The Neo-Pagan Mysteries, Part 3: The Eternal Return

Neo-Paganism has multiple centers, including Earth, Deity, and Self.  This is the third in an 8-part series that explores Neo-Paganism as a Self-Centric “mystery religion”. This essay was originally published at Neo-Paganism.org. “Rebirth” by Tomasz Alen Kopera “All mortal things, by necessity of Nature, revolve in a wheel of changes. … When they are born they grow, and when they are grown they reach their height, and after that they grow old, and at last perish.... Read more

The Neo-Pagan Mysteries, Part 2: The Meaning of Death

Neo-Paganism has multiple centers, including Earth, Deity, and Self.  This is the second in an 8-part series that explores Neo-Paganism as a Self-Centric “mystery religion”. This essay was originally published at Neo-Paganism.org. “We will meet where the forest is deepest, where the night is blank and there are no stars, for I am your annihilation come to make peace.” — Geoff Bartley, “Language of Stones” Many Neo-Pagans believe in reincarnation. Others do not. Whatever their views on the survival of... Read more

The Neo-Pagan Mysteries, Part 1: Introduction

Neo-Paganism has multiple centers, including Earth, Deity, and Self.  This is the first in an 8-part series that explores Neo-Paganism as a Self-Centric “mystery religion”. This essay was originally published at Neo-Paganism.org. Demeter depicted with her Eleusinian attributes, serpents, grain, and poppies “The mysteries are what is wild in us, what cannot be quantified or contained. But the mysteries are also what is common to us all: blood, breath, heartbeat, the sprouting of seed, the waxing... Read more

Non-Violent Writing: Selma and the “Pagan” question

[Note from the author: Since writing this, I have come to realize (through the comments of patient friends) the degree of the inappropriateness of comparing rhetorical combativeness within the online Pagan community to the racism in the Civil Rights era south. In these online discussion, no matter how toxic, there exists little of the power or privilege which made and continue to make racism so insidious and virulent. Especially in light of recent events, this comparison by a white author such as myself has the... Read more

“In With the New, Out With the Old”: Generational Conflict Within Paganism

Pagan mother and child during Russian Solstice. Credit: European Free Radio and Press To be honest, I’ve always had a problem with authority.  As I teenager, I was insistent that respect must be earned, not taken for granted; and boy did I make earning my respect hard back then.  (My belated apologies to all parents, teachers, youth leader, and so on.) Since moving out of my adolescent phase, though, I have tried to grant everyone respect... Read more

An atheist Pagan, an animist, and a devotional polytheist walk into a ritual …

An atheist Pagan, an animist, and a devotional polytheist walk into a ritual, and the ritual leader says, “What is this, the UU?” Last Sunday, the leader of the local CUUPS group (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans) gave an informal presentation about Paganism to our Sunday morning spirituality discussion group at the Unitarian Universalist church I attend.  I made a point of attending the presentation, due to an unfounded concern that the speaker would present one form of Paganism as being... Read more

Nothing new under the Winter Solstice sun: Christmas as a major sabbat

One of the weird things about blogging for Patheos is you feel pressure to write about the holidays … even if you really have nothing new to say.  And that’s something weird about blogging in itself: you feel pressure to always have something new to say.  Kind of like being a pastor I guess — you can’t exactly recycle last year’s Christmas sermon.  But I have written enough about Yule/Christmas/New Year over the last few years that I feel justified... Read more

HumanisticPaganism.com has a new look!

HumanisticPaganism.com has gotten a facelift.  Among the changes are an informative front page, a handsome look with a fun interface, and new articles about Humanistic Paganism. What is Humanistic Paganism? Humanistic Paganism, also called Naturalistic Paganism, is a unique Pagan orientation for those who are uncomfortable with or skeptical of the supernatural or metaphysical elements of contemporary Paganism. Individuals may use other self-descriptors, such as “Atheist Pagan”, “Atheist Witch”, “Pagan Humanist”, “Druid Naturalist”, etc. Humanistic Paganism has been described as... Read more

The First Commandment of Paganism: “Thou Shalt Not Judge” (and why this is a problem)

Let’s smash the First Commandment of Paganism. Paganism doesn’t have any commandments, like the Abrahamic religions, but if we did, I think the First Commandment of Paganism would be “Thou shalt not judge another’s experience”.  And I think this is a problem. Experiences vs. Interpretation When Jason Mankey interviewed me recently on his Raise the Horns podcast, he mentioned that he would never tell someone that their interpretation of their experience is wrong.  The statement took... Read more

The Pagan Slur: Do we hurt the environmental movement by association?

“Environmentalism is a form of pagan fundamentalism. These green wackos are fanatics like al-Quaida. Just like them.” — G. Gordon Liddy What’s in a name? This past weekend, my father asked me why Christians don’t like Pagans.  I think this may have been the first time he has ever asked my anything about Paganism, so it was significant for me.  I explained that there is a fundamental difference of worldview between the transcendental monotheisms and religions of immanence like contemporary Paganism,... Read more
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