Paganism may seem like the stuff of legends and folklore, but for thousands of practitioners around the globe it is a living, breathing religion.

The UK-based Pagan Federation estimates there are somewhere between 40,000 and 250,000 practicing Pagans in Britain ― a number that includes a range of spiritual communities typically grouped based on their veneration for nature and observance of seasonal cycles.

A recent photo project looks at some of the sacred sites and objects used by Pagans in the UK today.

Photographer Jack Pidduck, 22, said his curiosity about Paganism arose out of “a long-standing interest in theology and spirituality.” He decided to combine this interest with his passion for photography, and created the series, “Divination,” which served as his final project at Nottingham Trent University.

“I was always aware of Pagan belief and worship, but I really had no idea of the specifics of what it was, who they were, or how they practiced,” Pidduck told The Huffington Post.

Pidduck said he reached out to a local group, the Nottingham Pagan Network, to see if he could join their community and photograph some of the sacred sites where they held ceremonies.

“It was a daunting prospect to approach a seemingly closed group of people as an ‘outsider’ ― especially because one of my motivations for being there was to create a photographic representation of them and their faith,” he said.

But the group invited him to join their “moots,” or gatherings, and the “Divination” series came to life.

Jack Pidduck

Inside a burial mound in Wales where offerings to nature deities are left on a ledge.

”It was a pleasure to be able to welcome Jack to our moots and events, as it often is with people who don’t consider themselves Pagan or even as members of the Pagan community,” group member Ashley Mortimer said in an email to HuffPost.

The network doesn’t require participants to share their beliefs or practices, Mortimer said, but rather strives to foster “an environment where those interested in Paganism can discover, experience and learn regardless of the reason for their interest, whether it be personal spiritual journey or ‘outside’ enquiry.”

Through his own exploration, Pidduck decided to focus his project on the natural and man-made sites where British Pagans hold rituals and leave offerings to deities.

“On a base level, much of modern Paganism is inextricably linked to the natural world,” he said. “Fortunately, Nottingham is situated close to the Peak District National Park, which has a rich history of ancient sites of worship such as stone circles and burial mounds. These sites have been reclaimed as sacred places in recent decades as the open practice of Pagan faith has resurfaced in a substantial way.”

Scroll down to see a selection from Jack Pidduck’s “Divination” photo series, with captions from the photographer: 

The Wall

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