virus: The Future of Paganism: Where Do We Go From Here?

Date: Sun Jul 28 2002 - 22:45:16 MDT

    ” Interviews by Elizabeth Barrette and Diane Conn Darling
    The Future of
    Where Do We
    Go From Here?
    At this time, we find ourselves approaching a
    threshold. The world has changed enormously over
    the last thousand years, not only in terms of
    innovation but in terms of speed; no doubt the next
    thousand years will bring even more amazing
    changes. From here we can glance back, peer
    ahead, and consider what all this means for us
    here and now.
    In compiling this collage of essays, Diane and I
    sought to capture the thoughts and feelings of our
    community at this important time. We put together
    a list of eloquent, insightful Pagans of our
    acquaintance and invited them to share their ideas.
    In approaching our contributors, we asked each
    person to use divination in their favorite system
    (draw one Tarot card, or take one glance in a
    scrying bowl or whatever) with the query focusing
    on the future of Paganism in the next millennium.
    We wondered how the elder traditions would adapt
    to new circumstances, how the more recent
    religions would mature, and how Paganism will
    shape the future.
    Here's what our panel of visionaries had to say.
    Paganism in the 21st
    ” Frederic Lamond, London, Great Britain
    What does Paganism mean? The religious concepts of the immanence
    of the divine in women as much as in men, as well as in animals,
    plants and every thing that is on the face of the Earth and in the wider
    cosmos? Or the organized self-described Pagan movement with its
    Wiccan, Druid, Asatru and other branches?
    The paradigm of immanent divinity now permeates not only all
    branches of the Pagan movement and of the New Age, but is making
    its way into the Christian churches. The "Death of God" theologians,
    having pensioned off the fierce old man in the sky, find that the only
    meaningful way in which they can still talk of God is as a force for
    good within us. In his books Original Blessing and The Coming of
    the Cosmic Christ, Matthew Fox calls for renewed recognition and
    worship of the Earth Mother to balance the aggressive dynamism of
    the Sky Father. Fox™s influence is growing in the underground of the
    Roman Catholic church and among more liberal Protestant
    theologians. Some Catholic theologians want to see the Holy Spirit
    recognized as the divine feminine Sophia of the Gnostics, and look
    forward to a new Trinity of "Father, Mother and Child." Five million
    Catholic laypersons, priests and even some bishops signed a petition
    to the Pope last year that he proclaim Mary "CoRedemptrix of the
    Human Race" with complete equality with her son, Jesus Christ.
    Many Protestant churches now pray to a "Father/Mother God" and
    allow their pastors and members to call God "She." In Europe,
    growing numbers of practicing Christians are deserting the cold and
    dark traditional churches and meeting in small groups in "house
    churches" that bear an uncanny resemblance to Wiccan covens.
    Observing all these developments, there seems little doubt that the
    dominant 21st Century paradigm will be a gender balanced
    pantheism, despite the rearguard attempts of the Vatican and
    Protestant fundamentalists.
    What then of the organized Pagan movement? We have the advantage
    of affirming divine immanence and pantheism in their purest form,
    unencumbered by old scriptural dogmas that the churches now have
    to reinterpret to fit into the new paradigm. In line with pantheist
    concepts, we are a religion of inner personal experiences and not of
    beliefs in myths of divine incarnations in distant cultures in the
    remote past. We strive to empower our members to make their own
    responsible moral decisions, instead of surrendering their power to
    some guru or set of holy scriptures.
    On the other hand, our numbers, though growing, are still small and
    almost entirely confined to the traditionally Protestant countries of
    Northern Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. This
    need not matter, as small religious and political movements can
    sometimes influence the spirit of the age out of all proportion to their
    numbers. In the last 40 years we have already pioneered divine
    immanence and Goddess consciousness and influenced the Feminist
    movement (which then influenced the rest of society). Can we repeat
    this success by reconciling Western society with the natural ecology
    of our planet and making everyone feel part of Nature instead of
    standing apart from it and trying to manipulate it?
    Humanity´s survival may depend on it. But we can only lead by
    example, and that means taking much better care of that part of
    Nature that is closest to us: our own spirits, minds and bodies.
    ” Fred Lamond is an international lecturer and was a member of
    Gerald Gardner™s original coven. His book, Religion Without
    Beliefs, was reviewed in the summer issue (#20) of PanGaia and is
    available from Janus Publishing, London.
    "The dominant 21st Century paradigm will be a
    gender balanced pantheism."
    A Turning Point
    ” Pete Pathfinder Davis and Wende Northstar Davis,
    Washington, United States
    The Pagan renaissance has reached a turning point. The practice of
    modern Witchcraft and other Pagan faiths has left its dark closet and
    strolled quite proudly out into the sunlight. In the forty years since
    Gerald Gardner, most groups tried (often unsuccessfully) to remain
    secret by meeting behind closed doors and sharing their knowledge
    only with a chosen few. This is hardly practical any more.
    But all of that has been changing. The secrecy was to perpetuate our
    faith during times of persecution. Today we are the fastest growing
    spirituality in America. Certainly, there still are still problems of
    bigotry, but compared to historical executions and torture, these can
    hardly be called persecution. They are more properly termed denials
    of our legally protected Constitutional rights.
    Selena Fox (of Circle Sanctuary) recognized that there were
    thousands of people who wanted to follow Paganism, but didn™t want
    to be leaders or study a lot. Many just wanted to gather with like-
    minded folk to celebrate the turning of the wheel in the Pagan
    manner. Selena began to minister to these people, and her efforts and
    those of many others have led Paganism (and Wicca in particular)
    into the "Temple movement."
    Many on the Pagan path attend our own churches to gather and
    celebrate together. Many others continue in small group practice;
    most Pagans practice as solitaries in between gatherings. In the
    coming millennium, we will see more large groups established as
    legitimate, tax-exempt organizations, with open attendance policies.
    They will provide open worship and celebratory opportunities and
    establish recognized, accredited seminaries for clergy, as well as
    Pagan schools for the education of our children.
    We are doing something wonderful for humanity by raising children
    who are without the concepts of inborn guilt and sin. They
    comprehend that it is they who are responsible for their condition,
    who own the fruits of their behavior and control their own lives. A
    whole generation of Pagan folk learn that their ultimate reward is not
    some "pie-in-the-sky" but here and now, if they are willing to be
    responsible for themselves.
    At first, I didn™t think that my goal of helping Paganism become a
    tolerated spirituality in our modern culture was going to be achieved
    during my lifetime, but I stand corrected. I will live to see someone
    yawn when I tell them I™m a Witch. Already several Interfaith
    Councils have elected the Wiccan faith to membership, and one has
    elected a Wiccan priest (myself) to be its president ” twice ! In spite
    of some southern politicians™ efforts to fish for votes by attacking us,
    the Pentagon has publicly declared its stand firmly in support of all
    religious practices, including Wicca and Paganism.
    In the last few years, our efforts at education have begun to pay off.
    Virtually all press and broadcast media coverage has been positive
    and it continues to grow because many of us have chosen to endure
    the annoyances of the few remaining bigots and stand up to be
    counted publicly. Those frontrunners were willing to take the body
    blows that such fights always produce, but stood up because they
    knew that the rights we enjoy in this country were hard won for us by
    other brave people who stood up in the face of far greater risks,
    penalties, and even death.
    Spiritually, the new millennium is ours. Mainstream religion knows
    this, else they would not be rewriting their liturgy to include Mother-
    Father God and endorsing ecology. History may look back on the
    twentieth century as "the Christian Interlude."
    It™s time for all of us who can endure it to brace ourselves and stand
    up to be counted. Pagan churches are popping up all over. Join one in
    your area today. If there isn™t one, start one or support a national one.
    You™ll be glad you were a part of it.
    ” Pete Pathfinder Davis began a coven in 1979 that provided
    spiritual services and support for the Wiccan community; this grew
    into the Aquarian Tabernacle Church, of which he is Archpriest
    and his wife, Wende, is Archpriestess. For more information, see or write to ATC , P. O. Box 409 , Index, WA
    "Spiritually, the new millennium is ours."
    Ethnic and Modern
    ” Jonas Trinunkas, Lithuania
    We live a truly exciting time, witnessing the transition of millennia,
    and we are a part of it. Some of us see it as a lurid crisis; others
    envision new era coming. The Parliament of the World™s Religions
    announced "The Declaration of a Global Ethic" in Chicago, 1993.
    The text of the Declaration is very dramatic, beginning with words:
    "The world is in agony," though the authors of the Declaration
    apparently were not capable of wording radical and prospective
    ethical resolutions.
    In short, this ethic needs another fundamental demand: "The Earth
    and all creation must be valued, protected, and we, as human beings,
    must find our place within the web of all life, not outside and separate
    from the whole of Creation." (Michael York) It must also reflect the
    intention to treat all animals in a humane way: "All creation deserves
    privacy and the very least, a humane death." Such ethical propositions
    arise from continuing efforts to lead the human being out of the
    isolation in which he has placed himself.
    Here we witness a classic instance of something that appears to be
    very new being actually very old, and even forgotten. When I read the
    ideas of new spiritual (religious) or ecological movements, I find all
    this in ethnic traditions of my country™s people.
    Not long ago the Earth was addressed as "Mother" and was sacred to
    Lithuanian villagers. They prayed to the Earth and on special
    occasions kissed the soil. It was forbidden to strike upon the Earth; to
    pollute fire or water or to break a tree twig in spring when buds were
    opening. In our folk ways all creation, including humans, live the
    same kind of life. This is shown in Lithuanian folk songs that still
    survive today.
    The tide of the heathen revival is overwhelming the Western world,
    but this is not a cultural crisis or a step backwards. With the growth
    of modern democracy, the escape from dogmatic thinking and
    totalitarian political systems, the human being now stands in a wider
    scope of possibilities for choice and understanding. The diversity of
    heathen movements in the world is a clear manifestation of this. Our
    popular motto is: "Unity and diversity." While the Christian church
    leaders have always been terrified at the idea of diversity, for
    contemporary Paganism diversity has a great value.
    The Lithuanian Romuva is one of many contemporary pagan
    movements. It rests upon the ancient Baltic religion traditions that
    have been preserved well in living folklore and customs of the
    Lithuanian people. We make a clear distinction between ethnicity and
    nationality. Romuva is not a purely Lithuanian movement; the old
    Romuva (1300 C.E.) was the symbol of ancient faith of all Baltic
    people and ethnic groups.
    It is remarkable how our folk customs reflect such uniformity. For
    example, before sowing the first rye seeds to the soil, one would pray:
    "God, bring this up for the sake of all people, animals, birds, beetles,
    for the poor and our enemies, and for all living creatures." Here, in a
    peculiar way, the custom behavior crosses all boundaries dividing
    people. We call it the Darna , harmony principal.
    Modern (Wicca and other) and contemporary ethnic (Romuva, for
    example) Paganism are carrying similar ideas and principles. There
    should be no contradictions between them. The contemporary human
    being is aware of the right for choice and will choose the life and
    activities from that which s/he likes and understands. In 1998, the
    representatives of ethno-heathen movements from different countries
    gathered in Vilnius, Lithuania, and established the World Congress of
    Ethnic Religion (WCER). Their intentions and ideas have been set
    forth in their Declaration. It reads "We believe that the dawn of a new
    era of individual and intellectual freedom and global exchange of
    views and information gives us an opportunity to start again to return
    to our own native spiritual roots in order to re-claim our religious
    ” Jonas Trinunkas is head of the Lithuanian Pagan organization
    Romuva and of the recently founded World Union of Ethnic
    Religions. For more information, see or write Jonas
    Trinkûnas, Vivulskio 27-4, Vilnius 2009, Lietuvos Respublika
    "Modern and ethnic Paganism carry similar
    ideas; there should be no conflict between them."
    a Polytheistic
    ” Patricia Monaghan, Illinois, United States
    As the last millennium wheeled round in Ireland, my O™Dalliagh
    forebears were crafting poems in the old bardic style in the west,
    while somewhere in the midlands a Monaghan ancestor was keeping
    alive the heritage of being a priest™s son.
    I no longer sound my poems to the harp nor lay claim to the cleric™s
    mantle by right of blood. But like my unknown ancestors, I struggle
    to sustain a vision of the world which goes counter to that of the
    dominant culture. They lived in a world where Christianity, which had
    melded with Irish paganism to create what Pronsias MacCana calls "a
    symbiotic religion," was becoming more rigidly and fervently
    rejecting of pagan ways. Soon, the bards would be all dead or fled and
    the Catholic clergy would suppress all memory of married priests,
    save that which is hidden in the surname I wear.
    For my part, I too struggle against the dominant vision of the world as
    a passive soulless thing upon which we can work our will before
    discarding it and flying off to a new virgin planet ripe for the
    despoiling. I like to think I™m living at the cusp of a time when the old
    ways my ancestors fought to maintain are coming alive again, and
    that in another millennium they will be flourishing ” that we will see
    our world again as sacred and the body, whether male or female, as
    sacred as well. I dream, in short, of the restoration of polytheism.
    For most of our history, humans have been polytheistic. Monotheism
    is a recent invention, its 5000 years dwarfed by the 50,000 or so years
    when the whole world honored multiple divinities. And even during
    this brief time, most people throughout the world have remained
    polytheistic. Strict monotheism has been the exception rather than the
    But during the past thousand years, the monotheisms have gained
    strength and power, spreading across the globe so that they are today
    unquestionably the dominant form of religion (so much so that a
    recent anthology of "religious" poetry included only monotheisms,
    with the exception of Hinduism which they represented, peculiarly,
    only by prayers addressed to male deities). Christianity, Islam,
    Judaism, theistic Buddhism, all proclaim a doctrine of one true way
    ” and of one true god, for it is invariably a god, not a goddess, who
    reigns supreme in the monotheistic worlds.
    Monotonous, monopolistic, often monomaniacal: that is the world of
    monotheism. It™s often dualistic as well, for if god is to be found in
    only one place and one form, everything else becomes non-god.
    Polytheism is vastly different. As Miranda Green has pointed out,
    monotheism attacks the sacredness of the world, placing god "up
    there" rather than "in here," or even more importantly, "over there," in
    that bush or up in that tree or flashing by on the wings of that bird.
    When there is only one god, there are many things which are not god:
    cliffs, stars, ferrets, polar bears. You. Me.
    But where monotheism is exclusive, polytheism includes all, and
    there lies its subtle strength. When the next millennium rolls around, I
    hope Mary is standing on the altar under the wings of Isis and next to
    a leaf that fell from the Green Man as he passed on the Solstice. I
    hope people still say mass, but that the celebrants are nude women. I
    hope that all the ways are maintained, all moments and all places
    honored, and all people known as holy.
    That would, at last, be the one true truth.
    ” Patricia Monaghan, one of the pioneers of the women™s
    spirituality movement, is the author of The Goddess Path: Myths,
    Invocations and Rituals and of the forthcoming The Goddess
    "When the next millennium rolls around, I hope
    people still say mass, but all the celebrants are
    nude women."
    Interfaith and
    ” Pete Jennings, Great Britain
    Ten years ago I could not have imagined a member of the Northern
    Tradition such as myself heading a major European Pagan umbrella
    organization. I am living proof that things do change in quite a short
    time. There have been many significant developments in the UK
    within that decade: an explosion of books, moots, conferences,
    positive media coverage, official recognition and people generally
    coming out of the closet.
    I drew a single rune from my bag to indicate what the next decade
    may bring. It was Ur ( u ) , a symbol of strength derived from the
    extinct big horned aurochs that once roamed Europe. So, it seems
    European Paganism will grow in strength, to wander at will again.
    Certainly I have seen the seeds of it, through our own operations. At
    the moment, most European Union countries are in a similar state to
    the United Kingdom of 5-10 years ago: people are afraid of being
    exposed, satanic abuse stories pop up from time to time, and there is
    no official recognition of Pagan paths. Yet some other countries are
    now getting their own moots, newsletters and conferences!
    How I see the future of Paganism and how I would like it to be are
    two different things. I would like it to continue to develop along its
    many diverse paths, free of dogma from within and free of
    discrimination from without. However, unless some Pagans are
    willing to change some of their perceptions, this is unlikely to happen.
    Dogma from within arises when one or more teachers/leaders are
    perceived as having got it totally correct, to the detriment of
    competing ideas. Too many Pagans adopt "gurus," whether the
    individuals concerned want that role or not. Dogma breeds
    discrimination, and we can be just as bigoted as other spiritual paths
    in thinking our way is superior to others, be it Wicca, Druidry,
    Asatru, Shamanism, or whatever. It also causes us to perceive other
    religions outside of Paganism as less worthy ” with an arrogance we
    have often accused them of. There are fundamentalists of many
    religions and it is an uncomfortable fact that we must face that
    Paganism has fundamentalists, too.
    This is particularly evident in the UK with regards to the issue of
    interfaith relations, which is to say Pagans talking to representatives
    of other religions. This is attacked by some on both sides as
    evangelizing. Those actually involved tend to see it as an information
    exchange, not a way of conversion. Not everyone feels comfortable
    with this process, and there are dangers of a religion misusing it, but
    we can never expect others to be more trusting nor to accept or
    understand us if we do not talk with them.
    Interfaith work is still in its infancy in the UK, with both successes
    and setbacks. It will be harder to progress in some other countries due
    to the heavy influence of state religions. If I could have one wish for
    the future of UK Paganism, it would be that the Government
    separates itself from the Church. At present the House of Lords has
    spaces reserved for bishops who clearly do not represent me. I would
    like to see a level playing field for all religions.
    Globalization is another big issue facing us. Access and usage of the
    Internet is high amongst the Pagans of many countries and, being
    naturally creative, many have seized the opportunity to network and
    disseminate information. The Net has its dangers though: once we
    only had to deal with localized "bitchcraft" ” the spreading of lies
    and gossip. It takes on a new dimension when one individual can
    reach thousands instantly. Even if it is later disproved, the damage is
    done. Pagans are going to have to be more cautious in checking the
    accuracy of their information and where it originates from. What
    cannot be stopped as more people across the world start thinking for
    themselves is that even more will rediscover their roots and become
    ” Peter Jennings is the current president of the Pagan Federation,
    a networking organization for Pagans of all kinds in the British
    Isles and parts of Europe and NorthAmerica.( He is also High Gothi of Odinshof.
    "My wish for the future of Paganism in the
    United Kingdom? That the government would
    separate itself from the (Christian) Church."
    Dining at the Spiritual
    "We must shift to being agents of interfaith
    dialogue, making social contributions, and
    helping to shape the new myths."
    ” Anodea Judith, California, United States
    As we board the Cosmic Chariot to the next millennium, one wonders
    how an Earth-based tradition fits into the mass of biological sentience
    cruising the spiritual smorgasbord in the post-modern era of Internet
    Browsers, Quick Fixers, Spiritual Cynics, and Disillusioned Youth.
    What do we have to offer and what do we need to survive?
    Paganism brings joy and passion, practical moral codes, flexible
    power structures, archetypal richness, and a strong ecological focus.
    These are much needed elements that we can offer to the coming
    millennium™s spiritual syncretism ” if we get the chance. Pagans are
    seldom invited to the dining table of the spiritual smorgasbord and,
    without our contribution, the table is missing the important elements
    described above. We have responded by creating our own table.
    Isolated among our own kind we find ourselves becoming esoteric,
    inbred, and spiritually xenophobic. Yet our private table is also
    missing some essential things, and members fight among themselves,
    trying to find them. This does not command the respect that gets us
    invited to dinner.
    Connection to nature, ritual experience, and simple joy are
    desperately longed for by many members of other religions. Yet they
    do not come to Paganism because it seems too strange, too childish,
    or prohibitively esoteric. If we are to be included at the table, we must
    shift from being primarily interested in hanging out with our own
    ranks, to being agents of interfaith dialogue, making social
    contributions, and helping to shape the new myths.
    The changes that are in store for Pagans are not different from the
    challenge that humanity faces as a whole ” to grow up. We must
    leave the extended infancy of being children of the Earth, children of
    an archetypal Mother who endlessly provides for all our needs, to one
    of being stewards of the Earth, an adult form that provides for the
    needs of others through co-creation with the source. This makes the
    emerging time of transformation a coming of age ritual, where an
    adolescent sheds his or her former identity and emerges as a new
    adult being, woven into the tapestry of the larger community.
    Because Paganism is a religion that worships a mother archetype
    (among others), there is a tendency to remain infantile. We do rituals
    of asking and worshipping, but often fall short of taking true
    responsibility. Many people at Pagan gatherings seem more
    committed to marginality than true spiritual and personal growth.
    Paganism will be left far behind if we do not cultivate the discipline
    of inner practices and add to our strengths the ego-transcending
    benefits of inner work.
    Paganism, at its foundation, is a religion of the Earth and the body,
    the original thesis from which we as sentient beings emerged. The
    patriarchal religions typically worship the sky and the mind. In their
    historical takeover, they created the antithesis that taught us to get
    beyond our immediate reality and find a broader perspective. Their
    methods were brutal, but their gift is essential.
    It is time now to form a spiritual synthesis between the two,
    integrating mind and body, Earth and sky, masculine and feminine.
    We do hold a missing piece of the puzzle, but we are not the puzzle
    itself, nor is a spiritual path that remains fixed upon an archaic past
    likely to be the answer to an unknown future. It is the responsibility
    of Paganism to keep Nature sacred, yet upgrade our own programs
    enough to offer intelligent discourse in the larger spiritual
    ” Anodea Judith, Ph.D is a priestess, author, and healer who is
    best known for her work with the transformative powers of the
    chakra system, integrating inner mysticism with ritual experience.
    She has been involved in the Pagan movement for 25 years. For
    more info, find her at
    Respect Each Other
    ” Janet Farrar, Ireland
    In most European countries, within their various Pagan communities
    there is a divided attitude of "them and us." In this respect, Paganism
    has got to change direction: we™ve got to start respecting each other a
    whole lot more. Hopefully, we will learn to stop being people of the
    book. All spiritual books are written by fallible humans. I would
    prefer to see books used only as guidelines for self-discipline. We
    need more spontaneity of spirit in our ritual practices. Ritual should
    come from the heart, not from written words on paper.
    Pagans in many European countries are attempting to find their roots,
    much of which was lost through our grandparents™ and great
    grandparents™ attitudes toward religion. Religion was reduced to a
    form of control over the human psyche. By contrast, we are freeing
    that psyche again. Part of the reclamation is that there is a new
    priesthood growing who are putting aside dogma and its principles.
    These people, who are willing to educate the up and coming Pagans
    of the future, emphasize the need to take Paganism into the larger
    world community and to use our knowledge to benefit the man in the
    street, whether on a spiritual or mundane level. We need to learn from
    other cultures and realize our shamanic roots as mirrored by eastern
    European countries and Native Americans. The hedgewitch is nearer
    the truth than we may realize.
    ” Janet and Stewart Farrar are founding members of modern
    witchcraft.. You can find them on the Internet at:
    ” Philip Carr-Gomm, Great Britain
    Paganism in Britain has been growing over the last decade. As we
    move into the next millennium, I believe more and more people will
    find Paganism a sensible, exciting alternative to mainstream religions.
    I used The Druid Animal Oracle to inspire me with ideas about the
    future of Paganism. I drew the Stag, representing Pride and
    Independence. Here is an excerpt from the interpretation I wrote for
    the oracle: "The Stag brings us the qualities of grace, majesty, and
    integrity. The stag signifies independence ” both spiritual and
    physical. In Ogham the Stag is related to Beith, the birch tree and the
    number one. The birch tree is known as the pioneer tree and is
    associated with the blessing of beginnings. This means that it is
    auspicious to draw this card when contemplating new projects.
    Through the stag™s connection with fertility and sexuality, this card
    signifies that you will find a way to bring dignity, grace, power and
    integrity to your sexual life."
    As Pagans, we follow a spiritual path that honors independence; I
    believe that more and more people will be attracted to the freedom
    that Paganism offers.
    Above all, Paganism invites us to reclaim our place in Nature and to
    reclaim our bodies. It invites us to include our sexuality in our
    spirituality. This is where I believe Paganism will really succeed in
    speaking to large numbers of people. And if, as the Stag suggests, we
    can find a way to bring dignity, grace, power and integrity to the way
    we celebrate our sexuality, then I believe we will all have helped
    progress the cause of Paganism, as well as the wider cause of
    deepening our experience of being human and of becoming more
    conscious and valuable members of the circle of Nature.
    ” Philip Carr-Gomm is the current head of the Order of Bards,
    Ovates and
    Druids (OBOD) and author of The Druid Way. For more
    information, see or write OBOD, P. O. Box 1333,
    Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1DX, UK.
    "Ritual should come from the heart, not written
    words on paper."
    "More and more people will be attracted to the
    freedom that Paganism offers."
    A General Religion?
    ” Olivia Robertson, Fellowship of Isis, Ireland
    My vision for the future of Paganism is that it™s going to become a
    general religion for everyone. I believe we are moving from a solar-
    based faith, to a star-based pantheism. I think basically it is going to
    be a religion of the Goddess, but that happens to be my inclination. I
    see everyone becoming pantheists. I do very much believe in the
    future of Paganism.
    Spring for all life on Earth is coming. The children of Gaea are
    moving into an etheric sphere of being. This enhanced consciousness,
    affecting every human, animal, plant and rock, is a natural
    evolutionary progression. Evolution proceeds by jumps. We struggle
    to our feet and our hair is pulled from above! We can observe the
    gradual development of life and form through ever-increasing
    complexity. But so far we choose to ignore the onset of mystical and
    psychic consciousness.
    I see a future in which we gladly accept the inspiration of beings from
    spiritual spheres more evolved than our own, but always balanced by
    accepting our roots in the Earth. I believe tribes, religions,
    movements, will be superseded by an amazing development of the
    individual, expressed in originality, creativity and expressiveness.
    And this will apply to a surprising self-generated progress in some
    animals and plants. And this is happening now!
    People, plants and animals have always had auras. We shall see them!
    We shall be able to heal ourselves. We have always had the innate
    capacity. Our wisdom shall increase when we realize our ignorance.
    We will love unconditionally. We shall enjoy Heaven on Earth. It is
    already here for those who can enjoy it with the eyes of a child.
    ” Olivia Robertson is Archpriestess of Isis and a founder of the
    Fellowship of Isis, a worldwide Pagan networking organization.
    For more information see or write to
    Fellowship of Isis, Clonegal Castle, Enniscorthy Co.
    Carlow, Ireland. An interview with Olivia appeared in PanGaia
    "Spring for all life on Earth is coming. "
    The Goddess Movement
    Grows Up
    ” Starhawk, California, United States
    As the year 2000 approaches, we Pagans cannot divorce ourselves
    from the sense that we are reaching a significant watershed. Where is
    the Goddess movement at this moment? Where do we see ourselves
    going in the next millennium? As a movement of any size, we™re
    about thirty years old, and like a person of that age, we™ve emerged
    from adolescence and are moving toward maturity. We™re stepping
    out of the broom closet and becoming visible, taking our rightful
    place among the world™s religions and spiritual traditions. This
    development is a mark of our success, but brings with it some losses
    and dangers. Many of us chose the Goddess because we had deep
    criticisms of mainstream society, especially of its treatment of women
    and the Earth. We preferred being on the boundaries of institutions.
    What happens when we become institutions ourselves; will we
    become dogmatic and dominating? Yet, if we cling to our
    marginalization, are we not turning away from the potential power to
    transform the larger society?
    Reclaiming, the group I™ve worked with since the early nineteen-
    eighties, is struggling with issues of growth and structure. We™ve
    grown from a small local collective to a net-
    work extending over many communities in North America and
    Europe, with a quarterly magazine, annual Witch Camps, local rituals
    and classes and support for a sister community in El Salvador. We™ve
    worked hard at developing an organizational structure that allows
    each individual and community freedom and autonomy, yet allows
    Reclaiming as a whole to have connection and communication.
    What do we do well? The Pagan movement has created an enormous
    body of ritual, liturgy, chants, songs, poems, literature, scholarship
    and art. Granted, some of it is pretty dreadful, but that™s true of any
    religion. The miracle is that much of it is good. Reclaiming has
    developed techniques and disciplines of magic and energy working
    and a collective ability to create powerful rituals for one person or for
    a thousand. We™ve welcomed our newborn babies, marked our
    children™s rites of passage, and sung our dying into the Other world.
    We™ve created ritual at the gates of nuclear weapons labs, in defense
    of the redwood forests, in jail, and in city streets. We™ve been part of
    the major movements for political and social change.
    I™d like to see more focus on youth, an effort to pass our tradition on
    to the next generation. Today in many parts of the United States, the
    prejudice and fear surrounding Witchcraft have made it impossible to
    openly teach youth. But as our own children grow up Pagan, and as
    other teenagers discover a longing for an Earth-centered spirituality,
    we can begin to offer our young people some of the resources other
    religions provide.
    The broad Pagan community includes great diversity of age, class
    background, gender and sexual orientation, even of politics and
    lifestyle. However, we are not nearly as diverse in terms of ancestry
    and ethnicity as the society around us. I hope in the next century we
    confront this issue and have the courage to make changes so that we
    can truly welcome all who are called to the Goddess.
    We continue to deepen our work for social justice and liberation. The
    Goddess has been an empowering figure for women and men who are
    willing to challenge patriarchy.
    The Pagan movement, by asserting that sexuality and pleasure are
    sacred, stands as an important counterbalance to repressive religions.
    Paganism offers a home to people of all sexual orientations. We will
    continue to be a force for freedom.
    As Pagans, we worship Nature, but many of us are far more at home
    online than in the woods. We say Nature is our sacred text, but many
    of us are functionally illiterate when it comes to reading it. My own
    work and practice has shifted to grounding spirit in the natural world,
    trying to integrate more deeply what I believe and how I live. We will
    take the symbols we use and make them real: not just invoke air, fire,
    water and earth, but know how to clean and conserve water, how to
    grow food sustainably, how to plant a windbreak and how to live with
    solar power.
    In short, I™d like to see us not just sing about the Earth being sacred,
    but live it. The Goddess movement can become a real force for
    changing the way we live. Unless that change occurs, the next century
    will not be a comfortable one for human survival.
    ” Starhawk lives in California, where she works with the Reclaiming
    organization. Her books include The Spiral Dance, Dreaming the
    Dark and The Fifth Sacred Thing.
    You may reach Reclaiming at or write to:
    Reclaiming, P.O. POB 14404, San Francisco, CA 94114.
    "When our groups become institutions will we
    become dogmatic and dominating? Yet, if we
    cling to our marginal status, are we not turning
    away from the power to transform the larger
    These images of the future comprise only a few of
    the myriad possibilities. Take some time to do some
    divination of your own; you'll rarely find such a
    perfect opportunity. What do you think will happen
    to Pagans in the next decade, or century, or
    millennium? Where do you think we'll go? We
    stand now at a point of balance, and anything
    could tip the scales. Much of what happens
    depends on us, so work to manifest the kind of
    future in which you truly want to live.

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