Roots of the Deep Ecology Tree: The Transcendentalists, “An Original Relation to the Universe”

The Transcendentalists believed that studying nature was a way to comprehend the divine, another idea which found its way into contemporary Neo-Paganism. In response to the religious traditionalism of their day, the Transcendentalists argued that the human mind and the natural world were all that was needed for genuine spiritual experience. Nature was seen as a source of revelation available to all. [Read more...]

The center cannot hold: UPG as a centrifugal force

Mormon pioneers

Personal gnosis is always potentially threatening to community. In order for a community like Paganism to survive, it must find a way to integrate personal gnosis with the communal identity. [Read more...]

I’m making it up

Where you’ve nothing else construct ceremonies out of the air and breathe upon them. – Cormac McCarthy, The Road I’ve never been good at tradition.  But going it alone, I have found, has its pitfalls too.  I was raised Mormon.  Mormonism is an authoritarian religion, so truth is defined and practice dictated from the top [Read More...]

“One needful thing”, Part 1: What’s missing from Unitarianism

This is a mutli-part series.  In this part, I discuss the history of Unitarianism, including the Transcendentalist revolt, the humanist revolution, and the search for a language of reverence. A few weeks ago, a married couple who are friends of mine joined the Unitarian Universalist congregation that I attend.  They have been attending for about [Read More...]

Confessions of a solipsist

“Solipsism” is a word I learned in college.   It refers to the belief that only one’s own mind is real.  Everything external to one’s mind is like a dream.  The word is also an epithet used to describe ideas which tend toward, but are not actually, solipsistic.  When I heard this word for the first [Read More...]

Tradition, Rootedness, and Freedom

Tradition, tradition! Tradition! Tradition, tradition! Tradition! Who, day and night, must scramble for a living, Feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers? And who has the right, as master of the house, To have the final word at home? The Papa, the Papa! Tradition. The Papa, the Papa! Tradition. From Fiddler on the [Read More...]


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