The Parthenon, an ancient pre-Christian temple in Athens dedicated to the goddess Athena.
In the first case, there is a deeply felt need to connect with the past as a source of spiritual strength and wisdom; in the second case, there is the idealistic hope that a spirituality of nature can be gleaned from ancient sources and shared with all humanity." Strmiska notes that Pagan groups can be "divided along a continuum: at one end are those that aim to reconstruct the ancient religious traditions of a particular ethnic group or a linguistic or geographic area to the highest degree possible; at the other end are those that freely blend traditions of different areas, peoples, and time periods." Reconstructionists do not altogether reject innovation in their interpretation and adaptation of the source material, however they do believe that the source material conveys greater authenticity and thus should be emphasized.
Strmiska also suggests that this division could be seen as being based on "discourses of identity", with reconstructionists emphasizing a deep-rooted sense of place and people, and eclectics embracing a universality and openness toward humanity and the Earth.
Polytheism, animism and pantheism are common features in Pagan theology.
Rituals take place in both public and in private domestic settings.
From the 1990s onwards, scholars studying the modern Pagan movement have established the academic field of Pagan studies.
A second, less common definition found within Pagan studies – where it has been promoted by the religious studies scholars Michael F.
Critics have pointing out that such claims would cause problems for analytic scholarship by categorising together belief systems with very significant differences, further noting that the term would instead serve modern Pagan interests by giving the movement the appearance of being far larger on the world stage.
Doyle White stated that those modern religions which drew upon the pre-Christian belief systems of other parts of the world, such as Sub-Saharan Africa or the Americas, could not be seen as part of the contemporary Pagan movement, which was "fundamentally Eurocentric" in its focus.
This usage has been common since the pagan revival in the 1970s.
According to Strmiska, the reappropriation of the term "pagan" by modern Pagans served as "a deliberate act of defiance" against "traditional, Christian-dominated society", allowing them to use it as a source of "pride and power".
Strmiska and Graham Harvey – characterises modern Paganism as a singular religion, into which groups like Wicca, Druidry, and Heathenry fit as denominations.