Rethinking Pagan Tradition

Rethinking Pagan Tradition was a dissertation looking at the evolving nature of the wheel of the year within neo-paganism. The work serves to highlight both the importance of the wheel and also the issues it currently faces due to the perpetuation of historical and theological inaccuracies that have been introduced in the last eighty years.

Using science to help explain and support theological theory, this groundbreaking work received the highest gradings possible and is serving as a springboard for my PhD in Pagan Theology.

A sample taken from Rethinking Pagan Tradition

With an understanding of the fractured nature of paganisms theological development, indeed its lack of development in lieu of traditions whose emphasis is that of self-discovery, investigation can now occur into how pagan traditions can begin to incorporate the natural world into their seasonal celebrations more fully, to expand in the areas not covered by the authors of the past or the adherents of the present who stand by the limited teachings of modern paganisms founders. It is important to emphasise that this development must be in relation to modern paganism and not just an exercise in investigating the natural world, it must be contextualised in a pagan framework if it is to amalgamate itself into a cohesive whole, but that is not to say that this knowledge need necessarily be divine in origin. Herein lies what will potentially be the fundamental point of importance in an emerging pagan theology, that of academic study and scientific support.

In the introduction it was posited that although paganism refers to itself as a nature based religion it indeed has little within it that would make it so, instead leaning heavily into the realms of psychological self-development. It has been shown to be an egocentric evolution of romantic pagan idealism originally constructed by Gardener, inspired by his contemporary Murray, to faithfully construct a revival of the witchcraft tradition. Its history in regards to the wheel of the year has been more a token gesture of necessity rather than a fully formed theory, a position that leaves modern paganism lacking in a central identity and it is this identity that the development of a nature based pagan theology will help form. The various traditions of paganism such as Druidry, Wicca, Heathenism and other smaller branches of faith share a common central theme of the cyclical nature of the seasons, based partially on fact, largely on fiction but nevertheless full of potentiality.