May Celebrations That Aren’t About Sex

  Hooray, hooray, the first of May
Outdoor fucking begins today!
             —old saw

So, Atheopaganism is a pleasure-positive path. That’s Atheopagan Principle #10: so long as others and the Sacred Earth are respected, we believe that joy and fun and feeling good are our birthrights as humans.

And that includes sex. Not for us, the furtive shame around sexuality that characterizes our Abrahamic brethren and sistren! We seek to be healthy in our boundaries, communications and behaviors, and happy in our enjoyment of our appetites. Sexuality—the ritual by which each of us is created—is Sacred, and it is a Good Thing.


And that’s great, and all, but some of us are either asexual, don’t have a sex partner at the moment, and/or aren’t interested in a solo sexual celebration. May Day is coming and such folk don’t want their celebration centered on sexuality.

If that’s you, this post is for you.

So, how do we celebrate May Day  without the overtly sexual overtones that so often characterize such observances?

To start with, let’s visit themes.

In the context of the cycle of the year*, May Day is about adulthood, and that means not only sexuality but agency, responsibility, and freedom: freedom to make choices and freedom to enjoy pleasures.

So dancing around a May Pole is not out of the question. Toasting the season with May Wine, perhaps with a ripe strawberry in the glass, likewise. Choose—responsibly—pleasures to enjoy and share with your friends. Perhaps serve a multi-course dinner of sensuously delicious food?

Or cut loose and do something that feels freeing and wild! Dancing seems obvious, but what about renting a trampoline? Or going zip-lining?

Or river rafting, or skydiving?

Fires are traditionally associated with celebrating this time of year. Have a bonfire, and dance around that. Later, settle down around the fire, pass around tea or May wine or chocolate, and share between yourselves what freedom means to you–what makes you feel like an adult, and what you are working to create and achieve this year.

You’re a grown-up, with all the rights and privileges pertinent thereto. You have choices, so make them. Choose, for that one day, things that feel good and right to you, and share them with your community.

At a broader level, May Day has historically been celebrated as the International Day of the Worker. So another way of living in your power as an adult is to work to advance the causes of those who struggle and are oppressed. Because power is responsibility.

Celebrate being alive and living in your power as an adult. Feel the green blessing of the unfolding year, the beauty of Life returned to full flower, and know that you are yourself a part of that flowering.

Happy May Day!


* As I celebrate it, I should say. Atheopagans vary widely in how they celebrate the Wheel of the Year.

Practically Speaking

Atheopagan Principle 6 is about praxis: having a spiritual practice. For many, that involves rituals and seasonal celebrations. For others, simple walks in nature or periods of quiet meditation fulfill that purpose.

For many who are just coming into Atheopaganism, this can be a little daunting. How to start? What is this ritual stuff, anyway? I’ve written on these questions before.

But fundamentally, we say having a practice is important because to be human is to contain multitudes. We are not only actors, creators, family members, citizens. We are complex and manifold manifestations of the Universe.

Each of us carries a unique poetry within us.

And it is the enactment of that poetry, the experience of deep living that is why we say one should have a practice: a regular behavior that brings you into communication with what you feel and experience. With the joy and wonder and deep questions that correlate to being alive and human.

Atheopaganism is a religious path that is about what we do, far more than what we believe. What we believe we can leave to science and reason. But what we do?

That, well.

That’s personal to each of us.

One day, I hope to have the honor of sharing a ritual circle with you. But in the meantime, we all have our own ways of celebrating and observing, and all I can say to you is: keep doing that. 

So draw that daily Tarot card. Light the candles, and the incense, and create a Focus for the season. Make a point of watching the sunrise, or the sunset. Honor the full Moon. Walk in the rain, and tip your face to the sky. Splash in the puddles! Gather the bright autumn leaves, the pine cones, the seed pods. Admire and treasure the fossils and sea shells, the antlers and bones, the flowers and leaves.

Dye the eggs for springtime and dance about the Maypole. Burn the old year’s losses in the Hallows fire, and sing the joy of the reborn Sun about the Yule tree.

Breathe the cold, crisp, fragrant air…or the warm, humid, fragrant air. Hike the forest and climb the mountain; go to the hot spring, the waterfall, the lakeside, the ocean. Speak the Magic Words. Wave the wand, or the knife, or the other ritual tool. Dance around the fire. Sing!

Live, and celebrate living. For this is the way of Atheopaganism: to be as fully alive as we can be, and to shine in this luminous, confounding world.

Atheopaganism: An Introduction

In recent months, hundreds of new Atheopagans have joined the Facebook group and followed the blog. Lots of folks viewing our path with new eyes, and many wondering how to get started. Accordingly, I thought I’d provide an overview of this Pagan path.

Today I posted a video, “An Introduction to Atheopaganism”, to the Atheopagan YouTube Channel. This is a talk I will present at Pantheacon next month. View it below!