This is going to be all very off the cuff. I didn't even think this was something I would be writing about. I have eschewed careful copy editing in favor of actually trying to roughly sketch my thoughts on my old neo-paganism, my new secular humanism and what the Autumnal Equinox means to me in light of this fundamental change in worldview.
When I say I didn't think I'd be writing about this, I mean it. I had forgotten that today is the Autumnal Equinox; well, not today, but at 03:19 UTC. My husband wished me a happy one before he left for work this morning. A few years ago, I would have looked forward to this day for weeks. I love Autumn so naturally the sabbat for the equinox was my favorite. I once called this day Mabon and would have celebrated it by myself, probably looking at the moon or watching the rain from inside a candle lit room. I typically didn't do magic, preferring to commune with the mystical beings that I imagined to be all around me. And honestly, I was happy that way for a long time.
It was in activities like these that the seeds of my atheism were planted. Did I really think I was communing with spirits, or was I in an altered state of consciousness no more mystical than any other altered state of consciousness I had experienced? Why did I have to do enjoyable things for any reason other than that they were enjoyable? And why did I needlessly need to complicate things that I was being directed to do because I was meant to appreciate the simplicity of the task?
In short, I didn't have good answers for why I did the things I did as a neo-pagan. I felt a compelling faith in that religion on one or two occasions. One experience in particular was a touchstone event in my life that I still appreciate, although viewing it in a naturalistic way. The best answers I could come up with were vanity, fear, social pressure, addiction, isolation... Nothing about being a neo-pagan was healthy for me. I'm still unraveling why things went the way they did for me; some of the factors were personal, others were serious problems faced by that community of believers as a whole.
It is certainly something I want to examine in greater detail in the future but wanted to introduce here, while I was thinking about it, wanting to share something with any other ex-pagans out there, and appreciating this day for what it truly is--Wednesday.