What is Humanistic Paganism?
Humanistic Paganism, also called Naturalistic Paganism, is a unique Pagan orientation for those who are uncomfortable with or skeptical of the supernatural or metaphysical elements of contemporary Paganism. Individuals may use other self-descriptors, such as “Atheist Pagan”, “Atheist Witch”, “Pagan Humanist”, “Druid Naturalist”, etc. Humanistic Paganism has been described as Paganism without the “woo”. In affirmative terms, Humanistic Paganism is Paganism that is firmly rooted in the empirical world.
Many people come to Paganism after leaving Christianity or other monotheistic religions. Many are drawn to Paganism, or Neopaganism particularly, because of its “this-worldly” orientation and the impulse to find the divine in the “here-and-now”. Neopaganism is often described as a religion of immanence, in contrast to religions of transcendence. This is manifest by the concept of a pantheistic Goddess, the seasonal Wheel of the Year, and a pro-body ethic.
But a person drawn to Paganism by its down-to-earth orientation may be disturbed by other aspects of Paganism, such as the belief in instrumental magic (the belief that thought can cause change in the physical world without corresponding physical action), New Age trappings like crystals, or the literal belief in gods as sentient beings. For some, this kind of Paganism too closely resembles the other-worldliness of the transcendental religions we left behind. These Pagans may find a home among Humanistic Pagans who share a love of the myth and ritual of Paganism, but not what we see as its irrational credulity and superstition.
Others come to Humanistic Paganism not from theistic religions, but from non-religious backgrounds. Atheists may come to Humanistic Paganism looking for a spiritual practice to help them celebrate the natural world or experience a deeper connection to the Universe without abandoning their rational faculties.