Although the main intention of this book is to present studies of the many forms of Paganism in Europe and each one of them is very interesting and clarifying, one thing that impressed me most is the discussion by Strmska about Paganism as a label. Reading about the motifs of the use of the term Pagan for the major community of the so called Pagans, it seems that most people use it as a term to describe them as non-Christians more than a term to describe their own faith. And when we look at the essence of the term in Roman times we are sure that it doesn’t describe us at all, for most of us lives in cities, and it was something to describe the people from the rural area, not in terms of religion. In Christian’s times it is a pejorative term to describe the non-Christian or non-mainstream religions. What occurs to me is that using this term is to accept us as the other ones, the colonized by Rome and Christians, the savages that were romanticized, civilized by the modern world.
I also was particularly interested in Jenny Butler’s text about the Druids of Ireland as she said that the Celtic Hereditary Druidic Tradition tried to differentiate themselves from French and British tradition, but I confess I got a little disappointed with it as it seems to be limit to appearance and white robes issues and even more as she says they used Roman references as elements to nominate the Sidhe and Latin words. Although the group that she studied claimed to have a continuous linage of knowledge, it seems to be as romanticized and syncretic as the French and British traditions of the seventeenth century.
On the other side, as the other authors explains Asatru, Heathenry, Ridnovira and Romuva, I couldn’t hide my delight in finding in them the focus on reconstruction and the aim to rebuild the pre-Christian religions, and as I read them I thought we are a little like them although we are still paying heavy prices for the centuries of romanticized Celts and Druids.
But the most important discussion I see in this book is that it is obvious that Romuva, Druidism, Asatru, Stregueria, Heathenry, Ridnovira and even Shamanism have some points is common, but they are not the same, as well as the as Christians, Jewish and Muslins are very similar but there are no terms to call them generically. Thus why the so colorful and peculiar cultures of ancient Europe should be called by only one term that treats them as a single big culture under a title opposed to the acceptable mainstream religions? As the arguments evolve and the idea of nativity emerges, and the cultures and its religions are presented, it seems that the Idea of the Indo-European multicultural focus of ADF just fits perfectly in this analysis as an example of respect for the diversity and respect for the ancient native cultures of Europe.