Humans are, by Nature, creatures of spirit. Our archaeological record, particularly at Göbekli Tepe, suggests that before even we grew crops to feed ourselves or built permanent dwellings and settlements, Nature called us to worship together; civilization did not predate worship, but our commitment to communal worship may have brought us civilization. Whatever other faculties humankind possesses and has honed over time, one of the primary and defining ones has always been our innate spirituality. Continue reading Fifteen Theses: 1. “Naturalism”
In the nineteenth century, the nascent field of evolutionary biology produced recapitulation theory: “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” The idea was, in a manner of speaking, that the developmental story of an individual embryo replays the evolutionary history of the embryo’s species. So an embryonic mammal, for example, was thought to take the guise of a fish, an amphibian, a reptile, and a bird before beginning to look like a mammal.
This notion has since been discredited as a scientific explanation for the origin of species. But it remains powerful for me as myth because it resonates with certain of my experiences: like all myth in a Universe pervaded by uncanny and delightful resemblances of which we Pagans like to recite, “as above, so below; as within, so without; as the Universe, so the soul,” recapitulation theory can sometimes prove useful in understanding and retelling our lives’ stories.
Personally, I find that recapitulation theory helps me—in a roundabout sort of way—trace the arc of the story of my spiritual development. Continue reading The Arc of a Story of Spirit
Humans possess an innate spiritual capacity rooted in Nature, and Paganism is the natural expression of our common spirituality, arising from Nature and calling us ever back to Nature. This is my conviction.
In every place and time, before prophets gave humankind “revealed” religion, Paganism was our original faith, fulfilling our indelible spiritual needs with wisdom gleaned from our lived experience in Nature. And I hope—for the very life of our Earth and the flourishing of human persons within it—that Paganism may be not merely the ancient faith of ages past but rather our once and future faith. This hope is also my vision, and I founded the Pagan Renewal with a mission to help manifest this vision. Continue reading On the Past, Present, and Future
If Reform Paganism is, as we say, a new branch of the Great Tree of Paganism, then the living Pith of this branch consists in our conviction, vision, and mission:
We affirm our conviction that all persons possess an innate spiritual capacity rooted in Nature.
We affirm our vision of humanity’s once and future faith, inspired by both ancient wisdom and modern learning, ever reforming for the present and the future.
We affirm our mission to promote the restoration of this timeless faith for the highest good of all.
What does this mean? Where do Reform Paganism’s Fifteen Theses and Five Elements fit? How does all this relate to the Pagan Renewal? Allow me to explain… Continue reading Pagan Renewal: A Brief Exposition