Witch at Large: Ruminations from a Grey Perspective

Seeing Paganism in terms of being a movement, explorations of our history, societal context, comparisons to other religious movements, and general Pagan culture.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

On *A* Pagan Community Statement on the Environment

If you’re reading this, you’ve seen notifications of a Pagan Community Statement on the Environment.  Inspired by the environmental statement released by CoG in 2014 and statements from other religious organizations, blogger John Halstead invited 66 assorted Pagans, about 48 of whom collaborated on the piece that became the final product.

The final statement was a months-long, complex collaboration of diverse Pagans.  That fact in itself is, to me, remarkable, given that Pagans can be a fractious lot.  For me personally, the fact that this exists demonstrates a certain sense of solidarity.  We Pagans are a fringe demographic, and each Pagan path, sect, and individual is an even smaller fringe demographic.  We tend to work hard at distinguishing ourselves one from the other.  And that tends to fragment us as a demographic.  So when this many Pagans from many Pagan perspectives can come together and manage to agree on something of paramount importance to all of us, and to publicly proclaim our stance — well, that speaks to a stronger presence in society, and perhaps a louder, clearer voice not usually heard in the clamor of other Abrahamic dominion-inclined, religio-spiritual voices.  I think Pagans bring an important perspective to society.  And I think if this small effort can grow big enough, we might actually make a difference beyond ourselves.  Needless to say, this statement is meant to be noticed. 

No doubt there are positions articulated in the statement that do not precisely reflect yours or others’ viewpoint.  For some, the statement isn’t strong enough on certain topics.  However, it’s amazingly thorough, and universal enough to have garnered signatures from a variety of Pagans around the world, as well as from Buddhists, Anglicans, UUs, CRs, African Diaspora, Heathens, and interfaith colleagues.  I’m also bringing it to the special attention of my Hindu interfaith colleagues.

Of course, all the words in the world won’t make a difference unless we follow them with action.

To those who say they’re already onboard: they recycle, conserve energy, drive a Prius, commute by bike, donate to environmental causes, and vote Green, I say huzzah!  Good for you for doing this and for setting an example for others.

As important and valuable as those behaviors are, they make barely a blip on the screen of environmental degradation.  These address what I see, if I may presume to say so, as ‘first world’ problems. 

We[1] are the ones who over-consume.  We are the ones eating more than we need, dining on delicacies shipped from around the world.  We are the ones obsessed with electronic devices that consume lots of energy, much from coal and other ‘dirty’ sources.  We are the ones needlessly consuming fossil fuel by driving six blocks to the supermarket or ‘convenience’ store in our SUVs occupied by a single person to get some milk when it’s run out.  We are the ones filling our water treatment facilities with throw-away wipes that clog up the works.  We are the ones tossing vaccine-contaminated diapers into our ever-expanding landfills.  We are the ones using IVF that results in litters.

To those whose reason for declining to respond is that they’re “not a public Pagan,” that their spirituality is personal, I ask you to consider these lyrics: 

Blessed be and blessed are those who dance together.
Blessed be and blessed are those who dance alone.
Blessed be and blessed are those who work in silence.
Blessed be and blessed are those who shout and scream.
Blessed be and blessed are the movers and the shakers.
Blessed be and blessed are the dreamers and the dream.

~ Paula Walowitz

Dancing alone, working in silence, dreaming – these Pagans are all part of our larger Pagan demographic.  Not all of us is either suited or called to be the least bit public.  We are no better or worse Pagan for choosing a private spiritual life.  That said, our ecosystems are shared; thus, I see it as the obligation of each of us to do whatever we can to maintain its sustainability and viability.  Recycling, voting Green, donating are all good, but in the bigger picture they don't make a huge difference. Not any more than this remarkable statement makes without follow-up in the real world.

Signing a document that states things you agree with is not “doing public pagan stuff.”  What it is, however, is standing with others in the face of a dire situation, and standing together makes for a stronger force.  Witness the diverse Pagan population who created it.  Not folks who often stand as one.  No one's personal spirituality is compromised in the least when she signs a document that serves the entire planet. 

We have no choice about sharing this planet.  If we love life, it seems only right to respect what makes it possible, what makes us possible.  One itty-bitty way of showing that love and support, commitment and concern, is to add your name to this statement.

I have lots of ideas for building upon this statement now that we've managed to create a semblance of kinship.  I hope others will also employ their ideas, creativity, and magic to take this statement beyond the articulation stage.  

Blessings of the living land,


[1]   By “we” I mean American Pagans in general, as well as international Pagans who are well enough off to connected to the Web.

Last modified on

Aline O’Brien (M. Macha NightMare), Witch at Large, has circled with people of diverse Pagan paths throughout the U.S., and in Canada and Brazil.  Author of Witchcraft and the Web (2001) and Pagan Pride (2004), and co-author, with Starhawk, of The Pagan Book of Living and Dying (1997), Macha has also contributed to anthologies, periodicals, textbooks, and encyclopedias.  A member of the American Academy of Religion, the Marin Interfaith Council, and the Nature Religion Scholars Network, Macha also serves as a national interfaith representative for the Covenant of the Goddess (CoG) and on the Advisory Board of the Sacred Dying Foundation.  Having spent the last eleven years developing and teaching at Cherry Hill Seminary, the first and only seminary serving the Neopagan community, Macha now serves on its Board of Directors. An all-round Pagan webweaver, she speaks on behalf of Paganism to news media and academic researchers, and lectures at colleges, universities and seminaries. www.machanightmare.com


  • steven manley
    steven manley Thursday, 04 June 2015

    Am I dreaming? Or did I just find a rallying cry for our Blessed of all Mothers, our planet Earth. Finally some greater interest arises for a long-overdue reversal of damage being done to our one and ONLY sustainer. The Earth energies are close to most authentic earthlings and so are her cries for sanity and closer living to her bosom, to her womb. Who protects her but her children? Of course. And some even have real love for Earth. Deify our sustainer to secure healthy practices and reverence for our life-giver. Where else will you find water, food, air.....?

  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien Friday, 05 June 2015

    No, you're not dreaming, Steven. :-)

  • Please login first in order for you to submit comments

Additional information