Humanistic Paganism

Category: John Halstead


Literal Minded Atheism

Whether the gods are objectively real is the least interesting question you can ask about a person’s religious experience. What is much more interesting is the subjective reality of their experience. What was the experience was like for them? And what does it mean to them in the context of their life? People’s religious experiences aren’t going to help us put a person on Mars or cure cancer, but they can help us understand why we want to put a person on Mars or why should try to cure cancer.

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Literal Gods Are for the Literal Minded: Re-Enchanting Polytheism

The disenchantment of the world happened, not when we stopped seeing gods and spirits in nature, but when we stopped seeing our essential connection to nature. Personifying rivers and trees with dryads is not going to accomplish this. Rather, we need to realize our essential oneness, the manifold ways in which we are connected to the rivers and the trees–whether or not we find gods in them.

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The Problem and the Promise of Paganism, and Why One Looks a Lot Like the Other

In spite of the uncritical attitudes and superstitious ideas that haunt a lot of Paganism, I still call myself a Pagan. I am still a Pagan because I believe Paganism has the potential to bring together the wisdom of our animistic forebearers and the discoveries of contemporary science in a way that has the power to reenchant the world.

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Eight Ways Pagans Can Celebrate Earth Day

For many contemporary Pagans, Paganism takes the form of a nature religion or earth-centered spirituality. According to Religious Studies scholar, Michael York, a nature religion is one that has “a this-worldly focus and deep reverence for the earth as something sacred and something to be cherished.” Not surprisingly then, Earth Day (April 22 this year) is a holy day for many Pagans. Here are some ways that we Pagans can celebrate Earth Day.

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Naturalistic Pagan Toolbox: Poetic Ritual Language

Symbolic language, like poetry, is a rich resource which we can and should tap in order to make more our rituals more emotionally powerful and personally and collectively transformative. This requires more than just adding a poem into a preexisting ritual. It means using poetic language as a substitute for all discursive language in our rituals. In fact, it means treating the entire ritual as a poem.

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