This week’s question from the Pagan Perspective YouTube channel is about the differences between “New Age” and “Neo-Paganism”.
Topic for the Week of 8/5: “I’d love to hear your thoughts on the New Age community! I know that Neopagans get lumped in with that community a lot, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on what makes you different and where you think the line is drawn between the two communities, but also what you share in common.”
I want to precursor my response to this one with a bit of a disclaimer. You’re going to find that there’s avast array of different opinions on this particular topic. These are my personal opinions.
Ok, so here we go…
To me, the term “New Age” is an umbrella term that deals with what is very popularly called “Woo“. New Age is essentially ALL the Woo.
That is to say it deals with crystals, tarot, sacred geometry, astrology, light work, energy work, etc. Pretty much a massive conglomeration of “alternative” thought.
I sort of see this in the perspective of a library or a bookstore. When you walk into a library or a bookstore, all the “Woo” is gathered together in a section called “New Age”.
Neo-Paganism is an umbrella term as well, but deals specifically with religion. It doesn’t have to include a deity to be a religion, but it does involve faith, belief, and often also worship.
In the library or bookstore analogy, Neo-Paganism would be a shelf included within the New Age section.
Many New Age things are incorporated INTO Neo-Paganism beliefs and practices, and so understandably there is a hint of blurring between the two. I think that creates a bit of confusion, but I don’t think that blurring is necessarily a bad thing, as it creates an interest and understanding within the larger community of a religious choice that would otherwise be far more of a mysterious secret.
And we all know how uncomfortable society is with what they don’t and/or can’t understand.