Where To Start?
Paganism is an umbrella term that contains a varied mix under it. This can, indeed, feel a little daunting when attempting to read about the differing pagan paths out there. I will attempt to make it a little easier for you and give you a little information about the more common ones. I will then provide a link or two for each one where you can find more information if you are interested in reading more about it. So, let's get started!
Asatru is based upon Norse faith and tradition, but does have a bit of Germanic tradition in it also. This modern faith was founded by Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson in 1973 in Iceland. This is a polytheistic tradition. A few of the more common deities worshiped in this tradition include Odin, Thor, and Loki. A few websites that provide you with further information on the Asatru path are Eplagarðr Kindred (this site has an Asatru Study Program that is free to download, just look on the left side menu bar for it), Asatru-U (which provides a free online beginners course), and The Asatru Alliance Inc. (This site will be able to provide you with information about the background, basic belief system, and much more about the Asatru tradition).
Druidry is a form of an ancient Celtic religious system and was especially seen in and around Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany. Druids, in general, do not have a fixed set of Gods and/or Goddesses. Some Druids are animists or pantheists while others are polytheists, monotheists, or duotheists. A few of the websites where you can learn more about Druids include The Order of Bards, Ovates, & Druids (great site to learn more about the history, beliefs, values, and lore surrounding Druidry), The Druid Network (has free online courses available along with a list of Druid Orders and Groves worldwide and rites and rituals), and The Druidic Craft of the Wise (a great site with a wealth of information about Druidry and be sure to check out Ariel's Corner).
Then of course you have the Eclectic path that many choose to follow. The Eclectic path is a way for people to combine the parts of various types of traditions and beliefs into a working concept of their own. While many Eclectics are solitary practitioners, there are also groups that can be found. To learn more about the Eclectic path you can visit The Urban Pagan (for a basic summary of what it means to be an Eclectic).
This one is pretty obvious. it follows the structure of the Egyptian religion. This is sometimes called Kemetic or Kemetic Reconstruction. This is a polytheistic religion. Some of the more common deities that are worshiped in this religion are Isis, Osiris, Bast, and Ra. A couple of websites where you can find more information on the Egyptian religion are Church of the Eternal Source (which has an informative Q&A area, an outline of the Egyptian Religion, and an online newsletter) and International Network of Kemetics (which has a nice FAQ and an informative forum that is definitely worth the visit and no need to register).
Also called Faery, this was passed down from Victor and Cora Anderson. This has been described as a "rich and diverse spiritual practice that encompasses shamanic practices and specific exercises of meditation and energy work". To learn more about this tradition, you can visit these sites for more information. Feri Tradition (this will give you a very comprehensive history and information about the Feri Tradition) and Feri Tradition: Articles, Exercises, and Lore (this is a great site if you find the Feri Tradition interesting and want to learn more about it. This site has daily exercises, beginning classes, and even workbooks to help you along your path).
Gnosticism comes from the Greek word 'gnosis' which means 'knowledge'. Gnostics believe that the world is flawed because it was created in a flawed manner. To learn more about Gnosticism you can visit The Gnosis Archive (this site will give you a summary of the beliefs of Gnostics and the reasoning behind their beliefs).
While all of these are slightly different, I do find that most people work with at least two of these, if not all three, in combination together. I found an excerpt from "The Way of the Green Witch" by Arin Murphy-Hiscock that explains them beautifully.
"The green witch uses natural elements to improve the well being of the physical body, the spirit and soul, and the environment. The green witch practices mainly alone by forging a personal connection with the natural world." To learn more about Green Witchery visit The Green Witch to learn what being a Green Witch is all about.
"The kitchen witch is family oriented and focuses on magic performed in the heart of the modern home, the kitchen. Magical practices are based on and include cooking, cleaning, baking and so forth. She/He works intuitively rather than ritually." To learn more about the ins and outs of Kitchen Witchery you can visit the Kitchen Witch Corner and learn what you should have on hand along with correspondences and magickal ingredients.
"A term used mainly in the UK, the hedge witch lives close to nature, often away from urban areas. The modern hedge witch usually practices solo and is of a neopagan path, using personal spellcraft as a basis for her/his work. Can also be referred to as a cottage witch". To get a more in depth view of what Hedge Witchery is all about you can visit Spiritual Forums.
Hellenic is based upon honoring the Greek deities and following the traditions and philosophies of the ancient Greeks. This is a polytheistic religions who honor the popular Greek deities such as Hera, Zeus, Athena, and Demeter. To find more information on Hellenic Paganism you can visit these sites: Pagan/Wicca (this will give you a basic overview of the Hellenic view and will give you other links to follow for more in depth information) and Hellenismos.us (this is a forum where you can find a wealth of information including history, values and ethics, rituals, and even a beginner's corner).
Stregheria celebrates the early Italian Witchcraft, and is often called 'La Vecchia Religione' which means 'The Old Religion' or Strega. There are many sources that say that Stregheria was based upon writings of Charles Leland. A couple of the more common deities that are worshiped include Diana and Fortuna. A website that can give you more information on Stregheria is Fabrisia Boschetto's Website (which will give you interesting and informative information that includes ethics and beliefs, along with myths and Strega concepts).
There are many different branches of Wicca such as Celtic, Alexandrian, Dianic, Gardnerian, and so many more. Wiccan Together has put together a page describing some of the more common branches of Wicca. Everyday, it seems, there are new branches of Wicca emerging to fit the needs of the Wiccan community. It would certainly be in your best interest, if you interested in Wicca, to spend some time of your own researching the many different traditions of Wicca. Here are a couple of websites that can assist you in learning more about Wicca such as Wicca (a great site that can answer a lot of the questions about Wicca such as what it is, holidays, terms, and a lot more. This is a site filled with a lot of information. Be sure to explore it well!) and Pagan/Wicca (this is a site filled with useful information for beginners where you can learn all about Wicca).
Harlan on January 07, 2013:
Thank you for the information you have provided here. I have been looking for a site to help me understand the many different paths, while on a quest to discover my true faith. Most of the sites I have happened upon focus more on Wicca than any other path, which has made it nearly impossible to learn more about Paganism, and what path suits me best.