This blog was a big part of my life a few years ago. I was working as an academic and my own form of paganism was a fairly big part of that, but about three years ago — closer to four really — I decided academia was insufficient to my life’s purpose and decided to reconnect with the artwork of a previous career to try and rise above the stresses and shortcomings that I felt were holding me and my family back.
The process was more violent than I thought.
There was a confluence of catastrophes that went along with the transition that were unexpected however much I should have seen them coming, and as a result my paganism has suffered in a few ways. I think they were good ways as my blogging activities were very personal before and not focused on what needs I could offer others. My aim here is to reinvent this in a more socially aware and responsible way. That means following the guidelines below.
- Living by the natural rhythms is not only essential to life as a pagan but central to the religion,* so posts will coincide (generally at least) with overtly pagan festivals and dates. This is why I decided to switch the name to “the Pagan Sermon.” In Christianity, sermons are reflections, lessons, and meditations on ideas, practices and events important to the ongoing life and faith of the parish, delivered on feast days and major events. For this blog that means posting primarily at the new moon, the full moon, the solar stations (i.e. the solstices and equinoctes) and the Celtic cross-quarters (viz. Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine, and Lughnasadh, but there will most likely be a number of other occasions on which to post as well.
* Pagan life and pagan religion are not identical. Most people nowadays live a predominantly pagan life despite being atheists or even members of other established religions. I intend to post on this topic when the time is right to clarify.
- Running with the notion of a pagan sermon, the idea here is to post something informative, reflective and hopefully ennobling. This means more than the “what paganism means to me” kind of posts that I’ve found are largely the norm online — though of course everything here will be from my own perspective — but something involving language, something involving history, and something involving spirit in a practical, no-holds-barred kind of way. I intend to write something good, not something polite.
N.B. DON’T PANIC: I am not going to devolve into moralizing platitudes or dogmatic assertions. Christianity strategically co-opted the bulk of pagan practices it encountered. I’m just returning the favour.
- On the note of co-opting, it is worth saying also that one of my modi operandi is to use certain orthodoxies against themselves. The discipline of theology, for example, is uniquely Christian, but there will be times when I use theology to talk about overtly polytheistic ideas. No idea or system of logic is out of bounds. My religion allows for all things, so my commentary on it must do so as well.
- The central thrust of all this is exploring how the old ways can, do, and could further inform our lives and that of our various societies. Sometimes this will come across as criticism, but most of the time it will come across as “don’t worry. Things are as they should be.” In those who daily access the internet is a pervasive reaction to find what is wrong in the world and attempt to eradicate it. This is not that kind of blog. There is much that could be improved to be sure, but yelling and fighting are not the ways to change things really. Good change comes through growth and not eradication, so this blog is meant as water and sun to the good seeds of life and celebration that are already planted in those who find not only comfort but joy in the natural world and the gods of our forebears.
Now, we’re coming down to the Solstice and after that the turn to Samhain, so we’ll see how we get on in the run up to the new year.