EGO-Paganism and the Tyranny of Structurelessness

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Ego-Paganism is not focused on connection or relationship, but on individual freedom and self-expression. Ego-centered Pagans may be tangentially concerned with ecology or polytheism or occultism, but in practice, they are concerned only with expression of their unique individuality and defending their freedom to do so against all authoritarian threats, real or imagined. [Read more...]

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We are the Earth … aren’t we? (The power of the preposition)

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The purpose of the Pagan Community Statement on the Environment is not to create some kind of Pagan Creed, but to make a statement about what being Pagan means for our relationship to the Earth and to offer our unique perspective on the causes of the environmental disaster we are facing. Which phrasing better accomplishes that purpose? “We are the Earth, the Earth is us.” OR “We are of the Earth, and the Earth is part of us.”? [Read more...]

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

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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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Are monism and polytheism a matter of temperament?

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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...]

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

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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...]

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“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...]

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