We covered a fair bit of ground in the brief time we had allotted, and it was an honor to be seated beside (digitally speaking) so many interesting thought-leaders and organizers from the Pagan community.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the experience for me was what happened after the Google Hangout ended. The panelists stayed on the call and talked for a good 30 minutes more, sharing perspectives about a whole variety of topics. We re-addressed some of what happened while we were on the air, and there are a few things that stuck out that I’d like to get your take on.
First, Gus DiZerega says in the conversation:
“If Christians emphasize salvation, and Buddhists emphasize enlightenment, we emphasize harmony…That means harmony with one another, and harmony with the earth.”
Does that ring true to you?
It came up that Amy Blackthorn has been a Pagan since she was a kid. This led to an interesting conversation about whether or not children are self-aware enough to choose a religion. I suggested that Paganism might have something uniquely valuable to offer young people, mainly the emphasis on self-awareness and self-direction. To me, it seems that these qualities are very healthy for a kid, and one might add to that list the emphasis on family and community.
Do you see other ways that Paganism is inherently good for kids?
Lastly, are we “earth-based” anymore? It came up in response to Gus’s later statements about the political landscape that there are a wide-variety of Pagans, many of whom no longer identify as “earth-based.” This struck a chord with some people, and I’ve already received some feedback on Facebook which voiced appreciation for pointing out that some Pagans are more centered around deity.
I think this one is worthy of a little unpacking. Do a little research, and you’ll see that the roots of the Neopagan movement were very much in the dirt, if you will. Earth-centered, or at the very least earth-aware spirituality has, up until fairly recently, been synonymous with Paganism. How exactly did we get to a place where someone could consider themselves a Pagan and not be “earth-based?”
I think about Isaac Bonewits, the founder of ADF, who said that he believes that all Neopagans, especially those who identify as Druids in some way, should be environmentalists first and foremost. He believed that we should be on the forefront of the environmental movement.
Not all Pagans think that now, and I’m not exactly sure why.
As I said yesterday I’m not an expert on Paganism, I just play one on the internet. I believe that there are many voices that deserve to be heard, and now’s your chance to pick up where we left off on HuffPost Live.
The floor is yours!