The Unitarian-Universalists (of which I am a member) recently held their annual convention/business meeting the General Assembly. This year one of the featured speakers was Margot Adler (a self-proclaimed “UU Pagan”), author of the seminal book on modern Paganism “Drawing Down The Moon” (which she claims she has finished updating during the talk). The talk focuses on the growth and future of modern Paganism, and she wonders if our explosive growth has hindered community building and dampered much of the “rebellious” spirit of the early closer-knit community.
“Is there a downside to paganism growing so quickly? The movement was long based on personal connections, on community, on touching. Adler says now, through the Internet, there are many solitary pagans who have never experienced a great teacher or had deep, intimate conversations with other pagans. ‘How do we retain our core, our fire, our passion, and our rebelliousness that was what brought a lot of us into this movement?’ Adler asks. ‘I came because I wanted a religion without dogma that was open and ecstatic and had fire and passion but still had intellectual integrity. I want to make sure keep our fire and passion, and that’s a real battle.'”
During the talk, Adler jokes about how she is uncomfortable with how “respectable” she has become. She seems genuinely surprised by the growth of Norse Paganism, Druidism, and Gay Pagan groups while bemoaning how authoritarian and de-energized goddess and feminist-oriented groups have become in her experience. On the whole it was interesting to hear how much some of her views have changed since “Drawing Down’s” first publication. You can see the entire talk, here.