What is Eco-Paganism?
Ethnographic research has established that there is a distinct Eco-Pagan practice and sensibility (Clysdale, 2002; Harris, 1996 and 2001; Letcher 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005; Plows, 1998 and 2001; Westwood and Walbridge, n.d.).
· Eco-Paganism is a strand of Contemporary Paganism.
In Eco-Pagan practice belief in the sacredness of nature becomes an embodiment of political commitment. As a result the sacred body is integrated in political strategies of resistance. Many Eco-Pagan beliefs are rooted in eco-philosophy, and elements of Deep Ecology and Eco-Feminism are especially evident. But Eco-Paganism is more than is an expression of a holistic belief system - it is a way of being-in-the-world. Eco-Pagan practice engenders subjective feelings of interconnectedness as well as inspiration to political activism. (Plows 1998b).
Eco-Pagans are environmental activists who are either members of contemporary Pagan Traditions or who practice “de-traditionalised, but Pagan-like, spiritualities” (Letcher 2002). The boundary between these groups is blurred: A ‘Traditional’ Wiccan or Druid at a protest may practice de-traditionalised ritual.
The UK Eco-Pagan Dragon Environmental Network was founded in 1990.
“Founder members, including Wiccans, eclectic witches, Druids and Chaos magicians, sought a practical expression of the pagan belief that "the Earth is sacred" “ (Taylor, B. 2005)
Dragon organises public protest rituals. “Such events blur the distinction between religious ceremony, performance and political action” (Ibid).
Many members of the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft are Eco-Pagans, most notably Starhawk, one of the best-known Pagan activists. The Reclaiming ‘Principles of Unity’ states that: “Our practice arises from a deep, spiritual commitment to the earth, to healing and to the linking of magic with political action.” (Reclaiming web site. Accessed January 2004. http://www.reclaiming.org/about/directions/unity.html).
Ethnographic studies of radical environmentalists describe, “earth-based ritualising” (Taylor, B., 2001. Also see Letcher 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005; Plows, 1995, 1998a, 1998b and 2001.) Many members of the radical environmental network Earth First! express an Eco-Pagan spirituality (Taylor, B., 2001).
Last updated: 23-02-2005
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