Dear Jasmine: Pagan and Hindu Connections

Dear Jasmine,

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?

Sincerely,

A

Dear A,

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,

Jasmine

About Jasmine LunaMadre

Jasmine is one of the founders of a The Prairie Earth Society, a local pagan group in Eastern Iowa. She is also a mother of a 3 year old son, and a wife to an agnostic. Jasmine is one of the rare pagans that can say that Paganism was her first faith. She was raised in an Italian-American, Roman-Catholic family, that decided to let her choose her own path. They were not expecting her to start studying Wicca when she was in her late teens, or to continue for over 15 years and counting. When she went on to college she studied Anthropology and Education. While there she also began studying the Gardnerian Tradition, and was initiated in 2001 at the age of 21. Jasmine was further trained about folk magic by her mentor who is a master herbalist and family traditional kitchen witch. She moved to Iowa and began to practice as a kitchen witch herself, specializing in incense making and Italian-American cuisine. She is now a 2nd degree High Priestess of Enchanted Fire Dance Grove and teacher of the Gardnerian Tradition. Jasmine is also the Author of the blog, www.TheSpiritualMother.com. Jasmine has also attended many pagan festivals over the years such as Phoenix Phyre and Pagan Spirit Gathering and numerous British Traditionalist Wiccan fests and local gatherings. She also plans local workshops and classes and runs a local New Age Book Club. She is experienced in networking and conversing with many pagans from all over the country.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MUGPXBCYDWK6FXQVBOZEIFIEIA Steffy

    Ah Eastern connection to an ever-evolving western belief system… If I may be so bold as to add my own experience with this I have found Pagans to be drawn to Hinduism because of the numerous deities involved. After all, there is pretty much one for any situation you can possibly imagine. In addition to this, Hinduism at its root will tell you that they’re all the same person, these deities. This allows a wide range of people to be able to embrace that flavoring of their own path and work with it. There is also something that feels very special with working with a religious/spiritual group and way of thinking that has been around for thousands of years. Just saying. :)

    Oh and before I forget… Namaste! =^.^=

  • http://ianphanes.livejournal.com/ Ian Phanes

    I find the repeated language of *using* gods to be disturbing.

    I don’t approve of *using* my fellow-humans, let alone gods.

  • http://www.paganawareness.net.au Gavin Andrew

    It is worth remembering that for those of us with white, European ancestry, our distant ancestors migrated west in succeeding waves from the Indus valley through to Europe. The language we are communicating in, English, is an INDO-European language.

    It is not to be wondered at that we share a common spiritual ancestry also.

  • KEDILAYA

    GODS IN HINDUISM ARE IN FACT FORCES OF NATURE…HINDU BELIEF IS THAT THERE IS GOD IN EVERY THING EVEN IN AN ATOM …EVEN THOUGH HE IS ONE . YOU NEED TO RESPECT AND SHOULD HAVE SACRED BELIEF ON RIVERS,HILLS, TREES ,ANIMALS ,EARTH,MAN AND WOMAN AS GOD IS THERE IN EVERY THING VISIBLE AND NOT VISIBLE . HINDUS WHEN GREETING A PERSON SAY NAMASTE FOLDING HIS HANDS ,THE ACTUAL SYMBOL IS HE IS SALUTING THE GOD WITH IN THE OTHER PERSON…. ALL THE VEDAS UPANISHADS GITA ADVICE YOU TO FIND OUT YOUR SELF.. YOUR DUTY,AND NON VIOLENCE ,RIGHT THOUGHTS,AND RIGHT DEEDS…

  • Pixie

    Paganism can learn a lot from Hindusm, but Hinduism is not Paganism. There has been so much that the various Western esoteric traditions and New Age traditions have taken from Hinduism, but have corrupted and misused. I feel it is important to learn from the source. The karma that we know in the West is not the original concept of karma in the East, for example. Also, Wendy Doniger is a terrible source who is highly biased against Hinduism. Try a book called Invading the Sacred by Ramaswamy, de Nicolas, and Banerjee.


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