Key Integral Tenets for Human Nature

stepsI have created a simple list of twelve items to summarize a not-so-simple thing. Incorporating elements of Ken Wilber’s “Twenty Tenets of All Holons” along with some insights from my own work and general AQAL Theory, I hereby present a list of tenets for describing human nature.

1. We realized that nothing in the universe exists on its own. Every being in the universe is incomplete on its own, and requires the redemption of every other being for its completeness.

2. Love is the basic nature of existence and this Love flows in two directions: from the Source of All-That-Is to the Destination of All-That-Is, and from the Destination back to the Source.

3. The flow of Love from the Source to the Destination is the basic drive of evolution. We evolve by aligning ourselves with Love.

4. Fear is the chief opposing force of existence. It manifests in two directions: from the Source of All-That-Is to the Destination of All-That-Is, and from the Destination back to the Source.

5. Our responses to Love and Fear take two primal forms: communion and agency, which are also the evolutionary drives to self-preservation and self-adaptation respectively.

6. Generally all things display a tendency to change according to the two primal directions: Same-Directed Love and Other-Directed Love, which put another way is the drive to self-immanence and self-transcendence.

7. As distinction-making creatures, human beings have perceived the patterns of existence through types of gender and sexuality. In communal forms, the female; in agentic forms, the male; in self-immanent forms, the homophile; in self-transcendent forms, the heterophile. Human beings come in these varieties and more.

8. Human development occurs along a wide spectrum of lines of growth: physical, psychosexual, aesthetic, identity, moral, spiritual, and more.

9. Spiritual growth tetra-arises in four dimensions: the individual’s interior life, the individual’s body, the culture, and the socio-economic foundation. These dimensions are sometimes called the Four Quadrants.

10. Growth may be characterized as enfolding greater and greater degrees of The True, The Good, and The Beautiful.

11. A variety of states of consciousness have been observed such as gross, subtle, and causal states. Practicing different states effects holistic development.

12. Incorporating growth in multiple quadrants and lines, states and types, integral development occurs vertically, producing growth in levels or stages. Put in the service of redeeming all sentient beings, wholeness arises out of partiality.
Do you like it? How would you improve these? You may comment on this thread or contact me privately with your impressions.

What Is Enlightenment?

10oclockFriend,

Welcome back! It’s been a while since I last updated this website. I’ve been busy elsewhere and I’ll have more to say about that another time. But first let me ask the question “What is Enlightenment?” and suggest a response.

To do so I must put on the hat of teacher for a while, but not out of grandiosity. I will teach you just as you teach me. I strongly encourage you to teach what you know about spiritual wisdom, and I’ll do the same. This is how the truth evolves and static knowledge grows into evolving wisdom.

Simply but not obviously put, Enlightenment is the “tenning” of Light. This is an insight that I have developed through my reflections on universal language mysticism. I have expressed this idea through the poem “The Five Secrets of Enlightenment” for Kalen O’Tolán (KOT). It reads in part:

A Secret of Enlightenment:
It is not an inner knowing
But an Enfolding of knowledge;
It is not a private feeling
But an Encounter with the Light;
Not Light stilled but its disbursement;
Not to be inured but endured,
Its brilliance, long-lingering.

A Secret of Enlightenment:
It is not One-ness but One-ment.
It nears its end how Human ends –
With men tending to turn to Truth
Or women trusting in the Way.
In present it’s Meaning itself
It sees the past and what it meant
Enriching the future with Insight.

Read the full poem.

THIS is the core of my teaching on Enlightenment. It is precise. Every word is carefully chosen. It is also a work in progress and will likely be modified as time goes by.

Continue reading “What Is Enlightenment?” »

On All Saint’s Day, A Reflection on Salvation

Learn more about All Saints Day at About.com:

All_Saints_Day,_1984,_Oswiecim,_Poland_Img871All Saints Day, the day on which Catholics celebrate all the saints, known and unknown, is a surprisingly old feast. It arose out of the Christian tradition of celebrating the martyrdom of saints on the anniversary of their martyrdom. When martyrdoms increased during the persecutions of the late Roman Empire, local dioceses instituted a common feast day in order to ensure that all martyrs, known and unknown, were properly honored.

And read today’s Scripture reading from the Book of Revelation:

Then I saw another angel ascend from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.”

And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand sealed, out of every tribe of the sons of Israel, After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!”

And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.”

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?”

I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

The number 144,000 is commonly associated with the elect from the twelve tribes of Israel who are spared tribulation in the end times, but its interpretation is far from certain (as the IPV New Testament Commenartaries say, it is not even clear why the twelve tribes are named in a way not seen anywhere else in the Bible). Commentators who stress the 144,000 figure often forget to consider the unnumbered multitudes. What is indisputable, I think, is that in dangerous times not everyone will be spared trials, and it is an article of faith that those who have faith in God and reject the evil deeds that are done in their midst may be spared.

If wicked deeds are done all around you, but you say nothing, do you expect to count yourself amid those worthy of good things to come or will you feel guilty and unworthy? Call out wickedness when you see it; reject negative influences; avoid temptations to the best that you can. Concerning who is elect and who is not, or if all are elect let the one who can say with authority speak.

Halloween: Perhaps One Day Isn’t Enough

For an awesome mystical take on spirituality, read Omid Safi’s article “On Halloween: the demons and monsters are us — and so are the angels” on ReligionNews.com:

And ultimately I know that this, all of this, is us.

jackolanternWe are the monster.
We are the human.
We are the angelic.
We are the good.
We are the evil.

Each one of us, my own self included, is always a struggle, a tension, a dance, between inner monstrous desires of selfishness, evil, greed, violence, and the sublime truly human, truly divine qualities of love, service, compassion, and kindness.

I am tired of demons and monsters.
I seek to find one real human being.

That one that I seek,
I have to become.

Happy Halloween y’all.

Read the whole article.

My short take on Halloween: It’s one day a year to recognize and own the shadow side of human nature, allowing us all to integrate our dark shadowy monsters and our golden shadow too when we dress up as cowboys and rock stars and astronauts. Perhaps one day isn’t enough.

UK Poll Shows 59% of Brits Have Spiritual Beliefs

In “A blow to the New Atheism? Britain is losing its religion – and becoming “spiritual” instead”, Nelson Jones looks at a new opinion poll in the UK. Focusing on the question of whether the findings constitute a rebuff of atheism, he writes:

English churchModern Britain is “spiritual” but not religious. That’s the headline finding of an opinion poll, and accompanying report, released this week by theChristian think-tank Theos. The ComRes poll – which confirms a trend identified in several previous surveys – found that well over half those questioned (59%) said that they believed in some kind of spiritual being or essence. There were substantial, though minority, levels of belief in specific concepts such as spirts, angels and “a universal life force”, whatever that is. One for the Jedis, perhaps.

Even a third of people who described themselves as non-religious were prepared to own up to having some such ideas, while a mere 13% – and only a quarter of the non-religious – agreed with the statement that “humans are purely material beings with no spiritual element”. And more than three-quarters of the survey agreed that “there are things that we cannot simply explain through science or any other means”.

Jones continues:

It’s wrong, I think, to equate the kind of nebulous “spirituality” that surveys such as this latest one invariably discover with either a yearning for religion or as a debased survival of it (as in the famous remark attributed to GK Chesterton that when people stop believing in God they will believe in anything). Organised religion is at least as much a form of communal belonging as it is a vehicle for private spiritual fulfilment. Its specific doctrines and often arbitrary codes of conduct, to say nothing of its claim to pronounce on matters of private and public morality, have very little to do with such basic questions as the existence of God or whether there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of by Richard Dawkins. “Spirituality” may often take a religious form or employ language that we think of as religious, but it makes more sense to think of it as being just part of the human condition – even if a minority of people are indifferent or positively hostile towards it.

Another point is that words like “spirituality”, and even “God”, are infinitely flexible, capable of accommodating everything from the most devout religious belief to purely scientific wonder at the beauties of the cosmos. The other day, Oprah Winfrey told an atheist guest on her show who had spoken in such terms that if she believed in “the awe and the wonder, and the mystery, then that is what God is” and “I don’t call you an atheist.” But the guest, Diana Nyad, responded that it was quite possible to have a spiritual sense without God; “there’s spirituality because we human beings, we animals, we plants and maybe even the ocean and the stars, we all live with something that is cherished and we feel the treasure of it.”

He concludes:

We could well, in fact, be looking at the kind of “benign indifference” that Kate Fox, in her bestselling Watching the English, identified as the default national response to matters of spirituality and religion. Theos can portray their findings as a challenge to the New Atheists, imagining that they are on a mission to convert a naively believing world to godless materialism (as a minority of them, perhaps, are). But if anything it’s even worse news for traditional religion. It seems that the churches have shed their congregations despite the fact that atheist materialism remains a minority taste. What this suggests is that much of religion’s former success derived from social convention rather than inherent human spirituality, which can survive anything, including disbelief in God.

Read the whole thing.

However the study is interpreted — a dismissal of scientific materialism, benign indifference, or something else — there is room for debate. What is needed next is follow-up research which can help to settle the unanswered questions. Specific questions ought to be asked which track the intensity of belief as well as opinions towards atheists and scientific materialism and the new age. Knowing more about the spirituality that is rising at the crossroads of atheism and organized religion (if that is an appropriate way of speaking at all) will help us to understand ourselves better, whether we are Brits or not.

Self-knowledge about spiritual beliefs is important for reasons that Jones doesn’t address in his article, and it may not be possible to obtain simply by asking people to answer a few questions. Better surveys would be sophisticated to track the structure of consciousness in which the beliefs about spirituality rest — whether such beliefs are supported by a pre-modern, modern, or post-modern level of belief, for example. Someone who believes in God, say, may offer as their rationale an obedience to tradition which is considered authoritative. This is typical of a pre-modern worldview. Another might say that God is mystery and wonder and awe, beliefs which are more likely to be modern or post-modern. These simple distinctions — actually, more sophisticated versions of them — are important for understanding why people agree or disagree at different points in life, how people change their beliefs, and what can be done to help people adjust to changing life situations, come together for peaceful cooperation, and harness spiritual power for individual enlightenment and ultimately the divinization of the world.

There’s a lot more that could be discussed about the new poll. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, what signifiance do you give these results? Are they surprising? Disappointing or encouraging?

Ellen Davis: Bible Scholars Have Ignored the Bible’s Agrarian Concerns

Perhaps care of the land doesn’t strike you as one of the major themes of the Bible. There’s a new article by Yonat Shimron on ReligionNews.com which describes one scholar’s effort to change that:

agricultureYet despite the traditional cast, Davis is leading a quiet revolution. For the past 20 years, she has been at the vanguard of theologians studying the biblical understanding of care for the land.

Her groundbreaking book, “Scripture, Culture and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible,” is considered a classic, and she travels widely to speak at churches and conferences about the role of agriculture and the ethics of land use in the Bible.

Her work makes the case that Christian theologians have for too long focused narrowly on the spiritual component of Scripture and in the process have overlooked the Bible’s material concerns.

Speaking to some 30 church members as part of a Sunday morning Creation Care series at the Chapel of the Cross Episcopal Church in nearby Chapel Hill, she focused on Genesis 1. She read aloud from the Bible and pointed out that God blesses nonhuman creatures first.

“It is not all about us,” said Davis, 63. “God is establishing a genuine relationship with creatures of sea and sky.”

Read the whole article.

In the Integral theological understanding of religious evolution, spiritualities basically evolved from magical to mythical to rational to pluralistic and integrative forms; these forms were embodied basically in foraging, agrarian, industrial, informational, and interactional forms. The labels and details are open for debate, but the front line of theology today is in understanding how to locate these forms when we see them and learn how their concerns can be addressed in a holistic fashion.

In all of these varieties, it is possible to describe the relationship between the divine, the human, and nature. The Bible is concerned — and deeply — with agrarian concerns because it arose at a time when humankind evolved to agriculture and required new forms of religion capable of supporting the modes of production. Davis’s theology is therefore an act of claiming the agrarian source code underlying the overt theology, reminding us where we came from. Brilliant and needed as it is, it does not seem to speak to the evolution of religion which occur as humankind develops new forms of social organization.

Therefore I would not say as she does that God is establishing a new relationship not only with humankind but creatures of sea and sky; the relationship was already in existence in indigenous spirituality and deepened and evolve into a new form of religion intended to co-exist alongside the earlier and more fundamental form of relationship with Nature.


Photo Credit: CAPRA Initiative via Compfight cc

Asian Architects Gather to Discuss Twin Themes of Spirituality and City

The important relationship between spirituality and architecture is affirmed by a recent article by Dr. Jiba Raj Pokharel writes in The Himalayan Times:

kathmandu-durbar-squareNepali architecture has suffered a lot in the past by engaging in this kind of a futile imitation. Our ancestors built palaces in neoclassical architecture by abandoning our own traditional palace architecture which can still be glaringly seen in the three Durbar Squares of Nepal.

Had we continued with indigenous architecture, we would have more than forty Durbar squares instead of three main Durbar squares we have at present. One can imagine what would be

the architectural ambience like with forty Durbar squares when three of them have created something of a marvel in the architectural arena.

RajbirajIt is not only in the case of architecture but we have similarly stumbled in city planning. We had our own city designing heritage whereby different castes would have different city templates allocated to them. For example, Maneswore, the capital of the Licchavis, was designed in Swastik style. We continued this practice till the middle of the twentieth century by designing Rajbiraj in the Prastara style. But we again fumbled in the following years. We deviated from the classical designing in the planning of the following cities. As a result, the modern Nepali cities lack image and identity as they are devoid of notable landmarks, nodes, districts, edges and pathways like the old cities.

This is however not the problem of Nepal alone. The other Asian countries also have fallen victim to this architectural and planning malady.

So the Asian architects have gathered in Nepal to deliberate focusing on the twin themes of spirituality and city image building. Often such conferences end in hobnobbing followed by lunches and dinners but it is expected that something fruitful will emerge out of this architectural bonhomie and brotherhood to guide the whole of Asia towards the creation of a better vision for built environment in future — a vision which enables to move forward duly looking back like the mythic bird of Ghana, the Sankofa.

Read the whole article.

At the leading edge of Asian architecture: a rejection of the modernist style in favor of a marriage of indigenous spirituality and city image. If the gathering is indicative of a larger movement, it suggests a more vibrant and holistic and culturally distinctive future in Nepal and other Asian countries.

Ram Dass on Unconditional Love (and a Teaching on Postmodernism)

The power of unconditional love is truly amazing. If you’ve ever been pulled over by a state trooper, you’ll be struck by this tale from spiritual guru Ram Dass:

pulled-overSo I started out on the New York thruway. I was just galumphing along in such a high state that I was hanging out with various forms of the Divine. I was doing my mantra, which I usually am doing one way or another, to remember that this isn’t the only game in town. So I’m holding onto the steering wheel and I’m keeping enough consciousness to keep the car on the road. At another part I’m singing to Krishna, who is blue, is radiant, plays the flute, is the seducer of the Beloved, all of whom we are, back into the merging with God, back into the formless. I am in ecstasy hanging out with blue Krishna, driving along the New York freeway, when I noticed in my rear view mirror a blue flashing light.

Now, there is enough of me down, so I knew it was a state trooper. I pulled over the car, and this man got out of the car and he came up to the window. I opened the window and he said, “may I see your license and registration?” I was in such a state that when I looked at him, I saw that it was Krishna who had come to give me darshan. How would Krishna come in 1970? Why not as a state trooper? Christ came as a carpenter.

Unfortunately, this piece was posted on Facebook with a graphic saying “Everybody is the Guru”. This is not the point of Dass, unless I am mistaken and I don’t think I am! His point is that everybody is the divine being, the Krishna or the Christ. A guru is a teacher who, regardless of whether he is regarded as divine by others, leads people to enlightenment or divinity.

Read the whole thing.

Dass is a guru, a wonderful writer and enlightened soul, and his story is splendidly more illuminative of divine truths than the average person’s. Unfortunately, Dass’s writing was advertised on Facebook with the meme “Everyone is the Guru”

It’s not the best in spiritual teaching that claims “Everyone is the Guru”, to say the least. It’s a fallacy, or better yet it’s a meme which is part of the postmodern pulverizing of value hierarchies. In terms of Integral Theory, it’s the Green meme. But pulverize the distinction between gurus and everyone else and you obscure the light which leads to the realization that “Everyone is Divine”. That is tragic whenever it happens in postmodern thinking, which is not at the front line of consciousness.

On the other hand, the message that unconditional love can transform one’s encounter with a state trooper into a blissful mystical union is gorgeous.

Craig Groeschel’s Message to Men in “Fight”: A Misfire

Craig-GroeschelThe front line for megachurch Christianity is not feminism, but a call to renew masculinity. This seems to be a current theme, in recent decades surfacing as the Promise Keepers movement and more recently with pastors who bring a pro-man message and say that if the men in their congregations are real men then they are living in tune with authentic Christian spirituality.

Today Jonathan Merritt posts a new interview with one of America’s leading mega-church pastors and book author, Craig Groeschel. The topic is Groeschel’s call to arms in Fight: Winning the Battles That Matter Most (currently ranked #3 in Christian Living/Men’s Issues on Amazon) which challenges men to “man up.”

An excerpt from the interview:

JM: When you look at the portrayals of men in Hollywood and pop culture, we are inundated with these images of tough-skinned, violent, “manly men.” What are you seeing that is causing you to be concerned that men in America are becoming too passive?

CG: I think we see extremes portrayed in media. There is everything from the tough guy that just goes out and does everything wrong because he wants to, and then there is also a real passive portrayal of men who are unfaithful to their wives and are not involved in the lives of their children. I think both extremes are extraordinarily dangerous.

In society, I think one of the biggest problems we see is that men now–maybe because of the role models or maybe because of a number of factors–walk away rather than stay in when things get difficult. We see this in our churches whenever a marriage gets tough. Rather than staying and fighting for the marriage, it just seems like people give up rather than helping their children do the right thing and being involved in their lives. They say, “Well, I’ll let my wife handle that part.” So men may be fighting battles, but they are fighting the wrong battles. They are fighting for themselves and fighting for things that don’t matter. I look at the fight and really help to try to inspire men to try to reengage in the right battles and fight when they matter the most.

JM: Can you talk about some of those specific circumstances where you are inviting men to fight back? You aren’t referring to the battlefield, but is it the home, the workspace–what are some more specifics of those?

CG: The last thing I would want to do is say to guys to go pick fights. That is not what we care called to do. In the book, I really look at three specific areas that make men weak. We talk about lust, entitlement and pride. I think those big problems are causing guys to disengage from the real battles.

If you ask to really pick one of the most important ones, I think that we really need to fight for our marriages when approximately 50% of marriages end in divorce. We are treating it like marriage is a contract rather than a covenant. We really need to fight for our marriages. I also really believe that we need to fight for our children for them to be able to live strong in a world that is leading them astray.

Another thing is that a lot of people don’t think about, is issues of purity. A lot of men will just say, well we are men and we always have to look at women or be lustful, whatever. It is not that big of a deal. It really is a big deal. I believe we should fight for purity.

I also think that in a world that we deal with lust and talk about pride, lust is our “want it”, entitlement is “deserve it”, pride is “I can handle it.”

A lot of guys are getting ahead of themselves by pursuing material things and getting in massive financial bondage.I think we need to fight for financial freedom so that we can be generous and use our resources to help others.

JM: Craig, as you are sharing this message, how are men responding to it?

CG: The thing I know about men is that when you tell a guy what he is not, he is going to believe it. When you tell him what he can’t do, he will believe it. Even in the church world, the difference between a Mother’s Day sermon and a Father’s Day sermon is always funny to me. Mother’s Day, we tell mothers how great they are and Father’s Day we tell them how pathetic they are. That does not work with us because if we don’t feel like we can win, we don’t want to play. So, what I am trying to do in this book is really help and see that you are created with a heart of a warrior.

I want to tell men, “There is divine potential in you. You have, by the power of God, the ability to stand up and fight.” That resonates with men. It is almost like when someone you respect says, “I believe in you.” Then you better believe in yourself. I am trying to help and see that God believes in them even though our enemy specializes in making strong men weak. Our God specializes in making weak men strong. That resonates deeply with the heart of men. I am thrilled to see them responding well already even the book has barely been out.

See more.

As a long time participant in the Robert Bly-influenced men’s movement, I am sympathetic to Groeschel’s work. Men’s healing work is deep and an integral part of the deep love work which brings men and women together. The title of his book seems perhaps sensationalistic, which consequently could lead women or gay men to confuse his message as literally encouraging men to be strong by fighting with weakness or those who they feel embody weakness. I haven’t read the book, so I am cautious in this pre-review.

The front line of the men’s movement is not well described as a plea for men o take up arms. When Craig tells men where is “divine potential” within them and that this means they have a “warrior heart” and have “the ability to stand up and fight”, this is groan-producing. The divine potential in men could lead to a fight, but it could also lead to surrender or diplomacy.

Men’s work is best when it is integrative, incorporating the warrior heart with the sovereign heart and the lover heart and the magic-worker’s heart. Men who are victims have to learn how to stand up and fight; men who are perpetrators or oppressors need to learn how to stand down. All men need to get out of the trap of thinking of their identity as strictly a victim or strictly privileged, and then forge a new identity according to reality. Based on the interview with Merritt alone, it seems as if Groeschel’s message has a bullet or two of truth in its barrel but the shot he takes is unfortunately a misfire.

Hairpin: Interview with a Postmodern Pagan

In the first of a series of interviews with people who are professionally religious, a general-interest women’s website talks to a pagan clergyman, 29-year-old Brian. Brian leads a pagan church in Nashville, Tennessee.

A selection of questions and answers from the interview:

Could you tell me more about what you believe specifically?

norse6My cosmology is based on ancient Northern European religion, and my source material is mythology and epic poetry written about and by the ancient pre-Christian Northern Europeans. I’ve always been a history buff, which is part of why this appeals to me. And within this particular brand of paganism, people often think of the Viking aesthetic, macho men going out looting and pillaging. But in the source text, from an anthropological view, you’ll find a really complete society.

I do tend to worship male gods, but I’m a cisgender male, and I identify as such. Therefore I tend to resonate more with gods than goddess or gods with more fluid gender indenties.

What gods are you talking about?

Recently, Odin has decided to rear his head in my life. I started off working with the god Thor, and as I’ve gotten older, Odin has started to appear more. I also work with Freyja and Frigga, a little bit with Idunna, and the god Tyr.

What do you mean when you say you work with them?

I pray to them, I offer them time, I meditate on them. When I say that I work with a god, I mean that I engage in a practice of reciprocal gift-giving. I develop and maintain a relationship with my god by giving gifts to them and thanking for the gifts they give to me.

That’s a really nice, simple way of putting it. Do you feel that you also atone for yourself to them? Is there an analogue to Judeo-Christian punishment and repentance within paganism?

With paganism being so varied, there’s no set code of ethics. Most pagans tend to believe that people know what the right thing is. They don’t need a father figure to say, “Don’t kill people, and don’t steal.”

Most pagans believe in a variation of the Hindu belief in karma, and the variation comes from the fact that pagans tend to believe that what you do will come back to you not in the next life but in this one.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

I do believe in an afterlife, and I also espouse the idea that I have not been there so I can’t really know. Within paganism, you find a concept that your soul prepares itself for its next incarnation after you die, that you are reincarnated because you have learned certain lessons and still have more to learn, but that’s an extreme generalization. My personal view includes Asgard, Helheim, and all the various afterlife aspects found in Norse myth.

What’s something that you believe that could apply to anyone?

I really try to accept people for who they are. I very much believe in an individual’s decision to lead their lives for themselves and find meaning however they want, and that process is a beautiful thing. That’s one of the reasons I became a minister, was to help people find what gives meaning to their lives.

And this is true for any religion, but I should say that it’s very difficult for a single individual to be representative of paganism as a whole, because our faith structure is a postmodern one. Paganism—neo-paganism—only really broke on the scene in the ‘50s when England repealed its anti-witchcraft laws. So, fairly uniquely, paganism has always been defined by ease of access to information, which led us to emphasize diversity over orthodoxy, and promote tolerance, and acceptance of people walking their own paths.

Read the whole interview.

Brian’s observation that the faith structure of “paganism as a whole” is a postmodern one is pretty accurate description for neo-paganism. The pagans he is talking about aren’t indigenous people in Africa or Australia but the new pagans in America many of which are fleeing Christianity. The fact that the core meaning of the religion boils down to “I really try to accept people for who they are” is also pretty important for the consciousness of postmodernism in general.

Postmodern people don’t have to be pagan to have an ethos of accepting people’s individual self-expression. Postmodern people generally do, except of course when they are rejecting people who are fundamentalist or traditional or capitalistic or conservative or sexist or intolerant in their beliefs.

Paganism may or may not be a growing spirituality or religion in circa 2013, but my belief is that the growth of postmodernism has probably already peaked, give or take a few percentage points. I may be wrong. Paganism per se is not at the front line of consciousness, but is a spiritual expression that may already be waning, at least in its postmodern expression.

A more integral paganism is a topic that we will be visiting on Spirituality Post. What comes post-postmodern paganism? Basically I will argue that what is coming does away with the religious relativism of the postmoderns and recognizes a spiritual and cultural and social evolution through a spiral of development which requires attention to the health of the spiral as a whole. That’s too hard a pill for postmoderns to swallow unless they go through a conversion experience that leaves them adrift from postmodernism and the currents that swept them into the sea of relativity and hyper-sensitivity. Post-postmodernism is integral and evolutionary, broadly speaking. It is a subject of great interest to me, and I look forward to exploring it with you over time.