2012 Thing on Thursday #12
Another key concept introduced in the original “What is Humanistic Paganism?” post was the Fourfold Path, which Humanistic Pagans ideally share in common. The Fourfold Path is:
- exploration of the Five +1
- relationship with myth
- responsible action
- a sense of wonder
The intent was to a) distinguish our style of Paganism from others, and b) provide an affirmative, well-rounded structure for living a life in this style.
But honestly, I had no idea how others shaped their paths. I just wrote what made the most sense to me, and hoped to find others of like mind.
Now, two years later, I’m wondering if the Fourfold Path is appropriate anymore. It may not describe our community that well, and it may not provide the desired structure for living either.
Please rate the appeal of the Fourfold Path from 1-5, with 1 being least and 5 most.
Then please share your suggestions for alternatives in the comments.
Some alternatives to the Fourfold Path are briefly explored after the poll.
Alternatives to the Fourfold Path
If Loyal Rue is correct that religions are about melding cosmology and morality into a single unifying narrative, then an alternative to the Fourfold Path ought to include both elements. It should a) distinguish our style of spirituality from others, and b) provide a structured life-stance incorporating both cosmology and morality.
#1. One alternative is provided by IAO131’s book Naturalistic Occultism. A three-part breakdown describes the essential worldview, which is:
- naturalistic – no reliance on or reference to the supernatural
- scientific – systematic, clear, and using the latest facts of psychology and neurology
- pragmatic – things accepted as provisionally “true” because effective and useful
This seems quite reasonable for distinguishing our style from others, though it doesn’t fulfill the function of providing a structured life (nor was it intended to do so). There’s a cosmology here but not much of a morality.
#2. Another alternative is encapsulated in HP’s subtitle: “A naturalistic marriage of science and myth.” This conveys three essential elements:
- naturalism – no reliance on supernatural explanations or aid
- science – evidence-based investigation through systematic, empirical observation and rigorous peer critique
- myth – enrichment of subjective experience through engagement with symbols, narratives, and rituals rooted in the ancient Pagan world
The addition of myth provides avenues for drawing on cultural, aesthetic, and perhaps even ethical traditions of the ancient world. There is potential here for the flowering of religion in Loyal Rue’s sense, though morality remains under-emphasized.
Please suggest your alternatives in the comments.
About Thing on Thursday
Each week from the Autumn Equinox until the Winter Solstice, Thing on Thursday explores a new controversy. Participation is open to all – the more minds that come together, the better. Those who have been vocal in the comments are as welcome as those quiet-but-devoted readers who have yet to venture a word. We value all constructive opinions.
There are only a few rules:
- be constructive – this is a council, so treat it as such
- be respectful – no rants or flames
Comments will be taken into consideration as we determine the new direction of Humanistic Paganism.
So please make your voice heard in the comments!