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Paganism: An Introduction to Earth- Centered Religions Paperback – July 8, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Most pagan primers jump right into the seasonal calendar, Celtic strands, pentagrams, spell casting and the like. True to form, this offers a judicious overview of the calendar and the general characteristics and essentials of Paganism as the Higginbothams see it interconnectedness and blessedness. To their credit, though, the authors have crafted a very different kind of book, one of great spiritual depth that could be of genuine and lasting service to anyone who is interested in sorting out the whats and whys of belief. Early on, they outline the "big tent" of Paganism that shelters a dozen or more passageways (Wicca, Druidism, Shamanism, Santer¡a, etc.), comparing it to Christianity and its popular denominations (Methodist, Roman Catholic, etc.). Throughout, they employ calm and rational prose that seeks not to proselytize as much as to aid discernment, making good on the authors' claim that, "Whether or not you decide to be a Pagan once you finish [the book] is not as important as providing you with tools to help you identify your values and goals." The seven chapters are nicely paced with illustrations, diagrams, visualization exercises, discussion points and journal prompts, all of which can be used by individuals or groups. The authors tackle the charge of Satanism head-on with success, but even more progressively (and clearly) they weave new discoveries in physics into the life fabric of belief and action. The final chapter explores ethics, and similar to the others, serves the broadest common good.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The founders of both a pagan church and the Council for Alternative Spiritual Traditions, the Higginbothams here offer an overview of the belief systems comprising neopaganism. Included in the discussion are Wicca, Shamanism, Asatru, Celtic traditionalism, Druidism, Santeria, Voodoo, and other forms prevalent in paganism today. The authors proceed from central concepts of interconnectedness and blessedness, to a definition of neopaganism and a discussion of personal responsibility for one's beliefs, to concepts of Deity, Satan, the living universe, "magick," and ethics. The format is similar to that of many self-help books, with text, diagrams, discussion questions, and meditation exercises. This clear, rational, and sympathetic introduction to neopaganism for nonpagans will be helpful to all readers interested in exploring their spirituality. This first book by the Higginbothams complements existing introductions, such as Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon and Graham Harvey's Contemporary Paganism: Listening People, Speaking Earth, at least one of which libraries should already have. Recommended for public and undergraduate libraries and for religion collections. William P. Collins, Library of Congress
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications; First Edition edition (July 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738702226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738702223
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a veteran Witch who has been practicing for over twenty years, the new arrivals on the metaphysical shelves of the bookstores have been, of late, a disappointment. I find most shelves stocked with book upon book of superstitious claptrap, mechanistic models of magick and cookbook-style spellbooks which lower Neo-Paganism, Wicca and Witchcraft to the lowest common denominator.
However, when I picked up this book, I was pleasantly surprised, then delighted, to find that the authors wrote with calm, unemotional prose, with nary a foolishly rhymed spell in sight. Mature, insightful thought is the rule of the day in this book, something that I deeply appreciate, and the authors to go great lengths to anticipate and answer the many "whys" of Neo-Paganism in clear prose that neither talks down to the reader, nor dumbs down the topic.
The topics that are covered include discussions of beliefs about Divinity and the nature of Divinity itself, a cosmology that includes the "New Physics", and a discussion of how magick works. All of these topics are covered thoroughly, intelligently, and ethically, with a no-nonsense view towards helping the reader come to their own conclusions on the subject matter. The "Satan" issue is covered with a thoroughness that surprised me, and included information that I have never seen portrayed in a Neo-Pagan work before.
My only complaint is that the section on ethics was shorter than it could have been. I am one of those Witches who upsets people at Pagan festivals with my view that we need to talk about ethics at any opportunity and work at creating an ethical system that helps the incoming flux of new Pagans understand the behaviors our community does and does not promote.
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Maybe it's just my love for knowledge and workbook style books, but this book made a huge impression on me.
The knowledge is straightforward and addresses two sides of every issue - IE in the Witchcraft v. Satanism issue. They don't simply say, "We don't worship Satan and anyone who says so is a Bible-Beating moron." They present a specific case where they had a conversation with a "fundamentalist," how they resolved it, and used that as a catalyst for their discussion in the book.
I also found that the exercises and journal entries were particularly helpful. Sure, it may be a little "school-ish," but I really enjoy books like that (I always have). Having something in the book that made me THINK about the information I had just learned instead of just memorizing it was very helpful.
I really enjoyed working through this book and I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about Paganism, whether they're following the path or just curious about it.
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Format: Paperback
There seem to be two types of books in the Paganism 101 level--those that emphasize giving you rituals you can do for every conceivable scenario, and those that seek to make your level of understanding of what it means to be Pagan, better. This is the type that brings you understanding and it's the type I prefer. In my mind, rituals are a personal process we must go through--pulling one from a book is a cop-out on that process. That being said, this book is amazing. It breaks down Paganism into its sub-genres (Wicca, Druidry, Shamanism, etc.) and then fits them back into the whole. It gives you exercises to heighten your awareness and asks the good questions that will help you, as a practioner, define for yourself what it means to be a Pagan. It helps you discover what YOUR beliefs are about the Divine, Magick, and the host of other terms bantered about in the Craft on a daily basis. I think this is the best Pagan Book I've ever read and I've been reading them going on 10+ years now. It's one of those books that changes as you do--you'll be able to read it 5 years later and rediscover how your views have changed and it will be just as valuable then. As High Priest of a local coven, this is must read material in my eyes....
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Format: Paperback
If you're a Pagan and your friends and relatives are questioning your choice, ask them to read this book. If they still want to think that you're hellbound, worship Satan or are just a little ditzy, it will put the ball squarely back in their court.
And if you want some powerful reasons for incorporating a Pagan belief/ethical structure into your life, you'll find them very concisely arranged here.
The Higginbothams have done an excellent job of explaining why more and more people today are choosing to follow an earth-centered path in their spiritual practices and daily lives. The book cites every religion from Catholicism to Sufi regarding mysticism, explores the scientific basis of the universal interconnectedness that Pagans claim to experience, and even manages to clearly explain that a Pagan worshiping Satan would be like a squirrel piloting a space shuttle.. context makes it impossible.
This book is NOT another in the long line of shallow 'how-to' Pagan spell/workbooks. It does manage, however, to explain the 'why' of earth-centered spirituality extremely well.
IMHO, the best 'Intro..' on this subject to come out in many Moons.
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