When I was in the final throes of leaving supernaturalism for good, I had a relatively brief flirtation with paganism of a sort. Although it would still be some time before I could finally let go of the notion of some kind of afterlife—and truth be told in times of mourning I still find myself grasping toward it, to no avail—I had already shed my childhood indoctrination into the cult of the god of the bible. Initially I came to that point through the lens of feminism, by which I mean I traced the oppression of women directly to one of its most potent and enduring sources: Abrahamic religions. I read with open eyes the bible that had been given to me at at age 14 at my Lutheran confirmation ceremony, and when I was done I threw that terrible book onto a raging fire and watched it burn.
I studied ancient religions and modern Buddhism, and wore a talisman of the Venus of Willendorf to remind myself (and anyone who might inquire) that there were indeed female gods for much of human history. I didn’t believe in the existence of any of them: my own hodge-podge paganism signified a cultural worldview, not a theological one. For example, the Christian dominionist attitude toward exploiting the planet had always struck me as morally grotesque, but the neopagans’ respect and appreciation for the natural world very much resonated with me. Still, pagan rituals seemed just as grounded in silly bullshit as those of every other faith tradition, except for one thing: some of them were really, really fun. Life-affirming. Joyful. And so I vowed that, seeing as I have just as much right to make up my own traditions as the fucking pope does, there would henceforth be wine, and feasting, possibly dancing, definitely laughing, and sometimes fucking, at every opportunity for celebration. As it turns out, there are virtually endless opportunities for celebration to be found, even in the darkest depths of depressive realism. What started out marking the equinoxes and the solstices quickly became the foundation for celebrating something nearly every goddamn day. Why not?
If you are looking for a reason to celebrate: you’re alive. And the vernal equinox occurs today, March 20 at 12:57pm EDT (16:57 UTC). Happy Spring, y’all.