Pagan Revival in England

By Ben Cohen

Is Paganism making a come back in England? I hope so – it’s one of the only religions to actually make any sense (worshipping nature rather than an old man with a beard in the sky). From the Guardian:

Paganism is casting its spell over more people now than ever before

in the modern age. There are said to be a quarter of a million

practising pagans in this country, double the number of a decade ago.

That

would make them more numerous than Buddhists (of which there are

144,500, according to the 2001 census) and almost as numerous as Jews

(259,000) – and it doesn’t even allow for the growing tribe of

unofficial, instinctive pagans such as my friend Cath, who planned to

celebrate the summer solstice in the early hours yesterday by “going

out into the garden at dawn and just tuning in”. At Stonehenge at least

30,000 people were expected to watch the sun rise in the company of the

druids who see themselves as practising the ancient faith of

pre-Christian Britain. For them, the sun is symbolic of one aspect of

the “universal force which flows through the world and which can be

encouraged to flow through us”, according to Philip Carr-Gomm, founder

of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids and author of the new Book of

English Magic. The druids are only a small part of modern paganism,

which encompasses a bewildering number of traditions or “paths”, but

central to them all is this idea of a divine force inherent in nature.

It is an individualistic faith that encourages each person to respond

in their own way, so you don’t have to be a druid, or belong to any

kind of order at all.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.