The Neo-Pagan Mysteries, Part 8: Exoteric and Esoteric Ritual

Neo-Pagan ritual may function as a celebration of and an experience of connection with nature; as a celebration of and acceptance of change in our own lives; as an honoring and welcoming of parts of ourselves that have been neglected or rejected; and an experience of the loss of the sense of self and of union with the transcendent. Neo-Pagan ritual can focus on any one of these functions, or it can do more than one. All of them are important. Different people may experience the same ritual differently. [Read more...]

The Neo-Pagan Mysteries, Part 7: The Mother and the Son

The Neo-Pagan Goddess may be called Mother, because she is the eternal Source, the continuous principle of Life which gives rise to life in its myriad forms. The Goddess does not die; she is death … and life. The Goddess gives birth to the God, who is manifest life, and then receives him back into the tomb that is her womb. The God is born lives, dies and is born again. He must accept death, falling back into the Source, like a seed returning to the earth, while the Goddess endures to bring forth new forms of life from the inexhaustible store that is her Being. [Read more...]

Why I have hope for Unitarian Universalism

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What if, instead of trying to create religious space for everyone to “believe what they want”, we UUs were to build a church around the idea that every person’s beliefs and experiences contribute to the diversity of our spiritual community and thereby strengthen it? What if instead of tolerating our differences — Humanists, Buddhists, Pagans, Christians, and so on — we looked across the aisle to find the object of our reverence in the faces of the people whose spirituality is different than our own? What if the object of our worship is neither God nor our own egos, but that elusive wholeness called “spiritual community”, that which transcends our individuality and becomes greater than the sum of its parts? Is that not a manifestation of “Spirit of Life” — life evolving, life in all its diversity? Could that be our “transcendental ideal”? Might that not fill the “God-shaped hole”? [Read more...]

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...]

How Vampires Led Me to Paganism

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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...]

Where the sidewalk ends: Suburban enchantment

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The chill wind was blowing gently and the cattails waved back and forth like they were animate. And I felt, for all the world, like they were talking to me. Not talking with words, but saying something nonetheless. What were they saying? I think this is what they said to me: “This is real. You are here. You are alive.” [Read more...]


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