A New Traditionalism?

There’s been a lot of talk in the Pagan blogosphere about the “Death of Paganism” and even my recent post “The Problem With Neo-Paganism” was referenced in one post about it.

I’m not necessarily looking for the death of Paganism. However, I would rather see the Pagan religions resemble religions (such as Catholicism, the many and various Hindu religions, Shinto, or the many ancient faiths of our polytheistic ancestors) rather than a Ren Faire or a swingers resort or a Goth club or a Gathering of the Rainbow Tribe. (Nothing against Goth music or fashion, mind you. I love it, myself. But our religion should not easily be confused for either of these things.)

I just want to see a Paganism that’s focused on the gods (as well as Nature, the spirits, and the ancestors). On prayer and worship and offerings. On practicing good spiritual hygiene, helping the less fortunate and oppressed, living a righteous life, making the world a better place for everyone.

I want to see a Paganism that’s not oriented towards the occult or magic/spells, or archetypes, or sex or drugs or the New Age. I want a Paganism that’s not about ourselves and what we want but about Them…as well as, in a lesser sense, our community.

I’m not the “Pagan Pope”. I’m not an authority of anything and in no place to make proclamations about Paganism as a whole. I’m not looking to impose this upon others. But that doesn’t mean I cannot share my vision for what I’d like to see in Paganism.

Having been born intersexed and infertile, I will never have children of my own. But I would love to see a new traditionalism that can be passed down through future generations raising children with respect and love for Nature, reverence for the spirits and ancestors, and devotion to the gods. 


~ by R.M. McGrath on 05/10/2017.

4 Responses to “A New Traditionalism?”

  1. I generally agree with you – especially about paganism, or at least modern Western polytheism, resembling a religion. But, I would counter one point, your inclusion of magic as a problem area. If you look at “traditional” polytheistic and animistic religions, you’re going to encounter quite a bit of magic, at least folk magic. People historically have turned to some form of magic (often quite intermingled with devotional worship; it’s not an either/or situation, and gods/spirits/ancestors are often called on as part of the magic) to meet various needs and desires. I can’t really think of a tradition that didn’t have *some* of that, and I see no reason to try to exclude it from our new traditions either. It’s part of a response to an enchanted, spirit-filled world, which seems appropriate to me. As long as it’s balanced by devotional practices, of course.


    • Fair enough. I’m definitely open to some magic… I just have an issue when that becomes the focus of the ‘religion’ rather than the gods.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, there’s definitely a point at which it becomes primarily an occult practice, which is all fine and good, but not actually a religion. (Or worse, when it just becomes self-gratification and role-playing – at least a serious occult practice has some real depth to it, and requires relationships with some kind of otherworldly entities.)


    • I wrestled with magic for many years. Now that I follow a gods-focused tradition, I am comfortable using it. I’m not crazy about practices that place magic before the gods.


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