New Column: Rotting Silver
We are excited to announce that B. T. Newberg will be adding his voice as a regular columnist for HP. B. T. writes: “If there is one thing that has always drawn me to Paganism, it is the embrace of nature as both beauty and bitch. Rotting Silver is a column devoted to this Earth in all its tarnished radiance: poetry, prose, and parables of ugliness alloyed with joy.” We look forward to enjoying B. T.’s writing.
Book idea: Non-theistic perspectives on the gods?
We are in the early phase of plans to edit a book on the role of gods in non-theistic Paganism, along the lines of our regular column, De Natura Deorum. One might think that Naturalistic Pagans would have little use for gods, and that is certainly true in many cases. However, we receive a surprising number of submissions on the nature of the gods here at HP, with some truly radical conceptions of “gods”.
If you would like to contribute an essay, please email us at humanisticpaganism [at] gmail [dot] com.
Atheopagans at Pantheacon
If you’re at Pantheacon in San Jose in February 2015, be sure to check out the Atheopagan Open House in the Pagan Scholar’s Suite. Mark Green will presenting an Atheopagan workshop and ritual. Several HP friends will be there, and we look forward to reporting back to you about the event.
This year we will 12 monthly themes at HP.
- January: On January 28, 2005, Jon Cleland Host launched the Naturalistic Paganism Yahoo group, which was (as far as I can discern) the first such online community. In honor of Jon’s work, our theme the month of January will be community, specifically our community. We’ll be exploring questions like: Can a movement with multiple centers be coherent? and What if anything truly keeps us together?
- February: Charles Darwin was born on February 12 in 1809. This day has been celebrated as “Darwin Day” by humanists around the world. Accordingly, our themes for the month of February will be evolution and evolutionary science.
- March: Albert Einsten was born on March 14 in 1879. The day is also celebrated as “Pi Day” (i.e., the date 3/14 = the numerical constant 3.14…) The following day, March 15, is Hypatia Day, on which some humanists and Pagans honor the female philosopher, astronomer and mathematician who was martyred in the 5th c. CE. In honor of Einstein and Hypatia (and pi) our themes for the month of March will be astronomy and mathematics (or stars and numbers).
- April: The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was born on April 20 in 121 CE. Marcus Aurelius was a Stoic philosopher. The Stoics equated the universe with God. The American naturalist John Muir was also born in on April 21 in 1838. Earth Day is also celebrated in April. In honor of these events, our themes for the month of April will be Nature and Stoicism.
- May: Buddha Day is a holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists on different days in different countries, but usually in the month of May. Many humanists and Pagans follow a Buddhist practice. In honor of the Buddha, our themes for the month of May will be non-theistic religion and Buddhism.
- June: The last pagan emperor of Rome, known as “Julian the Apostate” or “Julian the Philosopher”, died on June 26 in 363 CE. His death is commemorated by some contemporary Pagans. The founder of British Neo-Pagan witchcraft Gerald Gardner was born also in in June (13th) in 1884, the same month (June 22) that the Fraudulent Mediums Act was passed in the UK in 1951, repealing the Witchcraft Act of 1735 and making it possible for Gerald Gardiner to go public with his witch cult. In honor of Julian and Gardner, our themes for the month of June will be ancient Paganism and the Neo-Pagan revival.
- July: The Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau was born this month (July 12) in 1817. Another Transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson, gave his “Divinity School Address” the same month (July 15) in 1838. The address is regarded by some as the beginning of the Transcendentalist movement, which represented an individualist challenge to traditional religion. Also in this month (July 12) is “Malala Day”, which honors Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani activist who survived an assassination attempt and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. In honor of the Transcendentalists and Malala, our themes for the month of July will be individualism and religious tradition. We’ll also be looking for articles on gender issues.
- August: Friedrich Nietzsche died this on August 25 in 1900. Nietzsche is perhaps best known for his declaration that “God is dead.” In honor of Nietzsche, our themes for the month of August will be atheism and meaning.
- September: In September 1965, James Lovelock, the author of the Gaia Hypothesis, started defining the idea of a self-regulating Earth while working on methods of detecting life on Mars. Lovelock did not publish the hypothesis until 1972, and the theory was not popularized until 1979. In the meantime, also in September (September 6) in 1970, one of the fathers of Neo-Paganism, Tim (Oberon) Zell had his a vision which inspired him to articulate vision of the earth as a single living organism. In honor of the vision of these two individuals, our theme for the month of September will be Gaia philosophy and the Earth. We’ll especially be looking for articles about peak oil, climate change, environmental degradation and the coming collapse.
- October: “Freethought Day” is observed on October 12 by freethinkers and secularists on the anniversary of the effective end of the Salem Witch Trials. Of course, the month of October culminates in Halloween. In observance of these dates, our theme for the month of October will be superstition and reason or, if you prefer, belief and skepticism.
- November: Several individuals who are important to Humanistic Pagans were born in November, including the pantheist Baruch Spinoza (Nov. 24, 1632), the pantheist John Toland (Nov. 30, 1670), the pantheist and one of the fathers of Neo-Paganism, Oberon Zell-Ravenheart (born Timothy Zell, Nov. 30, 1942), and the cosmologist Carl Sagan (Nov. 9, 1934). Some humanists celebrate “Sagan Day” on Nov. 9. In honor of these individuals, our themes for the month of November will be pantheism and cosmology.
- December: Isaac Newton was born December 25, 1642. Since Newton is recognized as one as one of the most influential scientists of all time and his birth date corresponds with Christmas, some humanists celebrate Newton’s birthday instead of Christmas. In honor of Newton, our themes for the month of December will be science and the science-religion intersection.
You can send submissions for any of these themes, or another theme, to humanisticpaganism [at] gmail [dot] com.
Join Our Staff
We’re still looking for a few individuals to join the staff here at HP. First of all, we’re looking for a Science News editor. There is lots of exciting science being done, and we need someone who can help identify what would be of most interest to Naturalistic Pagans and include it in our content here.
We’re also looking for an HPedia editor who will move the project to a wiki format and then oversee it as it develops through open collaboration with other Naturalistic Pagans.
We’re also looking for an ebook editor who will bring together some of the work we have done here with some new content to produce a marketable product.
If you’re interested in any of these positions, email us at humanisticpaganism [at] gmail.com.
Lastly, we need your submissions! Only a fraction of the content here at HP comes from unsolicited submissions. Ideally, the reverse would be true. Send your submissions to humanisticpaganism [at] gmail.com.
John Halstead, Managing Editor