New Religious Movements

Main articles: Irreligion and New religious movements

See also: List of new religious movements

New religious movements, a heterogeneous group of religious faiths emerging since the nineteenth century, often syncretizing, re-interpreting or reviving aspects of older traditions such as Western esotericism (Occultism, New Age, Satanism), Modern Paganism (Wicca, Neopaganism, Hellenism, Polytheistic reconstructionism), Hindu derived religions (Transcendental Meditation), New ethnic religions (Nation of IslamNative American ChurchOrder of Nine Angles), Entheogenic religions, New Thought (Christian Science), some inspired by science-fiction (UFO religions, Scientology), Political Religions, and Parody religions.

A cult is a social group that is defined by its unusual religiousspiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or by its common interest in a particular personality, object or goal.

See also: Sociological Classifications of Religious Movements


Main article : Irreligion

New Thought

Main articles: New Thought and History of New Thought

Modern Paganism

Main articles: Modern Paganism and List of Neopagan movements

Ethnic neopaganism

Main article: Polytheistic reconstructionism

Syncretic neopaganism

Entheogenic religions

Main article: Entheogen

Western esotericism

Main articles: Western esotericismOccultOccultism, Left-hand path and right-hand path, and Magick (Thelema)

New ethnic religions

Main article: Ethnic religion



Native American


Cargo cults

Main article: Cargo cults


Main articles: Cult and Mind Control

New Age

Main articles: New Age and List of New Age topics

Other new

Post-theistic and naturalistic religions

Main articles: Post-theism and Religious naturalism

UFO religions

Main article: UFO religions

New Hindu derived religions

Parody religions

Main article: Parody religion

Political Religions

Main articles: Secularism and Secular Religion

Headquarters of Reiyū-kai.

Japanese New Religions

Japanese New Religions Japanese new religions are new religious movements established in Japan. In Japanese, they are called shinshūkyō (新宗教) or shinkō shūkyō (新興宗教). Japanese scholars classify all religious organizations founded since the middle of the 19th century as “new religions”; thus, the term refers to a great diversity and number of organizations. Most came into being in the...

Morning Falun Dafa exercises in Guangzhou

Falun Gong

Falun Gong Falun Gong or Falun Dafa (“Dharma Wheel Practice” or “Law Wheel Practice”) is a new religious movement that combines meditation and qigong exercises with a moral philosophy centered on the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance (真、善、忍). The practice emphasizes morality and the cultivation of virtue, and identifies as a practice of the Buddhist school,...

A jaguar-shaped cuauhxicalli in the National Museum of Anthropology. This altar-like stone vessel was used to hold the hearts of sacrificial victims. See also chacmool.


Mexicayotl Mexicayotl (Nahuatl word meaning “Essence of the Mexican”, “Mexicanity”; Spanish: Mexicanidad; ) is a movement reviving the indigenous religion, philosophy and traditions of ancient Mexico (Aztec religion and Aztec philosophy) among the Mexican people. The movement came to light in the 1950s, led by Mexico City intellectuals, but has grown significantly on a grassroots level only in more recent times, also spreading to the Mexican immigrants to...

The Indian Shaker Church in Marysville, Washington.

Indian Shaker Church

Indian Shaker Church The Indian Shaker Church is a Christian denomination founded in 1881 by Squaxin shaman John Slocum and his wife Mary Slocum in Washington State. The Indian Shaker Church is a unique blend of American Indian, Catholic, and Protestant beliefs and practices. The Indian Shakers are unrelated to the Shakers of New England (United Society of Believers) and are not to be confused with the Native...

The Ghost Dance of 1889–1891 by the Oglala Lakota at Pine Ridge. Illustration by western artist Frederic Remington, 1890.

Ghost Dance

Ghost Dance The Ghost Dance (Nanissáanah, also called the Ghost Dance of 1890) was a new religious movement incorporated into numerous Native American belief systems. According to the teachings of the Northern Paiute spiritual leader Wovoka (renamed Jack Wilson), proper practice of the dance would reunite the living with spirits of the dead, bring the spirits to fight on...

Ancient Akkadian cylinder seal depicting the goddess Inanna resting her foot on the back of a lion while Ninshubur stands in front of her paying obeisance, c. 2334–2154 BC

Goddess Movement

Goddess Movement The Goddess movement includes spiritual beliefs or practices (chiefly neopagan) which emerged predominantly in North America, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand in the 1970s. The movement grew as a reaction to perceptions of predominant organized religion as male-dominated, and makes use of goddess worship and a focus on gender and femininity. The Goddess...

Pagan Altar Goddess Altar Wicca Coven Occult

Matriarchal Religion

Matriarchal Religion A matriarchal religion is a religion that focuses on a goddess or goddesses. The term is most often used to refer to theories of prehistoric matriarchal religions that were proposed by scholars such as Johann Jakob Bachofen, Jane Ellen Harrison, and Marija Gimbutas, and later popularized by second-wave feminism. In the 20th century,...

Branches of Morus (plant), Emirgan Park, Istanbul. HDR image

Earth Religion

Earth Religion Earth religion is a term used mostly in the context of neopaganism. Earth-centered religion or nature worship is a system of religion based on the veneration of natural phenomena. It covers any religion that worships the earth, nature, or fertility deity, such as the various forms of goddess worship or matriarchal religion. Some find a connection between earth-worship and the Gaia hypothesis. Earth religions are also...

A detail from Gotland runestone G 181, in the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm. The three figures are interpreted as Odin, Thor, and Freyr, deities which have seen their veneration revived among modern Heathens.


Heathenry Heathenry, also termed Heathenism, contemporary Germanic Paganism, or Germanic Neopaganism, is a modern Pagan religion. Scholars of religious studies classify it as a new religious movement. Developed in Europe during the early 20th century, its practitioners model it on the pre-Christian belief systems adhered to by the Germanic peoples of the Iron Age and Early Middle Ages. In an attempt to reconstruct these...

Ceremonial cross of John Frum cargo cult, Tanna island, New Hebrides (now Vanuatu), 1967

Cargo Cult

Cargo Cult The term cargo cult was first used in print in 1945 by Norris Mervyn Bird, repeating a derogatory description used by planters and businessmen in the Australian Territory of Papua. The term was later adopted by anthropologists, and applied retroactively to movements in a much earlier era. In 1964, Peter Lawrence...

The Festival of the Supreme Being, by Pierre-Antoine Demachy (1794)

Cult of the Supreme Being

Cult of the Supreme Being The Cult of the Supreme Being (Culte de l’Être suprême)[note 1] was a form of deism established in France by Maximilien Robespierre during the French Revolution. It was intended to become the state religion of the new French Republic and a replacement for Roman Catholicism and its rival, the Cult of Reason. It went unsupported after the fall...

Fête de la Raison ("Festival of Reason"), Notre Dame, Paris.

Cult of Reason

Cult of Reason The Cult of Reason (Culte de la Raison)[note 1] was France’s first established state-sponsored atheistic religion, intended as a replacement for Catholicism during the French Revolution. After holding sway for barely a year, in 1794 it was officially replaced by the rival Cult of the Supreme Being, promoted by Robespierre. Both cults were officially banned in 1802 by Napoleon...

Positivist temple in Porto Alegre

Religion of Humanity

Religion of Humanity Religion of Humanity (from French Religion de l’Humanité or église positiviste) is a secular religion created by Auguste Comte (1798–1857), the founder of positivist philosophy. Adherents of this religion have built chapels of Humanity in France and Brazil. In the United States and Europe, Comte’s ideas influenced others, and contributed to the emergence of ethical societies and “ethical...



Freemasonry Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons that from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. Modern Freemasonry broadly consists of two main recognition groups. Regular Freemasonry insists that a volume...

Fire Autumn Shaman Girl Twilight Forest Gothic


Neoshamanism Neoshamanism refers to “new” forms of shamanism, or methods of seeking visions or healing. Neoshamanism comprises an eclectic range of beliefs and practices that involve attempts to attain altered states and communicate with a spirit world. Neoshamanic systems may not resemble traditional forms of shamanism. Some have been invented by individual...

The Temple of Eck in Chanhassen, Minnesota, U.S.


Eckankar Eckankar is a religion founded by Paul Twitchell in 1965. It is a non-profit religious group with members in over one hundred countries. The spiritual home is the Temple of Eck in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Eckankar is not affiliated with any other religious group. The movement teaches simple spiritual exercises, such as singing “Hu“, called “a love song to...

A group of Raëlians protesting for gay rights in Wien, Austria


Raëlism Raëlism, also known as Raëlianism, is a UFO religion that was founded in 1970s France by Claude Vorilhon, now known as Raël. Scholars of religion classify Raëlism as a new religious movement. The group is formalised as the International Raëlian Movement (IRM) or Raëlian Church, a hierarchical organisation under Raël’s leadership. Raëlism teaches that an extraterrestrial species known as the...

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Vampire The modern day term, Vampire (derivative of the German vampir), usually refers to mythological or folkloric beings that subsist on the life force of a human being and/or animal. In most cases, vampires are represented as reanimated corpses who feed by draining and consuming the blood of living beings. The word “vampire” is mentioned in Babylonian demonology, and the even more ancient...


Baphomet Baphomet is a deity that the Knights Templar were accused of worshipping, and that subsequently was incorporated into occult and mystical traditions. The name Baphomet appeared in trial transcripts for the Inquisition of the Knights Templar starting in 1307. It first came into popular English usage in the 19th...

Rock Metal Concert Gesture Finger Characters

Contemporary Religious Satanism

Contemporary Religious Satanism Contemporary Religious Satanism: A Critical Anthology is an academic anthology published by Ashgate in 2009 and edited by the Norwegian religious studies scholar Jesper Aa. Petersen. Containing eight separate papers produced by various scholars working in the field of Satanism studies, the book examines different forms of Satanism as practiced in...

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