A History of Neo-Paganism and Druidry: 5 – Compare and contrast your understanding of three various forms of Neopaganism, such as Wicca, Asatru, eclectic Neopaganism, shamanism, and discordianism.

6 08 2017

Compare and contrast your understanding of three various forms of Neopaganism, such as Wicca, Asatru, eclectic Neopaganism, shamanism, and discordianism. (minimum 300 words)

I am going to compare Wicca, Heathenry and Druidry. While they share a lot of similarities, there are also important differences too.

Wicca was arguably created by Gerald Gardner in the early 1950’s. It comes from the Old English Wicce. It is a duo-theistic religion honouring a God and a Goddess. The God is the horned lord of animals, as well as being a god of the hunt, forest and death. The Goddess is a triple goddess represented in the phases of the moon, and the archetypes of Maiden, Mother and Crone. Wiccans emphasise the raising and use of magic in their rituals, they have eight festivals called Sabbats, as well as the monthly Esbats, and the often believe in reincarnation and the Wiccan Rede “An it harm none, do as ye will.” There are many denominations of Wicca, including Gardnerian, Seax, Alexandrian and Dianic. Wiccans meet in small groups called Covens and are often secret.

Heathenry, also known as Asatru, is a religion focused on the gods of Northern Europe. In particular, these are the Norse and Anglo-Saxon gods such as Odin/ Woden, Thor/ Thunor, Tyr/ Tiw and Frigg/ Frige. Asatru, the most well-known denomination within heathenry, means “belief in the Aesir.” The Aesir, along with the Vanir, are the main gods in Heathenry. It is a very polytheistic religion, and unlike Wicca, Heathens are focused much more on the religious elements rather than magic in their rituals. They also tend to be more Conservative and focused on family, household and community. Important concepts in Heathenry include Wyrd (or fate), that “We Are Our Deeds”, and ancestor veneration. Heathen rituals can be blots which are sacrifices to the gods, or Sumbels which involve rounds of drinking, hailing various spirits and making boasts. Some aspects of Asatru emphasise warrior virtues and consequently Heathenry has suffered from a “macho” image problem, but this is slowly changing. Heathens may celebrate the same eight festivals as Wiccans, or they may focus on particular festivals mentioned in the Lore, such as Winternights and Yule. Unlike Wiccans, Heathens are very focused on reconstructionism and accuracy, and so it has rightly been called “the religion with homework.” Like Wicca, most heathens believe in spirits of nature and the importance of looking after the earth, as she is the goddess Nerthus or Jord.

Druidry has a long history. Originally the Druids were the intellectual class of the Celtic peoples. They were made up of Bards, Ovates and Druids, and acted as the teachers, lawyers, doctors, priests and political advisors of that culture. The religion ended when the Romans took over but an attempt to revive it began in the 1700’s and grew into a successful Meso-Pagan religion. In Modern times, Druidry has become one of the largest movements within Neopaganism. There are many similarities between revivalist Druidry and Wicca, in particular their emphasis on a god and goddess, the importance of nature worship, a belief in reincarnation and the celebration of the eight festivals of the year. Druidry is often more Celtic focused than Wicca and Druids meet in groves rather than covens. The rituals are also much more public than Wicca. Other versions of Druidry, such as that represented by ADF take a more reconstructionist approach and tend to focus on what can be proved historically. Celebrations may be four or eight times a year, but they are polytheists rather than duo-theists and so worship many gods and goddesses.



Ellis, Peter B. The Druids. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Pub Co, 1998. Print.

Adler, Margot. Drawing down the moon witches, Druids, goddess-worshippers, and other pagans in America today. New York, N.Y: Penguin/Arkana, 2006. Print.

Hutton, Ronald. The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. Print.

Bonewits, Isaac. “Defining Paganism: Paleo-, Meso-, and Neo-.” Web.

Bonewits, Isaac. “Frequently Asked Questions about Neopagan Druidism.” Web.

Bonewits, Isaac. “The Origins of Ár nDraíocht Féin.” Web.

Bonewits, Isaac. “What Neopagans Believe.” Web.

Bonewits, Isaac. “The Reformed Druids of North America and their Offshoots.” Web.

Hopman, Ellen Evert. “The Origins of the Henge of Keltria.” Web.

Meith, Vickie, and Howard Meith. “The Origins of the Celtic Traditionalist Order of Druids.” Web.

Thuin, Dylan Ap. “The Origins of the Insular Order of Druids.” Web














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