and realization that materialism leaves an eternal emptiness.” (Hardman, Paganism Today, Page IX)
Related Sermon Illustrations
Contributed by A. Todd Coget on Aug 29, 2003
[The Giver’s Big Hands] A young boy went to the local store with his mother. The shop owner, a kindly man, passed him a large jar of suckers and invited him to help himself to a handful. Uncharacteristically, the boy held back. So the shop owner pulled out a handful for him. When outside, the ...read more
Contributed by Philip Harrelson on Oct 3, 2005
Rex Johnson relates the following story in his book, With a Palm and a Willow: One icy day in December, the Nazi’s sent hundreds of Jews to shower. Before they could dry the water off or clothe themselves, the German officers called them all outside for roll call. Hundreds of Jews stood naked ...read more
Contributed by Revd. Martin Dale on Mar 14, 2003
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveller, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could. To where it bent in the undergrowth, Then I took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better ...read more