Honestly, it’s the most heartwarming thing. Because I know the feeling so well: the feeling that I’m the only one, that there must be something wrong with it. That I must have missed something.
When I first discovered Paganism in the mid-1980s, an opening in my heart signalled that I was discovering a part of myself that had always been missing. The reverence for the Earth, the seasonal ritual celebrations, the core values, the warm community spoke to me of all that I had longed for without even knowing it. I was swept with love, and it was only after many years of slowly accumulating experiences of dysfunction and willfully irrational, credulous thinking and behavior that I regretfully had to step back and reassess.
With Atheopaganism, I developed/discovered (for indeed, it turned out that there were already people practicing naturalistic Paganism under other names; I had just never found them) an approach which reconnected me to Pagan ways, preserving what was right and good and hopeful about Neo-Paganism while rooting those practices and values in a solid foundation of science.
It’s now been more than two years since the Atheopagan group launched on Facebook, and we’ll soon break 550 members: an awfully high number, I think, for a subculture of a subculture. We have great conversations there, and have managed to maintain real civility when the rest of Facebook and the Internet writ large seem have have devolved into vicious battles.
And along the way, I have received dozens of messages from newcomers filled with that same sense of at last, I’ve found it that I had when I first came to Paganism in my 20s. People who thought there was something wrong with not really believing in the gods when they circled with Pagans, or who felt certain that there was something more life-fulfilling that could go along with their atheism. People curious and seeking.
“Having reached the age of 63 and thought long and hard and also researched many beliefs, i would like to think I have finally found the truth in Atheopaganism.”
“I found this group through the Humanist Pagan. I read some of your articles Mark, and was very excited and pleased to read material that resounds with my beliefs! As I was reading some of your articles, I was saying to myself YES!”
“Omg, FINALLY I find something that fits my spirituality…”
It’s the enthusiasm and contributions of these wonderful folks who keep me writing and focused on exploring the many facets and elements of atheistic Pagan theory and practice. It feels like a deep honor and privilege to share these ideas and practices with others of like mind.
To you who have found in Atheopaganism a way that resonates with your deepest selves, I say: Welcome home. I am delighted to be in this wide circle with you.