A clear, concise and detailed historical analysis of the eclectic and beautiful visual and material culture of paganism.
The book begins with an introduction that clarifies what we mean by ‘pagan’. It traces the pre-Christian origins of paganism, the development of the different aspects of pagan belief over centuries and how materials from the pre-Christian religions of Europe, North Africa and West Asia are built into the practices of today’s Pagans. The book is then organized into three broad sections – Ancient Ways, Ritual and Community – each containing three themed chapters. For each of the nine themed chapters, illustrated narrative text is interspersed with double-page presentations of the key figures, key stories and key iconography relevant to that theme. Paintings and artefacts are examined in detail, identifying and explaining the symbolism and the stories depicted in each. As the book progresses, readers will not only come to understand the many symbols that define pagan religions and practices, but will also discover the beliefs and philosophies of pagans from around the world, from polytheism to pantheism and from magic and ritual to ideas about the afterlife.