Ten Years of The Wild Hunt

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  March 27, 2014 — 26 Comments

On Saturday, The Wild Hunt will have been running continuously for ten years. On March 29th, 2004 I decided to re-launch a Pagan-themed blog I had already started (called “Pagan Thoughts,” itself a re-launch of an even earlier blog called “MythWorks”) with a new mission: prove that a daily Pagan news blog could work. To say that my early posts were somewhat rough around the edges would be kind, I literally learned how to write in public. Indeed, at the time I didn’t even consider myself a writer, as my ambition was geared more towards visual art and graphic design. Inspired by already-existing services like Wren’s Nest, PagaNet News, and Tuan Today, I wanted to show that a daily news site could be done, thinking my efforts would inspire nebulous “professionals” out there to take up the task in a more robust manner.

The Wild Hunt, circa 2004.

The Wild Hunt, circa 2004.

When I started, Pagan media on the Internet was very different. Most online Pagans communicated on bulletin boards or via a vast number of e-mail lists. None of the existing print Pagan magazines had a robust online presence, though to be fair neither did a large number of mainstream periodicals. As for blogs, they were still largely a curiosity for many, and extensive searches at that time only turned up a handful of Pagan-themed blogs, at best. Little did I know that huge changes were in store for mainstream media, and for the new media powered by blogging platforms.

The Wild Hunt, circa 2007.

The Wild Hunt, circa 2007.

As for The Wild Hunt, I had the luxury of incubating in relative obscurity, developing a voice as my audience slowly grew. I think the turning point in terms of influence and audience came in 2006 when I interviewed Margot Adler, and started doing more original reporting from within our interconnected communities (instead of simply linking to and commenting on mainstream news stories). As more and more people turned to the Internet to find news, more and more people seemed to find The Wild Hunt and enjoy the service it was providing. In the intervening years, I have strived as best I could to make The Wild Hunt a useful service for as many people as possible. Now, as we pass this landmark anniversary, I want The Wild Hunt, and Pagan media as whole to continue maturing, growing, and providing a vital connection for individuals within our interconnected religious movement.

The Wild Hunt, circa 2011.

The Wild Hunt, circa 2011.

Between now and October, The Wild Hunt will be instituting the following changes that I think will better prepare us for the future, and hopefully create one model for sustainable Pagan media. 

  • The Wild Hunt will receive fiscal oversight from the Pantheon Foundation, relieving us from the stress of handling our increasingly complex fiscal realities, allowing our editors, staff, and columnists to focus on creating the best reporting, commentary, and content we can. As part of our agreement with the Pantheon Foundation, an appointed member of the Wild Hunt team will always have a seat on the PF board so we can have a voice in how the organization is run. The service they are providing is important, and I think being overseen by a religious non-profit will allow us to fundraise more effectively. I (Jason Pitzl-Waters) will be serving as the initial founding board member for The Wild Hunt, though this can change as things progress.
  • Staff writer Heather Greene will become the new Managing Editor of The Wild Hunt. For those who have been following Heather’s work for The Wild Hunt, you’ll know that she’s an amazing writer and reporter, and truly “gets” our mission here. Heather has an impressive media background, and has worked for a number of Pagan organizations. She has the contacts, and skills, to step into this role. As we move towards October, she will be taking on a larger workload, and eventually will be overseeing all contributing writers and columnists at the site. I will become the Founding Editor, and start to focus more on “big picture” issues relating to The Wild Hunt, and Pagan media in general. I’m also hoping to use my additional free time to finally work on some Wild Hunt-related book projects.
  • We will be increasing the number of writers and columnists who work for The Wild Hunt. We have ambitious plans for the way we’re going to be doing things at this site, and that includes making our collective voice as diverse as possible. Whenever I added a new writer to our staff I asked the question: will this individual bring a perspective I can’t? Having a team who simply echoes the editor would be boring, and run counter to what our diverse religious movement is about. Weekends at The Wild Hunt will eventually be populated with a selection of columnists who bring unique perspectives and ideas to the table, joining our already impressive lineup of Rynn Fox, Crystal Blanton, Eric Scott, and Alley Valkyrie. We will also be looking for interns and staff writers to help us produce reporting and news during the week. Think you could be a part our team in the future? Drop us a line.
  • Finally, as things get set up with the Pantheon Foundation, will be making improvements to the site that will make it easier to support us, and submit news to us. We will be rolling out a number of donation and underwriting options, including monthly donations, which several people have inquired about during our yearly pledge drives. All donations, once this is active, will be tax-deductible. Secondly, will be working to develop a new service, Pagan Press Releases, that will make it easy to not only send us your news, but send other Pagan media outlets your news as well.

As for me, while I’ll be cumulatively writing less as times goes on, I will still be completely enmeshed in The Wild Hunt, and in the larger world of Pagan media. I will be working to make sure we are fiscally stable, that we continue to grow and thrive, and also work to expand what can do. With Heather stepping in as Managing Editor, I’ll be able to focus more on the “meta” issues of what we do, and also do more consulting work with Pagan organizations seeking to improve their own media footprint. Because we need a robust media ecosystem if we are going to achieve the ambitious plans many of us have laid out for our collective future.

I want to thank all of you for making The Wild Hunt the success it is today. I am eternally humbled by what you have collectively given me as I’ve done this work over the past decade. I am richer in friendships and connections than I could have ever anticipated, and I feel optimistic for what the next ten years will bring. I hope you’ll continue with us as we journey into what I hope will be a future of positive change and growth. Thank you, and here’s to the next ten years!

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • http://daoineile.com/ Aine

    Wow, awesome news! And thank you for all the great work you’re doing and have done.

  • Hecate_Demetersdatter

    Congratulations, Jason! Quite an accomplishment and we are all richer for your work.

  • http://www.patheos.com/Pagan Christine Kraemer

    Congratulations! I look forward to seeing how these new plans develop.

  • epredota

    Excellent news!

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Some exciting changes are in store! But who will be moderating comments?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram/ A Witch’s Ashram

    Thank you for all you’ve done and all you continue to do!

  • Ravenna Angelline

    I can hardly believe it’s been ten years already!! Thank you for everything you have done to create this site, to bring us newsworthy stories and at times a bit of fun. You rock!

  • PJ Graham

    Though I’ve loved this blog for years, it sounds like a lot of great stuff to look forward to. May The Wild Hunt continue to prosper!

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

    You should teach writing. Or at least writing teachers should assign “The Wild Hunt” as required reading.

  • owlsdaughter

    I have loved your wonderful Weblog (!!) for almost its entire duration and am so heartened to see the ways it has expanded and deepened. You have served our movement in powerful, steadfast ways and we are all in your debt. Congratulations and best wishes for many new decades to come!

  • T Thorn Coyle

    Thank you Jason! You truly serve our communities. I appreciate your work and think these changes sound wonderful.

    Here’s to the next 10 years!

  • Lisa from Iroquois

    I am in awe of what your vision has grown into, and grateful for the resource it has become. Thank you so much.

  • Kathy Lezon

    How very exciting! Thank you for all the work you’ve done, Jason! Looking forward to whats in the future for The Wild Hunt.

  • http://quakerpagan.blogspot.com/ Cat C-B

    Congratulations on reaching your tenth birthday. That’s what–like a century in Internet years?

    All joking aside, I will mourn reading less of your voice, Jason–much as I’ve come to respect all of your staff writers, your writing style is unique. Of course, ten years of practice have probably had something to do with that! And I’m relieved to know that you have been making plans for how to care for TWH’s future. I found myself thinking about a Pagan future without a Wild Hunt one day, if you ever ran out of energy and enthusiasm for the project, and I found myself dreading it.

    I’m glad to know you’re finding ways to put it on a solid footing financially, and thinking about ways to share the workload so there will (I hope always) continue to be a Wild Hunt.

    I also love the idea of the Pantheon Foundation! And I think this is exactly the kind of non-profit infrastructure we need to build. What a great union of projects!

    Again, congratulations. You have given us so much in ten years, Jason. (Call me greedy–I’m craving ten more!)

  • Anne Newkirk Niven

    Congratulations on all your accomplishments; may the next decade bring you continued success.

  • http://www.cernowain.com/ cernowain greenman

    Congrats to Jason and all those on the Wild Hunt’s staff. I like the proposed changes and the media infrastructure it creates. Kudos on a job well done!

  • Soli

    Congratulations and thank you for all your service.

  • Ikinde Skreja Ominnsaer

    We are so glad to finally see this day! Thank you for your dedication.

  • Sam Webster

    The Pantheon Foundation is very proud to help sustain and develop this important Pagan institution, and look forward to working with Jason on the Foundation’s Board of Directors and with Heather Greene as Managing Editor.

  • Diotima Mantineia

    Congratulations, Jason, Heather and all the staff, and thank you..

    Jason, thank you again for being the rock in the river. Now, can you help a poor astrologer out and, perhaps, tell me the exact time you posted your first post on March 29th, 2004? And where were you posting from? :-)

  • Anne Johnson

    You have put an enormous amount of work into this site. I’ve been reading it for years, and I don’t ever remember it being rough around the edges!

  • Ash McSidhe

    Congratulations on this anniversary/milestone! Over the years you have been on of the most reliable sources of news involving the Pagan Communities, and I look forward to the new developments.

  • Raksha38

    Congrats on 10 years! That is a fantastic accomplishment. I’m excited for what’s coming up and I have no doubt that Pagan journalism in general and The Wild Hunt in particular have a bright future ahead. Thank you for all your hard work!

  • Shauna Aura Knight

    Awesome and congratulations! I’m very excited for the plans for moving forward.

  • Winterswan

    Yours is the page I always go to when I want to catch up on all things Pagan each week. Thank you thank you!!! Sometimes when I feel lost and disconnected in this largely non-Pagan world, your blog makes me feel like I’m truly not alone.

  • http://saffronrose.livejournal.com/ A. Marina Fournier

    If you go to a subscription-style fundraiser, I will find an amount that I can sustain out of my weekly budget (monthly, paid out of one week’s budget). As I said to you one evening at PCon, when you and Eric had sat down next to my table in the cafe, Wikipedia is the only other internet entity I consider well worth an annual contribution.

    Thanks for all you (plural) are doing–it improves my day.