A Season of Possibility

I haven’t written here since just after the election — which fittingly followed closely on the heels of the Festival of the Trickster. What better demonstration of the idea that “God is Trickster” than the election of President Trump, which not only defied the predictions of the polls, but also for many of us, defied our sense of reality. How many of us woke on Wednesday Nov. 9 and wondered if it had all been a bad dream. As the Jewish proverb says, “Man plans … and God laughs.”

Since then, I’ve been so preoccupied with various forms of activism that I let the Festival of Sharing slip by me unobserved. Fortunately, Tony Schlisser saved the day with a two-part series on the season (Part 1 and Part 2). And then the Festival of Talents snuck up on me. So this post is about a week late, but I felt the urge to write about the season before we get any further into it.

The name “Festival of Talents” is a nod the second book in Octavia Butler’s Parable series, The Parable of the Talents (1998), which itself is a reference to the parable by the same name in the Christian Bible. The Christian Parable of the Talents is a story about possibility. A master gives his servants different amounts of “talents”. (A talent meant a unit of wealth in ancient times, but came to mean a skill or aptitude in modern times. The parable works either way.) The rest of the parable tells how some of the servants multiplied their talents while the master was away, while the slothful servant hid his talent in the ground. The moral is to use the gifts we have been given.

The Festival of the Talents sits opposite the Festival of New Suns on the Earthseed calendar. I see the former as being about possibility, while the latter is about fulfillment (i.e., the Destiny). Thus, the theme of the Festival of the Talents is “The Earth, Our Womb”, while the theme of the Festival of the New Suns is “The Stars, Our Destiny”.

And we just passed the 1 year anniversary of this revamp of this site.  So it’s a good time to evaluate where we want to go.  This is the season of possibility. I see a lot of possibility for Earthseed. Here’s some of the things I see on our horizon.

2. Earthseed at PantheaCon

Next week, I’ll be at PantheaCon in San Jose, CA. PantheaCon is the largest Pagan festival in the U.S. On the morning of Monday, Feb 2oth, Patrick Reeves, PhD, will be presenting on Earthseed: Uses of Fiction in Spiritual Belief and Practice. The blurb for his presentation reads:

“Using numerous examples drawn from books, film, and tv as well as recent scholarship on “invented religions,” we will engage in a lively discussion on the role of fiction in spiritual belief and practice. Special attention will be given to African-American Science Fiction author Octavia Butler’s “Earthseed” religion. Issues for discussion will include the nature of religion (and cultural assumptions about “real religions”), authenticity, identity, and the role of the imaginal world. Attendees will be encouraged to give examples from their own experiences.”

Needless to say, I’m super excited. If anyone else will be at PantheaCon this year, please let me know so we can met up. And be sure to check out Patrick Reeves’ presentation.
2. New Earthseed Blog
So, you may or may not have heard that I was kicked off of the Pagan channel at Patheos. Patheos is an interfaith blogging platform where I wrote for four years. In September of last year, Patheos was purchased by an evangelical-owned organization Beliefnet. In January of this year, Beliefnet decided to rewrite the terms of the writer’s contracts. That led to contract dispute, and my being censored and kicked off the site.  God is Change.
In the course of all that, we discovered that Patheos, through Beliefnet, is affiliated with a number of right-wing organizations, like Focus on the Family, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the NRA, and the American Center for Law & Justice, which advocates for the criminalization of homosexuality. As a result, about a dozen Pagan bloggers left the site. They and about ten or so other former Pagan writers are now petitioning Patheos to have their writing removed from the site.
Out of all of this Jamie Morgan decided to start a new blogging platform for Pagan writers called PaganBloggers.com. She’s gathered about 50 bloggers so far, about twice as many active bloggers as the Pagan channel at Patheos now has. And she’s started an Indigogo campaign to fund the project. Jamie is Shaping Change.
When Jamie invited me to write at Pagan bloggers, I gave some thought to what kind of blog I wanted to write, and I decided to write about Earthseed. In fact, “Earthseed” will be the name of the new blog. I’m excited about the opportunity to Shape Change and to spread the message of Earthseed to a broader audience.
I’ve written before that I think Earthseed and contemporary Paganism are a natural fit. I’ll be allowed to cross-post after one month, so I will continue to share content here. Since it’s a Pagan audience, I will be using the word “Goddess” when I write there, but continue to use “God” when I write here. My hope is that my writing there will draw more Shapers to this site.
3. Earth Day and the March for Science
Earthseed is a naturalistic religion, which means that we embrace science and the scientific method. Earth Day is Saturday, April 22nd, and on April 22nd this year, scientists are walking out of the lab and into the streets for the March for Science.  They are Shaping Change too.
The march is already drawing a lot of attention. The main march will be in Washington D.C., but you can find a local march near you on this map.  The following Saturday (April 29th) the People’s Climate March, also in D.C., with corresponding marches around the country.
I realize we Shapers are spread all over the country and have limited resources, but I would really like to see us do something for these events. The marches fall close to our Festival of Gaia (May 1), which is fitting, since opposing climate change denial is at the heart of both of these marches. If you have ideas for an Earthseed event to correspond with the March for Science, People’s Climate March, and/or Festival of Gaia, let me know.

4. Add your own possibilities in the comments.

∞ = Δ


One thought on “A Season of Possibility

  1. Sad that I missed this at PantheaCon. It’s a bit far, and the east coast can be lonely for atheists.

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