Announcing the Atheopaganism Patreon Campaign!

Atheopaganism has really taken off in the past couple of years! Our web traffic is up, our Facebook group is soon to break 1,000 members, and we’re engaged in the broader online conversation of the Pagan community to a significant degree.

This is exciting!

It’s also quite a bit of work. I am unemployed at the moment, so I have the time, but soon I will (presumably) be going back to work and Atheopagan activities will need to fit in around that.

For this reason and after a lot of soul-searching about it, I have decided to create a Patreon fundraising campaign to ensure that Atheopaganism gets the attention and time it needs, and new events and resources are regularly organized and provided for Atheopagans.

Patreon, if you don’t know, is a way you can subscribe to a creative person’s efforts by making a monthly financial pledge. Even small amounts add up; if everyone on the Facebook group sponsored at $10/month, I could work full-time on developing Atheopagan events, materials, atheology and rituals, and look at possibly even producing rituals at events elsewhere in the country and/or internationally!

Let me be clear: the materials and writing at the blog will always be free. This IS a labor of love and I am committed to supporting ALL Atheopagans and non-theist Pagans of every stripe in their paths.

That said, sponsor support will really, really help me. And it will enable me to add new dimensions to what I can provide: like a podcast and/or YouTube series, and the creation of the Atheopaganism book, The Atheopagan Reader.

Atheopaganism as a movement is real now. Naturalistic Paganism as a legitimate spiritual path is growing, as shown by the success of websites like Humanistic Paganism and the collective of writers at NaturalPagans.com, and the fact that our rituals and presentations are welcomed at Pagan conferences like Pantheacon.

Your investment will ensure that I can continue to promote our interests and ideas, develop materials and thought and events for us, and expand into new media with our vision and philosophy.

You can access the Atheopaganism Patreon page here, complete with the reward levels and goals.

And thank you for considering becoming a Patron of Atheopaganism. I really appreciate anything you can pledge to help our movement keep growing and going.

—Mark Green

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We Are All Connected: On Atheopagan Counseling

We are all connected: to each other, biologically,
to the Earth, chemically,
to the rest of the Universe atomically.
—Neil deGrasse Tyson

So, I’ve written about our responsibility to the Earth. About how being who we are—Atheopagans—implies a necessary requirement that we stand up, in whatever great and small ways we can, for a better world.

And I’ve written about Atheopaganism as a path to greater happiness: an individual path of growth and wisdom. A way to open into the joy of the magnificent Universe, into celebrating the extraordinary beauty of noble, flawed, gorgeous humanity.

And those are true things.

But there is a point between the global and the individual: the social. The role of a person in a culture, in a society, in a community.

In a circle of friends.

You see, the Neil deGrasse Tyson quote above is a wonderful, inspiring statement, but it’s also insufficient. We are connected with the Earth ecologically, not just chemically. And we are connected with one another socially: as communal animals who need to belong and to feel loved and supported.

Which brings me to Terence Ward’s excellent post up at the Wild Hunt,”The Limits of Ministry”, about the question of Pagan counseling.

Is that a thing? Is it something our communities should expect from us? Or is that just an Abrahamic-religion hangover, leaving our only real responsibilities as our own ritual and activist work?

Waaaaaall…this is going to shock y’all, but: I have an opinion.

I believe that being an Atheopagan is about being the fullest, wisest, kindest, most complete, most empowered, most considered, most alive person you can be.

That includes fulfilling responsibilities, such as to the broader world…and to your friends and associates. Especially when—as will happen, inevitably—they are in extremis. When they are suffering.

Do we have an obligation to develop the basic skills to be a counselor, a confidante, an advisor?

I say yes: we do. Not because—as Ward’s article suggests—this is a part of the skill set of a “minister”—as we have no clergy—but because we are human. And this is something we should be able to offer to our loved ones and fellows, just because.

When, exactly, did we surrender the right and power to be counsel and support to our fellow humans to a professional and “ministerial” class?

I’m not saying there isn’t a place for professionals. There is. But psychological/ psychiatric professionals aren’t required for many of the challenging situations that just need a friend to have another friend’s back.

Often, all that is required is a willingness to listen. And kindness. And discernment; if someone has a serious psychological issue, it’s important to know when it’s time to encourage them to seek professional help.

Yes, Atheopagans. It’s a serious undertaking, being a complete human, here in the real world, under the cold, uncaring yet so-beautiful stars. It asks a lot of us, but the rewards are so rich.

So let us be kind with one another. Let us learn to support one another.

Beside the individual striving and the efforts at social change, we can make a better world, one interaction at a time.

It is a part of the Joyous Work to cultivate the skills of the listener, the compassion of the wise counsel. Let’s do it for our friends and loved ones, and again—always—to make the world a better place.

MOON MEET: A Weekend with Atheopagan Friends

Moon Meet 2017 was wonderful! A warm, fun gathering, where we shared meals, rituals, discussions, workshops and a vision for Atheopaganism as a growing path.

I went up to the site on Thursday, the day before the event began. Joined by so-helpful Atheopagans Orin, Jody and Collette, we helped site owner Jeffry to complete tidying the site, to decorate with paper lanterns, signs with inspirational quotes and white “Christmas” lights. At night, the forest became magical. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and shared community as the feeling of the event began to settle in.

On Friday, we continued to prep the site until the rest of the attendees began to arrive. Tents sprouted here and there. We prepared the ritual circle by building altars (thanks, Orin!), cropping overhanging branches and raking the ground down to the dirt to protect against the spread of fire, and installing an iron fire pit (thanks to Steve and Jonathan—so sorry your emergency wouldn’t allow you to stay).

Friday evening’s potluck meal was delicious. The spark arrestor for the fire pit hadn’t arrived yet, so we didn’t have a fire that night, but we enjoyed shared company with conversation and a Bardic circle of singing, recitations and other offerings.

Saturday after breakfast (thanks to Jeffry, Bethany and Sally for making sure we had coffee early!), we held our workshops: a ritual dance workshop with Dakini (thanks to Jody for drumming!) and after lunch, Jody and Collette’s workshop on ritual rhythm, vocalization and circle dancing.  Fun!

Thereafter, we had a discussion session to plan our ritual for that night. It was great to share a collaborative process where the suggestions of each participant were incorporated into the overall structure we settled on.

Then: taco night!

The sun set, and we went to make our preparations for the ritual, dressing in ritual clothing and gathering what materials we needed. The air was warm and still; Jody sparked the fire with a flint and steel, and when darkness had fully gathered, we processed into the circle, each asperged as we entered with orange blossom water with a sprig of rosemary.

What followed was meaningful and joyous. I don’t like to describe what happens in a ritual, as it rarely sounds as powerful as it is, so I will leave off the details. But suffice to say we grounded, toned, sang, circled the fire, invoked our aspirations, spoke our gratitudes, did some deep work, and communed with the full moon rising silver through the trees. Hours later, we completed the ritual and then some of us remained at the fire, just enjoying one another’s company. Deep conversations then; real human connection, as we have around pit fires for hundreds of thousands of years.

Sunday, after another abundant breakfast, we joined for a conversation about the future of our community and of nontheist Paganism as a path. There was general agreement: let’s do more of this! So we’re planning some of that, including a spring gathering next year and another Moon Meet next August. We discussed how to get the word out to more of the Atheist community. And we talked about the kinds of offerings that we might present at Pantheacon 2018; more on that soon.

For those of you who weren’t there, I hope that the takeaway from this report is to start to create some of your own opportunities for this kind of community-building. They don’t have to be huge and elaborate; just an opportunity for people to come together, share meals and learning and ritual space, and grow closer.

Atheopaganism is about being happier and better people, and working for a better world. A powerful way to advance those goals is to build community and increase human connectedness. Moon Meet definitely fulfilled those goals for me, and I believe it did for the other attendees as well.

Success! A step forward. If you wanted to come but weren’t able to make it, I hope you will consider coming next year!

I would like to extend my deepest thanks to EVERYONE who helped make the first Moon Meet a success. THANK YOU!