The Conference on Current Pagan Studies Celebrates 10 Years

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  February 13, 2014 — 43 Comments

[The following report was written by Joanne Young Elliott, and was originally published at PNC-Southern California. It is being republished here with the permission of the author.]

The tenth annual Conference on Current Pagan Studies this past weekend in Claremont brought to bear the research of two dozen scholars and alternative religious activists to consider issues including Pagan identity, racism and homophobia within the community and the environmental impact of what has often been referred to as an “earth-based religion.”

Friday night celebration with cake. Photo by Charles Elliott.

Friday night celebration with cake. Photo by Charles Elliott.

The Feb. 8-9 conference at Claremont Graduate University, an official event of the Women’s Studies in Religion program at Claremont, focused upon the theme “Relationships with the World.” It fittingly began with a video from Patrick McCollum, a Wiccan Priest who has been invited to represent American paganism the UN and to large religious gatherings around the world. The video was a hello to us from India as he made his way to the Mahayaga in Kerala. Patrick was invited to co-facilitate this multi-million person spiritually-based event. He stated in his video that, “We need a new narrative that includes everyone.” He believes that within Paganism we have an inclusive story.

There were twenty-three conference presenters including the two keynote speakers, Lon Milo DuQuette and Crystal Blanton. Everyone had something interesting to say, but I will only give an overview of important highlights for the Pagan community. You can see the full list of presenters here along with the titles of their papers. If you want a detailed account of all the speakers you can check out Tony Mierzwicki’s blog, The Emerald Tablet. (To be up within the next couple of days.)

Joseph Futerman in his paper “The Burning Times Bugaboo—Using Fear to Create Insiders in Contemporary Paganism” asked us: “Why do we keep this myth of destruction, sadness and loss alive?” It hasn’t stopped genocides. He later went on to say that he was using the word “myth” to mean story or narrative and not an untruth, but a greater truth. What is that greater truth we think we are telling ourselves and what does the myth of the Burning Times give us? He suggested that it gives us our identity, the Insider versus the Outsider. He then asked a few more questions:

  • What is the effect of interacting from fear, suspicion and anger?
  • What is the effect of claiming that we are the disempowered few?
  • Is this what we seek to teach?

Joseph likes to ask questions, at some point later in the conference he said, “I only ask questions, I don’t have the answers.” This is what this conference is all about. And his provocative questions sparked some interesting comments during the Q&A. Sabina Magliocco talked about the trope of the disempowered and identity and how that has helped create some important movements like Feminism and the Civil Rights Movement. Joseph suggested that working from this identity ultimately leads to war in terms of things like the war on poverty. He also mentioned that embracing this role means we’re agreeing with those who think we shouldn’t be here. There was a lot to contemplate.

So what else do Pagans have in common? Pagan therapist Scott Gilliam presented “The Reemergence of the Pagan Soul and Its Voice in the World.” In his research he discovered twelve shared themes amongst Pagans who became Pagan and were not brought up Pagan. One of them was that feeling of coming home once they discovered there was such a thing as Paganism. The most important theme in terms of the conference topic was a feeling of purpose in the world. He said Pagans see themselves as active, not passive participants in the unfolding of history. Patrick McCollum is a perfect example of this shared theme. Scott also speculated that there is a pagan dimension to the soul that has long been neglected in our society and is now reemerging for a reason.

Paganism seems to be going through an identity crisis with much discussion going on around the Internet about whether or not we should be using Pagan as an umbrella term. What kind of relationship can we have with the rest of the world while breaking up if that’s what is happening?

One relationship that has been going on a long time is that between Pagans and Christians. Sam Webster addressed this in his paper: “The Relationship of Christianity with Paganism.” This paper came about when he got an intense response to his blog post on Patheos: “Beginning the Pagan Restoration” in which he stated “And, no, you can’t worship Jesus Christ and be a Pagan.” And the subsequent post: “Why You Can’t Worship Jesus Christ and Be Pagan.”  The flurry of over 300 comments gave Sam some data to work with regarding the Pagan community. Here are a couple of things that he came up with:

  • There is a need for better identity formation and education in history and theology in the Pagan community.
  • A deeper discussion about authority is needed because we are framing things in a Christian way.

Although recently more people report that they are “Christian Pagans,” Sam sees Christianity as a threat. Christianity is a challenge to anyone or culture that is not it and he said he doesn’t want to see the dilution of Paganism.

Margaret Froelich: “The Maiden, the Mother and the Other One: Testing the Triple Goddess for a Feminist World” and Amy Hale: “Cell Block Arcadia: “Nature Religion” and the Politics of Being Pagan” both brought up ideas about how the frameworks and names we use may not fit us and what we actually practice. Margaret said that we should make sure our symbols reflect our values and that the triple goddess model doesn’t fit our modern life, it’s not inclusive enough. Amy argued that calling Paganism a “Nature Religion” may replicate an antimodernist view and perpetuate “noble savage” ideology. By using this as a claimed characteristic of Paganism, Amy states that it may impact the potential ability of Pagan groups to develop.

In terms of Pagan history which is often thought of in terms of our ancient ancestors several presenters in this conference have been investigating our more recent past as a way to help us build our identity and relate to the world we live in today.

Jacqueline Rochelle in “Psycho-Magickal Analysis of the Industrial Revolution and the Rise of Contemporary Paganism” suggests that modern Paganism emerged in the tension between industrialization and the agnostic counter culture.

Armando D “Murtagh An Doile” Marini in “Proto-Pagans: Precursors of the Modern Pagan Movement – Seeking the Themes of Myth and Magic in the American Experience (1850 to 1975)” also sees the Industrial Era as the place where modern Paganism begins. He states three great awakenings:

  • 1731-1755 – Great religious tolerance reigned.
  • 1790-1840 – Period of the Transcendentalists, Mesmerism, Spiritualists and Theosophists.
  • 1850-1900 – The social gospels emerge.

Murtagh’s wife Elizabeth Rose-Marini in “Mythic Landscapes: California and the West Coast – 19th Century Utopias, Cultural Creatives, Health Pioneers and Proto-Pagans” looks at a particular group to give us a sense of what the “Proto-Pagans” were doing and how what they did is connected to what we do now. The Temple branch of the Theosophical Movement used the four quarters in their rites, wanted spirituality to be useful, and empowered women.

There is so much more to their research than I can give here. Please follow them and the Pagan History Project here.

The work of Kimberly Kirner: “Relating to Nature: Spiritual Practice and Sustainable Behavior” and Sabina Magliocco’s “Animal Afterlives” brought out some interesting and somewhat surprising information about Pagans.

Kimberly discovered through her research that the practice of Paganism does not lead to environmentally sustainable behavior. There are non-Pagans who live a sustainable life. Though many Pagans practice small acts of recycling and reusing, this behavior does not reduce overall consumption. Kimberly did find that Pagans that practice in groups did more outdoor ritual and connecting to place. The non-solitary was more likely to be an activist, according to her data. She ended her presentation with a question: “What is our relationship with the earth and its creatures with whom we claim connection?”

Sabina’s work centered on how Pagans confer spiritual personhood on their pets. She noted that this wasn’t something special to Pagans. She discovered that 81% of her survey respondents believed animals have souls regardless of religious affiliation. Like Kimberly’s findings, Sabina noted that Pagans are not as likely to make the personal and political sacrifices for animals that animal workers, who are often atheists, do. Pagans tend to work with animals spiritually.

During the Q&A Sabina mentioned that anthropomorphizing animals began in the mid-1800s with the rise of industrialization. The distance from animals due to the move to urban centers allowed this to take place. Kimberly noted that farm workers don’t see animals as having souls. She noticed a difference between the rural and urban Pagan in this matter. Sam Webster joined the discussion saying that our culture needs to change at the systems level. All the little things we do are not making a difference, he maintained. He believes that religion might be the way to change enough hearts and minds to have a major impact. Kimberly and Sabina pondered how Paganism can be that religion when there is a major dissonance between ideals and action. They did remind us that Pagans are more likely to take action if they belong to groups. Sam thought that it was not just actions, but the act of living a meaningful life that was the key.

Some disturbing information was provided by Tony Mierzwicki: “Ancient Greek Racism, Homophobia and Misogyny?” and Kat Robb: “A Study of Lesbiphobia in the Pagan Community”. This discrimination isn’t just in the past as shared by Marie Cartier – who read from her new book: Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars and Theology Before Stonewall. Both Tony and Kat brought up specific examples of current racism and homophobia within the Pagan community.

Tony shared an online discussion filled with hate speech by a Greek Reconstructionist. He went on to describe how Ancient Greece was filled with racism, homophobia and misogyny. There is a need to be careful when recreating these various Paganisms. As mentioned earlier by Amy Hale and Margaret Froelich, we need to question whether or not what we do has relevance in our modern world.

Kat Robb’s survey showed that even in what she thought of as an inclusive, sexually open religion there are exclusionary tendencies in some individuals and groups. She shared a personal experience of exclusion that left her in tears.

Crystal Blanton. Photo by Charles Elliott.

Crystal Blanton. Photo by Charles Elliott.

Keynote speaker Crystal Blanton gave a powerful and moving presentation, “Cultural Empathy, Collective Understanding and Healing within the Pagan Community.” She said that Paganism has grown beyond the bounds we have set for ourselves so this healing is important. Paganism needs to include more than just Euro-centric cultures now, she suggested. In the past Crystal said she felt she had to leave a part of herself – her black culture – outside the circle, but she no longer chooses to do so. She asks: Can we have a relationship with the world if we can’t be authentic with each other?

She goes on to talk about how we can heal this in such a diverse community. We need to truly listen to one another and not assume to know another’s cultural story. All of us need to be able to feel safe to be fully who we are in all of our communities. She let us know that “It’s not about right or wrong, it’s about understanding. In order to learn, you must unlearn what you think you know about diversity, cultures and people.” She provided us with so much more information shared with much love for this community. If you’d like to know more about the resources she shared you can contact her via her website.Lon Milo DuQuette’s talk was called “Good and Evil? Get Over It!” and as always he entertained us while enlightening us. He shared his music and wisdom. Through his story of a personal experience of awakening he realized at more than an intellectual level that all is one. He connects to this one via the god Ganesha. He says you get over the idea of evil by expanding your consciousness to include everything. Though we are all unique it’s important to remember Lon’s message as we move forward as a community.

Lon Milo DuQuette. Photo by Charles Elliott.

Lon Milo DuQuette. Photo by Charles Elliott.

These conversations I’m sure will continue this weekend at PantheaCon. If you are going, seek out those I’ve mentioned. Talk to them. Listen. Ask questions. Share your ideas. Be a part of the conversation. Carry the conversation out beyond the walls of any conference. It’s important at this time when the world needs a new story, a new paradigm. Paganism/Paganisms are coming of age and have something important to offer to the world.

Send to Kindle

Jason Pitzl-Waters

Posts

  • Hecate_Demetersdatter

    Wonderfully-written summary of what sounds like a fascinating conference. Thank you.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    We retain the narrative of the Burning Times in order to be mindful that when we defend some targeted Pagan against oppression from the larger culture, we are not merely indulging a tribal response. We are stopping something while it’s small before it grows into something bigger, which we know from history can happen. We share this dynamic with civil liberties advocates of every stripe, whatever their spiritual affiliation.

    • http://endlesserring.wordpress.com/ Treeshrew

      Fair enough, but is telling tall tales about ‘millions’ of people burned at the stake the way to do that? I’m not sure how it serves us to propagate false history.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        I want no tall tales that lack foundation in fact. The historical record, as competently researched, is quite adequate to the purpose indicated above.We may be stumbling over semantics. I do not equate “Burning Times” with “nine million.” I use the phrase to indicate the historical witch craze in Europe and New England.

        • http://endlesserring.wordpress.com/ Treeshrew

          I’ve always heard the two used together, so much so that using the phrase ‘burning times’ lends legitimacy to the claims of holocaust-level pogroms. Most of the ‘witches’ at the time were not necessarily pagan the way we might understand it today (usually they were falsely accused Christians who may have had some folk superstitions) and they were mostly hanged, not burnt as far as I know. I’m being picky over details, I know, but I think details matter.

          We can see what happens when conservative Christians whitewash or adapt history to suit an ideology or agenda, and the results are not pretty. I guess I would be concerned about Pagans going down the same path.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Details do indeed matter and I agree with most of your points. I think the phrase “Burning Times” can be rehabilitated.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    There is no contradiction between hoping for larger influence on society in the future, and dealing with internal dissention. Christianity split violently down the middle during the Protestant Reformation, but it’s still a powerful force in the world.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Sam Webster is certainly correct in that one cannot simultaneously be a monotheist and a polytheist. But it is perfectly possible to elevate the man who said “Blessed are the peacemakers” and “Whatsoever you do to the least of these….” That this rips Jesus from his original theological setting cannot bother us, because we accept without comment Women’s Spirituality doing the same to goddesses of every strip.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      Oops: “every stripe.”

    • TadhgMor

      Who is this “we” you speak of? I’m not sure it’s a given that paganism as a big tent group accept ripping deities from their context. Some are quite strongly against it.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        I trust you agree that such pantheonic extraction is happening in both instances. Ie, that one who objects to Christo-Pagans must, if consistent, also object to Women’s Spirituality. By “we” I mean the population that in all the heated TWH exchanges on Christo-Pagans never issued an obiter dictum against Women’s Spirituality.

        • TadhgMor

          Yes, I do agree. I find the practice harmful in both cases. On a functional level there is little difference, though obviously the context for women’s position and privilege is different than that of Christians.

    • Northern_Light_27

      That hasn’t been my experience. I’ve seen *many* instances of people mocking and slamming women’s spirituality and goddess spirituality for this. Particularly the formulation “the Goddess ™” or “Jesus in a skirt”– I’ve found when people want to diss on monism, they’re particularly snide about goddess spirituality. I’m not saying it’s entirely undeserved (although you hear it even if you’re not literal in the all-goddesses-are-Goddess idea– it’s part of my spirituality, but it an experiential/Mystery kind of way, not a literal, operative day-to-day kind of way), but does it exist? Yeah, it does. Not seeing it on TWH doesn’t mean it’s not out there.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        TWH is the population I was talking about.

        • TadhgMor

          With no offense meant to a blog I enjoy; this is not a representative sample. Many “conservative” pagans are underrepresented. Who would be the ones most likely to have problems in both cases, as I do.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            It is still a notable fact that the Christo-Pagan/Women’s Spirituality similarity was not commented upon during that discussion of this blog.

          • TadhgMor

            I agree that it is. But the people most likely to make critical comments are…well…this site doesn’t have the best reputation among some Reconstructionist communities. So you’re not likely to see the people (like myself) who are most opposed to appropriation overly represented. The hard polytheists I do see on here tend to be more…conciliatory than some of the other communities I interact with, more willing to play nice with mainstream paganism and overlook things they find problematic.

          • Northern_Light_27

            What TadhgMor said, that’s my experience precisely. This site’s comments can be combative, but ime people bite their tongues on a lot of things given free rein elsewhere and that’s an example of it.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I take both your points. My experience with Recons is mostly on or derived from this site.

        • Northern_Light_27

          Teeny-weeny sample of people who are seriously holding back when they’re here. Most Pagans don’t go here, many have never even heard of this blog.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            It’s still the population I was talking about. We have begun to repeat ourselves. Time to move on.

  • TadhgMor

    I think there is certainly a connection between “Nature religion” and Noble Savage issues. It’s one that is also closely related to appropriation as well. The idea of paganism being a “nature religion” creates a category (one without meaning outside of modern Romanticist notions I’d posit) where the Noble Savage is nearly assumed (both ideas rise at the same time in early Modern Europe), and of course the Noble Savage idea has contributed to the appropriation and misuse of traditional customs in a Romanticist framework.

    Also, I think calling the Burning Times a myth is accurate. Not only in the sense of a narrative, but in the sense of a narrative with some factual basis that is distorted for ideological reasons (in this case to develop group identity). I’ve often wondered if the popularity of that myth somehow connects to the popularity of the Christian persecution myths, since most modern pagans grew up acculturated as Christians. We unconsciously developed a similar mythos for ourselves.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      We unconsciously developed a similar mythos for ourselves.Who is this “we” you speak of? “Modern pagans,” evidently, but do you include yourself therein?BTW not all modern pagans “grew up acculturated as Christians.” Some of us were insulated from it and others mildly exposed to it. Perhaps this is what gives us a different take on the use of this fact-based myth.I’d also question the word “ideological.” It’s not clear to me that identity formation is the same as ideology formation. (The two of course often go hand in hand, occasionally disastrously.) If we used the Burning Times myth to try to denigrate any use of flame as inherently violent, that would be an ideological distortion. (Paralleling Catholic distortion of the myth of Onan.)

      • TadhgMor

        I explicitly said “most modern pagans”, which I would consider to be a very defensible statement. I’m not certain you can be “insulated” from Christianity in the United States or even in most of Europe, even if you’re part of another active faith community. The “secular religion” is a vaguely Christian one. Even atheists are acculturated to think like Christians, even if they almost never went to church in their lives.

        The we I spoke of was the greater pagan-umbrella community. That was the way it was being referenced in the beginning. The idea of the “Burning Times” is one of the few things that people of many different paths share some sort of familiarity and sometimes identity with.

        When you are forming an “us vs them” identity there is ideology involved. As for the distortion, the reason for that in order to justify the “us vs them” concept, which is of course fairly fundamental to forming new group identities (even if it can be dropped later on) the historical events were broadly exaggerated into a mythic history. I don’t know how many young Wiccans I see on St. Patrick’s day running around telling people they “shouldn’t celebrate it” because something something “the Burning Times”, despite the fact that Christianity’s coming was peaceful in Ireland and much of what does survive was saved by Irish monks. That’s an example of how it gets distorted.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          I just couldn’t resist opening my reply with the same question that opened yours to me supra. If the young Wiccans are explicitly saying that the Christianization of Ireland was accompanied by heretic burnings, then this is a distortion. I would have a more benign response: Every population, including young Wiccans, has a cohort that needs to get in people’s faces. This is a lot less likely than other possible approaches, upon which we needn’t elaborate, to get them into real trouble.Your line, “even if it can be dropped later on,” puts a certain cast on how that myth is held that denies mass educative corrections when better research is done and shared, which is what happened to the nine-million meme.

          • TadhgMor

            It’s certainly about ideological boundary maintenance in some cases; it is not only young “bookstore” informed kids making that mistake, though I see it most often from them. There are far too many historical myths about the “Burning Times” (as a historian I dislike even that name to be honest) that have been floating around with a number of other historical myths and misinformation for decades.

            What I meant by “it can be dropped” is more that the formation of an “us vs them” construct is more important when trying to from a group identity than it is once the identity is more solidified, in which case such constructs are often marginalized to the fringes. Though I think your example still fits within that framework; once a pagan identity was more solid people could look at the numbers and begin corrections because it was less of an ideological necessity.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I simply can’t agree with your theory on the roots of the “us vs them” sentiment among Pagans. Christians were bashing Paganism directly and by inference (using “pagan” as an adjectival slur) long before Pagans started beating the Burning Times drum in a big way. As a lifelong supporter (including when I was a Humanist) of interfaith communication I can’t delight in any “us vs them” howsoever sourced, but that is not the source in this instance.

          • TadhgMor

            It’s not just among pagans, it’s among all groups. It’s a common construct of identity formation just about anywhere. Something as important as religion to as small as music scenes or soccer clubs. However you feel about it, it’s a pretty well documented phenomena.

            Christians were using the term as a slur without any knowledge that it referred to people. Most of them STILL do that. It is almost never about actual modern pagans. I’m not certain that invalidates the process.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Use of such phrases as “the South’s pagan position on slavery,” as one beloved Christian writer did during a time when Pagans were known to be among us, sets up a persecution dynamic without any input needed from the other side.

          • TadhgMor

            I don’t disagree, but I don’t see how what you’re saying is relevant to my point. You seem to want to suggest it was in reaction to Christians that this happened, but it’s a common construct used in group identity. It doesn’t matter if it is or isn’t justified (I have my doubts), it would occur either way.

            Again, you can see this in a number of places. Sport rivalries are a good one. Not only do you have your identity as a fan of a team, you often need an opposite. Something that connects you with the rest of your group even with no other common ground (cough the New York Red Bulls are terrible cough).

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Though not a sports fan, I’m familiar with the kind of rivalries you reference, Cleveland vs Pittsburgh in American football locally. But that’s not a persecution meme; it’s full-throated competition. (And the Cleveland metro daily insists on a sports splash at the top of Page One any day they can do it…)

          • TadhgMor

            Oh I beg to differ. Every league has it’s supposed favorites. I’ve been guilty of it myself (granted the league does seem to go out of it’s way to give NYRB advantages…I have some examples)

          • Northern_Light_27

            That makes it sound like the nine-million meme is completely gone, and that’s not so. I wish it were, but it’s not. Run into Pagans face-to-face who don’t spend any time in Pagan online spaces (or Pagans online whose online spiritual experience is limited to Goddess Spirituality sites, since for some damn reason GS and Dianic practitioners will cling like mad to stuff thats long since been debunked everywhere else and claim the debunking is the Work of the Patriarchy– why I don’t hang around GS spaces anymore) and you’ll still hear it.

            Also, the St. Patrick’s Day thing is so, SO very not limited to young Wiccans. “It’s a celebration of Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland. The snakes were Druids, it’s about Pagan oppression, so take back St. Patrick’s Day!” is how I’ve seen it rendered and for a while there it seemed like everyone did it (including me *hide*). I don’t know how well the corrective spread because, like the nine million thing, I still hear this. At least the nine million thing seems a bit more limited in who you hear it from, but I still hear the St. Patty’s Day thing from a variety of non-Wiccan Pagans.

            (The thing that gets me is how very gross the nine million myth is to begin with. It has always seemed like an effort to one-up the Holocaust. “Six million? Well, we lost NINE MILLION.” I have a theory that persecution myths are especially attractive (and hard to let go of) the more privileged the person holding them otherwise is. I think that’s absolutely the dynamic at work with Christian persecution myths and I think it’s at work with the Burning Times concept too, especially among older Neo-Wiccans who, in spite of all available evidence, refuse to let it go.)

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            It’s fair to say the nine-million meme is receding, and that is educative evolution. I have no idea how the snakes = Pagans meme is faring in Ireland, but I stand by my earlier answer. There are so many more horrible modes of aggressively asserting group identity, of which the Old World offers drearily periodic examples. Let the people who must have a confrontation have a relatively benign one; we want their solidarity in event of a serious confrontation.

          • TadhgMor

            The distortion of history is anything but benign. It is often the first step. I would caution you on seeing it even as relatively benign.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I understand how you as an historian are especially irked by occult distortion of history. I feel much the same as a physicist about occult distortion of physics. But neither of us can be perfectionist about our people (however you define them). We can try to educate, and to some extent we succeed.

          • TadhgMor

            Do people regularly distort physics for ideological reasons? That’s a genuine question, no snark intended.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            People distort physics when they try to make quantum uncertainty a warrant for magick, just to take one example.

          • Northern_Light_27

            Yes, it’s receding. I wasn’t talking about “in Ireland”, btw, but in the US, and I still hear it every March. More broadly: I really, really detest “but it could be so much worse tho” kind of argumentation, and equally dislike the idea that because we all need to stand in solidarity when/if serious sh*t goes down we can’t criticize what people are doing wrong now. Sure it’s more benign than some possibilities, but that doesn’t make it a)not wrong, and b) free of all negative effect. It’s anecdata, but I’ve had entirely too many experiences of seeing non-Pagans discuss us online and squirming in my chair because the thing that puts them off is that perception that we’re a bunch of cosplayers appropriating ancient cultures and claiming to be more oppressed than everyone else. The “Burning Times” makes us a laughingstock. There is no percentage in holding onto faux oppression when the real version exists– not least because it makes us less useful as allies to people who legit are getting it way worse than we are.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            We don’t really disagree on any point here. I just happen to be more relaxed to lesser imperfections when I ponder alternatives. That doesn’t mean I don’t think we should try to counteract them, and I never intended to suggest otherwise.

  • Northern_Light_27

    This conference sounds fantastic. I wish it were recorded, I would absolutely pay for access to an audio version!

  • Franklin_Evans

    The Baruch-TadhgMor-Norther Light tangent is excellent on every level. You all get my utmost admiration for your posts.

    My (anecdotal) view is more generic than some seem to take. Distortions of history, appropriation of any stripe, promotions of agendas in general, all are symptomatic of the human experience in large groups and very often in smaller ones. We need not get “stuck” on the specificities of our community, nor need we heap more (or less!) blame on our siblings-in-faith for any of it.

    I particularly like TadhgMor’s post about “Nature religion” and the Noble Savage. I find it to be a rather ubiquitous thorn in my side in my interfaith interactions. Nature is an integral and integrated concept in my beliefs. I like to see myself as noble in a general sense, I know I’m capable of savage thoughts and actions. I’ve observed no causal link therein, certainly when comparing myself to members of other belief systems. At best, it just rubs me the wrong way.

  • Wendy Griffin

    I was at the first conference of current pagan studies and most of those that followed, including this last one. Kahena, who began this project, was a graduate student at the time. She has a great group working with her, some of whom have been there since the beginning. I want to point out that this was originally her vision and energy. Never doubt that one person can make a difference.