Naming the Whirlwind: speaking of “God”

God is not The voice in the whirlwind God is the whirlwind. — Margaret Atwood, “Resurrection” After writing my last post about atheism and belief in “God” and exchanging thoughts with several people in the comments, it occurred to me that “God” is not a word we hear a lot of in Paganism.  We hear about gods (plural), and Goddess (feminine), and the god (definite article and often lower case), consort of the Goddess.  The reason for this is that... Read more

Being an atheist just ain’t what it used to be

Recently, my 14 year-old son announced that he is an atheist.  The reactions of friends and family to his announcement have been at least as interesting as the announcement itself.  To put this in context, my son has been his whole life devoutly Mormon.  Even at a young age, he was precociously religious.  So this came as a bit of a shock.  I shared my daughter’s dismay when she said that she was having trouble thinking of my son as... Read more

The Power of Simple Gestures

When it comes to ritual, I sometimes feel like I make a terrible Pagan.  I dress like a square.  I take forever to learn a chant.  My sense of rhythm is … well, I don’t have one.  And if incense is burning (and it usually is), I’m likely to need to blow my nose frequently.  Bottom line, you really don’t want to be standing next to me in a ritual.  What’s more, I sometimes suspect that everything about my posture... Read more

What in Sam Hain?

Let me begin by saying, I love Halloween.  I’ve always loved Halloween.  For one thing, it is the only time of the year a straight guy can be flamboyant without apology in this homophobic American culture.  I come by my love for Halloween naturally.  It’s my mother’s favorite holiday.  She used to make our costumes herself — and not just one but usually three, for each of us — one for school, one for church, and one for trick-or-treating.  And we... Read more

Prayers I Can Pray

For many years after leaving Christianity, I simply did not pray.  Even after becoming Pagan, it did not make it a part of my practice.  I’ve written about my struggle with petitionary prayer before here.  As a Naturalistic Pagan, my challenge arises not only from questions of theodicy but also from the belief that God/dess is incapable of answering prayers.  For many years, I left petitionary prayer out of my practice altogether. HumanisticPaganism contributor M.J. Lee has since helped me... Read more

What a Pagan can tell you about whether Mormons are Christian

This post is my contribution to “Are Mormons Christians?”: A Blog Round Table. I think I have something of a unique perspective on the question of Mormons’ Christianity.  First, I used to be Mormon.  For 25 years, I was Mormon.  Second, I left the Mormon church, identified exclusively as a Christian, and had an experience of being saved by Jesus Christ.  Third, I then became Neo-Pagan.  I subsequently discovered that Pagans are having the same debate about who is and who... Read more

New Family Equinox Ritual: Balder’s Passion

I’ve been playing with the idea of doing a Balder myth-themed autumn equinox with my family for over a year now.  Our previous equinox celebrations focused on the myth of Osiris, but something about the Balder myth called out to me to be turned into a ritual.  Also, I wanted to do something a little less didactic than my other rituals: more doing and showing, and less explaining.  There’s still plenty of talk in this script, but almost all of... Read more

Cherish Our Polytheists: The balkanization of our community and what is at stake

Recently, over at PaganSquare, several polytheist bloggers have left the site.  I’m not going to get into all the who’s and what’s, because I don’t really know.  And frankly, I’m still exhausted from trying to document the last Pagan online brouhaha.  But I do want to remark on what this means to me.  Although there are different issues involved, this seems to me to be part of a broader trend of hard polytheists withdrawing from the Pagan community in one... Read more

Mabon, Mabon-Not

This is Part 2 of my continuing rant about the Pagan holy days. The only real issue I have with Mabon is the name.  Aside from the fact that no one seems certain how to pronounce it, the name itself is a poor choice.  As with “Lughnasadh”, which I wrote about last time, “Mabon” is only tenuously related to the season or the Neopagan mythos relating to the season. I would say, of all eight holidays, Mabon has the worst... Read more

A Neopagan Celebrity Tarot (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a 2-part series where I nominate people from among Pagan celebrities living and dead who represent for me the 22 trump cards of the Tarot.  You can read Part 1 here. 11.  Justice (fairness, balance, proportion) 2-way Tie:  Selena Fox (1949-present): advocate for Pagan rights; and Starhawk (1951-present): feminist and environmental activist.  I know I’ve used both of these ladies for other cards in Part 1 (Selena was Strength and Starhawk was Empress), but I don’t think anyone will... Read more