John Halstead’s Curriculum Vitae

Background

I am an activist and attorney living in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago, with my wife and two children. I have spent most of my life in the southern Laurentian bioregion of the United States, commonly known as the Midwest, Great Lakes region, and Appalachia.

Education and Profession

I graduated cum laude and with University Honors from Brigham Young University in 1999 with a double major in sociocultural anthropology and political science. My Honor’s Thesis explored cultural boundary maintenance in a small Mormon community which was divided by the emergence of a heterodox Mormon faction.

I graduated magna cum laude from Indiana University-Bloomington School of Law in 2002. While in school, I served as the director of the Protective Order Project, which obtained protective orders for victims of domestic violence. I interned with the U.S. District Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. After graduation, I clerked for the Allen County Superior Court in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

I currently practice law in Northwest Indiana.

Together with my wife, who is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I co-authored “Legal Issues in Couple and Family Therapy” in Ethics and Professional Issues in Couple and Family Therapy, ed. L. Hecker (2017).

Religious Life

I was raised Mormon (LDS) and served a proselytizing mission for the LDS Church in northeast Brazil from 1994 to 1996. My wife and I were married in the Manti, Utah LDS temple in 1997.

I now identify as a pagan and a Unitarian Universalist (UU). To me, being pagan means that I experience the natural world as sacred and I strive to cultivate my relationship with the place where I live and the other-than-human kin who also live there. To me, being UU means working for justice, equity, and compassion in all my relations and in the world at large.

I formally withdrew from the LDS Church in 2001 and began identifying as pagan in 2003. I began attending a Unitarian church in 2010 and joined the congregation in 2015. I now serve on the Worship Ministry and the Faith-in-Action (social justice) Ministry. My Mormon wife and I are raising our atheist son and agnostic daughter in an intentionally interfaith home. I craft pagan and interfaith rituals for my family and personally practice an idiosyncratic and eclectic form of neo-paganism which draws on the archetypal psychology of Carl Jung and the naturalistic animism of David Abram.

I am a Shaper of the fledgling Earthseed community, which is a religion inspired by Octavia Butler’s science fiction novels Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, and which is described in detail at GodisChange.org.

Writing & Presentations

I am the former Managing Editor at HumanisticPaganism.com, a community blog for Naturalistic Pagans, to which I am also a frequent contributor.  I am now the Editor-at-Large at HumanisticPaganism.com, where I write/curate a column called “The Naturalistic Pagan Toolbox.”

I have written for numerous other online platforms, including The Huffington PostPatheos, GodsandRadicals.org (now ABeautifulResistance.org), Witches & Pagans, PrayWithYourFeet.org, GodisChange.org, and my personal blog, The AllergicPagan.com.

Since 2011, I have been writing about my often ambivalent relationship with contemporary Paganism, Unitarianism, and life in general at Patheos. There, you can find my “Deep Ecology Tree” series, as well a description of my popular “Three Centers of Paganism” model, which is an alternative to the “umbrella model” of Pagan community and which describes the contemporary Pagan community, not as one, but as three overlapping circles of earth-centered, deity-centered, and Self-centric Pagans. In 2017, I left Patheos and returned to writing on my personal blog, The AllergicPagan.com.

I also have writen about the intersection of archetypal polytheism and naturalistic animism at “Gods Within/Gods Without,” which is hosted by Witches & Pagans.

I am the creator and curator of the informational site ProgressivePaganism.com.

I am the author of Another End of the World is Possible (2019).

I edited and contributed to the anthology, Godless Paganism: Voices of Non-Theistic Pagans (2016), which gathered the writings of 40 atheistic, humanistic, and naturalistic Pagans, pantheists, animists, Gaians, and other non-theistic Pagans from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia.

I have published articles in numerous periodicals, including Circle magazine, Witches & Pagans, Greenmantle magazine, and the Francophone Lune Bleue: Un Magazine de la Ligue Wiccan Eclectique. I also contributed to Pagan Planet: Being, Believing & Belonging in the 21Century (Moon Books 2016), Godless Paganism: Voices of Non-Theistic Pagans (2016), The Greening of Religion (2017), and the forthcoming Connecting to the Sacred Divine.

I have also presented at numerous conferences, including the Parliament of the World’s Religions, the Greening of Religion conference, PantheaCon, Paganicon, and the Mormon Sunstone Symposium (with my wife). I have also taught a class on Paganism and the Law at Cherry Hill Seminary.

I am currently working on two new books, Neo-Paganism: Historical Inspiration & Contemporary Creativity (which I anticipate completing in 2019) and The Gods Are Not Good: An Introduction to Jungian Neo-Paganism.

Activism

I am one of the founding members of 350 Indiana-Calumet, which works to fight the fossil fuel industry in Northwest Indiana.

I was the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment,” which can be found at ecopagan.com. The Statement has now collected over 9,000 signatures from 100 countries, has been translated into 16 languages. It represents the most successful effort to date to harmonize the diverse voices of the Pagan community in defense of the Earth and the web of life and possibly the single largest expression of Pagan voices ever.

The Pagan environmental statement concludes with a challenge to:

use our abilities and resources to promote policies and practices that foster the changes that our world so urgently needs,

educate members of our community to foster intelligent and focused sustainable living,

help the world recognize that everyone, whether Pagan or not, is part of our precious Earth, and

promote the current and future health of our entire Earth, including the water, air, land, and the web of life.

I strive to live up to this challenge through my writing and in my personal life. In addition, I have participated in public demonstrations and civil disobedience against the petroleum industry and in support of a just transition to renewable energy. I was arrested as part of a civil disobedience component of Break Free 2016 at the BP petroleum refinery in Whiting, Indiana. Break Free 2016 involved 20 actions on six continents and was hailed as the largest ever act of civil disobedience against the fossil fuel industry.

I have also helped to organize public demonstrations and other events in support of racial equality, immigrant rights, and gun control.

I am currently exploring the intersections of naturalistic animism, permaculture, mutual aid, and anarchism.

To speak with me, you can contact me on Facebook or send me an email.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s