"There are many ways up a hill, thus there are many ways to god" - Ancient Hindu saying.
In this entry you should find most of the many traditions, paths, faiths or religions that come under the umbrella term of paganism. These different religious practices all have practitioners in the modern day and many more are converting. [REF]
We (the h2g2 pagans) are currently working on getting as many of the paths/trads into the guide as possible.
A note on Neo-Pagan Vs Pagan ambiguity
Because of what is commonly known as popular culture there is in existence the name "neo-pagan" as opposed to "pagan", this term can be seen as demeaning to some practicers of more traditional faiths that have been going on for sometimes a very long time, especially to the tradition holders of native peoples. However the word pagan in itself can be a demeaning term in itself, it was quite often used as a insult, much like the word heathen has also been used. As this is a guide entry on all the traditions associated with the word "pagan", the terms of neo-pagan and pagan is not going to be distinguished between for simplicity. The ambiguity is kept as there is little the author/s can do about popular culture or what people want to call themselves.
A note on the use of the word "Tradition"
This is bit of a overused term in paganism, a tradition can sometimes only be 3 years old before its accepted by many as being one. * The pagan culture tends to throw the word "tradition" about a bit and its the best word we could find to describe what is being listed. The only other word "path" generally sounds like a single iteration, i.e. it is Mikes path and not a religious practice.
Is it all here?
Of course we can't possibly have every single pagan path or tradition known, there are latterly millions of them. * We can't possibly list all paths that exist. But if you have some authoritative info on a path with links or enough info you can give us that we can put it here, do not be afraid to leave a comment with some proper citation please.
The Traditions (Paths) Of Paganism
This is a simple guide meant for those who want a little more info on the paths. They will later on link to better reference material on sites identified as authoritative info on the traditions.
Like any most traditions of Wicca, Alexandrian is an initiative oath-bound path. It was started by Alex Sanders sometime in the 1960's. He mixed his lessons from his first degree in Gardnerian Wicca with Quabalah and Ceremonial Magic, and a few other things. The tradition is in many ways similar to the Gardnerian tradition.
As all initiative oath-bound paths Alexandrian Wicca's biggest strength and flaw is in this fact that all coven information is secretive and that there are highly regarded coven and tradition secrets which (according to some) are to be kept sometimes at all costs, however some say they are much like those in Freemansory, useless to those outside the practice. The strength of these things means that this is binding that goes on in a coven that does not occur in other traditions.
Of course being an initiative oath-bound path is Alexandrian Wicca's biggest weekness, it means that its hard to find a way in for would be seekers, although many in the craft see this as the "challenge" that must be overcome. Its not certain as to how hard this seeking is, however I personally was able to contact my local coven regarding there "course" for initiation and decided not to go though with it. The other known fault of Alexadrian Wicca is that its not Gardnerian Wicca and is said to be more "eclectic" than it having mixed the "gaps" in Sanders knowledge with bits of other traditions, many more stringent Gardnerian Wiccan will look "down" upon those in the tradition due to it having "stolen" many Gardnerian rituals, customs and spells.
No current h2g2 page.
Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF)
Know also as the ADF or A Druid Fellowship.
Isaac Bonewits founded ADF with the goal of "researching and expanding sound modern scholarship about the ancient Celts and other Indo-European peoples, in order to reconstruct what the Old Religions of Europe really were.
A central leadership structure as well as a developed network of people and fallible doctrine keeps ADF quite well organized for pagan groups, however this organisation is not used to its best potential and many leave the organisation from foreign (non US) countries as it becomes hard to practice under isolation.
Isaac is often critiqued as being a poor leader and his mannerism and mistakes are apparently quite often known by all in ADF.
ADF also worships not only Celtic but Roman, Greek, Germanic, Nordic and other european gods and goddesses despite many pagans nay-saying the practice as insulting to the original cultures as well as the gods in question.
There is no real "defined" statement as to how far ADF will go in its reconstruction of pagan worship, it could well include some of the more unsavory practices than many modern pagans keep well clear of.
No current h2g2 page.
Blue Star, Wicca Description: Blue Star Wicca
British Druidry Order, is now called Druid Network, the same people, doing the same thing, in a whole new name, apparently.
No current h2g2 page.
BTW or er... BTW
Not the same thing, or to be confused with by the way, British Traditional Witchcraft, or British Traditional Wicca. On no account get the two confused, as the Witches don't like being called Wiccans, however the Wiccans don't tend care about being called witches. One is a generic term for a group of Wiccan traditions that started in Britain the other one is British Traditional Witchcraft and is describes in the following:
A more serious tradition that has been in vogue since the early 1900's, no one is entirely certain of its origins. British Traditional Wicca however is referenced to any tradition started in England in the 1970s, including Alexandiran and Gardenerian, and a few others, but not including CUEW apprently, despite the fact it was started around the same time.
No current h2g2 page.
British Traditional Druidry
According to its partitioners its meant to reconstruct the ancient druid traditions of celtic past in Britain and Wales, however no one is clear as to weather or not this also means reconstructing human sacrifice and the like. No Current h2g2 page.
Its not BTD, the Celtic Recon is basically a path of reconstructing more than just the druid traditions, but more to cater for those in other paths than anything else, a bit less organized than BTD and OBOD. Apparently a cover all celtic page may be being worked on, but we are not sure what its final look will be like.
Church, All Words of,
The Church of All worlds was created to form a Pagan church in the world, it wasn't that successful and now finds itself as part of the many in the sea of traditions out there.
Current h2g2 page seemed to be being worked on, but no one sure what happened to it.
Church, Eclectic Wicca of,
Founded partly to give some clout to Eclectics, the church actually has a Gardenarian basis, the leader being arrantly having achieved at least her second degree, which is one up on the Alexandrians. It teaches that tradition is important, but inanition, and tracing ones linage is not. Its one of very few recognised non initiative wiccan paths. Its also as hard as the hobs of hell to get into, you have my personal word on that, having tried and failed miserably. No current h2g2 page exists.
A female only tradition, formed mostly in celebration of "the goddess",* its also oath-bound and initiative in nature and apparently a lot less has leaked out of this tradition. Sometimes referenced as worshiping Diana, but not as a rule. Someone apparently started on the h2g2 page...
Discordia is the worship of Eris, a goddess in greek mythology and its a religion in its own rite. There are many who mix the worship with other traditions, its said to be separate in some extent to Chaos magick, but not necessarily. It also holds true to the Discordian principle which is something of a mystery. We theorize that either a page will improbably appear or we will have to make one and pretend it did.
Greek Reconstructionist, basically in tune with the reconstruction of the ancient greek religion, gods and worship thereof. They worship the 12 gods of Olympus, plus sometimes Pan as well, which is nice, he doesn't feel left out there. I haven't found any good sources on this one yet so hang in there.
The "grey" path, of well, dragon worship. I started working on one once but I think I a dragon ate it, so we shall start a new one soon.
Druid tradition reflects the teachings of the ancient Druids and comes in many different flavors and form. For some more information see Druidry
The Dynion Mwyn Tradition
Another celtic tradition, more focused on what the celts were like in coexistence with the Christians.
The eclectic path, basically means mixture of traditions or the creation of a new tradition. No central organisation, no clergy. Possibly done Soilitary, but can be done in groups. This one will have to be done by committee or people from so many faiths and viewpoints it wont get anywhere and eventually be finished..
The "Legitamised" greek faith, its been recognised just lately by the greek government, however certain problems have arisen over places of worship cause they are also moments of astronomical historic importantce, some say a agreement like that for those monoliths in England will be eventually made. I found a good source on this but it was in greek so you will have to wait till I learn or it gets translated.
The Fairy, Faery, or Fari Faiths
A celtic organized faith, or faiths, they are about working with the Fae or Sidhe, otherwise known as Fairy's they aren't all nice and some demand quite high prices for what they deliver, not for the squeamish. For a good entry on this one I will be referring to my Fiancé to help me with, so it may take some time.
The Gardnerian Wicca Tradition (BTW)
The orginanal tradition of wicca, Gardner started Wicca sometime in the 1970's various sources give extremely varying dates as to when it all started being actually called "wicca". The Gardnerian are sometimes considered conservative, however many Gardnerian just consider themselves right. Currently only the Wicca page exists so we will either include this in there or will give it one of its own, either way we will get back to you.
Sometime not "pagan" and sometimes is. Gnosticism relates strongly to both catholicism and witchcraft in the fact that it forms a system of beliefs relating to the mythology within it. It may have relatives in modern day Roman and Green orthodox Christianity but Gnostics are divided on these and many other issues. But overall a nice bunch of people.
Occult order of the Golden Dawn, its of course a tradition basing itself in Occult magic workings.
Haitian Vodou, called Sevis Gineh or "African Service", is the primary culture and religion of the approximately 7 million people of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. It has its primary roots among the Fon-Ewe peoples of West Africa, in the country now known as Benin, formerly the Kingdom of Dahomey. It also has strong elements from the Ibo and Kongo peoples of Central Africa and the Yoruba of Nigeria, though many different peoples or "nations" of Africa have representation in the liturgy of the Sevis Gineh, as do the Taino Indians, the original peoples of the island we now know as Hispaniola. Haitian Vodou exists in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, parts of Cuba, the United States, France, Montreal, and other places that Haitian immigrants have dispersed to over the years. This one will take some time to do, so please be patient with us.
Hellenism (Hellinikos Ethnismos) is an ancient indigenous tradition born and evolved in Hellas (Greece), is not simply a Religion and Cosmotheory, it is a certain form of human consciousness and an everyday ethos and is the most well-documented of the ancient polytheistic nature-Religions. No entry on h2g2 yet.
OBOD (The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids)
Created in the 1960's OBOD has had several names and several title people participating, such famous people as Winston Churchill * were members and this fact is celebrated. The OBOD Druid tradition reflects the teachings of the ancient Druids; it helps provide a way to develop a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the Spirits of the Land and our ancestors. It also addresses a driving need to open up our inner creativity - to learn to see the world through the eyes of a poet. It also teaches the arts of seership and divination. Celtic reconstructionist in its practices OBOD is one of the more official, useful and great traditions of Druidry readily available for those willing to commit themselves. No entry on h2g2 yet
A Wiccan tradition created in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in the late 1970s. Its principle founders were Richard and Tamara James. Most of its practitioners today live in Ontario, but it also has members in the United States. The tradition differs from other initiatory Wiccan traditions in its emphasis on preparation of its members for public priesthood.
The Odyssean tradition has often been conflated with the Wiccan Church of Canada, a public Wiccan church also founded by the James. No entry on h2g2 yet.
Alesta Crowley founded Themela, its a religion biasing itself in the study of his texts, plus Quaballa and a few other things, its quite a hard path, lots of reading to be done. There is a podcast on it, Themela Coast to Coast, available from the proud pagan podcasters site Pagan Podcasting An entry on Temla will take some time so please be patient with us.
A Solitary path, basically paganism by yourself. This one will be pretty easy so expect a page soon.
Satanism, Temple of Set,
Le Vary Satanism is sometimes counted as a pagan form of worship, so we will link the Le Vary enrty soon.
The Temple of Set.. er... come back for this one no one round here seems to know much about it.
Wicca General Notes
Please note that all "wiccan" paths are not one path, we must stress this very highly, anyone who says so is a loon and to be avoided at all costs. Some common misconceptions and questions about wicca (some misconceptions unfortunately appearing in our own guide entry!) are going in this section:
- Wicca is just White Witchcraft: No, and no, its not. Firstly as "white" suggest that there is some sort of color code here, and there isn't any as far as I can tell, maybe excess purple and black sometimes but not white. Secondly is that Witchcraft is not Wicca, though Wiccans call themselves witches and indeed to "spells" they are not the same. Wicca is a tradition of Witchcraft and not vice versa, some say its true to say that all wiccans are witches but not all witches are wiccans.
- Wicca is "good" magic No. Although yes Wiccans have a moral code of ethics that they apply to spells "good" magic is more like saying "good" cooking to a pagan than anything that ethically bound by social laws. A wiccan would probably have no qualms about casting a spell to get them ahead in a job race or for that matter a actual race.
- The Sisters in "Charmed" are Wiccan No. They are not. Period. TV is not reality live with it.
- Wicca and Witchcraft are the same thing One of the biggies. No. Not at all. As previously stated Witchcraft is not Wicca, though Wiccans call themselves witches and indeed do "spells" they are not the same. Wicca is a tradition of Witchcraft and not vice versa, some say its true to say that all wiccans are witches but not all witches are wiccans.
- You must be initiated to be Wiccan Technically this is true. The Initiation itself varies from tradition to tradition but you must be initiated or on the path to initiated to be Wiccan. Please note that the "Initaion" rites found in most books you can find in your "new age" section or you local occult store are "self deidcation" rites and although serve a purpose are not substitute for a coven based Initiation
- Wiccans were burned, hang, or otherwise harmed malled etc in the "burning times".No. Never. Not on your life. Wicca has exited since about the 1960's at most, there were witches that may have been harmed in the "burning times" but there were also homosexuals of both sexes, social miscreets, and general riff raff that were burned at the stake as well, no one knows the number of people or how many were actual witches or pagans. Claiming Wiccans were burned or hung, or anything during this times is complete nonsense and bad history period.
- Wiccans or Witches were hung (or WORSE burned) in Salem Wrong. People were hung yes. Burned? No one has proof of this. No witches were as far as anyone can tell, as for Wiccans, well they didn't exist for another few hundred years. Facts people, get them stright.
- Wiccans are Evil or Worship "The Devil" No and no. Most Wiccans wouldn't harm a fly, the rest are law abiding citizens like the rest of us. They are not on any account Evil. The Devil isn't even recognised as a concept by most Wiccans let alone worshiped.
- Wicca isn't a Religion Incorect, both Wicca, witchcraft and Astatru are recognised by more and more governments as a recognized religion day by day.
- X tradition isn't Wicca Quite possibly, there are quite a number of "cult" like Wiccan covens even in some of the more organized Wiccan traditions, there is little a disorganized religion can do about this except give newbies as much warning to look out for the signs of coven abuse. Many organisations exist that give out information to new pagans in certain nation states, one should look up the relevant organisation for your country, we shall give a list of them as soon as possible, if you want one sooner just post and hopefully we will be able to tell you.
- All Pagans are Wiccan No. All Wiccans are pagan, not all pagans are Wiccan.
- Other myths and questions There are a few about so if you have a question that you feel should go in the FAQ on wicca, do post, also if you have a myth about wicca you think should be included in this list, please post it and we shall talk.
Wiccan Church of Cannada
See Odyssean Wicca
Wikpedia:Top of page Top of Traditions
Some Acedemic Books on Paganism
Helen A. Berger, A Community of Witches: Contemporary Neo-Paganism and Witchcraft in the United States (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1999).
Jon P. Bloch, New Spirituality, Self, and Belonging: How New Agers and Neo-Pagans Talk About Themselves (Westport: Praeger, 1998).
Graham Harvey, Contemporary Paganism: Listening People, Speaking Earth (New York: New York University Press, 1997).
Lynne Hume, Witchcraft and Paganism in Australia (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1997).
James R. Lewis, ed., Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996).
T. M. Luhrmann, Persuasions of the Witch's Craft: Ritual Magic in Contemporary England (London: Picador, 1994).
Darren Oldridge, ed., The Witchcraft Reader (London and New York: Routledge, 2002).
Drew. A. J., A Wiccan Bible, New Page Press
Joanne Pearson, Richard H. Roberts and Geoffrey Samuel, eds., Nature Religion Today: Paganism in the Modern World (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1998).
Sarah M. Pike, Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community (Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001).
Kathryn Rountree, Embracing the witch and the goddess: Feminist Ritual-Makers in New Zealand (London and New York: Routledge, 2004).
Jone Salomonsen, Enchanted Feminism: The Reclaiming Witches of San Francisco (London and New York: Routledge, 2002).