In these days, when talking about the Modern Europe and North America, the scholars hardly talk about Christian West. In fact, Europe has become increasingly secular lately. The scholars talk more about the Secular West instead. Paganism return.
Since the 19th century, there has been an increasing interest in ancient pre-Christian European religions like ancient Greek, Germanic, Celtic, and Slavic.
When the Ancient meets the Modern
Among modern Pagans, there have been two ways to revive pagan practices. One is eclectism or syncretism, in which elements of historical ethnic religions such as the ancient Norse religion are combined with modern movements such as Wicca or Theosophy. This largely stems from the romantic views of these ancient religions emerging from the 19th century which may not historically accurate.
Another way is a polytheistic reconstruction which is an attempt to bring back the accurate history of these ancient religions. This based on historical sources, archaeological data, and perhaps ethnographic comparison. Reconstructionists avoid embellishing ancient pagan religions with modern movements and ideologies.
Recently, one of the largest movements is the revival of Germanic Paganism or “Heathenry”. Modern Germanic Pagans or Heathens worship their old Germanic gods like Thor and Odin. There are three different approaches to practice these Heathens’ beliefs. Some Heathens emphasize simply the worship of the Germanic gods and believe that anyone regardless of nationality, race, etc. could worship their Gods. These are the universalists.
There are other Heathens who believe that Germanic cultural and spiritual values also need to be heard so that they could become true worshippers of the Germanic gods. Most of the latter group of the Heathens also believe that worship of the Germanic gods is not limited to any particular ethnic or racial background. As long as they are willing to learn something about culture and worship, they are suitable. There are some other Heathens calling themselves the Folkists or Folkish Heathens. They believe that only the White Northern European descent have the right to worship their Gods. These ten to promote White supremacism and other explicitly racist agendas.
The waves of Slavic Paganism happen in Eastern Europe, especially in large Slavic populations. Movement “Rodnevery” claim to revive the Slavic religion which the Eastern Orthodox Christianity replaced. This movement was especially strong in Poland despite the nation’s dominant Catholic churches.
The revival of Greek gods
In Greece, some organizations under the name of “Hellenism” express their desire to revive the ancient Greek religion. These Hellenists call themselves Dodektheists or the believers in twelve gods, namely in Olympian deities.
Some of the Greek enthusiasts are politically inactive meanwhile some of them desired to create a national and ethnic identity for Greece. Some other have been so vocally hostile to the Greek Orthodox Church. Others just only wanted to practice their religion amicably alongside Greek Christians.
Along with the Greek, Germanic, and Slavic paganism, there is also an attempt to revive the Celtic paganism. They are reconstructing back the Celt culture. Modern Celtic Pagans use the Lunas calendar of the ancient Celts and celebrate the solstices and equinoxes as well as the cross-quarter days. Many scholars believe that the Celtic reconstruction has nothing to do with any political agenda or nationalist movement.