February 2012

Adonism

Gnostic Neopagan Religion

Adonism was an early neopagan religion. It was created in 1925 by a German occultist named Franz Sattler, but (setting a precedent Gerald Gardner and many others would follow) Sattler claimed it to be an ancient religion. Adonism was polytheistic, but mostly centered around the worship of Adonis. The other four Adonist deities included Belus, Bilitis, Molchos and Dido.

May 2 is Pagan Coming Out Day

Are you still in the broom closet?

Technically, I suppose you would say that I’m not in the broom closet. I’ve worn pentagrams my entire life—I’ve even been harassed for it at my place of employment—and I used to do tarot readings at school. People in my family expect “witchy” things from me ever since my big summer of botanical research in seventh or eighth grade; when they visit and find pouches hanging from the doorknobs, they often ask what they are for, or they just eye them suspiciously, as if my paganism will rub off. Others simply ignore all of it or chalk it up to my “interests,” and opt to throw the whole Judeo-Christian god into conversation as often as they can.

The Ord Brighideach

A Religious Order

The Ord Brighideach (the Gaelic would be pronounced roughly as “ORD BREE-jahk”) is a religious order dedicated to the pagan goddess/ Catholic Saint Brighid. It's not exactly the case that the Ord Brighideach is pagan, as a number of members are either Christo-Pagan or liberal Catholics. Most of the members, though, are probably pagan, including Wiccans and Celtic Reconstructionists. One strength of the order is this lack of doctrinal rigidity, a willingness to welcome all who feel the call of Brighid regardless of their individual interpretations of exactly who or what Brighid is.

Pagan Priesthood

Two Kinds of Service

What does “priesthood” mean in the context of paganism? Wicca- the largest and most popular neopagan religion- is an initiatory priesthood, at least in its most traditional forms. But how can you have a religion in which nearly everyone is a priest or priestess?

Vestal Virgins

An Indo-European Religious Order

If you've spent any time hanging around with pagans, you've heard this one at least once: “virgin in ancient times didn't mean an actual virgin, it meant a woman who was not under the control of any man.” That's one of those little pseudo-factoids that get repeated in the neopagan community for political reasons, and just like most of them, there's no truth to it. Vestal virgins were not just required to be completely chaste, they were actually buried alive if they broke the rules, so I think it's safe to say they were “actual virgins.”