Naturalistic Paganism

Category: John Halstead


Animism for the Religious Naturalist

Animists see a world that is full of other-than-human persons, including salmon persons, tree persons, and even rock persons. It is difficult for many Westerners to understand the concept of other-than-human persons, especially when talking about (seemingly) “inanimate objects” like rocks. But for the animist, there is no such thing as inanimate matter, because it is all a part of the complex self-regulating living system called Gaia. Animism is not about the projection of consciousness or agency onto non-human things, but about respect and reciprocity within a more-than-human community that transcends the subject-object dichotomy.

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The Dying God: Learning to Die in the Anthropocene

We are doomed to walk the path of the Dying God. We must do so not in the hope of survival or salvation. Our job is not to survive … or even to birth a new world. Our job is to die … to die well, to die-with, to die early and often, to die in such a way that the “ash heap of history” might become the compost pile of the Goddess.

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“Paganism Isn’t Where You Think It Is” by John Halstead

Martin Buber said spoke of “a quiet devoted relationship with nearby life.” That’s a beautiful description of what I have been seeking in the word “pagan”.

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Paganism Hasn’t Returned (Yet)

Paganism represents a potential challenge to a paradigm which has dominated the West since the ascendance of Christianity, a paradigm which seeks to transcend the natural world and which has driven Western civilization to the brink of collapse. What would it take for paganism to really become a challenge to the Christian paradigm?

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Walking Barefoot: What Science Is Good For (and What It Isn’t)

Paganism invites us to plunge into matter, to lose ourselves in the sensual experience of the world. But sometimes our big brains get in the way. For me, paganism isn’t an invitation to believe in pseudoscience. It’s an invitation to experience the world without any preconceived notions of what is and isn’t real.

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