Diversity and Community
In Atheopaganism, we believe in the elevation and development of each individual to be fully themselves. We celebrate the luminous spark of unique humanity in every member of our community.
In order to do that, we have to be open to tremendous diversity in how Atheopaganism is expressed on a person by person basis. Your rituals, Focus, and the way you celebrate the wheel of the year will not look like mine, and that’s great! They should be as you find them meaningful, as you find them moving and transformative.
This is markedly different than most other religious paths, which expect general conformity in practices, self-identification, often even dress and appearance.
Conformity is not an Atheopagan value.
Now, this could theoretically be a problem. Conformity is pernicious in many ways but it’s an easy road to coherence: to a shared sense of belonging and connection. An easy road, but not one that allows the elevation of the individual, and so we do not choose it.
We choose to create community comprised of self-celebrating/other-celebrating individuals*. More challenging, perhaps, but infinitely more rewarding and supportive for its members.
That said, a constellation of wildly different people has more of a challenge in cohering as a community.
So I’ve been thinking: what makes community?
Well, a community, however diverse, shares things.
Values. Language. A worldview. A desire to connect along commonalities.
The Atheopagan Principles are such a commonality. We’re very clear: if you have a problem with values like kindness and critical thinking and inclusiveness along axes of skin tone, gender, class, sexual preference, ethnicity, body shape and ability, etc., you’re not really our type.
This is a community of widely divergent people brought together by a lexicon of shared terminology, beliefs rooted in critical thinking and the scientific method, and individualized practices.
Not dogma, not peer pressure, not guilt, and certainly not the authority of hierarchs.
I have spoken before of Atheopaganism as religion with agency, as opposed to religion as supplication. We choose our spiritual paths and practices–we aren’t kneeling to any religious authority, including any concept of deity.
We join with one another under the broad umbrella of Atheopaganism in all our unique beauty.
I feel privileged to have had such a fine group of folks come to practice and celebrate with me. It’s still a wonder to me, even after all these years, that this has transpired.
So thank you: for joining us here, for the uniqueness and thoughtfulness and creativity you bring to your practice and our community.
Thank you for being you.
*Note that this is not the same as egotism, which is typically rooted in low self-esteem. Humility–knowing your value, but recognizing that others have value as well–is an Atheopagan value, too.