An Atheopagan Path: Journeys in the Sacred World

Musings, values and practices in non-theistic Paganism

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Mark Green

Mark Green

Mark Green is an activist, writer and nonprofit professional with a background in environmental public policy and electoral campaigns. He is the author of "Atheopaganism: an Earth-Honoring Path Rooted in Science", published in 2019. A Pagan since 1987, he presents at Pantheacon and has been published in Green Egg and the anthology "Godless Paganism" (for which he wrote the foreword). His Pagan writing appears here, at the Humanistic Paganism website (humanisticpaganism.com), at the Naturalist Pagan site (naturalpagans.com) and at the Atheopaganism blog.  

Life is one of the Sacred four pillars of Atheopaganism. And it is often said of Pagans generally that we revere or even “worship” Nature.

 

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October

In the arc of the Pagan wheel of the year, October is the time leading up to Samhain or Hallows (the midpoint between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice). It is, of course, the time when we all go a little crazy with spooky décor and witchy aesthetic, leading up to Halloween night, although the actual midpoint is around Nov. 7.

October is a time when we contemplate mortality and memory, remembering those who have died and our ancestors leading back into the mists of time. The skulls and bones and spider webs remind us that we are here only for a limited time, and will also one day be only memories in the minds of those who survive us.

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The Overculture vs. Reciprocity: Redux

In western societies (like all societies), people have fundamental and largely unspoken assumptions about how the world is supposed to work and how we are to behave.

Subscribers to these assumptions believe that they are inherently entitled to certain rights, for example, and that governance should protect these rights and enable redress if they are violated: something called justice. They assume that sexually exclusive life commitment by two partners is the default and only “real” relationship format, which is known as monogamy. They view men as superior to women in a wide variety of ways, and that women exist primarily to advance the wishes of men, a system called patriarchy. They accept hierarchical authority to set behavioral rules and the policing power of governance up to and including the usage of violence to enforce them, an arrangement known as the social contract. They view other cultures as inferior to their own, and believe it acceptable to subjugate and exploit them for their cultural resources and homelands, which is colonialism. They view darker-skinned people and people of non-European extraction with suspicion, if not hostility and/or contempt, which is racism. They assume that an acceptably “normal” relationship is between a (cis-gendered) man and a (cis-gendered) woman, which is heteronormativity. They assign particular qualities, behaviors, interests and even colors as “belonging” to one gender or another, which are gender norms. They agree that the exchange of labor ultimately benefiting an investor class for the means to acquire life necessities like shelter, food and health care is a valid and normal transaction, and that they are entitled to whatever they can afford with money, which is capitalism, and that to loyally and diligently engage in this exchange is both a moral good, which is celebrated as the work ethic, and will lead to economic and status advancement, which is meritocracy. They are uncomfortable and insecure about sexuality and pleasure, which leads them to condemn those who openly enjoy and celebrate them, condemning them as immoral hedonists.

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Reintegration

Coming down from the mountain
I have seen the lofty glory
I will go again some day
But for now, I’m coming down.

–Meat Puppets

There is an ache in my heart right now, a longing for the people and experiences of Suntree Retreat.

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A Collection of Walpurgisnacht/May Day Rites

Spring is rolling around into summer (at least, in many places in the Northern Hemisphere), and we have come to that major pillar of the annual celebrations of many Pagans, May Day or Beltane, and the night before, which is known by many as Walpurgisnacht.

While we may not be able to conduct the usual festivities, we can still observe this Sabbath in all its richness while sheltering in place.

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A Statement of Policy Values

Ours is an engaged spirituality: engaged in society, engaged in the world. Atheopagans care not only about our own growth, joy in living, discovery and wonder, but the well-being of our fellow humans and the biosphere of which we are each a part.

Our Atheopagan values, enshrined in the Four Sacred Pillars and the 13 Principles, are modern, progressive, inclusive, and in some cases have radical implications for improving conditions in our world. We understand the destructive and unsustainably rapacious nature of industrial capitalism, and know the values that dominate the world must change for justice, biodiversity, kindness and happiness to prevail.

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Reciprocity vs. the Overculture

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Overculture lately: how the dominant values and paradigms of our societies inform how we think, how we speak, and what we do.

For a discussion of all that, I invite you to listen to this week’s episode of THE WONDER podcast. That will give you a good sense of what I’m talking about. It was a great conversation with Arwen Gwyneth.

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