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New Age and Neopagan Religions in America

New Age and Neopagan Religions in America NR0903.qxd 1/9/06 9:57 AM Page 125 Book Reviews New Age and Neopagan Religions in America. By Sarah Pike. Columbia University Press, 2004. 256 pages. $40.00 cloth. Oil and water. As Sarah Pike admits early on, the New Age movement and contemporary Pagan religions (the term “Neopagan,” popularized in the 1970s, is less and less used by insiders), view each other with suspicion. Pagans consider New Agers to be too focused on money and “white light,” while New Agers reject the dramatic personae created by some Pagans, particularly Goth Witches and ceremonial magicians. Yet both camps, she argues convincingly, have at least some roots in nineteenthcentury American religious ferment. Both are children of H.P. Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society, to the extent to which the Society put ideas of karma, reincarnation, and secret wisdom into the popular mind. Neither contemporary Pagan religions nor New Age movements are typical new religious movements as NRMs are often conceived. There is no single charismatic leader (particularly among the Pagans) and no physical separation from the world, other than in the temporary autonomous zones of the Pagan festival, about which Pike wrote earlier in Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nova Religio University of California Press

New Age and Neopagan Religions in America

Nova Religio , Volume 9 (3) – Feb 1, 2006

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Publisher
University of California Press
Copyright
Copyright © by the University of California Press
ISSN
1092-6690
eISSN
1541-8480
DOI
10.1525/nr.2006.9.3.125
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

NR0903.qxd 1/9/06 9:57 AM Page 125 Book Reviews New Age and Neopagan Religions in America. By Sarah Pike. Columbia University Press, 2004. 256 pages. $40.00 cloth. Oil and water. As Sarah Pike admits early on, the New Age movement and contemporary Pagan religions (the term “Neopagan,” popularized in the 1970s, is less and less used by insiders), view each other with suspicion. Pagans consider New Agers to be too focused on money and “white light,” while New Agers reject the dramatic personae created by some Pagans, particularly Goth Witches and ceremonial magicians. Yet both camps, she argues convincingly, have at least some roots in nineteenthcentury American religious ferment. Both are children of H.P. Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society, to the extent to which the Society put ideas of karma, reincarnation, and secret wisdom into the popular mind. Neither contemporary Pagan religions nor New Age movements are typical new religious movements as NRMs are often conceived. There is no single charismatic leader (particularly among the Pagans) and no physical separation from the world, other than in the temporary autonomous zones of the Pagan festival, about which Pike wrote earlier in Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community.

Journal

Nova ReligioUniversity of California Press

Published: Feb 1, 2006

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