Post-Apocalyptic has meaning on two levels: explicit and implicit.
The word apocalypse literally means revelation:
information or understanding that is received from a spiritual source. In this sense,
Paganism refers to a new worldview that is emerging as a result of the experiences
many people have had since the 1960s, of a higher, truer, more holistic way of
understanding reality than is offered by the dominant paradigm of Western Civilization.
In common usage, the term apocalypse implies a clash of opposing forces
that heralds the end of an epoch of human history and presages the beginning of a new and
different world. In this sense, Post-Apocalyptic Paganism is conceived of as a
sketch of the new lifeways that will emerge after the smoke and dust have cleared from the
cataclysmic changes that are looming just over the horizon of the future.
apocalypse means both revelation and revolution.
We mean to allude to
both senses of the term.
The Psychedelic Revolution
In the first or
explicit sense, we acknowledge the validity of the experience that a sizable
percentage of the baby boom generation went through during the decade of
1964–1974, with resounding echoes that still vibrate though human culture across the
world. Often referred to as the psychedelic revolution, this collective
spiritual awakening was, we submit, as valid and important an event to human society as
the advents of Buddha and Christ or the discoveries of Galileo and Copernicus were to
Revelation was a widespread experience of expanded consciousness in which the
artificial limits of the finite ego were transcended and a more inclusive glimpse of
Reality was attained by millions.
The wave of reaction
and persecution that followed in the wake of this cultural experience was in many ways
a parallel to the violent suppression of the early Christians by the Roman state, and the
later persecution of heretics and witches by the Romanized
that grew out of the revelation of the 1960s has been suppressed by the Amerikan
Empire in a ruthless campaign of extermination that amounts to virtual cultural
genocide. Like the early followers of the Nazarene Carpenter, participants in the
psychedelic revelation have been murdered, imprisoned, and driven into exile. But, despite
the dominant cultures attempts to stamp it out, the Rainbow Vision still exerts a
powerful appeal throughout the world.
The New Paradigm
In the second or
implicit sense, we refer to a collective recognition among many of those who
were affected by the Revelation of the 1960s, that we are on the brink of a new
paradigm that is emerging into human society a new gestalt consciousness
that will transform human social and planetary relations radically, ushering in a
worldwide voluntary / cooperative economy and wiping out the authoritarian structures that have
gripped the world with an iron hand for the last six thousand years.
recognition is that the world is on the brink of unprecedented changes which promise to
shake the very foundations of reality as we have understood it heretofore: political,
social, environmental, military, scientific and technological realms of human life are all
trembling on the brink of massively transformative changes.
The events that loom
ahead, and indeed are already underway, are cloaked by serious threats to the continued
security and survival of the human race and other life on this planet. Yet behind the dark
clouds that appear on our near-future horizon, the prescient among us can discern the
emergence of a new paradigm that could provide us with safe passage through the
crises that lie ahead, into a new world of peace, health, and unity for all sentient
beings. The seeds of this new vision were sown by the Rainbow Warriors of the 60s,
and the emerging paradigm reflects many of the elements of the worldview known as
that predominated among pre-industrial peoples.
we utilize the revelation of our time, to make the life - affirming revolution a
reality? This is the question we propose to discuss in this paper. The answers we will
propose to this question will involve the synthesis of spiritual and political energies
which we are calling Post-Apocalyptic Paganism.
is a term that is used in widely disparate senses. Generally, it refers to the traditional
religious beliefs of indigenous peoples. Here, we will use the term to describe an
approach to spirituality that is based on reality on Nature and Life
rather than on abstract concepts of Deity.
pagan is etymologically related to the Latin words pagus, the
countryside or rural areas, and paganus, a peasant. The term came into use during
the European dark ages as a pejorative reference to the rural population that
maintained allegiance to the old religion.
The word was used by
Roman Christians who had established their new religion by force, and whose center of
strength was in the cities. Christianity was the mandatory religion of the urban
population and the ruling classes, and Paganism was the traditional religion of the rural
peasants who rebelliously adhered to their traditional ways.
The ancient Pagan
religions included a wide variety of beliefs and practices in the different lands and
cultures of the world, but certain common themes united them and serve to distinguish them
from the imperialist, patriarchal religions of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic (JCI)
These common elements deification of Nature and the feminine, and an animistic
and pantheistic respect for Earth and all living things have been identified
with by numerous modern groups that have chosen the terms pagan or
neo-pagan to describe their religious beliefs.
Instead of basing
their spirituality on an abstract deity defined as separate from nature (a
creator distinct from the creation), Pagans relate to the presence
of life in all of its varied manifestations as an actual, perceptible presence
of Deity. In the words of William
Blake, all that lives is holy.
The Gender of Deity
differs from that of the JCI tradition, firstly, in the idea of
gender. The JCI deity is conceived of as male, and the culture that has developed
from this ruling archetype relegates women to a social status of subjugation to males.
In contrast, Pagan
ideas of deity are focused on the idea of the female as mother, the source and
nurturer of the universe. Ancient Pagan cultures honored women and tended to be matrilineal
(i.e. family descent was traced from mother to daughter) and matriarchal (i.e.
collective decisions were facilitated primarily by women).
are largely hierarchical, authoritarian, and competitive. They are
characterized by distinct class divisions a small ruling class that enjoys wealth,
power and privilege and a much larger disenfranchised class that lives in poverty, toil
and drudgery. These conditions exist in all of the modern industrialized nations,
capitalist and socialist alike.
In contrast, Pagan
cultures were characterized by common tillage of lands, community sharing of resources and
labor, and a generally egalitarian and humane social attitude.
A similar distinction
can be seen in attitudes toward sexuality. JCI-based cultures repress sexuality and malign
it as sinful, while Pagan cultures tended to view sexual energy and activities
as sacramental, as manifestations of the holy creative life force.
nature show the same contrast. Urban oriented JCI faiths teach that Man is Master,
Conqueror and Owner of the Earth, of nature and other living beings, having the right to
use, consume, and destroy them at will.
Pagans respect nature
as the embodiment of the Goddess, the Great Mother, the womb from which we spring, source
and substance of Life.
The JCI-based belief that nature is created for Mans use laid the groundwork for the
Western scientific / technological view of nature as an inert, lifeless collection of
raw materials and resources rather than a living Being of Whom we
are an integral part. These attitudes have led to the arrogant and thoughtless destruction
of the environment, a continuing pattern throughout the history of Western civilization
that now threatens us with global catastrophe.
Mother Earth and Father Sun
The symbols that
relate most universally to Pagan spirituality are Mother Earth and Father Sun. Through
these twin archetypes we will examine the key ideas of Post - Apocalyptic Paganism
and its relevance to the major struggles of our time.
The Pagan idea of
Nature as Mother is rooted deeply in our language and culture. It has survived despite its
suppression by the dominant JCI archetypes throughout the thousands of years of their
The Latin word mater,
mother, shares a common root with the English words “matter” and “material,”
substance of the physical world. Mother Earth and Mother Nature
are common idioms which reflect our instinctual recognition of Gaia, the Earth
perceived as a living being, and the living material presence of the interconnected
web of life, which was personified by the ancients as the Goddesses Isis, Diana,
Persephone, Kali, etc.
In a larger
cosmological sense, the Great Mother includes all matter in the universe. She was
personified by the ancient Egyptians as the Goddess Nut or Nuit, goddess of the
night sky, Whose body is composed of all the stars of infinite space. She
represents the Pagan view of the universe as a conscious entity, alive in all of
Her parts, in whom we live and move and have our being in contrast to
the Western view of the cosmos as a random collection of blind forces and inert elements.
Paganism is in
agreement with modern science in analyzing the universe as being composed of matter
and energy. It goes on to personify Matter (Mother) and Energy (Father) as
transcendental archetypes with real, living presence not separate from ourselves,
as the JCI God is conceived to be, but forming the very substance, life, and
consciousness of our human selves and all other life.
As the Earth and
Matter are related to as Mother, so the Sun and Energy are Father. The Sun is the creative
source of all life on the planet; all forms of organic life depend on solar energy for
sustenance and survival. The beams of solar force that enter the matter of
Earth are related to in Pagan theology as manifestations of the Father, phallic beams of
creative love that quicken the womb of the Mother.
The Pagan conception
of Our Father the Sun as the transcendental worshipper and lover of the Earth /
Nature Goddess provides a guiding archetype for a reformed masculinity free of the
taint of patriarchal abusiveness. An equality exists in the relation between God and
Goddess, Father Sun and Mother Earth, Matter and Energy. They are equally vital
constituents of our being.
In contrast with the
JCI view of matter as evil and God as
good, the Pagan views both archetypes as holy the relation between them
defined by mutual love, desire and worship.
As well as our own
Sun, center of the Solar System in which our planet Earth is located, the archetype of the
Solar Father includes the energy that pours forth from the core of every star throughout
infinite space and eternal time. In this sense He is known by the Egyptian name Hadit, consort and
mate of Nuit.
Nuit is the Star
Goddess Whose body stretches to the limits of the cosmos; Hadit is the living energy of
every individual star throughout Her infinite Self and the energy at the core of
every atom that makes up the matter of the universe.
On a cosmic scale, it
could be imagined that the universe came into being as a result of the passionate love of
the archetypal couple the big bang that gave birth to our universe a
relation between God and Goddess forms a model for human social relations love,
mutual respect, recognition of the innate divinity of the other and prescribes the
supreme method of religious worship: the sacrament of sexual love for every
woman is an incarnation of the Goddess, every man of the God.
human body is a temple (the temple of the Holy Spirit as the Christian
Bible says in I Corinthians 6:19), and the organs of generation are the sanctum
sanctissimum, the holiest inner sanctuary of that temple.
Unity vs. Duality
worldview of the JCI tradition holds that the life and consciousness that we know as our
self is absolutely separate and distinct from the creative source or
Paganism, like the
philosophies of the Orient, teaches instead that the Creator and the Creation are one.
In the Pagan
worldview, the universe all that is or can be is in reality one being,
alive and conscious both in its totality (the Macrocosm) and in each of its
discrete parts (the Microcosm). The appearance of separation is an illusion caused by the
focusing of consciousness through the limited media of the physical sense organs.
On the universal or
Macrocosmic level, or the level of transcendent unity, there is a universal
consciousness (the world soul of Hinduism) that exists throughout, but is
not limited to, all of time and space. This aspect of the life of the universe that is
conscious in and as itself is the I Am That I Am of the Hebrew Bible.
Each individual living
being shares a common identity with this Universal Self of All Life. The individual human
self is not a distinct and separate creation, as JCI tradition supposes; it is a
cell of a larger organism as the cells of our bodies are individual
entities on their own level, yet are integral parts of the whole body.
The belief in the
absolute separateness of the ego constitutes idolatry the worship of a
false god, an unreal image.
The worship of the Ego
and the attempt to establish it as a permanent fixture constitutes Black Magic
corrupt spiritual practices whose sole aim is the acquisition of ego-centered
power. These practices often involve blood sacrifice rituals, which are prevalent in the
mainstream religions of the JCI tradition as well as in their evil and averse counterparts
like Satanism. Blood sacrifice is an essential part of the early Hebrew religion (see the
Book of Leviticus for evidence of this), and it forms the symbolic basis of the
Christian doctrine of the vicarious atonement the sacrifice of Christ
as the lamb of God, a ransom to redeem condemned souls. (Are
you washed in the Blood of the Lamb?)
doctrine of original sin is likewise symptomatic of the false belief in the
fundamental separation of the ego or personal self from other life and from the Creator.
Pagan conception, human life, and life in all its other forms, is holy and worthy of the
highest respect, as it is essentially one with the Universal Source.
biblical fall of man Adam and Eves banishment from the Garden of
Eden is symbolic of the descent of consciousness from full awareness of cosmic
unity, into the illusion-world in which we seem to be bound to finite locations in space
salvation involves awakening from the dreamlike trance we have fallen into
the attainment of illumination or enlightenment, anamnesis as
Phillip K. Dick calls it, like a sleeper rising
from a nights dreams to the light of day.
The collective guilt
complex of the original sin doctrine the belief that our essential
selves are somehow fundamentally flawed or evil reflects traumatic
experiences the human race endured during the Pleistocene ice age, when massive glaciers
covered the formerly fertile forests and plains of Earths temperate zones.
golden age of human life on Earth lasted for a million years or more a
timespan of which the 10,000 year period we know as history is but a tiny
fraction. During this time, humans roamed freely over the Earth in wandering tribal
families, partaking of the abundance that the wild forests and fields of a generous Nature
provided, surviving on a primarily vegetarian diet of fruits, nuts, seeds, grains and
In those days (the
Paleolithic period), our ancestors lived in peace with each other and with our
fellow animal species, enjoying a pacific, pastoral and communal lifestyle. Their
spiritual life involved the worship of Nature as the Great Mother with ecstatic
communal sexual rites and the ritualistic use of psychedelic plants.
communication with little use of the spoken or written word (telepathy) was the norm for
the human race in that time, before the changes began that led to the way of life we now
call civilization i.e. for the vast majority of the time human beings
have lived on Earth. When we began to lose touch with our ancient pre-glacial Pagan
worldview, and started traveling the path of Egoism, we lost the gift of telepathy and
other spiritual powers.
The traditions of
Shamanism teach that humans once had the ability to move freely between Earth and the
spiritual world a symbolic remembrance of the free and open reality we
The loss of conscious
telepathy and cognate psychic powers is symbolically depicted in the classical tale of the
Tower of Babel in the Bible (Genesis II: 1-9).
Telepathy is still a
fact of life for humans, but it now occurs subconsciously it is inhibited by social
conditioning. In other words, we are telepathic, but we refuse to admit it to ourselves
and to each other. The part of our minds
we call the subconscious is used as a private basement where we stuff our
guilty secrets rather than the sacred medium of telepathic communion which
it once was, and could be again.
We must overcome
anti-telepathic conditioning to regain psychic wholeness and true mental health.
The struggle against
this conditioning is a major part of the spiritual path of Post-Apocalyptic Paganism. The
sacraments of Tantric sexuality and entheogenic psychochemistry (the serious
spiritual use of psychedelics) are important elements of this work. These spiritual
revolutionary techniques can awaken the Long Memory within us and give us glimpses
of the Way its Supposed to Be. The Church of Gnostic Luminism is organizing to work toward
these goals and to establish legal recognition of these Sacraments.
In the natural world,
animals and plants have sentience (contrary to the teachings of some human egocentric
philosophies) and communicate telepathically. As we overcome our cultural
counter-telepathic conditioning and begin to regain some of the pre-glacial consciousness
our species formerly enjoyed, we can share increasingly in telepathic communion with the
other living beings that share our world.
The memory of the
prehistoric, communal, telepathic period of human life is deeply imbedded in our
collective unconscious. We carry within our genes a living memory of our former way of
life, and it is reflected in our myths, legends and folk tales, appearing in such guises
as the Biblical garden of Eden, the Summerland of European
Paganism, and the dreamtime of the Australian Aborigines.
changes in the global climate during the Pleistocene glaciations led to our fall
from grace into the brutal lifestyle of the Neolithic period characterized by
fear and fighting, aggressive competitiveness for dwindling resources, and the eating of
The drinking of
fermented alcohol was an accidental discovery during this period, resulting from the
hoarding of the remnants of disappearing vegetable substances that were preserved in
honey. Ego enhancing
alcoholic beverages gradually replaced ego dissolving psychedelic plants as
celebratory intoxicants, and the nature of religious ideation correspondingly shifted from
the archetype of the benign Mother Goddess to that of the cruel, angry, jealous and
war-loving male deity.
The changes brought
about by these traumatic events led to a species-wide psychological reaction and gave rise
to cultural schizoid tendencies. These symptoms have marked human history with
behavioral disturbances like the war, economic disparity, and ecological destruction that
we have come to accept as normal in the brief memory span that we know of as
modern, historical time. The post-glacial
Neolithic Revolution brought about a shift from a nomadic, communal
food gathering economy to one based on settled agriculture. Lands became
property instead of the shared bounty that they had always been. Agriculture
required intensive labor, which the strong forced the weaker to do; thus, slavery
and government were born.
thought became dominant over intuitive/holistic creativity under the pressure
of the increasing complexity of agriculturally based settlements. A chain reaction began
of dominance and submission relationships, authority, hierarchy, power lust and greed for
wealth leading Eventually to the growth of cities, armies, empires and
nation-states spawning technology, war, and ecological destruction.
We are still suffering
from the effects of the last ice age a sort of species-wide post-traumatic
stress disorder that threatens to push us over the edge into a worldwide suicidal
Paganism offers the human race a form of collective therapy that can lead us through
the perils of the present and into a future in which the Edenic paradise of our ancestors
in to the revelation that has been received in our time, we can precipitate the revolution
that will transform the world from its present chaotic state, into a condition
conducive for peace, love, happiness, and ecological harmony.
Agenda for Change
recognitions that will make our vision of the future a reality include the following
principles, which will form the basic platform of the Church
of Gnostic Luminism:
beings are related. We are all one family, siblings who have been brought forth by
the same Mother and Father. Like it or not, we are all in this together, and we bear the
responsibility of sisters and brothers for one another. We must bring this realization to
bear in both personal and social relations.
All Earth-born people
are equal citizens of the Universe, equal co-heirs of Earth and Her constituent elements.
one can justly be denied fair and equal access to the
resources of nature necessary for survival. Any society that deprives even a single person of access to food,
shelter, clothing, medical care, or education, is a criminal society. A cooperative
economy could easily provide abundance for all Earth citizens with the technology that
exists today. There is no moral excuse for our failure to do so.
decisions are only legitimate if they have the fully informed agreement and consent
of each person affected by them. Authority imposed without consent is
tyranny. The tyranny of illegitimate authority can rightly be resisted by any means
necessary. We must learn and practice the techniques of voluntary cooperation and
consensus making. Social arrangements that are enforced by coercion by violence and
the threat of violence, or by threat of deprivation of the necessities of life are
morally unjustifiable and will lead inevitably to tyranny and oppression. Such
arrangements must be opposed and resisted at every level of society.
abandon the corrupt practice of eating the flesh of dead animals. Humans are not
designed to be carnivorous; we are designed by Nature to eat fruits, nuts, grains, seeds
and herbs. The animal-slaughtering industry brutalizes our society and deadens us to the
natural empathy and compassion for our fellow beings that can aid our spiritual evolution.
A vegetarian diet is more healthful and more economical, enabling us to feed more people
with a smaller amount of farmland.
sacraments must be made available to those who choose to use them. The persecution
of those who follow the spiritual path that
Patanjali called the
Yoga of Light-Containing Herbs (see the Yoga Sutras,
is just as much a crime as were the inquisitions and witch burnings of the Dark Ages.
Proper use of entheogens can aid individuals to achieve transcendental states of
consciousness that can be of infinite benefit both to their own spiritual development and
to the evolution of society as a whole. (Accurate education and training is essential for
the use of these sacraments; their misuse can be dangerous use of psychedelics for
partying is foolish and risky.)
technology must honor and protect the animals and plants that share our planet. To
the degree that it fails to do so, our technology is a criminal assault on our fellow
Earth dwellers, and its existence cannot be tolerated. We have the knowledge and ability
to create fully Earth sensitive, life honoring technology. Some examples:
systems and agriculturally based (i.e. hemp)
biomass plants can be used to provide power. The burning of fossil fuels must be
ended it is the single most serious cause of ecological disruption, the direct
cause of acid rain, global warming, and pollution of air and water. Nuclear power plants
are also an unnecessary danger when free solar energy can be transmuted into electricity
by a wide variety of methods, from the ancient windmill to the latest photo-voltaic cell.
Hydrogen fuel cells
can be used to power vehicles, with pure water as the only exhaust.
(e.g. from hemp, our most efficient
source) can replace petrochemicals for the manufacture of biodegradable plastics and
synthetics, and for clean burning fuels. Cellulose from hemp can be used to make paper
without the toxic chemical pollutants used in wood pulp papermaking, so that we can have
paper without consuming forests.
that are not ecologically safe can be moved away from Earths fragile biosphere, into
interplanetary space, where unlimited free solar energy is available and toxic wastes can
be safely disposed of by tossing them into the Sun. We have the technological capability
to expand human living and working space beyond the limits of the planet. If a small
percentage of world military expenditures were redirected to space development, we could
have mining colonies and domed biosphere habitats on the moon and in the asteroid belt
within a few years, and Mars and the Jovian moons need not be beyond our
children’s reach. Orbiting habitats (space colonies) are also vital to
humankinds future. The new frontier awaits us. Go up, young wo/man, go
plants can be used to irrigate the deserts and turn them back into the fertile plains and
forests they once were. Again, this could be done with the expenditure of a small
percentage of present military budgets.
hydroponics gardens can be built in the inner cities, using abandoned buildings, with
solar collectors and fiber optic cables to bring sunlight into the interior a few
such agricultural factories could feed an entire city.
These are a few
sample ideas; many more can be developed. The Church of
Gnostic Luminism seeks volunteers to share information and work toward achievement of
sketch of the goals and ideals of Post-Apocalyptic Paganism is offered as food for
thought, in the hope that it will stimulate meditation and the thirst for revelation in
the reader revelation which is readily available to those who will open their minds
and hearts to the living presence of Mother Earth and Father Sun.
May this Revelation
bloom anew in a fresh generation, and may it inspire fresh dedication to the worldwide
Revolution by which the lifeways of peace, love and harmony can be brought again into
prominence on our fair planet.