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How the Claim of Being Old Saved Modern Paganism

By Jason Mankey

Though there are parts of the Pagan umbrella that claim to be genuinely “old” Modern Paganism is essentially that, modern. It was created and recast with several components: some from antiquity, but many more from modern sources. The idea of Witchcraft is an old one, but how it’s practiced today is a new thing. I find it doubtful that any self-identified Witch from 200 years ago was practicing like any of us today. Witchcraft’s claim of antiquity kept it from ever falling under the control of one person, which has helped it to remain fresh, vibrant, and vital.

Comparing and contrasting religions is often a fool’s game, but I like to do it just the same. When comparing Wicca to other traditions I tend to look at the religions that grew up alongside of it. It’s possible to date the public start of the Wiccan religion to 1954 when Gerald Gardner released Witchcraft Today. A few months before that a man by the name of L. Ron Hubbard established The Church of Scientology. Yup, I often compare and contrast Wicca with Scientology, and it’s not just because they are the same age.

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