Alternative MethodsConventional Methods


March 29

Paganism is alive and well

Sonia Richardson
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time 3 min.

The first pagan temple to be built in Iceland for a thousand years has just been granted planning permission, a wonderful bureaucratic detail that shows up just how much this revival is polite make-believe. Ragnar Hairybreeks or Harald Bluetooth would not seek planning permission before building a place of sacrifice. At Gamla Uppsala, the Viking temple site in Sweden, horses were hanged to please the gods in groups of nine from trees, along with cattle, sheep, and human beings. In Reykjavik today’s pagans still eat sacred horsemeat at their feasts, but they buy it in from caterers.

Respectable modern paganism is not only made up, as its leading ideologues cheerfully admit, but made up within a very limited compass of the modern Anglo-American imagination. The most obvious example is Wicca, invented almost entirely by a civil servant, Gerald Gardner, in the 1940s and 1950s, when he lived in Hampshire, although he claimed to have rediscovered a hidden tradition. But even in Scandinavia, where there are still some living elements of old unchristian beliefs, the pagan revival draws on English-speaking models. One self-conscious pagan group in Helsinki had to be told by a visiting sociologist that there was a native Finnish tradition of nature deities: until then they had just read Aleister Crowley.

The religious imagination has always been greedy and creative, stealing from every-thing around it. Look at the Qur’an and the Book of Mormon. The one thing that traditional religions have never done, though, is to be religious. Religion, as a special category of life, is a modern, Protestant invention. Real folk religions just seem like part of life. They aren’t about what people believe, but about what they know, and still more what they do. Elements of that kind of paganism do survive in Sweden: I have friends in Lapland who believe in an entirely unforced way that their farm is guarded by trolls, who are sometimes visible, mischievous but generally friendly. The distinguishing mark of this kind of paganism is that it is so normal and casual.

We know that there are 2,400 pagans in Iceland today because that’s the number who pay their church tax to a pagan organisation. But real, untidy beliefs don’t show up on tax returns, and they are not tidily separated from either religion or daily life. They seep up into the way we approach life and death. The Goddess Temple in Glastonbury has just announced it has become the first pagan temple in England licensed for heterosexual and same-sex weddings. But they are a tiny part of modern British paganism, and weddings are much less significant than funerals here.

This was first obvious in the frenzy around the death of Diana. The flowers and the stuffed toys piled into spontaneous shrines were nothing to do with Christianity or any other organised religion. The Church of England made some feeble effort to appropriate them, but it was obvious that if they did reveal a spiritual hunger, it was one already satisfied. More significant evidence comes from ordinary graves around the country and their bizarre iconography. Linda Woodhead, the leading sociologist of contemporary English religion, once photographed a grave on which there was no cross, just laminated pictures of the emblems of Tottenham Hotspur and Stella Artois, along with some lucky heather. Was that religious or secular, she asked, and concluded that the question makes no sense. It’s no use asking what beliefs these represent: like the flowers and teddy bears, they are just something that people do.

Paganism in this widespread general sense has an important lesson for Christianity. You hear it argued that liberal religion declined because it lets people believe anything, when in fact they want clear judgments. But there is lots of biblical teaching, from the condemnation of adultery to the duty of hospitality to asylum seekers, which the churches are very clear about and which simply makes them unpopular. What successful churches have is not demanding doctrine but demanding practices, rituals and observances which saturate everyday life. That’s what New Agery offers, with its crystals and cleansings. It’s what charismatic Christianity and folk Islam both provide. But the nearest approach to a widespread folk religion in this country is neither of these. Nor is it the paganism of the druids or the Pagan Federation. If you want to see mass rituals carried out purely for their own sake, and symbolism invoked on all the great occasions of life, it isn’t what goes on in Glastonbury. It’s bloody football.

by Andrew Brown For Spectator

Comments

Leave your questions here

To write a comment you must
or
Services
Category filter
Concern filter
Type filter
Sort
 

All categories

Nutritional Therapy
$10 USD
Discovery Call

Whether you’re looking for feeling in control of your life and food habits, making peace with your body and falling in love with it, dropping stress burden, de…

Nora
Life Coaching
$10 USD
Searching for Life Purpose

Feel lost? Feel as if there is more out there for you? Feel that you are just living day to day without a passion? Spend an hour and speak to me and lets se…

Kelly Valentine
Spiritual Healing
$220 USD
I will do spiritual transformation for you

Life occurs as a series of cycles in a single human lifetime. Cycles exist in almost a spiral pattern. There is a flow and everything is connected so you can b…

Wisdom Realms
Spiritual Healing
$10 USD
Praying for the Sick and Depressed

Are you sick? Are you really depressed? Do you feel that your life is worthless?
Come book a session with me and see the changes that will occur after that.
Th…

Luck Richards Omorede
5
Spiritual Healing
$55 USD
1 Hour Intuitive Nutrition Coaching Call

Dive in and discover your biggest areas of struggle and how to tap into the intuition for guidance.
We will talk about your history and your goals for your wel…

Jess Olson
NLP
$100 USD
Weightloss Course

If your goal is to lose weight once and for all, I will support you closely,
to understand the resources they need to become the person you want.

You probably…

rossella tocco
Chinese Astrology
$10 USD
You are not ALONE

Do you think it’s your fault you haven’t found your partner yet? Or that you are the problem because the relationship is not working? Do you feel isolated, set…

Carmen Oana Oglan
Chakra Balancing
$10 USD
Soul To Soul Reading Session

Energetic Reading

Complete Chakra System Reading to identify energy blocks.
Techniques are provided to restore balance.

What Is An Energetic Reading?

Debo…

Deborah Lucero
Spiritual Healing
$222 USD
Healing from Trauma at a Quantum Soul Level

Are you burnt out from clinical therapy practices that require years of treatment with few results? Are you ready to release and transmute your trauma once and…

LunaRio Silver Deer
Career Coaching
$499 USD
Reset 1-0n1 Coaching and Mentoring Programme

Are you returning to work after a career break, or are you looking for a new job or career change?

This programme is for you.

I’ve developed the RESET coachi…

Carla Martins
Life Coaching
$399 USD
1-on-1 Coaching

The journey started with our discovery call, and You decided: ” I’m ready! Let’s do this!”.

We will engage in 1-on-1 coaching sessions for 90 minutes. In this…

Carla Martins
Emotional Stress Release
$800 USD
Retreat( India): Connect With Your Inner Wisdom 1st to 4th Sept

Join us for an immersive experience anchored amidst the beauty and tranquillity of Kasar Devi, Almora, India

1st Sept’22 ( Thursday) - 4th Sept 2022 ( Sunday …

Aikyam
Psychic Reading
$80 USD
I will do oracle and tarot card readings

I will do oracle & tarot card reading in any area of your life. You will get answer from the Angelic, Elemental, Faerie or Galactic realms. I will share wi…

Wisdom Realms
Natal Astrology
$15 USD
15 min reading of SOUL structure

[SOUL STRUCTURE]Each soul has own structure,and knowing it means to have unlimited access to inner energy. This readings are telling about your talents and str…

Ksenia Jdanova
Wellness Coaching
$10 USD
Ask a Question?

Supportive reflection of a current question that you would like clarity around. Using the SMART method to seek quidance in stepping onto your path of potential…

Beverly Lynn
Reiki
$150 USD
Reiki Services (distant healing session)

In this hour long distant healing session I will use long distance Reiki, crystals and essential oils to balance your Chakras. Balancing your Chakras allows en…

Erin Kirby
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
Intuitive Tarot Reading

Affordable Tarot reading to offer guidance on any given concern.

Elphie Shoppe
Telepsychology
$10 USD
Talk Therapy Sessions

Hello there: These times are dread. Do you need to talk with a safe professional about a troubling personal challenge? I am a professional listener and will li…

Eulalee Thompson
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
Tarot Reading

I offer tarot readings with a 100% accuracy rate. The tarot is meant to give you advice, to point you in the right direction or to provide you with clarity. Bu…

Zara Kalil
Angel Healing
$10 USD
Mental Health Advice & Tips

I can help you with past issues and give advice and tips on how to better your life. I can see through my third eye and receive messageson what you need to do …

Beings Of Light
Life Coaching
$10 USD
Discovery call

Are you interested in supporting your health with safe and effective holistic medicine? Not sure if you should switch diets, work with a health coach or explor…

Suzana Da Costa
Wellness Coaching
$50 USD
Mental Health and Holistic Lifestyle Coaching

Hi there! I’m Doug and I offer 1 on 1 Holistic Lifestyle and Mental Health Coaching sessions. Navtigating life with mental health issues of any sevarity is a h…

Doug Peterson
Wellness Coaching
$10 USD
Mental Health and Holistic Lifestyle Coaching Consultation

Hi there! I’m Doug and I offer 1 on 1 Holistic Lifestyle and Mental Health Coaching sessions. Navtigating life with mental health issues of any sevarity is a h…

Doug Peterson
Family Psychology
$10 USD
Psychic Reading

Expert in Love Relationship, Tarot Psychic Reading
I can give you more powerful insight of every part of your life. With the help of Crystal ball my Psychic re…

Aamir Bilal