Emerging New Religions From The Street

David Trammel's picture

A comment on this week's (8/18/2020) "Magic Monday" mentioned the rise of new myths among the homeless and displaced on today's streets. Greer has mentioned that in an age of collapse, old religions can falter and fall, new religions rise and gain a foothold. The comments pointed to two fascinating looks at street culture today and the religious practices arising from that environment.

At the very least it paints a culture that most of us have never seen.

The Lost Lords of Neverwhere

Myths Over Miami

These tales also provide a writer some food for thought too.

Ken's picture

Thank you for sharing these. JMG recounts the gist of the Miami story in one of his books, though I don't recall which one at the moment, I was struck by the stories then and this longer account is even more heartrending, but also quite fascinating. As are the runaway street-pagans of Eugene.

I also am fascinated by the Santa Muerte "cult" that has accompanied the narco gangs out of Mexico. I suspect that Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte is connected to the same phenomenon that the children are calling 'Bloody Mary'. The timing is right and the imagery is similar. The "Blue Lady" reminds me of the characters in the movie Avatar as well as the blue robe that the Virgin Mary is frequently pictured wearing in Catholic iconography.


Just as Christianity first took root and flourished among slaves and the poorest of the poor in the latter days of the Roman empire, I think these 'stories' are evolving along similar lines in similar times. And just as a modern evangelical mega-church is a long, long way from the Gnostic communities in the Sinai or an Irish Abbey, it is interesting to try to predict what directions these 'religions' might go. Harsh times breed harsh religions is my guess... and it looks like the narco gangs and the little children of Miami agree.

In the novel I'm currently working on (set 500+ years ahead), the dominant belief system of the region is essentially a rational, monotheistic, deification of the sun. The name Ra is borrowed from the ancient Egyptians, as are the symbols of the ankh and the seven rayed sun, but the details only creep into the story as needed. The one thing that I am sure about is that the sun is LITERALLY the manifestation of Ra in the realm of time and space. And like all worthwhile gods, "It is perilous to look directly upon the face of Ra." I don't suggest you put it to the test unless you're hankering for some real pain and a couple of burnt out retinas!

I chose/created this religion because I predict that in the future, living within the energy budget of one's local area, people will readily recognize that Ra is the true source, with two significant exceptions, of all energy. Even the rain that falls was first evaporated by Ra. Even the wind that blows does so because of Earth's rotation and uneven heating of the Earth's surface by Ra. Food, firewood, passive solar heating, etc.; all comes from Ra. Surely that is worthy of veneration? Interestingly though, not of supplication...

The neighboring communities/cultures of Olympic Island have their own belief systems and my protagonists will gain insights into Neo-native animism and the bear cult of the Sanctuary of Artemis at Bear Mountain before they are done. And then there is Old Fudo, the ancient Yamabushi living in the high mountains of the island, who supposedly flew there hanging from a rainbow colored cloud...

Ken's picture

(from the wiki page) -

"As of 2016-2017, the cult of the Santa Muerte is considered to be one of the fastest-growing new religious movements in the world, with an estimated 10 to 12 million followers, and the single fastest-growing new religious movement in the Americas."

Presuming this is true, I think the veneration of Santa Muerte could be a serious contender for a new religion arising from the collapse of corporate/industrial globalism.