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Seeking the Mystery: An Introduction to Pagan Theologies Paperback – May 31, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

As contemporary Paganism puts down its roots in the fertile soil of the 21st century, Pagans are seeking to deepen their understanding of their chosen spiritual path and to explain it to others in shared language. Seeking the Mystery is an important new book that enables Pagans and others to explain contemporary Paganism in the language of theology. It is highly recommended for both theologians and religious practitioners of all faiths.
--Vivianne Crowley, Author of Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Millennium

Grab a pen and start taking notes, because Seeking the Mystery is going to take you on a whirlwind course in Pagan theologies where you are guaranteed to learn something new. Pagans will find language and frameworks here to clarify their own perspectives; non-Pagans will be challenged to a deeper understanding of their own traditions through dialogue with Pagan beliefs.
--Sarah Whedon, Author of Birth on the Labyrinth Path: Sacred Embodiment in the Childbearing Year

An indispensable guide to the myriad varieties of experience, practice and belief among modern Pagans.  Kraemer deftly applies the language of theology without sacrificing the freshness and vitality of this often counter-cultural spiritual movement.
--Holli Emore, Executive Director, Cherry Hill Seminary

I occasionally come across Pagans who think theology is a waste of time, or worse, a harmful exercise. I think those people don't know the difference between bad theology and good theology. Bad theology is about labels and boundaries used to separate orthodoxy from heresy and thus promote conformity. Good theology is about applying the tools of reason to our beliefs and practices, not to dissect them in some hypermaterialist fashion, but to explore their meaning as deeply as we possibly can... Seeking the Mystery is an introduction to good Pagan theology.
--John Beckett, Under the Ancient Oaks


For those modern pagans who are not familiar with theological jargon or technical terms (which is at least 90% of modern pagans, I suspect), this book will be an invaluable guide to these important concepts. The book is virtuous in a variety of ways, including its clarity, its utter lack of dogmatism, its comprehensiveness (especially given the limits of time and space), and also its brevity.... I would recommend it to anyone who is not familiar with basic theological terms in any religion, and to modern pagans in particular.
--P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, Aedicula Antinoi
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 138 pages
  • Publisher: Patheos Press (May 31, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1939221188
  • ISBN-13: 978-1939221186
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,858,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This thoughtful and comprehensive book takes readers on a tour of the evolving theologies of the contemporary Pagan movement. Although the concept of Pagan theology is often questioned both by those studying Pagans (because of the movement's tremendous diversity) and Pagans themselves (because of a resistance to the concept of orthodoxy), Kraemer offers a convincing argument that there are a number of traits defining Paganism, most of which are shared by most Pagans. She is careful to document the wide variety of approaches to the sacred and to honor Paganism's focus on *doing* theology -- through embodied practice -- rather than just thinking it.

In addition to offering definitive information on what Pagans believe to academics, religious studies teachers, and interfaith leaders, this book -- whose author is a practitioner herself -- offers practicing Pagans a way to engage the tools of theology to further develop and discuss their own personal theologies.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this when a small group of Pagan women I belong to online decided to read it. We were all surprised and pleased with this book. Easy to read, but still, written by a religious scholar, we learned terms for our beliefs we either didn't know or didn't really understand before. Most of us felt the book helped us to define our beliefs to ourselves in ways we never attempted. Some of us were challenged into some serious thought and soul-searching.

I would put this on my list of necessary reads for anyone claiming any Pagan religious expression as their own. Most of us agreed there were problems with the second chapter - not in content, but in a preaching 'you must' sort of attitude that I and others found unpleasant. It wasn't repeated elsewhere in the book and the information in that chapter was too valuable to skip over the chapter. That was the only reason this book got 4 instead of 5 stars from me.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Seeking the Mystery is exactly what it claims to be: an *introduction* to Pagan Theologies. Kraemer lays out all the most important basics to understand what "theology" means in a Pagan religion. In fact, reading this book helped me understand my own theology a little better, but putting a name to the various beliefs I've held for years without knowing there were names for them.

While I could wish there were some more exploration of certain terms and thoughts, I understand why Kraemer chose not to do so; again, this is an introduction, not a thorough exploration.

The only thing about this book I didn't like has nothing to do with the writing or the information presented. In this ebook edition, many of the footnote definitions of words or terms are repeated. I don't need a definition of "Wicca" or "polytheism" five times, I only need it once. However, this is a formatting issue, and may have more to do with the publisher than with the writer.
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Kraemer uses plain language and what might be considered surprising calm and directness in unpacking the complex and (truly!) mysterious world of modern Paganism, for which she has obviously great (but tempered) passion, for readers. This book never forgets its audience, always maintaining an even-handed, even keel on its course through this uncharted sea for many. Stereotypes are addressed, differences are recognized, and the evolving energy of the faithful is maintained. I could not recommend this book more nor, as a non-Pagan colleague of Kraemer, be more proud than to experience this work!
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I really enjoyed this book. Not only is it an interesting and educational read it also has given me better terms to describe my religious practice. I recommend it for not only Pagans but those looking to learn more about Pagan Theologies.
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Some would say that understanding modern paganism is like herding cats. In Seeking the Mystery the cats get pretty well herded together. A well written book that is eye opening to those that are curious on the subject and enlightening to the assumptive. Well done and interesting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Modern day paganism is a very diverse set of spiritual pathway. Even followers of the same god/goddess can't always agree on any specific set of beliefs. Therefore, an attempt to summarize pagan theology as a whole is likely to be very difficult.

However, Kraemer did an admirable job of getting to the heart of the matter, summarizing major concepts without feeling like anyone was left out. "Seeking the Mystery" provides an overview of deity, myth, devotion, mortality, and ethics, addressing commonalities as well as differences between not just various pagan faiths, but also between paganism and other religions.

I'd recommend this book to any Wiccan, Druid, Heathen, etc. who is considering their own theological beliefs. It would also be a good introductory text for non-Pagans.
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This is an excellent, short, introduction to Pagan theology. It defines terms, discusses the major themes, and identifies issues without being too verbose or lacking in depth. It is concise and to the point! It describes Paganism in terms of the different modes of thinking (theologies) without being heavy-handing on any. It is respectful of all viewpoints and presents them with very good examples. I think I learned the most from Chapter 1 regarding the Devine and Deities, since I am wrestling with my own thoughts on this subject and trying to determine where I fall in this Pagan stew.

Some of the other points I enjoyed about the book had to do with various Pagan viewpoints on the soul as well as how Pagan ethics differs from standard monotheist or secular ethics. I really appreciated these chapters a lot.

The notes and bibliography sections provide further reading for areas you want to dive into deeper. Being a solitary Pagan, I appreciated introductions to authors I had not heard about before.

This book is an excellent choice. Highly recommended!
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