The term "neo-pagan" was coined in the 19th century in reference to Renaissance and Romanticist Hellenophile classicalrevivalism.[α]

"Pagan" as a self-designation appeared in 1964 and 1965, in the publications of the Witchcraft Research Association; at that time, the term was in use by "revivalist Witches" in the United States and the United Kingdom, but unconnected to the broader, counter-culturePagan movement. The modern popularisation of the terms "pagan" and "neopagan", as they are currently understood, is largely traced to Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, co-founder of "the 1st Neo-Pagan Church of All Worlds" who, beginning in 1967 with the early issues of Green Egg, used both terms for the growing movement. This usage has been common since the pagan revival in the 1970s.


The term "neopagan" provides a means of distinguishing between historical pagans of ancient cultures and the adherents of modern religious movements. This category of religions includes syncretic or eclectic approaches like Wicca, Neo-druidism, andneoshamanism at one end of the spectrum, as well as culturally specific traditions, such as the many varieties of polytheistic reconstructionism, at the other. However, some reconstructionists reject the term "neopagan" because they wish to set their historically oriented approach apart from generic "neopagan" eclecticism.[8][9] Scholarly writers often prefer the term "contemporary paganism" to cover all new polytheistic religious movements, a usage favoured by The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, the leading peer-reviewed journal in the field.

"Heathen", "Heathenism" or "Heathenry" as a self-designation of adherents of Germanic neopaganism appeared in the late 1990s.[β]

In 2005, the American scholar of religious studies Michael F. Strmiska argued that the modern adoption of the term "Pagan" was "a deliberate act of defiance" against "traditional, Christian-dominated society", and that, on the other hand, "Neopagan" is often deemed offensive and not used by many contemporary Pagans, who claim that the inclusion of the term "neo" disconnects them from their ancient polytheistic ancestors.

The Prayer

THE noxious god, the noxious spirit of the neck, the neck-spirit of the desert, the neck-spirit of the mountains, the neck-spirit of the sea, the neck-spirit of the morass, the noxious spirit of the city, this noxious wind which seizes the body and the health of the body.
Spirit of Heaven, remember! Spirit of Earth, remember!

He who makes an image which injures the man, an evil face, an evil eye, an evil mouth, an evil tongue, evil lips, an evil poison.
Spirit of Heaven, remember! Spirit of Earth, remember!

The cruel spirit, the strong spirit of the head, the head-spirit that departs not, the head-spirit that goes not forth, the head-spirit that will not go, the noxious head spirit.
Spirit of Heaven, remember! Spirit of Earth, remember!

May Nin-cigal, the wife of Nin-a’su, turn her face toward an-other place; may the noxious spirit go forth and seize another. May the propitious spirit and the propitious genii settle upon his body.
Spirit of Heaven, remember! Spirit of Earth, remember!

May Nebs, the great steward, the recliner supreme among the gods, like the god who has begotten him, seize upon his head; against his life may he not break forth.
Spirit of Heaven, remember! Spirit of Earth, remember!

On the sick man by the sacrifice of mercy may perfect health shine like bronze; may the Sun-god give this man life; may Merodach, the eldest son of the deep, give him strength, prosperity and health.
Spirit of Heaven, remember! Spirit of Earth, remember!

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