What is Paganism? A Resource List

Yesterday I gave a presentation on Paganism at Seattle Pacific University. This is an annotated version of the hand out I gave the students. The list the student got did not have commentary, and the links were written out. Here, I’ve hyper-linked. I figured it might be helpful for others.

One very important note: this list primarily reflects me, my biases, and my experience with Paganism. There are SO MANY books and websites out there. My aim was to inform, on a general level, college aged and educated Christians. I’m also learning never to waste an opportunity to gently promote my own work.

books

Websites

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/sermonsfromthemound/2013/08/pagan-theology-recommended-resources/

Many of the resources and books listed below are also listed at this excellent page that Christine Hoff Kraemer put together. She describes some of the books, and lists a few things that I did not.

The Wildhunt – Our journal of record

Patheos Pagan

Witches and Pagans

The Witch’s Voice – I don’t know exactly why I put this on. It’s never been helpful for me, ever in my life. But hey, maybe a student wants to explore and they use this site to find a group near them.

Gods & Radicals – I know some one is going to think that this was totally not appropriate for this resource list. Too bad.

Polytheist.com

Humanistic Paganism

 

A Witch’s Ashram – The next three feature my stuff. My list, my stuff!

The Polytheist Parent

Many Gods West

 

Books

Drawing Down the Moon – Margot Adler – This is the only sociological book on the list.

Triumph of the Moon – Ronald Hutton

Sabina Magliocco – Dr. Magliocco is an anthropologist.

 

The Spiral Dance – Starhawk

A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism – John Michael Greer

The Deities are Many: A Polytheistic Theology – Jordan D Paper

Seeking the Mystery: An Introduction to Pagan Theologies – Christine Hoff Kraemer

Various titles – Graham Harvey

 

The next two are non-fiction, and Abram’s book isn’t even explicitly Pagan, but both give a beautiful glimpse into the flavor of Pagan experience.

Your Face is a Forest – Rhyd Wildermuth

The Spell of the Sensuous – David Abram

 

Till_We_Have_FacesThese three fiction books also capture the Pagan and Polytheist experience. I told them to avoid the Percy Jackson series, because while it might be a great “in” for 6 year olds, I do not think the books capture the feeling, aesthetic, or mind-set of Polytheism in any accurate or thoughtful way.

Til We Have Faces – CS Lewis

Sea of Trolls – Nancy Farmer

Oracle trilogy – Catherine Fisher

 

Anything by Scarlet Imprint – Because I love their work, and I wanted something on here that might blow their minds a little.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Andrew

    Good on you for putting in “Gods And Radicals”. :)

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/sermonsfromthemound Christine Kraemer

    I don’t know 2 of the 3 fiction books; will have to check them out :)

    The Harvard Pluralism project’s On Common Ground is also a good web resource (and citable for undergrad purposes!); I edited the latest Paganism entry: http://www.pluralism.org/religion/paganism

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram/ A Witch’s Ashram

      Nancy Farmer’s book is first in a trilogy. All very good, but the first one has my heart. Here’s my review on it from a few years ago: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram/2012/09/27/the-best-non-magic-books-about-magic-part-2/

      I and the kids really liked Fisher’s series. She’s Welsh too! But I didn’t learn of her til we moved back to the States. I am looking forward to exploring her other books.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/sermonsfromthemound Christine Kraemer

        Oh, I just realized I’ve read two other Farmer books and loved them! (Especially THE EAR, THE EYE, AND THE ARM — really loving fiction set in Africa lately.) Maybe SEA OF TROLLS will be my next pick.

  • Jay

    I have to disagree to a certain extent with the Percy Jackson series. While they often had negative portrayals of the Gods (Dionysos? Really?), they evoked their continued presence and interaction with history that didn’t stop with the rise of Christianity, as well as the eternal nature of mythology, and how it can shift and integrate with one’s current place and geographic location (Las Vegas as the Island of the Lotus Eaters? Brilliant!). And while I didn’t care for how the halfbloods only seemed to pray and make offerings to their parents, they still made offerings through Hestia’s flame, and I recall an excellent description of how Her fire transforms the offering to something sweet and pleasant for the Gods.
    I haven’t actually read the rest of the series, so maybe that understanding I’ve gleaned from it doesn’t continue throughout, but I would recommend at least the Lightning Thief for an initial understanding of what Polytheism is and can be (there’s a lot of work yet to be done, after all, to integrate our relationships with our gods to the land in which we live).

    • Jay

      As to your other fiction recommendations, I’ve read and loved Till We Have Faces (which really merits a reread on my part, as it’s been since my initial teaching in the Craft that I read it). I recognize but haven’t read the others – I’ll have to give them a read to see how they’re even better than Percy Jackson for capturing the spirit and experience of Paganism and Polytheism. 😉

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram/ A Witch’s Ashram

      If Percy Jackson is all you can get your hands on, great. My six year old LOVED it. But as for nuanced depictions – there are many better series out there!

  • Brian Michael Shea

    C.S. Lewis? For paganism? Hmmmm. I’ve never heard of that bookd before. I will have to check it out. Of course I read the Chronicles of Narnia series when I was young.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram/ A Witch’s Ashram

      Yes. Really. So good.