Humanistic Paganism

Good news: You’re gonna love this winter!

It’s almost the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year, after which the sun is figuratively “reborn.”  This year, HP is having a little rebirth of its own.

We promise you won’t be bored this winter, because HP is bringing you some big names!

Introducing… HP Winterviews!

What’s HP Winterviews?

They’re winter interviews (get it?).

In our recent Thing on Thursday polls, you identified some of our best allies and asked for more interviews with them.  Well, guess what – we’ve done just that!

We’ve been busy interviewing movers and shakers in the worlds of Spiritual Naturalism, Paganism, and Humanism.  Check out who we’ve got in store for you…

Here’s who we’ve got lined up:

It all starts on the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21st), and continues through January.  You won’t want to miss it!

eBook coming up

As if that author list weren’t enough, we’re also crafting a new ebook just for you.

Announcing:

Year One: A Year of Humanistic Paganism

This ebook assembles in one convenient place selections from HP’s first year.

New to HP?  This ebook will be perfect for you.  Old veteran?  There will be exclusive new material too!

Projected release: Winter Solstice – December 21st.

By the way, the previously announced ebook, Our Ancient Future: Visions of Humanistic Paganism, is turning up some interesting research.  However, it appears it’s going to take a lot longer to achieve a truly superior product.  Look for it in the coming year!

Show your appreciation

You may have noticed a little “donate” button go up on our site recently.  It takes cash to keep quality work coming at you week after week.  This is done as a free service by an all-volunteer team, including countless hours put in by your tireless editor.  Has it made a positive impact on your life?   Given you some food for thought?  Then please consider showing your appreciation.

For details about where the money goes and how to give, check out the Support HP tab.

What does meditation mean to you?

Thing on Thursday #10

We’re down to our last three weeks in the Thing on Thursday series.

Last time, one of the most popular projects voted for was developing meditations and rituals.  But those words mean different things to different people.

So, this week, we’ll focus on meditation.  What does it mean to you?

To gain a sense of the breadth of the topic, check out the Tree of Contemplative Practices, and this guide to meditation types.

The choices in the poll may involve some overlap, and there will no doubt be plenty left out.  Please use the “other” box for any missing types you wish to vote for.

Please choose your top three.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

About Thing on Thursday

Althing in Session, by W.G. CollingwoodThis post is part of a series of councils on matters vital to the future.  The name represents both the generic term for, you know, a thingie, as well as the Old Norse term for a council of elders: a Thing.

Each week until the Winter Solstice, Thing on Thursday will explore 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.  This will also greatly shape the vision that unfolds in our upcoming ebook Our Ancient Future: Visions of Humanistic Paganism.

So please make your voice heard in the comments!

Naturalistic meaning and purpose, by Jon Cleland Host

Stellar Quake

A new age is dawning in which the universe, through us, has learned to reason and plan.

This week’s piece is special in a couple of ways.  First, Jon is the moderator of the yahoo group Naturalistic Paganism, which may be the community most closely resembling our own.  Second, it’s Thanksgiving weekend for Americans (Canadians had it last month), and Jon shows us what a marvelous universe we have to appreciate.

Understanding the natural world and how we got here from a naturalistic perspective gives my life incredible meaning and purpose.  We are literally made of stars – of stardust, forged in cosmic furnaces, assembled into nanotechnology far beyond what humans can make today!

Amazing ancestors

I marvel at my family tree, which goes back though innumerable life forms, through amazing stories of survival, hope, courage, and parental love. It includes the tiny mammal, surviving through the freezing, year-long darkness after the asteroid impact by eating, and likely hiding in, a frozen dinosaur carcass. It includes the first mother to produce milk, and the first blurry view through a newly evolved eye.

If a depressed child suddenly discovered that she was descended from a long line of Nobel prizewinners, think of how her outlook and actions would instantly change! In the same way, I’ve grown from a long line of survivors – noble creatures of every sort, who conquered deadly challenges billions of times over. I stand on a mountain of love and success, and without winning a cosmic lottery against unbelievable odds, I wouldn’t be here. What other outlook could possibly give my life more meaning?

Dawn of a new age

Through fits and starts, the universe has created in ever more wonderful ways, and it will probably lead to a just and sustainable world. It could happen after centuries of environmental disasters, bloody wars, and untold suffering, or it could happen sooner, through our efforts to build a loving, rational culture focused on this world. It’s up to us to choose when we’ll get there.

We stand at the dawn of a new age, the first time we know of when the universe has become able to reason and plan.

Naturalistic purpose

My family, your family, and all life on earth will live with the consequences tomorrow of the decisions we make today. Seeing my kids, or any kids, reminds me of that.

What could be a greater purpose, and a greater reason to take control of one’s life? What could possibly be a stronger moral basis for ethical behavior – a clearer reason to love my neighbor as myself?

Understanding our incredible universe in a naturalistic way makes my ancestors and our future world sources of meaning and purpose.

The author

Jon Cleland Host

Jon Cleland Host

Dr. Jon Cleland Host is a scientist who earned his PhD in materials science at Northwestern University & has conducted research at Hemlock Semiconductor and Dow Corning since 1997.  He holds eight patents and has authored over three dozen internal scientific papers and eleven papers for peer-reviewed scientific journals, including the journal Nature.  He has taught classes on biology, math, chemistry, physics and general science at Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University.  Jon grew up near Pontiac, and has been building a reality-based spirituality for over 30 years, first as a Catholic and now as a Unitarian Universalist, including collaborating with Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow to spread the awe and wonder of the Great Story of our Universe (see www.thegreatstory.org, and the blog at evolutionarytimes.org).  Jon and his wife have four sons, whom they embrace within a Universe-centered, Pagan, family spirituality.  He currently moderates the yahoo group Naturalistic Paganism.

Ucoming work

This Sunday

Jon Cleland Host

On the weekend of Thanksgiving (for Americans; the Canadians’ was last month), Jon reveals what a marvelous universe we have to appreciate.

Naturalistic meaning and purpose, by Jon Cleland Host

Appearing Sunday, November 27th, on Humanistic Paganism.

Thing on Thursday

Althing in Session, by W. G. Collingwood

One of the most popular project ideas last time was developing meditations and rituals.  This week, we’ll ask what kind of meditations are meaningful for you.

Join us for the next council on matters vital to the future of Humanistic Paganism.

The conversation continues this Thursday, December 1st, on Humanistic Paganism.

Next Sunday

Ian Edwards

Ian Edwards is not naturalistic, but he explores what those who follow such paths contribute to the Pagan community.

Existential Paganism, by Ian Edwards

Appearing Sunday, December 4th, on Humanistic Paganism.

Recent Work

Deities as role models, by Eli Effinger-Weintraub

Real religion? by B. T. Newberg

Ritual – why bother? by Jake Diebolt

What should our next projects be?

Thing on Thursday #9

Recently, we identified our top goals: help naturalists reflect on their beliefs and practices, connect naturalists to each other, and develop and debate a new way of being-in-the-world

Then we identified our best allies to help us achieve those goals:  Spiritual Naturalists, Pagans and Polytheists, and “Liberal” or “Humanistic” religionists.

Now, what projects should we pursue toward these goals?

Please choose your top three.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

About Thing on Thursday

Althing in Session, by W.G. CollingwoodThis post is part of a series of councils on matters vital to the future.  The name represents both the generic term for, you know, a thingie, as well as the Old Norse term for a council of elders: a Thing.

Each week until the Winter Solstice, Thing on Thursday will explore 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.  This will also greatly shape the vision that unfolds in our upcoming ebook Our Ancient Future: Visions of Humanistic Paganism.

So please make your voice heard in the comments!

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