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Constellated Ministry for the Pagan Spiritual Landscape

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Pagan traditions are the fastest-growing religious group in America, or so it has often been said since British witchcraft arrived in the late 1950s. Numbers are tricky to come by, but we know that contemporary Pagans report themselves as living in every American state, and in countries around the world. Historian Ronald Hutton is fond of pointing out that witchcraft is the one new religion that England has produced and shared globally.

This volume reviews the shifting landscape of current Pagan spirituality, the unique culture and needs which must be understood in order to engage with contemporary Pagans, and the implications for future leadership, including organizational models, training and educational needs. The author has interviewed Pagan leaders about their own experiences and looks at data from the Pagan Engagement and Spiritual Support survey of 2016 to answer questions such as What does “ministry” mean for Pagans? Who do Pagans turn to for spiritual support? Who ought to be providing that support? Do Pagans want leaders who are trained for ministry? What kind of training do they need, and how do they get it?

Part I reviews some history about how we got here, description of spiritual communities and Pagan characteristics, and a theory of constellated ministry. Part II talks to the people who have been ministering to and leading their communities for decades, relating their experiences to our new model. Part III contains recommendations, tools and ideas for offering effective Pagan ministry. Because some key terminology is often contested by Pagans, a short glossary clarifies some of this book’s vocabulary.

If you are a Pagan who wishes to support others in these ways, you will find here a framework for your own work, including stories and examples. If you are an interfaith minister, a chaplain, or a spiritual leader who finds that Pagans are intersecting with your work, you will become acquainted with the culture of this old-but-new spirituality. If you are an educator, may you find Constellated Ministry useful in teaching seminarians and students of religious studies.

Published: Oct 1, 2021