As part of an interesting trend in the modern resurrection of Paganism, the first Pagan chaplain has been appointed at New York’s Syracuse University. What’s also intriguing is that this chaplain is a woman, Mary Hudson, whose appointment is heralded as part of an effort to be “more inclusive of all religions on campus.”

It appears that there is a virtual Renaissance of pre-Christian culture, including religion and mythology, in various parts of the Free World. This situation can be found not only in the United States but also in New Zealand, for example, where “paganism is so hot right now.” Those were the remarks of an organizer for a recent “Pagan Invasion” conference in Morrisville:

“We have school teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, police officers,” says organiser Tracey Royce.

In fact, in the last census there were over 1800 wiccans, spiritualists and druids resident in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, back at Syracuse – which “may be only the second university in the nation to have a pagan chaplain” – perhaps the very small Pagan student body will increase with this encouraging development.

While I personally cannot say what these or any other individuals define as “Paganism” in this modern era, as a scholar of comparative religion and mythology, I can attest that the ancient pre-Christian worship revolved significantly around the sun, moon, stars, constellations, planets, Earth, wind, rain, water, etc. It was, in other words, essentially nature worship or, as concerns the cosmic part in particular, what we are currently calling “astrotheology.” In this regard, any shift towards Paganism is a welcome change from the woman-oppressing, Abrahamic desert-warrior cults that led to the destruction of native European culture, to which much Pagan mythos and ritual is attributed.

Neopaganism in the world

Global distribution of Neopaganism

Sources & Further Reading

First Pagan Chaplain Appointed at Syracuse University
Morrinsville prepares for pagan invasion