Intuition, Rebellion and Tradition

First Encounter Narratives in Mexican Neopaganism




neopaganism, first encounter narratives, Mexico, religious conversion, grounded theory


Neopagans in Mexico City started to communitise only about 20 years ago. An initial analysis of related interview material shows that the narratives they develop about their first contact with neopagan content and their access to the field are framed as a conversion-like process, often connoted as a home-coming or a rebellion against predominant Catholicism. Both narratives are usually mixed with a notion of intuition that led to their further involvement in neopagan groups. Nevertheless, Mexican “folk magic” and vernacular healing traditions, Afro-American religions, and the flourishing esoteric scene in the Mexican capital are already offering links to beliefs and practices that are common in neopaganism, like ritualised ways to interact with transcendent entities, magic, and ideas of an “otherworld”.

This raises various questions related to the underlying dynamics, in brief: how do heterogeneous sociohistorical situations influence emerging religious fields like the neopagan one in the Mexican capital, and how do these interactions shape personal religious transformation processes in the wider context of glocalisation, transcultural dynamics, digitalisation and the diversification of the religious field overall? In the light of Adler’s (1979) influential concept of home-coming and Luhrmann’s (1989) theory of the interpretative drift, it remains clear that becoming neopagan is rarely understood as a conversion, and therefore the two contested theoretical approaches are discussed critically and in relation to conversion. Using a grounded theory approach and thus emphasising the emic perspectives of my interviewees, I show how they construct their first encounter narratives and frame them as intuition, rebellion, or tradition, considering the underpinning sociocultural circumstances.




How to Cite

Intuition, Rebellion and Tradition: First Encounter Narratives in Mexican Neopaganism. (2024). Entangled Religions, 15(2).

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