When we rebroadcast our show Pagans Ancient and Modern last spring, I was struck by the fact that the natural world was never a part of my religious upbringing. All the religious rituals I’ve participated in (save for a couple outdoor weddings) were conducted in churches. Hearing about the resurgence of Pagan rituals around Europe made me jealous. How much easier would it have been to pay attention to a church service if it were held around a bonfire on a chilly night?

And I thought of that again when I read this New York Times article about a Russian Orthodox Epiphany ritual that involves immersing one’s self in freezing water. I love the idea of such a ritual reminding people of the strength they have to continue with the hardships of their lives. And when asked why he participates in the ritual, an advertising manager named Vladislav Komarov says, “We are all pagans in our souls.”

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