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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, now of the Magic and Mundane channel).

Named #4 in the top15 Pagan podcasts for 2022! https://blog.feedspot.com/pagan_podcasts/

Reopening

May 31, 2021

Remember, we welcome comments, questions and suggested topics at thewonderpodcastQs@gmail.com

 

If you enjoy the podcast and would like to help us reach more ears, please consider leaving a rating or review on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-wonder-science-based-paganism/id1501228156

 

Event links mentioned and transcripts:

Atheopagan Saturday Mixer - June 5 - 10:15am PDT:  https://www.facebook.com/events/748671529133222/?acontext=%7B%22event_action_history%22%3A[%7B%22surface%22%3A%22group%22%7D]%7D

 

Atheopagan Sex Salon:  https://www.facebook.com/events/458783078686816/?acontext=%7B%22event_action_history%22%3A[%7B%22surface%22%3A%22group%22%7D]%7D

 

Free Spirit Gathering 2021 Online: https://www.fsgonline.org

 

S2E20 TRANSCRIPT:

Mark: Welcome back to The Wonder: Science-Based Paganism. I'm one of your hosts, Mark. 

Yucca: And I'm Yucca.. 

Mark: Today we're going to talk about the reopening after the waning of the COVID-19 pandemic obviously the pandemic isn't over and there are certainly causes for concern in many places about reopening too soon or places elsewhere in the world where the, the pandemic is still very much raging but in many parts of the United States with the advent of the vaccination and so forth we're talking about reopening and going back to some of the activities that we weren't able to do during the shutdowns. And so today we're going to talk about that and what we think it means for us and what we'd like to retain from what we learned during the pandemic and some hopes for what we'll get to do soon.

Yucca: We certainly are not saying that the pandemic is over or that it's gone or anything like that, but we're in such a different place than we were a year ago today. We're just looking at very different futures. And. I would still really encourage people to be very, very thoughtful about their activities.

But knowing that, if you've got the vaccine, if you're going to go spend time with people who also have been vaccinated, that the options of how to be safe are much, much greater than they used to be. Yeah. 

Mark: Yes. I mean, we all know what the safe practices are now, you know, wear a mask, practice, safe social distancing, wash your hands. Particularly if you're not feeling well put a mask on and try to avoid contact with other people. It's not rocket science. And it works. We know that it works not only because we had far fewer fatalities from COVID than we would have if we hadn't shut down by a factor of hundreds of thousands of deaths.

But also because we have indicators from other diseases that were stopped in their tracks last year, I was, we were just talking Before we were recording and the United States only had 2,300 cases of flu last year that were reported. Now, ordinarily we have 32,000 deaths from flu and millions of cases, but there were only 2300 cases reported throughout the entire country.

So that's social distancing and mask wearing prevented people from transmitting influenza, which is a deadly disease.

Yucca: Yeah. And in our household, our immediate household of four, which includes two very young children, we weren't sick at all.  And with little people are very good at getting sick and spreading sicknesses, nothing. And. That's because we, they weren't sharing snot with their, with other children.

That's a big one. Right. But we also, weren't taking them to stores where they would be touching the shopping carts and then putting their hands in their mouths and then jumping on top of grownups and coughing in their faces, which is just all normal primate behavior. right.

Mark: Right, right. Nothing wrong with it. And actually it does help to build a stronger immune systems in children to be exposed to a lot of different contaminants like that when they're very young. But of course, when something, this deadly is going around, you kind of have to make that take a back seat to safety.

Yucca: Yeah, so we said eat plenty of dirt. 

Mark: Okay.

Yucca: That is one of the interesting things to think about on a societal level. I think that w we've really needed to make the choice that we made, but be very interesting to see the decrease in exposure to childhood diseases and things like that. How that, what kind of long-term effects that has on the development of our immune systems 

Mark: Yes.

Yucca: in a world where we already are struggling with over sanitized environments and in all kinds of things like that. 

Mark: Right, right. So that kind of leads into what are the things that we learned? During this pandemic what were practices that we learned and what were adaptations that we developed that we would probably want to keep even as the disease fades we learned some things and we made some good adaptations.

So let's talk about those now. 

Yucca: well, I think what are the first big ones that the topic we were already on was the idea of masks. If you're not feeling well, I really hope that people will continue to use masks. If you wake up in the morning, have a little tickle in the back of your throat, but Hey, you still got to go to work. You still got to pick up food afterwards, all that, you know, throw a mask on and you probably are contagious.

So you're being respectful to the world around you to have that mask on. 

Mark: Right. Yeah. You're probably contagious. So act like it. Be considerate of other people. Because there will always be people in our midst who are immune compromised or for some reason or another can't for example, have a flu shot every year, or are particularly susceptible to some kinds of rhinoviruses and those folks need protection.

Yucca: And you can't tell who they are by looking at them. You might be able to tell that 95 year old elder. Sure.

But you know, I have a dear friend who can't take the, who's young, she's like 29 or something, but she can't take the COVID vaccine because of some pre-existing health conditions and is therefore susceptible, but you'd absolutely never know looking at this person.

They look completely healthy, fit, muscles. Like they work out at the gym, all that stuff, but you just don't know. 

Mark: Sure. Well, especially I mean, I'm thinking about it, my work we have a program for clients who are HIV positive. As a part of the healthy food delivery that we do through the food bank and with the new triple cocktail of drugs that advantaged in the nineties You know, these folks are fine.

As long as they're taking the drugs that suppress the virus in their system. And, but they're still immune compromised and you wouldn't know necessarily whether they were up to 100% immunity, of efficiency of an immune system or not by looking at them, there's no way. So it's incumbent on all of us to be thoughtful.

And if we feel like we're going to be contagious with something, put on a mask.

Yucca: Yeah, And if we're going to keep doing this civilization thing, Where there's billions of us living closely together. Then that's just what we got to do. And I'm pretty fond of the lot of us. There's some that I could leave, you know, some that I could skip or maybe not spend time with, but as an idea, I think it's pretty good.

Mark: Yeah, me too. Me 

Yucca: Right. I think humans are pretty great in general. 

Mark: Yeah. They are pretty amazing.

Yucca: So there's that element? What for you, Mark? 

Mark: Well, I mean, we're doing it as we speak. The zoom revolution has been a huge thing. The opportunity to speak with people at a distance cheaply with a visual, as well as the sound component is obviously very compelling for people because they've chosen to do it in many cases a lot more than they ever communicated by phone.

You know, we need all those visual cues and as it is, we lose a lot through the lens. We don't get to see a lot of, you know, sort of faint cues that just don't translate through the camera. But I used to see my ritual circle every six weeks or so in person. And since COVID, we've been zooming every Friday.

So I actually get to see them a lot more than I used to. Even though we can't be together physically and do physical rituals and enjoy one another's company and a meal and all that kind of stuff, which I'm definitely looking forward to. But we did in the atheopagan community. We do mixers every Saturday morning.

Those aren't going to go away when once COVID is gone. And we've done a lot of in-kind online events, like death chats and sex salons and webinars and all that kind of stuff. And the fact that zoom has become this video conferencing tool, very robust video conferencing tool. That's affordable by pretty much.

Everyone is just a great thing. It's really a powerful tool.

Yucca: yeah. we, my siblings, for the first time in years, we were all together, so to say, on Thanksgiving, and we'll probably do that again. That was fantastic. And getting to see people and it's, again it's not the same as being in person, but it's a lot more than the phone and people can participate on different levels. 

And zoom has also done something very interesting for education. Now people have very mixed feelings about distance education, depending on what kind of experiences they had. But it's has opened up a lot of opportunities for people to connect, to normalize that so that people in rural settings can have access to teachers all over the world.

This is really big, not just within the United States, but for villages that are literally a day away. Where kids can get access through satellite internet, to an instructor. And that's something that has a really exciting it's really exciting for the future of people and education and all of that is that connection that is being built there. 

Mark: Yeah, Yeah, for sure. And I have to say that just in the particular case of what I'm doing in working to get the word out about non theist paganism around the country and world, the fact that all of the conferences became virtual this year was a very big deal because I can't afford to fly to all these various places and make presentations and pay for hotel rooms.

I can't possibly do that. And yet, This year, I was able to present to the Conference on Current Pagan Studies, the Seattle Atheist Church, a UU congregation in North Carolina. I have the Silicon Valley  (Sunday Assembly) congregation coming up. And both of us actually will be presenting to the Free Spirit Gathering later on in June.

All of them through virtual means, and that is very powerful to be able to serve on a panel or make an individual presentation to people that otherwise you would never be able to reach it. It has tremendously expanded the capacity of what I've been able to accomplish over the last year.

Yucca: And people's ability to attend those, right? So you were speaking at them, but people being able to go to them, the society that I'm a member of the Mars Society, our turnout was so huge and the feedback was great about it being virtual, that the decision is that we're just going to keep doing it that way, even if we can do it in person, you know, flying to Pasadena or Boulder or wherever is just, isn't a possibility for most people. 

Mark: Right, 

Yucca: right.

I did it once. I drove to one of the meetings once and it was like, this was, this is great, but how many hundreds of dollars in gas and hotel and taking time off of work and all of this 

Mark: carbon emissions. 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: Yeah. That really has been the experience of a number of conferences. I've also been to some conferences for work. That I've been to, the access level is just so much higher. And most of these events are free because they can be, they're not paying a huge amount of money to reserve a hotel and all of it's hotel rooms or a convention center or an assembly hall.

They're not paying for a sound technician and a camera technician and all that kind of stuff. The level of investment that's required to be able to do an event like that is markedly lower. So, that's really a good thing. And I think that it's gonna pay dividends for us over the long haul.

Because I think that like the Mars Society, many organizations are going to decide, you know, it's fun to go off and play in another city and stuff, but is that really what we're about is that our mission or is our mission to talk about the subject at hand?

Yucca: Yeah. And not to say that there aren't in that there isn't value in the in-person interaction. I think that all of this has really highlighted how important in person interaction can be as well. But it's only available to a very select group of people. Where this equals the playing field. A lot for many people 

Mark: And the technology is improving, zoom now has breakout rooms where you can have smaller groups where you're able to interact with one another in a more informal kind of way. 

Yucca: And we're talking zoom, but there's plenty of other platforms 

Mark: there are

Yucca: that are very sad that they didn't get to be the one. 

Mark: right.

Yucca: But there's a lot of, but you know, I don't particularly use it, but FaceTime has got, is supposed to have gotten much better and Google Meets better. And what are some other ones, Slack and 

Mark: Facebook messenger. 

Yucca: you have. 

Mark: Yeah. Wow. Damn it. I just did a commercial for Facebook. 

Yucca: Sorry, we're just listing options. Yeah, so, I mean, that's all that's some real positives that we've seen.  

Mark: That said. It was tremendously isolating. These were all adaptations that we made so that we didn't feel completely cut off from social interaction because we're social beings, we humans and the business of the world needed to carry on. We have all our various enterprises that we're doing, whether it's teaching or businesses or a religion or whatever it is, we have the things that we're working to.

To develop and that couldn't stop entirely. So we just did what humans do, which is adapt.

Yucca: People controlled spacecraft from their living rooms in their pajama pants. It's pretty cool.

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: Humans are amazing like that in that we push through and it's, and this is what we're living with today, but I think it's important to remember that, that humans have been going through hardship for as long as we've been humans. And we managed to as a whole, not all of the individuals, but we managed to make them make it through that and bring good forward and bad from those things. So,  

Yeah. 

Mark: Unfortunately, one of the things in the United States that's really become evidently clear in terms of the response to the COVID virus is that and of course I blame the leadership of the last administration for this a lot, but nothing can't be politicized. I would have hoped that in the face of a deadly pandemic, we could have pulled together.

We did it the way we did after Nine 11 and done something collectively that would have benefited all of us. And it would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives if we had. But unfortunately that was not that wasn't the call that was made by those that were in a position to make the call. And so now, We have even more of a rift between those who believe in science and listen to experts and those who don't

Yucca: some other things that maybe we can think about carrying on that I hope there's more of are some of the outdoor gathering and that's a lead into. What we're going to talk in a little bit about the looking forward. But I think that the outdoor dining has been great. The, when we have been able to see people, having it be in an outdoor setting there were some schools that very quickly and of course it really depended on the situation, but we're able to develop more outdoor classroom spaces and see the value in that. 

Mark: And I think it's oh, go ahead. 

Yucca: Continue. 

Mark: Well, I think it's good for people to be outside generally. But I mean, I have a prejudice--I am part of a nature based religion. I think being under the sky and exposed to the sun and the wind and to have, you know, visible growing things around you is is inherently beneficial to us at a deep level.

And I think a lot of people have been enjoying eating outside, but of course not maybe in January. Yeah.

Yucca: Yeah, depends on your particular region. But yeah, there's, I mean, there's so much from that level of appreciation. Yeah.

We talked recently about that in an episode. But also just getting more vitamin D just from a medical perspective. In the country that we live in the United States, states the majority of adults, and I don't know the numbers on children, but the majority of adults are vitamin D deficient.

And I would imagine that's going to be very similar in much of Europe and Australia and particularly in, in the Northern countries 

Mark: Yes. Yes. Although my understanding is that being out in the Sun, isn't that beneficial for your vitamin D unless you're wearing very little in the way of clothing, you just need the surface area. In order to manufacture the vitamin D.

Yucca: A lot of different factors involved. From what time of day to your skin tone to the rest of your diet, if you don't have enough of the vitamin K, even if you get the D there, your ability to process it as effected. But , we're not medical professionals here. But my understanding is that even with clothing on that, there's still the benefit of just the hands and the face to be getting that. But again, that really depends on skin tone 

Mark: sure of course.

Yucca: And unfortunately, The, well, I'll just put it out there that for folks, if you're interested research sunscreen and the that's a big topic there, but the use of sunscreen can be problematic for actually synthesizing vitamin D because of the balance of what particular wavelengths are being blocked out and which ones aren't. So it gets pretty complex there. 

And in addition to the vitamin D there's other factors involved with just light levels, even if you're not getting, even if it's not vitamin D the L the light that you have inside versus outside is so different. And our brains adjust for us. We don't visually see it, but if the difference is there, so. 

Mark: indoors and outdoors. Yeah. I mean, it's a gigantic difference in terms of the sheer intensity of light.

 Well, that was rather interesting tangent about light levels and vitamin D. So outdoor dining, outdoor learning outdoor activities. Good for you. Yes. Thumbs up. What else? 

Yucca: Not an issue for me with my particular field, but I hope that  working from home is more normalized, 

Mark: Yes.

Yucca: Because there's a lot of reasons why there's some pretty big benefits to that. Again, not saying that we've got it perfect, and that there aren't things to work on, but cutting down on that commuting, giving people, respecting people as you know, people able to make their own decisions about how they manage their time and be in a healthier situation.

And all of that kind of stuff is just really big. For the types of jobs that's a possibility for. Obviously if you are a chef or something like that, it's the working from home it's going to be a little more challenging. 

Mark: right, right. And I mean, this was one thing that we really saw in that we, that should have been evident that we only learned during the COVID crisis is that the most important roles in many cases are low paid service positions. You know, that's really, what's keeping everything running, you know, people who are collecting garbage and recycling people who are interacting with the public in any of a variety of different ways, healthcare workers that, you know, those folks who are at most risk for exposure to COVID, we're also the folks that were least likely to be able to work from home.

And. So we really need to be reconsidering the value of that kind of employment. And I would say paying people a lot more.

Yucca: Yep. 

Mark: if you're an essential worker, but you're paid minimum wage. Well, what does that mean?

 

But it just doesn't the formula doesn't work. 

Yucca: Yep. 

Mark: So, 

Yucca:  So we've talked about just the idea of reopening some of the things that we hope will continue, that we will have learned and things that we think were positive that came out of this, but what are some of the things that you're really looking forward to as some of the restrictions lighten and it becomes a little bit more safe to have in-person interactions again. 

Mark: Well, one of them I've already done, which is that for the first time in more than a year, my D&D group got together and played in person last Sunday. And we played for what was it? I think it was only six hours, but still it was a nice long session. We had a really good time. It was great to see one another.

It was just really fun. 

Yucca: Well, there's 

Mark: that was cool.

Yucca: nothing like leaning over to see what the person rolled. Right. He can't quite do that on the computer, but he can lean over and go, ah, oh,

you got a one. 

Mark: I rolled terribly all night. I must've rolled six ones in really critical situations. And particularly because my character has a very low strength, There were these strength challenges that I needed to do. So I mean, I literally just sort of flopped and flailed, my athletics checks across this set of stepping stones across a raging river.

And other people kept having to catch me. And the whole thing was just really embarrassing, but. Anyway, it makes for a good story.

Yucca: oh, that's awesome. Congratulations. To be able to be back in person and yeah. 

Mark: Yeah, it was great. So how about you? What did some of the things you're looking forward to.

Yucca: Well, Going to the library. That's a big one, especially with the little ones, getting to go to the library. And our libraries were great about very early on getting a setup where you could do a contactless exchange of books, but it's just not the same as being in the library. And. Just looking through the different browsing. and and we have some just very sweet little children's sections and the libraries that we have in our county. 

And one of them has a rainbow hall that you have to walk through. That was there when I was a child. And it just really look forward to being able to just be there with the kids. 

 Also, and this is a while out because my kids are under 12, so there aren't vaccines for them yet, but them just getting to play with other kids and it not having to be a stressful situation. Cause we've been able to do a little bit with the okay have your mask on and remember but it's really hard to tell a two and a half year old to stop tackling the other kid because that's what they do. 

Mark: Right, 

Yucca: They want to tackle each other and they want to try each other's masks on and all, and you just, it's just like, No. So just this, the stuff with the kids, this is what I most really look forward to. 

I mean, there's the part of me that says social anxiety that would be happy to never have to go into a store or inside of, you know, an office building or anything like that again but they're getting to see people and just not have to be nervous about strangers would be really looking forward to that. 

Mark: Yeah. Yeah. I'm really looking forward to being able to get together with my ritual circle again. We've been together this Hallows, this, Samhain it will be 30 years. So we started in 1991 and until COVID we had just been rolling along. We live at somewhat of a distance from one another, so every six weeks was about what we can manage, but we just kept going year after year after year.

And they're really my family. They're the people I'm closest to in the world. And I just so look forward to seeing them and then. Being able to hug them and hang out and have a meal and do our rituals and that stuff. That's really an important one for me.

Yucca: Yeah. That's amazing. 30 years. That's great. 

Mark: And we didn't even, it was formed by myself and my ex wife--who's still in the group--for a one-off Samhain gathering, there was no plan that it would continue thereafter, but everybody was so happy about that one that they said let's do another one and 30 years later. Here we are. 

Yucca: Still doing another one. 

Mark: Yeah. All the original members are still members.

Plus we've added two more, three more, three more.

Yucca: Well, you, as a group were able to do virtual rituals. It's not the same as being in person, but you were able to carry through during the shutdowns. 

Mark: Yes. We've done a couple of virtual rituals since the, but not every Sabbath, not. I mean, we did Hallows and Yule. Those were the two that we did. Oh, we did something for Bridget too for the February holiday. So I guess we haven't missed very many. But anyway So I'm really looking forward to that.

And also to the opportunity that opening presents, because I know that there are people in the Atheopaganism group on Facebook who live really in my local area and I've never met them and it would be nice to convene something. To do a gathering of those folks and, you know, get to meet them and know them.

And if they're interested of course.

Yucca: Coffee or a hike or something like that. 

Mark: like that. Yeah. And see where that goes.

Yucca: Well, and on that note I think we've teased the idea before, but there's very serious talk and planning beginning for 2022 to have a much larger gathering. 

Mark: Yes. We still don't have a name for it. We've been calling it AtheopaganCon. I mean Atheopagan is too many syllables to begin with. You add an extra one and it's just outrageous. Yes, we're planning for a gathering sometime in the summer or early fall of 2022 in the Denver area, so that it's central for people in the United States to get to.

And it's also a major airline hubs. So the air tickets are cheaper for people who fly. 

Yucca: That time of year is just fantastic in that area. 

Mark: it is. It's very beautiful. And there's there are, you know, Rocky Mountain National Park is right adjacent. They're just beautiful places to go. And it would be a great opportunity for us to socialize and share rituals and You know, share fellowship and maybe have some workshops or something, not sure about that yet.

But it's basically an opportunity to invite people that have never met one another in person to come and, you know, meet up. And so, there's a lot of excitement about this. And almost nothing at this point is known about it because, you know, we've got to figure all that stuff out, like where people are going to stay and how much does that cost and

Yucca: The logistics are pretty immense for that kind of thing. 

Mark: They are, but. We are fortunate in that this amazing woman who I know in the, who lives in the Denver area, who used to do a big Pagan festival called Beltainia there until a couple of years ago. She knows all the venues. She knows all this stuff and she's super competent and organized and she's on the committee.

So I'm very excited that this is going to happen.

Yucca: Yeah. Oh, that'd be, yeah, definitely looking forward to that. 

Mark: It'd be just so great. Build a fire...

Yucca: yeah.

it's this is just such an interesting time. It feels. It feels like, you know, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, right. There's still a lot. And we got to keep on top of it and we've got to continue to be safe and responsible and continue for, to get the vaccine out to everybody. And there's still. Depending on where you live, much of the United States is doing pretty well with that, but we need the whole world, right? It's gotta be everybody. It can't just be, it just won't work. If it's just a select small group, it might protect you a little bit. I mean, getting your vaccine. Yes. We'll protect you.

But if we don't have everybody, then we still have more strains coming out and all of that. But it was just such a, the feeling in the air is just so different than what it was with this feeling of uncertainty and fear and just heaviness that there was for last year.

Mark: Yes. Well, certainly getting the vaccine was a complete mind changer for me. I didn't realize how oppressive the weight of the pandemic had become, because of course I was used to it, it had been going on for months and months. But when I finally got the vaccination, the second vaccination and realized that I can't catch the disease or that it's very vanishingly unlikely that I can catch the disease.

I just felt so relieved and so free.

Yucca: Wow. Yeah, I, after my 15 minute observation time I went out and had to just sit in my car and cry before I could drive home. Right. it was just, I didn't even know that that much. I'm getting teary, even thinking about now, knowing that there was that much stress and just held up, that was suddenly released.

It was this is amazing.

Mark: Yeah, it really 

Yucca: can't, you know, and for me personally, I was. never concerned about my own health. Right. I know that there would always have been the case that chance that I could have gotten very ill from it. But if I had gotten it personally, You know, I'm in very good health.

I probably would have been okay. But the fear of my family members or just anyone, I didn't want anyone to get it. You know, I never wanted to be that vector. And having the shot made, it was just such a relief and it was so. It was a release of that is if that fear. 

Mark: Yes. And science being magical, right? I mean, the scientific application is applied to us and suddenly this tremendous cloud lifts off from us psychologically. So, you know, it's very much in line with our sort of understanding of science being amazing and transformational. We were going to talk some about Paganism in relation to the COVID pandemic and the reopening.

And I guess my biggest focus is just on being able to do in-person rituals. I'm really excited about that in person feasts in person, of course, that all depends on my housing situation, which don't get me started. But. What are some other implications you think

Yucca: They're variations on the theme, the themes we've already been talking about, but the increased sense of connection. And I don't know how much of this was just me tuning more into the community this year, or how much of it was the community, online, growing, and becoming more engaged and having more conversations.

But it just seemed like at least within the non theist Pagan community, there was just such tremendous growth over the past year. 

Mark: Yes. Yeah. There really has been a big flowering. And I think that a lot of that has been because if the only community you're going to get is online, then you're really going to look for people that are of like-mind and environments, where people are supportive and kind and so forth. Interesting. You know, having conversations that are of interest to you

Yucca: I think that a lot of this gave the opportunity for us to really pause and do what actually matters because we were forced to, we were forced out of our regular patterns that, and when you're in your regular pattern, it can be really hard to stop and really evaluate and have the space to do that. And everybody was forced to stop in some way. 

Mark: Yes. Yes. And I think that's one reason why the whole work world is not going to go back to the way that it was before COVID because there are a lot of employees out there who are going to think, you know, actually I value spending more time with my kids more than I do going into an office every day.

And now that it's been established that remote work is possible, productive, profitable. There's just no argument that employers can make for those kinds of jobs that are able to do that against letting somebody come in fewer days or whatever it is. I expect that, especially in some of the big cities where there's a lot of technology industry, the commercial real estate industry is just going to tank.

Because all of those businesses are going to downsize their office size. They're not going to need a little office or, you know, a floor full of cubicles or whatever it is for people who can be working remotely just as easily. And I think that's great. I think it, it's better adaptive to what people really want and that contributes to less stress and more happiness.

And I'm all for that.

Yucca: Yeah. There's so much, it's going to be, there's going to be scholars whose field is 2020 in 2021. What happened? How did this change at all? 

Mark: you bet the great pandemic of the 21st century. We hope 

Yucca: yeah. 

Mark: so. A lot of 21st century left.

Yucca: Let's hope it's not like the world war where we get to call it the first pandemic, world pandemic one. Yeah.

I mean, but it, my hope also, you know, moving forward is that. I really hope that we learned a lot on a local level and on federal levels and on the teamwork between nations as well on how to handle this on a really big scale.

Mark: I sure hope so. I really hope so because it, this pandemic got bobbled in a lot of ways, you know, nations that should have been, that had the technical resources that had the. You know, that had like the CDC and the world health organization, all that kind of stuff. Those institutions should have been in a better position than they were.

And that was not an accident. Those were deliberate policy decisions that were made that undermined our capacity to deal with a pandemic like this. And then one came along. And so I certainly hope that in retrospect, we become much more vigilant about this kind of threat because an awful lot of people died and they died alone because they were contagious.

And I mean, it's a miserable way to go and it was miserable for their families and it's just tragic.

So.

What else?

Oh, I wanted to announce a couple of events. 

Yucca: Oh, great. 

Mark: yeah. The atheopagan Facebook group is sponsoring a Sex Salon next Saturday, June 5th which will be at 3:30 PM on Pacific daylight time. And that is a, it's a place where people come to talk about issues with sex and gender and you know, how they affect us personally, how we see them societally and the primary focus of this episode will this event, this is the second one of these that we've done. And we're looking at doing one every month. This one is a focus on what is a Pagan  approach to sexuality. What is, you know, if everybody in the world were Pagan how would that look different and how would our individual lives be different? How would our society look different? So that's where the conversation will start, but the conversation is always very interesting and fluid and it wanders all over the place.

So, we had a fascinating very , moving heartwarming and really interesting conversation last time. Yeah. So I invite people to go to w we'll put a link to the Facebook event in the podcast notes. If people want to check that out.

We're also going to do another Death Cafe which isn't scheduled yet, but we're looking at doing it in July and Alexandra Palmer is a once again, I'm sorry, Phillips is once again, going to help lead us in that. She's a death doula, who's a member of the community. And so she's going to help with that as well. So keep your eyes out for that to talk about all things, death related. We specialize in shallow and unimportant topics for our...

Yucca: I mean, that's what you were covering some some pretty big ones there. 

Mark: yeah. Yeah. Big stuff. But it's important to talk about in our culture really doesn't want to, not in any 

Yucca: not directly. 

Mark: Yeah. It does a lot of innuendo, a lot of talking around lot of 

Yucca: Advertising 

Mark: yeah, and a lot of just very unproductive allusion to sex and death, but not really confronting the sort of deep human elements of those things.

So wanted to make sure that everybody knew about those. The Atheopagan Facebook group does have a mixer on Saturdays every Saturday at 10:15 (AM) Pacific time. And you're welcome to join us for that as well. We always have new folks poking their head in and checking it out. And we really invite you do that.

We can put a link to that in the podcast notes as well. Let me see what else? Oh I was talking about the Free Spirit Gathering. 

Yucca: That's right. That's coming up. 

Mark: That is coming up. So that is on the, is it the 20th? I'm going to look it up right 

Yucca: I believe we are speaking on the 19th. 

Mark: 19th. Okay. It's on Saturday, the 19th 

Yucca:  4:00 PM. Pacific 7:00 PM. Eastern. 

Mark: Yes. And you can go to www.fsgonline.org to register for that event to see the schedule of the presentations that are there. We are on, as we said, at four o'clock Pacific time five o'clock mountain, six o'clock central seven o'clock Eastern, and it will be a panel on Godless Paganism.

And it's a really great group of people that'll be on the panel. At least I like to think so. It includes two of us. And also Bonnie who does the Sedna Woo YouTube channel, which is delightful if you haven't ever seen it on atheist witchery. John Cleveland Host who is the editor of the naturalistic paganism blog. And John Halstead, who is the editor of the Godless Paganism anthology, and has written extensively about atheist paganism. 

So, there it'll be the five of us and people asking questions and us answering questions about what is this whole non theist paganism thing about.

Yucca: That's right. So it should be a lot of fun. 

Mark: It should be a lot of fun and it's virtual, so they can't actually throw anything at it.

Yucca: So. That's a lot of announcements and it. has been a good conversation. So thank you, 

Mark: It has. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it. Yucca. It's always good to talk with you.