The overall purpose is to restore and develop apparently lost and repressed forms of spiritual knowledge and practice.
Goddess religion can be a part of NeoPaganism. Some adherents believe that a golden era of humanity existed when Goddess worship was dominant.
NeoPaganism has some spiritual leaders who may express the core beliefs of many adherents, but most describe themselves and the movement as anti-authoritarian. There are, however, big fish and little fish. In academic circles, for instance, Starhawk figures prominently and inspires lesser known seekers who try to emulate her example.
J. Gordon Melton argues in The Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America (1992) that NeoPagans differ from the New Age movement.
New Age enthusiasts often generalize diverse religious ethics, cosmologies and practices to a single belief in Universal Love within All That Is.
NeoPagans, on the other hand, practice within a variety of relatively small groups or Circles, such as Church of Circle Wicca (later renamed Circle Sanctuary).
Some contemporary Pagans believe that there are specific spirits that inhabit various features in the natural world, and that these can be actively communicated with. Some Pagans have reported experiencing communication with spirits dwelling in rocks, plants, trees and animals, as well as power animals or animal spirits who can act as spiritual helpers or guides.¹
Many NeoPagans are women, finding a place to express symbols and themes close to women’s daily experience.
In Canada and the US only the most basic religious data is collected. So it’s hard to say exactly how many NeoPagans exist in North America. Different worldwide estimates are given here.