All Power is in Nature: Dutch Pagans and their Relationships with Other-Than-Human Persons
Katowice : Sacrum Publishing House
InAnczyk, A.; Malita-Król, J. (ed.), Walking the Old Ways in a New World: Contemporary Paganism as Lived Religion, pp. 125-160
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Leerstoel Textuele, historische en systematische studies van het Jodendom en Christendom
Anczyk, A.; Malita-Król, J. (ed.), Walking the Old Ways in a New World: Contemporary Paganism as Lived Religion
In this article it is argued that the concept ‘other-than-human persons’ is more useful for understanding the relationships that Dutch contemporary Pagans have with nature than conventional terms used within Religious Studies, because the concept does not assume a distinction between physical reality and the spiritual world. Based on in-depth interviews with Dutch Pagans, eight refinements of the concept ‘other-than-human persons’ are developed within the context of contemporary Paganism, namely 1) that other-than-human persons are immanent in nature; 2) that other-than-human persons suggest a polytheistic worldview; 3) that other-than-human persons can be better understood in the light of ‘nature,’ ‘energy,’ ‘(nature) spirits’ and ‘deity;’ 4) that all persons consist of energy which suggests interconnectedness; 5) that other-than-human persons can be experienced through intuitive feelings; 6) that other-than-human persons can be experienced during rituals, although this is not a prerequisite; 7) that other-than-human persons guide human persons towards the common goal of living environmentally friendly so that life can flourish; and 8) that other-than-human persons and human persons are in a reciprocal relationship of mutual respect or mutual gratefulness. It is concluded that, for the Dutch Pagan respondents, nature is sacred due to the immanence of other-than-human persons. The relationship between Pagans and other-than-human persons is based on mutual respect, whereby honouring other-than-human persons is exchanged for their guidance, which is the legitimisation for living an environmentally friendly life.
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