MOON MEET 2017: An Atheopagan Gathering

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Moon Meet will be a congregation of Atheopagans, non-theist Pagans and others interested in our paths, held from Friday, August 4 through Sunday, August 6, at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in the beautiful wine country of Sonoma County, California.

Moon Meet—named because we will hold it during the weekend of the full moon—is a group camping gathering; options to rent camping gear will be available for those coming from distance and unable to bring their gear along. If there are disabled attendees who are unable to camp, we will work out hotel accommodations and transportation with them so they are able to participate. We will share meals and workshops, hold a community discussion about how our Atheopagan community is developing and how best to move forward, and design and celebrate rituals together. We will share songs, poems and our creativity around the fire. And there will be time for hiking in a beautiful setting, or excursions to nearby wineries and historic sites.

Event pricing will be kept to the minimum necessary to defray expenses. There will be an early registration with a price break to raise money to reserve the campsite early in spring of 2017, followed by regular registration.

Moon Meet grows out of a frequent request in the Atheopagan Facebook group, that we find ways of physically convening as well as virtually gathering online. Our hope is that it will become an annual event which will grow in size and complexity in subsequent years.

Details on the schedule of events will be available in early 2017. If you would like to present a workshop, please contact us now! Use the form on the blog’s “Contact” page.

We hope to see you there!


Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

A Pagan Opportunity to Reflect


Recently, John Beckett wrote on “A Pagan Crisis of Faith“.

Beckett’s central premise in this piece is that from time to time, and especially when confronted with extreme circumstances, some theistic Pagans will come to a point where they question their beliefs in gods. However, he argues, what they should really be doing is doubling down on their credulity, seeing such major life events as reflecting the actions of gods or “fae” or what have you in the way of invisible, magical entities.

Unsurprisingly, I have a different take.

I think that when crises arise in life, it is an opportunity for us to shed comforting illusions: to realize that there are no Big Powers pulling strings around us nor “guiding” us to some apparently desired outcome.

Terrible things happen for no reason but chance. It happens all the time. Good things, too. Any meaning contained in their occurrence is meaning we invent.

Here in the bubble of mostly-safe America, surrounded by safety regulations and generalized domestic security, it is easy to think of Big Dangerous Events as being somehow freighted with meaning. But in other parts of the world—and some here as well, especially where there is poverty—they happen every day. They are simply the “normal” within which one must attempt to survive.

So my recommendation to those experiencing a Pagan crisis of faith is: step back and think. Really consider whether it makes any sense that a godlike being would make the effort to crash a tree into your car, or whether it’s more likely that it was a confluence of weather and soft soil. Does it really seem reasonable, when you look at the world around you, to believe that there are powerful invisible beings constantly meddling in terrestrial affairs? Is there any real basis for that other than occasional coincidences and the felt sense that “something is going on”…and is that enough basis for you to build a worldview around?

Many Atheopagans (and other nontheist Pagans) have come to that crisis point and have realized that what they had believed really didn’t hold up for them. They’re still practicing Pagans today, though many have taken a break to reconsider their beliefs and rework their practices.

So know that the stakes of this consideration are NOT that you might have to give up a community and way of living to which you have become accustomed and in which you find meaning and joy. You can be a Pagan and not believe in literal gods! Many of us don’t—in fact, some prominent names in the community don’t.

And you don’t even have to give up your gods, really. Gods can be powerful metaphors: ways to “put a face” on phenomena and elements of human experience so we may more easily interact with them in a ritual context. I personally do not use them, but many Atheopagans do. They just understand that what they are doing is a sort of “let’s-pretend” for purposes of religious practice, rather than a literal belief.

A “crisis of faith” is an opportunity to reflect. An opportunity to take stock and contemplate what you really think is going on in this world, and thereby to grow.

Now, if after such contemplation, you continue to subscribe to the idea of an “Otherworld” and the gods and other supernatural creatures that supposedly inhabit it, well: it’s your life, so more power to you.

But at least take the time to consider other points of view. Rather than simply doubling down on what Beckett calls a “magical, animist, polytheist, experience-based worldview”, really contemplate what the available evidence and simple logic point towards. Occam’s Razor is your friend!

And if you find yourself no longer subscribing to what you once did, we welcome you with open arms! Join our Facebook group and become a part of developing Atheopaganism as a rich, meaningful Pagan path.

Harvest 2016


We’re coming up to Harvest this week. I’ll be having friends over to enjoy a feast of locally produced food and drink, which is how I like to celebrate this sabbath: as a kind of Atheopagan Thanksgiving.

Last year, I wrote about the shadow sabbath: what happens when the events of life aren’t congruent with the metaphorical themes of a given holiday. It was a hard time of financial distress, having been forced to move from my beloved home of 18 years, and the destruction of a nearby retreat, Harbin Hot Springs, to fire.

This year is better. We found another—albeit much less beautiful—place to live, and I am employed gainfully. We have enough to live not lavishly, but adequately, and things seem to be looking up.

So I am here to express my gratitude for this year’s Harvest of friends and home, of love and food and air and water and beauty and music and all the lovely things. And for you, Atheopagan readers: our conversations on the Facebook group and here have been so gratifying to me, and I’ve learned a lot.

I’m hoping that by this time next year, I will have met many of you in person at Moon Meet in August of 2017. In the meantime, tip up a glass of something you enjoy on the Equinox, and know that I am toasting you as well. Happy Harvest!