This page summarises the rules for the Obscure Cultus Masterlist project.

Version: 0.1 by Haptalaon - 12th September 2020

“Are you likely to come across this god or tradition in your first three Neopaganism 101 books?”

The ancients followed many different divinities and ways, however, very few of them are sufficiently shiny and interesting to have made it into modern paganism. Common divinities, such as the Deified Roman Emperor, the Lares, or Mars Agricola are almost entirely ignored, as are regional variations.

Meanwhile, other deities and traditions have been blended into a Generic Paganism - where we hear a lot about Brigit and Cerwidden as pan-pagan figures, but little about Artio, Sulis or Epona - other gods of a similar era and location which have not held our collective attention.

Finally, the Pagan consciousness is primarily filled with the gods which were of interest to our forebears - primarily British-Celtic or Roman/Greek state religion, Eurocentric choices which tend to bring a Eurocentric way of thinking about the divine (and when it isn't Eurocentric, it tends to be appropriative and uninterested in the original context) - blurring out other parts of the neo-Pagan revival which draw from very different sources.

  • STRUCTURED: Sites with features such as a ritual calendar, ritual form, god list, discussions of key concepts and values, and a set of prayers.
  • MOVEMENTS: Content by groups, movements - or individuals - is all acceptable, so long as it is “fleshed out” as if it were some kind of movement, tradition or trend. Personal life blogs are not acceptable unless they also have a lot of useable instruction content, easily found.
  • ACCESSIBLE: I must be able to start practicing as an individual based on the website, OR have a sufficiently good idea of how to join, and why I would want to
  • OPEN: Traditions must be open and accepting new members. If aspects of a tradition are closed, then there must be a route for a (sufficiently committed) student to access those elements in time.
  • PAGAN: Knowingly associated with Neo-Paganism, the New Age, Polytheist Reconstructionism, or the Modern Pagan Revival. Traditions such as African Diaspora Faiths, which “look witchy to outsiders but actually wholly different in culture, history and mood”, are not currently being collected.
  • RELIGION: The initial stages of the project are concentrating on pantheons and polytheisms you might not have heard of;
  • SINGLE GODS WITH GOOD RESEARCH: As a Classical Greek god, Dionysus does not pass muster; however, a blogger who is - say - extremely devoted to Dionysus and has a lot of strong content on how to resurrect his cult specifically may make the cut if it is sufficiently well fleshed out.
  • REVEALED TRADITIONS: if you're doing something completely new (and people keep accusing you of having “made it all up”), that's a fit for the project - so long as it is useable by others.
  • POP CULTURE: if you've reconstructed a useable pop-culture faith, and it has elements like a ritual system and calendar, it's a fit
  • COMMUNITY MEETUP GROUPS: Websites for local covens, groves, or pagan sects. There's a difference between Modern Minoan Paganism, and the East London Minoan Wicca meetup group. However, if your local meetup group has a lot of information about their trad on the site, and it is extremely distinct from what anyone else is doing, it may make the cut. All Paganisms started as five people meeting in a living room.
  • MAGICAL TECH: There are a lot of variant ritual forms, skillsets, magical technologies and occult traditions out there; we do not currently collect these, in order to stay focused. Occult/Ceremonial-flavoured traditions are allowed so long as they could be understood as “religion”
  • ECLECTIC WITCHCRAFT: It is normal in Paganism to adapt and blend pre-existing ideas, but your personal blog does not necessarily constitute “new tradition”. However, a new form of religious witchcraft which meets the criteria will be considered (i.e. Herodias-Diana, Holda, Walpurga, fairy faith etc). Wicca variants are also considered on a case by case basis. Concepts like “Sea Witch” or “Crystal Witch” will not, in and of themselves, make the cut; but if you're a sea witch with a developed pantheon of sea gods, a calendar, and a specific ritual form, this may count.
  • BE KIND: Groups associated with white supremacy, transmisogyny or other forms of hate will not be listed
  • PAYWALLED CONTENT: If the reader must attend a correspondence course, pay for tuition, buy your book or subscribe to a patreon, we are not currently collecting it; or if the website seems primarily designed to support your brand persona, rather than spiritual growth. We support free culture and the open internet, peer-to-peer exchange for greater knowledge, not profit. If your site combines paywall and non-paywall content, we will make a judgement call.
  • NOT USABLE: If your expression of tradition is primarily through hints, allusions, mystery-writing, curated images, and the creation of mood, it will not be accepted; this rule primarily exists to rule out Tumblrs, and some bloggers whose commitment to creating a compelling persona without sharing any real information is extremely irritating to me. Similarly, we will not list the name of a tradition we know to have existed in either the mythic or modern path if the name is most of all of what we have. If I can't join your religion by looking at your website, it isn't listed.
  • ALREADY HUGE: There are lots of New Religious Movements out there, but we're only looking for those being practiced on a “hobby” basis. Anything which may arguably be defined as an actual cult in the pejorative sense does not make the cut.
  • RULES ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN: if there's a big gap in the list and your content partially fills it, or you're doing something that makes me go oooh!

Yes. A concept like “Anglo Saxon Heathenry”, in the process of being mainstreamed and constructed, may have several well-thought-out proposals for how such a tradition would operate.

We keep a section of the project for traditions which my gut says “no” to, but where I feel I'm being a little bit unreasonable, in case it's just what a Seeker is looking for.

I have no idea. I haven't assessed them for criteria like

  1. Is this community-leader a predator or terrible person?
  2. Is the historical research actually nonsense?
  3. Is this magically legitimate, does this system get results?

In part, because I have no idea how (as an outsider to these faiths) I would assess them; in part, because individuals have their own requirements which I can't determine for you. Tread with caution and do your own due dilligence.

Anyone can edit the wiki - just ensure your page fits the criteria, and add it to the right section - creating a new one if desired.

If you know you're practicing a new cultus or tradition, but your blog is currently more of a “personal spiritual record” than a “My New Religion 101”, we're happy to link to you after you've done the work of systematising and summarising in order that someone else could easily copy what you're doing.

These ground rules are subject to change as we understand better the needs of the project, what's out there, what we feel really needs to be promoted and spread, and so forth. Version 0.1 of the rules was written by Hap, based on his vision for the project; future versions will be determined through discussion of project members, by taking on board concrit, and as we recognise what is missing.

Obscure Cultus Masterlist Project
Ground Rules The Masterlist How To Help
  • ocm-groundrules/start.txt
  • Last modified: 2020/09/12 07:10
  • by Haptalaon