From the back cover:
“Those godless pagans!”
Even in pagan antiquity, there were individuals and groups who, while participating in the community’s religious life, did not believe in literal gods. In the centuries that followed the Christian domination of the West, the epithet “godless pagan” was leveled at a wide variety of people, from polytheists and indigenous peoples to heretics and atheists.
In the 1960s, though, there emerged a community of people who sought to reclaim the name “pagan” from its history of opprobrium. These Neo-Pagans were interested in nature spirituality and polytheism, and identified with the misunderstood and persecuted pagans of antiquity. Over the following decades, a stunning variety of spiritualities blossomed under the umbrella of contemporary Paganism.
While many Pagans today believe in literal gods, there are a growing number of Pagans who are “godless.” Today, the diverse assemblage of spiritual paths known as Paganism includes atheist Pagans or Atheopagans, Humanistic and Naturalistic Pagans, Buddho-Pagans, animists, pantheists, Gaians, and other non-theistic Pagans. Here for the first time, their voices are gathered together to share what it means to be Pagan and godless.
I am very pleased to announce that Godless Paganism: Voices of Non-Theistic Pagans is now available for purchase at lulu.com. (It will be available at Amazon and other sites soon, as well.) The anthology gathers together the voices of 40 atheistic, humanistic, and naturalistic Pagans, pantheists, Gaians, animists, and other non-theistic Pagans.
Contributors include Stifyn Emrys, Mark Green, Stasa Morgan-Appel, Steven Posch, Allison Ehrman, B. T. Newberg, Tom Swiss, Brendan Myers, Scott Oden, Jon Cleland Host, Áine Órga, Alison Leigh Lilly, DT Strain, M. J. Lee, Glenys Livingstone, Glen Gordon, Nimue Brown, Cat Chapin-Bishop, Eli Effinger Weintraub, Ryan Cronin, NaturalPantheist, Debra Macleod, Anna Walther, Shauna Aura Knight, Irene Hilldale, Thalassa (Michelle Joers), Steven Posch, Lupa (Greenwolf), Sara Amis, Traci Laird, Bart Everson, Kathleen Cole (Crafter Yearly), Peg Aloi, Pat Mosley, Amelia Stachowicz, Wayne Martin Mellinger, Rua Lupa, and more.
There is a quite a variety in the book, of both substance and style. It includes personal essays, poetry, theo/alogies, interviews, and ritual scripts. And I think you will find a surprising diversity of opinion in its pages.
Part 1, “Non-Theistic Pagans: ‘Yes, We Exist!’,” introduces the idea of atheistic and other non-theistic Pagans. Parts 2 and 3, “Analyzing with Apollo” and “Dancing with Dionysus,” explore the fertile intersection of rationality, critical thought, and skepticism, on the one hand, with emotion, passion, and mysticism, on the other. Part 4, “Not Your Fathers’ God” explores the myriad ways in which deity or divinity can be conceived by Pagans other than as reified or personified beings. Parts 5 and 6, “Who Are We Talking To Anyway” and “Just LARPing” discuss the role of theistic language and symbolism in non-theistic Pagan practice. Part 7, “Bringing it Down to Earth,” talks about the intersection of non-theistic Paganism and earth-centered practice. And Parts 8, 9, and 10 explore our Pagan past — individual and collective — and our Pagan future.
I love every essay in the book, but I have to say I am particularly pleased about being able to include Steven Posch’s essay, “Lost Gods of the Witches: A User’s Guide to Post-Ragnarok Paganism,” which was previously published in Pentacle magazine, but deserves to reach a wider audience, as well as several essays by Allison Leigh Lilly, who I think of as the Pagan Annie Dillard. Interviewing T.J. Fox about the Heathen godlauss (godless) for this book was a treat, and I loved that we got to include Irene Hilldale’s (and her partner’s) “Gender Neutral Atheistic Pagan Wedding Ceremony Script.”
I also really enjoyed Pat Mosley’s interview of his Wiccan high priest and high priestess. There is a moment in the interview that I particularly enjoyed. Pat’s high priestess starts out by saying she doesn’t know any atheist Pagans, but after talking with Pat for a short while realizes that she does in fact know people who might be called atheist Pagans. It was a perfect demonstration of what I hoped this book would accomplish.
I want to thank all of our contributors for sharing their work with us. I also want to thank all of our supporters. With their financial support, we were able to purchase hard copies for all of the contributors, and will be able to strategically donate a few additional copies.
— John Halstead, editor
P.S. Reviewers can send me an email inquiry about receiving a free .pdf copy.
Note: If you already purchased a copy during our fundraiser, or if you are a contributor, your hardcopies are on their way, and you will be receiving an email with links to the electronic copies shortly.