Neo-Paganism is a new religious movement, the central characteristics of which are a perception of divinity as immanent, a multiplicity of deities, both feminine and masculine, a commitment to environmental responsibility, and a creative approach to ritual.
Neo-Paganism is distinguishable from other forms of contemporary Paganism in that it is
- eclectic, rather than traditional (i.e., not reconstructionism)
- open, rather than initiatory (i.e., not traditional Wicca)
- exoteric, rather than esoteric (i.e., not ceremonial magic)
- earth-centered, rather than deity-centered (i.e., not devotional polytheism).
From the back cover:
A living relationship with the wild natural world is our birthright as human beings. But two hundred years of capitalism and industrialism, three hundred years of Enlightenment philosophy and reductionist science, two thousand years of Christianity and transcendental monotheism, and five thousand years of patriarchy and civilization, have done their work, breaking the connection between humankind and nature.
To be Neo-Pagan today is to reclaim our original relation with the world. It is nothing more and nothing less than to be fully human. To (re-)learn what this means, we need to strip away the layers of estrangement that have accreted to our collective soul over the centuries. So we look back to our ancestors, to those who lived prior to the Scientific Revolution, prior to Christianity, prior to civilization.
There is a connection between us and the pagan peoples who lived so long ago. We carry it in our flesh and blood. At our most fundamental, we are still the same human beings we were then. We can be pagan again today because we live under the same Sun and on the same Earth, and we feel the same wind blowing through our hair and the same rain falling on our skin.