Polytheistic reconstructionism

Polytheistic reconstructionism (or simply Reconstructionism) is an approach to modern paganism first emerging in the late 1960s to early 1970s, which gathered momentum starting in the 1990s. Reconstructionism attempts to re-establish historical polytheistic religions in the modern world, in contrast with neopagan syncretic movements like Wicca, and "channeled" movements like Germanic mysticism or Theosophy.

While the emphasis on historical accuracy may imply historical reenactment, the desire for continuity in ritual traditions (orthopraxy) is a common characteristic of religion in general, as seen in Anglican ritualism, or in much Christian liturgy.[1]

Floralia in Aquincum
Nova Roma sacrifice to Concordia at Aquincum (Budapest), Floralia 2008

History

D. H. Lawrence put a sketch of a fictional program into the mouth of a character in The Plumed Serpent (published in 1926):

So if I want Mexicans to learn the name of Quetzalcoatl, it is because I want them to speak with the tongues of their own blood. I wish the Teutonic world would once more think in terms of Thor and Wotan, and the tree Igdrasil. And I wish the Druidic world would see, honestly, that in the mistletoe is their mystery, and that they themselves are the Tuatha De Danaan, alive, but submerged. And a new Hermes should come back to the Mediterranean, and a new Ashtaroth to Tunis; and Mithras again to Persia, and Brahma unbroken to India, and the oldest of dragons to China.[2]

The term "Reconstructionist Paganism" was likely coined by Isaac Bonewits in the late 1970s.[3] Bonewits has said that he is not sure whether he "got this use of the term from one or more of the other culturally focused Neopagan movements of the time, or if [he] just applied it in a novel fashion."[3] Margot Adler later used the term "Pagan Reconstructionists" in the 1979 edition of Drawing Down the Moon to refer to those who endeavour through scholarly research and use of folklore, to revive or "reconstruct" a historically accurate, pre-Christian spiritual practice. This emphasis on reconstruction contrasts with the more fanciful and eclectic approaches to paganism, as seen for example in Wicca.[4]

Reconstructionism and Neopaganism

Linzie (2004) enumerates the difference between modern reconstructionist polytheism, (such as modern Hellenismos), and "classical" paganism as found in eighteenth to mid-twentieth century movements, (including Germanic mysticism, early Neodruidism and Wicca). Aspects of the former, not found in the latter, are as follows:

  1. There is no attempt to recreate a combined pan-European Paganism.
  2. Researchers attempt to stay within research guidelines developed over the course of the past century for handling documentation generated in the time periods that they are studying.
  3. A multi-disciplinary approach is utilized capitalizing on results from various fields as historical literary research, anthropology, religious history, political history, archaeology, forensic anthropology, historical sociology, etc. with an overt attempt to avoid pseudo-sciences.
  4. There are serious attempts to recreate culture, politics, science and art of the period in order to better understand the environment within which the religious beliefs were practiced.[5]

The use of the terms "Pagan" and "Neopagan" to apply to polytheistic reconstructionists is controversial.[1] Some reconstructionist, ethnic and indigenous religious groups take great issue with being referred to as "Pagan" or "Neopagan," viewing "Pagan" as a pejorative term used in the past by institutions attempting to destroy their cultures and religions.[6] In addition, reconstructionists may choose to reject the terms "Pagan" and "Neopagan" in order to distance themselves from aspects of popular Neopaganism, such as eclecticism, cultural appropriation, the practice of magic, and a tendency to conduct rituals within a Wiccan-derived format, that they find irrelevant or even inimical to their religious practice.[7]

Even among those reconstructionist groups who see themselves as part of the broader, Pagan or Neopagan spectrum, or who simply see some members of the Pagan community as allies, there is still a refusal to accept or identify with what they see as the more problematic aspects of that community, such as the above-noted eclecticism, cultural appropriation or Wiccan-inspired ritual structures. Many Polytheistic Reconstructionists see Reconstructionism as the older current in the Pagan community, and are unwilling to give up this part of their history simply because eclectic movements are currently more fashionable.[6][8] Rodnovery in particular is largely based off of Russian Orthodox Christianity.[9]

Controversies

Polytheistic reconstructionism contains and attracts a wide array of white nationalists.[9] The reconstructionist desire to return to "native" roots romanticizes the pagan past and can attract white nationalists who long for the pre-Christian Germanic days which they perceive as morally superior.[10] This trend continues from the early days of Germanic Paganism for Asatru.[11] Some Völkisch movement participants in Germany in the 1900s desired "revival of the pre-Christian religion of the ancient Germans."[12]

The accuracy of reconstruction is also often debated, with practitioners of rodnovery citing epiphanies in place of historical practices.[13]

Religions encompassed

References

  1. ^ a b http://www.ecauldron.net/dc-faq.php#4
  2. ^ Lawrence, David Herbert (1995) [1926]. The plumed serpent. Wordsworth classics. Wordsworth Editions. p. 221. ISBN 978-1-85326-258-6. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Bonewits, Isaac (2006). Bonewits's Essential Guide to Druidism. New York: Kensington/Citadel. p. 131. ISBN 0-8065-2710-2.
  4. ^ Adler, Margot (1979) Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today. Boston, Beacon Press ISBN 0-8070-3237-9. Chapter 9: Religions from the Past—The Pagan Reconstructionists.
  5. ^ Linzie (2004), 5f.
  6. ^ a b Supreme Council of Ethnikoi Hellenes. "Pagans". Supreme Council of Ethnikoi Hellenes. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
  7. ^ Arlea Anschütz, Stormerne Hunt (1997). "Call us Heathens!". Journal of the Pagan Federation. Retrieved September 7, 2007.
  8. ^ Adler, Margot (1997). Drawing down the Moon, page 282. New York: Penguin/Arkana. p. 262. ISBN 0-14-019536-X.
  9. ^ a b Mitrofanova, Anastasia (2016), Kolstø, Pål; Blakkisrud, Helge (eds.), "Russian ethnic nationalism and religion today", The New Russian Nationalism, Imperialism, Ethnicity and Authoritarianism 2000–2015, Edinburgh University Press, pp. 121–124, doi:10.3366/j.ctt1bh2kk5.11#metadata_info_tab_contents, ISBN 9781474410427, retrieved 2019-06-11
  10. ^ von Schnurbein, Stefanie (2016), "Asatru – A Religion of Nature?", Norse Revival, Transformations of Germanic Neopaganism, Brill, p. 186, doi:10.1163/j.ctt1w76v8x.14#metadata_info_tab_contents, retrieved 2019-06-11
  11. ^ von Schnurbein, Stefanie (2016), "Asatru – A Religion of Nature?", Norse Revival, Transformations of Germanic Neopaganism, Brill, p. 191, doi:10.1163/j.ctt1w76v8x.14#metadata_info_tab_contents, retrieved 2019-06-11
  12. ^ Koehne, Samuel (2014). "Were the National Socialists a "Völkisch" Party? Paganism, Christianity, and the Nazi Christmas". Central European History. 47 (4): 760. ISSN 0008-9389.
  13. ^ Mitrofanova, Anastasia (2016), Kolstø, Pål; Blakkisrud, Helge (eds.), "Russian ethnic nationalism and religion today", The New Russian Nationalism, Imperialism, Ethnicity and Authoritarianism 2000–2015, Edinburgh University Press, p. 121, doi:10.3366/j.ctt1bh2kk5.11#metadata_info_tab_contents, ISBN 9781474410427, retrieved 2019-06-11
  14. ^ see also Neopaganism in Italy

External links

Aphrodisia

The Aphrodisia festival (Ancient Greek: 'Αφροδίσια) was an annual festival held in Ancient Greece in honor of the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite (Ancient Greek: Ἀφροδίτη Πάνδημος). It took place in several Ancient Greek towns, but was especially important in Attica and on the island of Cyprus, where Aphrodite was celebrated with a magnificent celebration. The festival occurred during the month of Hekatombaion, which modern scholars recognize as starting from the third week in July to the third week of August on the Gregorian calendar . Aphrodite was worshipped in most towns of Cyprus, as well as in Cythera, Sparta, Thebes, Delos, and Elis, and her most ancient temple was at Paphos. Textual sources explicitly mention Aphrodisia festivals in Corinth and in Athens, where the many prostitutes that resided in the city celebrated the festival as a means of worshipping their patron goddess. Though no textual sources expressly mention an Aphrodisia festival in Cythera, Thebes, or Elis, it likely occurred since textual and iconographical sources indicate that Aphrodite Pandemos had a cult following in these areas. The Aphrodisia festival was one of the most important ceremonies in Delos, though we do not know much about the details of the celebration. The inscriptions merely indicate that the festival required the purchase of ropes, torches and wood, which were customary expenses of all Delian festivals.

Arturo Reghini

Arturo Reghini (12 November 1878 – 1 July 1946) was an Italian mathematician, philosopher and esotericist.

Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism

Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism (also Celtic Reconstructionism or CR) is a polytheistic reconstructionist approach to Celtic neopaganism, emphasising historical accuracy over eclecticism such as is found in many forms of Neo-druidism. It is an effort to reconstruct and revive, in a modern Celtic cultural context, pre-Christian Celtic religions.

Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism originated in discussions among amateur scholars and Neopagans in the mid-1980s, and evolved into an independent tradition by the early 1990s.

Currently, "Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism" (CR) is an umbrella term, with a number of recognized sub-traditions or denominations.

Celtic neopaganism

Celtic neopaganism refers to any type of modern paganism or contemporary pagan movements based on the ancient Celtic religion.

Classical reenactment

Classical reenactment tends to focus on portrayals of the Greco-Roman world, and especially on modern recreations of Roman legions and ancient Greek hoplites.

Greek religion

Greek religion can refer to several things, including

Ancient Greek religion

Greek hero cult

Eleusinian Mysteries

Hellenistic religion

Platonic idealism

Greek Orthodox Church

Religion in Greece

Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism

Heathenry (new religious movement)

Heathenry, also termed Heathenism, contemporary Germanic Paganism, or Germanic Neopaganism, is a modern Pagan religion. Scholars of religious studies classify Heathenry as a new religious movement. Its practitioners model it on the pre-Christian belief systems adhered to by the Germanic peoples of Iron Age and Early Medieval Europe. To reconstruct these past belief systems, Heathenry uses surviving historical, archaeological, and folkloric evidence as a basis, although approaches to this material vary considerably.

Heathenry does not have a unified theology but is typically polytheistic, centering on a pantheon of deities from pre-Christian Germanic Europe. It adopts cosmological views from these past societies, including an animistic view of the cosmos in which the natural world is imbued with spirits. The religion's deities and spirits are honored in sacrificial rites known as blóts in which food and libations are offered to them. These are often accompanied by symbel, the act of ceremonially toasting the gods with an alcoholic beverage. Some practitioners also engage in rituals designed to induce an altered state of consciousness and visions, most notably seiðr and galdr, with the intent of gaining wisdom and advice from the deities. Although many solitary practitioners follow the religion by themselves, members of the Heathen community often assemble in small groups, usually known as kindreds or hearths, to perform their rites outdoors or in specially constructed buildings. Heathen ethical systems emphasize honor, personal integrity, and loyalty, while beliefs about an afterlife vary and are rarely emphasized.

A central division within the Heathen movement concerns the issue of race. Some groups adopt a "universalist" perspective which holds that the religion is open to all, irrespective of ethnic or racial identity. Others adopt a racialist attitude—often termed "folkish" within the community—by viewing Heathenry as an ethnic or racial religion with inherent links to a Germanic race that should be reserved explicitly for people of Northern European descent or white people in general. Some folkish Heathens further combine the religion with explicitly racist, white supremacist, and far right-wing perspectives, although these approaches are repudiated by many Heathens. Although the term Heathenry is used widely to describe the religion as a whole, many groups prefer different designations, influenced by their regional focus and ideological preferences. Heathens focusing on Scandinavian sources sometimes use Ásatrú, Vanatrú, or Forn Sed; practitioners focusing on Anglo-Saxon traditions use Fyrnsidu or Theodism; those emphasising German traditions use Irminism; and those Heathens who espouse folkish and far-right perspectives tend to favor the terms Odinism, Wotanism, Wodenism, or Odalism.

The religion's origins lie in the 19th- and early 20th-century Romanticist movement which glorified the pre-Christian beliefs of Germanic societies. In this period, organised groups venerating the Germanic gods developed in Germany and Austria; these were part of the Völkisch movement and typically exhibited a racialist interpretation of the religion, resulting in the movement largely dissolving following the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. In the 1970s, new Heathen groups emerged in Europe and North America, developing into formalized organizations in order to promote their faith. In recent decades, the Heathen movement has been the subject of academic study by scholars active in the field of Pagan studies. Scholarly estimates put the number of Heathens at no more than 20,000 worldwide, with communities of practitioners active in Europe, the Americas, and Australasia.

Hellenism (religion)

Hellenism (Greek: Ἑλληνισμός, Ἑllēnismós), the Hellenic ethnic religion (Ἑλληνικὴ ἐθνική θρησκεία), also commonly known as Hellenismos, Hellenic Polytheism, Dodekatheism (Δωδεκαθεϊσμός), or Olympianism (Ὀλυμπιανισμός), comprises various religious movements that revive or reconstruct ancient Greek religious practices, which have publicly emerged since the 1990s.

The Hellenic religion is a traditional religion and way of life, revolving around the Greek Gods, primarily focused on the Twelve Olympians, and embracing ancient Hellenic values and virtues.

In 2017, Hellenism was legally recognized as a "known religion" in Greece, granting it certain religious freedoms in that country, including the freedom to open houses of worship and for clergy to officiate weddings.

Index of religion-related articles

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If you click on "Related changes" at the side of this page, you will see a list of the most recent changes in articles to which this page links. This page links to itself and its talk page so that changes to them can be tracked by the same means.

Kemetism

Kemetism (also Kemeticism; both from the Egyptian kmt, usually voweled Kemet, the native name of Ancient Egypt), also sometimes referred to as Neterism (from nṯr (Coptic ⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ noute) "deity"), or Egyptian Neopaganism, is the contemporary revival of Ancient Egyptian religion and related expressions of religion in classical and late antiquity, emerging during the 1970s. A Kemetic is one who follows Kemetism.There are several main groups, each of which take a different approach to their beliefs, ranging from eclectic to reconstructionistic. However, all of these can be identified as belonging to three strains, including reconstructed Orthodox Kemetism (adopting a philological approach, also Kemetic Orthodoxy).

Modern Paganism

Modern Paganism, also known as Contemporary Paganism and Neopaganism, is a collective term for new religious movements influenced by or derived from the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe, North Africa and the Near East. Although they do share similarities, contemporary Pagan religious movements are diverse, and no single set of beliefs, practices or texts are shared by them all. Most academics studying the phenomenon have treated it as a movement of different religions, whereas a minority instead characterise it as a single religion into which different Pagan faiths fit as denominations. Not all members of faiths or beliefs regarded as Neopagan self-identify as "Pagan".

Adherents rely on pre-Christian, folkloric and ethnographic sources to a variety of degrees; many follow a spirituality which they accept as being entirely modern, while others attempt to reconstruct or revive indigenous, ethnic religions as found in historical and folkloric sources as accurately as possible. Academic research has placed the Pagan movement along a spectrum, with Eclecticism on one end and Polytheistic Reconstructionism on the other. Polytheism, animism and pantheism are common features in Pagan theology. Rituals take place in both public and in private domestic settings.

The Pagan relationship with Christianity is often strained. Contemporary Paganism has sometimes been associated with the New Age movement, with scholars highlighting both similarities and differences. From the 1990s onwards, scholars studying the modern Pagan movement have established the academic field of Pagan studies.

Mos maiorum

The mos maiorum (Classical Latin: [mɔs majˈjoː.rum]; "ancestral custom" or "way of the ancestors," plural mores, cf. English "mores"; maiorum is the genitive plural of "greater" or "elder") is the unwritten code from which the ancient Romans derived their social norms. It is the core concept of Roman traditionalism, distinguished from but in dynamic complement to written law. The mos maiorum was collectively the time-honoured principles, behavioural models, and social practices that affected private, political, and military life in ancient Rome.

Neopaganism in Latin Europe

Italy, Spain, and Portugal are traditionally Roman Catholic and according to the 2005 Eurobarometer Poll retain an above-average belief in God. France is traditionally Roman Catholic as well and has an above-average fraction of atheists. Romania and Moldova are Eastern Orthodox countries and both are very religious.

The Neopagan movements found in Latin Europe can be divided into New Age spirituality inspired by Celtic, Norse or Megalithic templates on one hand (Neodruidism, Neoshamanism), polytheistic reconstructionism, either focusing on the ancient Roman religion or other native religions of Latin Europe (such as those of pre-Roman Iberia, Italy, and Romania), and political Neopaganism as part of Alain de Benoist's far-right ideology of the Nouvelle Droite on the other.

Nova Roma

Nova Roma is an international Roman revivalist and reconstructionist organization created in 1998 by Joseph Bloch and William Bradford, (Marcus Cassius Iulianus and Flavius Vedius Germanicus the "Patres Patriae") later incorporated in Maine as a non-profit organization with an educational and religious mission. Nova Roma claims to promote "the restoration of classical Roman religion, culture, and virtues" and "shared Roman ideals".Reported to provide online resources about Roman culture, Latin, ancient Roman costuming and reenactment guidelines, Nova Roma aims to be more than a community of reenactors or history study group. Strimska, Davy, Adler, Gallagher-Ashcraft, and recently Chryssides refer to it as a polytheistic reconstructionist community. Because it has a structure based on the ancient Roman Republic, with a senate, magistrates and laws enacted by vote of the comitia, and with its own coinage, and because the Nova Roma Wiki states that the group self-identifies as a "sovereign nation", some outside observers classify it as a micronation.

Orthopraxy

In the study of religion, orthopraxy is correct conduct, both ethical and liturgical, as opposed to faith or grace etc. This contrasts with orthodoxy, which emphasizes correct belief, and ritualism, the practice of rituals. The word is a neoclassical compound—ὀρθοπραξία (orthopraxia) meaning 'correct practice'.

While orthodoxies make use of codified beliefs, in the form of creeds, and ritualism more narrowly centers on the strict adherence to prescribed rites or rituals, orthopraxy is focused on issues of family, cultural integrity, the transmission of tradition, sacrificial offerings, concerns of purity, ethical system, and the enforcement thereof.Typically, traditional or folk religions (paganism, animism) are more concerned with orthopraxy than orthodoxy, and some argue that equating the term "faith" with "religion" presents a Christian-biased notion of what the primary characteristic of religion is. This contrasts with the case of (for example) Hinduism, in which orthopraxy and ritualism are not easily disentangled. Judaism is also considered both a religion and orthopraxy as it guides its adherents in both practice and belief.

Reconstructionism

Reconstructionism may refer to:

Christian Reconstructionism, a Calvinistic theological-political movement

Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism, a revival of ancient Greek religion

Polytheistic reconstructionism, an approach to Neopaganism

Progressive Reconstructionism, an interfaith community

Reconstructionist Judaism, a modern American-based Jewish movement

Zalmoxianism, a rebirth of ancient Dacian religion

Roman Polytheistic Reconstructionism

Roman Polytheistic Reconstructionism, known variously as Religio Romana (Roman religion) in Latin, the Roman Way to the Gods in Italian and Spanish (via romana agli dei and camino romano a los dioses, respectively), and Cultus Deorum Romanorum (care of the Gods), is a contemporary reconstructionist movement reviving traditional Roman religious cults consisting of loosely related organizations.

Adherents can be found across Latin Europe, but also in the Americas, the latter exemplified by Nova Roma, the largest such reconstructionist organisation. While an international organisation, it is legally based in the United States, with a majority of its membership hailing from the United States and Canada. Religious activity in Nova Roma, however, is also especially active in Central Europe, and countries such as Hungary, as well as Eastern Europe, particularly Ukraine and Russia. Additional organizations have become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly the Roman Republic: Res Publica Romana organization. As usually grouped in Italian literature, the Italian movements may not correspond precisely with the English-literature notion of reconstructionism, but to a more encompassing notion of "Roman Pagan tradition[alism]". Loosely influenced by Julius Evola and Arturo Reghini's Ur Group of the 1920s, various other groups have appeared in Italy, most notably the Movimento Tradizionale Romano and Curia Romana Patrum in the 1980s, which unified some calendars. Among the successes of the movement in Italy are two marriages: one in 1989 and one in 1992. CESNUR maintains a page with various other organizations and their history.

Semitic neopaganism

Semitic neopaganism refers to a group of religions based on or attempting to reconstruct the old religious traditions of the Semitic peoples, mostly practiced among secular Jews in the United States.

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