Process Theology


Indian Nataraj, Shiva as the Lord of the Dance

“While life is in us, we must live in the world, where the Dance is, and to live truly, we must join the Dance. There is no reason for this. There is no reason for the world, only the rhyme and the rhythm of the days and nights and the four seasons, without us and within. Life is a Dance and the beginning and end of our lives are steps only; the Dance goes on with us and without us. In time and space, we, as all things, arise and dance and in due time slow and cease to be. But the Dance continues. The Dance is; it always is.”

— Michael Adam, Wandering in Eden: Three Ways to the East Within Us

Process theology is a theology developed by Charles Hartshorne and John Cobb. The insights of process theology have been brought to Neo-Paganism through the writings of Starhawk, Carol Christ, and Constance Wise. The fundamental insight of process theology is that reality is change. Change, motion, flux: these are the fundamental realities. Objects, things, moments in time: these are abstractions and unreal. This is true of all reality, including the Neo-Pagan Goddess and ourselves. Starhawk describes a vision of reality which is consistent with the new physics:

“… all things are swirls of energy, vortices of moving forces, currents in an ever changing sea. Underlying the appearance of separateness, of fixed objects within a linear stream of time, reality is a field of energies that congeal, temporarily, into forms. In time, all ‘fixed’ things dissolve, only to coalesce into new forms, new vehicles.”

This idea is expressed by the phrase “Goddess is a verb”. Similarly, you and I are verbs. We are in motion, in flux. As is the Goddess. This can be expressed by turning one’s name into a predicate. Hence, I am not John, I am John-ing. Likewise, there is no Goddess, only Goddess-ing. Biological evolution is frequently taken as both a symbol and an example of this process. A dance or a musical composition may be more appropriate metaphors. I am the dance that is Goddess, and Goddess is dancing through me.

Related Pages:

Neo-Pagan Beliefs
Neo-Pagan Theology

The Eternal Return


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