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Neo-Paganism Versus New Age Spirituality Essay

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Neo-Paganism and New Age Spirituality have very different rules factors. Neo-Paganism, as defined by the Encyclopædia Britannica, is an umbrella term for several spiritual movements that attempt to restore the “authentic pantheons and rituals” of the ancient polytheistic religions of Europe and the Middle East.(Neo-Paganism) These forms of “nature-oriented spirituality” are typically pre-Christian and primarily originate in Europe. (Fisher 478) ReligiousTollerance.org sheds some light on how people formed these Neo-Pagan religions:
“Druidic religion is based on the faith and practices of the ancient Celtic professional class; followers of Asatru adhere to the ancient, pre-Christian Norse religion; Wiccans also trace their roots back to
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Other magic may be intended for a wide variety of individual or group benefits. Pagans generally acknowledge the possibility of malign magic, but insist that wise practitioners will abstain from such conduct.” (Rogers, Paganism)
However, as with all religions, the involvement and level of spirituality varies widely depending on the practitioner. As Eugene Gallagher explains in “A Religion without Converts? Becoming a Neo-Pagan”, devout Neo-Pagans constantly pursue “a quest for beauty and development of the imagination, intellectual satisfaction derived from mastering esoteric knowledge, the process of personal growth, involvement with feminism and/or environmentalism and the experience of freedom in religious belief and practice.” (Gallagher 62:862)
New Age Spirituality, as defined by ReligiousTollerance.org, is a “free-flowing spiritual movement; a network of believers and practitioners who share somewhat similar beliefs and practices, which they add on to whichever formal religion that they follow.” (New Age Spirituality) It is predominantly based on Eastern belief systems; This somewhat elucidates the appeal of the movement as a whole, as shown in the following text from Wouter Hanegraaff’s article “New Age Religion and Secularization”,
“New Age thinking in general is characterized by a pervasive pattern of implicit
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