Vol 19 No. 1 (2017)
This paper aims to investigate popular conceptions of Paganism in Great Britain and Ireland during the early phases of the Pagan revival. It focuses specifically on the languages through which modern Paganism was articulated in contemporary newspaper and magazine articles. Drawing on the conceptual framework provided by Ronald Hutton, it seeks to map out the tangle of discourses from which modern perceptions and self-perceptions of revived Paganism emerged.
This quantitative study, based on data from a large-scale national survey of Pagans, Witches and Heathens in the United States (N=3318), compares Pagan leaders and clergy to those who do not hold a formal leadership position in a group. This statistical snapshot includes demographics, characteristics of leaders as Pagans,religious practices, and participation in the larger Pagan communities. Pagan leaders are older, more educated, and have higher household incomes than non-leaders. Although there are more female than male leaders, males are statistically overrepresented in leadership. Leadership is almost all voluntary, and leaders are more likely to make lifestyle choices that emphasize commitment to Paganism. Leaders are more likely to have been formally initiated, have more years of experience in Paganism, and rank themselves as more advanced than non-leaders. They exhibit expertise typically associated with clergy in mainstream religions, and they participate in specialized magickal practices at higher rates than non-leaders. Leaders and clergy are not only more involved in their groups in which they have formal leadership, but also participate in activities as part of the larger “Pagan community” at a higher degree of frequency and take advantage of opportunities and resources in the broader Pagan community more than non-leaders.
The article give an overview of Neo-Pagan scene in Serbia grouped in two camps, Wiccan and Slavic, while showing at the same time the fluid character of division. Broader cultural context (Romanticism and cultural reception of folklore) is provided as an interpretational key. Polarity esotericism/folklore reflect some deeper currents within national culture showing Neo-Paganism thus not to be "odd" or "fringe" but as an alternative variant of "mainstream" cultural concepts.
In order to address the lack of quantitative studies pertaining specifically to contemporary Germanic/Norse Pagans, the following article relates the data and conclusions of a recently conducted research survey on those adhering to the various traditions dedicated to the pre-Christian Germanic/Norse deities. The survey, which garnered just under three thousand respondents, was distributed globally in order to gain a broader perspective of the demographics and beliefs of those identifying as "Heathen". The research served as part of graduate studies anthropological fieldwork conducted at the University of Amsterdam, and includes a diverse range of demographic data as well as philosophical analysis. The approach of the article utilizes a comparative reference format, with the goal of highlighting macro-trends and challenging existing stereotypes. The conclusions drawn from the data dismiss any attempts to simplify or relegate contemporary Germanic/Norse Pagans to ideologies of bigotry or exclusion. Additionally, the demographic portrait of "Heathenry" proves to be anything other than marginal. Instead, the survey results display an eclectic range of backgrounds and beliefs that shape the complexity of Heathen discourse and organization. These results call for a critical re-analysis of those identifying as contemporary Germanic/Norse Pagans, what they believe, and how those beliefs are being presented.
Jennifer Snook, American Heathens: The Politics of Identity in a Pagan Religious Movement (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2015), ix + 221 pp. $94.50 (cloth) $29.95 (paper) $29.95 (ebook) 117-118
Edward Bever and Randall Styers, eds., Magic in the Modern World: Strategies of Repression and Legitimization (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2017), vi + 208 pp., $74.95 (cloth) 119-121
Thomas Besom, Inka Human Sacrifice and Mountain Worship: Strategies for Empire Unification (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2013), 309 pp., $65 (hardcover). 122-125
Siv Ellen Kraft, Trude Fonneland, and James Lewis, eds., Nordic Neoshamanisms (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 270 pp., £66 (hardcover), £58.44 (ebook). 126-130