They aren’t gods.
They aren’t self-aware, and thus have no agency. They don’t communicate.
They simply are. Irrefutably.
And they are not “worshiped”. They have no egos with which to soak up adulation.
They are here. They are real. They are honored, revered, contemplated with humility and wonder.
They are the Powers of this world.
Earth. Sky. Sun. Moon. River. Ocean. Mountain. Desert. Forest.
Yes, we Atheopagans can speak to these. We can tip our heads forward to rest upon the cool rock, or plunge shrieking into the cold water or climb to the airy summit, knowing we are small and temporary and they are…well, also temporary, but large, and well out of our time scale. Knowing that in doing these things, we are communing with the vast, the practically eternal, the capital-T Truths of life on Planet Earth. We find revelation in encounters with the Powers: wisdom, humility, poetry, song, art. We become more fully alive.
And we can speak their names, invoke their natures in our circles.
To me, it is far more engaging and meaningful to say “Earth” than it is to say “Gaia”. The latter conjures a humanoid caricature in my mind; an attempt by humans to make like ourselves what is in fact in no way like us. But the former contains multitudes; it is the vast complexity of diverse places, climates, systems, creatures that make up this astounding world, and worthy of honor, reverence, humility, love.
Some non-theist Pagans use the names of gods even though they don’t literally believe in them, and that’s perfectly fine. It just isn’t my way. I’d rather sing to the sinuous, ever-renewing, world-shaping cool of River, shout to the blinding heat of Sun. To invoke the things themselves, and not the containers humans made for them.
The Midwestern Pagan writer Steven Posch takes this approach to the Powers, and I find his writing quite consistent with my own way of looking at the world, as well as thought provoking and entertaining. I encourage Atheopagans to check him out here and here.