A lot of pagans dismiss C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia as nothing more than Christian allegory. This is unfortunate, because even just a quick thumb through the pages reveals a generous helping of pagan aspects as well. Although Lewis’ own religious beliefs can certainly be found throughout the books (most obviously in a direct allegory of Christ’s sacrifice, death and resurrection), he casually mixes in pagan ideas and elements with grace and tolerance. Here are five of my personal favorites:
- Bacchus – Bacchus, the Roman wine god, features prominently in the land of Narnia, making occasional visits and causing general trouble wherever he goes.
- The River Gods – Great creatures who live in the rivers of Narnia. The most impressive portrayal was in the movie version of Prince Caspian, when a huge river god made entirely of water and foam rose out of the water to fight the Telmarines.
- The Trees – The trees of Narnia are often inhabited by dryads but they are powerful in their own right with the ability to move and feel as humans. This is probably my favorite example of Narnia paganism, because it is such a beautiful and literal representation of what many witches believe.
- The White Witch – This one is really more of a personal theory. Although a lot of witches do not particularly like the way we are portrayed in Narnia, as hags and evil sorceresses, I do not think the White Witch and her followers are witches at all. The children are always referred to as ‘Sons of Adam’ and ‘Daughters of Eve’ but the Witch is referred to as a ‘Daughter of Lilith’. I won’t get into the details, but in Christian and Jewish mythology, Lilith was the evil first wife of Adam (this is a point of much contention among pagans, but hear me out), who became a demon and eventually the first vampire, preying namely on pregnant women and children. Sound a little bit like the White Witch, Daughter of Lilith??
- Centaurs and Astrology – The centaurs in Narnia, majestic half-man/half-horse creatures, are often consulted on the stars as they are said to be great astrologers. In one of the books, a Star is even considered a great wiseman.
For those of you interested in fan fiction, this is probably my absolute favorite pagan-related Narnia fic by the wonderful rthstewart: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6555837/1/The_Maenad_of_the_Maquis