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A Pagan's Blog

A Pagan's Blog

Spirituality Archives

Earth Day and the Sacredness of the Earth

posted by Gus diZerega

I think Earth Day is a particularly important moment for contemplation and commitment by us Pagans.  Often American Christian critics accuse us of “pantheism,” and in a important respect they are right.  We do find the sacred, most of us, […]

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Defeating the right while keeping our soul: Lessons from Limbaugh

posted by Gus diZerega

We have seen a major victory among the forces of decency in our country.  Not only has Rush Limbaugh now lost 141 advertisers.   Better yet, a great many have indicated they want no association with right wing hate radio. They […]

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Social Values, Social Wellness: What Works?

posted by Gus diZerega

I just came across a study of the broader impact of the deep cultural split between “red” and “blue” ways of living in the US.  I think it adds to the evidence that Pagan spirituality is part of the leading […]

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The heart is stronger than the mind: tales of personal and political transformation

posted by Gus diZerega

A Facebook friend just posted the following very interesting and courageous speech  by Maureen Walsh, a Republican legislator who voted in favor of Washington’s new law allowing gay marriages.  Her speech is eloquent, heart felt, wise, and courageous. Everything that […]

Where to in 2010?

posted by Gus diZerega

I have not been doing much political posting for many months, ever since I finally gave up hope that the Democrats, with a few exceptions, amounted to anything  more than a somewhat more humane version of the moral filth that […]

Nihilism in America

posted by Gus diZerega

Paul Krugman has a fascinating column in today’s NYT demonstrating that Mitt Romney’s stump speech is 100% lies.  Not one true statement of substance in it.  Not one. This means that Romney believes in absolutely nothing he is willing to […]

Monotheism and Monism

posted by Gus diZerega

Over at Patheos I have just posted a column on whether it is possible to coherently think of a monotheistic God as an individual.  Not surprisingly given that I am a polytheist, I argue it is not.

Working with progressive Muslims

posted by Gus diZerega

One of my oldest friends is a woman who has been working with progressive Muslims in Denmark.  As many of my readers know, there has been far more friction in Denmark between right wing Muslims and the secular society to […]

Religious Nihilism and the Religious Right

posted by Gus diZerega

I have been almost totally focused on the home stretch of my manuscript tentatively titled Faultlines: The 60s, the Culture War, and the Return of the Divine Feminine.  This is really getting in the way of making frequent blog posts.  […]

Nihilism and the god of power

posted by Gus diZerega

Joe Walsh has made a name for himself as a “family values” Republican.  He has also made a name for himself as a dead beat dad who owes over $100,000 in child support, ignores court dates, and takes his girl […]

The important Spiritual dimension to “Occupy Wall Street”

posted by Gus diZerega

How does the current worldwide focus on bringing the ultra-wealthy banksters and corporations under more effective control relate to traditional spiritual concerns, particularly Pagan ones? Quite directly, actually.

A Pagan lesson for an evangelical

posted by Gus diZerega

I was having a coffee and some fascinating discussions about the implications of thought forms with a retired physicist friend  at Starbucks today, Saturday.  As we began to wind our conversation down a young man sitting nearby indicated he enjoyed […]

Cricket Choir

posted by Gus diZerega

A friend had this on his FB page, and when I looked at it, and more importantly, heard it, I was awe struck.  Who knows what crickets really hear?  I don’t.  But I have often wondered what other beings actually […]

Monotheism and Violence

posted by Gus diZerega

The slaughter in Norway by a Christian Fundamentalist seeing himself as a knight defending the faith raises a disturbing issue: what are so many monotheists so violent towards people who disagree with them?  One would think their deity could handle […]

Exciting Psilocybin Research

posted by Gus diZerega

A very interesting series of posts on recent research with psilocybin mushrooms has just started to appear at one of my favorite bogs, The Reality Based Community, which is made up of a variety of academic types with a wider […]

Atheists again

posted by Gus diZerega

Atheists have been popping up and in some cases rudely intruding of late, most recently on Facebook.  Last night I “unfriended” someone on FB because I was tired of putting up with his mix of rudeness, arrogance, and his thinking […]

Summer Solstice meditations

posted by Gus diZerega

Since I pulled way back from writing blog posts on politics, and radically reduced by attention to the day to day activities of the sociopathic crowd who dominates the news, I have found my outlook  improved even if my view […]

Suffering and Evil III: spiritual nastiness and malignancy

posted by Gus diZerega

This is the final and for me most difficult installment of the four little essays I have written exploring the nature of evil and bad things happening in a good world. So if you are a confirmed skeptic you might […]

A WONDERFUL video

posted by Gus diZerega

My old friend Mi Robin linked to a fantastic video on Facebook about the efforts of some bigots to prevent an Islamic mosque in Murfreesboro Tennessee.  But if that was all it was about I’d not link to it.  We […]

And to put politics in perspective

posted by Gus diZerega

It is so very easy to get caught up in the organized sociopathy that is characteristic of so much politics and organized ‘religion’.  A walk in nature is one of the best correctives.  But that is not always possible.  This […]

The Founders, the Constitution and Christianity

posted by Gus diZerega

One of the biggest lies being told by David Barton and other dishonest hacks in the so-called ‘christian’ right about our nation’s Founders was that they thought of freedom of religion in purely Christian terms.  They did not and made […]

Responding to an atheist’s challenge: Do the Gods exist?

posted by Gus diZerega

Ryan Benson when closing his blog over at Patheos sent a challenge out to his religious readers: “convince me God exists.” Benson is an atheist. Star, who is doing wonderful work for us Pagans at Patheos, suggested Pagans respond, and […]

Defending Muslims

posted by Gus diZerega

Some of my readers might be wondering why I have been so supportive of many Muslims against their critics during the past few years.  Certainly Muslim countries are not good places to be Pagan and I would not choose to […]

Donald Trump and the promise of diversity

posted by Gus diZerega

I was inspired to write this blog by Steve Weinstein’s post on Crooks and Liars. There he observed “I live in the middle of Los Angeles. Gay people are everywhere and considered as normal as anyone else. Black people too. […]

Bolivia adopting “Law of Mother Earth” recognizing Nature as having Her own rights

posted by Gus diZerega

Bolivia is preparing to boldly go where no one has gone before, although Ecuador started the ball rolling.  Asof this writing Ecuador is on the verge of passing a kind of Bill of Rights for Nature, a series of laws called […]

John Perkins: Former Economic Hit Man and Shamanic Advocate spoke in Sonoma

posted by Gus diZerega

Last night I drive to Sonoma to hear John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and of a number of other books, give a talk sponsored by the Praxis Peace Institute.  The audience was filled with people more […]

Evil and undeserved suffering, Part III: The human dimension

posted by Gus diZerega

If undeserved suffering is not a sign of imperfection in nature, or of an immanent divine being less than good, what are we to make of human misbehavior and malice? Whether at the retail level of people deliberately hurting one […]

Thoughts on Japan’s Ordeal

posted by Gus diZerega

The ongoing tragedy in Japan offers a great deal for us to think about, from how we can help to how such catastrophes can happen in a world where Spirit matters to what it says about human beings’ ability to […]

Wisdom from Robinson Jeffers

posted by Gus diZerega

At this time when the worst side of many Americans is proudly exposed to view by people too morally lost, and too besotted with self-righteousness to realize what they are doing, it is good to reflect on a beautiful poem […]

The “crazification factor” of 27%

posted by Gus diZerega

I just read a delightful (in a black humored sort of way) post up at Balloon Juice.  It offers a way to calculate the number of “crazies” on the political right, people for whom no fact or logic will work […]

Pantheacon 2011: Contrasting Tolerance and Pluralism

posted by Gus diZerega

This isn’t quite the write-up I anticipated doing because I left my notes somewhere or other.  A drag, but maybe a blessing in disguise.  Now I have to search my memory about what impressed me most.  And a great deal […]

Egypt’s Grand Mufti on the Revolution

posted by Gus diZerega

Ali Gomaa, Egypt’s Grand Mufti has just made a statement that should raise the spirits of all who care for the well-being of the Egyptian people and a future of religious toleration and, even more, ultimate acceptance.  No, he did […]

What is the Muslim Brotherhood?

posted by Gus diZerega

Nancy Graham, an old friend of mine, and talented documentary producer and journalist, moved to Denmark,  For many years she taught journalism at the University of Aarhus.  Europe has much more actual experience with Muslims than does the US, and […]

“The UnChristian Right”: A Refreshing Christian Perspective

posted by Gus diZerega

When I became a Pagan I had to rethink my views about Christianity, which had become overwhelmingly negative.  If the Sacred manifested in many ways and everywhere, it had to manifest there as well.  But as the religious right in […]

Reply to Randi on suffering and life

posted by Gus diZerega

This post repeats my reply to Randi’s comment on my “Abortion, Slavery and Women” post.  It does not deal with abortion because she raised more important issues. With clarifying revisions here and there added at 9:20 PST. More cleaning up […]

Mythos, logos, the Bible, and abortion

posted by Gus diZerega

In her book The Battle for God  Karen Armstrong distinguished between mythos and logos in a way that sheds light on both Pagan spirituality and current irrationality on the part of the religious right. The abortion issue is a good case […]

Indian commentary on right wing ignorance and racism over Tucson prayer

posted by Gus diZerega

With thanks to Makarios for calling my attention to it, here is a response from members of America’s Indian community to the  bigots and worse on the right.

John Roll, Aldo Leopold, and Ayn Rand: heroism true and false

posted by Gus diZerega

In his  wonderful A Sand County Almanac Aldo Leopold gives my favorite description of what it is to be uniquely human.  He observes that when the last passenger pigeon died, a species that once had darkened the North American sky […]

Myth as a way of knowing

posted by Gus diZerega

I have been struggling with better understanding what Karen Armstrong calls mythos in her book The Battle for God, on religious fundamentalism worldwide.  I think it is essential towards developing a deeper appreciation of what Pagan spirituality brings to the spiritual […]

Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Thoreau, and America today

posted by Gus diZerega

Martin Luther King did not come to his conclusions about nonviolence entirely on his own.  He had the personal strength to follow this path, but he also stood in a long noble and very interesting tradition with deep roots in […]

Martin Luther King’s Day and the energy of violence

posted by Gus diZerega

As we observe this day honoring the life of Martin Luther King, jr., two thought come to mind as particularly relevant, and I hope worth sharing.  The first has to do with violence and the second with the intertwining of […]

Thousands of Muslims risk their lives defending Coptic Christians from terrorists

posted by Gus diZerega

One of the most depressing recent blots on the increasingly blotched American character was the ignorant and infantile outrage by so many over the “Ground Zero Mosque” (which was none of the above). To make their case they had to […]

What the vaccination and autism scandal teaches us about science

posted by Gus diZerega

Those of us who have had personally strong and oft repeated experiences with the spirit world, and of nature as animate, are often sympathetic to people attacking mainstream science. For example, I know several Pagans who have resisted having their kids […]

Alex Mar’s “American Mystic” – a beautiful film

posted by Gus diZerega

Alex Mar has produced American Mystic,  a beautiful and most unusual film, one I hope receives many viewers, for many will be the better off for having seen it. In her film Mar describes the lives of spiritually committed people […]

The Pope’s excuses for pedophilia and what it means

posted by Gus diZerega

F. A. Hayek, a famous but little understood economist sheds light on one of the scandals of our time.  There is a well deserved outrage building over the current Pope’s blaming “the 1970s” for rampant pedophilia and child molestation by Vatican […]

Thinking about tripping reindeer

posted by Gus diZerega

The apparent frequency of animals eating entheogens is really fascinating to me.  It strengthens my suspicion that what our society calls “normal” consciousness is as deficient as a diet without certain crucial vitamins.  Life continues, but is crippled.  To a […]

God is one among the Gods in the Old Testament

posted by Gus diZerega

Jonathan Zasloff at Mark Kleiman’s Reality Based Community has an interesting discussion of a passage in the Old Testament which, if taken literally, admits the Jewish God is one among many. Of course for us this comes as no surprise. But […]

Agora: a movie to see and ponder

posted by Gus diZerega

I just saw the movie Agora, and I believe every Pagan would be well advised to see this account of the life and death of Hypatia.  She was the greatest of Classical women philosophers, and apparently a great philosopher by any […]

Honoring the Pomo and what doing so can teach us all

posted by Gus diZerega

(Revised and deepened) This month has been Pomo Honoring Month  in Sebastopol, and yesterday I went to see Hinthel Gaahnula (Talking Indian) a film produced by James BlueWolf giving a narrative history of the Clear Lake Pomo from shortly before contact […]

Samhain meditations on the Rodota Trail

posted by Gus diZerega

I took a walk a few days ago out on the Rodota Trail, a lovely foot and bicycle path linking Sebastopol and Santa Rosa.  It goes mostly through a oak savannah filled with big spreading gnarly old oaks.  This time […]

The Abstract and Concrete: Modernity, Abortion and Death

posted by Gus diZerega

People who equate a small collection of cells with a baby evidence a very modern world view, one which places an abstraction in front of concrete reality.  This elevation of abstraction is a defining feature of the modern world, one […]

Theurgicon and Pagan Neoplatonism III.

posted by Gus diZerega

Don Frew  made the third Theurgicon presentation, on “Gardnerian Wica as Theurgic Ascent.”  Frew’s use of the single ‘c’ was deliberate, as the coven from which Gardner learned spelled the word with a single ‘c.’ It also helps remind is that […]

My Talk at the Interfaith Observance at the Presidio

posted by Gus diZerega

I was asked to give a talk this afternoon, October 3, at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio chapel in San Francisco.  This was an annual gathering celebrating its founding, and this year’s topic was “Reclaiming the First Amendment,” a […]

Sometimes the Good Guys Win

posted by Gus diZerega

Yes indeed they sometimes do. And it’s a good example of the power of interfaith work.

Texting, Cell Phones, and Spirit

posted by Gus diZerega

David Spangler was one of the early leaders at Findhorn, and has since  worked in his own way in a broad spiritual approach  that I often find attractive: a mystical approach that honors and loves the world of manifestation rather […]

David Abram’s New Book – Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology

posted by Gus diZerega

I have begun reading a wonderful book, David Abram’s Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology. No book I have ever encountered does as good a job of describing what it is like to be fully aware of our immersion in the […]

Pagans, Christians, and Muslims Together – Oh My!

posted by Gus diZerega

The current uproar over mosques and American Muslims is reminding me of my first serious encounter with a religion towards which I had considerable hostility: Christianity. And how I finally overcame it while remaining 100% Pagan.

Of Power, Violence, and the American Soul at Risk

posted by Gus diZerega

In Europe before World War One Jews were better integrated into German society than almost anywhere else on the continent.  There were lots of intermarriages as well.  In Bosnia Christians and Muslims lived together peacefully under Tito’s Communist rule, far […]

Why Interfaith is a Good Idea: Muslim Imams at Dachau

posted by Gus diZerega

An important story to be followed, maybe, by Jews and Muslims visiting Auschwitz and Sebrenica, Bosnia, where thousands of Muslims were slaughtered.

African Children Accused of Witchcraft

posted by Gus diZerega

Children are increasingly victims of witchcraft accusations in Africa, egged on by some but by no means all Christian leaders there. (Indeed, this story was provided to me by a Evangelical Christian). Witchcraft, which is  understood there and in many […]

The Myth of Monotheism

posted by Gus diZerega

My essay The Myth of Monotheism has just been published on Witchvox. It’s longer than what I write here, and in its Witchvox form has no documentation because I was too inept at uploading the manuscript. But the documentation exists. […]

Encountering Deities and Spirits: first post

posted by Gus diZerega

Our discussion of Pagan atheism prompted me to write something on Paganism’s theistic side.  Speaking for myself, no argument convinced me to follow a Pagan path, it was concrete experiences that did: encounters with a Pagan deity.  Not surprisingly, if […]

Pagan Atheism: a second look

posted by Gus diZerega

The apparent paradox of Pagan atheism has prompted me to do a lot more thinking about atheism than I ever have before.  In the process I picked up a copy of the British philosophical journal Philosophy Now,  which had a […]

Initial Speculations On Pagan Atheism

posted by Gus diZerega

Earlier this week I was down visiting Pagan friends in the Bay Area.  Our conversation  ranged over a lot of topics, as it always does.  This time we ended up discussing a discovery that had surprised a close friend when […]

Why We Need to Recognize the Divine Feminine: A Crime Against Decency

posted by Gus diZerega

The Catholic Church has no lock on covering up for sexual depravity.  A fifteen year old girl raped by her church’s deacon and then forced by her pastor to apologize for being raped to her church’s congregation? 

A Wonderful Story: No Politics, No Religion – but Spirituality at a Very Subtle Level

posted by Gus diZerega

UPDATE- link corrected Check it out. Women’s softball- Marshall vs. Roncalli. Wonderful. . . I promise. ‘Spirituality’ without a good heart is like a stone painted like a peach.  This is spirituality without the trappings.

Jalapeno Peppers and Sacred Texts

posted by Gus diZerega

Do the words we use to describe something powerfully influence what it is we actually experience?  Years ago, when I was first studying German, I was amazed to learn their word for the taste of a hot pepper was ‘scharf.’  […]

Chris Hedges and BP’s Little Eichmanns

posted by Gus diZerega

Chris Hedges has a wonderful piece on the moral and spiritual culture of America’s elite and the nature of American nihilism.  It’s short and well worth reading.  Yes- as some commentators have pointed out when I praised another piece by him, […]

A Chance to Save a Life

posted by Gus diZerega

I wrote earlier about a little girl in my area who is fighting a very serious cancer with the odds against her, as an example of undeserved suffering in a good world.  I just saw a story in Huffingtonpost about […]

The Failure of Religion and the Rise of Nihilism

posted by Gus diZerega

Chris hedges, who wrote my favorite book on the nature of war, has a great short essay over at Truthdig.  He discusses the gifts and failures of mainstream religion in our society, and the risk of nihilism that accompanies its […]

A Pagan Take on Recent Disasters and the Value of the World

posted by Gus diZerega

The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico raises a question that has been raised in other contexts over the last year or so: has the scale of things we attempt as a society come to exceed our ability […]

On Seeing the World

posted by Gus diZerega

Rod Dreher at Crunchy Con has a thoughtful post about the nature of reality and how we perceive it that should interest all Pagans.

Scriptural Literalism, Bruce Waltke, and Exploding Volcanoes

posted by Gus diZerega

Conservative Evangelical Bible scholar Dr. Bruce Waltke has resigned from his teaching position at the Reformed Theological Seminary.  He made the mistake of saying the evidence overwhelmingly supported evolution.  Many of his co-religionists are unforgiving.  Ken Hamm, CEO of the ‘Creation […]

On Jeremy Rifkin, Empathy, and Spirit

posted by Gus diZerega

Yesterday I went to a book group gathering to discuss Jeremy Rifkin’s monumental new book, The Empathetic Civilization. What follows are insights I developed in preparation for that gathering that I think will interest many Pagans concerned with the deeper […]

Entheogens and Contemporary Science

posted by Gus diZerega

Mark Kleiman has a very interesting post up on the gradual opening of science and medicine to the value of entheogens that had been smothered as part of the mindless backlash against the Sixties. As older Pagans know, entheogens played […]

A Good World and Undeserved Suffering: the Tough Cases

posted by Gus diZerega

This post fulfills a promise I made to discuss the tough examples readers raised in my post on beauty and suffering.  I do it from a Pagan perspective, one emphasizing the sacredness of the world and of the basic processes […]

On Ignorance, Termites, Religion, Love and Atrocity

posted by Gus diZerega

The world is complex and our knowledge of it is small.  Each and every one of us benefits from knowledge we do not have used by people we do not know.  Virtually nothing we “know” is based on first hand […]

The Catholic Sex Scandal, Monotheism, and Organizational Pathology

posted by Gus diZerega

IMPORTANT UPDATE below At a Good Friday service in the Vatican and attended by Pope Benedict, preacher Father Raniero Cantalamessa compared the current scandals over sexual abuse by Church officials with “the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.” To say this is […]

A Spiritual Take on the Rage over Health Care Reform

posted by Gus diZerega

UPDATE below I think the outbursts of hatred and anger we have seen since passage of the Health Care Reform bill indicate it may have been an even bigger deal than I thought.  I think something far deeper than a […]

A Pagan Perspective On Beauty and Suffering

posted by Gus diZerega

I had an wonderful talk with a friend who was for some time a Buddhist abbot before he decided Buddhism was not his final path, and began exploring other spiritual traditions and practices. Whenever our conversations shifts to these kinds […]

The Spiritual Side of Last Night’s Victory

posted by Gus diZerega

There was a spiritual dimension to the victory of health care reform last night.  One that decent people of any religion can celebrate. A precedent was set that may help reverse a deep misunderstanding of the nature of democratic government, […]

Corruption in Religious Organizations

posted by Gus diZerega

A major theme in my understanding of religion and spirituality is that religious organizations are not so much a means to grow in genuine spirituality, as they enable many people to come together and engage in spiritual practice as a […]

A Pagan Perspective on Science

posted by Gus diZerega

In a previous comment Rombald called our attention to the fact that science itself was powerfully influenced by a Christian world view when it originated.  The desacralization of the world promoted by Protestantism in particular made it easy to approach […]

This Blog’s Vision, Culture War, and an Undercover Atheist

posted by Gus diZerega

This blog is an active participant in the Culture War being waged in the US.  But I often find myself in a strange position, as many other Pagans likely do.  I frequently seem to shift sides.  I want to describe […]

Thoughts on the Sacredness of All Things

posted by Gus diZerega

This blog frequently covers organic food issues.  It could be said to do so a little obsessively.  Most of my readers will prefer eating organic, but is this an important ethical issue?  How is that Pagan? We experience the Sacred […]

Christians and Pagans: a Positive Story

posted by Gus diZerega

The wonderful Pagan singer, Celia, came to Sonoma County yesterday.  While readers of this blog know I admire her work, we had never met.  However she had emailed me she would be singing at a meeting of Catholics concerned with […]

American Power Breeds Ignorance

posted by Gus diZerega

The “war” between certain kinds of religion and science is continuing unabated.  The village atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris use this kind of thing to lambast religion in general, just as Christian Fundamentalists give all kinds of […]

Universal Polytheism

posted by Gus diZerega

This is a small essay that tries to show how polytheism is universal in all theistic religious traditions.  I pick Christianity to make my case, but I think Islam or Judaism would also ‘work.’ In the process those who wonder […]

On Being a Spiritual Warrior

posted by Gus diZerega

As I meditated this morning I found myself wondering how to keep an open hearted attitude towards the depraved individuals who spend such efforts attacking our religion and making life miserable for other people in general.  

Science and Religion: A Reply to the Skeptics, II.

posted by Gus diZerega

I slightly revised this second part of the WACCO list discussion to try and provide more clarity, but the arguments have not been changed (though I added one paragraph to develop a thought more.) This post argues against the adequacy of […]

Science and Religion: A Reply to the Skeptics, I.

posted by Gus diZerega

Two weeks ago I got involved in a discussion with two local and very sharp “skeptics,” Mark and Paul, concerning science and religion.  The exchange took place in the Wacco Bulletin Board, a wonderful local online communication media for Sonoma […]

John Mackey of Whole Foods, Libertarian Blindness, and New Age Spirituality

posted by Gus diZerega

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, is at it again, using his version of libertarianism to deny global warming.  It is a false crisis that responding to would impoverish and enslave us.  Even a writer who has long defended him […]

Healing and Consciousness

posted by Gus diZerega

Stephan Schwartz of the Schwartz Report has posted a very interesting and I think important piece on healing and consciousness.  Here is his first paragraph.  Please check it out in its entirety. I think it’s worth it. (You have to […]

Joe Lieberman as a sign of America’s moral and spiritual collapse

posted by Gus diZerega

What follows is a rant.  I cannot help it, as I saw Joe Lieberman’s sanctimonious face grinning at me on site after site yesterday.

Reinventing the Sacred by Stuart Kauffman

posted by Gus diZerega

Books exploring the philosophical implications of science by contemporary scientists tend to fall into two categories: those that assert and explore the implications of scientific reductionism and those that explore the implications of quantum physics.  Neither is directly relevant o […]

Polytheism and Monism

posted by Gus diZerega

One of the nicest things about Pagans is that in general we do not get into hot arguments about theology.  What unites our smaller communities are common practices, not common beliefs.  We are little worried if others are not Wiccans […]

Are the Gods in Us?

posted by Gus diZerega

Some interesting comments about my “Drawing Down the Moon” piece in “12 Things…” have prompted me to offer a longer discussion, based mostly on my personal experience. 

Real Christians – A Pagan Perspective

posted by Gus diZerega

The question of who is or is not a “real Christian” has come up in this blog.  It’s my own fault, for I’ve tried to distinguish between Christianity and the devil worship that masquerades under its name in the religious […]

Real Christians Intervening in the ‘Christian’ Killing of Children

posted by Gus diZerega

Thankfully genuine Christians are finally intervening.  I wish them well. And I hope there is never a case of moderns claiming to be Pagans acting as the ‘witch’ killers have, and that if it does happen, that our community intervenes […]

‘Christians’ Killing Kids Accused of Being Witches

posted by Gus diZerega

I dream of the time when “Christians” so concerned with others’ sins begin paying attention to the travesties being done in their own name such as  killing kids for being witches . 

Two Die in New Age “Sweat Lodge”

posted by Gus diZerega

UPDATE on sweat lodge sacrilege. The words of a survivor. Among us Pagans, a popular joke is “what is the difference between a New Age and a Pagan workshop?” “Two decimal places.” When I read of the deaths of two […]

Why It’s So Hard to Admit Error

posted by Gus diZerega

A great piece on why it is so difficult to convince people by using reason and evidence has just appeared in Atlantic Magazine ‘s online site.  Lane Wallace’s The Uncommon Navigator  is well worth reading by all Pagans – and […]

Frank Schaeffer on Fundamentalism and Village Idiots

posted by Gus diZerega

Ever since Cheryl brought Rachel Maddow’s interview of Frank Schaeffer  to my attention, I’ve dithered and agonized over whether to post it.  Frank Schaeffer is a former leading member of the religious right who was deeply involved in Republican Party […]

A Pagan Take on Conservatism’s Contribution to Modern Irrationality. Part I.

posted by Gus diZerega

The argument I am making about modernity’s intimate connection to nihilism and irrationality is in many respects a classic conservative argument.  Yet conservatism is as infected with the virus of nihilism as the strains of modernity it perceptively criticizes.  (This […]

Paganism, Fascism, and America, Part 2 of 2

posted by Gus diZerega

For most people the appeal of fascism is first and foremost to feel powerful, particularly to dominate those they blame for their sense of themselves being exploited.  But unlike many movements against oppression, fascist movements do not target those had […]

Spiritual Pluralism

posted by Gus diZerega

I have long been intrigued by the fact that so many religious traditions have believers who, like me, are a part of that tradition because of powerful personal spiritual encounters.  Mine was a close encounter with a Goddess at a […]

Wiccans and Opposing Evil

posted by Gus diZerega

David E. Oliver asked whether Wiccans would cast a curse to ” stop someone who is going to committ murder?  Sometimes doing harm is only way to fight evil. Do pagans believe in evil?”  I promised him a thread, and […]

Sam Harris and Frances Collins Re-Examined

posted by Gus diZerega

A number of people have suggested I was unfair to Sam Harris in criticizing his attack on Frances Collins.  Below I reprint his column from the NYT, inserting at key points comments showing I am very far from being unfair.  […]

Bigoted Atheism

posted by Gus diZerega

Sam Harris  has a column in today’ New York Times objecting to Obama’s naming Francis Collins  director of NIH.  He objects solely because Collins is a Evangelical Christian.  

Sexuality and the Sacred

posted by Gus diZerega

Frances Kissling over at Salon has a good discussion of fallacies in the views held by kinder gentler “pro-life” proponents who loudly oppose abortion but support Obama.  They are people who have expanded their moral and spiritual compass to be […]

Paganism and America’s Future, Part III: The Sacredness of Nature

posted by Gus diZerega

This is the last of a three part post where I am trying to suggest how we as a community can contribute the most to our wider society.  Along with the Sacred Feminine and role of women, the other religious […]

Paganism and America’s Future, Part II: The Divine Feminine

posted by Gus diZerega

Beginning in the ’60s there has been a marked change in the way many people view women and the feminine, and this shift quickly influenced American religion.  After a lull, feminism began to regain its moral energy in the 1960s.  […]

Paganism and America’s Future: Part I.

posted by Gus diZerega

New Age Cowboy sparked some additional thoughts through his comments in my previous post, thoughts that I think merit a post all their own.  Or rather a series of three.  This one as foundational, another will follow on the Sacred […]

Abandoning Islam in Iran

posted by Gus diZerega

The rapid appearance of books by atheists in the United States is a predictable result of the rise of intolerant religion.  Nothing turns people off to religion faster than self-righteous fanatics and power junkies intent on telling you how to […]

Barbara McGraw on Religion in America

posted by Gus diZerega

Last week I went with a Pagan friend to the Marin Interfaith Council’s meeting, to hear Barbara McGraw give a talk on church and state in America.  McGraw is author of Rediscovering America’s Sacred Ground,  a very good discussion of […]

Thoughts on Forgiveness

posted by Gus diZerega

The forgiveness thread Cheryl started is a wonderful one, and I want to give it special placement.  Forgiveness is a fascinating topic.  I have a remarkable story that offers an inspiring perspective on that issue.

Atheists as Unusually Moral?

posted by Gus diZerega

I was intrigued with the finding in the Pew poll that those Americans who did NOT go to church were the most opposed to torture.  Over 60 percent of white evangelical Protestants supported torture, the highest percent of ll groups […]

Spirituality and Empathy

posted by Gus diZerega

We now have quite strong statistical evidence that conservative Republicans are way out of step with the rest of the country with regard to how they see empathy as a virtue.  Daily Kos commissioned two polls, with fascinating findings, here  […]

Impermanence and Divine Nature

posted by Gus diZerega

Hello, this is T. Thorn Coyle, stepping in for Gus today.   One of the things I do in life is act as a spiritual director. Recently, one of my clients was talking about a struggle with the fact that […]

Drew Dellinger’s Poem on Thomas Berry

posted by Gus diZerega

Given the negativity that so easily can come to seem the defining feature of this society, it’s good to be reminded of why so many of us push back against the forces of dark ignorance.  Drew Dellinger’s poem is a […]

Passing of the Guard

posted by Gus diZerega

Thomas Berry has died today.   He had been a central figure in helping Western Christians, those willing to look and learn anyway, re-establishing connectedness with the sacred immanence we Pagans find in nature. Other giants in ecological and spiritual thought […]

Common Practices vs. Common Beliefs

posted by Gus diZerega

The first open thread is wonderful.  I will try and stay out of these open threads, but occasionally ‘mine’ some themes for my own purposes.  This is one of them. I want to reverse one of the arguments given by […]

Egoism and Spirit: Almost (But Not Quite) Like Oil and Water

posted by Gus diZerega

I think egoism and Spirit are about as antithetical as it is possible for two concepts to be.

Meditation and the Brain

posted by Gus diZerega

Stephen Schwarz  uncovers interesting research on how meditation increases grey matter.

Conservative Christians and Torture Revisited

posted by Gus diZerega

My spirituality and torture post made some people angry, who claimed that the PEW polls on torture showing more church goers were supporters of torture than non-Christians were somehow unreliable or not representative.   Now some other polls have emerged.

Atheists, Christians, and Pagans

posted by Gus diZerega

The recent plethora of books by militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens is beginning to generate a good deal of return fire from people writing within the Christian tradition, either as sophisticated adherents or writers […]

Spiritual Implications of the Torture Issue

posted by Gus diZerega

I was replying in the comments section to some arguments about my last post on the PEW poll and disproportionate LDS involvement in torture, but I ended up in territory that I decided merited a post of its own. For […]

Answering a Critique of Earth Day and Environmentalism

posted by Gus diZerega

Earth Day is approaching, and while I want to honor it, today I was sent a link to an article that suggests honoring Earth day would be a mistake.  The author, Bradley Doucet, repeats standard attacks from various kinds of […]

Thoughts on Power and Spirit

posted by Gus diZerega

Trying to integrate spirituality and politics as this blog attempts gets frustrating.  Real frustrating.  Politics is a little context compared to spirit, but it can so easily come to dominate our attention. It’s sort of like when I hit my […]

Gay Marriage in Iowa

posted by Gus diZerega

While I suspect Iowa’s Supreme Court ruling went well beyond the current moral capacities of many of that state’s citizens, their unanimous ruling establishing the right of gay marriage is a wonderful one.  And as usual, the culture warriors are […]

On Spiritual Experience

posted by Gus diZerega

When I blogged on Rowan’s suggestion, I was not sure what would happen.  I am delighted.  I’ve learned a lot.  (Thanks, Rowan!)   I was struck in particular with one comment made in a response to my last post, a […]

Thoughts on Mythos and Logos

posted by Gus diZerega

Referring back to an earlier post, some people have suggested that Pagan ‘theology’ was through myths.  In a sense this is true, but in a sense that I think is deeper, it is not.  Perhaps this is because of how […]

Cool Book: Linda Hogan’s ‘Dwellings’

posted by Gus diZerega

I have just finished Linda Hogan’s Dwellings.  Hers is not a new book.  It appeared in 1995, and I missed it then. I have been the poorer for my oversight.  I stumbled across it in a bookstore -and picked it […]

Religious Decline and Pagan Renaissance?

posted by Gus diZerega

USA Today reports  the American Religious Identification Survey reports the number of people reporting they have no religion continues to increase in the United States. Fifteen percent of those replying said they had no religion.  In 2001 the number was […]

Of Divine Love, Monism, Monotheism, and a Reply to Ali and others

posted by Gus diZerega

I spent yesterday flying back to California.  It’s weird to take off from Paris at 10 am, and arrive in San Francisco at 1 PM.  My body also thought it was weird and is still catching up.   One of […]

Serial Monotheism

posted by Gus diZerega

From earliest recorded times many people have sought to understand as best they could the foundations for spiritual reality. Throughout the early ancient world from at least India to Greece, ‘monism’ appears to have been the most favored model.  It […]

Better Babies Get AIDS than Promiscuous Mothers get treatment – Sen. Shultheis

posted by Gus diZerega

I had earlier blogged how religious zealot Rep. Scott Renfroe of Colorado argued that according to the Bible gays should be executed.  Later, in the comments, one reader who identified himself as a ‘Reverend’ applauded Renfroe’s words.  I quickly commented […]

Pagan Insights on Conservative Political Hypocrisy

posted by Gus diZerega

I have long been perplexed, and more than perplexed, by the seeming contradiction between the more intelligent right wingers’ stirring defenses of ‘freedom,’ ‘the rule of law,’ and ‘small government’ and their cheer-leading for George Bush, who under-mined these values […]

Thoughts on Visiting the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

posted by Gus diZerega

 Yesterday I went again to the wonderful Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, long the largest cathedral in the world, and still number three, after St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s.  When it was built, all of an admittedly smaller Florence […]

A Wiccan’s Reply to a Mormon’s Query

posted by Gus diZerega

Dave Banack over at Mormon Inquiry   is wondering what the deeper spiritual meaning might be for the growing toleration of Wiccans and other NeoPagans in America today.  On the one hand, we demonstrably aren’t particularly dangerous to anyone, but on […]

More Discussion on Spirit and Buying Local

posted by Gus diZerega

I will return to Pantheacon   issues shortly, but Holly Liebowitz Rossi over at Fresh Living   wonders whether I am using the word ‘spiritual’ appropriately in my blog on shopping locally.  This gives me an opportunity to explore this interesting question […]

A Pagan Celebration of Darwin’s Birthday

posted by Gus diZerega

I almost forgot!  Today, Feb 12, is Charles Darwin’s birthday.  And an illustrious day it is.   Why should I, a committed believer in the Gods and the Sacred, support a guy who has been used by atheists to debunk […]

A Reply to Rabbi Hirschfield and Thanks to Paul Raushenbush

posted by Gus diZerega

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield has taken exception to my blog post on the Bible and abortion.  He calls it arrogant, and worse.  I sent him my reply, and am putting it here, below the fold.  He raises some issues that were […]

A Pagan View on Sacred Authority

posted by Gus diZerega

The abortion and the Bible thread has high lighted two issues where I think we Pagans have valuable insights for the spiritual community as a whole.  These are how we determine spiritual authority, and the issue of death.  This post […]

Emergent Order in Science, Society and the Sacred

posted by Gus diZerega

I’ve been spending the weekend at a conference on spontaneous orders, also known as complex adaptive, emergent, or self-organizing systems.  In the human world what those terms, and some equivalent ones, point to is how certain kinds of order can […]

Abortion is NOT Condemned by the Bible. Not even close.

posted by Gus diZerega

I have been working on a book on the 60s and the culture war.  As part of my research, I looked at Biblical criticisms of abortion – not a major theme of the book by any means, but I am […]

Of Religion and Politics: A Pagan View

posted by Gus diZerega

The disturbing entry of right wing religion into American politics over the past few decades raises an important question for all of us with a spiritual commitment: how should our spirituality appropriately influence our lives as citizens?  As citizens we […]

Pachamama Recognized in New Bolivian Constitution

posted by Gus diZerega

Thanks to globum for this image We residents of los Estados Unidos are not the only Americans with good reason to celebrate. The people of Bolivia have just voted in a constitution that for the first time recognizes the rights […]

The Religious Right, Torture, and ‘Christianity’

posted by Gus diZerega

One of the interesting if disturbing issues unfolding before us now is the frenzied defense of torture by many right wing ‘Christians’ and their allies in the media.  Bill O’Reilly who makes more noise as a supposed defender of Christianity […]

My Pantheacon Workshop: Energy Healing- Beginning to Intermediate

posted by Gus diZerega

Pantheacon is a giant Pagan gathering held this year Feb 13-16, over the Presidents’ Day weekend, at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, California, near the airport.  It is a wonderful event I would attend even if I were not […]

My Articles Are Up Again

posted by Gus diZerega

One reason I wanted this site was to serve as a place where much of my published work could be made easily available.  Some hacker removed it a while ago and left junk.  It has taken me a while to […]

I am Interviewed

posted by Gus diZerega

Jason Pitzi-Waters at the wonderful Wild Hunt Blog interviews me about issues raised in Beyond the Burning Times, a book of Pagan-Christian dialogue jointly written by m’self and Philip Johnson, an Australian Evangelical.  He will soon have an interview with […]

Pagan/Christian Dialogue

posted by Gus diZerega

   Although apparently not yet available here in the Sates, Beyond the Burning Times (Lion Hudson, 2008) is now out.  The few reviews I have seen, both Pagan and Christian, suggest our book is living up to our hopes: to […]

The Descent of Inanna

posted by Gus diZerega

One of the oldest extant Pagan myths is that of the Goddess Inanna’s descent into the Underworld, where She encounters Her sister, Ereshkigal. It has long been a favorite of many within the Pagan community as well as with practitioners […]

Talk on Politics and Spirituality

posted by Gus diZerega

Friday July 25 I will be giving a talk at Many Rivers Books and Tea in Sebastopol. California. The talk is titled The Divine Feminine and the Crisis of Modernity. This talk interprets the contemporary political and social crisis in […]

Merry May!

posted by Gus diZerega

(Thanks to http://www.mythicjourneys.org/newsletter_apr07_sutton.html) Yesterday was May Day – Beltane for us Pagans – by far the most joyous of our seasonal celebrations. For me it was especially welcome, because so far 2008 has been the year of the tarot card […]

Sonoma Spring

posted by Gus diZerega

California is justly famous for its Spring wildflowers. Here in Sonoma County, the hike from Shell Beach to Red Hill is one of my favorites. It isn’t long, and the views are wonderful. In the Spring the flowers are the […]

Deep Ecology, Paganism, and Fascism Revisited

posted by Gus diZerega

Some time ago The Pomegranate, a Pagan academic journal, printed an attack on Paganism and deep ecology by Bookchinite Peter Staudenmaier: “Fascist Ecology: The ‘Green Wing” of the Nazi party and its Historical Antecedents.” Staudenmaier’s article appeared in issue No. […]

New Book Announcement!

posted by Gus diZerega

Paganism and the Threat of Assimilation

posted by Gus diZerega

www.freewebs.com/witherlins/thewitchesballad.htm When a new spiritual tradition becomes established within a society, both are changed. In a way this is like when one of us enters on to a spiritual path. While certainly changed in the process, we cannot each help […]

I Will Teach a Healing Workshop at PantheaCon 2008

posted by Gus diZerega

I will conduct a workshop on “Energy Healing: Beginning to Intermediate” at Pantheacon 2008, in the Doubltree Hotel, San Jose, on Monday, February 18, at 9 a.m. I will combine explanation with opportunities for participants to have personal experiences they […]

SPIRIT and POLITICS, a Pagan View

posted by Gus diZerega

This post fulfills a promise I made in the Solstice post below. The extraordinary and disturbing entry of religion into American politics over the past few decades raises an important question for all people with a spiritual commitment: how should […]

A Solstice Gone Awry

posted by Gus diZerega

I recently attended a Winter Solstice celebration here in Northern California. Held at a local community center, it was well attended by an enthusiastic crowd. A first glance indicated a growing and healthy NeoPagan community. A second glance was not […]

The New Fifth Column

posted by Gus diZerega

The photograph on the right is of a Moslem suicide bomber, holding a Koran. But the photograph on the left is of US soldiers holding a Bible. The similarity is not accidental. All see themselves as warriors for God. Jason […]

When Religion Matters in the Wrong Place II.

posted by Gus diZerega

While Huckabee and Romney are teaching religious bigotry, a more painful but also more hopeful story emerged from New York City, where some of their spiritual students attempted putting their attitudes into practice. Walter Adler was with his girlfriend and […]

When Religion Matters In the Wrong Place I.

posted by Gus diZerega

Today I saw two related stories, one awful, but also inspiring, the other disgusting, but expected. I will make two separate posts from them, but they belong together The disgusting-but-expected one is the current dust up between Southern Baptist minister […]

Spirit, Science, a Frozen Waterfall and Sacred Immanence

posted by Gus diZerega

Photo by Guy Edwards Sam Harris, a meditating Village Atheist, has a letter in the latest Nature. He takes the magazine to task for praising a Christian scientist, Francis Collins, for “engaging ‘with people of faith to explore how science […]

On Bigoted Atheism

posted by Gus diZerega

PZ Myers is one of my favorite science bloggers, despite his pretty superficial discussions of religion. I read his Pharyngula pretty regularly. Mark Kleiman at The Reality Based Community is one of my favorite social science bloggers, again despite some […]

Seeing Subtle Energies

posted by Gus diZerega

Shamanic and other spiritual traditions across the world have held subtle energies exist that modern science cannot pick up on their instruments, but that have important impacts on our lives. Not surprisingly, modern secularists disparage these claims because they have […]

I will be a Guest of Honor at the Toronto Pagan Conference, March 2-4.

posted by Gus diZerega

From March 2 to 4 I will be a featured speaker at the Toronto Pagan Conference. It will be held at the appropriately named Valhalla Inn in Toronto. For information on reservations and special rates, go here. I will be […]

I will be speaking at Convocation XIII, Detroit, MI, February 22-25

posted by Gus diZerega

ConVocation XIII: “Sacrifice: Instrument of Change” I will be a guest of honor at Convocation XIII in Detroit at the Hilton/Troy in Troy, Michigan. The Convention rate is $81/noght. Use “CVC” when making reservations. Fri from 4:00 PM – 5:30 […]

Musings After a Period of Silence

posted by Gus diZerega

My blog has been silent for a while. First was the end of the semester rush, as papers, exams, and deadline piled on. Winter break then took me to Maine and Quebec, where I learned to ski (barely) at a […]

Sacred Performance Art

posted by Gus diZerega

There is little people of genuine religious faith owe the Christianist Right, but one thing we do owe them is their bringing religion back into a prominent place for public discussion. Their attacks on evolution, stem cell research, sex education, […]

The Case for Intelligent Design (Be Careful What You Ask For…)

posted by Gus diZerega

NOTE:This post originally appeared earlier, on May 8. It has been plagued with spam – noxious spam. I have erased it from its original site and moved it up to here because the points it makes are serious ones and […]

A Riff Inspired By Richard Dawkins

posted by Gus diZerega

The famed evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, gave a spirited criticism of religious faith at his Pop!Tech address, comparing it to a virus that,once it infects the mind, undermines a person’s rationality. As an example, he described the case of Curt […]

Thoughts on the Teach-In at St. Lawrence University

posted by Gus diZerega

This afternoon we had a teach-in at St. Lawrence University. the first in a long time on the campus, and my first since the Vietnam era. The subject was “Save Our Constitution” and while some right wing professors sneered that […]

Pagan Theology

posted by Gus diZerega

I have been re-reading Jordan Paper’s The Deities Are Many: A Polytheistic Theology while working on a new book of my own, and am again impressed with what a wonderful book he has written. It is even better the second […]

The Unholy Alliance: Christian Right Leaders and the Republican Elite

posted by Gus diZerega

In his essay Cogs in the Machine Digby has published one of the best analyses of the relationship of Christian Right leaders such as Pat Robertson and James Dobson, the Republican elite, and rank and file Fundamentalists that I have […]

Workshop: Dwelling With the Powers of the Earth, 7/22-23

posted by Gus diZerega

I will be giving a workshop at Ardantane in Jemez Springs, NM, Saturday July 22 and Sunday July 23. Pagans often describe themselves as an earth or nature religion, but what does that mean? We celebrate the phases of the […]

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More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting A Pagans Blog. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: The Latest on Pagan and Earth-Based Religions Happy Reading!!!

posted 9:39:40am Jul. 06, 2012 | read full post »

Earth Day and the Sacredness of the Earth
I think Earth Day is a particularly important moment for contemplation and commitment by us Pagans.  Often American Christian critics accuse us of “pantheism,” and in a important respect they are right.  We do find the sacred, most of us, in the earth without reference to any transcendental sp

posted 11:57:03am Apr. 20, 2012 | read full post »

Instructive examples on why interfaith work is a good idea
I deeply believe the problems in our country are more of the heart than of the head. Here are some youtubes courtesy of John Morehead of the Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy on Facebook. They speak more eloquently than anything I can write that interfaith work is a good

posted 1:08:25pm Apr. 12, 2012 | read full post »

The controversy over Pink Slime - and what it means.
The controversy over pink slime is helping educate Americans to the fact that corporations are as beneficial to agriculture as they are to politics. Tom Laskawy put it pithily: “What pink slime represents is an open admission by the food industry that it is hard-pressed to produce meat that won’

posted 4:03:07pm Apr. 11, 2012 | read full post »

How the "war on religion' backfired into a war on women
Here  is a really good article by Tina DuPuy on how the Republicans got themselves into such a mess with America's more intelligent women.  Left undiscussed is how the extreme pathological masculinity of both their deity and their leaders made that slip so very easy.

posted 12:12:35pm Apr. 11, 2012 | read full post »

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