A Solar Reflection

It’s the day after Midsummer—at least, here in the Northern Hemisphere—and it’s hot and sunny, as one would expect. Meanwhile, the chaos weather of global climate change goes on: Banff had 25 cm of snow last night.

I had a quiet Midsummer: set out my Sun Broom to soak up the sun and wove some additional lengths of wild rye into it; contemplated my Focus for awhile.  The day became very hot and we mostly lay about under a fan with our clothes off.

These are the longest days of the year, and those many hours of daylight bring a sense of possibility with them: so much time to do things, so much potential. And yet there is also a feeling of leisure, of relaxation: with so much time, why rush?

For myself, around now is when I feel the urgency of the world recede. It’s not that it isn’t there—witness the horrific concentration camps the Trump kakistocracy is jamming migrant children and families into, and the latest news on global warming—but for a moment, it seems with these warm and luxurious days, the oppressiveness of the news and the facts of our global situation recedes. And I feel almost…optimistic?

Yes, crashes are coming—or, rather, in progress: an economic crash as capitalism collapses under its own metastasized weight; an ecological crash as the planet warms, biological communities unravel and mass extinctions take place; and a human population crash as our ability to flog food out of the soil deteriorates with increasing climate chaos, rising oceans drive waves of climate refugees into areas that can’t support them, and idiot xenophobia keeps migrant agricultural workers away from the crops they would otherwise pick.

Yes, that’s happening.

Still, I look at what is happening in culture and I can’t help but to be encouraged. Awareness—and disapproval—of racism, sexism and homophobia are skyrocketing as older generations die off. People who embrace those ideas are kicking up dust right now, but they’re dying, and good riddance. And credulity in gods and the supernatural is plummeting. It’s going to take awhile, but people who believe in evidence and critical thinking and the social contract are on the ascendant.

And then, there’s us. We naturalistic, Earth-revering Pagans, including Atheopagans.

We are, I believe, collectively forming the embodied and implemented answer to the age-old conflict between science and religion: between loyalty to the factual truth and feeding the parts of ourselves that need stories, and rituals, and meaning.

And we’re doing so around values of kindness, inclusiveness, wonder and joy, both lived and advocated for.

I believe that counts for something in the world. I believe that the healthier we are as people, the louder our voices for those healthy and kind and Earth-loving values are, the more of an impact we have, even in the midst of the crashes.

People are tenacious. They are singularly difficult to extirpate, even in an ecological collapse. Inevitably, survivors migrate to somewhere more benign and set up shop, with their innovative minds and clever adaptations, and they make a go of it once again.

I intend and believe that our values and practices are informed by the lessons of history: that they are what we need to bring forward into the new cultures that will be born after capitalistic consumer culture can no longer be sustained.

So, as I said: optimistic. The long days leave me looking at Long Time, and understanding that a time of collapse and damage and ignorance isn’t the end of the story. Rather, it is an opportunity to begin writing the coming chapters.

Thank you for joining this journey with me—for helping to inform and develop Atheopagan culture and practice. Even here at the ends of many things, we are not powerless, and we are not defeated.

I’ll close with a chant I wrote for fire circle rituals, and sing pretty often (I’ll put up a YouTube video with the tune tomorrow, if anyone is interested):

We believe in a better world
We believe in justice
We believe in a better world
We believe in peace
We believe in a better world
We can heal our Planet

We won’t bow down.

We won’t bow down.

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.

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.

Happy High Spring!

The vernal equinox is upon us, as of 2:58 pm PDT today! The days will be longer than the nights, and we will steadily grow in daytime through to the summer solstice on June 20.

Unless you are in the Southern Hemisphere, of course, in which case, happy Autumn!

A joyous holiday to all of you! For tips on how to celebrate, visit this post from last year. May your celebration of Spring be happy, silly, and childlike!

Shown: Ukrainian pysanky eggs, a tradition for spring going back thousands of years.