We Naturalistic Pagans tend to be very “heady” folks. We talk a lot about ideas, and even when we talk about practice, we sometimes shy away from the subjective side of things.
In addition, when it comes to our practice, many Naturalistic Pagans tend to be more on the minimalist side of things. (Check out, for example, Brendan Myers’ description of his “Minimalist Religion”.) This may be due in part to a general suspicion of religious ritual among humanists.
And there’s nothing wrong with a minimalist practice, if you find it satisfying. But sometimes we want or need more. Sometimes, we need the evocative power that comes with the “trappings” of religion, the symbols and poetry and paraphernalia, the “smells and bells” as high churchers say — but still without the superstition. This can be challenging for Naturalistic Pagans who, even more than other Pagans, are making it up as we go along.
Recently, B .T. Newberg described his vision for the future of Naturalistic Paganism in the coming years and decades. One of the things I would like to see in the short term is more writing about our subjective religious experience. Encouraging deep religious experience requires crafting religious technologies to evoke those experiences.
There is a lot of great writing by and for Naturalistic Pagans about the Wheel of the Year, here at HP and elsewhere. One ritual every 6 1/2 weeks days may not be enough to sustain a personal religious practice, though.
This column was conceived by Rua Lupa, who proposed adding a tab above with links to resources. But in order to do that, I think we need to create some resources. In this column, I want to share ideas for religious technologies which we might use or adapt to deepen our Naturalistic Pagan practices. I will be sharing the ideas and experiences of others, as well some of my own, and I welcome you to send me your ideas for future posts. If you have discovered a ritual or meditative technique which works for you and that you would like to add to our Naturalistic Pagan Toolbox, click here to send me an email.
About the Author
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.