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Chapter 8 Notes: Denominations

February 25, 2013

Introduction to Pagan Studies by Barbara Jane Davy

(I find it a bit odd to think of the various sects of Paganism as denominations.  Accurate but odd.)  Pagan denominations tend not to argue over doctrinal issues but over misrepresentation or being questioned on their authenticity.  “However Pagans hold it as an ideal that they are content to let others believe whatever they want and approach divinity however they feel is appropriate.”  (I would include being generally law abiding in that also…only when laws keep them from honoring the gods do they tend to break the law.  As in some areas, non-Christian beliefs are illegal.)

  • Eclectic forms – draw upon multiple traditions
  • Church of All Worlds (CAW) – pantheistic, often polytheistic
  • Solitary – practice singly rather than in groups
  • Feminist/Women’s Spirituality
    • Dianic Witchcraft – feminist, Goddess- and women-focused, typical excludes males
    • Reclaiming – feminist but egalitarian
    • Fellowship of Isis
  • Shamanism/Neo-Shamanism/Urban Shamanism –  indigenous religious practices for relating with spirits, the otherworld or extraordinary reality or contemporary practices inspired by such.
  • New Age – tends towards millenarianism and apocalypticism; transcendental outlook, influenced by theosophy and is more universalistic
  • Witchcraft – coven oriented honoring the seasonal festival cycle, tends not to be as bitheistic as Wicca
  • Wicca – bitheistic (honor a Goddess and a God)
    • Gardnerian – initiatory mystery tradition from Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valiente
    • Alexandrian – initiatory mystery tradition from Alex and Maxine Sanders
    • Algard – combination of Gardnerian and Alexandrian
  • Feri (or Faery) Witchcraft – started by Victor and Cora Anderson; mixture of South American fold magic, Kabbalah, Haitian Vodou, shamanic interpretation of Hawaiian Huna traditions, Gardnerian Wicca and Alexandrian Wicca.
  • New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn (NROOGD) – eclectic, coven-based initiatory mystery tradition inspired by literary and anthropological sources
  • Family/Hereditary traditions – practices reputed to be handed down through family
    • Stregheria – Italian American Witchcraft
    • Italian Witchcraft – Raven Grimassi
  • Reconstructionist Paganism – reconstructs practices of pre-Christian traditions
    • Kemeticism – focus upon Egyptian mythology through rituals, prayer and ancestral devotions
      • Kemetic Orthodox
    • Hellenism – honor the Olympic pantheon, focus is on votive offerings and hospitality
      • Hellenion
    • Religio-Romana – focus on the pre-Christian religion of Rome with inspiration from pre Roman Latin and Esruscan culture; value piety, family, community and the state
    • Druidism – focus on Pre-Christian Celtic culture
    • Heathenry – focus on Norse and Germanic cultures also called Asatru or the Northern Tradition; generally not restricted by ethnic origin though a few groups are overtly racist and do restrict membership
    • Baltic Reconstructionists – focus on revived folk traditions of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and other Eastern European countries; more ethnically based, participation is generally restricted to those who know the relevant languages; music is important
      • Romuva/Ramuva – Lithuania
      • Dievturi – Latvia; named after sky god Dievs; based on folk songs
      • Yazychnytstvo/Ridnovira – Ukraine; pre-Christian Slavic and revived Slavic traditions; consider themselves indigenous; tend to support right-wing politcs and ethnic nationalism sometimes with overt anti-Semitism
        • RUNvira – more monotheistic, primarily led by men
        • Pravoslavia

This chapter was only interesting that I learned about a few denominations that I had never read of…

7 Comments leave one →
  1. seanmcdh permalink
    February 25, 2013 10:06 AM

    Interesting breakdown. More interesting that they put Druidry under Recon and made it specifically Celtic, when the two main forms of modern Druidry (ADF and OBOD) include other hearth cultures such as Germanic, Hellenic and even Christian (OBOD). Personally, I have always seen Druidry as a form that blends Celtic Recon with modern Neopaganism.


    • February 25, 2013 10:16 AM

      Actually, surprisingly, ADF was not mentioned at all in this chapter…which left me wondering what other “denominations” were left out since they do not fit neatly in any catagory. It is the first time in the book that ADF was not mentioned in the same breath as others. Neos Alexandria was not mentioned either though we are still working on getting our Federal Tax Exempt status…but again NA doesn’t fit neatly either.


      • seanmcdh permalink
        February 25, 2013 3:59 PM

        Yes, ADF is a weird one. Indo-European Neopagan Druidry is what I think Isaac called it. I like it because that is the closest I think I can come to a label for what I practice. Sometimes Hellenic, sometimes Celt, all Neopagan with the 8 high holy days that I learned as a little Wiccan 🙂


  2. February 25, 2013 10:22 AM

    I believe the Church of All Worlds is now defunct and no longer exists. Also “Astatru” should be “Asatru” (only one t). ADF, as far as I know, is the only Druidic group that includes other IE cultures besides Celtic. OBOD is not Pagan; they are more of a fraternity/fellowship that includes people of all religions. They must include Christian ideas if they are to attract Christians to the group. ADF strictly aims to be a Neopagan tradition. One final note: a popular group called Hellenismos needs to be included under “Hellenic.” Several Hellenic members of ADF are also involved with Hellenismos.



    • February 25, 2013 10:36 AM

      I missed the spelling error and will correct. As for Hellenismos, I think you are confusing it with Hellenion. 🙂 Hellenismos is a general term for Hellenic Reconstructionists. Finally this is not MY list of denominations but the authors. 🙂


      • February 25, 2013 10:43 AM

        Indeed, I think I lost sight of the fact that it’s the author’s list when I commented. 🙂 Thanks for reminding me.

        Also thanks for clarifying Hellenismos and Hellenion for me!



  3. February 25, 2013 10:57 AM

    No worries. A group that she did leave out is YSEE (I think it is). It is a Greece-based group who seems to be VERY ethnic minded as in if you are not Greek than find your own Gods…


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