Tuesday, March 3, 2015

History of Neopagnaism and Druidry - Part 5

Compare and contrast your understanding of three various form of Neopaganism

There are many different forms of Neopaganism that have found their way into the mainstream Pagan community. While there are many similarities between the various groups that fall under the category of Neopaganism, there are also many differences, some of which do not mesh well.

 Wicca is the most prominently known form of Paganism. The Wiccan movement started in 1954 with Gerald Gardner. Since its creation, Wicca has blossomed into many different traditions around the world. Though Wicca is said to be a nature-based religion, its primary focus is the working of magic using the four elements, as well as the worship of the Goddess and the God. Unlike most Pagan religions, which are Polytheistic in nature, Wicca is a Dualistic faith. They believe that all gods and goddesses worshipped by Neopagans are simply reflections or facets of the Great Goddess and Her Consort.[i]

This contrasts the beliefs of groups such as the Asatru and our own faith in Ár nDraíocht Féin, which are hard polytheists. One of the core beliefs of Ásatrú, one that is shared with Ár nDraíocht Féin, is the belief that the gods and goddesses are living, breathing, real entities that we mortals can create relationships with. Also, most Pagan religions believe that the world can be influenced through the use of magic in one form or another. Within both Asatru and Ár nDraíocht Féin, we can use runes to affect that change, along with many other forms of magic. Though even with these two examples things can very different. The Asatru is Reconstructionists movement that is focused on the Pre-Christian Norse culture and gods, where we in Ár nDraíocht Féin are Adaptive Reconstructionists. [ii]

                Within the Pagan community, there are many groups that are Reconstructionists. Reconstructionism is the attempt of re-establishing accurately historical polytheistic religious practices. In some cases, this is possible only to a certain degree because of the remaining historical records or knowledge. We in Ár nDraíocht Féin call ourselves Adaptive Reconstructionists because we adapt the ancient beliefs to fit into the modern world. An example is the ancient practice of animal sacrifice. It was commonplace within ancient cultures to offer live animals to the gods. Within Ár nDraíocht Féin this practice is no longer used.[iii]

[i] The information from this section is pulled from the Wikipedia Foundation webpage on Wicca [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicca], the book by Raven Grimassi, Wiccan Mysteries: Origins and Teachings, 1998, and from the ADF Website Article: ADF Druidism and Wicca by Michael Dangler [https://www.adf.org/about/basics/druidism-wicca.html]
[ii] The information from this section was referenced from information found the Asatru Alliance Home Page [http://www.asatru.org/], and two Wikipedia Foundation pages: Asatru in the United States [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81satr%C3%BA_in_the_United_States] and Germanic Neopaganism [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanic_neopaganism]
[iii] The Information for this section was referenced from Wikipedia Foundation page: Polytheistic reconstructionism [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytheistic_reconstructionism]
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