IndoPaganism is an umbrella-term which describes the path followed by an ever-increasing number of NeoPagans, who derive the majority of their spiritual inspiration from Hinduism and other indo-origin spiritual paths, such as Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. The term can also be extended to those of a Hindu or indo-tradition background who choose to incorporate elements of NeoPaganism into their practice.
Just as there are many major sects within Hinduism and Buddhism- Shaivism, Vaisnavaism, Shaktism; Theravada, Mahayana, Tibetan- with countless sub-sects, and schools of philosophy and practice within each of them, so IndoPaganism has room for numerous variations and interpretations of the syncretic blending of NeoPaganism and indic spiritual paths. NeoPagans coming from various western backgrounds, such as Gardnerian Wicca, Asatru and Odinism, Ceremonial Magick, eclectic Wicca, Neo-Druidism, etc, feel an undeniable need or calling to intuitively blend the tradition of their choice with Hinduism and/or Buddhism. This results in such permutations as Gardnerian Shaivism, Wiccan Shaktism, Tibetan Buddhist Pagans, etc, although the adherents themselves may not name their paths thusly, or may adopt a path name that they discover that resonates with them.
Up until 2005, the vast majority of IndoPagans believed that they were on a solitary path, and many met with discouragement and confusion at their pantheon choice from the NeoPagan community at large. This rather negative reaction from the NeoPagan community is surprising, coming from a spiritual community that largely prides itself and thrives on syncretism. However, there can be no doubt that there are many NeoPagans who find the greatest spiritual resonance in Hinduism or Buddhism, just as other NeoPagan sects are more commonly inspired by the Celtic, Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian, or other popular pantheons and paradigms from pre-Christian Europe and the Near East.
In November of 2005, the Shakti Wicca and IndoPagan Yahoo!Group was founded and listed in Witchvox, and a surprising number people began subscribing and forming a community. Several months later, as the common needs and wants of the IndoPagan community became clear due to the new fellowship, The IndoPagan Project was founded to address these concerns.
The IndoPagan Project
The IndoPagan Project was founded in January of 2006 after a survey had been distributed among those known in the IndoPagan community, as well as those who came forward to volunteer to complete the survey. A startling degree of commonality was found among the majority of the participants surrounding issues of ritual and educational resource material availability, discouraging attitudes that had met them along their path, and the wish for a visible and accessible community. In order to address these needs, The IndoPagan Project was born with the goals of fulfilling the needs of the emerging IndoPagan community by creating a reference-library of IndoPagan rituals and practices, providing an education, networking and fellowship hub, and also of creating an awareness of and promoting understanding and support for IndoPagans within the NeoPagan world.
The official goals and mission of The IndoPagan Project are as follows:
- The IndoPagan Project seeks to maintain a database of ritual resources that are made available by members of the IndoPagan community, so that others may use them as-is, or intuitively design their own practices using these as a resource of inspiration. The database is always open to new contributions from any who wish to provide them.
- The IndoPagan Project strives to keep track of the achievements and accomplishments of those in the IndoPagan community - such as rites of passage - and also facilitate networking among the like-minded. This will help establish a permanent and expanding community that will holistically develop its own as-yet unseen resources to address its evolving needs.
- The IndoPagan Project wishes to open the lines of communication between the NeoPagan world and the IndoPagan community, in order to foster the acceptance and support that is offered to those who follow Celtic, Norse, Greek, Roman, Egyptian or other more commonly represented pantheons within NeoPaganism. We aim to demonstrate that we are just as serious about our choice of pantheon and spiritual paradigm, as others who take the bulk of their inspiration from pre-Christian European, and Near Eastern traditions are, and that a efficacious blending of NeoPaganism, Hinduism and/or Buddhism can, and IS, being achieved by the IndoPagan community.
- The IndoPagan Project wishes to be forward-thinking in the evolution of IndoPaganism, and begin undertaking the massive responsibility of determining the role of clergy in the IndoPagan community, including what requirements will be set surrounding their training, clerical vows and oaths, establishing which events -NeoPagan, Hindu, and/or Buddhist - should be considered as IndoPagan rites of passage, and becoming legally recognized for better service to the IndoPagan community and NeoPagan community as a whole.
- SHARANYA and the Sha'can Tradition is a combination of Hereditary Craft and traditional Hindu Shakta Tantric traditions. The Maa Batakali Cultural Mission provides fellowship and study gatherings, clerical services, as well as clergy training for those who are able to attend the San Francisco Mandir location. Sha'can clergy are required to master the Sanskrit language, and learn many traditional Hindu rites and rituals. SHARANYA hosts an online discussion group for all others, and also plans on providing a distance 1st degree training program in the Sha-can tradition in the near future.
- Early Vedic Revivalism is practiced by the Aus Dhwer (Eastern Gate) hearth within the Ár nDraíocht Féin Druid Organization, seeking to reconstruct the pre-Sanatana Dharma religion of the Vedas, as practiced by the Indo-European peoples who settled in India.
- Shaiva Wicca generally describes those who follow the teachings of the various Shaiva sects of Hinduism, and blend that with NeoPaganism. Shaivists believe that the personality of the "ultimate reality"(?) is Shiva (who is conceived of either as male or neuter), and worship Shiva as the source of creation.
- Samkhya Wicca refers to a syncretic system that blends Wicca with the Hindu philosophical system of Samkhya. Samkhya philosophy sees the Universe as being made up of spirit (purusha) and matter (prakriti), and spiritual liberation is attatined when the spirit realizes it is not beholden to matter and the restrictions thereof.
- Ceremonialist Tantrika can refer to those whose background is primarily in Golden Dawn or O.T.O.-type Ceremonial, Hermetic, and Chaos Magickal orders, who utilize the philosophies and practices of the Hindu tantrikas as their main form of God-realization and magickal workings.
- IndoWiccan or Hindu Wiccan is another broad term for those who follow a Wiccan path, and are primarily inspired by Hinduism, but have not yet found or created a tradition that suits their particular beliefs at present. It is a slightly more specific term than IndoPagan, as it denotes the specific sect of NeoPaganism that they are adherents to.
- groups.yahoo.com/group/indopaganpaths/: The IndoPagan Paths Discussion Group
- indopaganproject.tripod.com/: The IndoPagan Project
- www.samkhyawicca.org/: Samkhya Wicca
- tigana2.tripod.com: Shaivistic Wicca
- www.maabatakali.org: The Maa BataKali Cultural Mission, Inc., home of the SHARANYA and Sha'can tradition.
- groups.yahoo.com/group/Daughters_Of_Kali/: The Daughers of Kali Discussion Group hosted by the Maa Batakali Cultural Mission.
- sites.google.com/site/sandalwoodgrove/: The Sandalwood Grove
- www.adf.org: Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship