Nature Mysticism, Atheists, and the Numinous

Little marrow type pumpkin and flower.

Little marrow type pumpkin and yellow flower.

Before I became a Polytheist, I was a Nature Mystic. I felt a oneness with the world, since I enjoyed all things in nature. From my experiences, I knew that the earth is sacred. Since I had close encounters of the numinous kind, I gradually moved from Atheism to Theism.

By their nature, mystical experiences are altered states of consciousness. They are the neurochemical responses of the brain to outside stimuli. What makes the neurochemical response a transcendent one is when someone gives it meaning. A person may place import on a “supersensory” response by seeing the earth as “the Holy Body that we are all a part of.”

The Atheists who are Pagans often confer meaning to the world by science. However, by calling themselves, Nature Mystics, they have elected to enter the metaphysical realm. Nature Mysticism is a non-theistic religion with a belief in the numinous. It is the spiritual underpinning of the deep ecology movement.

Therefore, I ponder how some Atheists who are Pagans reconcile their beliefs of only science can determine the Truth with that of Nature is holy. I wonder how someone who discounts the supernatural can have the transcendent experiences that they often write about. The human places meaning on to what is sacred and holy. Science cannot do that. How does a person reconcile the two?

As a Polytheist, I am outside the norm of Western society, which is a secular one that has humans at the center of things. This society places a high value on science and cultural progress. A belief in many Gods is considered a throwback to a primitive past. Perhaps, that is my answer – in the society that we both live in, Atheists who are Pagans as the norm. They can believe in both without worrying about being congruent.

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4 thoughts on “Nature Mysticism, Atheists, and the Numinous

  1. To each their own 🙂 What gods do you believe in?

    I don’t know many pagans but have joined in on a few Imbolc and Yule celebrations in the past few years. I did not get into specifics about god(s) but it did seem like their focus was on nature. While there were no gods mentioned as far as I know, they seemed very spiritual in their celebrations.

    As an “atheist”, some have found my afterlife narrative as somewhat spiritual. (When we die, our body decomposes and becomes part of the earth. We become part of the soil, the water and air others breath. We become the plants and trees…etc..etc). No god required for me.

    Whether you have a belief in one god, or many, or none at all… We may take different paths but we all go to the same place. It would be great if the different beliefs didn’t cause issues between us.

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  2. This is a great read! I’m not Atheist (although I was pretty close at one point). I’m more so Agnostic or Metaphysically Curious. However, I think that for me personally the science and supernaturalism go hand in hand. Science is just a way of explaining what was previously unexplainable or supernatural (kind of like a layman’s term kind of thing). I don’t particularly discount the supernatural. I believe that whatever is meant for a person (a deity calling out to them, a spirit animal reaching out, etc.) will be presented to them in a way that would be understood and accepted by that person.

    Liked by 1 person

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