Not all Pagans are Wiccans, and not all Pagan paths are the same. From Asatru to Druidry to Celtic Reconstructionism, there are plenty of Pagan groups out there to choose from. Read on and learn about the differences and the similarities. Keep in mind that this list is not meant to be all-encompassing, and we don’t claim that it covers every single Pagan path that’s out there. Plenty more exist, and if you do a bit of digging you’ll find them – but these are some of the best-known belief systems in the modern Pagan community.
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The Asatru tradition is a reconstructionist path that focuses on pre-Christian Norse spirituality. The movement began in the 1970s as part of a revival of Germanic paganism, and numerous Asatru groups exist in the United States and other countries. Many Asatruar prefer the word “heathen” to “neopagan,” and rightfully so. As a reconstructionist path, many Asatruar say their religion is very similar in its modern form to the religion that existed hundreds of years ago before the Christianization of the Norse cultures.
We all have ancestors, both of blood and of spirit, and each of our lives rests firmly on the foundation of their sacrifice. They are as near to us as our breath and bones, and when related with in conscious ways, they can be a tremendous source of healing, guidance, and companionship. The ancestors we choose to honor may include not only recent and more distant family but also beloved friends and community, cultural and religious leaders, and even other-than-human kin such as companion animals. Our ancestors bring vital support to fulfill our potential here on Earth, and, through involvement in our lives, also further their own growth and maturation in the spirit realms.
Like the living, spirits of the deceased run the full spectrum from wise and loving to self-absorbed and harmful. Physical death is a major event for the soul, a rite of passage we will all face, and the living can provide critical momentum for the recently deceased to make the initiatory leap to become a helpful ancestor. Once the dead have become ancestors, part of their post-death journey may include making repairs for wrongs committed while here on Earth. For their sake and for ours, it’s good to spend a little time now and again feeding our relationships with the ancestors. The five suggestions below, none of which require belief in any specific tradition or dogma, are safe and effective ways to assist our beloved dead and to welcome the ongoing support and blessings of the ancestors in our everyday lives.
Fulfill Your Soul’s Purpose as an Ethical and Loving Person…
The cluster of recently appeared religions known as Paganism have developed, over the past sixty years, a distinctive cycle of annual festivals, most of which draw on long historic roots but that are grouped together in a modern framework. No study has yet been made of the manner in which this cycle developed, and potentially rich rewards may be gained from doing so. Such a project is a rare opportunity to study a religious festive tradition in the process of evolution, and also to suggest features of the nature of tradition in modern societies, and the manner in which it is perceived by scholars in different disciplines.
During the past thirty years, scholars have gradually become aware of the existence, across the western world, of a rapidly growing complex of modern religions organised under the label of Paganism. [1  In conformity with practices now becoming established in the discipline of Religious Studies, I refer to modern Pagan religions with a capital letter, but keep the lower case, “pagan,” when referring to the pre-Christian religions of Europe and the Near East, and to subsequent reflections on them. For a discussion of the rationale behind this distinction, see Hutton (2003Hutton, Ronald. 2003. Witches, Druids and King Arthur: Studies in Paganism, Myth and Magic, London: Hambledon and London., xiii–xv).View all notes] Although they differ from each other in the nature of their deities, rites, and organisation, they have certain definitive features in common: most obviously, a veneration of the feminine principle of divinity as well as the masculine, a sense of an inherent sanctity in the natural world, an ethic of responsible individual self-expression that rejects concepts of sin and salvation, and an identification with the pre-Christian religions of Europe and the Near East. They are also more or less united by the observation of a common pattern of eight annual seasonal festivals. The study of festivity is currently a focus of considerable interest among scholars of religion, society, and culture, in several different disciplines: it is, indeed, a phenomenon encountered in all, or virtually all, human cultures. The most comprehensive and considered definition of a festival, by a social scientist, seems to have been that of Alessandro FalassiFalassi, Alessandro. 1987. “Festival: Definition and Morphology”. In Time Out of Time: Essays on the Festival, Edited by: Falassi, Alessandro. 1–10. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.: “a periodically recurrent, social occasion in which, through a multiplicity of forms and a series of co-ordinated events, participate directly or indirectly and to various degrees, all members of a whole community, united by ethnic, linguistic, religious, historical bonds and sharing a worldview” (1987Falassi, Alessandro. 1987. “Festival: Definition and Morphology”. In Time Out of Time: Essays on the Festival, Edited by: Falassi, Alessandro. 1–10. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press., 2).