How James Frazer (inadvertently) saved Easter for Neo-Pagans

“Reborn” by Tomasz Alen Kopera

Rebirth is something very much on my mind at this time of year, as I notice the the buds appearing on the trees, the birds singing again in the morning, and the wild geese returning north. For this Pagan, Easter is celebration of the parousia, the manifestation of Indestructible Life which shows forth in the warming sun and the rising green grass, as well as in the lifting of my spirit from the shroud of internal winter. So I feel no cognitive dissonance in celebrating the Easter holiday with my Christian wife this year. The point for me isn’t that Jesus was a Dying God, but that the Dying God lives in me. Whether life is in humans, in animals, or in plants, it is always Life, and when the incomprehensible point that is called rebirth comes, it is always Jesus who returns, alike to a tree and to a human being. [Read more...]

New Post at Humanistic Paganism: “The Mystic Demystified: Making theistic language serve the religious naturalist”

I have a new essay which analyzes how a poem by Don Marquis was modified for inclusion in the Unitarian Universalist hymnal. A comparison of poem and the hymn provides an interesting case study in the how religious naturalists use religious language. [Read more...]

In Defense of an Eclectic Pantheon

gods_faces

I think the prohibition against mixing pantheons has less to do with the gods and what they do or do not like and more to do with us.  When we mix pantheons it creates cognitive dissonance, at least for some of us. I think all this talk about the gods being uncomfortable with each other is us projecting our own cognitive dissonance onto them.  If the gods are more than our projections, then they must be beyond such human limitations as xenophobia.  Let’s own up to the real reason for our discomfort. [Read more...]

Five ritualists I’d like to invite to dinner, Part 2: Steven Posch

Steven Posch

“Paganisms are not proselytizing religions. We don’t have to proselytize. Our job is to provide for ourselves a vibrant, flexible, and ongoing sustained pagan culture that is so beautiful, so rich with, and so sexy and so desirable that people will want to come to us because they see us and they say, ‘I want what they have.’” — Steven Posch [Read more...]

Love, Earth, Body, Ritual: These are the threads of my emerging spiritual tapestry.

Celtic cross tapestry in my bedroom

Love, Earth, Body, Ritual: Over the next few months I’ll be writing about how I am attempting to weave these threads together into a meaningful spiritual practice. [Read more...]

The baby is the bathwater: Why I haven’t joined the Unitarian church

BabyandBathWater

It seems to me that, in religious matters, we just can’t throw out the bathwater without throwing out the baby too. Perhaps, in some sense, the baby is the bathwater. Because religion is a human endeavor and we humans are mixed bag, it seems there is no separating the good and the bad — at least not entirely. I wonder if it’s really possible to have the enthusiasm, the passion, and self-transcendence without at least risking dogmatism, literalism, and intolerance. [Read more...]

New Family Spring Equinox Ritual: Connections

photo

“The Goddess and the God are present in the physical world. They are the physical world. We are part of the world. And so the Goddess and the God are present in us, in our bodies, in our hands. And when we touch each other, we are touching the Goddess and the God, and they are touching each other, through us.” [Read more...]

“A mighty host respond”: Pagan unity through diversity

Three mountains diverged in the sky, and I—I took one of them and you took the other. And that has made all the difference.

Is it possible to build a religious community around the idea of celebrating difference? Is it possible that what makes us “Pagan” is not what we have in common, but the ways we are different? Perhaps being “Pagan” means nothing more (and nothing less) than being one those who have gathered around this word, “Pagan”, gathered together to celebrate not a single meaning, but to celebrate the diversity of what that word means to us. [Read more...]

A Devotional Practice with the World at its Center

From my visit to Muir Woods

I realized that devotional practice is not limited to deity-centered religion. There can be an earth-centered or nature-centered kind of devotion too. What I needed was to develop a devotional religious practice, not toward gods, but toward the world. I needed to embrace the world as my Beloved, as my waiting lover. The world is that Divine Other I have been seeking who can draw me out of my ego. And I need a religious practice that will affirm, encourage, and sustain this embrace. [Read more...]

How Vampires Led Me to Paganism

vampires do not sparkle

I just finished reading Margot Adler’s Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side. Adler’s fascination with vampires may seem strange to Pagans, but not me. In fact, vampires led me to Paganism. [Read more...]