A Religion of Mythopoeia


Westernesste is an interesting and unusual neopagan religion founded by Maerian Morris, a former priestess of the Church of All Worlds. What makes Westernesste so interesting is that they are more interested in fiction than history. Most pagan groups in the present day are focused on reviving something from the pagan past, though usually with large doses of fantasy, wishful thinking and misinformation.

Rather than taking this well-worn route, Westernesste comes right out and says that their religion is based on fantasy, specifically fantasy as mythopoeia or the creation of new myth. I see this as a very promising development, because it takes neopaganism out of the “looking things up in books” mentality and focuses instead on going to the roots of the matter.


Those roots are not to be found in old books about folklore and ritual (although such books should be studied carefully by all serious pagans) but in a direct and personal contact with the world of myth and magic through the medium of the subconscious, the imagination and creativity. Westernesste has created an interlinking web of “virtual worlds” called Sidhevair, using web design and art software to build striking images of fantastic worlds.


In taking this approach, Westernesste avoids both the dry intellectualism of much of the Reconstructionist pagan community, and the pseudo-historical fallacies so common in Wicca. This is a promising new direction for paganism to take, and it provides a possible framework for the creative, playful and truly inspired to do many exciting things.