Layman Pascal


The Spring Metamodern Spirituality Lab vs. the Deity



“You think you've got problems?!"

That’s my paraphrase of G.K. Chesterton’s introduction to the Book of Job.  Chesterton is the favorite theologian of Slavoj Zizek -- the famed philosopher who self-identifies as a Christian Atheist.  Paradoxes and playful oddities of this kind are the minimum we should expect from a liminal, metamodern, integrative, or coherent pluralist approach to the question of God.

The Spring 2024 Metamodern Spiritual Lab (Retreat) at Sky Meadow in Vermont has just wrapped up.  It was a week of poetic ritual, deep intersubjectivity, sacred play, and farm work -- combined with a sustained experiential inquiry into how we conceive and relate with Divinity and Supreme Signifiers in a world that is evolving, informational opaque, ecological, digital, & multi-perspectival.

Sounds good, right?  And it was. 

(Here's one of several reflections and summaries that have already emerged.) 


We've changed the name from Metamodern Spiritual Retreat to Metamodern Spiritual Lab to emphasize our desire to provide experimental opportunities for people to explore, produce visions, and test leading-edge practices with a reliable liminal peer group.

The ongoing function of these limited-space, twice-yearly events is to: deepen the field & cultivate high-trust sub-networks at the intersection of the metamodern ethos and the perennial questions (and practices) associated with spiritual, religious, and wisdom traditions. 

The regularity of these events allows us to situate them on a new sacred calendar.  Making and remaking contacts in the field, connecting to place/land & acts of service. Thickening the vibe.  Co-cultivating the skills of new ritual production.  Food, friendship, music, play, beauty, labor, and shared peak experiences.  Get all the gossip from across the liminal networks.  Swim in the ponds.  Savor the sauna.  Play with El Pacas. 

Maybe see a bear or a moose.

Pick up books.  Maybe make one.  My new Gurdjieff book and Brendan Graham Dempsey's recent Metamodernism overview were available along with several other oddities and treasures from among our participants. 

This year was the first iteration of the Sky Meadow Press which aims to publish and promote works from within the field especially around the intersection of metamodernism, complexity, spirit, and developmentalism in the new style. 

Back to “God"

It is suddenly fashionable, in liminal circles, to convert to Christianity or revisit mythic religion.  See my substack article on this phenomenon.  Brendan Graham Dempsey's recent work explores these themes.  Oliver Griebel's English anthology on God (as Many/One) has just come out & Bonnitta Roy is working on a book about God and Metaphysics.  The Spring Metamodern Spirituality Lab picked up on the lines of inquiry that were set open, but barely addressed, in the closing session of Greg Henriques' recent UTOK conference.   

The question is wide open.   

And not just open for the once-and-future believers. We are doing something different.  The bilateral oscillations, coherent alterity, nondual complementarity, and trans-paradigmatic sensibility of the liminal spaces allow us to bring together atheists, theists, nontheists, polytheists, and transcendental agnostics in circulating contemplation and revelatory synergy.   

What does the Zen koan theology of Kierkegaard teach us about the legitimate role of Deity in an evolving universe?  What kind of God could Nietzsche support?  How do we move forward from the notion of Spirit in Ken Wilber, Teilhard de Chardin, John Vervaeke and Hegel?  Does the Supreme Concept help or hinder the unfolding of a thriving trans-binary civilization?  How do we secure an Ultimate Signifier in postmetaphysics while also making it available personally and collectively as a lived reality?  Is God beyond or within the word “God”?  Do quotes diminish or amplify Divinity?  What sense does our community make of Alexander Bard’s 4 Faces of the Syntheist God?  Are discourses about “Gods” and “the Goddess” essentially the same or different from the discussion of God?  What is the function of the Absolute in a world without totalizations?  Etc.

Deep questions by some of the world's most brilliant people, deity yoga, embodiment practice & direct encounters with each other's hearts -- and with the living atmosphere of the Field (and the actual fields) help to generate a living hub.  It is an intersubjective hive that provides something that is certainly not found in conventional discourse but is also mostly absent from Integral spaces, Game B discussions, and the broader focus on Metamodernism on cultural, political, and intellectual domains.

It was important to explore these meta-theological questions about the future metaphysics and social pragmatics of Deity in tandem with our organism’s capacity to feel God, to love Value Itself & love each other as Evaluative Beings in contact with the transcendental (and sometimes overwhelming) Limit of our recognition and justification systems.

But in September, we take up a riskier theme -- the Goddess. 

Words by Layman Pascal
Layman Pascal was incarnated on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. He used to be a meditation teacher, yoga instructor & public speaker — but he's feeling much better now.