Editorial: Metaphors For Walking Through Doors

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 30, 2014 — 65 Comments

Last week I was watching the documentary “Radio Unnameable” about famous New York radio personality Bob Fass, when I saw Margot Adler. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, after all Margot had a long and storied career in radio that overlapped with Fass, and even though she had recently passed, the documentary footage was no doubt shot years earlier. Still, the moment brought into focus that while Margot Adler loved the Pagan community, played an important role in the development of modern Paganism, and enjoyed attending Pagan events, she also had a rich, complex, rewarding life completely outside the context of her religious preferences. That seems like a somewhat small revelation to have, but I found it profound all the same, because sometimes it has seemed like modern Paganism was my whole wide world.

Photo by Jason Thomas Pitzl

Photo by Jason Thomas Pitzl

I’ve been working on The Wild Hunt on a nearly daily basis since 2004. Two years ago, I realized I was burning out. When you reach your limit doing something like this it isn’t like hitting a wall, sudden and immediate, it’s more like running out of water in a desert. You wish you could simply quench your thirst and continue your journey, but there’s not a drop of relief in sight. So you stagger forward as best you can, until you can’t even do that. Meanwhile, my public profile within our religious movement had never been more pronounced, and I found that a growing number of people saw me as some sort of leader, or perhaps more accurately as a public intellectual who was expected to hold forth on the issues of the day. Both of these developments made me increasingly uneasy, and I started looking for a way I could keep The Wild Hunt intact as a service to modern Paganism, while also allowing myself the freedom to leave. To re-orient my life in a new and different way.

Your humble-ish author.

Your humble-ish author.

I have been extremely fortunate that a group of like-minded media professionals, most notably Managing Editor Heather Greene, came at just the right time to step forward and help me. Over this last year I have been slowly transitioning out of my responsibilities in a gradual manner, while Heather, our staff reporters, and columnists, took up my old mantle. For the last few months I’ve been more of a symbolic presence and editorial advisor than avid contributor, and I think that this new team has managed to create something that honors the spirit of what I intended with The Wild Hunt while setting it up for a long future as a journalistic outlet for our interconnected communities. Heather now holds “the keys” to The Wild Hunt, its finances, the domain, and all other aspects. I trust her and the rest of the staff implicitly in their ability to carry out our mission. They may not please everyone all the time, but then neither did I.

So this is my “last post” post. This is where I get to walk into the sunset, and decide what I want to do with my life after ten years of active service to my religious community. I suppose I could take this opportunity to pen a “goodbye to all that” type kiss-off, but that has never really been my style. I would much rather hold on to the wonderful experiences and friendships that formed while I was doing this work. I would much rather say thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years, and to ask all of you to stay with The Wild Hunt as they continue their transition into a bright new era. I know they will do good work.

Trees and sun in Oregon. Photo: Jason Thomas Pitzl

This is about as close as walking into the sunset I get. Photo: Jason Thomas Pitzl

As for me, I’m not sure what, exactly, my future holds. I’ll still be around, here and there. I haven’t stopped being a Pagan, nor do I have plans to stop any time soon. I’ll still use social media, I’ll still chat with my friends. So I won’t completely disappear. However, after I complete a few last obligations, I plan on my Paganism returning to being one facet of my larger whole. I need a break, and I’d much rather focus on things I had put aside in the name of that work for awhile. I look forward to introducing myself in a different way in the not-too-distant-future. I will leave the unique brand of religious micro-notoriety I haphazardly obtained over the years to others, though I would warn them against coveting such a prize (seriously).

So goodbye, and thank you for reading my writing.

Yours,

– Jason

Jason Pitzl-Waters

Posts

  • linguliformean

    You’ve done a grand job, all the best in whatever you choose to do.

  • Thank you for writing your writing! Cheers, mate, and look me up if you ever need a nerd 🙂

  • Jason, I want to thank you for not walking away until The Wild Hunt was in a position to carry on without you. So many Pagan organizations depend on the passion and personality of their founders, and when the founders burn out or die, the organization dies with them. Thank you for turning your “baby” into a living organism that can survive and thrive without you.

    Enjoy the next phase of your life!

  • Thank you for your work and just being who you are.

  • Crystal Hope Kendrick

    Thank you so much for your hard work over the years. I will miss your news round-ups. Best of wishes for your next endeavors.

  • Chas S. Clifton

    You have worked indefatigably for ten years, and I am not surprised that you need a break, although I would miss your distinctive voice. Good luck with the next step, whatever it may be.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    You have made an enormous contribution to Pagan journalism. Best of fortune to you!

  • Holli Emore

    We are all of us better for the sacrifices and hard work you gave us, Jason. Thank you!

  • Gwion

    Best wishes for the next, perhaps more anonymous, leg of your journey. Great work! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

  • dantes

    Dear Jason, your website was the first Pagan website I encountered years ago, back when I spent my time gloating about conservatives evangelist christians on atheist websites. One day, in a story about religious persecution, I saw a link towards your website and became hooked up. T

    here is only one professional and reliable sources of Pagan news in the world wide web and it’s you who made that possible. Thanks for it all pal, and have a great time!

  • We are all so grateful for your work. Thank you.

  • Kathy Lezon

    Jason, thank you for all the work you have done- the time, the sacrifice, the commitment. Our movement is better for it. Enjoy pursuing other interests, and thank you for leaving TWH in such capable hands.

  • steward

    Congratulations on escaping before wearing yourself down so much that you would qualify for a padded cell. 😀

  • Jennifer Parsons

    Thank you for sharing it with us. We are lucky to have you.

    And good luck to whatever you find– or what finds you– in the future. 🙂

  • This is wonderful news! I echo the praise for leaving the Wild Hunt in a strong position to carry on with out you. I’m grateful for what you’ve created, the voice you’ve contributed, and the dignity you’ve brought with our “paper of record.” I’m looking forward to your re-introduction, and hoping our paths cross again. All the best to you!

    • Our “paper of record.” Yeah. And so much more.

  • You’ve done a wonderful job. Thanks Jason.

  • Maya Ravnsong

    Look what you have accomplished! Before TWH, there was nothing like it. I am grateful that you chose to forge this site.Thank you for all of your hard work. You will be missed.

  • Oh, dammit, Jason. Here I am at work, and you’ve made me cry.

    How apt that you evoke the memory of Margot Adler. Not only because, like you, she wore her celebrity lightly, and never planned to hold the importance to us Pagans that she did, but because…

    …because I miss her. And I am going to miss you, as my online companion through so many days I have felt alone in a secular world. Your words–not just the mission of TWH, but that indefinable sense of your integrity and insight and, yeah, wisdom–have meant so much to me, my friend.

    I know you are not dying; even TWH lives on. But Samhain is a time when grief comes easy. Maybe that makes this the ideal time to have that “last post.”

    I don’t like it. I’m not surprised about it, but of course I don’t like it. I’m very glad you continue to identify as Pagan, and I’m glad you are doing what you need to do to care for yourself, for the mind behind the creativity I’ve loved, for the spirit that made you Pagan to begin with. I’m glad you are doing what is right for you, even as I’m terribly sad for myself.

    You will have to keep my respect, my friendship, and, yeah, my love for you, however. I turns out, they’re not returnable.

    Blessed be, friend of my spirit. May your next endeavors fill your needs and bring you some fraction of the good things you’ve given all of us, these many years.

  • Ruadh

    I’m sad but at the same time, I’m glad it happened. You have done great service to our community and inspired me (as other) to be a better pagan.

    Farewell Jason, Goddess watch over you.

  • Karen Foster

    Jason, thank you so much for who you are, what you’ve done, and what you will become. You are a blessing!

  • sunfell

    Everything runs in cycles. That includes public life as well. Jason, you’ve been of great service, and your work to create a balanced, wonderful portal for Pagans of all sorts is deeply appreciated. I wish you well on your journey, and hope we’ll stay in touch in other ways.

  • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

    Congratulations on what you have created, and good luck on what you have yet to achieve.

  • Jay

    Thank you so much Jason for your great work. Good journey to you, good sir! You’ve created a beautiful thing here.

  • Wendy Griffin

    Thank you, Jason, for all you have done. You are leaving with tremendous forethought and grace and the Pagan community is richer for it. Blessings on discovering your new path – or on it discovering you.

  • Courtney Weber

    Jason, you are a gift to our community. Thank you for all you have done, and continue to do. 🙂

  • Friday

    *salutes*

  • Segomâros Widugeni

    Well, congratulations to you. You’ve helped exercise good and responsible leadership over the years, along with quite a few other Pagan leaders, some of whom differ with you quite a lot. You helped lower the temperature and raise the tone of the Pagan Community in many ways, defusing conflicts both internal and external, and moving us toward respectability. You’ve represented the Pagan Community well.
    Perhaps as important, you have built an institution. The Wild Hunt is well poised to survive without you as an active presence, and while it isn’t the first Pagan group to outlast the departure of its founder, surely some of the earlier Gardnerian covens count there, as do several Druid groups, it is important. The Wild Hunt will no doubt keep Pagans informed for years to come, and you had a part in creating it.
    So, take a well earned rest, while your legacy goes on in good hands.

  • Ellie

    Jason, TWH opened my eyes to the wider world out there and I’ve learned so much through it. Thank you for creating this site and thank you for not closing it down but to let it continue to thrive. Good luck on your new adventures. Wishing you the best!

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    I’m quite speechless…It isn’t going to be the same without you. Thank you for your work, and good luck with the future…But, mostly just speechless.

  • Lisa from Iroquois

    You don’t know me and I don’t know you. I’m an intermittant reader of this blog and as such each time I have ventured here I have been impressed with this venue and the work that I can only imagine goes on behind the scenes. Thank you for your service good sir and I’m sure when you’ve had a couple years to recover you will once again appear on the public radar.

  • Lupa

    Thank you for all the hard work, the carefully crafted writing, the balanced perspectives, and being responsible enough to make sure TWH could stand without you before heading on in your life. You have created what I consider to be one of the most important and consistent resources in pagan media, and even if you’re moving on, may it always carry the spirit of your integrity.

  • Sherry Marts

    You’re welcome. Thanks for writing stuff that is worth reading. Best of luck to you.

  • Thank you for all your amazing work Jason. I look forward to whatever it is you do next.

  • trueinar .

    Thank you Jason. The Wild Hunt has been a great help in my life. Whenever I run into a new pagan I direct them to it. I can understand the burn out and I hope your new direction is rewarding and happy. I’ll miss your posts but you have the right to do what makes you happy and is best for you.

  • Jenny the Red

    Jason, your service is so appreciated and I hope your voice will be still be here now and then. The Wild Hunt has been and continues to be a treasure, serious-minded and relevant. I send people of all stripes here to read about the state of religious minorities in politics, and never spend a moment worried I’ll be embarrassed by my coreligionists. Thank you.

  • Charles Cosimano

    I have rarely agreed with you, but your writing has always been interesting and worth reading. Good luck to you.

  • Hecate_Demetersdatter

    Blessings on your path, Jason. As someone who works hard to have a life “outside” of Paganism, I can tell you that the rewards can definitely be worth the costs. Thanks so much for all that you’ve done.

  • JasonMankey

    Thanks for everything and best of luck with everything in your future. You forever changed the face of Pagandom, both online and off, and I for one am extremely grateful.

  • TThornCoyle

    Thank you Jason. Blessings on the newest bend in your Path.

  • Thank you for all your years of service. May your road be blessed by the Gods, Ancestors, and vaettir.

  • Thank you for what you have built and given to us. I’ve always felt that your style struck the perfect balance between “editorial”, “conversational”, and “journalistic”, and will miss your voice here.

  • MadGastronomer

    *confetti* *champagne popper* *squeaker*

    Hooray for you! When you were done, you got out instead of running yourself into the ground! Well done!

    (Everybody else congratulated you on the very fine work you’ve done here and on passing the torch successfully, and I think taking care of yourself is just as big a deal for a person, so I thought I’d celebrate that part. Well done for all of it, though.)

  • xJane

    Hail and all the best in your new endeavors, whatever they may be!

  • PaganInMyPants

    Another well-meaning, well-intentioned, hard-working person burnt out by the endless energy vampires and other assorted idiots in paganism. Good luck in your future, though I am disappointed in your withdrawal. Seems to me you had an opportunity to use your years of public paganism and press for the betterment, instead playing the burnt-out card and fading away. If there ever was the need for someone to step-up into a larger leadership role, it would be you, Mr. Pitzl-Waters. In the end, it is your life to live as you see fit, but I can’t help but wonder if there is a missed opportunity staring you in the face?

    • kenofken

      The very last thing the movement needs is to cultivate a dependency on high-profile leaders and personalities. He built something wonderful that is sustainable and strong enough to live and grow on its own merits rather than his name or fame. Having the humility and honesty to walk away when its time demonstrates a sense of stewardship that is all too rare these days.

  • H.

    Well done. A change that was needed, for your personal well-being and balance, and for the sustainability of this project, and you balanced both those needs. Thanks for this place.

  • PhaedraHPS

    You’ll be missed. Thank you, and safe travels on all your journeys to come.

  • Romany Rivers

    You have done a wonderful job with TWH and created something quite stunning for the Pagan community as a whole. The Wild Hunt lives on without your daily presence, and I am so grateful that you built it strong enough to stand without you and that you also attracted the right people to continue its growth. Blessed be your journey, whichever path you take from here. Every ending is but a new beginning.

  • Sharon Knight

    You’ve done a lot for the Pagan community, and I look forward to seeing what you’ll do next. I have always been fond of your endeavors. Just last night I came across a handful of Numinosis podcasts I hadn’t yet listened to, and enjoyed what I heard. Thank you for your work.

  • Windsong

    Jason, thanks for all your work and writing. While I never spoke up anywhere, both The Wild Hunt and – while it was active – ADSOP – have been an inspiring part of my life for years.

  • Jason, thank you for all your hard work and efforts. Safe travels.

  • Karen Wheeler

    Awesome work and I still have a lot of it here to read. You always seem to do a bang up job of it and it will be missed. Glad to be your friend and will still enjoy your bits and pieces when you surface. Blessed Samhain

  • Obsidia

    Love and luck to ye, Jason! Thanks for your kindness and your
    perceptive receptiveness. May your Majick continue to expand in the
    best way possible! Hoping to see you again (in person or in print!).

  • Thank you, Jason, for all of your hard work for the Pagan community, and blessings to you as you move onward.

    Thanks and blessings to Heather and the rest of the Wild Hunt team who will keep this living entity thriving.

  • Gus diZerega

    Many blessings to you Jason on this next chapter in your life. This now concluding one has been a blessing for us all.

  • Raksha38

    So long and thanks for all the news!

    You’ve done great work and have created such a useful tool for our various Pagan communities, I will be forever grateful. The fact that TWH will live on and continue its mission without you is a testament to wise planning and effective organization. You should be very proud of what you’ve accomplished!

  • Natalie Reed

    Bright blessings on your next adventure – and thank you so much for your great contribution to our community. Words are not enough.

  • ELNIGMA

    Thanks for what you’ve done and started, glad it’ll continue. Take care/be well. 🙂

  • Jason Hatter

    Thank you for your many years of service. I will miss your writings and musings here, but I am positive TWH will live on, and I look forward to hearing about what comes next!

  • Marybeth Pythia Witt

    Thank you so much, Jason, for the inestimable work you have done on behalf of Witches and Pagans! So many of us mark the Millenium as the time when we shifted much more to online sources for our media input, and you have been a strong backbone of trust for all of us, Seasons of each year.
    May your reorientation free you to spread your roots along wider leys without restriction, so that your gifted insights become delighted shares rather than obligation.
    Know that you have left a great team in place, and go with joy and a nice, cat-unwinding stretch!
    May the Goddess and your Old Gods Bless your footsteps upon their path as it grows!
    Blessed Be!
    Pythia

  • Much gratitude. The Wild Hunt has enabled me to learn so much over the years. It was the single most important source of information in learning about this movement — a gateway if you will. You are to be congratulated. It’s very satisfying, and very hard, to build something that can live on beyond its founders initial involvement. Looks like you’ve accomplished that. Well done.

  • Jason, while I’m saddened by the news of your retirement, I know that you have placed tThe Wild Hunt in very capable hands, and look forward to seeing it continue. Best of luck on whereever the future may take you!

  • Thank you, Jason, for all the work you’ve put into establishing and developing Pagan news media. Wishing you the very best on the next phase of your life.

  • Lori Dake

    What? Nobody has offered you a gold watch yet? Tsk, tsk. 🙂 Good luck with everything. 🙂