Book List: Contemporary Paganism

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,

Ok, before you freak out, the word PAGANISM does not mean that this book is about devil worship, psychic abilities, love potions, or how to find your inner goddess — like most of the tomes in the ‘occult’ section of your local bookstore. 

Written by Graham Harvey, a Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at King Alfred’s College in England, this was an assigned text in a class that I took in university (if that helps with its credibility).

Most of what people know about the many, important, complex religions that are bunched under the title ‘Paganism’ is through heresy or sensationalized journalism. It is extremely difficult to find writing on the subject that is actually based in research or historic fact and to this day, this is still the best that I have found. 

In his work, Harvey gives a broad based introduction to the many branches of Paganism and their related customs, issues, beliefs and histories. He reveals the origins of Druidry, Witchcraft, Heathenism, Goddess Spirituality, Magic, Shamanism and other practices, explaining how these beliefs function in the modern day in tandem with more visible religions (Christianity, Judaism, Muslim etc…)

I understand for some of you, a book like this can be a bit of a stretch, especially if you have always considered ‘PAGAN’ to be a bad word (hey, I was there once, I totally get it). Just keep in mind that this book is NOT preaching to you or trying to influence you in anyway, it is simply a well-written, fascinating history about these ancient beliefs that brought us amazing things like Stonehenge, the names of our months and even (yes, it’s true!) the act of marriage.