On the Pagan Parallax: A Sociocultural Exploration of the Tension between Eclecticism and Traditionalism as Observed among Dutch Wiccans
Number of pages
SourcePomegranate, 12, 1, (2010), pp. 49-70
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OW PsKI [owi]
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being
Post-modern nature religions face the challenge of justifying their practices and theology since there is no unbroken line between the classic and contemporary Paganisms of the Western world. Against the background of progressing historical knowledge, these religions constantly have to reinvent or reconstruct their traditions. At the same time, the present context is entirely different from that of the period when the classic Paganisms emerged. By discussing their roots in romanticism and expressivism, both the relevancy of the revived nature religions and the challenges they face are explained. These issues are illustrated by drawing on initial results of discourse analyses of on-line discussions between Dutch Wiccans, yielding imaginative narratives of self-justification and self-identification amidst a continuous tension between traditionalism and eclecticism. Generalising these findings to contemporary Paganism at large, I have argued that the latter movement is counterbalancing sociohistorical developments by its changing acts of sanctioning, its aims to remain the maverick, and its constant striving for experiential receptivity creating an illusory idea of autonomous movement: the Pagan parallax.
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