the green fuse /Harris






key words:

Embodiment, Eco-Paganism, Contemporary Paganism, ritual, activism


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.
· Eco-Pagans partly express their spirituality through environmental activism and rituals of resistance.
· Most Eco-Pagans are environmental activists who were drawn to Paganism.

Protestors in net
Road protestors in a net high above the ground (M11)

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).

Who are the Eco-Pagans?

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.

Earth First Green Man banner
Earth First! banner with a Green Man

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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