Book: Imagining A Virtual Religious Community Neo Pagans On The Internet by Gregory Price GrieveAnyone who has spent time exploring the Internet cannot help but notice the prevalence of Neo-Paganism. This paper answers the seeming paradox of why neo-Paganism, a self-proclaimed nature religion, pervades cyberspace. What defines the social space opened up by the Internet is lack of 'presence,' the face-to-face interaction of oral communication which is generally consid-ered necessary for the formation of authentic communities, reli-gious or otherwise (c.f. Benjamin 1968: 217-251; Eliade 1954: 141-147; Eliade 1957: 111-113, 141-147, 164; Eliade 1978: 162; Levi-Strauss 1970: 286-298; Levinas 1985: 85-92; Ong 1967). Yet, in Benedict Anderson's terms, other media besides speech enable human beings to imagine communities which transgress the hori-zons of face-to-face interaction — "all communities larger than primordial villages of face-to-face contact (and perhaps even those) are imagined" (1983: 15). What is unique about neo-Pagan practitioners is that they are able to imagine a religious community which is not dependent on presence. Instead of presence their Internet communities are sustained by the notion of a religious 'energy' which is created and circulated by 'personal rituals.' It is their shared 'feeling of energy' which binds them together in cyberspace, and enables them to imagine a virtual religious community.
Methodologically, my research on the Internet religious groups and neo-Paganism was collected as a 'virtual ethnographer.' I observed four religious Usenet newsgroups — alt.pagan, soc.religion.bahai, soc.religion.christian and soc.religion.eastern — on the Internet between October 1, 1993 and April 1, 1994. I concentrated on 'alt.pagan,' which exists "for the discussion of paganism and witchcraft in their various forms and traditions; for sharing ideas and ritual and completed liturgy" and "for sharing within a larger community than one might find at home." (FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions document)1 Beyond observing reli-gious newsgroups on the Internet, I also compared the ethno-graphic data from alt.pagan with interactions I had with neo- Pagans at the 1993 World Parliament of Religions, especially with members of Circle — a 'Shamanic Wiccan Church' headquartered near Madison, Wisconsin; and Covenant of The Goddess — a Wiccan Coven headquartered in Berkeley, California.
Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):Vladimir Antonov - Classics Of Spiritual Philosophy And The Present
Medieval Grimoires - Arbatel Of Magic Or The Spiritual Wisdom Of The Ancients
Gregory Price Grieve - Imagining A Virtual Religious Community Neo Pagans On The Internet