An Atheopagan Path: Journeys in the Sacred World

Musings, values and practices in non-theistic Paganism

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It’s definite now: the light is stronger, the days are longer. Here in the northern hemisphere, winter is passing, and spring is coming on.

Where I live, in coastal Northern California, the very first wildflowers are the milk maids, and they are already gone now, faded to buttercups and hounds’ tongues and shooting stars: the survivals of what once was a landscape carpeted with flowers in the spring. European grasses have forcibly taken over our hills, but the native flowers yet persist.

And the introduced species, the narcissus and daffodils and acacia; they, too, are daubing the green carpet of the winter hills with gold and white. They speak of Spring, as well.

Soon, plum blossoms and apple flowers will follow.

Spring, we say, is a time of renewal. It’s an obvious observation; the world stirs from slumber and bursts with color and life. Light returns and birds flock in. The long, cold time of hibernation and hunkering down against the bitter winter is finally over.

It would be lovely if we could all be so blessed as to experience such transformation, such renewal every year. But life is not so well-tuned to our seasonal metaphors; people die in springtime and are born in winter; we suffer setbacks in the lazy days of summer and achieve strides as November’s weather howls.

Yet this year, I am happy to express that spring has come for me at last. Following well over a year without regular work, I am once again employed.

It is nearly March. Soon we will be celebrating the holiday of childhood and innocence, of colored eggs and candy and childhood games. Though my days are now filled with responsibilities away from home, I remember to do my morning observances, and to plan for a High Spring Sabbath celebration later in the month.

For not all Pagan rituals must be Deep and Dark and Intense. This one is light and happy, reminding us that lightness and happiness are as intrinsic to our path as is the intensity and the grappling with the hard truths of life.

As I write, the season of the February Sabbath, which I know as Riverain, has been particularly vivid. We have had torrential rains and my region is flooded; just getting to my workplace was an adventure today, with roads submerged and whole towns isolated by creeks and rivers bursting their banks.

But the waters will subside. The land will continue to green to a brilliant emerald. Spring will leap as it never does in years of drought—for water, after all, is the life-giver.

Spring lurks beneath the surface of the waters and sprouts from every morsel of soil. The New is on the rise.

Tiny sprouts are now growing from the seeds I planted at an Imbolc ritual this year. They will go in the ground when less endangered; meanwhile, we tend them carefully.

May your Spring be as fruitful, and may you nurture as carefully the new and wonderful that comes to your life.


Originally published at Atheopaganism

Last modified on
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 (, at the Naturalist Pagan site ( and at the Atheopaganism blog.  


  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza Saturday, 02 March 2019

    You too, Mark!

    I'm intrigued by your reference to your morning observations; have you written about what form those take? Would you?

    We are still negotiating shoulder-high snow here in Paganistan; we are screaming for any sign of springtime..

  • Mark Green
    Mark Green Saturday, 02 March 2019

    My morning observances vary depending on how much time I have available. At minimum, I draw a daily Tarot card and reflect on its meaning. Other days I may sit in my back yard and contemplate the sky, or light candles on my Focus (altar) and recite my Atheopagan rosary.

    I know the winter has been incredibly rough for so many of us. We have towns that have been flooded here. Climate change is real.

  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza Saturday, 02 March 2019

    Congrats on the new job. I'm interviewing for one soon..wish me luck. :)

  • Mark Green
    Mark Green Saturday, 02 March 2019

    Good luck! I hope you get it.

  • Carla Benejam
    Carla Benejam Sunday, 03 March 2019

    Mark, happy to hear about your new job! And reading your column made me want to add that the first wildflowers here on the "central coast" are always the yellow field mustards, beginning their month-long blooms in February. I gather some and put them in vases around the house (they don't last too long, but the fragrance is wonderful!). I have done this since I was a child; my earliest memories are stirred every time I see them -- pure joy! Vernal blessings to you!

  • Mark Green
    Mark Green Sunday, 03 March 2019

    Thank you! Yes, mustard is an early arrival here, too, but I was sticking to the native Californian wildflowers--should have mentioned that. I love the mustard, too.

  • Kile Martz
    Kile Martz Sunday, 03 March 2019

    So glad you found a new path of employment, though I envy you your relationship with spring. Here in the upper Midwest we are still deep in it and looking only for more over the next few weeks.

    I am interested in your rosary, can you, will you, share?

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