Though I’ve written thousands of posts for The Wild Hunt, I couldn’t help but feel a certain sense of excitement writing today’s. Not just because I’ve been away for over a week, but because this is the first post of a newly independent Wild Hunt. A Wild Hunt that, while maintaining many of the things you’ve grown to love about our site, will also see a number of changes. The first will be that The Wild Hunt is no longer a solo venture. I am proud to welcome two new writer/reporters who will be making regular contributions each month here at this site: Rynn Fox and Heather Greene (Miraselena). Both have excellent resumes and backgrounds, and I’m excited about not only for what they’ll bring to you as readers, but also what they’ll allow me to do: spend more time writing and researching original journalism for the Pagan community.
In addition, The Wild Hunt is standing on principle, and will not only be paying our two new reporters, but will also be paying all contributors to the site from this point forward. I’ve seen a troubling trend within our culture to expect content and excellent reporting to happen without support from the community the writers are serving. While there is amazing free content out there, and many, many, talented writers who are doing this for the love of it, I feel there needs to be a space where this work is nurtured, supported, and paid for. From guest posts by top-notch writers like Eric Scott, a contributing editor at Killing The Buddha, to the contemplative writings of Teo Bishop, or the latest breaking story from a Pagan Newswire Collective bureau. So with my first post of the newly independent Wild Hunt, let me announce our annual Fall Funding Drive.
Over the next month I’m hoping to raise $6000 to not only cover costs here, but to use that money to turn The Wild Hunt into an enterprise that pushes this site to a different level, one that sustains, trains, and propagates excellence in Pagan journalism, analysis, and commentary. Head over to the official IndieGoGo site for a full explanation of what the money will be used for, the various perks of becoming a Wild Hunt funder, and why your donation is so important. So spread the word, and if can, please contribute!
Now, having said all that, it’s been a while since we’ve unleashed those hounds, hasn’t it? Let’s take a look at some stories that have been percolating while I’ve been away.
- Those claiming to have “no religion” in America (ie “nones”) are now around 20% of the population, and author Jeff Sharlet has a theory on those climbing numbers (it’s about the money). Quote: “The one theory the study doesn’t seem to consider — and, really, the most obvious — is the economy. I call that obvious not for sociological reasons but for historical ones — the last great unchurched moment in American life was the Great Depression. The fact is that for many, religious affiliation is a luxury — of time and tithing, the donations expected by most houses of worship.” Meanwhile, Elizabeth Drescher digs into the “religiosity” of the nones for Religion Dispatches.
- Hey, remember the Canadian government eliminating contracts for minority faith chaplains in federally funded prisons? Not too many people are amused by that (shocking, I know). Shannon Corregan’s editorial for the Times Colonist notes that “this is a perfect example of what social privilege looks like,” while Stephen Maher at the Montreal Gazette comments on the religious “not-so-freedom” on display. Quote: “All but one of the remaining full-time chaplains are Christians, which means that the federal government will now pay for the spiritual care of Christians, while other faiths will have to rely on volunteers.” I don’t think this controversy is going to go away any time soon, and I’ll keep you posted on further developments.
- Just because the Islamic Imam is from Africa, doesn’t mean he’ll be a good expert witness on Senegalese spells (and the judge agrees). Quote: “Evan Krutoy, the assistant district attorney prosecuting the case, said that, putting aside whether he may have been cursed himself, Mr. Ndao had not formally studied or taught Senegalese curses and had little more expertise in witchcraft than other Senegalese people. Justice Merchan agreed, telling Ms. Iyer that she had failed to show that Mr. Ndao had expertise in witchcraft.”
- The newest super-hero! Green Man! No, really, the Green Man. Quote: “‘Green Man has come to represent the environmental movement and our endangered eco-system, and so has more relevance now than ever. It is therefore fitting that his comic book debut will be entirely paperless and published by Eco Comics,’ said the firm in a statement. Writer Chris Bunting has teamed up with artist John-Paul Howard for the series, which debuted this week across a variety of digital formats.” More on this here.
- Headline: Pagan Pride Day Returns to Normal. Obvious retort of “what was so strange about it” stifled once you realize they’re talking about Normal, Illinois.
- While there’s been a lot of attention on the tensions between Protestant Christians, Catholics, and Vodou in Haiti, Islam has also been growing on the tiny island nation. Quote: “In part, the Muslim community’s growth can be attributed to the return of expatriates who adopted the faith in the U.S., said Kishner Billy, owner of the island’s Telemax TV station and host of the nightly program Haiti Islam. Billy and some others believe that Islam’s Haitian past goes back before the country’s independence in 1804, and that a Jamaican slave and Voodoo priest named Boukman who led the slave revolt that ousted French colonizers was actually a Muslim.”
- The art of creating idols in India, some great photos! While I’m on the subject of Hinduism, vocalist Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty says that men pay homage to the goddess Durga, but forget to respect the women in their lives. Quote: ”We come across various reports in newspapers and I am appalled. We worship goddess Durga whom we have not seen. But we can see her presence in every woman around us, we must learn to show every woman the respect she deserves.” (Plus, here’s more awesome photos!)
- Something awfully familiar about that Gary Johnson supporter in a picture featured at the New York Times. If only I could place it… I’m sure it will come to me.
- A Florida newspaper actually talks to a Santeria expert when following up on a “dead animals” complaint. Quote: “Miguel A. De La Torre, a professor at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver and author of “Santeria: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America,” said the chickens seem to be offerings to orishas, quasi-deities in the Afro-Cuban religion. But, he said, they could also be the work of copycats, or practitioners of other religions that employ animal sacrifice, including Palo and Voodoo.”
- Congratulations to Kris Bradley on the publication of her new book: “Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery: Everyday Magic, Spells, and Recipes”.
That’s all I have for now, but expect much more in the days and weeks (and hopefully years) to come! Thanks to all of you for your support, and I hope you’ll spread the word about our Fall Funding Drive and consider donating to help us achieve our goals!
Thanks to Valerie Herron for allowing me the use of her lovely “Cernunnos” illustration for The Wild Hunt.