All Our Relations: Pagans and the more-than-human world.

For aware Pagans the Sacred encompasses us all, rivers and mountains, oceans and deserts, grasses and trees, fish and fungi, birds and animals. Understanding the implications of what this means and how to experience it first hand involves our growing individually and as a community well beyond the limits of this world-pathic civilization. All Our Relations exists to help fertilize this transition.

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Gus diZerega

Gus diZerega

Gus diZerega is a Third Degree Elder in Gardnerian Wicca. He studied closely with Timothy White who later founded Shaman’s Drum magazine, and also studied Brazilian Umbanda  for six years under Antonio Costa e Silva.Dr. diZerega has published widely on the social sciences in the academic press as well as on spirituality.  His second book Pagans and Christians: The Personal Spiritual Experience won the Best Nonfiction of 2001 award from  The Coalition of Visionary Resources.  His third, coauthored with Philip Johnson, is Beyond the Burning Times: A Pagan and a Christian in Dialogue. His art frequently appeared in Shaman’s Drum, and the ecological journals Wild Earth, and The Trumpeter.DiZerega combines a formal academic training in Political Science with decades of work in Wicca and shamanic healing.His newest book, Faultlines: The Culture War and the Return of the Divine Feminine, received a 'silver' award by the Association of Independent Publishers for 2014. 

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Cycle of Death into Life

 

Scientists motivated by a deep love and fascination for the natural world share with most Pagans a recognition of the world’s intrinsic value, but without our metaphysics. However they bring skills of observation and analysis many of us lack to deepen in their own way their love and fascination. This was a happy insight I had while researching the role of Pagan religion in the modern world.  Biologists are important teachers who can help us deepen our own understanding.

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  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Thank you both. If you read it I hope you like my book, Jamie. Carol, I think Pagans are unique in that we can honestly argue th
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Love this post. I agree with you that there is no reason for "religion" and "science" to be at odds, at least not if each is aware
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. DiZerega, Great post! The book sounds fascinating. Death and life are so intertwined...

When I first started writing for W&P my intent was to focus more on nature and Spirit here, more technical, interfaith, and political issues over at Patheos.  Such plans are nice, but rarely maintain themselves, and that one was no exception. On either end.

I just published what I think is an important post on Pagan religion and environmentalism over there as part of a big discussion on the topic.  Perhaps some of you who do not watch that site regularly might want to take a look at it.

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I was just in a rather dispiriting discussion of sexual predation in the Pagan community, sparked by an interesting piece in the Wild Hunt. The article was good. which is more than I can say for some of the discussion that followed. 

    The piece was about the decline of nudity at Pagan events and the reasons for it.  But much of the discussion shifted to the related but different issue of why many women felt uneasy or defensive when sky clad at such events.  Despite all the energy and more than a little venom that accompanied that discussion, one important issue remained unaddressed.

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  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Not at all sure what you mean here.
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Greybeard- I have not known any women such as you describe. None. As to the latter, I agree with you. The festivals you descr
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    "I have not known any women such as you describe. None," Gus "What is abstractly wrong, and which we would condemn if done by so
  • Aryós Héngwis
    Aryós Héngwis says #
    Greybeard, I'd urge you to avoid derailing the topic. Gus diZerega's post about how Pagan festivals can better promote a culture o
  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler says #
    We are not living in post patriarchy society, and we are not better than every one else's religion because we are Pagan. We have
A review essay on Robin Wall Kimmerer’s "Braiding Sweetgrass"

The lost world

Our EuroPagan traditions were last practiced centuries ago. Traditions that had developed in an unbroken sequence since the Pleistocene are gone. Some folklore, myths and sagas have come down to us. Some writings have survived, especially from Greece and Rome. These bits and pieces remain, but like fossils, they are far removed from their ecosystems and relationships. 

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. diZerega, Thank you for sharing an insightful review of what looks to be a great book. I will definitely add it to my wish li

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Religion as Sacred performance art

 

My first essays tried to establish two important points about Pagan religion, and to some degree religion in general.  My third ties them together. 

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  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Yeah, when academia gets involved there are costs as well as benefits, and expanding religious and spiritual terms to encompass th
  • Luan Makes Marks
    Luan Makes Marks says #
    Thanks for your thoughtful response. I have observed the negative feedback on ritual only occasionally, but it exists in the dial
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Thanks Luan- I agree completely. When I first became a Pagan I worried about the 'messiness' of our beliefs. It was when I first
  • Luan Makes Marks
    Luan Makes Marks says #
    Gus, there were so many ways I was moved to respond to this, thanks for that. I used to say that my studies were positioned at the
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    I agree with you about the importance of having a teacher and the skills required. (When I was in grad school I felt every depart

My religious practice is mostly Wiccan.  Were I practicing a Heathen, Celtic Reconstructionist, or some other NeoPagan tradition, my examples would differ but I think my point would remain the same. 

Wiccans have a primary pantheon of two major deities, the Lord and Lady. We also have a number of mythologies describing these deities’ relationships. Taken literally they are not consistent with one another.  In some but not all Wiccan traditions She is viewed as having three guises: Mother, Maid, and Crone.  Sometimes She will have three dimensions but not as mother, maid, and crone, as with Hekate.  Sometimes She is treated as a single goddess.  The Horned Lord is sometimes seen as the Oak King and the Holly King.  At the solstices they engage in ritual combat, dying to be reborn.  In other Wiccan contexts and traditions He is treated as a single deity, and sometimes as an aspect of a more inclusive deity. 

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It used to be simple. Wiccans and NeoPagans in general were polytheists in contrast to Christians and other mostly monotheistic religions.  NeoPagan polytheists usually spent little time on theology and considerably more creating and practicing rituals.  Most of us became Pagans by virtue of personal attraction enriched by our involvement with a teacher or a coven or similar group.

Today many NeoPagans first learn about our traditions from books or the internet.  The net in particular has expanded easily available information about our religion but at a cost.  That cost is to be severed from NeoPagan history and practice except as available through pixels or the printed word.  Instead of starting with learning and practice with others and then studying written sources, many NeoPagans now go from the study of texts to practice. They hope to interpret experiences they anticipate having through the texts they have read rather than judging whether the text illuminates or contradicts the experiences they have had.

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  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Hi Rebecca- I agree with you. I tried to make it clear that there are not enough qualified teachers and that hopefully the growth
  • Rebecca Kinney
    Rebecca Kinney says #
    Just to point out, as a fairly new Pagan(in my thirties, not a teen), finding those who are willing to communicate in person is to
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    As a resident of the Eastern Washington scablands I can relate. I have often complained about the bias of "educated" men who dis
  • Heather Freysdottir
    Heather Freysdottir says #
    *applauds* I agree, and I look forward to your next post.
  • Kristina Galbraith
    Kristina Galbraith says #
    Thank you for writing this. There are so many times I have been told I am not a "real" Druid because I havent been approved by som

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