Call and Response: Paganism Needs a Shared Telos

John Halstead recently called for a Pagan prophet, someone who could unite naturalists and supernaturalists, someone to “come along to lead modern Pagans out of the wilderness of superstition and self-absorption.” John’s role, as he states, is the role of the critic, not the prophet, but he suggests a list of other Pagan writers who might serve. I think John’s list shows that Paganism already has prophets of various types; a shortage of inspired guides is not the source of our movement’s troubles.

What we need is a shared telos, or common purpose. Something akin to the Ancient Greeks’ eudaemonia, or Christianity’s redemption. What would that be for modern Paganism? Empowerment comes first to mind. As do embodiment, and a kind of natural harmony or right relationship with the more-than-human world.

With a shared goal, we could hold different philosophical commitments and still respect each other. We could create common symbols and rituals that support our striving for more developed states. And together we could celebrate our steps along the way.




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