Modern Pagan Metaphysics

Modern Pagan Metaphysics August 15, 2023

The ninth online course from Under the Ancient Oaks is now open for registration. Modern Pagan Metaphysics begins on August 31 and will run for seven weeks.

photo by John Beckett

Metaphysics (“beyond physics”) are our foundational assumptions about the world and how it works. They form a container for interpreting our experiences, a boundary between what we assume is possible and what we assume is not. Anything that conflicts with our metaphysics is likely to be rejected, because it’s easier to deny the reality of our own experiences than it is to contemplate the possibility that our fundamental assumptions about the universe might be wrong.

Everyone has a metaphysics, but for most people, they’re “what everybody knows” and “common sense” and “just the way things are.” They’re what they were taught as small children. They never consider that perhaps their fundamental assumptions are wrong, or that another explanation might be better, or that another approach might be more in line with their values.

In this class, we’re going to begin with what we know and how we know it. And then we’re going to build a metaphysics based on our experiences and our knowledge, one that is in alignment with our values and Pagans, polytheists, witches, and other people of open minds and good will.

The Modules

0. Introduction (free)
1. Metaphysics and Epistemology
2. Animism
3. Polytheism
4. Science
5. Magic
6. Myth
7. Building a Worldview

Class Logistics

As with all UTAO courses, Modern Pagan Metaphysics will be on-demand. Video classes will be released once a week – do them on your own schedule. I expect most of them will run 45 to 55 minutes.

Module 0 – the syllabus module – is available now. Module 1 will go up August 31, and a new module every week after that. The final module goes up October 12.

K.D. Echols has once again graciously agreed to provide written transcripts for those with hearing difficulties, and for those who like to read as well as listen.

There will be homework for this class, but as with the past couple of classes I won’t be reviewing it. Instead, this class will include two video Q&As. You send me your questions – I answer them on video and post it for all the participants.

If you have private questions, I’ll answer them privately.

Guest Speaker

While this class is going to focus on how we understand the world as Pagans and other magical people, I thought it would be good to begin with a discussion of metaphysics from a philosophical standpoint. So we’re bringing in an expert.

Dr. Brendan Myers is a Professor of Philosophy at CEGEP Heritage College in Quebec. He’s written 20 books, including several I’ve reviewed on my blog. He’s a Druid and someone I consider a friend. And he’s a very good speaker – he has a way of presenting complicated topics in ways that those of us who aren’t philosophers can understand them. I’ll have an interview with him as part of Module 1 on Metaphysics and Epistemology.

Costs and Registration

Registration is open now. Send me an e-mail or use the contact form on the Under the Ancient Oaks website and tell me you want to sign up. I’ll send you a PayPal invoice. Once you pay it, I’ll register you for the class. Most times this will be done within 24 hours, but if you catch me while I’m occupied it may take longer.

The cost is $75 for the entire course.

A limited number of scholarships are available for those experiencing financial difficulties. If you’d like to apply for a scholarship, just ask. I’ll take applications until August 26, and I’ll hold all applications until then. I’ll notify everyone of their application status by August 28.

If you’re in good financial shape, I hope you’ll consider sponsoring a scholarship. Each sponsorship fully funds one scholarship student, and it also counts toward the paid registrations that determine how many scholarships I can fund.

Discount for Course 2 participants

This course is not a repeat of Course 2 Building a New Myth. Course 2 is about the power of stories and especially the stories we tell ourselves. Course 9 is about foundational concepts and how we see the world – what is and isn’t possible. This is a new class with a new approach and totally new presentations. However, there is some overlap in the concepts we’ll cover, and those of you who took Course 2 will find a small amount of material that is not entirely new.

In recognition of this, I’m offering a $25 discount on Course 9 for anyone who took Course 2 (either paid or on scholarship). You have to tell me you were a Course 2 participant when you register for Course 9 – I’m not going to look up everybody’s registration history before I send out PayPal requests. But if you took Building a New Myth, you can take Modern Pagan Metaphysics for $50 instead of $75.

I’ll also offer the discount in reverse. After you take Course 9, if you want to go back and take Course 2 I’ll offer the same $25 reduction.


If you have any questions, contact me here or at any of the usual places.

Browse Our Archives