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Interview: Susan of The Atheopagan Society Council

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Innehåll tillhandahållet av The Wonder Podcast. Allt poddinnehåll inklusive avsnitt, grafik och podcastbeskrivningar laddas upp och tillhandahålls direkt av The Wonder Podcast eller deras podcastplattformspartner. Om du tror att någon använder ditt upphovsrättsskyddade verk utan din tillåtelse kan du följa processen som beskrivs här https://sv.player.fm/legal.

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S4E31 TRANSCRIPT:

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Mark: Welcome back to The Wonder, Science Based Paganism. I'm your host, Mark,

Yucca: And I'm Yucca.

Mark: and today we are fortunate to have with us Susan, who is a new member of the Atheopagan Society Council, and we're interviewing the new members of the Council over the next... A couple of months or so the ones that, that want to be interviewed, just to get to know them and find out what their thinking is about all this stuff we're doing.

So welcome, Susan.

Susan: thanks for having me on.

Yucca: And some of you who watch the YouTube channel may recognize Susan from there, who's been, who's part of the media team, and has been making excellent videos.

Mark: Yes, yes. Susan is the glue on of the media team. She holds us all together.

Yucca: which is not always easy appreciated with all of the emails that have been chasing us down to make all our schedules work, and yep,

Susan: I try to balance it so that everybody doesn't think I'm super annoying, but helpful, not annoying.

Mark: So far, so good. So, Susan why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and what brought you to atheopaganism and, you know, all that good kind of stuff.

Susan: Yeah. Well, the short answer like it seems a lot of people is COVID brought me to atheopaganism. I, and I do have a short video, I think it's the first one that I did on the YouTube channel if anybody wants to check that out of my, my non theist upbringing and, and this kind of channel, so I'll, I'll make it a short version, but I live in the Midwest, in Ohio, and I've lived here my whole life, and I was raised without religion, but also not specifically atheist either.

It was just sort of, we didn't talk about it. I didn't know the difference between a Republican and a Democrat until I was in high school because it was just, you know, I was left to my own devices. And I appreciate that for, for some things. There's definitely parts of me where I'm like, well, it'd be nice to have a little bit more direction.

And I, we're kind of taking that track with our, with our daughter. I am, I'm married and I have six, soon to be seven year old, and kind of navigating that that space. My husband was raised Catholic, so we're kind of marrying together. He, he likes to call it ethnically Catholic, because he doesn't believe any of the stuff there, but so yeah, we, I, from a, Medium age started dabbling in stuff about the time when I was, you know, I'm an 80s baby.

So by the time I was in high school, it was late 90s. And all of the witchy stuff started showing up all over the Barnes and Nobles. I'm like, Ooh, what is this? And especially the tarot card section with lots of stuff to touch and play with. So I I explored that area and the pagan, which at that time, at least, you know, Wicca was the super dominant thing in, at least that was publicly available.

And so I dabbled in that for a while, and I kind of got It's like, this is fun, but I also don't really believe in this whole, you know, people try to rationalize it with, oh, it's the energy, and you're affecting the energy, and I was like, yeah, yeah, that, that makes sense, sure, and I, you know, doing the little, the little lie to yourself thing for a while.

And then I kind of walked away from it for a while and just didn't, didn't bother with my, my spiritual life for a while until I got married. And we wanted to have a community for our child to grow up in so we joined a UU congregation, Unitarian Universalist, and they have, in our particular one, a fairly decent showing of pagan folks.

And so I kind of picked that back up and we had a little bit of a range from full capital W witch to people who I think, you know, if I talked to them long enough about atheopaganism, that would be more up their alley but didn't, you know, know the words for it at that time. So it kind of came through there and then COVID hit and, you know, that community was sort of, sort of gone.

But I was on the board and I was doing all of these committees and doing all the, I was doing all the work of being in a community, but not getting the community out of it. It was also right after we had merged. So my, my group went from 40 to 60 members to 200 and some people. And I didn't know all these people I was doing the work for and it just kind of, I kind of drifted away and was I was focusing more on what is it that I do believe in, since I had spent so much time just defining what I didn't believe in, and I found, kind of simultaneously, Druidry, which is something I'm, I'm pretty involved in, is my personal path, but also atheopaganism, and actually found I found out about atheopaganism through a blog whose, I can't remember what the blog was about but there was sort of an about me page and the person was describing, yeah, I don't really, you know, believe in the metaphysical part of this, but I still think it's really helpful check out atheopaganism, I'm like, yes, thank you, I will, and signed right up on the spot and I remember I read the, the principles And I don't know what bits of the, of the pages, but I remember running to my husband and being like, oh my gosh, I found them.

I found my people. They're here, they exist. , I found it. I didn't know this was the words I needed, but I needed the word these words, you know, there's the validation of other people

Yucca: was that during lockdown or was that a little bit afterwards?

Susan: That was, I think, during lockdown 'cause I remember. We had still the the Earth centered group at my UU congregation was trying to do monthly Zoom get togethers, and I remember one of them, I was just, like, very excited to share with people that I had found both atheopaganism and the Druid organizations that I had joined at the same time, so.

Mark: Well, that's very cool. I, I always love hearing these stories 'cause people, you know, people come to us through all different kinds of ways and and there is very commonly that I found them. They, they exist. I'm not the only one I am feeling which. I actually share, even though, you know, I, I wrote the essay in the book and stuff, because when other people started showing up, I, similarly, I was like, oh, I'm not the only one, there's more of us.

This is great. So, very exciting. Well, it's great to have you with us, Susan. Thank you so much. So, You've just joined the Atheopagan Society Council and and you've been helping with the media team for a while. You're a very organized, get it done kind of person, which is really great.

Susan: Thanks.

Mark: so, I don't know, what are your thoughts about this community and where we're going and, you know, what things would you like to see happen?

You know, like new programs or any of that kind of stuff, if you've thought about it.

Susan: I think my main thing that I want to see is that I hope you're going anywhere soon, but, you know, I want to make, I want to show up so that down the road we don't trickle and fade away when, you know, you, Mark, or, you know, the, the original set of people doing the council you know, are gone or, or, you know, have to be pulled away for whatever reason.

I just don't want it to, to fade and be the thing that, that used to be really great for a while and then just nobody could keep up for it, keep up with it. And so that's something I'm interested in is, and I don't know what that looks like. I don't know what infrastructure we, you know, are going to end up with to make that be something that really sticks and stays and has standing.

I imagine it'll be Getting a lot of volunteers and getting a lot of structure in place for volunteers so that people, you know, we don't avoid burnout. And that's I know, that's one of the things that we're talking about at the council meeting coming up. But that's, that's kind of my priority. But I am excited about the idea of getting more, not necessarily content, but getting more things in place for people to do in person, even if it's not with other people, but just more of an idea I was in a sorority in college and it was a One of the things that I thought was fun about that is that there were certain things that you did and you're, you know, it's, you know, a secret and secret rituals that everybody does, but you knew that even though you went to a different school than this person that you maybe met down the street and they went to school.

different school, but they were still part of the same sorority as you. You knew they had the same ritual as you,

Mark: hmm.

Susan: and I love that we have so much open endedness of, you know, build your own adventure within atheopaganism. I think it might be fun to get something in place that is something we can all share, or those who are interested can all share, and like, I don't know if that looks like a standard ritual format or something, which is what some other organizations do, like some of the druid organizations, I mean, what they have.

Here's our official format, and I don't know that that's something that we would really want, but something that has that feel to it, that essence of, hey, here's how you can feel a part of this, On your own, but still together kind of a feel. I think more of those kinds of things would be. And I think that would help a lot of people who seem to be clamoring for structure, you know, there's definitely the people in the community who are like, I am totally happy to do this by myself and come up with my own thing.

And that's great. But then there seemed to be a lot of people who want a little more hand holding with their practice too.

Mark: Mm hmm.

Susan: So that's kind of,

Yucca: of the insights that you have that I've really appreciated is that you're a fellow parent with, with a kiddo in the same age range and it's been nice to have someone to bounce off some of that, you know, how do we make that feeling available for, for kids who are growing up in this community?

Because that's something that, for me, growing up as a pagan kid, there wasn't really anything for us. It was like, it was all the grown up stuff, and we were just sort of, you know, put it at a third wheel, right? And I think that it'd be nice for our community to have something a little bit more, more community for the kids as well.

And I know that not everybody has kids in the community, but that's something that... There definitely are, there's quite a few of us, so,

Mark: hmm. Sure.

Susan: yeah.

Yucca: something that you've brought that I've really valued, Susan.

Mark: Yeah, I mean, I don't have kids, but I, I absolutely support that. I think that having activities for families that that work for the adults as well as for the kids is something that I really would like to see us have more of.

Yucca: Mm

Susan: Especially for parents who maybe only one of them is into it. My husband is very supportive and so,

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Susan: I, I know that I'm lucky in getting the amount of participation that I do, and there's plenty of people who are parents who it's very one sided and, you know, they may not get the, the family feel, like we can, I at least can say this is what we're doing as a family, but if you don't even have that, it can, it could be really nice to have.

That feeling with other people,

Mark: Mm-hmm. Yeah. We're gonna be talking about some ideas for that at the upcoming council meeting on Wednesday.

Yucca: And those are quarterly meetings.

Mark: yes,

Yucca: We do them after each solstice and equinox.

Mark: yeah. So I'm, I'm pretty excited about some of those ideas. Some of them could be a lot of work to implement. But once they kind of got up and rolling, I think there would be so much excitement about... The activities themselves that that there would be a lot of, that that momentum would create the excitement that would create the volunteerism to keep it going, if you know what I mean. So, let's see first of all, I guess, do you have questions for us?

Susan: man I feel like I'm trying, I'm trying to think of questions you haven't already answered on the podcast before or things that

Mark: Oh, don't worry about that. Don't worry about that. You're, you're, it's okay if it's been asked before, that's, that's perfectly all right.

Susan: No, I just mean, I'm like, I feel like I'm like, no, they said they answered that question for me before because I've, I've tried to keep up on it. I don't know that I've listened to every episode, but,

Yucca: we certainly do have folks who've done every single episode, but we have a lot of people who kind of come in for a few episodes, and then out, and then people who just find the podcast, and lots of different listening styles, or people who've listened for every year. But how many years are we at now?

Mark: We're in season four,

Yucca: Yeah,

Mark: so. Yeah, I mean, that's, that's closing in on 200 episodes, I think. So it's, it's a, a chunk of work and time if you really wanna listen to all of them, which is why we, we do an episode for every Sabbath every year. We don't just say, go and listen to last year's, you know, Mayday episode.

Instead, we do a new one every year because we've got people that are new to the podcast and you know, the stuff may be new for them. Uhhuh

Yucca: Well, and it's a

Susan: And hopefully there's something changing.

Yucca: I'm curious to go back and listen and be like, did I even say remotely the same thing? Probably. But,

Mark: you know, Susan, you were talking about a shared ritual. And what immediately popped into my head is the pouring of a libation, which is a very old, I mean, the Greeks used to pour libations, you know, in honor of their gods and stuff. And I wonder if we might have something like that, that would be kind of a shared atheopagan ritual that everybody would do to do that kind of offering to the earth.

That might be kind of neat to put some, put some ritual trappings around and turn into something that we all share. Thank you.

Susan: Yeah. And maybe I'm thinking do it on a, have it as a day that's not necessarily one of the spokes of the wheel, if you will. So it's, we're not interrupting anybody's already scheduled programming for this thing, like an extra, maybe it's on Earth Day or something, you know, like a,

Yucca: Pi

Mark: Huh.

Susan: people won't already have their own set

Mark: Huh. Yeah. Yeah. I'll think about it. I love the idea. Yeah. The equivalent of an atheopagan secret handshake. Uh

Yucca: Hmm.

Susan: Another thing I've been thinking about that I would be, I would love to do, at least for myself someday, is there's been a lot of chatter in the community lately about atheopagan saints, and I'm, I recently picked up from my friend who's in one of my druid groups, a Celtic Catholic set of prayer books, and it's kind of like a daily prayer thing, and I know that, I don't know a whole lot about Catholicism, but I know there's like a saint for every day, and I think it would just be fun to have a, like a solid atheopagan devotional kind of a thing, right, with Like, oh, today is, and I was, I started collecting things, so there's a day in February, I don't remember which day, it, of course, because everything, you know, gets mushed around with, over time and history, but I want to start celebrating Fornicalia in February, and for the Thank you.

ancient god Fornax, who was in charge of baking bread in ovens. And it's like a day that you clean your oven and bake bread in it. So I'm like, Ooh, this might actually motivate me to do the thing that I don't want to do if I make it into a holiday and say, this is the thing that we're doing.

Yucca: Very practical, right?

Mark: you said Fornicalia, I went in an entirely

Susan: Yeah, that sounds fun. It's less fun than you think. But bread

Yucca: that day is in February, isn't it? The 14th? Isn't that day already in February? The 14th?

Susan: Fornacalea is like the Like the 28th or something. I'll look it up and put it in

Mark: think you may be thinking of Lupercalia.

Susan: I'm going to find it. But yeah, it's, I have it as the 17th in my calendar, but you know,

Mark: The day to clean your oven and bake bread in it. I love it.

Susan: Yeah. Now I just need another one, you know, six months hence, so that I clean it more than once a year, but that's optimistic

Yucca: Could there be, could there be one for air filters, too?

Susan: yeah, right. That can be our shared ritual is clean your filter

Mark: is replacing your, your air filters. Yeah. I love that. I, I love, I love the idea of I mean, I have so many regular observances that I do just for myself, and I never, you know, I'm, I'm very careful, I don't, I don't want to prescribe them for anybody else, you know, it's like, this definitely is a choose your own adventure kind of thing. Thank you.

Religious path. It's like build what works for you, but it would be nice to be able to offer to people, you know, here's this compilation of, I don't know, five days every month or something that are special days that are the birthday of some significant, you know, scientist or innovator or creator in history and little bit of history about him and something that you can do, pour out that libation. You know, in honor of, oh, I'm spacing on the name. I just shared on Facebook to my friend group a a biography of this woman who actually figured out that the universe was mostly made of hydrogen. And I don't remember her name, but she's responsible for us understanding what the universe is made of.

And she didn't even get any credit for it. Her somebody else published the results. You know, pretty typical for women scientists in the, in the

Susan: hmm.

Yucca: Yeah, yeah, I don't know, I don't know who that is, right? Which, itch is a problem that we don't know that.

Mark: yes, yes, well, I'm going to look it up right now. So this,

Susan: yeah, people really liked the 13 different atheopagan principles applied to the moon cycles, and that's great. It's, it's an offering, not a prescription, and, and people are just like, oh yes, thank you, give me, give me ideas.

Yucca: yeah, maybe, I mean, when you were talking about those things, like a daily Right? Like a book that you read about, your little paragraph. I know a lot of different religions do that, and things that are totally secular, too. Like just a daily something. You know, I certainly use those in my practice that are just, they're really nice, right?

It's just like this little thing, and it's like, oh, okay, cool. Just kind of think about this for the day,

Mark: little

Susan: Mm hmm.

Yucca: right? And you take it or you don't take it, but it's kind of nice to have, to see how it just fits into whatever your experience is. And even if you use the same book more than one year in a row, like, by the time you get back around to May 14th or whatever it is, like, you've had the whole experience of a year and you're gonna see it in a different way, it's gonna fit into your life in a different way.

Mark: mm hmm, Cecilia Payne,

Yucca: Pain, okay.

Mark: Cecilia Payne. Since her death in 1979, the woman who discovered what the universe is made of has not so much as received a memorial plaque. Really amazing.

Susan: Well, that's an idea for if we for, for listeners, one of the things we're thinking about maybe doing is the scout program. If we have that, we can have that as the capstone project for somebody

Yucca: Yeah.

Susan: her a plaque.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah, that would be great. Some kind of a memorial. The person who figured out what the universe is made of probably deserves some kind of recognition.

Yucca: Do podcast.

Susan: Yeah, I don't know if it's a good idea.

Yucca: And I know we have, there's not, like things aren't set in stone, but what, when you say scout, like, what are you talking about?

Susan: yeah, well at least it was sort of talked in the community about this. I think it would be fun for adults too, but like, it's hard to, as a parent for me at least my husband was an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scout program, but I know, and I know that they have made some reforms and some steps in the right direction, but for me it's still not enough to feel comfortable enrolling my daughter in it and I have reservations about Girl Scouts for different reasons.

Capitalism, and genderification, and just different things that I'm just not, there are certainly troops that I'm sure do a wonderful job, and there are certainly troops that don't but

Yucca: A lot to navigate though. Mm-hmm.

Susan: It's, yeah, it's a hard thing to navigate and I don't want to start it and have it come crashing down on her.

So, and I think we sort of chatted in the community about this being a common thing and I had posted a few things a few months ago asking people about spiral scouts, which is a more pagan oriented group. And so now the, the scuttlebutt is, you know, maybe we can be an atheopagan chapter of that. Maybe we can create our own thing, like what is and what would be a nice thing.

But a lot of parents have commented on it and said, Oh, yes, please sign me up. Dude, let's do this.

Mark: hmm.

Susan: We can't necessarily do things in person, not for logistical reasons. I'm very fortunate that I have A handful of atheopagans right near me. It's really great. I think I'm the only one with, with kids that I'm aware of, but it's not the case for a lot of folks.

Mark: Yeah, I mean, we are, we're spread pretty thinly. So, our, most of our opportunity for face to face stuff comes through mediation like this, like Zoom. But that said if there Thanks If Spiral Scouts can be done in a way where there's like, kind of a learning chapter set of activities that get sent to a family, either as a PDF or in a physical package or, you know, however that works, and then, you know, all the different families that are doing it can do that and then come together over Zoom and kind of share their experience and show off their cool thing that they made and all that, I think that would be a really wonderful thing both for kids and for parents.

It'd, you know, be a real, you know, wonderful thing to share with, with your kids, I would think.

Yucca: I know my kids are definitely excited about the idea of badges , because they see that in, in the media of, there's so many different things where it's like, where it has that setup, like, oh, the comic, you know, the, like lumber Janes for instance, and there's like badges in that and the oh, what's it called?

The, there's a Netflix show.

Susan: Hilda?

Yucca: Hilda, yes, with this, with the I'm forgetting the name of their scouts, but they had, it was named after a bird, right? And so they see that and they're always like, I want badges for that, right? So I'm sure they would be very enthusiastic about anything badge related.

Mark: I really like that the Spiral Scouts has kept the badges but gotten rid of ranks.

Yucca: Mm.

Mark: So there's, there's no hierarchy of, you know, in the Boy Scouts you start out as a tender foot and then you work your way up through all these levels until you're an Eagle Scout, right? And, you know, some of the stuff in there is very useful and wonderful stuff to do.

I mean, you have to do a community project in order to become an Eagle Scout, and those are, you know, it builds a sense of responsibility to the broader community, which is great. But the rank thing, I mean, I was big into Cub Scouts. My, my Cub Scout shirt looked like a a Latin American dictator from the 1950s.

I had so many pins and badges and medals and it was ridiculous. The thing must have weighed five pounds. And I was really into that. But when I got to Boy Scouts, suddenly it was like paramilitary training and I just didn't want any part of it. It was, you know, it's like lining up for inspection of your uniform and stuff like that.

It was, Hmm. Not, not my idea of a good time. So, no ranks in in Spiral Scouts. Just skill attainments.

Susan: That's what I think my little one would be interested in too is just the gamification of learning life skills.

Mark: Mm hmm.

Susan: That's what I would love badges too. I would love a an adult 13 principles and four pillars set of badges and you do, I don't know what it is, like you do a small project for each one and you get a badge or, I don't know, honor system.

Mark: we should absolutely do that. Just, just create a, a checklist of things that you do for each of the, the principals and then, you know, we'll have badges made and or, you know, or people could download the the... The software for the patch sewing machines, and then they could go, go to a local producer and have the patches made for them bunch of different ways we could do that.

Well, I really have my mind spinning around all this now. It's going to be terribly disappointing if we decide we can't do it. But

Yucca: Well, there's also, we can always, you know, spiral back around to ideas too, because we have to, we have to look at what, you know, what can we currently do, and what are the priorities of the community at the time, and see how things go. So, so Susan, if you were talking about the future, right, what would be your fantasy for 50 years from now?

What would you hope to see? What would atheopaganism be in, you know, 50 years? It's, it's not us on the council anymore, right? Definitely other

Mark: And I'm dead.

Yucca: Maybe, hey, you might hang in there. Maybe,

Mark: 50 years from now, I would

Yucca: maybe medical technology will change.

Mark: eleven.

Yucca: Oh, that's a great Bilbo, right? Okay.

Susan: As my, my daughter says, when you're 100, you're compost.

Yucca: so what would you hope? Just, just fantasy, right? What would, what would we look like?

Susan: I mean, I would love to see us be at the scale of, like, UU, where maybe, you know, there's not necessarily Church building on every corner kind of a thing like you get with, you know, your Baptist churches and your Catholic churches and all that kind of stuff, but I would love to have expanded enough that we have so much in person opportunity, and maybe it's not, you know, a congregation where everybody comes together on Sundays or that kind of thing, because I don't, I don't know that that's a right fit, but just to have, I don't know, your local atheopagan community center place that everybody comes together for their monthly meeting or whatever it is, but just more, just more.

I think I would just love to connect with more people, because I think there's so many, there's definitely people, at least in my life, who are happy just being atheists, and that's fine for them and that's great, they can enjoy that, but I think that there are a lot of people who I know who could benefit from something like this, and anybody that I've talked to for more than two minutes Where I've been had a chance to answer their questions about it because you just say the words and they're like, that doesn't make any sense.

Why would you do that if you're an atheist? Right? Then they're like, Oh, okay. Yeah, I can see that. I understand. I understand why you would want to do that. And I think maybe a lot of people who are trapped. who feel trapped by atheism or who feel trapped by more traditional religious practices would find peace and joy with us.

And I think, I don't know, I'm sure everybody feels this way about their own religious path, but I feel like if there were more of us, then the world would be a nicer place. But

Mark: Yeah, I like to think so. We're we're, we're, we're about people being happy and the world being a better place. It's kind of hard to go wrong with those as your touchstones. It's God, it's, you know, we're doing this strategic plan in the Atheopagan Society, which by the way we created so that atheopaganism would have a container that could persist past me or anybody else, any other individual.

You know, that's, that's why the society exists. And my book, I'm, I'm willing the rights to my book to the society. So, you know, that will always be available to atheopagans in the future. But I was saying, we're doing this strategic plan for like the next two or three years because it's hard to imagine much beyond that.

So thinking about

Yucca: So I said fantasy. Yeah.

Mark: yeah, 50 is like mind blowing. I can't even, can't even get my mind around that.

Yucca: I have a 20, Mark.

Mark: 20, 20 years. What would happen? Well, for one thing, we would have enough of us that there would be opportunities for regional gatherings in a lot of places, you know, maybe two, three regional gatherings in Europe maybe one in Australia and so more opportunities for people to meet in person and You know, because that's really the gold standard of relating, right?

I mean, it's wonderful that we have these tools to be able to communicate across distance, but there's nothing like being able to actually just sit down next to someone and have a conversation. I'm hoping for a lot more of that. Speaking of which, we have the Suntree Retreat coming up again in 2024, and we will soon start taking deposits to reserve space.

Yucca: That is less than a year away.

Mark: it looks like, yes, it's less than a year away. It's about 11 months away. And so we're working on what the content of all that's going to be. So that's locked in place. And now it's just a matter of, you know, figuring out the pricing on everything, and looks like the admission prices for, for the event and all the meals combined will be about 250. And then lodging. And lodging is as cheap as, and it can be more if you have a space in a cabin.

Yucca: Mark, we're losing you into the robot.

Mark: People should be able to do this event. How's that? Can you hear me now?

Yucca: We can hear you now. You're frozen. Yes, now we can hear you. If you'll start again with people should be able to.

Mark: Okay. Go to this event for less than 400 plus transportation.

Yucca: Okay.

Than 400 plus transportation.

Mark: yes. Yeah, that, that's, I'm sure that that's going to be possible. In fact, it'll be... It's possible to go even less if you tent camp, so it's a good, good time to go tent camping. Tent camping only costs like 20 bucks for lodging for the whole three days. So, you know, if you set up your own tent or we can accommodate I think one RV

Yucca: And that should be late summer, early fall weather wise, so that's a good time of year for it.

Mark: Yes, yes, and, and unlikely to be, to have any rain. We actually got really lucky in May of 2022 because it snowed at La Forêt the week after we were there.

Yucca: Wasn't it snowing several hours after we finally left?

Mark: I don't know

Yucca: I know I was, as I was coming, I thought there was snow and then certainly as I was coming down, headed south down by the Rockies, it was raining, which was blessed because it was, we'd been having those horrible fires in New Mexico at the time and it was just raining the whole way

Mark: Mm hmm.

Yucca: But I think that they were getting more rain than I was getting as I was driving down, or I was driving up, but down south. It's confusing. I think.

Susan: yeah,

Mark: Well, we have the big the big hall, Ponderosa. If it does, that isn't a problem, but the weather should be beautiful. I, I looked up the, the average weather in Colorado Springs that first weekend in September. I think the high average is 75 degrees or something. It's just perfect. So,

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: should be really great.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: we're already talking about what all the content of things is going to be, and we'll put out a call for presentations and workshops in a couple of months, and before we know it, we'll be in Colorado Springs.

It'll be, you know, with, with, with the gang.

Yucca: Ball's rolling. Yep.

Mark: Yeah,

Susan: excited. I've already planned for it. So

Yucca: Will the kiddo be coming?

Mark: That's great.

Susan: I think it's going to be all three of

Mark: Yeah, is your hood

Susan: they're not going to do all of the things, but

Mark: There are beautiful places to go right around there. Garden of the Gods and Rocky Mountain National Park. Just gorgeous, gorgeous places to go. So if they like hiking in the outdoors there are lots of opportunities for them to enjoy that as well.

Susan: yeah, and we might do, we might do tent

Mark: Yucca, were you saying something?

Yucca: oh, I was gonna say my, will at that time be five, almost six and eight year old will be joining me. Last time it could only be the, the older, but the, the youngest is, is excited for that rite of passage to get to go to, they call it the Ponderosa Pine, so, cause of the lodge,

Mark: Huh. Nice. It's so great having her there. That was just wonderful.

Yucca: Well, she'll be excited about the idea of more kiddos. I think there were other parents who had, who were there last time who were like, Oh, I should have brought mine. Right? But they didn't know that it was gonna, there were gonna be activities. So we'll have more activities for little people next time. So we'll have a little gang of them running around.

Mark: Huh. Yeah, I think for some of the parents, because it was a first time event and they didn't know what to expect and, you know, pagan events can be pretty raucous sometimes, they kind of wanted

Yucca: Yeah, we lost you again, Mark. You said they kind of wanted.

Mark: to do, you know, reconnaissance first, go in and check out what this was going to be like. Can you hear me now?

Yucca: Yes. We can hear you. Okay. So you were saying some parents, sometimes they can be a little ruckus y. Ruck that wasn't the word.

Mark: Well, yeah, I mean, you know, pagan festivals can be, you know, kind of uproarious and sexy and, and, you know, lots of, you know, carousing, and I think some parents were kind of leery of that and wondered what the tone of this was going to be like, and, you know, after having been there and discovered that we were able to have a good time without things sliding over into inappropriate conversation.

Boundaryless mess that that it's a fine place for their kids to come, and I, I really encourage parents to come. Tickets will be actually, I think we said that Attendance was free for those 10 years old and younger, and tickets are discounted for those 16 and younger, or under 16. So, yeah other than having to get a bed for them if they're, if you're not tent camping kids should be very affordable to bring,

Yucca: Was there anything else that you'd like to talk about or share, Susan? Anything you think that people should know about you?

Mark: anything you'd like to say to the community.

Yucca: Yeah. Mm

Susan: I guess I'd like to say, tell us what you want to see, because You know, I think you both have mentioned this before about the podcast, but it's true of the YouTube channel too, is there's only so much creativity, the same, and there's so much overlap with both of you being on the the YouTube media team as well, like, there's only so much creativity we all have, so please tell us what it is you want to know about, what you want to hear about, what kind of content You, you want to see so we can get that out there you know, I, I generated when we first, when first I first got involved with the YouTube channel, I generated this big old list of, oh, here's a bunch of ideas and now I don't know if any of them are in the comments.

Not resonating with me, or at least I'm like, oh, I'm not the right person to talk about that particular topic, but I'm like, what am I, I'm supposed to write a video. I don't know what I want to talk about. I guess that's, this is why maybe some of the days, even though I'm the glue on, my things are a little bit late later than they're supposed to get to, to the right people.

But yeah, let's, let us know what you want to hear about. I'm, I'm happy to I'm Write stuff or record stuff or be in front of people and but I don't know what it is people want to hear about so Tell us

Mark: Yeah, yeah, I really echo that, because after four years of producing these, new topics can be challenging.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: It's, when we think of one, it's like, oh, oh, a new topic! We can do that! It's very exciting. It's a little easier in October, because we've got Ancestors and Death and Dying and Decomposition and Hallows and all those things.

But for much of the rest of the year, we're... We could really use input on, you know, what kinds of things you'd like to hear about.

Yucca: Especially like in July, like, hmm, what do we talk about?

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: Because this time of year, yeah, October, and then we're going into solstice coming up, and yeah,

Mark: Mm hmm.

Yucca: busy next few months.

Mark: Well, Susan, thank you so much for joining us today. It is wonderful to have you on board and to have you be a part of the community. And

Yucca: Thanks for all the cool ideas today, too.

Susan: Thanks.

Yucca: think about.

Mark: Absolutely.

Susan: I'm good at ideas for fun things and not so much the follow through, so.

Yucca: Oh, that's not true! You make the follow through possible!

Mark: Even if that were true, it's still a really important role. You know, being, being a creative person who comes up with cool ideas, that's really important. So, we need cool ideas.

Susan: I'm hoping that, you know, eventually we're going to hit a critical mass of people in the community that somebody, you throw out an idea and somebody's going to grab it and just run, who, you know, has the skill set and. I hope. I guess that's another thing I want to tell people is if you feel like you want to contribute something, please do.

Like, I just showed up one day and was like, hey, I can help with things and now I'm on the media team and now I'm on the council. So don't be scared.

Mark: Absolutely.

Yucca: Well, thank you so much, Susan.

Susan: Thanks for having me.

Mark: Yeah. Thanks so much. We'll see you next week, folks.

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S4E31 TRANSCRIPT:

----more----

Mark: Welcome back to The Wonder, Science Based Paganism. I'm your host, Mark,

Yucca: And I'm Yucca.

Mark: and today we are fortunate to have with us Susan, who is a new member of the Atheopagan Society Council, and we're interviewing the new members of the Council over the next... A couple of months or so the ones that, that want to be interviewed, just to get to know them and find out what their thinking is about all this stuff we're doing.

So welcome, Susan.

Susan: thanks for having me on.

Yucca: And some of you who watch the YouTube channel may recognize Susan from there, who's been, who's part of the media team, and has been making excellent videos.

Mark: Yes, yes. Susan is the glue on of the media team. She holds us all together.

Yucca: which is not always easy appreciated with all of the emails that have been chasing us down to make all our schedules work, and yep,

Susan: I try to balance it so that everybody doesn't think I'm super annoying, but helpful, not annoying.

Mark: So far, so good. So, Susan why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and what brought you to atheopaganism and, you know, all that good kind of stuff.

Susan: Yeah. Well, the short answer like it seems a lot of people is COVID brought me to atheopaganism. I, and I do have a short video, I think it's the first one that I did on the YouTube channel if anybody wants to check that out of my, my non theist upbringing and, and this kind of channel, so I'll, I'll make it a short version, but I live in the Midwest, in Ohio, and I've lived here my whole life, and I was raised without religion, but also not specifically atheist either.

It was just sort of, we didn't talk about it. I didn't know the difference between a Republican and a Democrat until I was in high school because it was just, you know, I was left to my own devices. And I appreciate that for, for some things. There's definitely parts of me where I'm like, well, it'd be nice to have a little bit more direction.

And I, we're kind of taking that track with our, with our daughter. I am, I'm married and I have six, soon to be seven year old, and kind of navigating that that space. My husband was raised Catholic, so we're kind of marrying together. He, he likes to call it ethnically Catholic, because he doesn't believe any of the stuff there, but so yeah, we, I, from a, Medium age started dabbling in stuff about the time when I was, you know, I'm an 80s baby.

So by the time I was in high school, it was late 90s. And all of the witchy stuff started showing up all over the Barnes and Nobles. I'm like, Ooh, what is this? And especially the tarot card section with lots of stuff to touch and play with. So I I explored that area and the pagan, which at that time, at least, you know, Wicca was the super dominant thing in, at least that was publicly available.

And so I dabbled in that for a while, and I kind of got It's like, this is fun, but I also don't really believe in this whole, you know, people try to rationalize it with, oh, it's the energy, and you're affecting the energy, and I was like, yeah, yeah, that, that makes sense, sure, and I, you know, doing the little, the little lie to yourself thing for a while.

And then I kind of walked away from it for a while and just didn't, didn't bother with my, my spiritual life for a while until I got married. And we wanted to have a community for our child to grow up in so we joined a UU congregation, Unitarian Universalist, and they have, in our particular one, a fairly decent showing of pagan folks.

And so I kind of picked that back up and we had a little bit of a range from full capital W witch to people who I think, you know, if I talked to them long enough about atheopaganism, that would be more up their alley but didn't, you know, know the words for it at that time. So it kind of came through there and then COVID hit and, you know, that community was sort of, sort of gone.

But I was on the board and I was doing all of these committees and doing all the, I was doing all the work of being in a community, but not getting the community out of it. It was also right after we had merged. So my, my group went from 40 to 60 members to 200 and some people. And I didn't know all these people I was doing the work for and it just kind of, I kind of drifted away and was I was focusing more on what is it that I do believe in, since I had spent so much time just defining what I didn't believe in, and I found, kind of simultaneously, Druidry, which is something I'm, I'm pretty involved in, is my personal path, but also atheopaganism, and actually found I found out about atheopaganism through a blog whose, I can't remember what the blog was about but there was sort of an about me page and the person was describing, yeah, I don't really, you know, believe in the metaphysical part of this, but I still think it's really helpful check out atheopaganism, I'm like, yes, thank you, I will, and signed right up on the spot and I remember I read the, the principles And I don't know what bits of the, of the pages, but I remember running to my husband and being like, oh my gosh, I found them.

I found my people. They're here, they exist. , I found it. I didn't know this was the words I needed, but I needed the word these words, you know, there's the validation of other people

Yucca: was that during lockdown or was that a little bit afterwards?

Susan: That was, I think, during lockdown 'cause I remember. We had still the the Earth centered group at my UU congregation was trying to do monthly Zoom get togethers, and I remember one of them, I was just, like, very excited to share with people that I had found both atheopaganism and the Druid organizations that I had joined at the same time, so.

Mark: Well, that's very cool. I, I always love hearing these stories 'cause people, you know, people come to us through all different kinds of ways and and there is very commonly that I found them. They, they exist. I'm not the only one I am feeling which. I actually share, even though, you know, I, I wrote the essay in the book and stuff, because when other people started showing up, I, similarly, I was like, oh, I'm not the only one, there's more of us.

This is great. So, very exciting. Well, it's great to have you with us, Susan. Thank you so much. So, You've just joined the Atheopagan Society Council and and you've been helping with the media team for a while. You're a very organized, get it done kind of person, which is really great.

Susan: Thanks.

Mark: so, I don't know, what are your thoughts about this community and where we're going and, you know, what things would you like to see happen?

You know, like new programs or any of that kind of stuff, if you've thought about it.

Susan: I think my main thing that I want to see is that I hope you're going anywhere soon, but, you know, I want to make, I want to show up so that down the road we don't trickle and fade away when, you know, you, Mark, or, you know, the, the original set of people doing the council you know, are gone or, or, you know, have to be pulled away for whatever reason.

I just don't want it to, to fade and be the thing that, that used to be really great for a while and then just nobody could keep up for it, keep up with it. And so that's something I'm interested in is, and I don't know what that looks like. I don't know what infrastructure we, you know, are going to end up with to make that be something that really sticks and stays and has standing.

I imagine it'll be Getting a lot of volunteers and getting a lot of structure in place for volunteers so that people, you know, we don't avoid burnout. And that's I know, that's one of the things that we're talking about at the council meeting coming up. But that's, that's kind of my priority. But I am excited about the idea of getting more, not necessarily content, but getting more things in place for people to do in person, even if it's not with other people, but just more of an idea I was in a sorority in college and it was a One of the things that I thought was fun about that is that there were certain things that you did and you're, you know, it's, you know, a secret and secret rituals that everybody does, but you knew that even though you went to a different school than this person that you maybe met down the street and they went to school.

different school, but they were still part of the same sorority as you. You knew they had the same ritual as you,

Mark: hmm.

Susan: and I love that we have so much open endedness of, you know, build your own adventure within atheopaganism. I think it might be fun to get something in place that is something we can all share, or those who are interested can all share, and like, I don't know if that looks like a standard ritual format or something, which is what some other organizations do, like some of the druid organizations, I mean, what they have.

Here's our official format, and I don't know that that's something that we would really want, but something that has that feel to it, that essence of, hey, here's how you can feel a part of this, On your own, but still together kind of a feel. I think more of those kinds of things would be. And I think that would help a lot of people who seem to be clamoring for structure, you know, there's definitely the people in the community who are like, I am totally happy to do this by myself and come up with my own thing.

And that's great. But then there seemed to be a lot of people who want a little more hand holding with their practice too.

Mark: Mm hmm.

Susan: So that's kind of,

Yucca: of the insights that you have that I've really appreciated is that you're a fellow parent with, with a kiddo in the same age range and it's been nice to have someone to bounce off some of that, you know, how do we make that feeling available for, for kids who are growing up in this community?

Because that's something that, for me, growing up as a pagan kid, there wasn't really anything for us. It was like, it was all the grown up stuff, and we were just sort of, you know, put it at a third wheel, right? And I think that it'd be nice for our community to have something a little bit more, more community for the kids as well.

And I know that not everybody has kids in the community, but that's something that... There definitely are, there's quite a few of us, so,

Mark: hmm. Sure.

Susan: yeah.

Yucca: something that you've brought that I've really valued, Susan.

Mark: Yeah, I mean, I don't have kids, but I, I absolutely support that. I think that having activities for families that that work for the adults as well as for the kids is something that I really would like to see us have more of.

Yucca: Mm

Susan: Especially for parents who maybe only one of them is into it. My husband is very supportive and so,

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Susan: I, I know that I'm lucky in getting the amount of participation that I do, and there's plenty of people who are parents who it's very one sided and, you know, they may not get the, the family feel, like we can, I at least can say this is what we're doing as a family, but if you don't even have that, it can, it could be really nice to have.

That feeling with other people,

Mark: Mm-hmm. Yeah. We're gonna be talking about some ideas for that at the upcoming council meeting on Wednesday.

Yucca: And those are quarterly meetings.

Mark: yes,

Yucca: We do them after each solstice and equinox.

Mark: yeah. So I'm, I'm pretty excited about some of those ideas. Some of them could be a lot of work to implement. But once they kind of got up and rolling, I think there would be so much excitement about... The activities themselves that that there would be a lot of, that that momentum would create the excitement that would create the volunteerism to keep it going, if you know what I mean. So, let's see first of all, I guess, do you have questions for us?

Susan: man I feel like I'm trying, I'm trying to think of questions you haven't already answered on the podcast before or things that

Mark: Oh, don't worry about that. Don't worry about that. You're, you're, it's okay if it's been asked before, that's, that's perfectly all right.

Susan: No, I just mean, I'm like, I feel like I'm like, no, they said they answered that question for me before because I've, I've tried to keep up on it. I don't know that I've listened to every episode, but,

Yucca: we certainly do have folks who've done every single episode, but we have a lot of people who kind of come in for a few episodes, and then out, and then people who just find the podcast, and lots of different listening styles, or people who've listened for every year. But how many years are we at now?

Mark: We're in season four,

Yucca: Yeah,

Mark: so. Yeah, I mean, that's, that's closing in on 200 episodes, I think. So it's, it's a, a chunk of work and time if you really wanna listen to all of them, which is why we, we do an episode for every Sabbath every year. We don't just say, go and listen to last year's, you know, Mayday episode.

Instead, we do a new one every year because we've got people that are new to the podcast and you know, the stuff may be new for them. Uhhuh

Yucca: Well, and it's a

Susan: And hopefully there's something changing.

Yucca: I'm curious to go back and listen and be like, did I even say remotely the same thing? Probably. But,

Mark: you know, Susan, you were talking about a shared ritual. And what immediately popped into my head is the pouring of a libation, which is a very old, I mean, the Greeks used to pour libations, you know, in honor of their gods and stuff. And I wonder if we might have something like that, that would be kind of a shared atheopagan ritual that everybody would do to do that kind of offering to the earth.

That might be kind of neat to put some, put some ritual trappings around and turn into something that we all share. Thank you.

Susan: Yeah. And maybe I'm thinking do it on a, have it as a day that's not necessarily one of the spokes of the wheel, if you will. So it's, we're not interrupting anybody's already scheduled programming for this thing, like an extra, maybe it's on Earth Day or something, you know, like a,

Yucca: Pi

Mark: Huh.

Susan: people won't already have their own set

Mark: Huh. Yeah. Yeah. I'll think about it. I love the idea. Yeah. The equivalent of an atheopagan secret handshake. Uh

Yucca: Hmm.

Susan: Another thing I've been thinking about that I would be, I would love to do, at least for myself someday, is there's been a lot of chatter in the community lately about atheopagan saints, and I'm, I recently picked up from my friend who's in one of my druid groups, a Celtic Catholic set of prayer books, and it's kind of like a daily prayer thing, and I know that, I don't know a whole lot about Catholicism, but I know there's like a saint for every day, and I think it would just be fun to have a, like a solid atheopagan devotional kind of a thing, right, with Like, oh, today is, and I was, I started collecting things, so there's a day in February, I don't remember which day, it, of course, because everything, you know, gets mushed around with, over time and history, but I want to start celebrating Fornicalia in February, and for the Thank you.

ancient god Fornax, who was in charge of baking bread in ovens. And it's like a day that you clean your oven and bake bread in it. So I'm like, Ooh, this might actually motivate me to do the thing that I don't want to do if I make it into a holiday and say, this is the thing that we're doing.

Yucca: Very practical, right?

Mark: you said Fornicalia, I went in an entirely

Susan: Yeah, that sounds fun. It's less fun than you think. But bread

Yucca: that day is in February, isn't it? The 14th? Isn't that day already in February? The 14th?

Susan: Fornacalea is like the Like the 28th or something. I'll look it up and put it in

Mark: think you may be thinking of Lupercalia.

Susan: I'm going to find it. But yeah, it's, I have it as the 17th in my calendar, but you know,

Mark: The day to clean your oven and bake bread in it. I love it.

Susan: Yeah. Now I just need another one, you know, six months hence, so that I clean it more than once a year, but that's optimistic

Yucca: Could there be, could there be one for air filters, too?

Susan: yeah, right. That can be our shared ritual is clean your filter

Mark: is replacing your, your air filters. Yeah. I love that. I, I love, I love the idea of I mean, I have so many regular observances that I do just for myself, and I never, you know, I'm, I'm very careful, I don't, I don't want to prescribe them for anybody else, you know, it's like, this definitely is a choose your own adventure kind of thing. Thank you.

Religious path. It's like build what works for you, but it would be nice to be able to offer to people, you know, here's this compilation of, I don't know, five days every month or something that are special days that are the birthday of some significant, you know, scientist or innovator or creator in history and little bit of history about him and something that you can do, pour out that libation. You know, in honor of, oh, I'm spacing on the name. I just shared on Facebook to my friend group a a biography of this woman who actually figured out that the universe was mostly made of hydrogen. And I don't remember her name, but she's responsible for us understanding what the universe is made of.

And she didn't even get any credit for it. Her somebody else published the results. You know, pretty typical for women scientists in the, in the

Susan: hmm.

Yucca: Yeah, yeah, I don't know, I don't know who that is, right? Which, itch is a problem that we don't know that.

Mark: yes, yes, well, I'm going to look it up right now. So this,

Susan: yeah, people really liked the 13 different atheopagan principles applied to the moon cycles, and that's great. It's, it's an offering, not a prescription, and, and people are just like, oh yes, thank you, give me, give me ideas.

Yucca: yeah, maybe, I mean, when you were talking about those things, like a daily Right? Like a book that you read about, your little paragraph. I know a lot of different religions do that, and things that are totally secular, too. Like just a daily something. You know, I certainly use those in my practice that are just, they're really nice, right?

It's just like this little thing, and it's like, oh, okay, cool. Just kind of think about this for the day,

Mark: little

Susan: Mm hmm.

Yucca: right? And you take it or you don't take it, but it's kind of nice to have, to see how it just fits into whatever your experience is. And even if you use the same book more than one year in a row, like, by the time you get back around to May 14th or whatever it is, like, you've had the whole experience of a year and you're gonna see it in a different way, it's gonna fit into your life in a different way.

Mark: mm hmm, Cecilia Payne,

Yucca: Pain, okay.

Mark: Cecilia Payne. Since her death in 1979, the woman who discovered what the universe is made of has not so much as received a memorial plaque. Really amazing.

Susan: Well, that's an idea for if we for, for listeners, one of the things we're thinking about maybe doing is the scout program. If we have that, we can have that as the capstone project for somebody

Yucca: Yeah.

Susan: her a plaque.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah, that would be great. Some kind of a memorial. The person who figured out what the universe is made of probably deserves some kind of recognition.

Yucca: Do podcast.

Susan: Yeah, I don't know if it's a good idea.

Yucca: And I know we have, there's not, like things aren't set in stone, but what, when you say scout, like, what are you talking about?

Susan: yeah, well at least it was sort of talked in the community about this. I think it would be fun for adults too, but like, it's hard to, as a parent for me at least my husband was an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scout program, but I know, and I know that they have made some reforms and some steps in the right direction, but for me it's still not enough to feel comfortable enrolling my daughter in it and I have reservations about Girl Scouts for different reasons.

Capitalism, and genderification, and just different things that I'm just not, there are certainly troops that I'm sure do a wonderful job, and there are certainly troops that don't but

Yucca: A lot to navigate though. Mm-hmm.

Susan: It's, yeah, it's a hard thing to navigate and I don't want to start it and have it come crashing down on her.

So, and I think we sort of chatted in the community about this being a common thing and I had posted a few things a few months ago asking people about spiral scouts, which is a more pagan oriented group. And so now the, the scuttlebutt is, you know, maybe we can be an atheopagan chapter of that. Maybe we can create our own thing, like what is and what would be a nice thing.

But a lot of parents have commented on it and said, Oh, yes, please sign me up. Dude, let's do this.

Mark: hmm.

Susan: We can't necessarily do things in person, not for logistical reasons. I'm very fortunate that I have A handful of atheopagans right near me. It's really great. I think I'm the only one with, with kids that I'm aware of, but it's not the case for a lot of folks.

Mark: Yeah, I mean, we are, we're spread pretty thinly. So, our, most of our opportunity for face to face stuff comes through mediation like this, like Zoom. But that said if there Thanks If Spiral Scouts can be done in a way where there's like, kind of a learning chapter set of activities that get sent to a family, either as a PDF or in a physical package or, you know, however that works, and then, you know, all the different families that are doing it can do that and then come together over Zoom and kind of share their experience and show off their cool thing that they made and all that, I think that would be a really wonderful thing both for kids and for parents.

It'd, you know, be a real, you know, wonderful thing to share with, with your kids, I would think.

Yucca: I know my kids are definitely excited about the idea of badges , because they see that in, in the media of, there's so many different things where it's like, where it has that setup, like, oh, the comic, you know, the, like lumber Janes for instance, and there's like badges in that and the oh, what's it called?

The, there's a Netflix show.

Susan: Hilda?

Yucca: Hilda, yes, with this, with the I'm forgetting the name of their scouts, but they had, it was named after a bird, right? And so they see that and they're always like, I want badges for that, right? So I'm sure they would be very enthusiastic about anything badge related.

Mark: I really like that the Spiral Scouts has kept the badges but gotten rid of ranks.

Yucca: Mm.

Mark: So there's, there's no hierarchy of, you know, in the Boy Scouts you start out as a tender foot and then you work your way up through all these levels until you're an Eagle Scout, right? And, you know, some of the stuff in there is very useful and wonderful stuff to do.

I mean, you have to do a community project in order to become an Eagle Scout, and those are, you know, it builds a sense of responsibility to the broader community, which is great. But the rank thing, I mean, I was big into Cub Scouts. My, my Cub Scout shirt looked like a a Latin American dictator from the 1950s.

I had so many pins and badges and medals and it was ridiculous. The thing must have weighed five pounds. And I was really into that. But when I got to Boy Scouts, suddenly it was like paramilitary training and I just didn't want any part of it. It was, you know, it's like lining up for inspection of your uniform and stuff like that.

It was, Hmm. Not, not my idea of a good time. So, no ranks in in Spiral Scouts. Just skill attainments.

Susan: That's what I think my little one would be interested in too is just the gamification of learning life skills.

Mark: Mm hmm.

Susan: That's what I would love badges too. I would love a an adult 13 principles and four pillars set of badges and you do, I don't know what it is, like you do a small project for each one and you get a badge or, I don't know, honor system.

Mark: we should absolutely do that. Just, just create a, a checklist of things that you do for each of the, the principals and then, you know, we'll have badges made and or, you know, or people could download the the... The software for the patch sewing machines, and then they could go, go to a local producer and have the patches made for them bunch of different ways we could do that.

Well, I really have my mind spinning around all this now. It's going to be terribly disappointing if we decide we can't do it. But

Yucca: Well, there's also, we can always, you know, spiral back around to ideas too, because we have to, we have to look at what, you know, what can we currently do, and what are the priorities of the community at the time, and see how things go. So, so Susan, if you were talking about the future, right, what would be your fantasy for 50 years from now?

What would you hope to see? What would atheopaganism be in, you know, 50 years? It's, it's not us on the council anymore, right? Definitely other

Mark: And I'm dead.

Yucca: Maybe, hey, you might hang in there. Maybe,

Mark: 50 years from now, I would

Yucca: maybe medical technology will change.

Mark: eleven.

Yucca: Oh, that's a great Bilbo, right? Okay.

Susan: As my, my daughter says, when you're 100, you're compost.

Yucca: so what would you hope? Just, just fantasy, right? What would, what would we look like?

Susan: I mean, I would love to see us be at the scale of, like, UU, where maybe, you know, there's not necessarily Church building on every corner kind of a thing like you get with, you know, your Baptist churches and your Catholic churches and all that kind of stuff, but I would love to have expanded enough that we have so much in person opportunity, and maybe it's not, you know, a congregation where everybody comes together on Sundays or that kind of thing, because I don't, I don't know that that's a right fit, but just to have, I don't know, your local atheopagan community center place that everybody comes together for their monthly meeting or whatever it is, but just more, just more.

I think I would just love to connect with more people, because I think there's so many, there's definitely people, at least in my life, who are happy just being atheists, and that's fine for them and that's great, they can enjoy that, but I think that there are a lot of people who I know who could benefit from something like this, and anybody that I've talked to for more than two minutes Where I've been had a chance to answer their questions about it because you just say the words and they're like, that doesn't make any sense.

Why would you do that if you're an atheist? Right? Then they're like, Oh, okay. Yeah, I can see that. I understand. I understand why you would want to do that. And I think maybe a lot of people who are trapped. who feel trapped by atheism or who feel trapped by more traditional religious practices would find peace and joy with us.

And I think, I don't know, I'm sure everybody feels this way about their own religious path, but I feel like if there were more of us, then the world would be a nicer place. But

Mark: Yeah, I like to think so. We're we're, we're, we're about people being happy and the world being a better place. It's kind of hard to go wrong with those as your touchstones. It's God, it's, you know, we're doing this strategic plan in the Atheopagan Society, which by the way we created so that atheopaganism would have a container that could persist past me or anybody else, any other individual.

You know, that's, that's why the society exists. And my book, I'm, I'm willing the rights to my book to the society. So, you know, that will always be available to atheopagans in the future. But I was saying, we're doing this strategic plan for like the next two or three years because it's hard to imagine much beyond that.

So thinking about

Yucca: So I said fantasy. Yeah.

Mark: yeah, 50 is like mind blowing. I can't even, can't even get my mind around that.

Yucca: I have a 20, Mark.

Mark: 20, 20 years. What would happen? Well, for one thing, we would have enough of us that there would be opportunities for regional gatherings in a lot of places, you know, maybe two, three regional gatherings in Europe maybe one in Australia and so more opportunities for people to meet in person and You know, because that's really the gold standard of relating, right?

I mean, it's wonderful that we have these tools to be able to communicate across distance, but there's nothing like being able to actually just sit down next to someone and have a conversation. I'm hoping for a lot more of that. Speaking of which, we have the Suntree Retreat coming up again in 2024, and we will soon start taking deposits to reserve space.

Yucca: That is less than a year away.

Mark: it looks like, yes, it's less than a year away. It's about 11 months away. And so we're working on what the content of all that's going to be. So that's locked in place. And now it's just a matter of, you know, figuring out the pricing on everything, and looks like the admission prices for, for the event and all the meals combined will be about 250. And then lodging. And lodging is as cheap as, and it can be more if you have a space in a cabin.

Yucca: Mark, we're losing you into the robot.

Mark: People should be able to do this event. How's that? Can you hear me now?

Yucca: We can hear you now. You're frozen. Yes, now we can hear you. If you'll start again with people should be able to.

Mark: Okay. Go to this event for less than 400 plus transportation.

Yucca: Okay.

Than 400 plus transportation.

Mark: yes. Yeah, that, that's, I'm sure that that's going to be possible. In fact, it'll be... It's possible to go even less if you tent camp, so it's a good, good time to go tent camping. Tent camping only costs like 20 bucks for lodging for the whole three days. So, you know, if you set up your own tent or we can accommodate I think one RV

Yucca: And that should be late summer, early fall weather wise, so that's a good time of year for it.

Mark: Yes, yes, and, and unlikely to be, to have any rain. We actually got really lucky in May of 2022 because it snowed at La Forêt the week after we were there.

Yucca: Wasn't it snowing several hours after we finally left?

Mark: I don't know

Yucca: I know I was, as I was coming, I thought there was snow and then certainly as I was coming down, headed south down by the Rockies, it was raining, which was blessed because it was, we'd been having those horrible fires in New Mexico at the time and it was just raining the whole way

Mark: Mm hmm.

Yucca: But I think that they were getting more rain than I was getting as I was driving down, or I was driving up, but down south. It's confusing. I think.

Susan: yeah,

Mark: Well, we have the big the big hall, Ponderosa. If it does, that isn't a problem, but the weather should be beautiful. I, I looked up the, the average weather in Colorado Springs that first weekend in September. I think the high average is 75 degrees or something. It's just perfect. So,

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: should be really great.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: we're already talking about what all the content of things is going to be, and we'll put out a call for presentations and workshops in a couple of months, and before we know it, we'll be in Colorado Springs.

It'll be, you know, with, with, with the gang.

Yucca: Ball's rolling. Yep.

Mark: Yeah,

Susan: excited. I've already planned for it. So

Yucca: Will the kiddo be coming?

Mark: That's great.

Susan: I think it's going to be all three of

Mark: Yeah, is your hood

Susan: they're not going to do all of the things, but

Mark: There are beautiful places to go right around there. Garden of the Gods and Rocky Mountain National Park. Just gorgeous, gorgeous places to go. So if they like hiking in the outdoors there are lots of opportunities for them to enjoy that as well.

Susan: yeah, and we might do, we might do tent

Mark: Yucca, were you saying something?

Yucca: oh, I was gonna say my, will at that time be five, almost six and eight year old will be joining me. Last time it could only be the, the older, but the, the youngest is, is excited for that rite of passage to get to go to, they call it the Ponderosa Pine, so, cause of the lodge,

Mark: Huh. Nice. It's so great having her there. That was just wonderful.

Yucca: Well, she'll be excited about the idea of more kiddos. I think there were other parents who had, who were there last time who were like, Oh, I should have brought mine. Right? But they didn't know that it was gonna, there were gonna be activities. So we'll have more activities for little people next time. So we'll have a little gang of them running around.

Mark: Huh. Yeah, I think for some of the parents, because it was a first time event and they didn't know what to expect and, you know, pagan events can be pretty raucous sometimes, they kind of wanted

Yucca: Yeah, we lost you again, Mark. You said they kind of wanted.

Mark: to do, you know, reconnaissance first, go in and check out what this was going to be like. Can you hear me now?

Yucca: Yes. We can hear you. Okay. So you were saying some parents, sometimes they can be a little ruckus y. Ruck that wasn't the word.

Mark: Well, yeah, I mean, you know, pagan festivals can be, you know, kind of uproarious and sexy and, and, you know, lots of, you know, carousing, and I think some parents were kind of leery of that and wondered what the tone of this was going to be like, and, you know, after having been there and discovered that we were able to have a good time without things sliding over into inappropriate conversation.

Boundaryless mess that that it's a fine place for their kids to come, and I, I really encourage parents to come. Tickets will be actually, I think we said that Attendance was free for those 10 years old and younger, and tickets are discounted for those 16 and younger, or under 16. So, yeah other than having to get a bed for them if they're, if you're not tent camping kids should be very affordable to bring,

Yucca: Was there anything else that you'd like to talk about or share, Susan? Anything you think that people should know about you?

Mark: anything you'd like to say to the community.

Yucca: Yeah. Mm

Susan: I guess I'd like to say, tell us what you want to see, because You know, I think you both have mentioned this before about the podcast, but it's true of the YouTube channel too, is there's only so much creativity, the same, and there's so much overlap with both of you being on the the YouTube media team as well, like, there's only so much creativity we all have, so please tell us what it is you want to know about, what you want to hear about, what kind of content You, you want to see so we can get that out there you know, I, I generated when we first, when first I first got involved with the YouTube channel, I generated this big old list of, oh, here's a bunch of ideas and now I don't know if any of them are in the comments.

Not resonating with me, or at least I'm like, oh, I'm not the right person to talk about that particular topic, but I'm like, what am I, I'm supposed to write a video. I don't know what I want to talk about. I guess that's, this is why maybe some of the days, even though I'm the glue on, my things are a little bit late later than they're supposed to get to, to the right people.

But yeah, let's, let us know what you want to hear about. I'm, I'm happy to I'm Write stuff or record stuff or be in front of people and but I don't know what it is people want to hear about so Tell us

Mark: Yeah, yeah, I really echo that, because after four years of producing these, new topics can be challenging.

Yucca: Mm hmm.

Mark: It's, when we think of one, it's like, oh, oh, a new topic! We can do that! It's very exciting. It's a little easier in October, because we've got Ancestors and Death and Dying and Decomposition and Hallows and all those things.

But for much of the rest of the year, we're... We could really use input on, you know, what kinds of things you'd like to hear about.

Yucca: Especially like in July, like, hmm, what do we talk about?

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: Because this time of year, yeah, October, and then we're going into solstice coming up, and yeah,

Mark: Mm hmm.

Yucca: busy next few months.

Mark: Well, Susan, thank you so much for joining us today. It is wonderful to have you on board and to have you be a part of the community. And

Yucca: Thanks for all the cool ideas today, too.

Susan: Thanks.

Yucca: think about.

Mark: Absolutely.

Susan: I'm good at ideas for fun things and not so much the follow through, so.

Yucca: Oh, that's not true! You make the follow through possible!

Mark: Even if that were true, it's still a really important role. You know, being, being a creative person who comes up with cool ideas, that's really important. So, we need cool ideas.

Susan: I'm hoping that, you know, eventually we're going to hit a critical mass of people in the community that somebody, you throw out an idea and somebody's going to grab it and just run, who, you know, has the skill set and. I hope. I guess that's another thing I want to tell people is if you feel like you want to contribute something, please do.

Like, I just showed up one day and was like, hey, I can help with things and now I'm on the media team and now I'm on the council. So don't be scared.

Mark: Absolutely.

Yucca: Well, thank you so much, Susan.

Susan: Thanks for having me.

Mark: Yeah. Thanks so much. We'll see you next week, folks.

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