The Gatherings of the Elders: The Beginnings of a Pagan International
Keywords:Paganism, Yashwant Pathak, Ram Swarup, Christianity, Hinduism, First Nations, Native American
AbstractSince 2003, the International Council for Cultural Studies has organized a five-day “International Conference and Gathering of Elders of Ancient Traditions and Cultures” every third year. Participants include spokesmen of the Maori, Yoruba, Maya, Lakota, etc. religions, as well as neo-Druids, Romuva Lithuanians, etc. Each of the conferences took place in India, with the main organizational input and sponsoring provided by the ICCS’s American chapter. The sources of inspiration for what started as a Hindu outreach to the world’s other remaining or reviving Pagans are several, but can be traced to Hindu philosopher Ram Swarup (1920- 1998). His critiques of Christianity and Islam and particularly his defence of polytheism conclude with an appeal to global Pagan solidarity and networking. The triannual Gathering of Elders has become the Pagan International that he hoped for: genuinely global, rooted in genuine religions and with a positive message.
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