What Humanistic Paganism Means to Me by Wendy Wilson

I am not completely without an idea of Deity, but a person-shaped Deity, one with a personality and desires, strikes me as counter-intuitive. I simply do not see any evidence for that idea. The idea that Deity represents “all that is” works for me, but I could just call that “nature” or the “Cosmos”. And a material Deity is not necessary for a spiritual life. I am the organizer of a group which celebrates seasonal changes and natural phenomena in ritual.

In my earlier life as a pagan, I participated in Dianic and Traditional Wiccan rituals, but I chafed with the idea of the Goddess as a being separate from the power of nature. I particularly disliked comparisons of the Goddess with the Christian God, as though those two were somehow equivalent and of the same substance.

Some friends who liked the rituals I designed for those groups asked me to act as priestess and design rituals for them. These rituals came to be oriented to folks of spirituality, not religiosity–folks for whom ritual had meaning and marking the progress of the seasons was important. Those folks included a least one atheist, a couple of Unitarians, and a Buddhist, along with a couple of Wiccans, who shared my ideas of divinity.

I like designing rituals. I like using symbols and actions to increase our understanding of an underlying reality. We have had rituals on the Quantum Mind idea, on the idea of Infinity, on the roles we take on through life, on removing self-imposed burdens from our livings. Many of our rituals are about seasonal change. This month we did a ritual welcoming back color into our lives after a winter of white and grey. The idea is to step out of the day-to-day routine and touch, however briefly, a greater reality.

I came to this spiritual place by stepping away from the assumptions I had as a younger person and those I had grown up with. I stood at the edge of those ideas and looked at them as though they were new to me. And they made no sense. I saw no evidence of a Deity (male or female) intervening in people’s lives or bringing peace to nations or answering those who prayed to him. I didn’t exactly understand the idea of a Deity who took on human qualities, like anger, love or desire.

I do see a spark of Deity in other people, in the sparkle of the stars, in the majesty of trees, in the roar of the ocean waves. These bring my spirit to wonder, to awe, to an uplifting of my spirit. This would be my definition of divinity.

About the Author

Wendy Wilson has been a Pagan, a practicing Wiccan, since the 1970s and still consider herself a Wiccan, if not a traditional one. She retired some years ago to concentrate on a new career as an artist. She also creates rituals for a small group of folks with a wide variety of religious or irreligious ideas. Her rituals are built around pagan and scientific themes and often the intersection of science with spirit. She lives and gardens in New Jersey, USA with her husband who is her soulmate, along with a rather noisy cat.

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