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.

A Mood

I have been thinking…

No. I have been feeling about this community of people, the nontheist Pagan community.

I have been feeling because sometimes such appreciation, such gratitude wells up in me to be with you all.

So a wrote a thing.

THIS Community

We’re having none of the bullshit, thank you.

We’ve seen the paths of the lost and confused, and chosen.

We aspire:

To lofty goals and a kinder world,

To sense, sensibility, sensuousness, sexiness, Self-made-Sacred:

Sifted

Through the fine grate of experience, cultivating it, the joy.

And to be better.

We’re having all of the work, thank you,

Because we are stained. None has escaped

The gray of hopelessness, the whisper of bigotry,

The assumptions and biases and blinding dust.

We are having the work to be clean, to be better,

To aspire to the world we know is possible.

We’re having all of the lusciousness, thank you.

The juice of this life drips down our chins.

And though we understand its origins, this in no way

Dilutes its sweetness.

We shave with Occam’s Razor to make our nerve endings shudder

With forbidden nakedness, we run trembling tongues to taste.

We climb to the mountaintop whose name is YES,

Breathing stars

The butterfly glory of a cold breath’s air.

I light this candle now, my people,

Feeling you in your magnificence

In your struggle

Feeling you in your learning

In your leaping and falling short

Feeling you in your glowing hearts

I light this candle now blessed,

So blessed that you are with me

Each one. You strivers and seekers,

Scientists and ritualists and makers of new

Reality.

I light this candle. Welcome, beloveds.

Here Come the Atheopagans!

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.