Pan’s People? Pagan Magic, Uncertainty and Embodied Desire

  • Dave Green


Set against the threatened ecological backdrop of Ulrich Beck’s Risk Society (1992), there has been a dramatic upsurge in numbers of self-proclaimed nature religions in the West (Albanese, 1990, 2002; Pearson et al., 1998). These heterodox spiritual movements venerate nature as the locus of life, divinity and magic. Invoking Gaian sensibilities and attempting to transcend anthropocentrism, they seek to locate humanity within a sacred and interdependent, though endangered, global ecosystem (for example, Pearson et al., 1998). Contrary to theses of radical de-traditionalisation (see Heelas et al., 1996: 3–7), the spiritual expression of these religions is marked by a return to the symbolism of pre-modern myth, often couched within the Dionysian practices of pre-modern indigenous earth spiritualities, and an emphasis on the sensual. Indeed, Catherine Albanese (1990) traces the roots of contemporary nature religions to the colonial meeting of Protestant settlers and indigenous cultures in North America and the settlers’ attempts to make sense of these nature venerating cultures. She, therefore, sees two distinct strands within the Western experience of contemporary nature religiosity: First, indigenous peoples who wish to reclaim their indigenous animistic practices, in doing so politicising and universalising their struggles as critique of modern excess — indeed of late modernity’s relationship to risk.


Romantic Love Late Modernity Ontological Security Bodily Practice Nature Religion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Albanese, C.L. (1990), Nature Religion in America, Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  2. —(2002), Reconsidering Nature Religion, New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, B. (1983), Imagined Communities, London: Verso.Google Scholar
  4. Atzmon, L. (2003), ‘A Visual Analysis of Anthropomorphism in the Kabbalah: Dissecting the Hebrew Alphabet and Sephirotic Diagram’, Visual Communication. 2(1): 97–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bataille, G. (1957), Eroticism, London: Marion Boyars.Google Scholar
  6. Bauman, Z. (2000), Liquid Modernity, Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  7. —(2003), Liquid Love, Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  8. Beck, U. ([1986] 1992), Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, London: Sage.Google Scholar
  9. Beck, U. and Beck-Gernsheim, E. (1995), The Normal Chaos ofLove, Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  10. Beckford, J. A. (1996), ‘Postmodernity, High Modernity and New Modernity: Three Concepts in Search of Religion’, in K. Flanagan and P. Jupp (eds.), Postmodernity, Sociology and Religion, London: Macmillan, pp. 30–47.Google Scholar
  11. Bender, B. (1998), Stonehenge: Making Space, Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  12. Berger, H. A. (1999), A Community of Witches. Columbia, SC: University of SouthGoogle Scholar
  13. Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  14. Berger, P. L. (1967), The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion, New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  15. Bowman, M. (1996), ‘Cardiac Celts: Images of the Celts in Paganism’, in G. Harvey and C. Hardman (eds.), Paganism Today, London: Thorsons, pp. 242–51.Google Scholar
  16. Carpenter, D. D. (1996), ‘Emergent Nature Spirituality: An Examination of the Major’Google Scholar
  17. Spiritual Contours of the Contemporary Pagan Worldview’, in J. R. Lewis (ed.),Google Scholar
  18. Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft, Albany, NY: SUNY Press, pp. 35–72.Google Scholar
  19. Cohen, H. F. (1994), The Scientific Revolution: A Historiographic Inquiry, Chicago:Google Scholar
  20. Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Couliano, I. P. (1987), Eros and Magic in the Renaissance, Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Crowley, A. (1973), Magick, ed. J. Symonds and K. Grant, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  23. Crowley, V. (1998), Jungian Spirituality, London: Thorsons.Google Scholar
  24. Davis, E (1999), Techgnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information, London: Serpent’s Tail.Google Scholar
  25. Deleuze, G. ([1969] 1990), The Logic of Sense, London: Athlone.Google Scholar
  26. Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. ([1972] 1977), Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press.Google Scholar
  27. —([1980] 1988), A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, London: Athlone.Google Scholar
  28. Durkheim, E. (1915), The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, London: Allen &Google Scholar
  29. Easlea, B. (1980), Witch-Hunting, Magic and The New Philosophy, Brighton: The Harvester Press.Google Scholar
  30. Eilberg-Schwartz, H. (1989), ‘Witches of the West: Neopaganism and Goddess Worship as Enlightenment Religions’, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 5(1): 77–95.Google Scholar
  31. Elliott, A. (2002), ‘Beck’s Sociology of Risk’, Sociology 36(2): 293–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Evola, J. (1983), The Metaphysics of Sex, New York: Inner Traditions.Google Scholar
  33. —(1992), The Yoga of Power. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International.Google Scholar
  34. Faivre, A. (1994), Access to Western Esotericism, Albany, NY: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  35. Ficino, M. (1484), De Amore. Google Scholar
  36. Foucault, M. (1979), The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1: An Introduction, London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  37. —(1987) The History of Sexuality, Vol. 2: The Use of Pleasure, London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  38. —(1988) The History of Sexuality, Vol. 3: The Care of the Self, London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  39. Freud, S. (2001), Totemism and Taboo, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  40. Furedi, F. (2003), Therapy Culture, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  41. Gibbons, B. J. (2001), Spirituality and the Occult: From the Renaissance to the Modern Age, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  42. Giddens, A. (1990), The Consequences ofModernity, Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  43. —(1991), Modernity and Self-Identity, Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  44. —(1992), The Transformation oflntimacy, Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  45. —(2000), The Third Way and its Critics. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  46. Green, D. A. (2004), ‘Wishful Thinking? Notes towards a Psychoanalytic Sociology of Pagan Magic’, Journal for the Academic Study ofMagic, 2: 48–78.Google Scholar
  47. Greenwood, S. (2000), Magic, Witchcraft and the Otherworld: An Anthropology, London: Berg.Google Scholar
  48. Griffin, D. R. (1990), ‘Introduction: Sacred Interconnections’, in D. R. Griffin (ed.), Sacred Interconnections. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  49. Grosz, E. (1994), Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism, Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Hanegraaf, W. (1996), New Age and Western Culture, Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  51. Harris, A. (1996), ‘Sacred Ecology’, in G. Harvey and C. Hardman (eds.), Paganism Google Scholar
  52. Today, London: Thorsons, pp. 149–56.Google Scholar
  53. Heelas, P. (1996), ‘Introduction: Detraditionalization and its Rivals’, in P. Heelas, S. Lash and P. Morris (eds.), Detraditionalization. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 1–20.Google Scholar
  54. Hegel, G. W. F. (1979), The Phenomenology of Spirit. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  55. —(1988) Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion: The Lectures of 1827. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  56. Hetherington, K. (1996), ‘Identity Formation, Space and Social Centrality’, Theory, Culture & Society, 13(4): 33–52.Google Scholar
  57. Hopman, E. E. and Bond, L. (1996), People of the Earth: The New Pagans Speak Out, Rochester, VT: Destiny.Google Scholar
  58. Hutton, R. (2003), Witches, Druids and King Arthur, London: Hambledon and London.Google Scholar
  59. Kaplan, J. (1996), ‘The Reconstruction of the Asatru and Odinist Traditions’, in J. R. Lewis (ed.), Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, pp. 193–236.Google Scholar
  60. Lachman, G. V. (2001), Turn off Your Mind. London: Sidgwick and Jackson.Google Scholar
  61. Lash, S. and Urry, J. (1994), Economies of Signs and Space, London: Sage.Google Scholar
  62. Levitas, R. (1998), The Inclusive Society? Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  63. Lupton, D. (1999), Risk, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  64. Malinowski, B. (1935), Coral Gardens and their Magic, London: George Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  65. Mellor, P. A. and Shilling, C. (1997), Re-forming the Body: Religion, Community and Modernity, London: Sage.Google Scholar
  66. Nightingale, M. (2002), ‘Ritual, Sex, and Neo-Paganism’, in S. Rabinovitch and J. Lewis (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism, New York: The Citadel Press, pp. 224–8.Google Scholar
  67. O’Keefe, D. L. (1982), Stolen Lightning: The Social Theory of Magic, New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  68. Pearson, J., Roberts, R. H. and Samuel, G. (eds.), Nature Religion Today: Paganism in the Modern World, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 45–56.Google Scholar
  69. Phelan, S. (1995), Getting Specific: Postmodern Lesbian Politics, St. Paul, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  70. Pinkola Estes, C. (1992), Women Who Run with the Wolves, London: Rider.Google Scholar
  71. Purkiss, D. (1996), The Witch in History, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  72. Randolph, P. B. (1988) Sexual Magic, New York: Magical Childe.Google Scholar
  73. Reid, S. (2000), ‘Witch Wars: Factors Contributing to Conflict in Pagan Communities’,
  74. Roheim, G. (1955), Magic and Schizophrenia, New York: International Universities Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Roper, L. (1994), Oedipus and the Devil, London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Rosenthal, B. G. (ed.) (1997), The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  77. Said, E. (1978), Orientalism, Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  78. Salomonsen, J. (2002), Enchanted Feminism: the Reclaiming Witches of San Francisco, London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Shnirelman, V. A. (2002), “Christians! Go Home”: A Revival of Neo-Paganism between the Baltic Sea and Transcaucasia (an Overview)’, Journal of Contemporary Religion 17(2): 197–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Shreck, N. and Shreck, S. (2002), Demons of the Flesh, New York: Creation Books.Google Scholar
  81. Smart, B. (2002), Michel Foucault, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  82. Spretnak, C. (1991), States of Grace: The Recovery ofMeaning in the Postmodern Age, San Francisco: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  83. Starhawk (1989), The Spiral Dance. San Francisco: Harper.Google Scholar
  84. —(1990), Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex and Politics, Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  85. Stivers, R. (2001), Technology as Magic: The Triumph of the Irrational, New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  86. Styers, R. (2004), Making Magic, Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Sutcliffe, R. (1996), ‘Left-Hand Path Ritual Magick: an Historical and Philosophical Overview’, in G. Harvey and C. Hardman (eds.), Paganism Today, London: Thorsons, pp. 109–37.Google Scholar
  88. Tambiah, S. J. (1991), Magic, Science, Religion and the Scope ofRationality, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  89. Tiryakian, E. A. (1972) ‘Toward the Sociology of Esoteric Culture’, American Journal of Sociology, 78: 491–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Truzzi, M. (1971), ‘Definition and Dimensions of the Occult: Towards a Sociological Perspective’, Journal of Popular Culture, 5(3): 635–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Vickers, B. (ed.) (1984), Occult and Scientific Mentalities in the Renaissance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  92. Voigt, V. (1992), ‘Sex Magic’, in C. S. Clifton (ed.), Witchcraft Today, Book One: The Modem Craft Movement, St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, pp. 85–108.Google Scholar
  93. Webb, J. (1976), The Occult Establishment. La Salle, Ill.: Open Court Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  94. White, H. (1978), Tropics ofDiscourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  95. Yates, F. (1964), Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  96. —(1967), ‘The Hermetic Tradition in Renaissance Science’, in C. S. Singleton (ed.), Art, Science and History and the Renaissance, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 255–74.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dave Green 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dave Green

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations