Contemporary Paganism and the Occult

Authored by: Graham Harvey

The Occult World

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415695961
eBook ISBN: 9781315745916
Adobe ISBN: 9781317596769

10.4324/9781315745916.ch37

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Abstract

Paganism has a number of sources, some more influential than others. Confluences and conflicts between such sources have shaped not only the evolution of the movement but also its diversification. Sometimes Pagans fuse previously or apparently discrete elements of other traditions, practices or ideologies. Sometimes they pay more or less attention to matters that others (Pagans or not) might deem central or peripheral to their interests. In this chapter, I survey the influence and inspiration of esotericism on the founders of significant Pagan movements in the early to midtwentieth century and then consider the continuing performance of esotericism within some twenty-first-century Paganisms. In particular, I note that although esotericism has been of vital importance and major significance within Pagan movements and practice, it has always been tangled or braided with other sources of inspiration. These are not necessarily unique to Paganisms but the particular fusions that result are generative of specific groups or traditions. Naturism (of several kinds), for example, played a lively role in the creation of both Wicca and Pagan Druidry, while animism is now provoking considerable interest among diverse Pagans.

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