Pagan spirituality on the green fuse

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Neo-Paganism, Goddess spirituality, Eco-Paganism, Ecofeminism, Druids, Witches, Ásatrú, Chaos Magick, Bibliography

Eco-spirituality / Contemporary Paganism

Most branches of contemporary Paganism hold the Earth as sacred and deity as immanent. Goddess spirituality is typical, and there is a mutual influence with some branches of ecofeminism. (See the Eco-feminism discussion on Spirituality). For more on Goddess spirituality see Starhawk.

Contemporary Paganism is, however, far more complex than it is often presented: While is fair to say the Paganism is a ‘nature religion’ (Pearson, Roberts and Samuel, 1998: 1), most Pagans "don't often think about the ethical and political implications of what they are doing''(Adler 1986: 397). In fact "some Pagans affirm a transcendence of nature" and "believe in a sort of divinity that is not of this world" (Davy, 2007: 7). In fact environmentally active Pagans are in "a minority'' (Davy, 2002: 90). We can usefully identify those who are explicitly environmentally active as Eco-Pagans.

Eco-Pagans have been active in numerous environmental campaigns, notably at Twyford Down and Newbury. The web site of the Dragon Environmental Network has information and links to Eco-Pagan resources.


Bookchin attacked deep ecology, ecofeminism and others for their neo-pagan leanings. (Bookchin, The Philosophy of Social Ecology, Montréal and New York: Black Rose Books, 1990).

Ken Wilber's critique of "earth religion" (A Brief History of Everything, 1996, p.258) seems devastating, but reveals a profound lack of understanding of Eco-Paganism: he very succesfully demolishes a straw man. In fairness to Wilber, very little solid research had been done on Eco-Paganism at the time, but even so he treats quite different groups under the broad banner of "spiritually-oriented deep ecologists". Zimmerman offers a useful and stimuating discussion of Wilber's Critique of Ecological Spirituality.

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