Semitic neopaganism refers to a group of religions based on or attempting to reconstruct the old religious traditions of the Semitic peoples, mostly practiced among secular Jews in the United States.
In the United States, the notion of historical Israelite or Jewish polytheism has been popularized in the 1960s by Raphael Patai in The Hebrew Goddess, focusing on the cult of female goddesses such as the cult of Asherah in Solomon's Temple.
During the growth of Neopaganism in the United States throughout the 1970s, a number of minor Canaanite or Israelite oriented groups emerged. Most contained syncretistic elements from Western esotericism.
A pink Chai
seen in Jewitchery
Forms of Witchcraft religions inspired by the Semitic milieu, such as Jewitchery, may also be enclosed within the Semitic Neopagan movement. These Witchcraft groups are particularly influenced by Jewish feminism, focusing on the goddess cults of the Israelites.
The most notable contemporary Levantine Neopagan group is known as Am Ha Aretz ( ?, lit. "People of the Land", a rabbinical term for uneducated and religiously unobservant Jews), "AmHA" for short, based in Israel. This group grew out of Ohavei Falcha, "Lovers of the Soil", a movement founded in the late 19th century.
Elie Sheva, according to her own testimony an "elected leader of AmHA" reportedly founded an American branch of the group, known as "Primitive Hebrew Assembly".
Beit Asherah ("House of Asherah"), was one of the first Jewish Neopagan groups, founded in the early 1990s by Stephanie Fox, Steven Posch, and Magenta Griffiths. Magenta Griffiths is High Priestess of the Beit Asherah coven, and a former board member of the Covenant of the Goddess.
Semitic neopagan movements have also been reported in Israel and in Lebanon.
- ^ Jenny Kien, Reinstating the Divine Woman in Judaism (2000), ISBN 978-1-58112-763-8.
- ^ Jennifer Hunter, Magickal Judaism: Connecting Pagan and Jewish Practice. Citadel Press Books, Kensington Publishing Corp., New York, New York, 2006, pp. 18-19.
- ^ Interview with Elie in Being a Pagan: Druids, Wiccans, and Witches Today, by Ellen Evert Hopman and Lawrence Bond (2001), p. 105.
- ^ "Witchvox Article". Retrieved 2016.
- ^ Lewis, James R. (1 January 1999). "Witchcraft Today: An Encyclopedia of Wiccan and Neopagan Traditions". ABC-CLIO. Retrieved 2016 - via Google Books.
- ^ "Covenant of the Goddess - Representing Witches and Wiccans since 1975". Retrieved 2016.
- ^ Ofri Ilani. Paganism returns to the Holy Land. Haaretz, 2009.
- ^ Hanibaael. Paganism and Occultism in Lebanon: These are our beliefs.
- Engelberg, Keren (October 30, 2003). "When Witches Blend Torah and Tarot" reprinted in The Jewish Journal (July 21, 2008)
- Hunter, Jennifer (July 1, 2006). Magickal Judaism: Connecting Pagan & Jewish Practice. Citadel. ISBN 0-8065-2576-2, ISBN 978-0-8065-2576-1.
- Jacobs, Jill Suzanne. "Nice Jewitch Girls Leave Their Brooms in the Closet" in The Forward, Oct 31, 2003
- Michaelson, Jay (December 0"Jewish Paganism: Oxymoron or Innovation?" in The Jewish Daily Forward.
- Raphael, Melissa (April 1998). "Goddess Religion, Postmodern Jewish Feminism, and the Complexity of Alternative Religious Identities". ?Nova Religio, Vol. 1, No. 2, Pages 198-215 (abstract can be found at: Caliber: University of California Press)
- Various authors. "Jewish Paganism" in Green Egg, Winter 1994 (Volume 27, #107).
- Winkler, Rabbi Gershon (January 10, 2003). Magic of the Ordinary: Recovering the Shamanic in Judaism. North Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-55643-444-8, ISBN 978-1-55643-444-0.