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Drawing down the goddess: The ancient {female} deities of modern paganism

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Chapter Summary

The rise of neo-Paganism and its scholarly analysis is now an established field of academic enquiry, yet there is a paucity of analysis as to the ancient origins of this multifaceted religion. This chapter attempts to rectify this under-researched area of neo-Pagan studies and offers some possibilities as to the influences of ancient religious and magical traditions on modern spiritualities. It focuses on the societies of Greece and Rome, which were imbued with magical and occult sensibilities that permeated many facets of day-today life, and it is the female deities of the ancients that are of chief consideration. To modern Pagans and Witches, Hecate is an important goddess. Modern worshippers embrace Hecate as a deity to be worshipped in one of two ways: as a bounteous and beneficent goddess reminiscent of Hesiods portrayal or as the figure of later times, namely the chthonic, threatening goddess of curses and dark crossroads.

Keywords: female deities; goddess Hecate; modern Paganism



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