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 6: Descent to the Underworld

The psychological process which is symbolized by Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey is not a one time event, for while each “death” and subsequent rebirth results in an expansion of consciousness, this expansion is always necessarily partial, for the creativity of the unconscious source is inexhaustible. Therefore, the Hero’s Journey is never complete. [Read more…]

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

In contrast to the monotheistic religions with their linear view of sacred time and the progressive nature of history leading to a final eschcatological event, many Neo-Pagans view sacred time as cyclical, rotating between life and death in an eternal cycle of periodic renewal, which Mircea Eliade called “the eternal return”. In contrast to the Dharmic religions, which seek escape from this cycle, many Neo-Pagans embrace it. Far from being a source of pessimism or despair, for these Neo-Pagans, the ineluctability of death gives deeper meaning to existence. [Read more…]

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

Neo-Paganism sanctifies our ultimate annihilation and holds that death is no less sacred than life. Indeed, death possesses a holiness which transcends the individual ego’s will toward life. [Read more…]

The Neo-Pagan Mysteries, Part 1: Introduction

Neo-Paganism may be understood as an initiatory or mystery religion. While Wiccan initiation is an example of both group and personal initiation, Neo-Pagans can experience a personal initiation without joining any group. [Read more…]

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

How are we to respond when other claim the exclusive right to use certain words? I think, at the very least, we must avoid making the same mistake. We must avoid returning rhetorical violence for rhetorical violence. We must at least try to practice non-violence writing and speaking. [Read more…]


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