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. 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.  

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Atheopagan Events at Pantheacon 2019!

Though we were disappointed that Atheopagan submissions for presentation at Pantheacon weren’t accepted to the official schedule this year, that’s not slowing us down! We have three events scheduled in hospitality suites this year, including the popular annual Nontheist Pagan Mixer.

Pantheacon 2019 will be held Feb. 15-18 at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, California.

Our events are:

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Contemplating a Red Moon

Last night, 2019’s only lunar eclipse took place: a spectacular “supermoon” eclipse. We watched it from our back yard, watching the Moon slowly darken into a ruddy ball, and then, dramatically, the bright edge of ordinary Sun-lit surface burst into being and steadily reclaim it.

Lunar eclipses are really cool. Astronomical events as a whole are really cool: meteor showers, eclipses, transits, and particularly that extraordinary rarity, a prominent comet visible to the naked eye. Whenever possible, I take the opportunity to experience these phenomena, as they bring home in a visceral way that we are on a planet, in space, and there’s a lot of other stuff going on out there.

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Effective Atheopagan Leadership: A Curriculum

As I’ve written before, my conceptualization of Atheopaganism as a path and a tradition does not incorporate concepts of degrees of advancement or “clergy”. I just find these to be fraught with too many pitfalls, ranging from “higher-level” persons gatekeeping access to knowledge and training from lower-level ones, to those with “status” potentially being able to leverage that status in unhealthy ways ranging from minor pomposity all the way to harassment and abuse.

The whole idea of “initiations into secrets” is a holdover from secretive organizations like the Masons, with their roots in the Romantic movement of the 18th and 19th centuries. There is no longer any legitimate reason why secrecy should apply to anything that has to do with religious practice…and in the era of the Internet, frankly, in practical terms it does not.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    Thanks, folks!
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    I LIKE IT!! There's much useful here, Atheopagan or not. I will be revisiting this.
  • Meredith Everwhite
    Meredith Everwhite says #
    Very thought-provoking and a lot to think about & look into, thank you!

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Yule: A Compendium

Over the years, I've posted quite a bit about my Atheopagan Yule traditions. I thought I'd pull links to them together here for easy reference.

Yule, overlapping so heavily with the Christian/secular holiday of Christmas, is a time when many of our Pagan traditions are widespread, and with many old threads of lore and practice layered over one another. Whether your household goes all out, with a tree and gifts and parties and the Holly King in his guise as Saint Nicholas, or simply lights candles to call back the light into the world, it is a time of both hope and fear, a time for reflection on what has gone before, a time for thinking about new projects and initiatives.

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Mulled Wine--a Yule Invocation

It begins where the smoke hits your eyes: smouldering peat,
Mutton stew on a broad iron hook,
Deep snow. How can it ever have been summer?
Apples wrinkling and mice in the barley—
With so much to fear, thank the stars for company!
We’ll tell our tales, remember how we passed the cold
Last year, and that before. And those who couldn’t.

The grape leans across the seasons,
Clasps the hand of summer’s dried rind,
Dreaming the new fruit,
Calling the sun back,
World without end amen.

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A Gift from the Dying

I'll cut to the chase: we're all dying. It's the only guaranteed fact of our lives: we die.

Atheopaganism doesn't promise an afterlife. There really isn't compelling evidence to support the idea of one, and so we conclude (tentatively, at least) that it is unlikely that there is one.

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Presenting Ourselves to the World

It is not a surprise that as it was being founded, Neopaganism looked to an imagined pastoral and pre-industrial way of life as an inspiration.

Modern Paganism's inaugural moment in the United States, about 50 years ago in the late 1960s into the mid-1970s, occurred at the same time that the Romantic idealizations of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Dungeons and Dragons and Renaissance Faires and the newly created fantasy genre and the rosy aspirations of the "back to the land" movement were taking over the aesthetic and emotional landscape of young people: particularly smart, geeky college students of the exact demographic which eventually became the Neopagan base.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    There is an interfaith organization in California called PICO-CA (the PICO used to be an acronym, but I can't find for what; proba
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    Thanks for your comment. >Also here's an important advocacy question, for protection against religious discrimination do non-thei
  • Mariah Sheehy
    Mariah Sheehy says #
    To be honest, religion in general isn't covered much by the media, and when it is covered it tends to be framed in particular ways
  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    You make some very good points. I also think, there might be more people considering paganism, if they didn't have this picture of
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    Indeed! And we need more of us. More of the Earth-lovers. More of the justice-seekers. More of the kindness-dealers.

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