Atheopaganism

An Earth-honoring religious path rooted in science

GUEST POST: A Memorable Mabon

A guest post by Sue Irwin

In 2016, after a lifetime of religious affiliation, I walked away from it all. I became an atheist. Although it took me several months to realize it, I was a new atheist with a hole. I was a new atheist with desires. Freed from the mental and financial shackles of the organized religion I’d been born into, I realized I could do anything that I wanted to do. 

For someone raised in an oppressive religion, this thought is life changing. And what did I want to do? Two things topped my agenda. First, I wanted to read anything and everything I’d missed in all those years. That project is still ongoing. And second, I wanted to mark the passage of time through the seasons. 

I love the seasons. I live in the Midwest where we still get sunshine in the summer, rain in the spring and fall, and snow in the winter. Springtime makes my heart race, every single year. I feel new energy in the spring. I love to watch the flower stems peek through the new grass. Listening to the birds call to one another fills me with joy, just as it used to when I was five years old. 

The hot summer days bring onions and garlic, basil and spearmint, tomatoes and peppers to my tiny garden. Watching a tomato plant grow, flower, and produce fruit has always been a magical event for me. It’s a new experience, every single year.

Autumn fills me with energy again, energy to tidy and gather and ready the household for the long winter days ahead. Harvesting the last of my minuscule crops is bittersweet, even when I have enough to can a few small jars of relish or hot sauce to keep us through the winter. 

The winter days filled with snow and hot cocoa make me long for the sunshine again. The beauty of a cardinal against the snow takes my breath away. And then we circle back around to springtime once again.

I wanted to mark the turn of the year somehow. But I’d never met an atheist who was anything but… an atheist. They loved to reason and discuss philosophy and science, but none of them seemed to look at nature with anything akin to joy. (Of course, that could be because I live in the Midwest, and the people I meet on a daily basis are more likely to ask me what church I go to than when the next full moon rises.)

Something in my life needed to encapsulate the wonder that I felt at the turn of the seasons. I wanted a reason to go outside and gaze at the full moon twelve to thirteen times a year. I wanted to grow herbs in the summer, have bonfires in the fall, dance with the falling leaves in the autumn, and laugh in the spring at the birds as they played in puddles on the ground. 

After a time of reading, searching, and wondering, I discovered non-theistic paganism. Suddenly that hole had a name. The world held a place for someone who wanted to critically evaluate claims, embrace true science, and still experience the joy of the turning of the year. I could peacefully live as a non-theist and a pagan at the same time. This revelation brought peace. Two very different parts of me could co-exist, and happily.

Now every six weeks or so I stop and embrace the changes I see around me. The candlelit dinner of Winter Solstice (Yule) to the frolic of Summer Solstice (Litha) brings me from the darkest of winter, through the bitter cold, and back to the warmth and sunshine and growth. The eight sabbats of the year ground me. They connect me to nature in a way that refreshes me, gives me energy, and heals me in a way that atheism alone could not. And through those eight markers in the year, I thoughtfully notice the seasons rather than rush through them mindlessly.

I really needed to fill that hole. And I found the fill with Atheopaganism, a non-theistic pagan practice.

———————————————————-

Over the last several years, I’ve missed Mabon. The autumnal equinox screamed right past me as I was finishing up the duties of summer and looking forward to the end of October. This year I decided things were going to be different. 

And they were. On Mabon I enacted my very first pagan ritual. And for me this was huge. Although I’ve embraced other aspects of Atheopagan practice wholeheartedly, I was lax about ritual. My only ritual centered around my morning cup of tea. While that’s a good place to start, I knew I was missing out on a lot.

Extreme introversion and sometimes crippling anxiety meant that I didn’t feel comfortable creating a ritual with anyone else. The very thought sends me into breathing exercises — slow… in… out… breathe… out. There. That’s better. 

This left me. Alone. And while I know that many solo practitioners exist, I felt silly. Overwhelmed. Uneducated. All the questionable adjectives visited my brain whenever I tried to think through creating a ritual just for me.

This year, as I was reading about Mabon, I came across a solo ritual that really spoke to me. It was about releasing sorrow and fears over a cup of tea.  As I read it over, I realized that I would have to modify it a bit since it was not written from an atheistic pagan perspective. But I was determined to give this a try. It was time.

In the dark of the eve of Mabon, I sat down with my hot tea. I had my battery operated tea lights. (Remember the anxiety? No live candles.) I skipped over some parts, like the room cleansing. Instead of lighting a stick, I spent a few minutes in meditation to clear the room, and in turn, my mind.

Then I lit my candles and I worked through the ritual. I was able to release both sorrow and fear. When it was over I felt cleansed. Accomplished. Whole. And I found that it was fun. 

Now I understand why pagans are so interested in ritual. In time I want to write my own, tailored to Atheopagan practice. In the meantime, however, I will happily follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before, and change as I need. 

Yes, this was definitely a memorable Mabon. 

GUEST POST: This is Not My Beautiful House

A guest post by JD Stillwater: ©JD Stillwater 2022  |  jdstillwater.earth

My spouse and I have a beautiful house here in central Pennsylvania. Our names are on the deed, but it is not our house. No, this is not a post in which I confess to forgery or identity theft. Our legal system asserts that my house is rightfully mine, but it is that system that I want to challenge, and what its spiritual depravity does to us as human beings. Especially human beings in this country, at this time in history, with so. Many. Possessions.

If you were an adult in the 1980s, you may now have a Talking Heads song stuck in your head, a song in which David Byrne ominously recites:

“You may tell yourself, ‘This is not my beautiful house!’

And you may tell yourself, ‘This is not my beautiful wife!’

Into the blue again, into the silent water,Under the rocks and stones there is water underground,

Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.”

I don’t know what David Byrne was trying to convey, but his imagery resonates for me as I struggle with the notion of ownership in the Overculture.

This beautiful house of mine was built on land taken by trickery and genocide about 300 years ago. So thorough was the extinction of the Susquehannock people that no one today even knows what they called themselves. [“Susquehannock” is what their neighbors and rivals the Lenni Lenape called them.] Into the blue again, into the silent water.

My house is made of lumber from clear-cut forests on also-stolen land. Clear-cutting depletes nitrogen in forest soils so badly that it takes 400 years to re-balance. The siding is vinyl (previous owner’s decision), a toxic petroleum by-product. The roof of my house… well, you know where this is going. Every aspect of the house and nearly every item in it is the product of systems that rapaciously exploit ecosystems (and people) as though they were property.

Legally, they are. Property rights in U.S. law include the right to use, to exclude others from, to profit from, to alter, to abandon, to transfer, and to destroy the property. As though the things we own are separable from the rest of reality.

The story of my house is a long and violent one, a story of crimes against nature, and the oppression of some people for the benefit of others. Those who benefit (looking at myself here) are often loathe to admit that there’s more to the story than our own diligent efforts. Water flowing underground.

So who does my house belong to? I suggest that the rightful owner of all my stuff is not any person or group of people at all.

My primary “holy scripture” is what we know (science) about how reality works. Here’s what modern physics says about the things we own: This is not a world of things. This is a world of flow. Process. Energy.

We know that things are made of atoms, and atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons, and that THOSE are made of quarks, which are made of … energy. Not tiny little objects that move around energetically, but literally only energy—movement, flow—condensed and constrained to make particles of matter during the first moment after time began. Objects are made of relationships between entities that are themselves made of relationships, all the way down—energy in constant motion. Under the rocks and stones, water moving underground.

Every year, 98% of the atoms in your body get replaced with new ones. Every time you eat, breathe, drink, sweat, or use a toilet, atoms and molecules flow in and out of your body. Are they yours? The carbon atoms that were part of your brain moments ago, but came out when you exhaled, and are now over in some corner of the room—are they yours? How about the oxygen molecules that were part of a tree an hour ago, and are just now entering your nostril, destined to be part of your face by the time you finish reading this paragraph? Yours? Whose are they? Who do they belong to?

Matter moves through us like water through a river-wave; our form stays mostly the same, but its composition is different every moment. Does the wave own the water passing through it? Or is it—all of it—the river?

This is not my body. It has always been Earth’s, on loan, to take back at any time. I get to manage or mis-manage it, just like a line of credit from a bank, but it was never mine, really. This is not my beautiful house.

Until this summer, people in Pakistan, Arizona, and Tennessee believed, as most of us do, that they owned their houses and the stuff inside them. With a single monsoon season, the earth called in thousands of outstanding loans. Into the blue again. Into the silent water.

Everything we have and are and become is an expression of energy from the beginning of time. That energy has been making love with itself for nearly 14 billion years before we came along, giving birth to everything from atoms to entire worlds. Same as it ever was.

My house, with its deep-green cloak of ancient oaks, and vegetable vines spilling from porch roofs, is indeed beautiful. As in my body, there is flow here, too, a centuries-slow river of matter; stones, soil, houses, even those massive oaks come and go, passing through in Earth’s sacred and ever-flowing birth water. How absurd to call this “mine”! I am a tiny bit of flotsam bobbing the surface of a mighty stream. Same as it ever was.

Being alive bestows on us a limited ability, to manage a limited amount of that ancient energy, for a very limited time. It was never “ours.” The belief that we own stuff clouds our ability to see reality, the reality that our stewardship is always temporary. That every thing we have represents a loan and a responsibility, and that the future always demands a return of those things to their true owner, a living planet in a vast and starlit cosmos.

Our blind faith in the pretense of ownership allows us to think that it’s normal and healthy for multi-billionaires to burden their children with obscene wealth, completely un-earned, and often spiritually and psychologically damaging to them and their contemporaries. So normal that almost everyone leaves their assets to their children, telescoping social inequities through generations, centuries even.

It allows us to accept without outrage the outrageous behavior of those who devastate millions of acres of pristine forest ecosystems to scrape out a meager profit from tar sands, or mountain-top removal mining, or who buy and sell access to air, water, and land stolen from others. They are not ours. We are tenants, not owners.

The earth is not given by our fathers; it is borrowed from our children.

—Wendell Berry

Is there anything I can truly call mine? Yes. It’s this. Not this computer, or this blog post, but this moment.

And this one.

And this one.

Exquisite pearls, threaded moment by moment onto the necklace of my life. Truly unique, truly mine, provided I don’t miss them while shopping, or obsessing about all my stuff.

Make no mistake: I’m not arguing for some form of communism. That would simply shift the fiction of ownership from the individual to the group! I’m saying that our myths of possession and property poison our souls, corrupting us spiritually by distancing us from the eternal flow of reality. Possessions, and the property rights that encourage us to hoard and abuse them, are an attempt to dam the river of life.

I am arguing for humility, the kind of humility that acknowledges our total interbeing with everyone and everything else. An acceptance that the wealth and comfort I enjoy is not all the product of my own personal labor. An awareness that I am embedded in an interdependent web of existence which supplies everything I have, and to which I owe everything I have. The only sane response to this is gratitude, coupled with continuous generosity, constantly paying forward into the flow of existence.

Let me always ask, “What is the highest possible use for the resources that I control, not for me personally, but for their true owner, Nature herself?” For the great-great-great grandchildren I already love but will never meet. For the seventh generation, for all those who will live 1000—or a million—years from now.

This is not my beautiful house.

This is not my beautiful wife.

Under the rocks and stones there is water underground,

Into the blue again, into the silent water

Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.


JD Stillwater is a science ambassador, presenter, writer, musician, coach, big-picture thinker, and cultural worker. His work springs from his broad knowledge of (and passion for) science, gleaned from 24 years teaching physics, chemistry, biology, earth, and space sciences. What JD brings to the global conversation is a gift for making difficult science concepts graspable for non-scientists, but then he takes us further, into the profound implications that those concepts engender.

GUEST POST: Finding Meaning in the Journey

A guest post by Jaala Hemingway

After finishing the Atheopagan cleric’s course, we were given an assignment to go to a beautiful and sacred place, preferably in nature. About a week after the course, on the day I took off for May Day/Beltane, I decided to go to Maxwell Falls – a moderate but fairly short hike close to my house. My intention was to keep the hike short to give myself time to figure out my ritual. If you read no further – the hike became my ritual.

Shortly into the hike, I took a wrong turn. This path felt the most straightforward and I didn’t stop to check whether it would be the correct one. I had cursorily looked at the map at the entrance, hoping that would be enough guidance. This path was pleasant, filled with wonderful smells and beautiful sights, but ultimately, it wasn’t the path I had set out for. Upon reflection this began to feel to me like an analogue to my spiritual/religious life. I dived very deeply into Christianity as a young teenager, not least because it felt like the most straightforward path. It gave me some very important things – a path to self-love, for example (which later became contradictory and very damaging), but it also wore me down very intensely.

On my hike, I came to a place where I had reception and hastily skimmed the website where I read about the route I had intended to choose, and thought I understood, and so I started down that path quickly. It was a short time before I had a bad feeling that this was not the right way. Lo & behold, I checked the site again, and sure enough, I was supposed to be going upstream, not downstream. I turned myself around and started again. This felt a bit more akin to my angry atheist phase of my life. A phase where I was especially angry at Christians and sought to discredit a lot of Biblical teachings and writings, if only privately. I had a wake up call during this phase of my life by my partner, where I realized that the dogmatism and exclusionary thinking that ultimately broke my ability to believe in Christianity was not something I wanted to carry into my post-Christian life.

Back to the hike, I thought I had found the right path and started to travel on it with renewed vigor, excited to experience what it had to offer. It took longer for the doubt to set in this time, as I thought the sheer number of paths I had tried must have meant I had now put myself on the right one just through the process of elimination. I’m sure you’re shocked that it was not the right path! By this point, I was getting tired, and had now opened a trail map app on my phone and discovered this wasn’t the right path either. I turned around to follow the right path, with very routine checks of this app to try and be sure that this path was the actual path I wanted along the way. 

This feels somewhat similar to how I’ve come to Atheopaganism. I have been cautious and methodical and reserved about it. I’ve read posts in the Facebook group, observed community behavior, partaken in some group activities, all to try to see what it’s all about. I’ve taken a both skeptical and compassionate approach (I hope!) to the question, “Who is this Mark guy and what’s he about? How does the group relate to him?”. So far, nothing I’ve observed has felt like there are systemic issues – instead, it feels like a lot of kind, smart, caring people intentionally making and inserting and gleaning meaning both together and alone (but often alone together). It feels really nice!

And, I’m writing all of this from the side of the waterfall I came to see in the first place. This is the right path for me, at least for now.

GUEST POST: Practical Atheopagan Practices

Featured image: macro photograph of False Indigo Bush

A guest post by Jess Rollar.

When I stumbled onto Atheopaganism back in 2019, it felt like I had finally found my place. I’ve been an Atheist all my life and I’ve also leaned heavily towards Paganism, but my practice was on a more scientific and naturalistic perspective.

As an Atheopagan, my practice is centered around gardening, the cosmos and my local bioregion here in the Arizona White Mountains. I’m always looking for ways to connect to my Atheopagan practice in a more practical and everyday sense. Ritual and big celebrations have never suited me, I much prefer a more simplistic approach. Here’s a peek into some of the more mundane aspects I do that helps me connect to my Atheopagan practice. While this list is short, these are my top favorites!

Phenology Journaling

First off, what is “Phenology” one might ask? Phenology is the study of seasonal changes and shifts that put a spotlight on natural events such as climate and plant changes, as well as animals. A phenology journal is a diary in which you track these changes that you personally experience in your own bioregion.

For those who don’t live in an area that has distinct seasons, I’ve found that keeping a phenology journal is one of the best ways that you can connect to your own seasons. It’s a way for you to take notice of what’s growing around you, what’s changing weather wise and how it affects everything else.

Your journal can be in any format, from a simple notebook to an elaborate collage sketchbook. You can even use a blog or phone noting app. Some things you can record in this journal are:

  • High and low temp of the day
  • Weather of the day
  • What you see growing and blooming in your yard or on a walk or trail
  • What you’re smelling? Maybe it’s damp and you smell the earth that day or maybe you’re by the sea and smell salt water, etc.
  • What do you hear? Perhaps there’s a new bird call you just noticed or maybe the ravens are rather chatty one morning, etc
  • Animals and birds spotted
  • Garden? Tie your gardening into your journal and note down what you planted that day or saw finally fruiting or flowering

The main thing is to note down what’s going on naturally around you in your bioregion. Keeping a phenology journal can help you find your seasonal rhythm and help you connect the dots as to what the weather changes or plants growing can tell you. Here in the mountains where I live, when I see Hollyhock blooms that tells me that summer is here and when I see the iris by the creek I know that spring has finally arrived. Goldenrod blooms in the fall signals that our frost is right around the corner. Plants can tell you so much about the climate changes when you pay attention and take note.

Stack of journals, an Atheopagan pendant, native plant book and iced coffee cup

Plant a Garden (no matter how small)

Gardening is very much an Atheopagan practice for me. Not only am I connecting with the plants but my hands get to spend a lot of time in the dirt where I can connect to the earth. The whole aspect of gardening surrounds the natural elements in the form of plants and compost (Earth), water (Water), wind (Air) and the Sun (Fire). Not to mention how good it feels to get outside and help something grow from seed!

If you have the space to plant a garden, go for it! If you only have enough space to keep a houseplant in your bedroom, that works just as good! A garden doesn’t have to be huge, it can look like a few pots on your patio or several raised beds in your backyard. My current garden is fairly large but it used to be super small before we moved and gained more space, work with what you have.

Aside from veggies and fruits, I find it also fun and rewarding to grow native plants and perennial flowers, ones that you can enjoy every year with little effort. Seeing the seeds sprout and grow remind me daily of how connected I am to nature and not separate from it. You can learn a lot by just watching a seedling grow. You can even garden along with the moon by sowing seeds under a New Moon and watching them sprout as the moon grows full, this is a great way to connect with the moon cycle.

Natural Observances

Rather than focus on traditional Pagan sabbats, I focus on astronomical dates such as meteor shower events, the Equinox/Solstice dates as well as the Equitherm/Thermstice dates (which I learned and adopted from Naturalistic Paganism).

I keep track of what events and dates are coming up. Since I keep a very practical Atheopagan practice, my observance of these days are usually very simple. To observe these days, most of the time I’ll go on a trail hike that day or light the fire pit in our backyard in the evening if it’s not fire season. Other times, I simply go buy a new plant or sit under the sky and soak in what I see and hear. For an even more simplistic practice, I often just say “Goodnight” to the moon when I go to lock up the chickens for the night. All I really try to do is pay more attention and connect, that’s it.

Find ways to mark or observe the dates in ways that feel right for you. You don’t have to pull all the candles out and conduct a ritual if that isn’t your thing, it’s not mine either.

Other things to consider when looking for more practical approaches to your Atheopagan practice is to check out your local Native Plant Society chapter and get involved, do some litter cleanup at a park or local trail, recycle and reuse items to keep your practice more Earth friendly.

What does your Atheopagan practice look like? Do you already do some of these things I mentioned above or are there other ways you connect in a more down to earth way?

Info for the post:

Jess Rollar

Instagram: @coffeewiththefool

Blog: https://cosmosinmycoffee.wordpress.com

GUEST POST: A Moon Ritual to Dispel Imposter Syndrome (Plus: Added Imposter Syndrome!), Pt. 2

A guest post by D. J. Smith

As I was going through the motions, I started to wonder if this was going to be one of those spiritual lessons where I needed to just learn to forgive myself for being imperfect and not always having the right answers. I started working a mantra, getting into that “woe is me” mindset that begets sympathy, and I distinctly remember how volatile my reaction to that mantra was. I didn’t want to be pitied, I was answers! What I felt next could best be described as “Pride”. In some religions, Pride is shit on as a sin to be forgiven, but in my worldview, Pride is valuable when earned. I didn’t “lose a challenge” to a D&D character: my Pride was wounded, and it wanted answers; it wanted to know why I didn’t do better. It’s like my inner monologue was screaming, “You’re a scientist for fuck’s sake! Fix this!”, and that’s exactly what I did. I closed the circle, snuffed out my candles and incense, and swore to Cerebrilith that I’d be back. 

The next day was a Monday, and while I was busy at work, I was also carving out time to figure out what I did wrong. First things first, I re-oriented my axes in WebPlotDigitizer so that all my derived points, along the egg’s curve, stayed with the domain and co-domain of the egg’s dimensions. Next, I found out that Excel, a system I’m much more familiar with, has built-in curve-fitting features that are MUCH easier to iterate on than the janky websites I was using before, saving me a TON of time in finding the right model. I also switched to a site specifically made for evaluating definite integrals, vs the optional features I was using in other sites. After doing this for 2-3hrs, I crunched the numbers and got my new result: 56,226mm3! I was within 0.14% of the algebraic model’s prediction! For the kind of approximate math I’m doing, I’ll consider that a win! Since I was at work, I took advantage of the printers and made some cooler props for my ritual. Even though the algebraic model was technically closer, the sensitivity of these readings was demonstrably slim, which made my approximately equal to the other, and that’s all I cared about this point. 

Several hours later, I set my altar back up, got dressed in my wardrobe, and tried my ritual again. This time, I had WAY more success! Part of that was because of my new-found confidence, part of it was the new music (I played the piano tune to Mili’s “Scientific Witchery” on loop), and some of it was a change in magical methodology (see example below of my “secular” quarters). The visualization was so-so. The sound of my landlord’s ventilation was kind of distracting, so I kept jumping out of my mindscape, but what I did see was pretty cool (I remember the gray moss and dark-lit corridors; I also got a solid second of seeing the Cerebrilith bound in chains of light that resembled an egg shape). I ended the ritual my banishing Cerebrilith within the egg, taking the egg outside, burying it in the garden, beating the ever-loving fuck out of it with a shovel, and burning all of the evidence. I felt much more relieved this 2nd go-around, and I’d call this ritual a (rocky) success! 

The Ritual Explained: Banishing Imposter Syndrome

The following is my final rendition of the “Banishing Imposter Syndrome” ritual. Adapt to meet your needs as you see fit. 

  1. Identify the things that causes you to feel like an imposter. For me, it was the vast availability of the internet and the diminishing need for experts. 
  2. Find something to represent your imposter demon. I chose a brain monster because math is brainy and because I envied its savage appearance. 
  3. Find something you know you can do that’s related to the thing you’re an imposter at, like sewing, programming, singing, etc. I chose “math” because that’s what I got my degree in and because I talk about it a lot. 
  4. Find a way to demonstrate your abilities, and find a different way that somebody else uses that ends in the same end-result. I chose “calculating the volume of an egg” because there are several ways to verify the results and come to the same conclusion. However, I used *my* method, rather than a method I found. I gave the “easily-found” method to my imposter demon.
  5. Do the work you need to do in order to demonstrate your skill. Compare your result to the imposter’s result. Verify the results with a 3rd party.
  6. Once you’ve “beaten” or “tied” with your imposter demon, begin setting up your ritual space. Ritual garb is optional (I drew an eye on my forehead to represent my “inner eye” that can visualize and strategize). 
  7. Setup your altar. I included an image of my imposter demon, a “taunt” from my inner criticism, a comfort item (the black pendant), the object to banish the demon into, my offering bowl (to contain the ashes), four white candles (for the four corners), one incense stick and an incense holder. 
  8. In a dark room, I begin playing “white noise” or “mood-setting” music. I light my candles and begin the call the quarters (see script below). I then give thanks and light the incense.
  9. Next, I address the demon and his taunt, reading the taunt aloud.
  10. To prep my mind for journeying, I first do something that requires a bit of visualization. In this case, I walked through the steps of a maze (see ID9) and then solved it in one go. 
  11. Once I’ve done the remedial exercise, I close my eyes and begin imagining an inner landscape where the demon lurks. For me, that was a dark-lit labyrinth (think Minotaur).
  12. Once I can see myself within the mindscape and the journey starts taking on a life of its own, I begin hunting down the imposter demon with something to contain it. I imagined myself with a ball of swirling light in my right palm, like Goku’s kamehameha. 
  13. Once you’ve envisioned cornering your demon, capture it in mental container. Mine was an egg-shaped cage of white light. 
  14. Using your physically mouth (if possible), say aloud “I BANISH YOU DEMON!” While still partially within mindscape, I also clasped my physical hand around the egg in the container. 
  15. After banishing the demon with the banishing object, I open my eyes, thank the quarters, grab the banishing object and walk outside. 
  16. From there, I destroy the the object. In my case, I buried the egg in the garden and beat the fuck out of it with my landlord’s shovel while screaming “I BANISH YOU!” like a fucking psycho. And that concludes the ritual!

P.S. – For the quarters, I call the North “Wisdom”, the East “Discernment”, the South “Patience”, and the West “Passion”. Those correspondences feel much more genuine than some arbitrary elemental mapping.

The Math Explained

The math for the algebraic method was pretty straight-forward. If you can find the total length (represented on my egg as L+W) and the radius, you can plus those into the formula and multiply across, with V = 2/3 * π * r2 * (L + W). This will give you the volume in whatever unit you measured the egg with (mm3, cm3, in3, etc.)

My method was more complex. 

  • Firstly, I took a picture of the egg with measurements clearly defined. 
  • I uploaded this image to WedPlotDigitizer, which allows me draw (X, Y) points on a plot super-imposed on the JPEG. It’s important to remember that you set x1 = 0, x2 = length of egg, y1 = 0, and y2 = radius of egg. This keeps your data proportional to real-world measurements. 
  • Next, I export my data points to a .CSV file and open it in Excel. This allows me to create my plot and add a trendline (which is the polynomial we turn into a solid of revolution). It’s important to note here that I split the graph into two parts: one for the first half of the egg, one for the second half, dividing it at the widest part (the radius/ global maxima). 
  • From there, you can create a scatter plot. Within the scatter plot, right-click the blue data points, select “Add Trendline”. This opens a panel where you can choose which curve-fitting method you prefer (I chose polynomial because the shape best-fit my curves). 
  • Once I got my two functions Y1 and Y2, I spun them into solids of revolution (see yellow graphics below from the Wolfram Alpha). If you add the two images together, you can clearly see the egg shape.
  • Once I’m sure that the shape is accurate, I begin calculating the volumes for both of my lines (Y1 and Y2). The general equation for that is:
  • You’ll do this for each equation, with each having different bounds (the numbers where the lines start and stop on the X-axis. 
  • Lastly, once you’ve computed your two definite integrals, add those two numbers and you’ll get the total volume for the egg (V1 + V2 = VT).

In Conclusion

Overall, this was an interesting ritual, and an interesting experience! I believe this is something that can be worked on and adapted to meet other needs (particularly other personality quirks). I do believe that these kinds of issues are perennial, and that we never truly “banish” the demons, but having tools available to combat the demons is a step in the positive direction.

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