I am new to Paganism and so far my time in the community I have noticed allot of Indian influences within paganism, such as Bindis and use of the Hindu Deities. Is there a connection to Hindu and Neo-Pagan beliefs or is there another reason for these influences?
This is a lovely question and I really hope I can do it justice! Personally I have used Hindu deities in my practice and I am familiar with working with them. I have also studied Hindu philosophy a bit in my past and I have also used the art from this culture, particularly in my home and for belly dance performance. That being said, I am not as learned in these areas as others are, and I am sure others will weigh in on this topic, and I welcome people to do so.
My first experience with Hindu was studying it a bit when I first started my pagan path. Hindu is a great example of large scale paganism that is still practiced in modern times. It has a vast collection of gods and sects and traditions alive and flourishing today. My draw to it was because of this. As pagans we don’t have the vastness of practice that Hinduism has, and it is a great system to draw from for inspiration. When I joined my first coven back in the early 2000’s, my High Priestess was not a fan of using traditional gods from pantheons such as Celtic or Norse. Instead, she preferred to use gods from Hinduism. What it was for us though was a basic ritual structure based on Ed Fitch’s Pagan Way, and using Hindu gods such as Kali. It was a very beautiful thing for me to experience.
Another great thing about the Hindu faith is that it has great ideas on theology and the nature of the universe, and self empowerment. Books like the Upanisads and the Bhagavad Gita contain many ideas that any person can use for inspiration for their path and faith and life. The Hindu texts also contain many similarities and common ties to various neopagan paths. These are highly worth considering to add to a book list for any path.
There are also many books out there that cover these similarities in great detail. Here is a list for further research:
- Alain Danielo
- Davis Kinsley
- Wendy Doniger
Blessings and Namaste,