(See also The Community Speaks on Atheopaganism, also to be published August 5)
Although I researched and wrote my initial essay describing the rationale, worldview, values and approach of Atheopaganism between 2005 and 2009, the path didn’t really start to take off as a movement until the Facebook group was created in 2012. Today is the ten-year anniversary of that launch, and I thought an update to the community about what we have achieved and what is happening now would be appropriate. So here goes!
The state of Atheopaganism is exciting and growing! We have so many things happening, and coming off the invigorating success of the Suntree Retreat in Colorado, there is a feeling of enthusiasm and can-do within the community. Volunteers are stepping up to help with various tasks and projects, and that means we can dream bigger, aim higher.
Here are some of the high points of what we have achieved in ten years, and what’s in process now:
ORGANIZED The Atheopagan Society (TAPS)
- We secured TAPS a federal ID number (85-1325053).
- We successfully registered TAPS as a non-profit religious corporation both federally and in California.
- We have a terrific group of 9 members of the Atheopagan Society Council, whose skills and volunteer efforts are deeply appreciated! The Council oversees the business of the Society and carries the vision for the future of our community.
Launched the AFFINITY GROUP PROGRAM
- We created a charter for affinity groups, and coordinated the development process for Community Conduct and Grievance policies that spell out our consent expectations, harassment policies, etc. for all online and in-person Atheopagan Society events.
- There are now 31 registered affinity groups meeting on a variety of platforms and/or physically. The program appears to be a success, providing Atheopagans with more opportunities for ownership, involvement and relationships with community members who live near them or share an area of common interest.
- It is also an important step in diversifying the community and maintaining a flat power structure in its management, in accordance with our values.
- There are discussions among some of these groups about hosting in-person get togethers in 2023. At least two affinity groups are already having in-person gatherings for rituals and fellowship.
Coming: THE ATHEOPAGAN ACADEMY
- This is a new platform for presentation of on-demand classes; “Atheopagan Academy” is the name of our new Teachable.com “school”.
- The platform could be used by many of us to teach subjects of interest to Atheopagans.
- I have proposed that such classes remit the bulk of course fees to the instructor, with a portion going to TAPS.
- If you are interested in teaching a class online through the Academy, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published the ATHEOPAGAN VOICE monthly email newsletter
- An issue of the Voice is published each month, on or about the 21st. It is sent to both clerics and those who have signed up for it on the blog.
- Generally, it includes resources for clerics, craft projects and recipes, and event announcements.
- Recently, I recruited an experienced online publisher, Loring Slivinski, who has taken over the content gathering, layout and monthly publication of the Voice. Thank you, Loring!
Created the ATHEOPAGANISM BLOG (Atheopaganism.org)
- Now nearly 600 posts, with free downloadable resources such as the ritual primer, ritual planning workbook, hymnal, event planning resources, cleric’s introductory packet, death planning workbook, etc.
- The blog contains detailed explanations of each Atheopagan Principle, key ritual skills and techniques, and the philosophical and theological schema of Atheopaganism, as well as personal reflections, event announcements and reports, and much more.
- I am making a new push for guest posts in addition to my own material and recently added a “submissions” page to invite more community guest posts.
Organized the FACEBOOK COMMUNITY and other SOCIAL MEDIA
- The Facebook group, launched August 5, 2012, surpassed the 4,000-member threshold in May; the Discord is at just under 400.
- Our incredible moderator team–James Morgenstern, Mel McArthur, Jaala Hemingway and Rachel Wallace–is doing an amazing job of keeping our communities safe and convivial. Thank you all, and to those who have served as moderators previously!
- With input from the community, we developed and finalized a set of Social Media Conduct Standards for Admins, Members and Moderators for our online forums.
- Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok accounts have been established for the community. The YouTube channel has significant content, but hasn’t been updated for a very long time.
- Our Media Cleric, Arwen Gwyneth, is coordinating a new team of volunteers to revitalize our YouTube channel and ensure we have regular content going up.
FIRST BOOK: ATHEOPAGANISM: An Earth-Honoring Path Rooted in Science
- My first book, ATHEOPAGANISM: An Earth-Revering Path Rooted in Science, published in 2019, has sold about 2,000 copies thus far (combined hard copy and e-books).
NEW ATHEOPAGANISM BOOK: ROUND WE DANCE: Joyous Living Around the Year and Throughout Life
- In progress.
- Will be published by Llewellyn, which means much broader promotion and distribution.
- Publication will be in latter half of 2023.
Launched the PODCAST
- THE WONDER: Science-Based Paganism, hosted by myself and Yucca, continues to grow in listeners, averaging more than 400 downloads weekly.
- The podcast is currently ranked #5 among Pagan podcasts by FeedSpot!
- Many members of the community have come in via the podcast, and we receive lots of positive feedback about it.
- The podcast gives us an opportunity to interview community members and others who are of interest to Atheopagans.
Proposed online conference 2023: ATHEOPAGAN WEB WEAVING 2023
- Proposed for 2023.
- Zoom platform (or better alternative) with breakout rooms for workshops and socializing.
- We may invite a keynote speaker.
- This idea met enthusiastic support in the Facebook and Discord groups when I floated the concept and asked for suggested content and activities, and was greenlit by the Atheopagan Society Council.
- We need a committee of volunteers to help with organizing the AWW.
Launched the ATHEOPAGAN SOCIETY WEBSITE (TheAPSociety.org)
- Allows those who affirm support for the Atheopagan Principles to legally self-ordain. There are currently about 300 Atheopagan clerics.
- Ordained clerics are added to the distribution list for The Atheopagan Voice monthly email newsletter (as are attendees at events like the Suntree Retreat).
- The site houses downloadable resources for Atheopagan clerics and basic information for those researching Atheopaganism.
- Features the Library, a resource library for Atheopagan education and study.
- Includes a Community page which imports the Google Sheet list of affinity groups with contact information into a scrollable window.
Held the SUNTREE RETREAT 2022
- By any measure, this in-person gathering was an unqualified success, creating a powerful feeling of community, impactful rituals and wonderful socializing. Feedback has been wildly positive (thanks to Robin C. for organizing the feedback form!)
- The event simply could not have happened without Joy Burton, Michael Halloran, and Rachel Wallace, and onsite facilitation by Robin Clancy. MANY thanks to all of you!
- We have reserved the La Foret retreat center for a second retreat on Sept. 6-9, 2024.
Regular ZOOM GATHERINGS
- Originally brought about by the pandemic, Zoom mixers are conducted weekly on Saturdays. These are generally free-form social gatherings, though we conduct online rituals for the Sabbaths of the Wheel of the Year.
- The monthly Adult/Sex Salon is conducted monthly on the first Saturday. This is a confidential, safe and 18+ space for discussion of adult topics such as sexuality, psychedelic drugs, and kink.
- Community members have convened a Book Club, an After Hours gathering on Thursdays and a monthly support session for those recovering from religious trauma as well.
- Through a community nomination and election process, we selected the Suntree as our community symbol.
- I created an Atheopagan phone app through Glide. It is a useful pocket reference for Atheopagans.
- Over the past ten years, I have done about 40 radio and podcast interviews and presentations about Atheopaganism to Pagan conferences, UU and atheist congregations.
- Presentations on Atheopaganism attracted standing-room-only audiences at Pantheacon.
It’s been a tremendously productive decade for Atheopaganism, and for non-theistic Paganism in general! I’m excited at the prospect of more gatherings, more connection in community, more opportunities for learning and publication of more resources on creation of rituals, Atheopagan thought and values.
More than anything, I am grateful to all of you who have come together to form this community, share yourselves and your gifts, and be a part of what we are building.
For Life, Truth, Beauty and Love