What does Neo-Paganism Teach?
Neopaganism is not an organized religion and has no official doctrine. Pagans follow a wide variety of paths and may have a variety of beliefs on religious questions like the divine, human nature and the afterlife. However, there are some common beliefs that are held by most Neopagans.
Perhaps the most fundamental belief of Neopaganism is the recognition of the divine in nature. Pagans revere the cycle of the seasons, which is regarded as an expression of the divine and a model for spiritual growth and renewal. The Earth herself is regarded as sacred by many Pagans, and deep ecological concerns are characteristic of most followers of Neopaganism.
Different deities are connected with different times of the year and worshipped in seasonal festivals, and practices like astrology and divination are rooted in the belief in nature's divinity.
Neopaganism is also characterized by its revival of ancient polytheistic religions. Pagans are especially interested in the pantheons of northern Europe (Norse) and Britain (Celtic) but also incorporate gods and beliefs of ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian paganism.
Some Pagans regard one particular god (or the God and Goddess pair) as the Supreme Principle, worshipping that divinity above all others. Some regard all gods as aspects of the Great God and all goddesses as aspects of the Great Goddess, for example. But nearly all Neopagans recognize the existence and true divinity of other gods; virtually no Neopagans are monotheists.
In addition to gods and goddesses, Neopagans usually honor ancestral and locational spirits. These might include deceased relatives (honored especially at Samhain), local and national heros, Elves, the spirit of the hearth, and so on.
In additon to these commonly-held beliefs, Neopagans who follow a particular path usually have their own distinctive religious beliefs. See Neopagan Paths for information on these.
- "Neo-Paganism." Encyclopædia Britannica (2007). Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
- "Information about Paganism." The Pagan Federation (accessed January 2007).