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Pagan Family ValuesChildhood and the Religious Imagination in Contemporary American Paganism$
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S. Zohreh Kermani

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814769744

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814769744.001.0001

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Old Souls

Old Souls

Pagan Childhood

Chapter:
(p.57) 2 Old Souls
Source:
Pagan Family Values
Author(s):

Pagan Childhood

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814769744.003.0003

This chapter looks at Pagan childhood as an idealized realm that is constructed, maintained, and sometimes exploited by Pagan adults. Pagans' appreciation for childhood as a protected temporal and ideological category that emerges from Romantic and New Age ideals of purity, magic, and innocence reflects adult Pagans' desires. The chapter questions whether these ideals also reflect Pagan children's experiences. The romanticized images of childhood that are built and maintained by Pagan adults often lead to an overvaluation of “childlike” or “innocent” qualities in adults. Pagan understandings of the role and nature of the idealized concept of the “child” influence the spiritual imaginations and religious worlds of both Pagan adults and Pagan children. Contemporary Paganism seems to encourage a childlike immaturity in adults and, in some ways, an overly precocious maturity in children.

Keywords:   Pagan childhood, Pagan adults, Pagan children, contemporary Paganism, childlike immaturity, maturity

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