Pagan Community Notes: Pagan Radio Network, Dan Halloran, Faerieworlds, and More!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  July 30, 2013 — 39 Comments

Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started!

Pagan Radio Network

Pagan Radio Network

After 13 years of operation The Pagan Radio Network, one of the most prominent outlets for Pagan and Pagan-friendly music, shut down suddenly on July 21st. Owner Lew Wirt gave the following explanation for the sudden closure: “Not enough time, money, or energy to keep it up. I won’t bore you with a long-winded explanation, except to say that I attend college and raise a special-needs child. This leaves very little time or money to devote to my hobby of Internet broadcasting (as enjoyable as it was). Thank you for tuning in for nearly 13 years.” While there are other worthy streaming Pagan-oriented stations, few rivaled PRN’s size and scope, showcasing an amazing breadth of music. Currently, the domain names and IP are being auctioned off, and Wirt is recommending alternatives (plus new stations are popping up). As someone who had a show hosted on PRN, I’m saddened to see this essential resource go, and I wish Lew all the best in his future endeavors. Whether this is an isolated and personal development, or something that augurs a larger discussion on money and support within our communities is, I think, something that is still up in the air.

Dan Halloran

Dan Halloran

PaganSquare, the blogging portal hosted by Witches & Pagans Magazine, has added a new writer: Dan Halloran (who is going by Dan O’Halloran). Halloran, currently serving on the New York City Council, has been indicted in a massive political bribery scandal, and is facing trial sometime in 2014. While the matter of his guilt or innocence awaits due process, Halloran seems to be publicly re-embracing his Heathen beliefs (and the wider Pagan/Heathen community) by writing about Germanic polytheism. Quote: “Now it’s my turn to kick back in life after politics and discuss the things that matter to me from an academic and philosophical perspective. It may stir up some controversy… but that’s half the battle of ordeal, the crucible process of Wyrd. I’m looking forward to the journey….” I questioned editor Anne Newkirk Niven about bringing Halloran on board and she said that she was aware of his history, and was not looking to make any political statement by having him write for PaganSquare. That Halloran “just seemed to fill a gap in our PaganStudies section.” It should be interesting to see how Halloran’s new engagement with the Pagan community is received. You can read all of The Wild Hunt’s coverage of Dan Halloran, here.

Omnia performing at Faerieworlds.

Omnia performing at Faerieworlds.

This past weekend was the Faerieworlds Festival in Eugene, Oregon. As I said in my post this past Friday, it is a very Pagan and mythic event, and also boasted the first American performance for the Pagan-folk Netherlands band Omnia. On their official Facebook page, the band said they are “so very happy that the AMAZING audience here has such a strong reaction to our pure PaganFolk musick, seeing as it’s our first time here in the USA.” Meanwhile, featured workshop presenter T. Thorn Coyle said that she “had a grand time. Blessings of magic, mirth, and music to you.” Standout performances this year (aside from Omnia) included the mythic Pagan neo-folk of The Wicker Men, ethereal singer-songwriter Mariee Sioux, the transcendent world fusion of Stellamara, and a brief Kan’nal reunion featuring guitarist Tierro and singer Kurt Baumann. Also of note was the fact that American Pagan band Woodland officially released their new album “Secrets Told” and closed out the event on Sunday night. There’s a lot more to tell, and many more Pagans of note who participated (S.J. Tucker, for example, who, as always, was universally beloved), but suffice to say that this is an event that more Pagans should discover. Here’s the opening spiral dance for a small taste. Tons of photos at the official Faerieworlds page. [In the interest of full disclosure, I work for Faerieworlds, but I thought the festival was awesome even before I did.]

In Other Pagan Community News:

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • PoorPaganWithNoMoney

    Sad to hear about PRN. Certainly not shocking that pagans in general can’t or won’t help broader community projects like PRN with appropriate financial support. But they certainly can find the money for spiritual trinkets and do-dads they find at various festivals. And while having those trinkets and do-dads might be important, helping support broader pagan community projects might actually be more so. I’m not saying we should abandon support of pagan vendors and stores, but certainly there should be more of a balance with other bigger projects than there currently is.

    • Deborah Bender

      A few of the larger U.S. pagan organizations redistribute donations to other pagan groups, but most of the pagan non-profits, charities and service groups are totally on their own for fundraising. That’s a big burden.

      In some regions of the United States, there are enough pagans and established pagan organizations that it might be time to set up a pagan version of the United Way, Jewish Federation or Catholic Charities. These are umbrella non-profits whose sole task is to collect donations and distribute them to a bunch of other non-profits that match their guidelines. The recipient organizations are allowed to and usually expected to do additional fundraising on their own. Guidelines are set up by the national board of the umbrella group, but the fundraising is done locally and the money is distributed by local or regional chapters to local organizations and local chapters of larger organizations, so they can keep an eye on how the money is spent. it works best in communities that already have a number of well functioning organizations.

      The benefit is that by giving a single annual donation to the umbrella group, you are donating to dozens of groups that have been checked out for worthiness. That’s more convenient than making multiple donations.

      An umbrella organization like this is also in a good position to approach corporations that have programs for voluntary donations by automatic payroll deduction.

      There’s an overhead cost to this kind of collective fundraising. The umbrella organization has to keep a share of donations to cover its own administrative costs, which include deciding how to divide up the money and making sure none of it is diverted to sticky fingers (something some branches of the United Way have had trouble with). When these kinds of umbrella organizations are set up right, their boards of directors not only donate their time but often are expected to make large personal donations or to tap their personal or business networks to help with fundraising. an Francisco Bay Area and parts of Texas might be ready for this.

      • Deborah Bender

        I wish there was a way to edit after posting. I’d get rid of that final sentence fragment and capitalize one initial it.

        • Lēoht Sceadusawol

          There is a way to edit after posting. Go to the bottom of your post and there should be a clickable that allowed you the option to edit.

          I’ve used it numerous times.

          • Deborah Bender

            There should be, but there isn’t.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            How odd. I’m using Disqus, perhaps you are using another account?

      • PoorPaganWithNoMoney

        Deborah: That all sounds fantastic, but the reality is much more grim for future endeavors to help the pagans and pagan communities in the US.

        • Deborah Bender

          Could you go into more detail about what you expect the future reality to be?

          I expect the US to undergo economic contraction; in fact it’s happening already. But I don’t see that affecting pagan communities more than anyone else. To the extent we have data, the socioeconomic status of pagans isn’t markedly different from other Americans. It’s true that the economic expansion of the mid twentieth century created favorable conditions for the rise of neopaganism, but so far the various pagan communities have been able to respond in constructive ways to changing circumstances. Other minority religious communities, including immigrant groups, have managed to raise funds through good times and bad over the past centuries.

  • cernowain greenman

    Thank you, Lew Wirt, for your 13 years of dedicated service to the Pagan community, in bringing PRN to us all.

  • Wyrd Wiles

    While PRN may have closed its proverbial doors, it’s not to late to make a change. There are other stations which could grow to fill this niche, including the newly formed HRN. We’ve seen one station close down, lets try to keep some others running.

  • Northern_Light_27

    Halloran just seemed to fill a gap in the Pagan Studies section? What gap is that, a gap specifically for a god-denying, unethical, nasty, corrupt nithing of a politician? Because if it’s for anything other than that, it could be better filled by just about anyone. We need to stop rewarding people who blacken our good name by continuing to give them the time of day, let alone a built-in audience– especially an audience who doesn’t know what he did.

    • Alley Valkyrie

      To be fair, nobody really “knows” what he did or didn’t do yet. Last time I checked, in this country you are innocent until proven guilty. This is not to say I “support” Halloran, but it doesn’t serve anyone to pass judgment and condemn him until the true facts come to light.

      • Northern_Light_27

        Okay, no. He denied his gods. That’s a thing we *do* know. That’s to start off with, but one damn good reason why very few Heathens will have anything to do with him. Second, until his name is out from a cloud and he has taken steps to actually reform his reputation, why give him a platform? The only possible reason I can think of is the “controversy breeds pageviews” model, and that’s kind of low, IMO. It’s literally the only thing for which there aren’t a score of Heathens with good reputation (“you are your deeds”) who are as good if not much better qualified. There’s a difference between your legal rights under a criminal charge and how your community deals with you under the reputation you yourself have built.

        • Anne Newkirk Niven

          Hell, no, that’s NOT why I did it. He was recommended by a reliable friend as an academic writer on Germanic Heathenry. His first four submissions of essays were very solid, well written, and erudite. I’ve also asked him to address the issues of his past in a post very soon.

          • Kenneth

            Are there no writers on Germanic Heathenry who also have some personal authenticity on matter? The issue isn’t whether he can write an essay but whether he got the gig based on his creds or because of his celebrity draw. His credibility as a Heathen voice is clearly strained. He owned his religion only when it was safe or advantageous to do so.

            It’s a bit of a stretch to bill him as an “academic writer.” That implies that someone has a depth of professional interest and scholarship on the topic. It implies authorship of work in peer-reviewed journals or books that carry some weight in the field of study.

            I don’t doubt that Halloran is well read in the area, but it’s a stretch to think of him as a pagan scholar. Ronald Hutton or Brendan Myers or Margot Adler or Michael York can trade on their names as “academic writers” first and practitioners second. Halloran, not so much.

          • Anne Newkirk Niven

            I liked his writing. It’s kinda that simple. And what happened to “innocent until proven guilty?” I’ve also recently welcomed several other Heathen writers and am in the process of reaching out to several more. We have over 100 authors on the site — I would hope (perhaps I am naive here) that our entire stable of authors wouldn’t be judged on the basis of one controversial choice.

          • IHAB317

            This guy is NOT an academic writer. And if *you* are promoting him as one, *you* should be in a position to evaluate who is and is not recognized as an academic in this area, and you, or a trusted academic colleague should also be in a position to verify the scholarly merit of his work. Because *you* “liked his writing” in no way speaks to the merits or authority of its content, and bespeaks a lack of critical ability all too common in the wider Pagan community. And yes, I do think you have a responsibility to your readership in this matter.

            This addition to your blog site does no good for the Pagan movement as a whole. Regardless of Halloran’s guilt or innocence, the fact that he is *currently* under federal indictment should have been enough for you to not provide tacit endorsement of him at this time.

            Standards. Let’s have some, shall we?

          • Kenneth

            I’m not even speaking to his innocence or guilt in the criminal sense nor even whether he’s a particularly virtuous man in whatever sense Theodishs folks understand that to be. To me, the issue is whether or not he should be given a position of prominence and a vehicle to represent the voice of a tradition. I realize you’re not electing him pope or a Pulitzer. It’s a writing gig and he’s one of many voices.

            Still, the decision seems to rest more in convenience and his talent for self-promotion rather than any substantive or consistent contribution to his own tradition or the modern pagan movement as a whole. It’s just a little sad to see our own movement fall in line so readily with the mainstream culture in one respect. That is the model in which “celebrity” no longer accrues to people for any actual accomplishment but rather from their knack at “being famous” and keeping their name in the limelight at all times.

          • Northern_Light_27

            Did you reach out to any Heathen groups or forums to ask for recommendations, or simply rely on one person’s recommendation? I have no doubt that if you’d asked an organization like the Troth or if you’d asked for recommendations or submissions somewhere like Asatru Lore, you’d get someone as or more qualified, who is not currently under federal indictment (it’s not “his past” as if it were something he did ages ago, it’s very much his present!) and considered a pariah by most of his larger community. I have no doubt that he can be an erudite, accomplished writer, but the larger Heathen community has no shortage of people who meet that criteria– I, like Kenneth, also question the idea that he is an “academic writer”. I’m unaware of peer-reviewed scholarly articles published by Mr. Halloran. If “academic writer” implies someone learned in the lore and scholarship of Germanic religious history, again, there are a lot of people who fit the bill for that.

            I’m really surprised by this move, honestly. I’ve been reading Sage Woman since 1993 and I’ve always liked your editorials. But I think it’s a really bad move to give him an audience. It also doesn’t help the already strained Heathen-Pagan relationship that someone outcast by most of Heathenry ends up taken in by a Neo-Pagan blog site as a move to be inclusive to Heathenry– I’m already seeing comments to that effect. It comes off really badly.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            Being, as I am, from the UK, I have to say that the name ‘Dan (O)Halloran’ only ever seems to come up in regards to Heathen controversy.

            I don’t know the guy, so don’t really want to judge him. However, using him as a contributor will be controversial, if you are looking to reach a Heathen demographic.

            If nothing else, isn’t Mr Halloran an adherent of Þéodisc Geléafa? Again, not judging. But I have heard that Theodism is somewhat controversial amongst Heathens, anyway. (If only for the stance of Sacral Kingship.)

            I have to say, though, that I like the idea of giving him a chance to put across his side of events.

          • Nick Ritter

            Theodism is controversial within Heathenry, and Dan is controversial in Heathenry both within and outside of Theodism.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            I’m glad I’ve been reading the situation properly. Thanks for the confirmation.

          • LaurelhurstLiberal

            Theodism is certainly controversial in its doctrines and has an amazingly fractious history in the short time it’s existed, but it has also punched above its weight in the number of creative and interesting Heathen writers it’s contributed to the community. I have no use whatsoever for sacral kingship, or any other form of kingship, by the way.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            I’m a monarchist from jolly old England. I don’t see an issue.

          • Wolfsbane

            I Do know Halloran.

            I sat not three feet away from him at a NYC pub moot in 2008 while one of the people from his theod was sitting across the table from me and was also not three feet away from Halloran. This person went on and on bragging about his great uncle whom he claimed had been in the Waffen-Schutzstaffel and died on the eastern front during WW2. This theodsman frfom Halloran’s group went on and spouting anti Semetic drivel the whole evening.

            Halloran did nothing about it and said absolutely nothing to him about it the whole evening. I’ve never returned to any of his pub moots again nor do I ever intend to.

            As far as I’m concerned Halloran is a complete scumbag and should never be given any position within the pagan community that implies that we support, endorse or even tolerate him.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            I keep my politics and my religion separate.

            Otherwise I’d be calling for a theocracy.

          • Anne Newkirk Niven

            In my search for new Heathen writers, I sent almost two dozen emails to my contacts in the Heathen community (not about Halloran, he wasn’t even on my radar as a writer then) and got … bumpkiss.

            So when a good friend vouched for Halloran *as a writer* I allowed him to send me samples of his writing on the roots of Germanic Paganism, and was mightily impressed with those essays. I suppose it would have been more prudent of me to ask him to write under a pseudonym and avoid all this hubbub, but usually I like folks to write under their real names, all other things being equal.

          • cernowain greenman

            I am not Heathen, but I do listen to several Heathen radio shows. Halloran’s will not be one of them. To me, integrity is worth more than one’s scholarship.

          • LaurelhurstLiberal

            Thank you for doing this. I am very interested in hearing what Dan has to say as a prominent Heathen who’s made his fair share of mistakes. There are no role models for being an “out” pagan in politics, so I’m not as angry as some at his behavior. Also, we don’t have an Asa-pope to excommunicate him or an Allthing to declare him outlaw, so he’s got as much right to talk about his faith and the gods as anyone.

          • Dscarron

            I find it hard to believe that your organization is incapable of doing a google search.

          • Wolfsbane

            So you thought someone who started a Normandy Theodish group, but was too stupid to realize that the area which came to be known as Normandy had been Christianized for around 500 years prior to Hrolf Ragnvaldsson being given dominion over the region after being Christianized himself would be a good addition to Pagansquare?.

            May we assume you’ve acquired Halloran’s services in order to service the evidently all important moron demographic?

            If not, I surely hope you’ve also contracted the services of a fact checker to to go over everything he writes with a magnifying glass and a fine toothed comb.

  • Raven-Radio Heathen Talk Radio

    It is sad to hear about PRN, They have been a staple of the Shoutcast net waves for years. Good Luck Lew in your future plans and may the Gods and Goddesses watch well your path

  • Dscarron

    The Troth’s Official Statement on Dan: It has been noted that Dan Halloran (a/k/a O’Halloran) recently opened a blog page on a major Pagan website, where he states prominently that he is an Elder in The Troth. He is recorded as a Clergyman and Elder of our organization, but he has been neither active nor involved for several years. Mr. Halloran was recently accused of felonious acts. If he is found guilty, Troth disciplinary procedures will be enacted. In the meantime, Mr. Halloran’s status as Troth Clergy and Elder has been suspended pending the outcome of these legal issues.

  • LaurelhurstLiberal

    That’s a common thread in pagan communities and other thinly supported endeavors, that people start doing something cool, it gets popular, and after a while they get overloaded and burned out, their other responsibilities get neglected and they get financially stressed, until they have to shut it down out of self-preservation. This happens all the time with temples and kindreds, too. If there’s a lesson here, it’s that people need to learn how to share the workload, delegate, and ask for support. Without blaming anyone, it would have been better for PRN to transition to a different model than to shut down abruptly, leaving its participants and audience in the void.

    • PoorPaganWithNoMoney

      I don’t think it’s so much a matter of sharing the workload, delegating, and asking for support. Anyone who runs a even a moderately successful non-profit or group learns those lessons fairly quickly. The simple fact is that when asked to support or it goes away, most pagans turn their backs at the first sign that they might have to actually do something resembling hard work, and might have to cough up some of their trinket and do-dad money. Sad and pessimistic, I know, but that is the reality in my experiences. I suspect that regular readers of WH are not this type of pagan, and that they regularly help their local pagan projects with time, money and energy. But beyond WH, there is a whole population of pagans who’s first commandment is, ‘me first, and community be damned.’ And they are also the loudest to complain when local resources get fed-up with such ass-clownishness, and close doors.

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        That is what happens when you fill a religious denomination with Solitary Practitioners.

        • kenneth

          Maybe, but when you fill a religious denomination with self-preserving hierarchies and groupthink, you get other probems, like the Catholic sex abuse crisis and enormous money laundering schemes. Most pagan non-profit community efforts fail for the same reasons that non-profits fail everywhere. They fail because they are run by well-meaning people with no expertise or aptitude or appreciation for the enormously difficult and complex business enterprise that non-profit work is.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            No denying that there could be far worse problems than a lack of cohesive community, I was just pointing out that when solitary mentality is dominant, people are going to struggle to create community feeling.

          • Northern_Light_27

            Kenneth has it right again. I can’t count how many times I’ve been told that someone’s opening a new Pagan store or some other Pagan-related business. “Great! Have you got a business plan?” “No.” “Have you figured out how to make it sustainable?” “No.” “Do you know anything about retail? How to run a store?” “Nope, but I believe this is what the Goddess is calling me to do.” “Did you do a lot of research into running this kind of business and how to make it work? Do you network with other shop owners in town?” “No.” Same thing with non-profit community efforts.

            When the business fails, everyone else gets called on the carpet for not supporting “community” and caring more about their “doo-dads” than supporting local Pagan businesses. It takes more than wishful thinking to make a business work or make a non-profit work, and a lot of people don’t do the research, don’t have the expertise, and don’t really know what they’re getting into. I’m not going to deny that yes, there’s definitely some of that “I love this but won’t put money behind it” attitude– but that’s not the whole story by a long-shot.