“Paganism in America” ...This simple phrase stirs deep responses in many people. A book on Paganism could be many things—since pagan has been defined as everything from decadence to sensuality, to return to the primitive, to a stance against religion. It might be yet another book on narcissism in our time, or a book on atheism or hedonism. No matter how precisely the word is defined—and it is defined precisely in the pages that follow—the word pagan, like anarchist or communist, calls forth complex and often negative expectations in readers. At least several hundred thousand people in the United States call themselves Pagans or Neo-Pagans today, and they use the word pagan in a very different way. These people—the subject of this book—consider themselves part of a religious movement that antedates Christianity and monotheism. By pagan they usually mean the pre-Christian nature religions of the West, and their own attempts to revive them or to re-create them in new forms. The modern Pagan resurgence includes feminist Goddess-worshippers, modern Witches, new religions based on the visions of science-fiction writers, and attempts to revive ancient European religions—Norse, Greek, Roman, Druid, and Celtic, among others.
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