Checking in with Patheos and the PNC

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  November 13, 2011 — 10 Comments

A somewhat lazy Sunday today, exacerbated by the fact that I have a lingering upper respiratory infection. So I thought I’d do a quick round-up and check in with my colleagues at the Patheos Pagan Portal and the Pagan Newswire Collective.

  • To start off, Gus diZerega’s latest column for Patheos expands on the distinctions between “cultural” and “religious” Paganism, using Lithuanian Romuva as an example. Quote: “For my present purposes, what is most important is that for many Lithuanians cultural and political values were the major motivation for their interest in her Pagan past. Religious and spiritual values were not so important. Lithuanian Paganism was for them a kind of “identity politics.” A ritual was more a political and cultural statement than a religious one. It seeks to build solidarity within the community, not better connections with the Sacred.”
  • Meanwhile, fellow Patheos columnist P. Sufenas Virius Lupus talks about the importance of indexing, and wonders what would be revealed if we indexed our own day-to-day speech. Quote: “Would this kind of indexing look different if it were a workday for you as opposed to a day off? Would this type of indexing’s results depend on who you’re around, or what your activities of the day end up entailing? Would the “chapters” of your life in which you’re at a big pagan gathering feature certain words more frequently, as opposed to the days in your life that are more “mundane” and not inclusive of specific spiritual events? Would this indexing vary more if it involved a tabulation of the words of your thoughts as opposed to the words of your speech? And if there are large patterns discernible within each of these possibilities, and they are patterns that you find unexpected, uncomfortable, or upsetting, what can you do to change them and bring them more into line with what you would hope they would be rather than what they are at present?”
  • At the Pagan Newswire Collective’s culture blog The Juggler, Tim Titus takes notice of the “Wicca Club” on the popular television show “Glee”. Quote:  “What, if anything, will the show do with a Wicca Club?  The season has hit the middle of sweeps and there is a constant need to find new controversy to fuel the plots.  One of the show’s challenges is to remain light and funny while tackling some important issues like homophobia, bullying, and physical/mental disability. Could Wicca be next?”
  • The Bay Area bureau of the Pagan Newswire Collective has had some excellent event coverage recently: the 32nd annual Spiral Dance (more here), the 16th Annual Festival of the Bones, and the Answering the Call; Battle Goddesses in Times of Change weekend intensive. Here’s what T. Thorn Coyle told the PNC about that intensive: “This event feels important for many reasons. One, people around the world are obviously sensing a need to gather together and better learn how to support each other. We see this in the rise of community gardens, in the relearning of the skills of our grandparents, in the “Occupy” movements, Arab Spring, and in the outpouring of creativity with which people have met times that feel really hard for many. These times of difficulty are also times when a lot of energy is rising, and it feels right to take some of that energy and channel it toward our personal training and effectiveness. We can become stronger, more capable, and more kind. We can rise up for what we love.”
  • Finally, the PNC’s nature and environment blog, No Unsacred Place, continues its quality run of essays and explorations of how modern Pagans engage with the world around us. Meical abAwen writes about the “hand of man” in nature,  Crystal Tice discusses the importance of walking outside, and Juniper Jeni follows the trail of the Lord of Animals. Quote: “Margaret Murray read Breuil’s work and combined with her other studies, and with her desire for a revival of Pagan practices, she built upon Breuil’s theories. In her work “The God of the Witches” she called The Dancing Sorcerer “…the earliest known representation of a deity”.  An idea that became so poplar even Breuil himself adopted it. So did many others, including Gerald Gardner.”

There is, of course, much more to be found at the Patheos Pagan Portal and Pagan Newswire Collective websites. So be sure to check in often! As for me, I’ve got some great stories coming up this week, and I’ll also be heading off to cover the American Academy of Religion’s annual meeting, so lets all take a breath before we dive back in! Have a great day!

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Index your own speech? Wait a few years; there’ll be an app for that…

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Gus wrote:

    “America’s NeoPagans are Pagans without much of a Pagan culture, although one is growing. It will truly begin to put down roots when second and third generation Pagans have grown to adulthood surrounded by Pagan assumptions as so many of us grew to our present positions surrounded by monotheistic ones.”

    Something inhabits Pagan festivals that is different from the larger culture. I think a modest Pagan culture is already in place, but intermittant, and is putting down roots.

    What I would really like to live to see (at 70) is Pagan neighborhoods in big cities…

  • A. Marina Fournier

    Remembering the indexing I did as a corporate paralegal* in the mid-80s, from long dox in a Large Document Litigation (I think that’s what it was called–tons of dox to work on, from discovery) in a Multi-District Litigation brought by the DOJ, that’d be time consuming for sure. The e-cabinet that Ricoh failed to make a go of, where all emails, faxes, scanned & filed documents were entered into a sort of database that could be easily searched would have made the work I did a snap, rather than the mind-numbing, hand-cramping, time-cnsuming labor it was.

    Now make that for speech–just how would that be accomplished, I wonder?

    *worst job of my life, but I needed medical and dental coverage badly enough to deal with the long commute by bus and the ghastly corporate atmosphere and culture of that place.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      I don’t know the current state of speech recognition software but I assume someone (probably the government) is working on it.

      • Ali

        Current speech recognition is already capable of handling this kind of indexing, at least to a certain extent – and the government has already been doing it for years. As for the private sector (where my husband and I both work), it’s not really marketable, or at least not as much as smart phones with an ASR user interface. Talk in the industry is pretty much obsessively focused on how to use ASR to get people to buy stuff. It’s kind of depressing. Though not surprising.

  • A. Marina Fournier

    As to the Wicca Club on Glee, how will it compare to the Wicca group, or the contextual definition of “Wiccas” and “magic power addiction”, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

    I gather that in BTW, a second degree symbol is the “upside down” pentacle that we also see Gwydion wearing on an album cover–but few mainstream folk are aware of that, and the symbol from Glee does look a bit menacing.

  • That battle goddess intensive was held at Stone CITY Pagan Sanctuary. Rather than Stone “Circle” Pagan Sanctuary, in case anybody wants to look it up 🙂

  • Kilmrnock

    Altho i don’t watch those sorts of shows , i checked the artical and saw the emblem in question. I am a wee bit concerned . Due to the typical hollywood depictions of our community. And the fact that the pentagran is inverted and the poster is supposedly gothic. With the inverted pent being satanic , will they take a dark angle on the wiccans or is the poster just a case of ignorance .We’ll see , but i’m not holding my breath ………..based on past experience . Kilm

  • Lori F – Mn

    If you watch Glee (I don’t) contact the network. Tell them how you felt to see the Pagan group sign. Offer them realistic positive story lines.

  • Nick Ritter

    “Lithuanian Paganism was for them a kind of “identity politics.” A ritual was more a political and cultural statement than a religious one. It seeks to build solidarity within the community, not better connections with the Sacred.”

    Of course, any healthy religion arising from a traditional culture such as that of the Lithuanians will do both. Community solidarity and connection to the sacred are not mutually exclusive goals, not by a long shot. I wonder where Mr. diZerega gets the impression that it was one and not the other.

    I find that both goals are mutually supporting: a better relationship between the community and the divine creates more community solidarity; while creating better community solidarity through ritual draws the community into relationship with the divine.