Pagan Community Notes: Patheos, Huginn’s Heathen Hoff, Gavin Frost, and more!

The Wild Hunt —  September 12, 2016 — 9 Comments

10540809_10152876458837141_521126412855229596_nNORFOLK, Vir. — It was announced that Patheos, one of the most popular religion-based websites, has been purchased by BN Media Associates, LLC, the owners of BeliefNet. According to the announcement, “The joining of the two web sites under one umbrella will open up further opportunities to foster the faith and spirituality discussion in a real and honest way. Combined, the websites reach 15 million unique visitors and generate more than 50 million page views each month.”

BN Media Associates, a holding company which is known to have had an evangelical focus, purchased BeliefNet in 2010. What does this new acquisition mean for Patheos and, more specifically, the Patheos Pagan Channel? Jason Mankey, channel manager, told The Wild Hunt that there are “no plans to change anything at Patheos and at Patheos Pagan.” Mankey added, in part, “As in all acquisitions, there will be some changes but we believe these changes will be in the background and focused on the technology and supporting infrastructure, and we anticipate that these changes will be about improving the experience of the reader.” We will have more on this story in the coming days. 

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13344573_637147323101733_349878647330761325_nTWH – When news broke that the Asatru Folk Assembly had lost its fall festival space, accusations began to circulate as to who was behind that action leading to the cancellation. As we reported last week, it appeared that secular anti-fascist activist groups, like Conflict MN and Antifa, were that driving force. However, the reported proof was not enough for Xander Folmer of Huginn’s Heathen Hoff. “After the Troth cited the two Twitter posts from @ConflictMN, we thought that would be the end of it, ” said Folmer. “The story seemed cut and [dried], but we were still seeing dozens of posts and messages, both on our page and others, from staunch AFA advocates claiming that this was the work of some ‘Universalist’ Heathen group.”

When asked why he decided to dig around further, Folmer said that at first he was just going to “get a statement from the group that started the campaign. We wanted something that could shut down the conspiracy theories that were being used by the AFA’s proponents to redirect the conversation away from the actual issues.” But when he opened the proverbial door and looked around, the simple research spiraled into an entire investigative campaign, resulting in a published article on his blog.

After printing the article “The Real Story Behind Camp Courage,” it was shared extensively. Folmer said that he and his group haven’t received much in the way of backlash, before or after, adding “Overall we haven’t received anywhere near the level of harassment that the Troth or H.U.A.R. has, and their only involvement with the story was sharing the Tribune article after it was all over. If anything, the response thus far has been far more subdued than we expected.”

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1891090_787489287945852_2101210932_nHINTON, W.V. – It was announced publicly by his daughter Jo Frost that Wiccan Priest and author Gavin Frost died Sunday, after suffering from an internal infection and prolonged pain.  Jo wrote, “In our family, we do not believe in grieving too much, so today, raise a glass, a brandy alexander, a glass of mead, but a spirited glass, have a good conversation with a friend, be a little risqué (or a lot), dance a tango, tell someone you love them that you might not have said this to lately.”

Gavin, along with wife Yvonne, have long been regular teachers, personalities, and lecturers on the Pagan festival circuit. Together the couple founded the Church and School of Wicca in 1968 and, since that point, they also coauthored many books and recorded teaching videos. However, Gavin’s life has not been without controversy.The Witch’s Bible, originally published in 1972, continues to generate disputes and friction. We will have more on Gavin Frost’s life and work, both the public and the personal. What is remembered, lives.

Upcoming Stories on The Wild Hunt …

Since our last report, Pagan support for Standing Rock continues to grow. We will be updating that story along with reactions to the court’s ruling and the subsequent joint statement from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior.

In Other News …

  • This weekend marked the eighth annual Esoteric Book Conference, which is held in Seattle on the University of Washington campus. The conference is a “annual international event to bring together authors, artists, publishers and bookmakers working in the field of esotericism.” The Seattle Weekly published a story, focusing on the local event. The article begins, “One unique aspect of life in Seattle is the number of practicing witches, sorcerers, pagans, warlocks, faeries, alchemists, and other magical folk who call it home.” Although local in nature, the Esoteric Book Conference attracts attendees and speakers from all over the world.
  • The Mountain Ancestors Grove – ADF, located in Boulder Colorado, will be hosting its fall symposium Sept 16-17. For this year, organizers announced that the event’s focus will be on the “exploration of othering and the people that have been pushed outside of mainstream American culture.” As noted in a press release, organizers said, “Whether they are prisoners, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, the elderly or the disabled, MAG will discuss these groups and their relationships, obligations and connections as devotional polytheists and pagans.” The keynote speaker is Robyn Chauvin; other presenters include Jane Kelly, Piper Perry, and Rev. Missy Burchfield.
  • Another upcoming event is the first annual All Hands Together in Hazel Park, Michigan. This will be hosted by the Ancient Faiths Alliance and held in Green Acres Park.  Along with harvest festivities, the day-long event will offer an art show and performances by Blackmail, DJ Brutal Entertainment, The Doppleganger Circus, Sideshow, and Day Oshee Maatin. There will also be a fundraiser to benefit Hazel Park Promise College Scholarship.
  • For those interested in Paganism and other similar traditions in eastern Europe, Pagan Federation International Poland has now joined Facebook. They join a number of the Pagan Federation International’s regional groups in the social media world.
  • Last year, the organizers of Paganicon, a Minneapolis-based indoor Pagan conference, decided to add a Friday night concert to its offerings beginning with 2017. They have just announced that the musician performing that first Friday night concert will be Australian singer/songwriter Wendy Rule. “Wild, wise and empowering, Wendy’s live performances honor her deep spiritual and magical connection to Nature. Her extraordinary voice and beautiful lyrics, combined with her passionate storytelling, invite us to celebrate and connect with our own deep Magic.” Paganicon is held every March at the DoubleTree Hotel Park Place in the Twin Cities.
  • Lastly, The Wild Hunt Fall Fund Drive is just around the corner. The annual fundraising event, which makes it possible for us to bring you news and commentary every day, begins Mon, Sept. 19.

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  • Rok

    Anti-Fascist groups sure do love limiting the free speech and free expression of people who disagree with them

    • Matthew Barker

      Id suggest learned what Freedom of Speech means. The AFA has not been denied the Freedom of Speech, Religion or Assembly. A private company canceled their reservations for a gathering of people based on their non-lore based beliefs (white-only, straight-only, gender assigned by the gods are their own MUS). If this was a government run park, area or permit for a march/gathering, that would be different.

      Also, no one moved to keep them silent, and no one is calling for their Facebook page, .com or non-profit status to be revoked (well, the last might be but not from HHH or AAA at least).

      • Folcwald

        Given that a popular slogan among anti-fascists is “No free speech for fascists,” I don’t know how appropriate it is to try to defend them from the charge that they do not support free speech for fascists (or anyone they deem to be fascist).

        • kenofken

          We don’t have to defend the anti-fascists from anything. They can do that themselves as they will and their ideas must stand or fall on their own merits as anyone else’s must. Regardless of their motives or their own agenda, this instance with the AFA showed free speech working exactly as it should. Everybody gets a chance to offer their ideas to the marketplace free of government censorship. From there, the public, the prospective buyers if you will, decide which ideas have merit and which suck. The anti-fascists in this case disclosed the AFA’s ideas (accurately as far as I can see), to a third party. That third party decided they wanted nothing to do with the AFA. The AFA remains free to peddle their views and to find another venue to host their event.

    • Summer

      Anonymous coward.

    • I think you need to review how Free Speech works.
      The AFA is free to support whatever ideology they please. Freedom of Speech.
      The Anti-Fascists are free to do so as well. They are also free to critique whomever they wish.
      Freedom of Speech.
      Camp Courage also has the right to select whom they wish to do business with, just like the AFA has a right to allow or disallow members as they see fit.

      Nobody’s Freedom of Speech was impinged upon in this incident. Three parties exercised their rights in a completely reasonable and adult manner.
      The AFA endorced a policy of racial and orientation based exclusion.
      The Antifa relayed that information to Camp Courage.
      Camp Courage elected to terminate their contract with the AFA.

      • endo

        It shouldn’t be surprising that fascists don’t know how “freedom of speech” works or how to apply it since one of the lynchpins of fascist ideology is the active denial of rights of people who are “weak” or “unworthy.” And not only that, but how there is a genetic and spiritual responsibility on the part of the strong to oppress the weak and the weak to be oppressed by the strong.

        Kinda like expecting vegans to know how to prepare foie gras.

      • kenofken

        If I were in charge of Camp Courage, just to rub it in a bit, I would hire a special envoy to deliver the bad news to the AFA – a 6’6” perfectly formed Swede with ideal Aryan features! 🙂

        “We’re sorry, but the board felt you’re….not the right sort for Camp Courage.”

  • ChristopherBlackwell

    I don’t see AFA has had its freedom speech, or practice, affected at all. Others have different opinions, in and out of the Heathen community. We also have freedom to associate, or not with people, and have differing opinions. That is freedom working as it is designed to do. I have many personal opinions that other people disagree with, but then no one is required by either law, or by morality to ever agree with me, or all the time. So each will come to his, or her opinion, agreeing or disagreeing with mine, or ignoring it completely, just as freedom should function, regardless of if I like, or dislike it. One thing most of us disliked about some fundamentalist Christians was their claim that the god agreed with their personal opinion. It is just as bad when we, in other religions, say that the gods agree with our own opinion. Same game being played, different religion. Every religion in time splinters into different views over time. Modern Pagan religions already do not have to agree with each other, there will also become different branches of each religion, just as it varied tribe by tribe, location by location. There was no Pan Heathen religion, no pan-Greek religion

    No Pagan religion ever had one right way for every people, or for ever different location. Nor will any of our religions have that either. None of us would allow others to tell us what to believe, how to practice or how to worship the gods. Any attempt at creating Orthodoxy is doomed to fail, so we always will disagree on everything. Now we will have to accept our differences.