The Neo-Pagan Mysteries, Part 6: Descent to the Underworld

The psychological process which is symbolized by Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey is not a one time event, for while each “death” and subsequent rebirth results in an expansion of consciousness, this expansion is always necessarily partial, for the creativity of the unconscious source is inexhaustible. Therefore, the Hero’s Journey is never complete. [Read more...]

The Neo-Pagan Mysteries, Part 5: The Dying God

Scholars have criticized Jame Frazer’s Golden Bough, arguing that he glossed over significant differences in order to find his archetypal Dying God. But regardless of whether ancient pagan gods fit the archetype, Frazer’s theory has had a profound influence on contemporary Neo-Paganism. Frazer was a significant influence on Jane Ellen Harrison, Robert Graves, Dion Fortune, D.H. Lawrence, and other writers, who were themselves influential on Neo-Paganism. [Read more...]

The Neo-Pagan Mysteries, Part 4: Sacrifice

It is natural to resist change and to “rage against the dying of the light.” We want to live forever, but this is not our fate as human beings. We must surrender to that finitude which is represented by the dark aspect of the Goddess. Through surrender to our fate, we are transformed, not to endless life, but to a meaningful life in the context of the cosmic cycle of change. [Read more...]

The Neo-Pagan Mysteries, Part 3: The Eternal Return

In contrast to the monotheistic religions with their linear view of sacred time and the progressive nature of history leading to a final eschcatological event, many Neo-Pagans view sacred time as cyclical, rotating between life and death in an eternal cycle of periodic renewal, which Mircea Eliade called “the eternal return”. In contrast to the Dharmic religions, which seek escape from this cycle, many Neo-Pagans embrace it. Far from being a source of pessimism or despair, for these Neo-Pagans, the ineluctability of death gives deeper meaning to existence. [Read more...]

The Neo-Pagan Mysteries, Part 2: The Meaning of Death

Neo-Paganism sanctifies our ultimate annihilation and holds that death is no less sacred than life. Indeed, death possesses a holiness which transcends the individual ego’s will toward life. [Read more...]

The Neo-Pagan Mysteries, Part 1: Introduction

Neo-Paganism may be understood as an initiatory or mystery religion. While Wiccan initiation is an example of both group and personal initiation, Neo-Pagans can experience a personal initiation without joining any group. [Read more...]


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