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The Changing Face of the Pagan Movement

By Tess Dawson

Historic-rooted religions, like polytheistic, reconstructionist, or revivalist religions are wending away from Paganism like the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers meander away from each other from sources a mere nineteen miles apart, then return together as they flow into the Persian Gulf. There has been much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth regarding what exactly has led to this estrangement and what the fallout will be. In my opinion, this divergence is caused by misunderstanding the two different approaches historic-rooted religions and majority Pagans take in religious thought.

Euphrates: Majority Pagans

The majority of the Pagan movement, whether they realize it or not, tend to support a neo-romanticist philosophy. Romanticism is “a movement in literature, philosophy, and art which developed in Europe in the late 18th and early 19th cc. Starting from the ideas and attitudes of Rousseau in France and from the Sturm und Drang movement in Germany, it held that classicism, dominant since 16th c., denied expression to [hu]man’s emotional nature and overlooked [her/]his profound inner forces. Romanticism is above all an exaltation of individual values and aspirations above those of society. […] Through its concern with the hidden forces in man, Romanticism exerted a profound influence on modern thought, and opened the way e.g. to psychoanalysis” (from New Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus of the English Language).

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