What is Pagan Reconstructionism?
Pagan Reconstructionism (also known as "Recon") is a lesser-known modern Pagan movement, that differs from other types of modern Paganism primarily on its reliance on solid academic and historical sources regarding deities, worship and symbolism. Other major differences include the following:
- the rejection of eclectic practices in favor of cultural specificity.
- a respectful attitude toward ancient religious authority along with
acknowledgement of the need for reasonable religious innovation.
- an emphasis on "hard" polytheism (many deities, each as a separate and distinct being).
- a skeptical attitude toward modern unifying theologies, such as (1) Wiccan duotheism ("All gods are one God; all goddesses, one Goddess."); (2) the triple goddess paradigm (Maiden-Mother-Crone); and (3) Jungian archetypalism.
- a respect for individual spiritual inspiration (personal gnosis), while making a clear distinction between practices derived from such inspiration and those based on historical precedent.
While the above list addresses many Reconstructionist beliefs, Reconstructionists are aware of the need to adapt ancient practices to modern circumstances and societal norms. With a few exceptions, Reconstructionists accept worshippers regardless of race, nationality/ancestry or sexual preference. This site will not knowingly link to any sites that support religion as a discriminatory practice.
We would like to thank Drew Campbell for allowing us to paraphrase his description of Reconstructionism from his book Old Stones, New Temples.
How Does Pagan Reconstructionism Compare to Wicca?
As Wicca is the best known modern Pagan religion, people often believe that Pagan Reconstructionist religions are similar to Wicca in their beliefs and practices, even if they are more academic in orientation. This belief is fostered by a large number of poorly researched popular press books on Neo-Paganism that imply that the terms "Wicca" and "Pagan" are interchangeable. In reality, the beliefs and practices of Wicca have very little in common with the beliefs and practices of the various Pagan Reconstructionist religions. Here is a link to an article which shows how different these religions can be from Wicca.
- The Pentagram and the Hammer by Devyn Gillette & Lewis Stead
- This long article by a British Traditional Wiccan and an Asatruar compares Asatru and Wicca, pointing out the relatively few things they have in common, the many differences between them, and some of the problems those differences can cause in communication between Wiccans and Asatruar.