The End of Thinking

I have hit the limit–or at least my limit.

Lately, in multiple areas of my life–in my environmental activism, in my closest relationships, and in my internal state–I have run up against this limit.

It’s the limit of my ability to reason through a problem.

Talking about it no longer helps. It actually makes it worse.

Even thinking about it often makes it worse. Continue reading “The End of Thinking”

Nine Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Became Pagan

1. It’s not like in the books.

Like a lot of other Pagans, I read a lot of books about Pagans before I ever actually met another Pagan in the flesh.  My first sources for my image of the contemporary Pagan came from Ronald Hutton’s Triumph of the Moon (1999), Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon (1979, 1986, 1996, 2006), and Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance (1979, 1989, 1999).  The first was academic, the second journalistic, and the third rhapsodic.  As a result, my pre-formed image of Pagans was somewhat idealized.   (I once heard Margot Adler admit in an interview that the Paganism she and Starthawk described in their respective books as more of an ideal than a reality.)  I have since learned that the best way to learn about a religion is not by reading a book about it, but by going and seeing the real thing. Continue reading “Nine Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Became Pagan”

The Wild Hunt for Justice: At the Intersection of Ritual and Protest

I was recently invited to the New Orleans Pagan Pride Day this year to lead the opening ritual.  I also led a couple workshops on activism and non-theistic Paganism and joined Bart Everson, Nicole Youngman, and Emily Snyder in a panel discussion on the same topics.

I wanted to share the opening ritual here. I’ve written before how protest marches can be like Pagan ritual. Here, I tried bring together elements of Pagan ritual with elements of political protest.  I tried to bring together the myth of the Wild Hunt with social action, blurring the line between a religious procession and a protest march.  Rather than standing in a circle with our backs to the world, I wanted the ritual to be focused outward.  And I wanted to raise energy without dispersing it cathartically, so as to motivate social activism.  I also wanted to tie the ritual to the place where the ritual was held, so references were made to environmental devastation, and racial and LGBT violence perpetrated in or near New Orleans. Continue reading “The Wild Hunt for Justice: At the Intersection of Ritual and Protest”

The Shame of Being a “Non-Practicing Pagan”

I remember when I left the Mormon church, I didn’t want to admit to anyone that I had been a less than perfect Mormon.  You see, when you leave the LDS Church, the people who stay start looking for all kinds of reasons why you left, reasons which have to do with your own moral failings.  They can’t admit that anything might be wrong with the Church, so something has to be wrong with you.

But I was a less than ideal Mormon.  I didn’t obey all the rules, I didn’t pray as often as I was supposed to, and so on.  Now I have the perspective and wisdom to recognize that nobody obeyed all the rules or prayed as much as they were supposed to.  Well, maybe somebody did.  But those people are scary.  And they’re also a very small minority.

The same is true of Pagans, I think.  I suspect that very few of us are practicing with as much consistency as we claim to.  And that’s okay. Continue reading “The Shame of Being a “Non-Practicing Pagan””

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. Continue reading “Eight Ways Pagans Can Celebrate Earth Day”

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