One of the most wonderful parts of Modern Paganism is the incredible amount of Belief Systems and Traditions available to practitioners. Wicca is the most familiar or most heard of. Wicca, however, is just one of the many Belief Systems under the Pagan umbrella. There are nearly countless other Traditions and Belief Systems which are still practiced today. Here are 4 of the most popular, and a quick rundown of each.
The Asatru tradition of Paganism believes in the ancient Germanic spirits and Gods. Officially created in the 1970’s Iceland, its roots, as many other Pagan Traditions go back thousands of years. The name comes from Old Norse. It means “faith in the Æsir.” Germanic gods are called the Æsir.
Being a polytheistic Tradition, there are several gods involved. The most prominent being Thor, Odin, Freya, Freyr, and Tyr. Though there is no prescribed dogma or scripture, reverence is entirely personal, and how you invoke the deities help or guidance is entirely up to you.
Centered around nature and life, it stresses the harmony of the natural world. A belief system of peace and respect, it teaches the importance of harmony within your surroundings and dealing with different phases of life.
The major holidays celebrated revolve around the changing seasons, like most other traditions, with Yule being the most important. It is celebrated in December and runs for 12 days.
The Druidry Tradition, often called Druidism, is the modern spiritual movement that promotes harmony and reverence of the natural world. Druidism originated in Britain during the 18th century. Originally a cultural movement, it gained spiritual connotations in the 19th century.
Respecting and venerating Nature are at its core. Another belief is the veneration of ancestors, most notably those belonging to prehistoric societies. Modern Druidry derives its name from the magico-religious specialists of Iron Age Western Europe who were known as Druids. There is no actual historical link between Iron Age European Druids and modern Druids, though some practitioners do believe the modern practice is a continuation of those ancient beliefs.
Modern Druidism focuses on healing the planet and seeking connections with the natural world. Beliefs vary widely, and there is no set dogma or belief system followed by all practitioners. Though considered Polytheistic, there is no set pantheon of deities to which all Druids adhere.
Druids generally observe eight spiritual festivals during the year, known as the ‘Wheel of the Year’, these are generally centered around the changing seasons as are most festivals celebrated in modern Paganism practices.
The Hellenic Tradition, also commonly referred to as Hellenic Polytheism or Olympianism, refers to various religious movements that revive ancient Greek religious practices. Hellenic tradition revolves around the Greek Gods, primarily the Twelve Olympians, and embraces ancient Hellenic values and virtues. Hellenism became a legally recognized religion in Greece in 2017.
Hellenism originated in Greece, and worships the ancient Greek Gods; it also includes nature divinities, Chthonic Gods and heroes. It is a primarily votive religion, based on offerings to the Gods in return for blessings. Ethical convictions of modern Hellenic practices revolve around Greek virtues including reciprocity, hospitality, self-control, moderation, and piety.
Individual practitioners are expected to perform their own rituals and learn the tradition by reference to primary and secondary sources on ancient Greek religion and through personal experience.
Hellenic days of worship are based on the lunar calendar and vary depending on the day.
Streghia Tradition has Southern European roots. It has close relations with Wicca and Gardnerian traditions. Stregheria honors a pantheon centered on a Moon Goddess and a Horned God, regarded as central which parallel Wiccan views of divinity. The modern movement off Stregheria originated in the 1970s.
Stregheria is a duotheistic tradition, revolving around a pair of deities regarded as divine lovers. They are referred to by many names, including Uni and Tagni, Tana and Tanus, Diana and Dianus, etc. Practices include the celebration of season holidays, ritualistic magic, and the performance of skyclad rituals. Reverence to gods, ancestors and tradition-specific spirits are also popular. Stregheria itself has several variant traditions, and individual practices vary widely.
Practitioners generally celebrate the eight holy days of modern Paganism or the ‘Wheel of the Year’, while others celebrate the Roman Catholic Holidays or Roman Holidays. One unifying practice is the reverence of spirits known as the ‘Lares’.
I hope you have enjoyed this quick run-down of 4 popular Belief systems in modern Paganism! More will be featured in future blog posts for you to enjoy. Thank you so much.
Love and Light,