Special Issue "Modern Paganisms and Indigenous Religions: Intersections and Differences"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2019)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Kathryn Rountree

Professor of Anthropology and Research Fellow, Massey University, Private Bag 102904, North Shore, Auckland 0745, New Zealand
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Anthropology of Ritual and Religion, specialising in contemporary Paganisms; Representation and contestation of heritage; Intersection of archaeology and sociocultural anthropology; Anthropology of gender, feminism; Ethnographic research methods

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Articles addressing the intersection of modern Pagan religions and indigenous religions are invited for a special issue of the journal Religions, guest-edited by Professor Kathryn Rountree.

Contemporary Pagan religions and spiritual paths all, at least to some degree, make connections with much older “pagan” religions, invoking ancient deities and other spirit beings, cultural traditions, beliefs and values, worldviews, ritual practices, ceremonies and festivals, folklore and sacred places. Such connections provide the material and immaterial resources which inspire the imagining and construction of contemporary Pagan paths. The antiquity of such cultural resources, alongside their perceived desirability, helps lend authenticity, legitimacy, and a sense of realness to modern Paganisms. Sometimes it is the combination of antiquity and a connection to a specific local, ethnic or indigenous heritage which helps furnish modern Paganisms’ claims to authenticity. The best known examples are Asatru and central and eastern European Paganisms and Native Faiths. Of course, modern Pagans are not the only people making connections to ancient, indigenous religious heritages. Members of indigenous groups – Native American, Māori, Sami, Aboriginal, for example – who are intent on perpetuating, reviving or reinvigorating their cultures, are also embracing their religious heritages (and are unlikely to self-identify as “Pagan”).

This special issue of Religions focuses on the intersection of modern Paganisms and indigenous religions in the contemporary globalized, hyper-connected world. How might we define the parameters of this intersection? What are the political implications of Pagan groups making claims to be “indigenous religions”? What tropes are they drawing on and benefitting from? How may the contemporary valorising of indigeneity generally, and indigenous religions specifically, provide a kind of religious capital to modern Paganisms? Do antiquity and indigeneity provide authenticity if they do not pertain to one’s own ancestral heritage? How does the intersection of modern Paganisms and indigenous religions relate to the (now, perhaps) hoary old debates about cultural appropriation? In modern, intensely mobile, culturally diverse societies, how important are local geographies and personal ethnic heritages in Pagans’ claims regarding the indigeneity of their religious path?  What do modern Pagans and followers of indigenous religions share/not share?

Prof. Dr. Kathryn Rountree
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 550 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle A Reconstructed Indigenous Religious Tradition in Latvia
Religions 2019, 10(3), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030195
Received: 31 January 2019 / Revised: 6 March 2019 / Accepted: 11 March 2019 / Published: 14 March 2019
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Abstract
In the early 20th century, Dievturība, a reconstructed form of paganism, laid claim to the status of an indigenous religious tradition in Latvia. Having experienced various changes over the course of the century, Dievturība has not disappeared from the Latvian cultural space [...] Read more.
In the early 20th century, Dievturība, a reconstructed form of paganism, laid claim to the status of an indigenous religious tradition in Latvia. Having experienced various changes over the course of the century, Dievturība has not disappeared from the Latvian cultural space and gained new manifestations with an increase in attempts to strengthen indigenous identity as a result of the pressures of globalization. This article provides a historical analytical overview about the conditions that have determined the reconstruction of the indigenous Latvian religious tradition in the early 20th century, how its form changed in the late 20th century and the types of new features it has acquired nowadays. The beginnings of the Dievturi movement show how dynamic the relationship has been between indigeneity and nationalism: indigenous, cultural and ethnic roots were put forward as the criteria of authenticity for reconstructed paganism, and they fitted in perfectly with nativist discourse, which is based on the conviction that a nation’s ethnic composition must correspond with the state’s titular nation. With the weakening of the Soviet regime, attempts emerged amongst folklore groups to revive ancient Latvian traditions, including religious rituals as well. Distancing itself from the folk tradition preservation movement, Dievturība nowadays nonetheless strives to identify itself as a Latvian lifestyle movement and emphasizes that it represents an ethnic religion which is the people’s spiritual foundation and a part of intangible cultural heritage. In the 21st century, Dievturība is characterized by conflicting aspects: on the one hand, a desire is expressed to contrast itself and its ethnic views from globalization tendencies in its activities, but on the other hand New Age concepts and a self-reflexive character has entered its discourse. Full article
Open AccessArticle US Pagans and Indigenous Americans: Land and Identity
Religions 2019, 10(3), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030152
Received: 2 January 2019 / Revised: 22 February 2019 / Accepted: 27 February 2019 / Published: 1 March 2019
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Abstract
In contrast to many European Pagan communities, ancestors and traditional cultural knowledge of Pagans in the United States of America (US Pagans) are rooted in places we no longer reside. Written from a US Pagan perspective, for an audience of Indigenous Americans, Pagans, [...] Read more.
In contrast to many European Pagan communities, ancestors and traditional cultural knowledge of Pagans in the United States of America (US Pagans) are rooted in places we no longer reside. Written from a US Pagan perspective, for an audience of Indigenous Americans, Pagans, and secondarily scholars of religion, this paper frames US Paganisms as bipartite with traditional and experiential knowledge; explores how being transplanted from ancestral homelands affects US Pagans’ relationship to the land we are on, to the Indigenous people of that land, and any contribution these may make to the larger discussion of indigeneity; and works to dispel common myths about US Pagans by offering examples of practices that the author suggests may be respectful to Indigenous American communities, while inviting Indigenous American comments on this assessment. Full article
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