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Constellated Ministry

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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?

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: Jul 27, 2021

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
Introduction Holli Emore
Chapter 1
The Changing Landscape of Today’s Spiritualities Holli Emore
Chapter 2
Who Are Contemporary Pagans? Holli Emore
Chapter 3
A New Ministry Model Holli Emore
Chapter 4
Stories from Pagan Leaders Holli Emore
Chapter 5
Moving Into the Future Holli Emore
Chapter 6
Vision for the Future Holli Emore
End Matter
Resources Holli Emore
Bibliography Holli Emore
Appendix: Group or Solitary: Choices and Spiritual Care Needs in Contemporary Pagan Practice Holli Emore
Index Holli Emore


Holli Emore offers a wise, inspiring and invaluable guide for all those called to the sacred task of tending to the spiritual needs of the modern Pagan community.  She shares a framework of best practices and helpful recommendations, tools and ideas for effective, compassionate, and skillful Pagan ministry and a sustaining vision for all those also called to service.
Phyllis Curott, Priestess, author, attorney and Trustee of the Parliament of the World's Religions

Holli Emore’s seminal Constellated Ministry: A Guide for Those Serving Today’s Pagans has “adjusted the telescope” to bring into focus a new and meaningful understanding of Paganism and all the good it brings into our world. This is a must read for all who wish to enlighten and broaden the depths of their ministry.
Catherine Jensen, Psy.D., Trauma Chaplain, Disaster Spiritual Care Deputy Advisor, American Red Cross Response NHQ

In this book, Holli Emore fills a void in contemporary Paganism. She provides a coherent model for ministry in this very unstructured collection of religious and spiritual traditions in which most adherents practice alone and those who don’t are most likely to gather in small groups that meet in people’s homes. As she notes, ministry now takes place in multiple settings, such as the military, hospitals, prisons, and even airports. She outlines a new type of ministry, which she calls “constellated ministry” that brings together threads from different areas and traditions to help meet the needs of Pagans outside of being their spiritual guide or leader. As she notes, this form of ministry can also be useful for those who now self-define as spiritual but not religious. This book will help inform a new way of ministering to those not in traditional religious organizations and should be on every religious leader’s bookshelf.
Helen A. Berger, Ph.D., Resident Scholar Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University, Professor Emerita of Sociology, West Chester University

The book is amazingly comprehensive, and perfect for Pagans/Heathens/etc. who feel called to do ministry of any kind. It gives guidance to untrained folks who find themselves unexpectedly in leadership positions in our changing times. Shifting the focus from locations and individuals, the usual Pagan group paradigm, to a more “constellated” point of view may provide a firmer basis for Pagan ministry in the future. This is a must-read for anyone considering a ministry in the Pagan communities.
Rev. Kirk S. Thomas, Priest and former Archdruid of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF)

Ministry and chaplaincy grow increasingly complex and nuanced as Western societies evolve and diversify in their spiritual affiliations and needs. Holli Emore’s book is a wise guide through the landscape of Pagan chaplaincy that will aid both those working or training as Pagan chaplains and those who may be called to serve Pagans in a non-denominational ministry. The book draws on insights from Emore’s wide experience in chaplaincy and from her important research in the Pagan Engagement and Spiritual Support Survey. Constellated Ministry is a highly useful resource for those interested in Pagan practice today.
Vivianne Crowley, Ph.D., King’s College, University of London

Many Pagans interested in ministry will undoubtedly find this a useful guide, especially if based in the United States. For scholars of new religions, this book offers an interesting insight into how modern Pagans in the United States are responding to their growing presence in the country’s religious landscape and adapting to the challenges posed by their community’s sociological makeup.
Nova Religio

All those looking beyond insular individualistic Paganism should read this book.
Pagan Ireland