From the Director
Paganism inherently demands that each individual seek their own path of
knowledge, discover their own truth, become their own spiritual authority.
These autonomous seekers are generally free spirits and iconoclasts who
question everything and accept nothing until they have discovered it within
their own hearts and consciousness. They have an unquenchable thirst for
knowledge and enlightenment. Pagans are not generally dictated by culture or
tradition, but seek out the commonalities which lie at the foundation of
all. They believe at the core of these commonalities lies the heart, the
essence of oneness.
While not exclusive to Paganism, the emphasis on
self-awareness, personal responsibility, and spiritual autonomy requires
that each person discover, experience, and seek out the truth for
themselves. This challenge of self-realization empowers the individual to
go beyond any limits previously known. The spiritual autonomy which has been
a core value of Pagan heritage has also limited Pagans from reaping any of
the benefits accorded most other spiritual traditions.
Pagans are a large and widely-varied group spanning the globe.
Expansive in their diversity and pluralism. For many centuries, Pagans have
for the most part stayed in the shadows and intentionally steered away from
codification and legalization, preferring to celebrate the agricultural
cycles of the Earth in the safety of a living room or a backyard under a
full moon. Hence, it has continued to be not only a very misunderstood
religion, but a religion that often evokes fear in people of other religious
So who are Pagans and why have they chosen to stay hidden? To
understand the fears that have compelled these Earth-based spiritual
believers to remain in the shadows; to shy away from being seen through a
legal lens that could possibly unite them; or to codify the essence of their
beliefs, non-Pagans will need to understand the path of death and
destruction that is the Pagan legacy.
My life's work has been to not only dispel the fear and
misinformation surrounding Paganism but to legitimize, to some extent,
Earth-based religions by codifying the common tenets of our beliefs as well
as acquiring U.S. federal recognition as a Pagan church. These common Pagan
tenets include a reverence for the Earth and nature. The philosophy of
Immanence–the belief that the world, the cosmos, and everything in it is
alive and connected–is a commonly held Pagan belief. We also honor each
person as their own spiritual authority. These are just a few of the common
threads that create the multi-hued, magnificent tapestry which is Paganism.
The term Paganism can be seen as an over-arching umbrella much like the term
Christianity. The analogy can be made that under the panoptic banner of
Christianity can be found many branches of faith such as Catholic,
Methodist, Anglican, Baptist, to name a few. Just as under the uniting
appellation of Paganism, many multi-hued expressions of Earth-honoring
spiritual traditions can be found such as Goddess, Druid, Wicca, even the
beliefs of many indigenous peoples around the world.
The process of becoming one of only a handful of nonprofit
Pagan temples in the U.S. was not an easy path. Nor was the challenge of
attempting codification of some basic Pagan principles. Both feats required
tenacity, hard work, and great humility. Legalizing and codifying what many,
both Pagans and non-Pagans, believe should never be done, means shining a
light on ourselves, being seen and recognized publicly. This evokes a wide
range of emotions and action from both sides of the fence. Many, maybe even
most, Pagans truly believe that to “set beliefs in stone” translates to
dictating law and loss of spiritual autonomy.
On the other side of the spectrum, being recognized publicly
evokes visceral opposition from believers in traditional religions. Many of
these religious followers adhere to the limiting belief that there is only
one way, one thought, one belief, with each of these mainstream religions
believing they have a unique claim on the truth. This path has led to the
slaughter of millions of people in the name of god and religion. Even in
these modern times, Pagans experience the whiplash of fear and hate from
people and groups whose beliefs inherently dictate this notion that there is
only one way of experiencing the divine.
The guiding principles of Temple of the Goddess are just that:
guiding principles. Not commandments. The intention of creating these
principles, asking What Is Religion?,
What Is Paganism?,
distilling some of the history of divine feminine, is not meant to distance
or alienate but to bring to the world an understanding of the living,
thriving, evolving, dynamic, and ancient spiritual tradition known as
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