Neopaganism is often called an Earth-based or nature-based religion because it holds the earth and all of nature to be sacred. The sources from which most Neopagans adapt their beliefs and practices are usually ancient mythologies and include those from the Celtic, Norse, Greek, Roman, Sumerian, and others.
The mythologies of the ancient civilizations are not generally considered to be literally factual or historical in the sense that the Bible is claimed historical, nor are they considered to be scripture. Some Neopagans also draw beliefs from current religions, such as Christianity and Buddhism.
Neopaganism is a very diverse collection of beliefs. Common themes include the reverence for nature or active ecology, Goddess worship, the belief in magic, and often the belief in reincarnation.
Wicca is the most popular form of neopaganism, and was originally founded in the 1930’s. Wiccan and neopaganism practitioners believe in a balance between the feminine and masculine. This balance is represented by the Goddess and God, and traditionally such Pagan deities as Diana, Pan, and Zeus. Most traditions worship Gods and Goddesses as equals, with neither being more important than the other.
Each practitioner is able to create their own set of beliefs about the nature and relationship of the deities. One reason people were drawn to early neopaganism was its lack of dogma.
Wicca and neopaganism do not have a written set of rules for its members to follow, however, three main beliefs guide practitioners: practitioners must do no harm to others; a person’s deeds return to him three times over, and people’s souls are reincarnated.
Although neopaganism and Wicca are practiced in many countries throughout the world, the actual number of practitioners of neopaganism is difficult to determine. The lack of structure and secrecy in initiating members contribute to this difficulty, also many of its members are reluctant to claim membership due to fear of public persecution or prejudice.
Recently it has been estimated that there are somewhere between 300-30,000 covens in the United States today.