(Myself, Jon Cleland Host, and Brandon Sanders of SolSeed at PantheaCon, February 2015)
On the Spring Equinox, I will be officially handing over the reigns of the Humanistic Paganism site to Jon Cleland Host. The truth is that Jon has already been managing things behind the scenes for a while now and has been doing a great job.
Jon is uniquely qualified to take over as Managing Editor of HP. He is the founder of the Naturalistic Paganism Yahoo discussion group, which was the first online resource for our community. Together with his wife, Heather, Jon writes a column at HP. In addition, he is a scientist who earned his Ph.D. in materials science at Northwestern University, and has conducted research at Hemlock Semiconductor and Dow Corning since 1997. He has authored papers for peer-reviewed scientific journals, including the journal Nature. He has taught classes on biology, math, chemistry, physics and general science at Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University.
Jon has been building a reality-based spirituality for over 30 years. He has collaborated with Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow to spread the awe and wonder of the Great Story of our Universe. I have been fortunate to meet Jon in person, and I can tell you that his enthusiasm for science and the Great Story is contagious. He is a natural diplomat and has a unique ability to communicate about science in a way that engages both the young and old. I recently invited Jon to present at my Unitarian Universalist congregation, and my fellow congregants were enthralled. I have met some wonderful people while serving as the Managing Editor here, and Jon is one of my favorites.
I will be staying on as Editor-at-Large, in an advisory capacity to Jon, but also as a regular columnist. My new column will be called, “The Naturalistic Pagan Toolbox: Beyond the Wheel of the Year,” and will offer down-to-earth ideas for putting our Naturalistic Pagan ideas into practice. And you can still find me elsewhere on the web, including at Patheos as the Allergic Pagan, at my Jungian Neo-Paganism blog, Dreaming the Myth Forward, as an occasional contributor to Gods & Radicals and Huffington Post, and at my new project, Earthseed.
Looking back, we have seen some exciting developments in our community in recent years:
- Dozens of authors have been added to our list of contributors and several regular columnists.
- We have had multiple successful fundraising campaigns, including recently raising 200% of our goal for the Godless Paganism anthology.
- We have built and strengthened relationships with other naturalistic groups, like the Spiritual Naturalist Society and SolSeed, as well as with other Pagan institutions.
- Atheopaganism has emerged as its own Naturalistic Pagan tradition, and has conducted rituals and panel discussions at PantheaCon two years in a row, thanks to the efforts of Mark Green and others. (This year, they were included on the official schedule.)
- Earthseed is also emerging as a new Humanistic Pagan tradition. (Visit godischange.org.)
- Several Naturalistic Pagans (including Jon Cleland Host) were instrumental in the drafting of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment,” which has now collected almost 7,000 signatures, and which we hope will draw 10,000 signatures before Earth Day 2016. If you haven’t already done so, go to ecopagan.com to add your signature.
- And the book Godless Paganism: Voices of Non-Theistic Pagans has gone to print! It includes the writings of over 40 Pagan authors, including Humanistic and Naturalistic Pagans, atheist Pagans or Atheopagans, Buddho-Pagans, animists, pantheists, Gaians, naturalistic polytheists and more.
We continue to make our voices heard in the Pagan community at large. While some Pagans still feel that humanists and naturalists do not belong under the Pagan umbrella, they are a minority and one that is increasingly being overruled by our friends and allies in the wider Pagan community, who include other non-theistic Pagans, but also many polytheists, who do not condone the creation of new theistic orthodoxy. I can attest that more and more people are coming forward all the time to say that they share a Humanistic or Naturalistic Pagan perspective, while others are coming to realize recognize the value of our unique contribution to the diversity of contemporary Paganism.
I want to thank B. T. Newberg, the founder of this site, for his support and encouragement, as well as NaturalPantheist, our social media coordinator, who made my job that much easier, and all of our columnists.
But most of all, I want to thank you, our readers and our writers, without whom none of this would be possible.
John Halstead is Editor-At-Large and a contributor at HumanisticPaganism.com. He blogs about Paganism generally at AllergicPagan.com (which is hosted by Patheos) and about Jungian Neo-Paganism at “Dreaming the Myth Onward” (which is hosted by Witches & Pagans). He is also an occasional contributor to GodsandRadicals.org and The Huffington Post and the administrator of the site Neo-Paganism.com. John was the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment,” which can be found at ecopagan.com. He is a Shaper of the fledgling Earthseed community, which is described at GodisChange.org. John is also the editor of the anthology, Godless Paganism: Voices of Non-Theistic Pagans.
To speak with John, contact him on Facebook.