THE WONDER explores perspectives, rituals, and observances of modern, naturalistic, Earth-revering Neopagan religious paths. Naturalistic Pagans embrace the world as understood by science (that is, without gods, magic, or the supernatural), and enhance our lives with myth, ritual and activism. Hosted by Mark Green (author of ATHEOPAGANISM: An Earth-Honoring Path Rooted in Science) and Yucca (formerly of The Pagan Perspective YouTube channel, and of the Magic and Mundane channel). All opinions are those of the speaker, not necessarily those of The Atheopagan Society. Named #3 in the top 20 Pagan podcasts for 2023! https://blog.feedspot.com/pagan_podcasts/
Monday Nov 21, 2022
Monday Nov 21, 2022
Monday Nov 21, 2022
Remember, we welcome comments, questions and suggested topics at thewonderpodcastQs@gmail.com
Yucca: Welcome back to the Wonder Science-based Paganism. I'm one of your hosts, Yucca,
Mark: and I'm the other one Mark.
Yucca: And today is very exciting cuz we are actually going to be interviewing you, mark, about a project that you've been working pretty hard on and has just passed a a
Mark: m. Right. I've been writing the, the second atheo paganism book.
And, or, or, well, I'll get into details about exactly what it is, but I've been writing that for a year and I just completed the manuscript and I'm ready to submit to Llewellyn the publisher. Mm-hmm. . Which is good cuz it's due on November 30th, so it needed to happen pretty soon. Hey, you're. Yeah, a little bit.
Yucca: That's, that's impressive. Yeah. . So let's start with you know what, well, first of all, this is your second book, right? It's
Mark: actually my third. Your third, okay. I have a collection of poetry that I published in 2020 called A Red Kiss. Mm-hmm. . But this is my second nonfiction.
Yucca: Okay, so can you tell us a little bit about what it is?
Does it have a set title?
Mark: It has a working title. Okay. I, I hope that Llewellyn will find that to be an acceptable title. It's called “Round We Dance: Joyous Living Around the Year and Throughout Life.” Mm. Okay. And so it's a little bit different than the first AOP Paganism book. In the first book, there were essentially two sections, and the first one was kind of about my exploration of what a religion is and what it does for us and the science behind that and kind of leads up to.
Leads up to the question of, okay, well if we were gonna create a a religion tomorrow, what would that look like? How would we incorporate all scientific knowledge and critical thinking and still have those beneficial effects, those good feelings that come from rituals and celebrations and community and all that stuff?
So that's the first section of the first. And then the second section is about an implementation of those ideas, which is atheism. Mm-hmm. . So it explains about the principles and the four sacred pillars and the wheel of the year, and a ritual format and all that kind of stuff. So that's the first book, the one that's already out and that I'm sure a number of our listeners have this book is a little bit more general in its audience.
Okay. The i, the idea here is that, You know, there's this flood of people who are leaving institutional religions. Mm-hmm. , the, the number is just climbing with every passing year. The number of people that self identify as Christian in the United States plummeted by 12% over the last 10 years. Wow. So, and, and what most of those people are becoming is not some other religion.
They're becoming what are known as nuns, n o n E S. Mm-hmm. , not, not nuns, like Catholic nuns, , nuns. Like, I'll have none that, yeah. Right. And. The nuns subdivide into several categories, some of whom are kind of hardcore anti theists. Many of them feel very burned by their religious experience and angry and heard about that.
You have other people who are just disinterested and feel like the values of institutional religions like Christianity don't resonate with themselves. They don't, they're not into the, the biases and the mm-hmm. . Shaming and all that kind of stuff, and many of those folks are looking for something else.
They're looking for something that adds meaning to their life, that builds community that they can share with. That's something that they can share with their families. That gives them a sense of purpose and focus and the kind of pleasure that comes from having rituals in your life. Right? Mm. and Atheopagan is an answer to that, but this book is more about, the book talks about Atheopagan is a lot, but, and it explains the Atheopagan ritual format and the Wheel of the Year.
Mm-hmm. . But it's really meant for that broader category of people who. Feel something's missing and are working to find something that will infuse their life with more of that sense of meaning and specialness and wonder.
Yucca: Mm-hmm. . Okay. So do you feel that it would be something valuable to people who do identify as Aio Pagans as well?
Mark: I do, because it's a much more how to kind of book. Mm. The the first book was much more theoretical. This book has sections on, you know, examples of different kinds of healing rituals and different kinds of rites of passage and different kinds of ways to celebrate the holidays of the Wheel of the year.
And A, a section on ritual arts, which includes things like making siles and talismans and spell jars and handle magic and all those kinds of things as well. So there's a lot more sort of practical roll your sleeves up stuff in this book that I think will really be of use to people in the Atheopagan community.
Yucca: That sounds like so much fun to write.
Mark: It was, it was, and that section that I just mentioned was particularly fun. Mm-hmm. , all the, the different, you know, the, the different sorts of witchy, ritual arts that people use in the course of implementing their, their ritual practice. Right. Because they're fun even when they're even when.
Meant to observe something very solemn. There is a pleasure in implementing those kinds of practices. Mm-hmm. , which is part of why we do them right, and why I offer them to people that don't have a ritual practice now as an example of things that they could do. Mm-hmm. .
Yucca: Hmm. So you mentioned that Atheopagan is mentioned quite a bit in the book.
Yes. But do think this is a book. Somebody could give to a relative or a friend who has a religious practice that isn't necessarily agonism, but still benefit from your
Mark: book. Sure. So long as that person's religious path isn't one that is exclusive mm-hmm. , there are a lot of religious paths out there that say, you have to follow our path and no other path, but that, right.
Mm-hmm. and, you know, it's sinful or wrong, or, Erroneous or whatever it is. If you do anything else. I think there's a lot of activities in here and a lot of ideas in this book that can add to people's enjoyment of life. Mm-hmm. , and I think anybody who is interested in kind of a deeper inquiry in living as a human.
Could enjoy this book.
Yucca: Mm. Okay. So maybe the, the friend that is a Pagan, but you know, they're kind of into the God thing or the fairies or that sort of thing. They still have a lot to to get out of your book. I
Mark: think so. Yeah. You know, there may be a couple of parts where they kind of bristle a little bit because I talk about critical thinking and, you know, I have my own position on that.
Right. But but by and large, you know, The, the tutorial on how to make a si that'll work for anybody. Whatever they believe about Gods. So, yeah. You know, I, I think all that stuff could, it, it, it'll still be a, a helpful compendium of information for people, I think, to kind of a one stop place to go and look at how to do these things.
Yucca: Hmm. Okay. And so was there a favorite section of
Mark: You know, I have to say that ritual arts section was really fun to write. Just all the different cool witchy things that we like to do, you know, making potions and working with You know, with written messages and ceiling them with ceiling wax and, you know, or burning them in a cauldron, cauldron, magic, things like that.
That you don't have to believe in anything supernatural about. And I'm very clear, like in the section on divination, I, I say at the outset, we have no evidence that fortune telling really exists. Right. But we do know that our subconscious minds exist. Mm-hmm. , and we can learn a lot more about the current situation, the present by using complex symbol systems to sort of tease out what the thinking underneath our thinking is through the process of using these divination tools.
And once again, it's a really cool, evocative aesthetic thing to do. But it also can have a. A real emotional and spiritual value. Mm. So writing that section was a lot of fun.
Yucca: Nice. Well, it seems like a pretty, a pretty big process to write. Not just that section, but all of the sections. Was there, were there any insights that really ended up surprising you that you had in your process of creating this
Yeah, I'm, I'm wondering about that. One of the things that I realized is that in talking about the Wheel of the Year mm-hmm. , you know, there's a, there's a little section at the bottom of the discussion of the Wheel of the Year for people in the Southern Hemisphere mm-hmm. , because everything's flipped by six months.
Right. Their winter solstice is in June. Right. And what occurred to me is that in the course of describing the names that I've given to the stations on the Wheel of the Year for, if you're in the Southern hemisphere, it really doesn't make any sense to call the 31st of October Mayday. Yeah, that's, that doesn't work very well.
So, so I renamed it Summer Tide for the Southern Hemisphere Summer Tide. Okay. Which I think can work a lot better. Yeah. and I also renamed in, in the first Atheopagan book and in, in the writings on the blog and all that kind of stuff, I've referred to the winter solstice as u mm-hmm. , which is a no word meaning wheel.
Mm-hmm. and I decided that, you know, I already made this decision that I'm not gonna draw stuff forward from other various cultures. Maybe it would just be better to call that mid-winter. Mm. In this book, I've called it Mid-Winter instead of ull. It's a small chain. Yeah. Yeah. And there's, there's not, there's brief descriptions of the principles and the four pillars, just so that people understand what Athe Paganism is.
But this is really a book about rituals and so it's much more, you know, implementation. How do you do this stuff? How do you get yourself in the right mood? What is the ritual state? How can you cultivate the ritual state? What are the various phases that we go through in implementing a ritual?
How do you prepare yourself before and, you know, ground and, and reestablish yourself after a ritual? , lots of, of those kinds of things. It's a very practical book.
Yucca: Mm. And what was your process like writing it? Did you, did you use any ritual to write or create the book?
Mark: Well, it, it's, it's kind of funny.
We were talking about this in the Saturday Zoom mixer this morning we're recording on Saturdays. We usually do. What I ended up doing is I have a drop front desk an old antique secretary that you, you drop the, that you lift it down? Yeah. That, yeah. You just, you lower that down and then it becomes the shelf that you write on.
Mm-hmm. and I was writing there with my laptop on the shelf. So what ended up happening was that opening, that desk became the ritual beginning of my writing periods. There were times it was very hard to make myself, you know, barricade myself in my room for four hours at a pop and just write right?
But that was what was required. The book is currently at something over 56,000 words and the specs for. Turning the manuscript in were between 55 and 60,000. So getting there required a lot of effort. Right. A lot of just sitting for hours and writing things, and then editing and editing and editing and editing.
Yucca: Mm-hmm. , tens of thousands of words. I mean that's,
Mark: yeah, that's a lot of words. It's a lot of words. Yeah. It really is. Yeah. I mean, this, this is, this is a book so that that ritual opening of the desk became the, the symbolic moment when I clicked into, okay, now I'm a writer, now I'm writing mm-hmm. mode.
Now that the, now that the work is done, I haven't opened the desk since . I'm gonna have to, I'm gonna have to recalculate my my thinking. About what opening the desk means.
Yucca: No. Now you haven't worked with this particular editor before, right? So you don't really know, you know how much they're going to revisions they're gonna want, or, or things like that.
Mark: I have no idea and I'm nervous. You know, for all I know, I'm gonna get back, you know, 300 edits and I'm gonna have to read through everyone, decide if I agree with them or not. Fight over the ones that I'm really willing to fight for and so forth. Yeah. I, I honestly, I just have no idea of what that process is gonna be like, but the book is projected to come out in the second half of 2023.
Mm-hmm. , so there is plenty of time yet, which. I mean, that sounds like a lot of time, but it's really not that much time when you consider, you know, that we've gotta get cover art together and finalize the whole manuscript, get it all laid out properly and then start the marketing process. You know, because promotion starts before the book actually gets published.
There's pre. Re release sales and all that kind of stuff. Right. And because I self-published the first book, I'm really not familiar with those parts of the process at all. I'm really interested in finding out how that all works.
Yucca: Right. Yeah. So that's exciting cuz it's a very different process than, than what you've done before.
Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Yeah. ,
Mark: yeah. Mm-hmm. . I, I think I've talked about this maybe, maybe on the podcast before. I'm not sure. I will probably not make as much money on this book as I did on my self-published book. Sure. And the reason for that is that I actually get eight bucks for every copy of my book that gets of my first book that gets bought.
I'll probably get something like 80 cents . Mm-hmm. , from these, but hopefully the, the promotion and marketing and all that kind of stuff that the publisher will do will mean that a lot more copies get sold. Right. I made a deliberate decision that I wanted my ideas to get a lot broader distribution.
Yucca: and there's a prestige that goes along with being published through a traditional publish.
Mark: Yes. Right. Yeah, I agree. I agree. And now I'm kinda locked into them because in my contract is that they have right of first refusal of my next book. So , they'll, they'll get to decide whether they wanna publish that one too.
I can't get myself out quite that easily.
Yucca: do you, so that was gonna be one of my questions was what's next? Do you have another book on the.
Mark: Do not have any idea about another book? Can
Yucca: you even think about it right now?
Mark: I mean mm-hmm. No, I mean, my guess is that if I were gonna write another book, because this one has been really exhaustively practical.
Mm-hmm. probably be much more of a mythopoetic book. Mm-hmm. that would be poems and stories and you know, kind of. Kind of a walk into an atheopagan world. Mm-hmm. of wonder and joy and experience and meaning. But that's a long way off. And I'm, I'm certainly not going to open my desk now and start working on that I'm I'm taking a break for a while and, you know, dealing with these edits, I, my work is by no means finished.
I'm still gonna have a lot of work to do, but this phase at least has been completed, so that's exciting. Yeah. I'm so, I appreciate that you were willing to, Do this kind of prequel, promotional thing on the podcast. Yeah, it's I mean, I'm sure we'll talk about the book again as it comes closer to publication time.
Yucca: We will, it will let everybody know, you know, when that, when that's happening and you know where to, where to pick it up when it happens. Do you know if there will be an audio component? Was that part of your discussion or contract?
Mark: I know Luellen does do audio books, and I think it's probably a function of how many copies they sell.
Of a given book to see whether they would do an audio version or not. I know that they do that for some of their other better known authors. Right. I don't know. I, I think they have the option to do it in my contract, but it's not guaranteed.
Yucca: Would this be a format that would work very well with audiobook since you have a lot of instructions?
Kind of recipe type
Mark: things. Yeah. And actually there are a bunch of recipes. There's a whole section in the appendices on, you know, with recipes for the different seasonal holidays. Mm-hmm. , you know, things. Would go well at that time of year. Yeah, I'm not sure. I, I don't know that that's necessarily the, the best way to absorb this information because listening to someone reading recipes is probably not the best
Yucca: well, I ask most motivating kind of time.
I love books and I suspect a lot of our listeners are on a podcast right now, you know, may enjoy that as well. So it's always interesting to see if that's, If that's a possibility, if that's standard, you know how that works. Right,
Mark: right. Yeah. I would still very much like to get my first book in audio book form.
Mm-hmm. . I don't know how I can do that. I mean, I don't know. Maybe that's my next project. Maybe it's just I. You know, me, me sitting with Audacity reading my first book and getting that into shape where it can be released as an audio book. I do know that there will be digital versions of this book released as well for the Nook and the Kindle
Yucca: and all that.
It's available as an ebook then. Okay. Yes. So people don't have to get the physical book. They can just. That's right. Get it on whatever device they're more most comfortable with. Uhhuh. That's great.
Mark: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So I'm pretty excited. Two months ago I was sick of it, , I was just, oh, I was so ready to be done with the writing, but I, I got another spurt behind me and And now it's done.
So I'm pretty excited about that.
Yucca: Well, congratulations, mark.
Mark: That's amazing. Thank you. Thank you very much. Yeah. And I want to thank everybody who's encouraged me to write it too. You know, a lot of folks from the community have really urged me to write a followup that's more hands on. Mm-hmm. . And that's this book.
So I'm, I'm excited about that.
Yucca: So, so the book is no book on the, no book on the immediate horizon. No. Fourth book. But what else? Cuz you're, you're a busy person.
Mark: What's, I have a job, which is kind of scary because when I do get a job and it is a, when it's not an if the Then I'm, I'm really gonna have to be very careful about my time management in order to juggle everything that I've taken on.
And of course, you know, in the Atheopagan community we welcome volunteers to help with stuff. You know, the volunteers we have are wonderful people and they're really, really helping things. Sort of blossom in our, in our community. What we, what we're doing on the Ethiopia Pagan Society Council coming up in January cuz we meet quarterly, is we're going to do a strategic plan for the organization for the next three years or so.
Years. Mm-hmm. . And I think that's really gonna focus down the priorities. I need to work on and what other people need to work on. In order to advance the goals that we set. Yeah. And I don't know what those goals will be yet. I imagine a lot of it will be about, you know, reinforcing various kinds of support for the existing community rather than a lot of focus on expansion.
Yucca: We've done a lot of expanding in the last few years. We really grown so
Mark: much. Yeah. Yes. And I wanna make sure that people have. The training, the classes, the materials, the resources, the the stuff Yeah. All that support. Yeah. That, that will help support them as they develop their practices. So, so that, that's my idea of a, of a main goal.
But we'll talk about it in January and see what we all come up with. Yeah.
Yucca: Which is just, Just around the corner.
Mark: It it is. Yeah. I sent out an outline about how the strategic planning process works to the members of the council maybe 10 days ago. Mm-hmm. , something like that. Yeah. And hoping everybody gets a chance to take a look at that before we start in, so we don't have a five hour meeting.
Yucca: Yeah. And so here on the podcast, we have a few more interviews coming up, and then we're right into the solstice season, so we'll have a lot right about that.
Mark: We're gonna have interviews with members of the a Pagan Society Council, sort of, they'll be interspersed amongst. Episodes. Mm-hmm. . Next week we're talking with Michael Hallon, which should be a great conversation.
I'm really looking forward to that. There are other folks who are too busy until after the holidays, and so, you know, we'll be talking with them probably in January. Mm-hmm. . So, you know, stay tuned. We'll, we'll, we'll get around to, to most of the council members at one point or another. Just give it a wait.
Yucca: Yeah. And of course, along with all of the seasonal and holiday and Yeah. Yeah. Dark and cold themes of the year and all of that Good stuff. So, Uhhuh.
Mark: Yeah, so the book is called Round We Dance. I always, I, I changed it. Early on, joyous living around the year and throughout life. So round we dance, joyous living around the year and throughout life. A book about spirituality and rituals by Mark Green. That's, that's what the book will be. Beautiful. . Yeah. I'm, I'm excited. It's I can't believe it's my third book.
Yucca: just, that's in a very short period of time you've been. Right. Yeah,
Mark: true. I started in on the first book in 2018. Mm-hmm. . So, yeah, not so long. I mean, the poetry book was easy to pull together cuz I'd already written all the poems. Nemea had already taken all of the photographs that we used to illustrate the book.
Mm-hmm. . So it was basically just a matter of doing the layout and then the self-publish. But the other two have been quite a lot of work and yeah. Yeah, I'm, I'm looking forward to working with Luellen and seeing how that process goes. Yeah. So, shorter episode this week, folks. But thanks for listening and I hope that you're sufficiently interested to, to anticipate this book being released.
And we'll be back next year with no, next year. We'll be back next week. It feels like .
Yucca: And it does . Yeah. , we'll be back next week. Yeah. To talk with you more. So thank you every. Thank you, mark.
Mark: Thank you.