The term ‘Neo-Pagan’ is widely used in some circles, but what exactly is a ‘neo-pagan’? Julius Evola’s piece Against the Neo-Pagans asserts that the word pagan is derived from the Latin paganus, later became a disparaging expression used by early Christians. It derives from pagus, meaning a small town or village. Paganus therefore refers to the ‘peasant’ way of thinking: thinking in an uncultured, primitive, and superstitious way. The term ‘pagan’ is not the most appropriate label to apply to any person or organisation since it was first used as a derogatory insult. Because of this, terms such as Asatru or Hellenismos are better suited to describe indigenous Traditions than the word ‘pagan’. ‘Neo- pagan’, in its purest sense, means a ‘neo-primitive’ and due to its negative connotations, it’s simply inappropriate.
The terminology is only of secondary importance to the main problem however. ‘Neo-Paganism’, when used to describe beliefs, is too broad to be useful. Since it is used to reference both new movements like Wicca well as ancient Traditions that date back thousands of years, it implies a connection between various groups that is non-existent. This also leads to other problems – because the term is all encompassing, lunatics appear and make up what can only be called completely fraudulent concepts. Neo-Paganism is infested with people who invent childish rituals purely as an outlet for their own sexual frustration. The sad truth about these sort of ‘neo-pagans’ is that half their books simply deal with them talking about their own fetishes, and then there is a couple of chapters on what candles or incense to burn whilst reciting a few lines of terrible poetry. This is then packaged as an ‘occult secret’ and sold in a $9.99 book to sexually repressed Americans.
Anyone who thinks that sex is a great ‘occult secret’ seems to be sadly unaware that the human species engages in this act thousands of times an hour all over the globe, without any magical acts occurring nor any enlightenment taking place. But this is not the readers fault; it is the fault of the charlatans who write this sort of exploitative material, charging people money to be sexually abused by fakes and frauds. Gerald Gardner, the founder of Wicca introduced nudism and flogging to Wicca as a ritual act for his own entertainment, along with public intercourse. He claimed;
“to be a Master Mason, yet Masonic records show that he was only an Entered Apprentice Mason(1st Degree Mason). Being at the lowest end of the Masonic hierarchy he had only seen the most basic and introductory phraseologies within Masonry and the most minimum of Masonic Rites and it is these that are found in Gardnerian Wicca.”
Likewise, Gardner said he received his Doctor of Philosophy in Singapore and a Doctor of Literature in Toulouse but as it turns out this is not true either. Furthermore, Gardner claimed that he was initiated into the New Forest Coven in 1939 by’ Old Dorothy’. Again – there is no evidence of this – in fact most of the evidence surrounding the ‘Father of Wicca’ indicates that he either prone to extreme flights of fantasy and exaggeration or he was a total charlatan. Interestingly enough, Gardener was also a member of a nudist society before founding Wicca, so it’s not hard to guess why the ‘Skyclad’ element was created by him.
Another influence of Gardner’s was Margaret Murray, an early anthropologist who put forward a kind of ‘witch-cult’ hypothesis, wherein she stated that the Christian rumours of orgies with goats in ‘pagan’ Traditions were based on facts – so in a sense she adopted a perspective where she believed the lies spread by the church to vilify ‘pagans’ as fact instead of slander – which is unfortunately probably the single greatest act that has led to all the credibility issues faced by real ‘Pagans’ today. Most scholars now do not accept her work as historically accurate and outside of Wicca she is almost universally dismissed as a crank for her lack of evidence and unsubstantiated claims.
Later developments in Wicca follow a very different path and now the word is very different even from when Gardner used it – it is almost universally synonymous with Goddess worship – the ‘Horned God’ of the earlier days has almost been phased out in only a few decades. It’s no great secret that most Wiccans are women and that it is a heavily female dominated movement. As a side effect of this, the male deities are a provided a token mention or omitted altogether. Wicca has essentially become a ‘female only’ movement. This is because Wicca first came to prominence in the era in which feminism first emerged and many women saw it as a way to fight against what they perceived as the ‘patriarchy’. What is really interesting here is the methodology they deployed – the transition was not random. Rather, a number of early proponents of Wicca were both highly educated in both feminism and theology. For example, anyone who has studied myth can tell you there are plenty of Goddesses who do not match the ‘Maiden, Mother, Crone’ tripartite which is the core premise of Wicca – yet this is the one they advocate as the main figure – and it is done so not because of the role of Goddesses in Tradition, but because it is modeled on ‘God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost’. It is deployed because it is a trinity designed specifically to mirror Christianity.
Despite the number of actual Goddesses in Tradition with lunar associations being low, all Goddesses are continually marketed by Wicca as being predominantly lunar. This is also done deliberately because Christianity is essentially designated as a ‘Solar’ Tradition. Because Christianity is perceived as patriarchal, Wicca is portrayed as matriarchal and lunar. In sum, rather than basing itself on authentic ‘Pagan’ practices, Wicca has created an identity for itself which is entirely based on Christianity, and seeks to emulate it whilst at the same attempting to negate it. There are also writers in the field contriving myths of ‘Communist Utopias’ back in the Neolithic era, all based on the Venus of Willendorf and more recently some findings in Anatolia. The uncovering of a couple of statues however, is not enough to provide evidence of a ‘global Neolithic matriarchal empire’. Bachofen is also erroneously cited a few times alongside Marx to provide evidence of matriarchy. In this sense Wicca functions as a covert political vessel for Communism as well as feminism. As Wicca became more intellectually developed, Gardner’s ideas were gradually phased out because they became aware that Wicca was a powerful tool for fighting what they perceived as their prime nemesis; the ‘Solar, masculine, Christian, patriarchy’.
A genuine European Tradition would not place emphasis on subjugating either women or men, as both are needed in order for any society to be successful, nor would it attack the Solar element which is universally revered as the source of life in Traditions. The sex-based conflict between the ‘Lunar Feminine Left’ and the ‘Solar Masculine Right’ is the single biggest problem in Western society – after all how is a civilization to flourish if the fundamental relations between the sexes are severed? This is the very basis of society itself – a civilization with no children is a dead one.
To anyone who is actually trying to get ‘Paganism’ to be taken seriously as a Tradition, ‘Neo-Pagans’ such as these are a major source of embarrassment and actively serve to put off intellectuals and worthwhile adherents. It isn’t Woodstock anymore and quite frankly people should be over these Freudian sexual hang-ups by now. Hugh Urban, a specialist on sex and the occult, offers a number of remarks on this. The principle at work is almost exclusively what he calls the ‘sexualisation of ritual’ – wherein a number of authors project their own sexual fetishes onto a ritual – and that the amount of sex involved actually outweighs the number of ritual components. The rites themselves are extremely simplistic in nature and have more emphasis on sex than they do religion, the occult or spirituality.
The main concern of any Spiritual Tradition should be on the aspect of self-improvement and its benefit to the wider society as a whole. The arts, philosophy and religion all form ‘culture spheres’ which overlap. Separating spirituality from culture negates it, reduces it to a mere quantum of potential that is destined to remain fruitless. Even outside of ‘Neo-Paganism’ people are oblivious to the fact that the main point of religion or spirituality is neither magical control nor dogmatic fundamentalism; rather it is a tool for people to better themselves and generate positive action within society.
The whole downfall of religion, spirituality and Tradition in the contemporary era is its lack of benefit to the community. Whilst it is necessary to preserve the cultural elements, they also need to be suited to people in this day and age without appearing anachronistic. In order for a serious revival of Europe’s indigenous Traditions to occur the negative aspects of ‘Neo-Paganism’ needs to be phased out in order for it be taken seriously and attract worthwhile practitioners – and rather than ‘revolting against the modern world’ one needs to heroically seize control of it.