growing out of paganism

January 6, 2009

Recently, one of the oldest pagan podcasts, Deo’s Shadow, packed its bags and closed its doors after nearly a year (a year?) of no content and no updates. They sent out an email to all the members of their facebook, and posted on the main sites blog, stating as much, and claiming that a life of philosophy-driven study (Deo is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy) has caused them to outgrow paganism.

Some have criticized this stance, claiming that there should be something about paganism that needs to expand in order to include the intellectually-minded so that they can still find their needs met. I, for one, am part of this category, only still calling myself pagan for the sake of my personal history, my own love of theatrics and ritual, and based on certain morals and ethics I learned from paganism at large. But all the supernatural aspects of paganism, all the deity worship, all the magic, philosophically leads to zero, where an accrual of all the data used to say that paganism is one thing leads one to believe this is total bupkiss.

There are too many new agey, wishy-washy ideals that do not require a person use their head, while all of pagan thought is oriented at taking a skeptical approach to religion and an introspective eye on nature and the self. This is a fatal combination. If you spend any time trying to reconcile the nature of magic and the nature of the universe, you will not get an equal sign anywhere in the equation without putting in a whole lot of question marks you aren’t allowed to figure out later. It just doesn’t go very far.

Cheers to you, Deo’s Shadow. You were one of my favorite podcasts of a long time, and the philosophy segments of the show really started me on a path to atheism and non-religiosity. Hope the best for everyone involved in that project. Maybe we’ll see Deo and Mandy creep back into podcasting in the future.


  1. I was pretty shocked at the outcome even given the long hiatus which led to it. I think your point about pagan ideals and pagan thought not aligning seems accurate, but it could possible also lump the fringe and the media that is driven for (and also by) that fringe.

  2. Got any good sources for an intro course in paganism? I’m accused of being a pagan all the time, and it’s a label I don’t necessarily resist, but I think it might be a good idea for me to know a little more about it if I’m going to allow myself to be associated with it.

  3. @ Derek,

    I’ve always taken the view that magic is more about changing your own consciousness than affecting the rest of reality. I’m tired of “occult wisdom” and the conspiracy theory style of history embraced by too many Pagans. But there are intellectual Pagans out there. Check out MetaPagan and its feed for lots of intelligent Pagan blogposts.

    @ Mrs Chili,

    Try my site, the Pagan theologies wiki.

  4. […] deò’s post elicited some remarkable responses. “…eats bugs” said: “I, for one, am … only still calling myself pagan for the sake of my […]

  5. […] Below is my response to a post made over at Druid Journal regarding deo’s shadow and my commentary […]

  6. What concerns me most about this entering in/hanging around/departing for greener pastures is that Paganism overall remain hospitable to both visitors and to residents.

    But I gotta say that the notion that folks circling with me are only present until something better comes along for them makes me uneasy. I do consider being a Pagan in these times as different from taking a mini-vacation in PaganLand.

  7. Hehe, mini-vacation in PaganLand. I love it.

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