What's The Difference Between New Age and Paganism?

There's a funny saying in the Pagan movement: "The difference between Pagan and New Age is one decimal point" . In other words, a two-day workshop in meditation by a New Age practitioner might cost $300, while the same course given by a Pagan might cost $30.
— From Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers and Other Pagans in America Today, by Margot Adler (Beacon Press, 1989).

That's part of it. Pagans are practicing a religion, and New Age people are often doing business, either as customers or suppliers. Even as religions go, Paganism is economical (or "cheap") since it has no church buildings and no paid clergy. Wicca, probably the best known of the modern Pagan movements, has definite prohibitions against charging money for teaching (of specifically Wiccan subjects), ritual or initiation.

There are other differences. Here is Graham Harvey, in Contemporary Paganism (New York University Press, 1997):-

If Satanism is confused with Paganism because of assertions of their “dark” interests, New Age is distinguishable from Paganism by its obsession with “light” . . . New Age (is) a predominantly white middle-class phenomenon in which health and wealth are prime indicators of spirituality . . . Pagans frequently associate New Age with a “fluffy bunnies” vision of the world: their cosmos is a generous, self-sacrificing and loving place (where) being poor or unwell is a result of spiritual wrong or failure to think positively . . . While many New Agers celebrate the seasonal festivals which Pagans identify as their own, they combine this with a redemptive and millennial metaphor or agenda that is alien to Paganism . . . The two movements appear similar because they celebrate similar festivals, name some similar other-than-human beings, use visualization and meditation, eclectically draw on South Asian, Native American and Shamanic ideas and technology (e.g. chakras and sweat lodges) and read widely in astrology, geomancy, anthropology and Celtic mythology . . . (but) Paganism rejects the gnostic denigration of matter and darkness prevalent in New Age, and celebrates the world as real and given . . . (One might also note) the humor of many Pagan gatherings, in contrast to the seriousness of New Age events" (our emphasis).

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