Innovation Versus Tradition in Paganism

The mainstream current of modern Paganism has made much of celebrating “Ancient Ways” and “Old Gods”. This creates an inherent tension between old (or putatively old) practices and beliefs and the innovations and achievements of modernity. Elements of the broad Pagan umbrella range widely across this expanse. At one pole, you have Reconstructionists, for whom … Continue reading Innovation Versus Tradition in Paganism

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Does Truth Matter?

Eppur si muove. —Galileo Galilei   Recently. a friend posted to the Atheopaganism Facebook group, describing a conversation she was having elsewhere in which accusations of “classism” and “colonialism” were being leveled at those who express what is almost certainly the truth: that gods and magic do not exist, except as ideas. And you know? … Continue reading Does Truth Matter?

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Facing Forward: Atheopaganism and Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation is a concern of people who are (or have historically been) oppressed. It is the use of symbols, religious rites and/or cultural practices by members of the oppressing culture for their own gain or edification, without permission, invitation, or inclusion of those of the culture whose symbols or practices are being used. This … Continue reading Facing Forward: Atheopaganism and Cultural Appropriation

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Toward Atheopagan Mysteries

Sacred Mysteries were initiatory rituals or ritual cycles in the ancient world which revealed secret wisdom to participants. Some examples include the Eleusinian Mysteries of ancient Greece and the Mysteries of Dionysos in Rome, and the initiatory mystery religion of Mithraism, also from the Roman period. These rituals and ritual cycles were characterized by solemn oaths of silence, so many … Continue reading Toward Atheopagan Mysteries

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Beyond Faith. Beyond Fundamentalism.

Let’s start by acknowledging that the definitions are fuzzy. There is no universally agreed-to definition of what a “religion” even is. “Spirituality” is just as indeterminate. So all we can do is look at religions of the world and try to identify the elements that compose them. When I do that, I conclude that a … Continue reading Beyond Faith. Beyond Fundamentalism.

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No Gods. No Masters. No Priesthood.

It’s a sadly familiar tale in the Pagan community: the coven or local organization that is run by a charismatic “high priestess” or “high priest” (or both), doling out “training” and “degrees of advancement” based on how well the subject toes the line, fawns over the “priest/ess”, and, in some particularly sad cases, provides them … Continue reading No Gods. No Masters. No Priesthood.

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Crunch Time: Pagan Priorities and the Otherworld

The fundamental difference between theistic Pagans and Atheopagans is that the former propose that there exists an “Otherworld”: a parallel dimension of reality in which reside gods, spirits, fairies and other such beings. Atheopagans, having a naturalistic worldview, don’t subscribe to this idea. As I look around the community, I think there are questions about … Continue reading Crunch Time: Pagan Priorities and the Otherworld

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Happiness, Ecstasy, and Threading the Needle

I stumbled out from the trees atop the mountain, Matagalls—the second-highest in Catalonia. I was teaching at a children’s language camp, and at the end of the camp we had taken a day to lead the students on an expedition to climb the peak. Cold weather had moved in and many of them had remained … Continue reading Happiness, Ecstasy, and Threading the Needle

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