What’s This Atheopaganism About, Exactly?

So, we’re doing this Atheopaganism thing.

What’s its purpose? What are its goals?

I think we talk around the edges of this question a lot, with discussions of Sacred values and Principles that clearly point their way to a vision. But it would be better to articulate that vision straight-out, so people are clear about where I come from, and so we can discuss and refine it if it doesn’t work for the Atheopagan community writ large.

My vision for Atheopaganism is a nested set of Russian matryoshkaIt exists on scales from the personal to the societal.

Personally, I pursue my Atheopagan practice as a modality for healing my inner wounds, navigating my life, and cultivating more wisdom and joy and awe and celebration. To be a better person.

Interpersonally, I hope my Atheopagan practice helps me to become more kind, less acerbic, and closer in my relationships, even if they don’t share my cosmology. Success is mixed on that one, but to some degree that’s because I don’t always succeed in bringing my best self forward. Working on it.

In the Atheopagan community—those who read this blog and/or belong to the Atheopagan Facebook groups, mostly—my goal is one of service. I provide resources, ideas, projects, personal reflections and lore meant to help others to develop their own practices, so they can enjoy the personal benefits I have and shape and adapt Atheopaganism to their own needs.

More broadly, in the Pagan and Atheist communities my goal is to hold up a lantern: to offer a pathway to those who may find value in it, and help to ease their entry to what may be unfamiliar and strange. My goal within those communities is not to convert anyone, but rather to ensure that this path is given room to exist, and to support those who are interested in it.

Finally, societally my goal is a better world. Where people are happier, and kinder, and more critically thinking, and more awe-struck, and more fulfilled, and more tolerant; where the human relationship with the Earth is resacralized; where diverse paths of religious expression are welcomed and allowed to flourish.

So that’s all: my vision is nothing short of total societal transformation. But it starts small, and quietly, in the heart.

For Pantheacon 2018,  I proposed a discussion group on the subject, What is Paganism FOR? Unfortunately, the proposal was declined. I think it could have been a fruitful and illuminating conversation. Because I think that when you strip away a lot of pomp and frippery, these are the goals of many, if not most of the Pagan community.

I have learned, however, that my proposed ritual, “Arming the Earth Warriors: A Ritual for Activists”, was accepted, so for the fourth year in a row, nontheist programming will be available there. I will also convene the annual Nontheist Pagan Mixer, so we can socialize with one another…news on that soon!

I’m really interested in the take of those who follow this blog on the vision articulated here. Please comment below, or on Facebook. Thanks!

5 thoughts on “What’s This Atheopaganism About, Exactly?

  1. I like your vision. I think I’m drawn to a relationship with my natural surroundings in the same way I’m drawn to relationships with humans— not as part of an organized plan or long term goal but more intuitively speaking. I’m not even really sure about the whole concept of long term plans these days… I’m in the mode of hand to mouth, Moon to eye, Wind to hair… we should be glad someone is thinking long term!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. More thoughts… because it’s such an interesting question. For people who think of our connection to nature as a relationship, what happens when I try the analogy “what is this friendship with X person FOR?” Or “what is my relationship with my parents/ children/ partner FOR?” In that context, I see why the question is difficult for me, because I consider the purpose of the relationship (and all the actions sustaining the relationship) as being “for” the relationship. The “thing itself”— a very circular answer.

    A value for me in relationships is to work to avoid ever turning subjects into objects— to go Kant one step further in that I try to avoid “using” persons instrumentally even with their permission.

    So… in regards to nature, a subject-subject relationship is a profound shift of perspective in which there are NO objects to be used instrumentally as mere things. Instead, a natural world to interact with in the way we encounter our beloved friends. I’m sure I don’t attain that ideal with either humans or the rest of nature. Embedded within the concept of relationship is everything we do to deepen the relationship.

    Which means my answer is that for me, paganism is not for anything. It’s an embodiment of relationship.


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