Tag Archives: nature

On the Harvest: Sacrifice & Love

One of the greatest contributions that Reform Paganism and the Pagan Renewal offer the broader Pagan and human communities is our emphasis on love—sometimes called “compassionate lovingkindness and sympathetic joy”—as an essential practice and virtue.

Reform Pagans appreciate that, no less than Nature orients the body to prosperity and vitality, the mind to truth, and the will to power, Nature orients the soul to love. A complete spirituality, which addresses itself to the entire human person, cannot but include sacrifice and love. Accordingly, one of the Five Elements of practice in Reform Pagan spirituality is ministry, love in action.

During the season of the harvest, we have an opportunity to meditate and reflect on sacrifice and love in our lives: Nature offers us its fruits in love, and we offer our harvest sacrifices back to Nature in love. In Nature, attractive love begets life through generative union, then sacrificial love makes possible the continuation of life, as the life of next year’s crops originates in the fruits of this year’s harvest returned to the earth.

Nature, from which we have come, to which we return, and in which we live and have our very being, offers itself freely to all its children, modeling the virtues of sacrifice and love, particularly during the season of the harvest. Nature has decreed not necessarily that love and sacrifice be moral imperatives—after all, Reform Paganism prescribes no particular ethical code—but rather that their intentional development benefit and bless each individual human person, the entire human family, and all of Nature.

And Nature has given us what we need to procure these benefits and blessings: Sacrifice and love are inborn capacities of each human person. In the measure that we remove ourselves from Nature, however, we lose touch with the love within us, suffering a calculating, transactional, and egotistic mindset to overgrow and stifle love. The quintessentially Pagan project of returning to Nature is intertwined with returning through sacrifice to love.

In this season of the harvest, let us consider: As the human person is incomplete without vitality, truth, and power, so it is incomplete without sacrifice and love. Let us meditate and reflect on the inestimable blessings and benefits that sacrifice and love bring to our lives, and let us focus on developing these virtues through our spiritual practices and ministries.

With much love and many bright blessings always,
And particularly in this season of the harvest,
Your kindred spirits at ReformPagan.org and PaganRenewal.org

Our Source of Joy, Vitality, and Power

Reform Pagans often speak of Paganism through the metaphor and image of the “Great Tree of Paganism”, whose roots draw from the unremembered past and whose branches grow into the unimagined future. As we approach the Estival Solstice (Litha), a sabbat often associated with joy, vitality, and power, we have a special opportunity to contemplate the eternal stele that provides and ensures each of these blessings within the Great Tree of Paganism.

For Reform Pagans, of great importance among these blessings’ many sources that together constitute the living vascular tissue and animating life force of the Great Tree of Paganism are an ostensibly paradoxical pair: on the one hand, our connection with past, present, and future of locus, soma, and psyche; on the other hand, our enchantment with the “hear and now”.

Reform Pagans purposefully develop a sense of connection with ancestors, siblings, and descendants of place, blood, and spirit because because we appreciate that human life is a spiritual journey—preferably not just a wandering but rather a quest—within the broader spiritual evolution of all humanity and involution of an unfolding Universe. Each individual person is inextricably part of the whole human family and all of Nature.

Yet even while embracing this greater perspective, we appreciate that the “here and now” is all each of us has and all each of us can ever have. So we purposefully cultivate enchantment with each present place and time—not enchantment of (as if we could imbue the Universe with any supernatural magic) but perspectival enchantment with.

The precise mechanism by which connection and enchantment together produce joy, vitality, and power cannot be expressed in words, but the fact that the ostensibly paradoxical pair gives rise to these and many other blessings can be proved through experience, particularly on the occasion of the coming sabbat.

May we ever—especially on the occasion of the Estival Solstice—find joy, vitality, and power in the eternal stele of the Great Tree of Paganism.

With much love and many bright blessings always,
And particularly on the occasion of the Estival Solstice,
Your team of kindred spirits at ReformPagan.org

Facing All Things Through Paganism

When the fog of uncertainty gathers around us, when tremors shake the very foundations of our lives, when thunderheads of cataclysm loom on our horizons, that is a time to take refuge—and find strength and courage—in humanity’s once and future faith: Paganism.

At such a time, more than ever, we need to call upon Land, Sea, and Sky, which are the measured and balanced forces of fixed resoluteness, mutable adaptability, and cardinal dynamism; upon the eternal, complementary principles of Yin and Yang, or our mother Goddess and father God, which are fathomless possibility and inexorable actuality; and upon Nature’s innumerable and inexhaustible blessings: power, love, truth, prosperous vitality, and the whisperings of the muses. Such forces, principles, and blessings, which belong to the shared inheritance of each and every person through Paganism, enable us to face all things.

Therefore, when we know not where to turn, let us remember to turn back to Paganism. And let us share this eternal and indestructible refuge, this wellspring of all goodness, which is known and dear to us, with others who have not yet discovered it.

With much love and many bright blessings always,
Your team of kindred spirits at ReformPagan.org