I left Unitarianism in the end because of archetypes. The archetype that fits me the best is that of the witch, and it’s an archetype that sits uncomfortably in the Unitarian path. (The combination may work for others: didn’t work for me.)
I left Christianity because of its exclusivist views on salvation and the institutional homophobia.
And when I left Paganism for a while in 2007, it was because of it being excessively heterocentric / heteronormative, and other reasons too lengthy to get into here.
I’m still friends with several Unitarians, either in person or on social media. Last September two of our longest-standing Unitarian friends from the UK came to visit us in Canada and we had a great time together. A quote from one of them found its way into the book too.
Although Unitarianism / Unitarian Universalism wasn’t my path, I still value many of their ideas and values. They’re green, they’re LGBT+ inclusive or at least welcoming, they were the first to ordain women ministers (the Universalists in 1860, the English Unitarians in 1904), among the first to welcome LGBT+ people (1970 in the UK). Many 19th century Unitarian ministers were opposed to slavery, most notably Theodore Parker. They don’t believe in original sin. They frequently refer to God as She or Mother (and have done since the 19th century). They respect other faiths as valid paths to the divine. They characterize their path as a free and responsible search for meaning. They also have really nice hymns. And they welcome Pagans and have an organization for pantheist, Pagan, and Earth-based spirituality. Iolo Morgannwg, whose prayer is used by OBOD Druids, was a Unitarian. There are many connections between Unitarian and Pagan ideas.
There are many familiar cultural aspects of Christianity such as carol services and harvest services that everyone finds charming. But underneath these charms there lies an austere and often excluding faith. One that has harmed LGBT+ people, excluding them from ministry and community, telling them they have no worth; forced Indigenous Peoples into residential industrial schools, and promoted colonialism. One that’s happy to wedge five solid pounds of very expensive bling on the head of an unelected and obscenely wealthy man. And that’s just the established church: then there’s all the fundamentalist and evangelical churches who are even worse.
Well I’m not sure that Paganism is my “new” path any more as I’ve been a Pagan for 38 years now… but what keeps it fresh? Seeing the beauty of nature, and when humans interact with nature harmoniously. The changing round of the seasons. Seeing the trees burst into leaf and the flowers coming out every year.
I love the Spring, it’s one of my favourite seasons. Spring in England starts in February with the first snowdrops and lasts until the end of May when the bluebells are over.
In Canada, signs of Spring are hard to find in February as everything is still covered in snow, but some trees do start budding and you might see the occasional brave Robin (the North American Robin, not the same bird as the European Robin).
May morning seems an appropriate time to start a new writing project. It’s one of the four quarter days of the year, when traditionally there were fairs (often hiring fairs) and celebrations. I always feel like Imbolc / Candlemas is a great time to start groups — when the green shoots are mostly still gestating in the earth (depending on where you live—in Canada everything is still covered in snow).