Call and Response: Paganism Needs a Shared Telos

IMG_4192John 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.




3 thoughts on “Call and Response: Paganism Needs a Shared Telos

  1. Prophet connotes revealed religion, which what Christianity and Mormonism. Polytheism is natural religion, in that it arises from the world and people interacting with it.

    The use of the word “prophet” in his article and the rest of the article indicates that whatever he is, he is not a Polytheist. Nor does he think like one. I believe that Polytheism is separate from Neo-Paganism in that Neo-Paganism still has Monotheistic thinking embedded in it. I believe the reactions that he has and others is that they are still grappling with the Monotheist Filter. (Note, I did not say that he and the others were Monotheists. )


  2. I don’t think we need A prophet.

    A prophet is traditionally one who speaks truth to power. We need LOTS of those.

    I think we already have the shared telos that you describe. It is indeed embodiment and right relationship with the natural world.


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