Navigating Academia and Spirituality from a Pagan Perspective


  • Michael York Cherry Hill Seminary



Paganism, Wicca


From early encounters with Methodism, Will Durant and Anton LaVey, my spiritual questing intersected with the Haight-Ashbury Counterculture. One culmination of this encounter was the emergence of the Strawberry Hill Coven. A second culmination was my disenchantment with Turtle Island and self-exile to Europe. In time – after many years of wandering through both Europe and India, I began to read for my Ph.D. at King’s College London and became completely seduced by the academic world. This seduction coincided with the rise of contemporary Western paganism as a new religious movement as well as the sociological interest in understanding the movement. The rest of this contribution delineates what I have been able to witness of the advance of Pagan Studies within the field of education. Successes have been slow but incremental and steady. For the well-being of our planet, they are also vitally necessary.

Author Biography

Michael York, Cherry Hill Seminary

Michael York formerly taught and directed the Sophia Centre for the study of cultural astronomy at Bath Spa University College, UK. He is now on the faculty at Cherry Hill Seminary.


Altheim, Franz. A History of Roman Religion. Translated by H. Mattingly. London: Methuen, 1938 [1931].

Durant, William James. The Story of Philosophy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1926.

Hardman, Charlotte, and Graham Harvey. Paganism Today: Wiccans, Druids, The Goddess and Ancient Earth Traditions for the Twenty-first Century. London: Thorsons, 1996.

Martin, David. “Pews for Pagans.” The Times Literary Supplement, 5 March 2004.

Murray, Margaret. The God of the Witches. London: Sampson Low, 1933.

Renfrew, Colin. Archaeology and Language: The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins. London: Pimlico, 1987.

York, Michael. The Divine versus the Asurian: An Interpretation of Indo-European Cult and Myth. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1995.

———. The Emerging Network: A Sociology of the New Age and Neo pagan Movements. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1995.

———. Historical Dictionary of New Age Movements. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 2004.

———. Pagan Ethics: Paganism as a World Religion. Amsterdam: Springer (forthcoming).

———. Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion. New York: New York University Press, 2003.

———. The Roman Festival Calendar of Numa Pompilius. New York: Peter Lang, 1986.



How to Cite

York, M. (2016). Navigating Academia and Spirituality from a Pagan Perspective. Pomegranate, 17(1-2), 115–127.



Special Section - Paths into Pagan Studies: Autobiographical Reflections