– by B. T. Newberg
You know how a young sapling changes as it matures through its life cycle? HP is experiencing something like that. Our bark, our roots, and our whole internal structure is changing.
Our look has changed, including a new WordPress theme as well as an original logo designed by artist Bryan Beard. What do you think? Let us know in the poll below!
But the new look is only the outer bark in this extended metaphor. It’s meant to reflect a whole new attitude. After putting down roots for the first two years, we’re now in a position to grow some new branches.
Developments in the community
Naturalistic Pagans are extending their roots throughout the greater Pagan community via larger forums.
Eli Effinger-Weintraub has long been a mainstay at No Unsacred Place, with her Restorying the Sacred project. At the same time, the editor of Pagan Square put in a request for naturalistic blogs, and that order has been double-filled. John Halstead began a new Jungian blog called Dreaming the Myth Forward, an attempt to “walk the tightrope” between literalization of archetypes and their reduction to “mere” symbols. Meanwhile, I started a blog for beginners called Pagan, Naturally, so now there are resources to help reply to questions like: What’s a Naturalistic Pagan?, Why do ritual as a Naturalistic Pagan?, and How can Naturalists seek transcendence? There’s also my other blog at Patheos, called Naturalistic Traditions, which just completed a full year of monthly holidays for naturalists to celebrate, and is now looking forward to delving into historical traditions. Finally, Dr. Brendan Myers’ controversial guest post on the Wild Hunt supports our community, along with his recent posts suggesting that what matters is not the worship of the gods but rather the will to dwell in an enchanted world.
These ventures are sure to educate and raise awareness of our community. Please show your support by commenting on the blogs and and sharing them on your favorite social media sites.
There have also been important developments in that other big umbrella under which we fall: Religious Naturalism. DT Strain’s new Spiritual Naturalist Society launched this year, gaining support from big names like Stephen Batchelor and Susan Blackmore, while also featuring such HP veterans as Thomas Schenk, Heather Wiech, and myself.
With all this moving and shaking, people are recognizing us. Jon Cleland Host mentions in his interview that he was approached by a UU church for a blurb on Naturalistic Paganism for their “Faith of a UU Pagan” pamphlet. As small as our movement is, people are taking notice!
Developments at HP
The last two years have been spent finding our feet, discovering who’s out there and what our community is like. When I began this blog, I had no idea if anyone was even out there. I just wrote what I felt, and hoped to meet others of like mind. Now, we’ve published over forty authors, including Hilaria in Italy who contributed our first ever bilingual article!
In terms of content, these years have been fruitful. We’ve zeroed in on naturalism as our most significant defining feature. Meanwhile, our Thing on Thursday polls have revealed crucial data about us, including confirmations as well as surprises. On the one hand, polls confirmed that apart from our naturalistic worldview, we resemble other Pagans in most ways. For example, we use similar techniques in ritual, and almost all of us have at least some interest in Pagan popular culture. On the other hand, polls found that certain aspects of the original presentation of HP didn’t reflect the community very well. The appeal of the Fourfold Path, especially the term Five +1, is lackluster at best. Further, the number of those in favor of the Euro-Mediterranean focus is no greater than the sum of those who dislike it or don’t care. Finally, the term Humanistic Pagan lost decisively to the far more preferred term Naturalistic Pagan.
In response to all this, our internal structure is changing as we mature into a new stage of our life cycle.
The Fourfold Path will be de-emphasized, the Euro-Mediterranean focus relaxed, and the term Naturalistic Pagan favored for describing our path from now on. Our old term will cease to indicate the path we follow, and hereafter refer solely to the website, the digital nature of which can be emphasized by removing the space between the words: HumanisticPaganism.*
What’s more, the resources of the site have been re-designed for enhanced utility. Check out the all-new What Is HumanisticPaganism? page, which supercedes the desperately outdated original post of the same name. To highlight this new content, it will also be published tomorrow as a regular blog post.
Next, there is now a massive resource called the HPedia: an encyclopedia of key terms used here at HP. What started out as a glossary blossomed into something more comprehensive. Your help is needed to critique the entries to ensure quality and accuracy – please leave comments on the bottom of the HPedia page!
Finally, check out the new mission statement, calendar of celebrations, rituals, meditations, groups listings, and much more. You can now volunteer at HP. Most importantly, we need your help to fill out our new activism pages, which will present links for living a responsible life.
Altogether, the new changes include:
- new look and logo
- de-emphasize Fourfold Path
- relax Euro-Mediterranean focus
- switch to Naturalistic Pagan as preferred term for the Path, HumanisticPaganism (no space) as the name of the website
- all-new What Is Humanistic Paganism? intro article
- HPedia: An encyclopedia of key terms
- new pages on calendars, rituals, meditations, activism, and more
Thank you all for a great year, and let’s make 2013 even better. Send in your essays and articles now!
If you like what you’re seeing, or have constructive criticism, please leave comment. And don’t forget to share our new articles and pages on Facebook and Twitter!