It’s a tough task to pick my favorite posts of 2018. Luckily, I don’t have to do that. Here are the top ten posts of 2018, based on the number of views. Plenty of them show that many of us are expanding the role of our Naturalistic Paganism in our lives, with other topics (such as social issues) appearing as well.
So many of us Pagans of all types have relatives with very different worldviews. Some of our loved ones with different worldviews strongly disapprove of our path, yet love us deeply – and can struggle with how they want to interact with us. For many of us Naturalistic Pagans, loved ones may have problems with both our Paganism and our Atheism. So it’s not a huge surprise that a resource for these very people in our lives made it into the top ten.
Even if a parent or relative is on board with your Pagan plan for your kids, they could be unsure of how to support your plan. While our eight holidays of The Wheel of the Year are second nature to many of us, they can be confusing to non-Pagans, new Pagans, and even many of us who have been Pagan for years. Here, phone calls a month after a holiday often started with something like “um…. I’ve got chocolate bunnies & eggs here for the kids. When is … .. ah.. Esther? Is it coming up?”.
The solution was to make a quick, easy, 1 page cheat sheet for caring relatives & loved ones. Here it is if you’d like to print some copies and use them yourself. I laminated the ones I gave so as to make them more durable.
Without my Paganism, my life would be dry, boring, and pointless. In this post, John helps us see how each of us can enchant the everyday, bringing magic to our lives.
Long before, Kimmerer’s Algonquin ancestors also expressed their thanks with songs, prayers, and offerings. Kimmerer’s family no longer knew those ancient ways. They’d been taken from her people by White boarding schools. But still her family found their own way to offer thanks to the more-than-human world. The words were different, the gestures not quite the same, but the spirit was identical.
If friends and relatives don’t even know what and when our holidays are, of course they’ll also have a hard time knowing what to get us for gifts (after all, that’s often a hard question even for people with the same religion). As in previous years, this list has newly released items, as well as the best of previous years (including gifts which are handmade and not purchased).
The power of our star, of Sol, is seen again in the popularity of this post, helping us all celebrate the light and warmth of our literally life-giving star.
“As I stand here on this celebration of Litha, the sacred Wheel of the Year continues to turn. As my ancestors did in times before and my descendants may do in times to come, I honour the old ways. This is the time of the Summer Solstice, Alban Heruin, the Light of the Shore. ….”
One would hope that now, in 2018, we are past attacks on Pagans for practicing our religion. But of course that’s not true at all. We live in a world with religious privilege, both de facto and de jure. For many of us, the institutionalized Christian privilege in the United States and Europe is a fact of daily life (though of course it is still milder than the Islamic privilege in places like Bangladesh, where those who are openly non-Muslim can get hacked to death). Pagans attacked for being Pagan happens on both sides of the pond, and as we saw in the case this year, is often met with little more than a wink and nod from police. We each have to decide what actions are right and safe for ourselves. I urge everyone to both remember their safety (as Megan describes here), and also stand for yourself when it is safe to do so. I’ve more recently been open about my own Paganism, even though it may have cost me significantly in my life – but kept both my Atheism and Paganism hidden early in my career when more was on the line.
One of the reasons I bought the house I live in now was that it has a garden. I’d never had my own place with a garden before, and I was so excited to have one and to be able to perform rituals outside. Which, for many months, I did. Just like Mr Bennett, I would go out into my garden at the full moon and hold various rituals. I never made any noise during these rituals. In fact, I tried my hardest to be discreet because I didn’t actually want attention from the neighbours. I would even whisper all the words and incantations of the ritual.
But one night, during a full moon ritual, I noticed one of the neighbours was watching me from his window. I didn’t mind this so much – it’s fine to be curious. But then he started shouting abuse at me: “Burn the witch!”
Symbols are deeply important to us as a species. By representing ideas with a few lines, we opened our minds and harnessed power far beyond that available to non-human chimpanzees. Now we have a symbol for Atheopaganism!
The new Atheopagan symbol also imbues ancient symbols with additional meaning. Made by Linden Weaver and Rua Lupa (Rua Lupa also made the wonderful images for our NaturalPagans blog central site – check it out if you aren’t already relying on it as a nearly daily blog source), through multiple rounds of consideration and voting by the whole Atheopagan community. The tree is a symbol of so much in both our past as well as in modern society. There are too many to go over here. … Our closest star, the Sun, is another deeply spiritual symbol which is centrally important in so many different spiritualities, again spanning the continents and reaching back many thousands of years.
While we have announcements for all eight Sabbats, it was the Winter and Summer Solstices which got the most traffic. With the Winter Solstice being the gateway into Paganism for so many people (it was for me), this is not a surprise. Many of the the different ways to celebrate the Winter Solstice are described in this post.
Fair, clear, and honest, this post is a very good window into Naturalistic Paganism.
Nature is nothing if not creative and diverse. Therefore as a naturalist, I feel called to challenge myself toward diverse points of view. Though I don’t interpret my spiritual experiences in the same way supernaturalists do, I read books and blogs authored by supernaturalists, and I join them in ecstatic ritual as often as I get the opportunity, because I admire and respect them and their path. None of us knows everything or has an exclusive angle on absolute truth. We can all benefit from collaboration.
What a wonder a good book is! Here are some books that, to me, give us that deep connection to our world – and that’s the heart of Paganism to me.
Since becoming a Naturalistic Pagan, my trips to the bookstore have become a lot more complicated. … The truth is, the most useful (small-p) “pagan” books I have found over the years are not found in the Paganism section at all. In fact, they don’t even include the word “Pagan”. What makes it “pagan” then? Well, that’s going to vary from person to person. But for me, pagan writing is writing that awakens my senses to the sacred in the physical world. Here’s some “pagany” books that you won’t find in the Pagan section of the bookstore, some I have read and some I want to.
So many of us have been there too – a long path winding through various belief systems before we find home. And sometimes, it’s not far from a much earlier place. Natalie Kirk brings us along on that journey, from her childhood, through her teens and up to today. Some of us see ourselves or a loved one in her story, and in any case can see the emotional and intellectual poignancy of her journey. It’s easy to see why this is our top post of 2018!
I used to be a pagan, back in my teens up until I was about 22. I was a true believer. I fully believed in gods and goddesses, and that I could summon magic to create change in the universe.
2018 was quite a year – with plenty of both good and bad. These posts, like many others, helped make the world a better place, both helping our lives now as well as benefiting the future. We all know that there are very significant challenges ahead, and challenges already today. In the face of all of that, we are not alone. We stand united in our efforts, and in the many coming victories and losses, our community and our connection to nature are both constant sources of strength. What will 2019 bring? Our choices will be among those which will make 2019 into what it will be. Human choices determine so much of our world now. May our choices, and our lives, be good. Blessed be.