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Glossary of Terms

Not all terms below are agreeable to all Pagans; however, in order to facilitate effective dialogue with non-Pagan authorities in the military, the MPN has chosen to adopt the definitions as proposed by Isaac Bonewits. Some terms were also developed by the MPN specifically for this list. The definition for "Neopaganism" was provided by teh Pagan Educational Network.

Mesopaganism
or "Meso-Paganism" is the word used for those religions founded as attempts to recreate, revive or continue what their founders thought of as the Paleopagan ways of their ancestors (or predecessors), but which were heavily influenced (accidentally, deliberately and/or involuntarily) by the monotheistic and dualistic worldviews of Judaism, Christianity and/or Islam. Examples of Mesopagan belief systems would include Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy, Spiritualism, Druidism as practiced by the Masonic-influenced fraternal movements in Europe and the Celtic Isles, the many Afro-Diasporatic faiths (such as Voudoun, Santeria, Macumba, etc.)
Neopaganism
Collection of diverse contemporary religions rooted in indigenous traditions or deriving inspiration therefrom, characterized by a belief in the interconnection of all life, personal autonomy, and immanent divinities. Often nature-centered and supportive of gender equity.
Pagan
Any person who belongs to a Neopagan or Paleopagan religion. Not generally used by those who are part of a Mesopagan religious group.
Paganism
An umbrella term that covers Neopaganism, Mesopaganism and Paleopaganism.
Paleopaganism
or "Paleo-Paganism" refers to the original tribal faiths of Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas, Oceania and Australia, when they were (or in some cases, still are) practiced as intact belief systems. Of the so-called "Great Religions of the World," Hinduism (prior to the influx of Islam into India), Taoism and Shinto, for example, fall under this category.
Occultist
Any person who belongs to a Mesopagan religious group. Examples are members of the OTO and the Golden Dawn.

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