Flow, Liminality, and Eudaimonia: Pagan Ritual Practice as a Gateway to a Life With Meaning

Charmaine Sonnex*, Chris Roe, Elizabeth C Roxburgh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Paganism is a term applied to a number of nature religions based on traditional indigenous practices. Paganism is practiced through rituals designed to facilitate a flow state that allows practitioners to use magic to achieve their aims. Since the introduction of Wicca to mainstream society in the 1950s, many other Pagan traditions have developed. Similarly, the number of people identifying as Pagan has also increased; in 2011, the number of people identifying as Pagan in the U.K. census reached 80,153. Despite this growth, Paganism is a topic that is underresearched in Psychology. This article uses Ryff’s theory of psychological well-being as a frame-work through which to explore the ways in which Paganism may be particularly conducive to eudemonic well-being as a result of the flow experiences inherent in its practice. This theory posits six key dimensions of eudaimonia: personal growth, self-acceptance, positive relation with others, autonomy, environmental mastery, and purpose in life. The ways in which each of these dimensions is elicited through Paganism is elucidated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-256
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Humanistic Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date5 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • meaning in life
  • paranormal
  • personal growth
  • psychology of religion
  • religion
  • self-acceptance
  • spirituality
  • transpersonal psychology
  • well-being
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Psychology
  • Philosophy


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