Are monism and polytheism a matter of temperament?


It would be beneficial if we as a community would stop looking at one another as deficient because we perceive the divinity differently. It’s natural, when we discover something beautiful, to want to share it, and even to get frustrated when other’s can’t see it. But the fact is that our perceptions are selective. And by attending to one for of beauty, we necessarily cut ourselves off from other forms. The problem comes when we start insisting that our limited vision is all there is to see, rather than a piece of the puzzle. [Read more...]

Why I don’t trust the gods (at least not if I’m alone with one)


I think it’s a mistake to assume the gods are benign. The word “worship” derives from the Old English word for “worthy”. I wonder then, why have I rarely seen the question asked whether the Pagan gods are worthy of worship. To put it another way, why should we assume the gods can be trusted? If the gods are paragons of virtue, are they not also paragons of vice? The polytheistic gods, as I understand them, are not necessarily good and they are not omni-benevolent. If the myths are to be believed on any level, the gods are just as flawed as human beings — they just have more power. Why bow down to power, if it is not paired with virtue? One answer perhaps is that the gods should be worshiped because they are — just as nature can be worshiped because it is. Nature is not moral or virtuous, but worship (or reverence) is a natural human response to it. But worshiping something and trusting it are two different things. I don’t ever assume that nature is benign or trustworthy. Why should we assume the gods are trustworthy? [Read more...]

“A mighty host respond”: Pagan unity through diversity

Three mountains diverged in the sky, and I—I took one of them and you took the other. And that has made all the difference.

Is it possible to build a religious community around the idea of celebrating difference? Is it possible that what makes us “Pagan” is not what we have in common, but the ways we are different? Perhaps being “Pagan” means nothing more (and nothing less) than being one those who have gathered around this word, “Pagan”, gathered together to celebrate not a single meaning, but to celebrate the diversity of what that word means to us. [Read more...]

A Devotional Practice with the World at its Center

From my visit to Muir Woods

I realized that devotional practice is not limited to deity-centered religion. There can be an earth-centered or nature-centered kind of devotion too. What I needed was to develop a devotional religious practice, not toward gods, but toward the world. I needed to embrace the world as my Beloved, as my waiting lover. The world is that Divine Other I have been seeking who can draw me out of my ego. And I need a religious practice that will affirm, encourage, and sustain this embrace. [Read more...]

These aren’t the gods you’re looking for.


At some point in your spiritual journey, you have to stop looking over other people’s shoulders and wondering what’s in their god box, wondering if someone might be having a deeper spiritual experience than you. I guess I am at that point. I like my god box just fine. I’m pretty sure it’s empty. In any case, it’s my box and I’m keeping it. [Read more...]

Gods I have known, Part 2: Macrocosm


What is the relationship between the gods of my psyche and the gods of nature? They are not the same, but the are connected, connected through me. The morning sun rising in the east and the Bright Youth are not the same, but the sun I see through my window in the morning does call to the Bright Youth in me. And the Bright Youth responds. The earth I touch with my fingers calls to the Mother, in both her guises, Nurturing and Devouring. The bright green shoots rising from the earth and the green leaves on the trees on my street in the spring, these call to the Stag King. I am a clearing where the gods within and the gods without meet. [Read more...]