When I first wrote an essay outlining the rationale, Principles and practices of Atheopaganism, I did it for myself, to sort out my thinking and decidedly mixed experience of the Pagan community. That was in 2008-2009. After it was done and I was settling into my new practice and approach, a handful of people I talked with about it expressed curiosity about it, so I threw the essay up on Scribd. It wasn’t long after that people started coming to me at gatherings and conferences and expressing like-mindedness, and Atheopaganism as a movement was born.
As the founder, I was naturally the central figure in creating materials, resources, analysis and liturgy. That’s inevitable at the beginning of things, and so I haven’t worried about it much. I have no intention of setting myself up as the head of some “church”—and I had learned from some ugly examples of what happens when a founder does that in the Pagan community—so I was okay with doing most of the writing and resource creation and event organizing. I knew I wasn’t going to get carried away.
But the snowball has continued to roll, and with now thousands of participants, this largely one-man show is starting to change.
And I couldn’t be more delighted.
The Atheopagan Society has incorporated in the state of California, and is now a tax-exempt religious organization. The Council (or board of directors) of The Atheopagan Society has been convened, and guess what? I’m not the head of it. I’m not even one of the officers. We are a community now, and leadership is a shared responsibility. It is time to have more minds and voices involved in helping to build and support our path, and I am pleased to say that our council is smart, warm, and up to the task.
Meanwhile, on Atheopagan Facebook, there is now an Atheopagan Book Club group, created by a member of the Council entirely without my participation. A Sunday Zoom mixer is being organized by another community member, to add to the mixer we hold on Saturdays.
The upshot is that this community is up on its hind legs and moving on its own. With thousands of members in the online community and a growing culture of interaction and engagement, Atheopaganism has become much more than just one dude’s idea.
I am wowed to see so many who are adopting the Atheopagan Principles, a naturalistic, science-based cosmology, and these Pagan religious practices as their own. And I invite you to add your own voice, by submitting guest blog posts, creating your own (currently, online) events, and adding your special something to what we are building together: thought, art, music, lore, whatever it is.
From an idea to a movement, we have come a long way in eleven years. I expect we will go much further in the next eleven.
In any event: you have my deepest thanks for being a part of it.
Here we come!
Shown: Edinburgh Fire Festival at Beltane.