Being the Allergic Pagan is about living with contradictions. Like being a man who worships a Goddess. Like being an atheist who honors the gods. Like being a Pagan married to a Mormon and raising an atheist and label-adverse children. Like being politically liberal and working as a lawyer for big business. And like having seasonal allergies but loving wild nature.
My seasonal allergies mean that at those times of the year I most want to worship surrounded by nature, it is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to do so. This irony is a metaphor for an essential conflict at the core of my psyche, between the desire for communion with nature on the one hand and the desire to transcend nature on the other.
I am an attorney living in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago, with my wife and two teenage children. I have spent most of my life in the southern Laurentian bioregion, commonly known as the Midwest, Great Lakes region, and Appalachia.
I was raised Mormon (LDS) and served a proselytizing mission for the LDS Church in northeast Brazil from 1994 to 1996. My wife and I were married in the Manti, Utah LDS temple in 1997.
I am now a Pagan and Unitarian Universalist (UU).To me, being Pagans means finding God/dess in myself and in the natural world. Being UU, to me, means fighting for equality and justice for all people and our more-than-human kin.
I formally withdrew from the LDS Church in 2001 and began identifying as Pagan in 2003. I began attending a Unitarian church in 2010 and joined in 2015. I now serve on the Worship Committee and the Faith in Action Committee. My Mormon wife and I are raising our atheist son and label-adverse daughter in an intentionally interfaith home. I craft Pagan and interfaith rituals for my family and practice an idiosyncratic and eclectic form of Neo-Paganism personally, which draws on the archetypal psychology of Carl Jung and the naturalistic animism of David Abram.
I am a Shaper of the fledgling Earthseed community, which is a religion inspired by Octavia Butler’s science fiction novels Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, and which is described in detail at GodisChange.org.
I am the former Managing Editor at HumanisticPaganism.com, a community blog for Naturalistic Pagans, to which I am also a frequent contributor. I am now the Editor-at-Large at HumanisticPaganism.com and write/curate a regular column called “The Naturalistic Pagan Toolbox.”
Since 2011, I have been writing about my often ambivalent relationship with Paganism, Unitarianism, and life here at AllergicPagan.com. Here you can find my “Deep Ecology Tree” series, as well a description of my popular “Three Centers of Paganism” model, which is an alternative to the “umbrella model” of Pagan community and which describes the contemporary Pagan community, not as one, but as three overlapping circles of earth-centered, deity-centered, and Self-centric Pagans.
I have also written about the intersection of archetypal polytheism and naturalistic animism at “Gods Within/Gods Without,” which is hosted by Witches & Pagans.
I am the creator and curator of the informational site Neo-Paganism.com/Neo-Paganism.org.
I edited and contributed to the anthology, Godless Paganism: Voices of Non-Theistic Pagans (2016), which gathered the writings of 40 atheistic, humanistic, and naturalistic Pagans, pantheists, animists, Gaians, and other non-theistic Pagans from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia.
I have published articles in numerous periodicals, including Circle magazine, Witches & Pagans, Greenmantle magazine, and the Francophone Lune Bleue: Un Magazine de la Ligue Wiccan Eclectique. I also contributed to Pagan Planet: Being, Believing & Belonging in the 21Century (Moon Books 2016), Godless Paganism: Voices of Non-Theistic Pagans (2016), and the forthcoming Greening of Religions.
I have also presented at numerous conferences, including the Parliament of the World’s Religions, the Greening of Religions conference, PantheaCon, and the Mormon Sunstone Symposium (with my wife).
I am one of the founding members of 350 Indiana, which works to creatively bring awareness and find solutions to climate change in Indiana.
I was the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment,” which can be found at ecopagan.com. The Statement has now collected over 9,000 signatures from over 80 countries, has been translated into 16 languages. It represents the most successful effort to date to harmonize the diverse voices of the Pagan community in defense of the Earth and the web of life and possibly the single largest expression of Pagan voices ever.
The Pagan environmental statement concludes with a challenge to:
use our abilities and resources to promote policies and practices that foster the changes that our world so urgently needs,
educate members of our community to foster intelligent and focused sustainable living,
help the world recognize that everyone, whether Pagan or not, is part of our precious Earth, and
promote the current and future health of our entire Earth, including the water, air, land, and the web of life.
I strive to live up to this challenge through my writing and in my personal and family life. In addition, I have participated in public demonstrations and direct action against the petroleum industry and in support of a just transition to renewable energy. I was arrested as part of a direct action component of Break Free 2016 at the BP petroleum refinery in Whiting, Indiana. Break Free 2016 involved 20 actions on 6 continents and was hailed as the largest ever act of civil disobedience against the fossil fuel industry.
I am primarily concerned with the intersections of environmental activism, interfaith, theology, and ritual. My interests include anti-capitalism, deep ecology, ecofeminism, ecopsychology, embodiment, the Epic of Evolution, Gaia Theory, the Great Turning, Jungian psychology, mythology, nature religion, Neo-Paganism, new animism, pantheism/panentheism, post-theism, practical theism, process theology, reenchantment, Religious Naturalism, thealogy, theopoetics, ritual as an art form, and getting your hands dirty as a spiritual practice.