Naturalistic Paganism

Upcoming work

This Sunday: Ebook Double Feature

Love and the Ghosts of Mount Kinabalu, by B. T. Newberg

Introducing a new ebook from B. T. Newberg!  This collection of creative nonfiction stories set in Malaysia has already received a glowing review from Southeast Asia Travel Advice.  We’ll bring you the inside scoop on this exciting new ebook on sale now at GoodReads!

Love and the Ghosts of Mount Kinabalu, by B. T. Newberg

Appearing Sunday, December 18th.

Drew Jacob

Drew takes a break from his travels in Thailand to review our first ebook, Encounters in Nature.  An e-reader friendly version is now on sale at GoodReads, but you can get your copy FREE!  To find out how, click here.

Encounters in Nature: An ebook review, by Drew Jacob

Appearing Sunday, December 18th.

This Wednesday – Winterviews begins!

Glenys Livingstone

Finally!  This Wednesday is the Solstice, and that means it’s time for Winterviews (winter interviews).

We’re kicking off the event with a leader in naturalistic Paganism, Glenys Livingstone, author of Pagaian Cosmology.

A poetry of Place: An interview with Glenys Livingstone, by B. T. Newberg

Appearing on the Solstice, December 21st.

Year One: A Year of Humanistic Paganism

Year One

Our latest ebook goes on sale on Wednesday!  Year One organizes into one coherent presentation all we’ve published in the last year, and expands on it with exclusive new material.

Next Sunday

Chet Raymo

Is Christmas Day anything special to you?  Well, whether it is or isn’t, we’ve got a special present for you.  Religious Naturalist Chet Raymo, author of When God Is Gone, Everything is Holy, delivers a gift from his Science Musings collection.

Mystery, not miracle, by Chet Raymo

Appearing Sunday, December 25, 2012

Recent Work

Saving the marriage of science and religion, by B. T. Newberg

Existential Paganism, by Ian Edwards

Naturalistic meaning and purpose, by Jon Cleland Host

What’s been most valuable on HP?

Thing on Thursday #12

Well, this is the final Thing on Thursday, which means that just around the corner is the Solstice (Dec. 21st), and with it the beginning of our Winterviews event!

With this last poll, I’d like to get feedback on the services provided by our website.  What has been most valuable for you?

If there’s something missing from the choices, or if there’s some other service you’d like to see, please add it in the “other” box and explain in the comments.  Thanks!

Please choose your top three.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

About Thing on Thursday

Althing in Session, by W.G. CollingwoodThis post is part of a series of councils on matters vital to the future.  The name represents both the generic term for, you know, a thingie, as well as the Old Norse term for a council of elders: a Thing.

Each week until the Winter Solstice, Thing on Thursday will explore a new controversy.  Participation is open to all – the more minds that come together, the better.  Those who have been vocal in the comments are as welcome as those quiet-but-devoted readers who have yet to venture a word.  We value all constructive opinions.

There are only a few rules:

  • be constructive – this is a council, so treat it as such
  • be respectful – no rants or flames

Comments will be taken into consideration as we determine the new direction of Humanistic Paganism.  This will also greatly shape the vision that unfolds in our upcoming ebook Our Ancient Future: Visions of Humanistic Paganism.

So please make your voice heard in the comments!

Saving the marriage of science and myth

Jupiter and Juno on Mount Ida, by James Barry

The marriage of science and myth, like that of Zeus and Hera, is a struggle.

– by B. T. Newberg

Marriage is hard.  Zeus and Hera were constantly bickering.  Inanna banished her husband Dumuzi to the underworld.  Skadi and Njord couldn’t live together no matter how they tried.  Are all marriages doomed to failure?

Humanistic Paganism bills itself as a naturalistic “marriage” of science and myth.  It would be nice if it were a neat, sweet, picket-fence relationship.  But that’s not how most marriages go, is it?  Marriage is hard work, but it’s worth it.

This metaphor is particularly poignant to me since I’m two and a half months into a marriage of my own.  The honeymoon phase is over.  No one said marriage would be easy, whether it’s between two people or two cultural phenomena like science and myth.

By science I mean that modern method of empirical investigation which has given us everything from toasters to quantum physics, and which takes naturalism as a working principle.  By myth I mean the ancient stories that have given us the likes of Zeus, Thor, and the Morrígan, as well as the rituals, meditations, and other practices that go along with a living tradition of mythology.

Now that we know what we mean by science and myth, what does it take to make their marriage work?

Couples counseling

No marriage has much hope if the couple can’t learn to listen to each other.

It takes courage to hear hard criticism.  Science and myth have plenty of grievances, so they’d better find a way to air them in a safe space.  HP aspires to be just such a safe space.

It also takes patience.  We aren’t necessarily able to express our feelings coherently or all at once.  Each person must discover themselves in the process, while the other waits patiently for them to work out their issues.  On HP, we have folks more science-oriented and folks more myth-oriented, and both need the patience to let the other speak their truth.

Finally, it takes responsiveness.  It’s not enough just to listen, you also have to be willing to be persuaded.  On HP, we’ve been challenged by critical voices, and we have to recognize the value of that process.  Likewise, critics need to be open to having their challenges met.

As with couples counseling, we must find the courage and patience to talk through the tough issues, and the willingness to let the process change us.

The parent trap

It also takes creativity to make a marriage work.

Remember that old movie The Parent Trap?  Two teenage twins conspire to get their divorced parents back together.  Their cutesy antics may make you laugh or vomit, depending on your taste, but the point is they use creativity to re-ignite love.

Theology is a lot like that.  A recent term in religious studies is creative misunderstanding, whereby a tradition changes by re-interpreting the old in a new way.  This enables a community to meet the needs of the present while maintaining continuity with the past.

It may take some creative misunderstanding to keep science and myth together.  Like the twins in The Parent Trap, we may need ingenuity to rekindle their flame.

The languages of love

Gary Chapman has a book for couples called The Five Love Languages, which proposes you have to learn how the other expresses love, and learn to speak that language yourself.  Science and myth speak different languages, and they may need to learn the other’s in order to communicate.

HP is about learning to speak the languages of both science and myth.  Michael Dowd frames these in terms of day language and night language, respectively.  Science speaks of reality in the clear light of day.  Myth also speaks of reality, but in the strange imagery of dreams in the night.  Both have important things to say, and it takes learning the other’s language to achieve understanding.

Awesome make-up sex

Often the best love-making is after a fight.  When couples kiss and make up, they re-affirm they’d rather be together than apart, despite their differences.

Science and myth have had a rocky relationship, and currently stand facing away from each other with crossed arms.  Can HP turn them toward each other again?

If so, we’re looking forward to an awesome make-up.

It’ll be like Psyche and Eros, or Isis after finally recovering her lost husband Osiris.

Upcoming work

This Sunday

B. T. Newberg

Myth and science married – is this union doomed to go the way of the Kardashians?  B. T. Newberg reflects on what it takes to make this marriage work.

Saving the marriage of science and myth, by B. T. Newberg

Appearing Sunday, December 11th, on Humanistic Paganism.

 

Thing on Thursday

Althing in Session, by W. G. Collingwood

This will be our final Thing on Thursday.  We’ll conclude by asking: What have you valued most from Humanistic Paganism?

Join us for the next council on matters vital to the future of Humanistic Paganism.

The conversation continues this Thursday, December 15th, on Humanistic Paganism.

Next Sunday: Ebook Double Feature

Love and the Ghosts of Mount Kinabalu, by B. T. Newberg

Introducing a new ebook from B. T. Newberg!  This collection of creative nonfiction stories set in Malaysia has already received a glowing review from Southeast Asia Travel Advice.  We’ll bring you the inside scoop on this exciting new ebook on sale now at GoodReads!

Love and the Ghosts of Mount Kinabalu, by B. T. Newberg

Appearing Sunday, December 18th, on Humanistic Paganism.

Drew Jacob

Drew takes a break from his travels in Thailand to review our first ebook, Encounters in Nature.  An e-reader friendly version is now on sale at GoodReads, but you can get your copy FREE!  To find out how, click here.

Encounters in Nature: An ebook review, by Drew Jacob

Appearing Sunday, December 18th, on Humanistic Paganism.

Winterviews

The big event is just around the corner!  You’re gonna love these winter interviews of big-name authors!

Starts on the Solstice, December 21st.

Recent Work

Existential Paganism, by Ian Edwards

Naturalistic meaning and purpose, by Jon Cleland Host

Deities as role models, by Eli Effinger-Weintraub

What does ritual mean to you?

Thing on Thursday #11

Developing meditations and rituals was voted as a potential project for us, now let’s get more detail on what that means.  Last week we asked about meditation, so this week let’s talk about ritual.

The choices in the poll may involve some overlap, and there will no doubt be plenty left out.  Please use the “other” box for any missing types you wish to vote for.

There may also be considerable overlap between “ritual” and “meditation”, the boundaries between which may be blurry or ultimately non-existent.

Please choose your top three.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

About Thing on Thursday

Althing in Session, by W.G. CollingwoodThis post is part of a series of councils on matters vital to the future.  The name represents both the generic term for, you know, a thingie, as well as the Old Norse term for a council of elders: a Thing.

Each week until the Winter Solstice, Thing on Thursday will explore a new controversy.  Participation is open to all – the more minds that come together, the better.  Those who have been vocal in the comments are as welcome as those quiet-but-devoted readers who have yet to venture a word.  We value all constructive opinions.

There are only a few rules:

  • be constructive – this is a council, so treat it as such
  • be respectful – no rants or flames

Comments will be taken into consideration as we determine the new direction of Humanistic Paganism.  This will also greatly shape the vision that unfolds in our upcoming ebook Our Ancient Future: Visions of Humanistic Paganism.

So please make your voice heard in the comments!

%d bloggers like this: