¶ Yvonne Aburrow's Pagan theologies wiki has what might be the definitive list of active Pagan blogs
. I am adding a link on my sidebar.
¶ Speaking of which, this blog now appears on BeliefNet's Blog Heaven page
again. Thanks to everyone who made a fuss.
¶Bedside reading: I started, put aside, but will return to John Lamb Lash's Not in His Image: Gnostic Vision, Sacred Ecology, and the Future of Belief
It is a difficult book for me to evaluate: I sympathize with Lash's point of view, but I think that he distorts some of his sources too much in order to support his views. He wants to use Gnosticism
as a path that "can provide the spiritual dimension for deep ecology independently of the three mainstream religions derived from the Abrahamic traditions."
Gnosticism is still concerned with "salvation," a concept largely at odds with polytheism, as John Michael Greer points out (see below). Much Gnostic thinking disparages physical existences as a "mistake," so I am waiting to see how Lash reconciles that with deep ecology
and its focus on our relationship with and as a part of nature.
Lash writes his introduction around the life of Hypatia of Alexandria
, a Platonic philosopher murdered by a Christian mob in 415 CE. He wants to view her as an "urban shaman," but I see her more as today's tenured professor of mathematics. An intellectual through and through. Note how she elevates philosophy over erotic attraction this story of her teaching, true or not
.Reviewing Not in His Image in the Los Angeles Times
, Jonathan Kirch
writes:Lash is capable of explaining the mind-bending concepts of Gnosticism and pagan mystery cults with bracing clarity and startling insight. At moments, however, he slips into a kind of New Age rant as baffling as any mystical text. "What we seek in 'Gaia theory' is a live imaginal dimension," he writes in one such passage, "not a scaffolding of cybernetic general systems cogitation." . . . .
And when he considers what he calls the "sci-fi theology" of the ancient Gnostics, he comes uncomfortably close to affirming that the otherworldly "Archons" of Gnostic myth were authentic extraterrestrials.
An interesting book, but full of special pleading.
¶I am happier with John Michael Greer's A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism
, published by the Druidic group Ár nDraíocht Féin
Greer's arguments for polytheism as offering a better model of the universe (including the evil and suffering in it) than monotheism and his lucid explanation of polytheistic spirituality deserve a wide hearing.
He works hard to show that monotheistic thinkers simply do not comprehend the polytheistic experience, and their arguments against it (unless enforced by violence as in Hypatia's case) simply fail.Indeed, ancient and modern Pagans alike have the described mystical states in which they have become aware of multitudes of divine beings filling every corner of the cosmos; in the words of the Greek philosopher Thales, they have seen that "all things are full of gods." This is the polar opposite of henotheism; it is also among the most powerful and transforming of Pagan religious experiences
Labels: blogging, Paganism, polytheism, publishing