Some Language I’m Not Going to Use Any More: An Apology

This post is an apology.

It has now been more than two years since I waded into the broader online Pagan conversation on behalf first of myself, and then of what has turned out to be the many Pagans who do not believe in literal gods. In those early days, the posts of myself and others like John Halstead and John Cleland Host were received in some quarters with bitter hostility.

As a result, I became defensive. And when I’m defensive, I’m often acerbic.

“Hard theists” and I aren’t going to agree cosmologically. We have fundamental disputes over the nature of the Universe itself, and those cannot be reconciled. However, we can treat one another with respect, and I have sometimes fallen down in this regard.

It isn’t helpful to describe someone’s “god experiences” as “delusions”. While I do, firmly, believe that such experiences are products of the brain, that’s not connotatively the same as the d-word.

So I’m not going to use that word in relation to the beliefs of theists any longer.

I’m going to forego “superstition”, too, although my understanding of that word is that it means “supernatural beliefs in which I do not share”, so it may technically be correct. Again, connotative meaning matters, so it’s off the list.

Things have changed in those two years. There aren’t very many voices any longer who are insisting that we don’t belong in the Pagan community, or that we are “blind” or “deaf to the gods”. We have a book out now, we’ve been recognized as a part of the community in the program of Pantheacon, and our conversation is now a part of the broader Pagan conversation.

I don’t feel as defensive these days. And as a result, I’m able to step back a bit and, therefore, to feel badly about times when I was sharper and more pointed than really was necessary.

To any I have offended, I am sorry. I ask your pardon.



Eggs and Sprouts

Reflecting here, on a mild day shortly after High Spring, on the currents of newness that have come to and through my life in the past few months. Feeling grateful.

For better or worse, my life will change significantly in the next few months. I hope it is for the better, and what better time for hope than the Spring? Here are some of the Eggs I am incubating and the Sprouts I see emerging, already born and angling towards the Sun.

Egg: With some luck, I will be starting a new job soon. If it’s the one I hope for, I’ll be working for a great organization with an exciting mission, doing something I’m good at, and paid well. May it so be.

Sprout: Since the launch of the Atheopaganism Facebook group, more than 300 people have joined and participated in helping our new path to grow. The group has been a civil, thoughtful, truly interesting place for conversations, and I am deeply grateful for each and every participant. May we continue to enjoy one another’s virtual company, and may the group and associated blog be helpful and supportive as people adapt Atheopaganism to their own needs and beliefs.

Sprout: At Pantheacon this year, among the many fine folks I had the distinct pleasure of meeting were some of the primary writers on non-theistic Paganism on the web. Jon Cleland Host and John Halstead are both fine people with thoughtful, intelligent approaches to their religion, and they have been supportive and encouraging of me and of Atheopaganism. Other significant writers on the topic such as DT Strain and B.T. Newburg of the Spiritual Naturalist Society have joined the Atheopagan Facebook group and participated in our discussions, and I look forward to meeting them in person one day as well. Ours is a small corner of the Pagan community and I’m honored to work with people of such heart, intellect and commitment as we work to build it.

Egg: Many have been encouraging me to compile and expand the Atheopaganism material into a book. I have only begun the outlining process, but would very much like to complete this project within a year. May it be so.

Sprout (barely peeking out): Last year at this time, I was holding open Atheopagan seasonal celebrations with friends. Due to a variety of circumstances I had to stop that for awhile beginning in September. But Nemea and I would like to start this up again and will definitely be hauling out the Maypole for another May Day dance.

Egg: Another book; I have been writing a third installment of the Jake Gittes story (of Chinatown and The Two Jakes fame), entitled Santa Ana Wind. I hope to have that novel completed this year. It will never see publication due to copyright of the character, but my friends will hopefully enjoy it. May it so be!

Between roosting and watering, I imagine this is enough to keep me busy for awhile!

How about you? What are you incubating and fostering this Spring?