Chris: "I appreciate returning to the origin of the word "pagan": a country-dwelling person of the land. Classically, the outcast, castout, castaways (lepers, heretics, heathens, etc). For many this seems a good place since we are welcomed "with open arms" by the natural world (Nature) of which we are an inseparable part."
I resemble those remarks! 8-)
I live on 5 acres of ancient Live Oak Hammock in North Central Florida. These trees were here during the Civil War. Their trunks are 6-8 feet in diameter, and they are 75-85 feet high. I sneak around in camo clothing and aim a video camera at my four-footed, six legged, eight legged, and winged neighbors. I have wonderful footage of Barred Owls and Red Tailed Hawks and Woodpeckers and Cardinals (the kind with wings, lol) and squirrels and various newts, lizards, snakes, butterflies, wood spiders and buzzing things.
Our domestic animal family includes two horses, a big German Shepherd-Border Collie mix, and four indoor cats. I have had countless experiences with these creatures that indicate telepathic interconnection between/amongst us. This has lead me to the writings and lectures of Rupert Sheldrake.
Ran into another person recently, this time a Pagan herself, shocked to hear me say "Atheist-Pagan," as the two terms in her mind have always been mutually exclusive.
But as I see it, there are an awful lot of Pagan 'beliefs' which are rooted in science and not dependent on a separate-consciousness-from-you-and-I sentient being(s) behind it all. How the gravitational pull of the moon affects us. How weather, climate, and the changing of the seasons affect us. Focus and meditation through creative visualization. The psychological benefit of rituals, scents, sounds. And most of all the interconnectedness of all matter on the quantum level.
When we get into that realm of possibilities that science has little explanation for ... say, ley lines, earth energy and vortexes ... A Theistic-Pagan tends to look at that and make up answers where no evidence for such answers exist. Answers that often do involve literal, separate-consciousness-from-you-and-I willfulness and beings. As an Atheist-Pagan, I look at something like that and find my fascination in the possible but yet unknown. "Is it purely psychological or is there something more physical to it? Can we sense micro earthquakes like animals can and we just aren't as aware of it? Is there some other climate or geological phenomenon in this area that we're picking up on or reacting to?"
For us as Atheists, seeking the scientific answer, wondering what scientific answers there surely are even though we've yet to invent the tool that will provide that answer, doesn't take away from the beauty and mysticism of the phenomena. In fact, that scientific quest only adds to it!