First and foremost, it’s important to understand just what a pagan religion is. Generally speaking a pagan is anyone who is not a follower of Christianity, Islam, or Judaism, which leaves a lot of wiggle room in the definition. Generally speaking, pagans are often polytheistic, though they may worship a since god from a pantheon, or simply revere the Earth or some other force of nature. Some examples of faiths and practitioners that fall under the pagan umbrella are: Wicca, Asatru, Hinduism, or even those who worship the ancient Greek or Egyptian gods.
Now, the problem that many practitioners of these faiths find is that most of the modern writings advise pagans to practice their faiths outdoors in a place close to nature. For those who live in a city, or in a highly populated area, this may not only be unwise, but downright impossible. So the question remains… what is a city-bound pagan, or even just a person who’s interested in looking into those faiths, to do? The answer: use some common sense and ingenuity.
The first option that many urban pagans take is to have an altar in their home. Often nothing more than a simple table with a cloth, candles, and a representation of their deity is all that they need. However, given the size of the apartments often found in a city, this may not always be a practical option. Also, for those living with roomates or with parents who would rather keep their rituals and beliefs private, still other options must be sought out.
While it’s true that many gods and goddesses are Earth-based, not all of them were. So, if one cannot get into nature to pray, or to make what they view as the proper sacrifices, then it’s often a good idea to focus on other aspects of that god or goddess for inspiration. For instance, while Odin is often associated with nature due to his long journeys, other places that one could commune with him might be at bus or train stations. Small offering could be left at these places as well, but that should not be done without informing someone, as suspicious packages are often seen as threatening at places such as these. Likewise, if one wanted to feel a strong connection with Athena, the place to do this at would be at the public library, or even on a college campus. As a goddess of learning and wisdom, those would be places that, symbolically, she would be easier to reach from than from a tract of forest around a temporary altar.
Urban locations have an energy and a feeling all their own, if a canny practitioner can learn to tap into it. It isn’t that a practitioner is cut off from their god or goddess, but rather that they’re in a different wilderness, and must seek out new plateaus to try and reach their patrons from. For those who are interested in more information on this subject, or who may have questions, a good reference work to seek out is “The Urban Primitive”, by Raven Kaldera and Tannin Schwartzste.