There is no initiation for Naturalistic Pagans to undergo. If you feel this path is right for you, all you need do is put it into action. Here are some things you can do:
- Learn about the world around you. There are many scientific resources, both published and on the Internet, which you can draw upon for this.
- Learn about the science of religion. Much has been written recently about both the positive and negative roles that religion plays in our psychology and in society.
- Spend time in nature. Use all of your senses. There is no substitute for direct experience of nature.
- Cultivate a sense of wonder at the universe and our place within it, from the most distant star to the smallest particles to the depths of human psychology.
- Read and meditate upon ancient pagan myths, as well as contemporary Neopagan myths.
- Join in rituals of other Neopagans, even if they are not naturalistic, or create your own.
- Apply the scientific method to your religious practice: experiment.
- Accept responsibility for your actions, especially for your impact on the environment, and embrace your responsibility to make the world a better place.
- Check out what other Naturalistic Pagans are doing. This site and the Naturalistic Paganism Yahoo discussion group are excellent resources. Join the Humanistic Paganism Facebook page.
Earlier simple overview here.
How does one apply the scientific method to interactions with the Gods and successful spell work?
The former, if real, is not at the practitioner’s beck and call. There’s other parties involved who have to agree to participate in the interaction.
The latter, if real, is usually successful out of necessity and can’t be performed just any time in a truly experimental way.
My point is that the Gods and magic could both be real, and impress their reality upon the practitioner, and yet not lend themselves to “scientific” evaluation.
If the effect can’t be repeated, it can’t really form the basis of a religious practice.
I never said it couldn’t be repeated, just not in an experimental way. For example, there is a deity that I speak with occasionally. His voice will manifest and speak wisdom to me. But more often than not, he doesn’t respond at my whim. The fact that he responds at all and imparts significant information when he does is more than enough reason for me to keep up my end of the conversation. But it is in no way predictable or subject to experimentation.
My point is that the Gods are independent actors. WE may want to conduct a religious “experiment”, but that in no way obligates them to participate.
I think it just means the basics: try something, try something else, if it works try to get it to happen again, see if it’s real & build on your results. It doesn’t mean that, like, I can’t love the Goddess like I always have.
I’m new at this as religion, because my whole life the more I studied religion and thea/ologies the less religious I became. Yet always She was like a small flame inside me, keeping me alive. But I don’t think I’ll be using magic–it sounds like baking, what you said about unrepeatable results, and I’m bad at baking too–and the parts of paganism I will end up using may be very different from any other. Different paths, and I don’t know where mine is leading. That’s okay.
If that’s the case, most paths under paganism do this already
The word “God” is not a noun – it is a verb.
Thank you for providing this information for us all for free. My rational side is always in conflict with my ‘spiritual’ side, so this secular animism as I call it is rather fulfilling. 🙂
Naturalistic Paganism is exactly the spiritual world view that I have been cultivating for several years. It is the basis of my work as an artist and educator. Now I have a name for it and the beginnings of a path to find others who share my point of view. Thank you