Neo-Paganism Timeline: 1990s

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[Note: Dates in the same year are not listed in chronological order.]


1990: Earth Day mobilizes 200 million people in 141 countries.  Approximately a million gather in Central Park in New York City.

1990: The first ecopsychology conference is held in Cambridge, titled “Psychology As If the Whole Earth Mattered”.

1990: Warwick Fox publishes Toward a Transpersonal Ecology: Developing New Foundations for Environmentalism.

1990: Panthea becomes the first Pagan congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA). (It was the first time the UUA board was not unanimous in its decision to accept a congregation.) Crista Landon and Phaedra Christine Heyman (later Bonewits) founded Panthea as a Pagan temple in Chicago in 1986. The congregation lasted until around 2003.

1990: The Starwood festival includes a workshop by Dr. Halim El-Dabh, an Egyptian musicologist, who taught the skills and culture of drumming to Pagans. This was followed the next year with workshops on Native American drumming by Don Waterhawk. Thanks to these men, and Jeff McBride, drum circles are now ubiquitous at Pagan festivals and many other Pagan events.

1990: The Captain Planet animated series airs and lasts until 1996.

1991: The World Wide Web begins to be popularized. An increase in the use of the Internet leads to the creation of many Pagan websites. The rapid increase in the availability of information on Paganism drives the growth of non-traditional, eclectic, and solitary Paganism, as well as teen Paganism.

1991: Aidan Kelly publishes Crafting the Art of Magic which casts serious doubt on the legitimacy of Gerald Gardner’s claims to have been initiated into a survival of an ancient witchcraft religion. Kelly’s book represented one of the first academic studies into the origins of Wicca. The book was heavily criticized by traditionalists.

1991: The Pan Pacific Pagan Alliance is founded by Julia Phillips and others, which later became The Pagan Alliance Inc., with a newsletter The Pagan Times, and branches in every state of Australia.

1991: The term “nature religion” is coined by the American religion studies scholar Catherine Albanese in her work Nature Religion in America: From the Algonkian Indians to the New Age.

1991: The world’s worst oil spill in history occurs in Kuwait during war with Iraq. Kuwaiti oil fires burn a billion barrels of oil.

1992: Theodore Roszak coins the term “ecopsychology” in his book The Voice of the Earth.

1992:  The Church of All Worlds becomes the first legally incorporated Pagan church in Australia.

1992: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro. The International Convention on Biological Diversity is also held.

1992: The term “ecological footprint” is coined by William Rees.

1992: Daniel Quinn publishes Ishmael, which uses a Socratic dialogue with a telepathic gorilla to deconstruct the cultural myth that humans are the pinnacle of biological evolution. Ishmael and its sequels inspired proponents of the deep ecology and anarcho-primitivism movements.

1993: Re-imagining Conference held in Minneapolis, MN. A “Blessing over Milk and Honey” is performed, reimagining the Eucharist in terms of feminist spirituality.

1993: The Covenant of the Goddess is represented at the Parliament of the World’s Religions at Chicago. The then-First Officer, Phyllis Curot requests permission of Roman Catholic Archbishop Bernardinto to hold a circle ceremony at a nearby park, which was granted, resulting in national press coverage for Pagans. The Greek Orthodox delegation departs the Parliament proceedings in protest over the very presence of Pagans.

1993: Scott Cunningham dies.

1994: The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Twin Cities Metropolitan area has been dubbed “Paganistan” by Steve Posch.

1994: The journal of the Pagan Federation changes its name from “The Wiccan” to “Pagan Dawn”, reflecting a broader Pagan membership.

1995: The Unitarian Universalist Assembly votes to acknowledge “earth-centered” spirituality in its by-laws as a major source of UUA beliefs.  Two years earlier, in 1993, the UUA included Goddess and earth-centered songs in its new hymnal.

1995: Actress Cybill Shepherd comes out as pagan at the 1995 Golden Globe Awards, stating “And I want to thank the Great Mother Goddess of the gift of righteous anger and for all her strength and inspiration. Blessed be!” She later explains that she is a “Christian Pagan Buddhist Goddess worshiper” and a feminist.

1996: Witchcraft becomes televised with Sabrina: the Teenage Witch (a sort-of modern-day teenage Bewitched). The movie The Craft is released the same year, and is credited with bringing many adolescents into Pagan Witchcraft. In 1997 and 1998, the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed airs. In 1997, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published. Also in 1998, Practical Magic appears in theaters. These television series, movies, and books portray characters who are (more or less) openly witches, but not stereotypically evil. This also marks the beginning of an increasing commercialization of witchcraft.

1996: Toteg is reconstituted by Joseph Wilson.

1997: Wren Walker and Fritz Jung found WitchVox to be a Pagan resource center on the World Wide Web. The site grows to be the largest Pagan Internet site.

1997: Pomegranate, the first academic journal of Pagan studies, is created.

1997: Five cardinals send a letter petitioning the Pope to declare a fifth Marian dogma, proclaiming Mary as the “co-redemptrix with Jesus the redeemer” and “mediatrix of all graces with Jesus”.

1997: The first non-Wiccan president of Pagan Federation is elected.

1997: The Australian Pagan Awareness Network is founded to correct misinformation, raise awareness and educate the general public about Paganism.

1997: The Kyoto Protocol is negotiated in Kyoto, Japan as an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.Countries that ratify this protocol commit to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases.  The U.S. rejects the Kyoto Protocol in 1999.

1998: The first Pagan Pride Day is held in Indianapolis, Indiana.

1998: Madonna’s “Frozen” video premieres, with Madonna portrayed as a gothic witch figure.

1999: Ronald Hutton publishes The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Hutton has been called a “gentle iconoclast”. His work arguably ends the controversy regarding Gerald Gardner’s myth of the origin of Neo-Pagan witchcraft.

1999: Starhawk publishes a 20th anniversary revised and updated edition of The Spiral Dance.

1999: Doreen Valiente dies.

1999: World human population reaches 6 billion.

2000: Cynthia Eller publishes The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won’t Give Women a Future. Although only declaring what many Pagans and feminist Goddess worshipers had already concluded, the publication of a book with so bold a title reflected the end of the historicism which marked the early phases of the Pagan revival.

2000: Stewart Farrar dies.

2000: A Dallas City Council invites a Wiccan to offer the invocation.

2000: The Wiccan ritual site at the Fort Hood Army Base in Texas is desecrated. The Wiccan army group had been the focus of conservative political animus for the past year or so.


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