AtheopaganCon: An Aspiration

For some time now, folks online and in the Zoom chats have referred now and again to “APCon”, an imagined in-person gathering where we can meet, discuss our path, socialize, and share community. Real hugs (with consent, of course)!

With the vaccine coming online and hope beginning to stir about life after COVID-19, I am starting to think about this as more than just a dream. I would love to see in person as many as possible of the wonderful, amazing people I have met through Atheopagan Zoom and online forums.

Accordingly, I have created a short survey about the concept of APCon that I would appreciate your filling out. The results will tell us just how much real interest there is out there in an event like this, and what kinds of activities it might include.

To take the survey, please click here.

Post Five Hundred: Thank You

Once upon a time, on a laptop far, far away, a guy with some ideas posted an essay about them to Scribd. He sent it to some friends who had expressed interest in it, too.

It was 2009.

Among those friends, there were discussions.

After awhile, too, there was a Facebook group dedicated to discussing the ideas. And that group started to grow. People the guy didn’t know started joining the group, expressing relief and joy at having found people of like mind.

The ideas grew, too. The dude produced more materials fleshing out the ideas, and posted them as files to the Facebook group, along with long posts about the ideas.

But Facebook posts are ephemeral, and its file feature is a pretty poor way of organizing and accessing information. So the guy started this blog.

That was on August 19th, 2014.

And this is the 500th post to that blog.

In the time between then and now, remarkable things have happened:

  • The Facebook group has grown both in size (now nearly 3,000 members) and character to become a true community, with a book club, regular Zoom mixers and rituals, and other projects and programs.
  • The ideas have expanded to other channels such as Twitter, YouTube, Discord and GoodReads.
  • The ideas have had recognition/platforming at Pantheacon and the Conference on Current Pagan Studies.
  • The original essay was expanded into a published book.
  • The science-based Paganism podcast, THE WONDER, was launched.
  • Finally, The Atheopagan Society, a tax-exempt nonprofit religious organization dedicated to supporting and spreading those ideas, has been incorporated and its Council convened.

And here we are.

I describe this as I do because Atheopaganism is a set of ideas, and practices rooted in those ideas. That’s what we’re here for.

And I am so grateful.

I have found the community of people I have longed for. I am having the conversations I yearned for.

And our community has become a legitimate, recognized voice within Paganism.

Now, I’ve done a lot of work to help these things to happen, and I’m proud of that work. I’m still kind of stunned at the rousing response to it.

But more than anything, I’m grateful to you, reader.

I’m grateful for every single person who has explored these ideas, has chosen a rational and heartfelt, deep Earth-honoring spirituality. Everyone who has entered this community saying—or thinking—oh, thank fortune, I have finally found my people.

Much of this time we have been growing, and growing closer, the situation in the world has not been very good. Fascism and racist nationalism have had a resurgence, and in the form of Brexit, Hungarian policies against refugees, Bolsonaro’s genocidal hatred for indigenous Amazonians, everything about Donald Trump’s “administration”—and China’s, and Russia’s—and so many more examples, it has been tough going for human decency, mutual respect, and the systems of the living Earth.

But we Atheopagans share a vision: a vision of better, kinder, wiser, more reasonable, more ecologically connected humanity. We strive to be that ourselves, and hope to perpetuate it in the world. We didn’t give up as the likes of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson stunk up the place, and we’re not going to give up, either. In our personal work and in our public work, we are about the Principles and values that brought us here.

Our religious path gives us purpose, focus, wisdom and joy. It’s about being the best humans we can be.

Thank you for joining me on this amazing ride. I am humbled and honored that so many have found such value in those ideas some dude tossed up on the web in 2009.

My love and gratitude to you all.