"Our Pagan community is growing and showing much bright promise. The Craft is a tough weed that will grow many strange flowers and bear strange fruits, so we must try and tolerate different ways of practicing it. Learn from what we see and if we cannot use it, let the others try, even if they eat bad fruit and go balls up!" 1
Neopagan religions are reconstructions of ancient abandoned Pagan belief systems, including Celtic, Egyptian, Greek, Norse, Roman, and other traditions.
Unfortunately, references to Pagans and Paganism in the Christian Bible are universally negative, and often contain references to human sacrifice and Satan worship. These passages were partly responsible for the "burning times. These were the witchhunts and subsequent extermination of non-Christians during the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods.
Some of the disinformation spread at that time has survived until today. Many Christians still believe that a link exists between Paganism and Satan worship. That link has included modern-day Neopagans. But the reality is that:
Neopagans do not worship Satan. They do not even acknowledge his existence. Their belief system often contains a pantheon of gods and goddesses. However, none of them is an all-evil deity even remotely like the Satan found in Christianity and Islam.
Over the last few decades, many Wiccans and other Neopagans have come out of the [broom] closet; some have even held public rituals. The result is that the misinformation and fear of Neopagans has largely evaporated. They are being accepted as simply another spiritual path within the diversity of North American beliefs.
* Many followers of Asatru regard themselves as "Heathens"
rather than "Neopagans." Most view their religion as
"not just a branch of the Neopagan tree" but as a
different tree entirely.
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A search of the Amazon.com data base shows the following books on Neopaganism:
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A highly recommended book with over 50 personal stories by Pagans:
Caroline Tully, one of the contributors to the book, writes:
"Gardnerian High Priestess and Cherry Hill Seminary instructor, Laura
Wildman, has collected amazing stories from a diverse set of practitioners,
each with their own individual perspective on what it means to be Pagan in
the modern world. With over fifty contributors - including famous names like
Starhawk, Macha NightMare and Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, as well as a plethora
of less well-known but just as gifted writers - this book has something that
will appeal to everyone. The book is divided into five sections; Earth:
Community - the roots that nourish, the families we create, the coming home;
Air: The learning process - teachers, mentors, students and inner guides;
Fire: magical transformation - from Wow! To Oops!; Water: the seasons and
the cycles of life; and Spirit: The God and Goddess in our lives. The reader
can dip into the book anywhere - you need not start at the beginning - and
find honest, creative, thought-provoking stories about joy, awe, triumph,
failure, consternation, love, loss and sorrow, that stand out as being
written by deeper-than-average thinkers. A ripe collection of wisdom-fruit
from people who really live their Paganism. Highly recommended."
A book that describes a wide range of neo-Pagan practices and beliefs:
"With fifty-nine contributions from over forty authors, iPagan is an anthology that covers Druidry, Shamanism, Witchcraft, Goddess Spirituality and a range of contemporary issues that affect Pagans across the globe. The book is an ideal introduction to the writing of each of the authors as well as an essential primer for anyone interested in modern Paganism and for those wishing to engage in current Pagan thinking."