Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Is It Ethical to Mine the Moon?

According to the mysterious Artemis Accords now being drafted by the US government, the US claims the “right” to “extract resources” from the Moon.

Does the US have this right?

Let me frame the question more broadly: Is it ethical to mine the Moon?

To some, this may seem an odd question, but to New Pagans, as to traditional peoples everywhere, this question is profoundly religious in nature. The answer to this question, in fact, lies at the very heart of the Old Ways, both New and Old alike, and—interestingly—the answer is surprisingly uniform across traditions.

Yes, but not without giving back.

At every silver mine in the Andes, a llama is sacrificed to Pachamama—Earth Mother—every year in propitiation, and in thanksgiving, for her gift of silver.

The Horned gives us the right to kill in order to eat, but that right is not unlimited.

Kill cleanly, he says. Use everything. Take what you need, but no more.

Is it ethical to mine the Moon? Potentially, yes, but not without giving in return: a gift for a gift, in the old pagan—the old human—way.

The question before us now is just what form (or forms) such gifts might take.






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Tagged in: Moon Goddess
Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Jamie
    Jamie Tuesday, 12 May 2020

    Mr. Posch,

    I think it would be unethical to not mine the Moon. So many people crave the First World lifestyle, and will do whatever is necessary to get it. True wealth is not ones and zeroes. It is ultimately either grown or dug out of the ground. What if there was a dead, lifeless world next door with enough mineral riches to lift countless millions of Earth's poor out of poverty?

    There is, and you see it almost every night in the sky.

    Build shrines on the Moon to Selene, Artemis, and Hekate. Make offerings to the land spirits of this nearby world. But for the love of the Gods and everything holy, don't try to stop this if the financials work out and it's successful.

    Frankly, it's the potential damage we could to indigenous Martian life that concerns me much more. Special protected zones need to be established, if all that out-of-equilibrium atmospheric methane has a biogenic origin.

    The same goes for any possible methane-based life forms on Titan, since if methane-based living things really exist, they are far more susceptible to climate change than carbon-based beings like us.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Wednesday, 13 May 2020

    We've already seen the damage that unsacred exploitation of resources can do here on Earth; gods forbid that we should take it elsewhere as well. My personal feeling on the matter is that “resource extraction” absolutely should not take place on the Moon )or Mars, for that matter) unless—if and only if—it can be done in a sacred way; the chances of which, let's be frank, are virtually nil. The people who make such decisions are certainly not listening to folks like you and me.

    On the other hoof, considering the huge expense of lunar travel and the vast expenses that transporting materiels would entail, I find it difficult to believe that such projects could ever possibly be financially feasible.

    For now, my own slogan is: Mitts off the Moon! Regardless of what the Troll-in-Chief (may squirrels eat his face) has to say about it.

  • Jamie
    Jamie Thursday, 14 May 2020

    Mr. Posch,

    We'll just have to agree to disagree about this matter.

    The REEs (Rare Earth Elements) are so economically and strategically valuable, that being able to source them off-world might actually be considered worthwhile by national policy planners. The Moon has a generous supply of them. Then there's all that helium-3, if the engineers can ever figure out how to build a workable fusion reactor to utilize it (with deuterium).

    But yeah, we'll just have to wait and see how it all pans out.

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