Is modern Paganism sustainable?
Our traditions are only now beginning to be tested beyond the lifetimes of the original founders and those directly taught by them. With a wildly diverse number of beliefs, Gods and Goddesses, sacred texts and forms, will our practices have relevance for those born in a completely different context than the elders who established them?
Will modern Paganism grow, deepen and flourish for many generations as a strong, meaningful alternative to the major players now dominating the world’s religions? Or will it simply end up being a footnote to our turbulent historical milieu?
I believe that our ability to survive and thrive as a viable spiritual path for the future depends in large measure on whether we have a wise, competent, skilled and well-trained clergy.
We need a dedicated clergy that is recognizable, both from within the many traditions of Paganism, as well as to mainstream government and religious institutions. We need highly professional, accomplished, seasoned scholars, leaders, teachers, and chaplains who have been educated at the graduate level – in a Pagan learning environment, by Pagans, and for Pagans.
Of course, many of our traditions are building their own internal systems for training future leaders, and, certainly, such programs are important in ensuring the endurance of their particular customs.
But please — let us not repeat the insularity of Christianity’s denominational systems, which have contributed to centuries of misunderstanding and bloodshed.
Instead, it seems to me that an Earth-based spirituality should see the obvious advantage of the cross-pollination of ideas and practices for its budding Priests and Priestesses. Instead of cultivating a monoculture within each tradition, I think we should encourage diversity and exploration.
Consider how much richer our own traditions could become if, say, our Reclaiming tradition Priestesses and Heathen godhis were also fluent in “Dark Green Religion,” experienced in Voudon, animism and Druid rituals, and formally trained as grief counselors and dispute mediators.
But how can this be accomplished?
If you subscribe to my newsletter (I hope you do!), you may recall that back in March, I wrote that I was honored.. okay, blown-away thrilled…. to have been chosen to join the Board of Directors at Cherry Hill Seminary.
Cherry Hill Seminary is the world’s first and only graduate-level education for Pagans of all traditions. Cherry Hill Seminary offers online distance-learning classes, regional workshops and intensive retreats in religious studies and topics at a professional and graduate level. It is where Pagans from all walks can be nurtured and taught the topics so vital to a sustainable Pagan ministry. We offer courses within a degree program, and also on an ad hoc, elective basis.
Because we are not a “bricks and mortar” university, our students are from all over the United States, as well as other English-speaking countries. This means that as long as they have Internet access, qualified individuals can receive a quality higher education not available anywhere else. Many of our students are already accomplished professionals who are ready to deepen their Pagan practice. They seek both the theory and practical skills which will make them more effective in their communities.
But Cherry Hill Seminary, like all other institutions of higher learning, needs more than student tuition to support its existence. It needs you and me.
So I am asking you to join us as we make history. I am asking you to become a donor to Cherry Hill Seminary.
If you believe, as I do, that the time has come for the next generation of Gaia-loving men and women to have access to higher education that honors their beliefs; that teaches them critical, sometimes complex skills for serving their communities; that hones them into outstanding, creative leaders and scholars, please give as generously as you can.
Simply click on the Cherry Hill Seminary button in the left column of this page, or else click right here, to be directed to the donation page.
Your gift will change lives now, today, by ensuring that qualified students who desire this training have it available at an affordable price.
But please know also that your gift will ultimately help shape the legacy of today’s Paganism. This is an opportunity for weaving enormously important money magic. You can make a gift for our future generations by supporting their mission. Please pay it forward.