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Focused Studies Related to Neo-Paganism


As mentioned in General Neo-Paganism page, there is a lot of good research recently published on Neo-Paganism. There is also a number of studies not directly talking about Neo-Paganism, but which may shed light on the Neo-Pagan movement indirectly. There are also some very intensive studies of specific phenomenon within Neo-Paganism, that preclude that book from the General Neo-Paganism page. Take a look below and see what you think.

IMPORTANT NOTE We haven't read all the following books, but are in the process of procuring them for the Gould Library of Carleton College (the seminary of the Reformed Druids). As is always the case, your local library can often BORROW books from bigger libraries, so you needn't always purchase the books. However, I would recommend that you check the book carefully for poor scholarship before using them and send your opinions to

hachimike@hotmail.com
.

First a short version of the titles followed by a detailed list of the contents, ordering information, book descriptions and reader reviews

Recommended Books only by Title

.
Detailed Descriptions follow title list
  1. The Emerging Network : A Sociology of the New Age and Neo-Pagan Movements by Michael York Paperback (May 1995) $21 Rowman & Littlefield; ISBN: 0847680010 Other Editions: Hardcover Library Binding - 372 pages $71 (May 1995) Rowman & Littlefield; ISBN: 0847680002 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.02 x 9.20 x 6.21
  2. The Existential Pagan -- On Freedom and Responsibility by Rel Davis, Eston Mansfield (Photographer), Greg Fisher (Illustrator) Our Price: $18.95 Paperback - 192 pages (October 1, 1998) Old Time Religion, Inc.; ISBN: 096663800X
  3. The Enlightenment an Interpretation : The Rise of Modern Paganism by Peter Gay Amazon Price: $27.50 Hardcover (December 1996) Peter Smith Pub; ISBN: 0844668915
  4. Methods of Compassion or Pretension? : Conducting Anthropological Fieldwork in Modern Magical Communities by Jone Salomonsen

  5. Nature & Supernature--Harmony & Mastery: Irony and Evolution in Contemporary Nature Religion by Bron Taylor

  6. Nature Religion in America: From the Algonkian Indians to the New Age by Albanese, Catherine. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990). Paperback Reprint edition ISBN: 0226011461 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.72 x 9.05 x 6.07 Amazon Price $17.
  7. American Sacred Space by Chidester, David, and Edwart T. Linenthal, eds. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.) ISBN: 0253210062 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.02 x 9.28 x 6.18 Other Editions: Hardcover. Amazon price $19 (paperback)
  8. New Spirituality, Self, and Belonging: How New Agers and Neo-Pagans talk about Themselves by Bloch, Jon P. (Westport, Conn.: Praeger,1998 ) Hardcover version is ISBN: 0275959570 and $55
  9. Living in the Broom Closet : Hiding Neo-Paganism in the Culture of Confession by Keenan, Tanya E. (M.A. thesis, University of South Florida, 1998)
  10. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess by Starhawk [Miriam Simos], (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1979) second edition 1989 ISBN: 0062508148
  11. The Concept of the Goddess Sandra Billington and Miranda Green (eds.) Routledge 1996
  12. Ancient Goddesses: The Myth and the Evidence by Lucy Godison and Christine Morris (eds.) British Museum Press 1998
  13. The Faces of the Goddess Oxford University Press
  14. Journeying the Politics of Ecstacy: Anthropological Perspectives on Neoshamanismby Robert J. Wallis
  15. The Old Religion by Richard Smoley
  16. A Goddess Arrives The Novels Of Dion Fortune And The Development Of Gardnerian Witchcraft
  17. Secret Ritual and Manhood in Victorian America by Mark Carnes
  18. From Persecution to Toleration by Israel, Grell & Tynacken (editors),
  19. British Poets and Secret Societies by Maire Roberts Barne& Nobles Books:Totowa NJ 1986

Detailed Description of Books

.
  1. The Emerging Network : A Sociology of the New Age and Neo-Pagan Movements

    by Michael York Paperback (May 1995) $21 Rowman & Littlefield; ISBN: 0847680010

    Other Editions: Hardcover Library Binding - 372 pages $71 (May 1995) Rowman & Littlefield; ISBN: 0847680002 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.02 x 9.20 x 6.21

    No review, but sounds interesting.



  2. The Existential Pagan -- On Freedom and Responsibility

    by Rel Davis, Eston Mansfield (Photographer), Greg Fisher (Illustrator) Our Price: $18.95 Paperback - 192 pages (October 1, 1998) Old Time Religion, Inc.; ISBN: 096663800X

    Book Description
    The Existential Pagan is an in-depth look at the new paganism sweeping the world today. As environmental chaos threatens our species and the planet we live on, more and more people are looking for a way out. A new way of looking at the world -- based on ancient religious principles -- is gradually becoming more prevalent. Called Deep Ecology, women's spirituality, earth-centered religion, paganism or even witchcraft, it offers a way of life that respects the earth, values women, and challenges millennia-old concepts of power and control. In 27 essays, the Rev. Davis offers a way out for a world in crisis.

    From the Publisher
    A new publisher that until now has only produced newsletters, Old Time Religion, Inc. was founded to provide a voice for environmentally concerned people, particularly those who choose the pagan or earth-centered path. Publisher of Old Time Religion, the Quarterly Newsletter of Ancient Religion, the company now is proud to publish this work by Rel Davis, Unitarian Universalist minister, practicing witch and prolific writer and editor.



  3. The Enlightenment an Interpretation : The Rise of Modern Paganism

    by Peter Gay Amazon Price: $27.50 Hardcover (December 1996) Peter Smith Pub; ISBN: 0844668915

    No review. Uncertain of it's orientation.



  4. Methods of Compassion or Pretension? : Conducting Anthropological Fieldwork in Modern Magical Communities

    by Jone Salomonsen

    "... anthropology participates in an 'atheist hegemonic discourse'. This theoretical position prevents the anthropologist from effectively utilizing an inductive analytical approach when confronting magical religion. ... Sociologist Peter Berger asserts that this stream of thought has sought to invalidate the reality of any magico-religious view of the world ..."

    "To accept those symbols as 'sacred' that to my taste were vulgar, to play with pagan names as if they were 'real names' for divine reality, to let go of criticism and be open to the 'ecstasy' of ritual, to meditate on certain symbols 'until they revealed their esoteric knowledge', and to grant exception to the belief that this really was impossible--when taken altogether, these are what have been difficult, challenging and rewarding."



  5. Nature & Supernature--Harmony & Mastery: Irony and Evolution in Contemporary Nature Religion

    by Bron Taylor

    "Nature religion devotees ... often seek harmony with nature through preservation of the natural world, but they simultaneously attempt to bend nature to their will, whether through physical, mental, or magical techniques. ... the mastery impulse supports repressive ideologies ... notions of 'natural law' and'rights' deployed nature as a religious symbol serving racist nationalism and notions such as manifest destiny."

    "In Starhawk's Wicca and in several contemporary physical religions such as Reiki and Macrobiotics [a worldview derived from quantum] theory erodes the distinctions between nature real and nature ideal, and between energy/spirit and matter, dualisms that have typically permeated American nature religion."



  6. Nature Religion in America: From the Algonkian Indians to the New Age

    by Albanese, Catherine. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990). Paperback Reprint edition ISBN: 0226011461 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.72 x 9.05 x 6.07 Amazon Price $17.

    Book Description by Amazon
    This ground-breaking study reveals an unorganized and previously unacknowledged religion at the heart of American culture. Nature, Albanese argues, has provided a compelling religious center throughout American history.



  7. American Sacred Space

    by Chidester, David, and Edwart T. Linenthal, eds. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.) ISBN: 0253210062 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.02 x 9.28 x 6.18 Other Editions: Hardcover. Amazon price $19 (paperback)

    no review available, and I'm not entirely sure what's in it. Somebody recommended it on an internet site for those studying neo-paganism.



  8. New Spirituality, Self, and Belonging: How New Agers and Neo-Pagans talk about Themselves

    by Bloch, Jon P. (Westport, Conn.: Praeger,1998 ) Hardcover version is ISBN: 0275959570 and $55 (kind of pricey,huh? I hope a paperback edition will be out soon!)

    Book Description by Amazon
    Through in-depth interviews with 22 New Agers and Neo-Pagans, this study proposes a new model of religious identity from a sociological standpoint. The analysis demonstrates that in spite of their great diversity of beliefs and lack of strong organizational ties, alternative spiritualists comprise a discernible community.

    About the Author
    JON P. BLOCH is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Southern Connecticut State University.



  9. Living in the Broom Closet : Hiding Neo-Paganism in the Culture of Confession

    by Keenan, Tanya E. (M.A. thesis, University of South Florida, 1998)

    Copies are possibly available if you contact the right department in the university?



  10. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess

    by Starhawk [Miriam Simos], (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1979) second edition 1989 ISBN: 0062508148

    Synopsis:
    This book shifts back to America again, this time with a slight emphasis on feminist Witchcraft. It is a literate and sophisticated introduction to Wicca as Goddess religion from an eco-feminist perspective, arguably the fastest growing branch of the Craft.



    New Books about Goddess' Spirituality


  11. The Concept of the Goddess

    Sandra Billington and Miranda Green (eds.) Routledge 1996

    Reviewed by Asphodel Long
    "I would like to give this book an enormous welcome. It comes at a time when an adversarial position . has sprung up between academics concerned to protect from misuse factual evidence derived from scholarly disciplines, and goddess followers who feel that these criticisms are designed to rubbish women's new understanding of their relationship to the divine, and to re-establish a patriarchal template."

  12. Ancient Goddesses: The Myth and the Evidence

    Lucy Godison and Christine Morris (eds.) British Museum Press 1998

    Reviewed by Asphodel Long
    "... valuable as has been the work of Gimbutas, it is time to incorporate it and to move on: feminist archaeology is changing the old 'certainties' and Gimbutas has played her part in breaking them down. Today's researchers proceed with less certainty than Gimbutas herself: everything is ambiguous and must be tested: there are no 'proven facts.'"

  13. The Faces of the Goddess

    Oxford University Press

    Reviewed by Daniel Cohen
    "The suggestion that 'divine women are absent from the Hebrew texts' shows that Dr Motz is unfamiliar with biblical scholarship of the past ten or more years. Her claim that 'no female imagery is to be seen in the Paleolithic cave [paintings]' would not be accepted by many scholars of rock art."



  14. Journeying the Politics of Ecstacy: Anthropological Perspectives on Neoshamanism

    by Robert J. Wallis

    "... shamanism is an academic construct, a word for the West, its meaning inevitably universalised, repeatedly re-fabricated, its definition contested. Fascinated by its titillating bizarreness, people romanticised shamanism, associated themselves with the 'noble savage' and became neoshamans."



  15. The Old Religion

    by Richard Smoley

    "Graves admitted that he had written his book in a kind of Muse-inspired frenzy, but that didn't keep it form being taken as history. Archaeologist James Mellaart's excavations at Catal Huyuk in Asia Minor seemed to corroborate the existence of this matrifocal phase of civilization. ... Marija Gimbutas took up this theme and developed it further ... Together with Murray's and Gardner's ideas, these theories have been woven into a kind of foundation myth for today's Neopaganism.

    "... This is an extremely compelling myth: you will find it stated over and over again in countless Neopagan books and magazines. Many Wiccans and Neopagans seem to regard it as a matter of historical fact. Unfortunately, according to most scholars today, nearly every detail of this picture is wrong."



  16. http://www.paganlibrary.com/editorials/Goddess_Arrives.html

    A Goddess Arrives

    The Novels Of Dion Fortune And The Development Of Gardnerian Witchcraft

    An essay by Chas S. Clifton

    > No one occultist of the 20th century worked more vehemently in advocating a "Western" - and within that, "Northern" - path of esoteric spirituality than did the English ceremonial magician, Dion Fortune. She founded an esoteric school that still persists, but beyond that direct transmission, her ideas seeded themselves into modern Neopagan religion to the point that they seem completely indigenous, their origins invisible.



  17. Secret Ritual and Manhood in Victorian America

    by Mark Carnes

    Drynemetum Review
    An excellent book that expalins what is the attractive basis of fraternal organizations (male bonding) and how it developed from changing social conditions in 18th and 19th century. Useful for studying 19th century British Druidic orders.



  18. From Persecution to Toleration

    by Israel, Grell & Tynacken (editors), Clarendon Press: Oxford 1991

    Drynemetum Review
    All about the difficulties of religious tolerance in 17th and 18th century, a period when fraternal societies were flourishing.



  19. British Poets and Secret Societies

    by Maire Roberts Barne& Nobles Books:Totowa NJ 1986

    Drynemetum Review
    How the elite of Britain were enrolled in various fraternal movements.



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If you have questions or advice on the materials discussed here, or if you have more resources to add; email me at mikerdna@hotmail.com

This page was created in March, 2000 c.e. No copyright by presenter, excerpts taken from Amazon and various other cited sources.

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