BY SHWETA SARASWAT AND TRICIA TONGCO, GUEST CONTRIBUTORS
It’s Friday night at The Magic Glass, a medium sized bar tucked inside the O’Callaghan Hotel in the center of Dublin. At first glance, the 40-odd people lounging inside seem like average Irish, glowing from the orange of the lamps and the heat of their drink. But they’ve rejected one of the key elements of what it means to be Irish: Catholicism and indeed Christianity.
A group of fit young men compare Celtic tattoos in one corner, a Wiccan crochets a snake doll in another, and a couple at the bar discusses an upcominghandfasting. This is a pagan moot, a regular meeting of the local pagan community including shamans, Wiccans, and Druids.
While such terms may conjure up images of people dancing naked by fire under the moonlight, contemporary paganism is simply the restoration of indigenous religions, especially that of ancient Europe. In recent decades, the Catholic Church has faced a steady decline in levels of practice and a cultural crisis, according to Olivia Cosgrove, co-editor of Ireland’s New Religious Movements. Consequently, non-religious or alternative spiritualities have become more widespread.