So thank you.
So thank you.
Pagan Voices is a spotlight on recent quotations from figures within the Pagan community. These voices may appear in the burgeoning Pagan media or a mainstream outlet, but all showcase our wisdom, thought processes, and evolution in the public eye. Is there a Pagan voice or artist you’d like to see highlighted? Contact us with a link to the story, post, audio, or image.
The gods are powerful, as are many other entities and beings. They have the power to begin a series of events that culminate in a coincidence that is also a deliberate sign. They have the power to bump that algorithm and make it do what They want to give us that sign. They have the power to make the wind blow a certain way so that all those birds act in that natural but slightly unusual way that grabs our attention and makes us go, “It’s a sign!”
It’s not just these unsure signs either, but the more awesome obvious things. Consider John Beckett’s green glowing bird. A rather noticeable thing, and he admits to reaching to find an explanation for what he was seeing, some mundane reason for it. Because that is what we do – even when we believe deeply in the “supernatural,” we still reach for mundane reasons.
–Bekah Evie Bell, Maybe it’s a Sign, Maybe it’s Just an Oddly Specific Facebook Algorithm
Greed loves monopoly. Monopoly is fed by centralization. Centralization has gotten worse. The more greedy corporations can get away with centralization, the more they will, until no one creates online content except those with the big bucks to produce corporate-driven, insipid “culture.” Social media corporations want advertisers. Advertisers put their money on watered-down content, mostly. If corporate media can get away with it, the only online “Paganism” will be as mindlessly numbing as most television.
Paganism tamed! Imagine if wildly witchy articles no longer existed? Imagine only corporate media “Pagan” blogs, as milquetoast as the fake Christianity that dominates media to suppress robust, responsible Christianity?
–Francesca De Grandis, Social Media and Pagan Culture
Let’s go back to the basics: the acronym stands for Unusual (or Unverified) Personal Gnosis. It’s unusual if it isn’t corroborated by the collective past experiences of others. It’s personal if it is revealed to one person alone during the course of their active worship of the gods. But gnosis – I think we need to remember that gnosis does not mean simply an idea or thought or piece of information, it’s a (mystical, spiritual) insight, the kind that typically comes as a revelation (often after prolonged study and practice).
When you’re just pondering the ways of the gods and you have an idea about something new – maybe you think, for instance, that a god might like a certain offering not attested to in the sources, or you see a connection between one myth and another that you never noticed before and haven’t seen discussed – that idea might be entirely valid and true and interesting, but it is not really the same thing as when the gods themselves reveal something to you during ritual, or when in a deep state of devotional mind you have a sudden and profound insight into their natures.
–Dver, Some thoughts on UPG
There is no escape from yourself. There is no escape from pain. There is no escape from this moment. There is only what is in front of you and your choice of how you face it. When you are faced with a challenging person or situation, do you find yourself wallowing in the toxic miasma of the situation? Unable to let go of the muck. Do you find yourself complaining to your spouse or friend or relative? In a way, what you are doing is scooping a little of that sludge and flinging it at someone you love, hoping some of it will stick. Misery does love company.
–Rúndaingne Ash, My truth about happiness
I have never understood why, when others speak to us about our faith, it sounds like they believe that we just decided to put on the black hat and pointed shoes because we had nothing better to do. The truth is, that for many who proudly call themselves Witch, they are simply finding their way again. I have taught and known many spirited Witches over my life, and many who have recently discovered their magickal ways. They describe it as a returning to a life they knew they were a part of, rather than something new or something they just started. It is simply who we are.
–Lady Abigail, Samhain and the ‘Witch Questions’
The thing that makes deep time difficult for many people to cope with is that it makes self-evident nonsense out of any claim that human beings have any uniquely important place in the history of the cosmos. That wouldn’t be a difficulty at all, except that the religious beliefs most commonly held in Europe and the European diaspora make exactly that claim.
–John Michael Greer on the anthropocentric nature of time
There seems to be a sentiment among some Pagans and polytheists that being a good person isn’t important. That as long as we give offerings to the gods, ancestors, spirits . . . that we can be whatever kind of person we want.
I’m not here to tell you otherwise. You practice your religion in the way that you feel is right for you and your powers. But for me, personally, I believe that my religion is ineffective or incomplete if it is not making me a better person. If I am not becoming kinder or more compassionate to others, especially the poor, outcasts, downtrodden, hungry . . . I don’t see my religion as being complete. I need to be making the world a better place for others in some way, shape, or form. . . .I understand that this may seem very Christian to Pagans. Meekness and compassion are not often seen as important values to polytheists, and perhaps to ancient Pagans they weren’t.
–R.M. McGrath, Good People
To demand my vote is to demand my consent for the horror that America does in my name, be that the imprisonment of millions for property and drug crimes here or the obliteration of children to get at the oil they’re living atop in the Middle East. Insisting I must “play” in order to “win” is a sick joke at best when the jackpot is only the hope of less slaughter of others and a little less poverty for myself. At worst, it’s the language of the abuser and the rapist. If you don’t say no, it means yes–yet even if you do say no, it still means yes because they have power.
The mass ritual of voting for who will be the new face of the Leviathan sucks everyone into a vortex of celebrity-worship, displacing radical political actions onto candidates resembling our hopes and dreams. Meanwhile, some get richer, drowning in revenue from campaign advertisements, just as state coffers swell with sales from lottery tickets. That the same massive media corporations who shape our perception of the world and the urgency of our vote make the most money from the election frenzy is hardly accidental.
–Rhyd Wildermuth, Editorial: I Won’t Play
Local and state elections – who we vote for matters more than who we vote for for president. Congresscritters usually filter up from state and local governments. Presidential candidates come almost exclusively from Congress and state governments. If we want different candidates for president, we must put different candidates in office down ticket. That’s where our vote truly matters. That’s where the change begins. If we help put someone in office who turns out to be vile, we need to work to unseat them. Whenever possible, pick candidates for are for term limits for Congress. That forever candidate and seat holder is dangerous to public welfare. Once ensnared in the political machine, they spend most of their time and decision making energy on staying there, rather than doing what is best for citizens.
Change from ground up – that’s how I vote, in every election. I encourage you to do the same.
–Boneweaver, The downticket shifts the upticket
A polytheistic relationship to truth forces us to see plurality as a fundamental feature of the world. We produce truth through a process of living and engaging with the beings that surround us. Truth becomes participatory. The tension between competing truths is recognized as powerful and real, and our choices, adjudicating between these truths, have real and meaningful consequences. The world is full of complexities, and as we move through it, we only produce more and more. We make the world a stranger place with every passing day.
–Julian Betkowski, I Believe that Polytheism is Important Right Now
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Cherry Hill Seminary (CHS) has announced the launch of a new Community Ministry Certificate. In partnership with the Sacred Well Congregation, the new 15-month program is designed to lead to ministerial credentials. The program covers such topics as ethics, leading ritual, diversity understanding, family dynamics, addiction and more.
As we previously reported, CHS has recently found itself at a crossroads. Director Holli Emore has said, “Unpredictable cash flow has compromised our ability to be sustainable. The nature of the extended Pagan community, the economy, and even the very face of higher education have all changed dramatically in the past decade.”
Despite that struggle, the organization is continuing operation, keeping its commitment to students. The new ministerial program is part of that work. In a press release, CHS notes that they never offered this type of training before because, as they explain, times were different: “Most people belonged to covens, and some of those leaders advised CHS founders of a concern that students would leave their home group if they got training elsewhere. Now a large percentage of Pagans surveyed say that they are either solitary by choice or unaffiliated with a group for other reasons. Finally, most tradition training does not cover the topics taught at a seminary.”
Registration for the new program begins in November. In meantime, CHS has just launched a new survey to help gather input “in planning [their] programs so that they can best meet [the community’s] needs.”
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va — It was announced that the city council of Parkersburg had a change of heart and has lifted the ban on fortune telling. The reversal to the July decision came Tuesday, surprising many locals. Heather Cooper, who had initially challenged the law, was there to witness the vote, and told a local journalist, “I figured it would be passed, but when they finally said it was passed we weren’t really sure that it was passed. We figured there would be a lot more to it. So we were like what?”
As we previously reported in June, Cooper had discovered that fortune telling was banned in the city. As a result, she was unable to fully operate Hawthorn, her new metaphysical store that focused primarily on tarot reading. When she challenged the old code, the city council upheld the ban. At the time, Cooper pledged to fight, launching a GoFundMe campaign that ended up raising $500 to cover legal retaining fees.
Then, this past Tuesday, the ban was dropped. We caught up with Cooper, and she briefly explained what happened to change the city’s mind. “The ACLU wrote them a letter, telling them it was unconstitutional. Parkersburg lost a lawsuit the last time the ACLU was involved over panhandlers. [The city] lost $80,000. The city attorney told them they had to pass it.”
Cooper added that it helped that she had already hired a lawyer, saying, “[My lawyer] was also talking to other city council members. City councilman Brown decided to change his vote from no to yes, which got the ordinance back on the agenda. From there the ACLU did the rest of the convincing. Sounds like they can be quite persuasive.”
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TWH – The Wild Hunt has begun its annual Fall Fund Drive. Since 2004, The Wild Hunt has been serving its global readership with modern Pagan news and commentary. What began as an informative, community-minded blog has slowly and steadily grown into one of the most widely-read nonprofit online news magazines for modern Pagans, Witches, Polytheists, and Heathens in the world. Today, our reliable, independent news agency is made up of a 16-member team of reporters, columnists, and editorial staff, all of whom make sure that you receive relevant, well-crafted, original content every day of the week.
During our annual Fall Fund Drive, we ask that you help us continue to do that; to continue to be here for you every single day. We are grateful for the support you have already shown that has allowed us to come as far as we have. With your continued support, we’ll do our best to repay your generosity by expanding and growing our delivery.
For more on our fall campaign, the exciting perks, our future goals, and other fun TWH facts, go to our newly launched IndieGoGo campaign. And, while you are there, consider donating today and sharing the link. Support independent, nonprofit, Pagan journalism!
In Other News:
If you have news tips, events, or story suggestions, contact us.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Divine Spiraling Rainbow Tribe, a division of Come As You Are Coven (CAYA), joined Planned Parenthood, Good Vibrations, and others to help sponsor the 2016 San Francisco Trans March, held June 24. The group set up a booth and offered “blessings for good health, love, home, abundance, and tarot readings on the spot.” They also provided interested marchers with “protection charms, handmade and blessed by members.”
Divine Spiraling Rainbow Tribe Dedicant Root Holden said, “People were curious and a bit shy in coming up to the booth, but once they saw that we were just part of the community, all of us are queer, non-binary, and/or trans, they were really interested in what we had to offer. This may the first time many of these folks have been in contact with priest/ess/exes from a tradition that fully embraces and celebrates them.”
Divine Spiraling Rainbow Tribe is a “Mxgender Mxtery Tradition within CAYA Coven.” As noted on its website, the group is “devoted to exploring and honoring sacred mxgender Mysteries. Our Priestxes embody the experience of identity beyond the gender binary, and celebrate the glittering prism of Divine existence that is Powerful, Delightful, Enthusiastic, Playful, Transformative, Magickal, Compassionate, and Reverent.”
Holden said, “The group’s priest/ess/xes provided marchers with a chance to meet the many queer, transgender, mxgender, non-binary witches next door, and get a taste of what CAYA Coven has to offer.” From its booth, CAYA members offered a variety of blessings including ones for health, prosperity, love, and home. They also had a glitter blessing to “shine with your own inner sparkliness.” Melissa ra Karit said, “Blessing people with glitter was magical and very queer.” The group considered their work a success.
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DENVER – Hesperides Garden, a Pagan community located in Denver Colorado, has launched a Facebook event asking for people to help them define the world “Pagan” in modern terms. On that page, the group writes, “For too long the word ‘Pagan’ has been defined by outsiders, the time has come for Pagans to define the word that describes us collectively. With respect to all the many paths ‘Pagan’ is..?”
The group is asking for Pagans everywhere to post in the page’s discussion comment area a definition of Pagan. On July 15, the event page will close and the group will “compile the responses,” generating a full report. Organizers said, “In an effort to create the most accurate representation we will then take your feedback on creating a unified definition through compiling and voting.”
Hesperides Garden defines this effort as a “coming together” and asks for respectful discourse within any online discussions. The group is also collecting definitions through a Google + account.
* * *UNITED STATES – Today many people around the U.S. will be celebrating Independence Day with fireworks, picnics, and other outdoor activities. As has been written here in the past, “The United States of America that we know today, for better or worse, was built and shaped by an incredible diversity of lives, experiences, religions and cultures; by every person that has walked on its soil and stood beneath its skies.”
The holiday weekend means different things to different people within American subcultures, birthing many discussions concerning the concept of freedom. American Pagans, Heathens and polytheists often use this day to be thankful specifically for the ideals of religious freedom written into the early documents. “Neither Pagan nor Mahamedan nor Jew ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the Commonwealth because of his religion,” wrote Thomas Jefferson, quoting John Locke.
At the same time, Americans continue to face difficult challenges, witness profound social changes, confront new problems as well as old ones still not yet resolved. And, together with the world, they continue to look into the face of unthinkable violence. The U.S. is not a country of perfect. But, as a nation, its people continue to try, to debate, to rebel, to speak out, and to evolve.
In Other News
Today we are starting off with a big thank you to everyone who supported the 2015 Wild Hunt Fall Fundraiser. Whether you donated, shared our link, told people about the service or any other effort, the Wild Hunt team is grateful to each of you.
It came down to the last few hours but we managed not only to reach the goal but to exceed it. While we do not have the final figures at this point, the total raised is pushing $20,000. That number is higher than previous years.Thank you deeply to everyone for making it possible for The Wild Hunt to continue its service with room for new growth.
What can you expect in the coming year? First…more of what you have come to expect. Our columnists will be returning on their regular days to explore and discuss the issues of the day. We currently have a full lineup of weekend writers including, Rhyd Wildermuth, Manny Tejeda-Moreno, Eric Scott, Lisa Roling, Dodie Graham-McKay, Cosette Paneque, Christina Oakley-Harrington, Crystal Blanton, Alley Valkyrie and our newest columnist Heathen Chinese. Both Valkyrie’s and Wildermuth’s columns will continue to be sponsored by Hecate Demeter, who has been supporting their work for over a year. And, new this year, Blanton’s column will be sponsored by CAYA Coven, whose organizers wrote, “In celebration of the wisdom and achievements of Pagan Women of Color, CAYA Coven is proud to sponsor Crystal Blanton’s Wild Hunt column this year.”
Also returning will be our two hard-working weekly journalists: Cara Schulz and Terence P. Ward. They will continue to cover the news as it happens, as well as broader news topics. Additionally, we welcome Yeshe Matthews as our Strategic Planning Director. We are thankful to her for running our 2015 Funding Drive and look forward to her continued work as a member of the Wild Hunt team.
But what about the growth? As always, we welcome news voices and interesting stories for our guest columns. We will continue that tradition and invite writers to submit pitches and stories. We also welcome press releases, letters to the editor and news tips. Outside of that, we will undoubtedly continue to evolve over the year and will announce any exciting changes in that process as they happen.
For now, we are taking a moment to pause hold this space and simply say thank you.
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In Sept, Niki Whiting announced that Many Gods West (MGW), the Polytheist conference held in Washington State, would be returning. This week Whiting announced the event dates would officially be August 5-7. Additionally, the key address will be delivered by Sarah Anne Lawless, a professional artist, writer, folk herbalist and sole owner of the new shop Fern and Fungi. Whiting said, “[Lawless] approaches polytheism through animism, herbalism, and witchcraft. It will be an interesting contrast to last year’s excellent keynote.” The well-received 2015 address was given by Morpheus Ravenna.
It was also clarified that the MGW conference will be held at a different hotel than last year. Organizers say that it is “bigger and better.” But the location will still be Olympia, Washington, which is located approximately 60 miles south of Seattle. As reported earlier, the opening and closing rituals will be hosted by Rynn Fox of Coru Cathubodua. Registration and tickets go on sale Tuesday of this week. Whiting also added that further details are coming soon. For those interested, follow the Many Gods West Facebook page.
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As reported in several mainstream news sources, psychic witch Lori Sforza, also known as Lori Bruno, was in court this week to request a “protective order” against Christian Day. According to the reports, Sforza has accused Day of repeatedly harassing her via the phone and in social media. Day denies these allegations calling the conflict a “business dispute” gone wrong. Outside of the courtroom, he told reporters that Sforza is lying and has repeatedly called him names in public spaces.
The judge, who was reportedly was “dismayed by the volume of late night calls,” granted Sforza the protective order. But Day has vowed to appeal the decision. And, as stated after the hearing, he offered $10,000 to anyone who could prove that he had made all of those calls. The local television news was at the hearing and posted a short clip. We are currently working on this story and will have more details in the coming week.
In Other News…
That’s it for now! Have a great day!
[Only 6 days left in the Fall Funding Drive! We are now at 61%. Be part of the team that keeps The Wild Hunt going for the next year. Remember,we are a completely reader-funded, nonprofit independent news journal. We are your source of commentary and news. If you like reading The Wild Hunt, share our link and donate today! Thanks.]
As the days march closer to Oct 31, many of our communities are readying themselves for Samhain rituals and Halloween parties. But there are also some lesser known holidays being observed at this time. These holidays are equally as integral to the religious traditions of members of the Pagan, Heathen and Polytheist worlds. One of these is Allelieweziel – a twelve day festival celebrated by the Urglaawe community.
“As Germanic lore passed down to us through Braucherei relates, Holle relinquishes her hold on the Year-Wheel and turns it over to [Wudan] and upon the doorstep of Allelieweziel/Halloween we recognize the Death of the Spiritual Year and the birth of a certain darkness….of both the physical world and the spiritual world.” – Daniel Riegel, 2010Urglaawe is a Heathen tradition that honors the “Teutonic pantheon in the context of the Deitsch (Pennsylvania German) culture.” In modern American society, this is often mistakenly described as the Pennsylvania Dutch, due partly to the English pronunciation of the word Deitsch. However, the region’s cultural development, and subsequently the Urglaawe tradition, find its roots in Germanic traditions. Over time, this unique community of people evolved its own distinct culture, language, and religious practice.
Part of this tradition was the magical and healing practices of Braucherei and Hexerei. The practitioners of which maintained an oral tradition that was handed-down through subsequent generations and has become the very heart of the modern Urglaawe tradition.
Allelieweziel is a fall harvest celebration on the Urglaawe spiritual calendar. Similar to Samhain, it marks the end of the year and beginning of the dark times. The holiday is based on both on the oral folklore traditions and continued cultural research. In the Urglaawe religion, festivals begin at sundown. As such, Allelieweziel begins the evening of Oct 30 and continues for 12 days. The final day, called Ewicher Yeeger Sege, is Nov 11.
Die Urglaawisch Sippschaft vum Distelfink, a Urglaawe Kindred based in Pennsylvania, brings its members together around this time to celebrate and observe this traditional festival. And, this year was no different. For practical reasons, Distelfink kindred met on Oct 25 in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania to begin their seasonal celebration. Robert L. Schreiwer said, “We had a lively discussion about the reality of death, the appreciation for the life we have, recognition of the uniqueness of each individual, and the advancement of human consciousness from lifetime to lifetime.”Schreiwer is a trained practitioner of the Pennsylvania German healing tradition of Braucherei. He is one of the founders of the Heathen denomination of Urglaawe, the Ziewer (godsman) of Distelfink Sippschaft, assistant Steer for the Troth and manager of Heathens Against Hate. Schreiwer said, “We also talked about Gemietlichkeet that reflects a soul-satisfying joy emerging from a sense of belonging, and the honoring of those who have gone before.”
On the first day of Allelieweziel the transition begins from light to dark, with the twelve day festival occurring within a liminal space. According to the lore, as explained in numerous Urglawee publications, this is the time that the Goddess Holle takes her leave on The Wild Hunt. And, after she is gone, the figure of Ewicher Yeeger, sometimes associated with Holler or Herne the Hunter, protects the people and holds back King Frost.
But that’s a very condensed version of the rich and detailed mythology that has given way to s deep, modern spiritual practice. One of the features of Sunday’s Allelieweziel observance was the “Butzemann,” which is translated as “scarecrow.” Schreiwer explained that the Butzemann, ritually created in February, “is stuffed with the remnants of the previous years crop, and is “born” to be the father of the coming year’s crop.” Through the year, the Butzemann stands guard over the land and protects the harvest. Then, during Allelieweziel, he is released from all duties and transforms into the embodiment of sacrifice for both family and land.
Schreiwer said, “The Butzemann also becomes a messenger. He is told (or is given papers upon which is written) the things we want or need to banish from our lives. We then show him the seeds that will create the coming year’s crops.” During the Allelieweziel ritual, the Butzemann is burned; his ashes are spread on the land and his spirit is free to “depart on the Wild Hunt.” Schreiwer added that the old lore also suggests that there are serious spiritual punishments for not burning the Butzemann or for stealing his clothes.The unique mythology of this region runs deep, and the Distelfink kindred, which became a 501c3 in 2011, is keeping the spirit of these old ways alive. There are now Urlgawe kindreds across the U.S. and two in Canada. There are also Facebook groups devoted to specific traditional practices once found in the old Pennsylvania Deitsch culture. As noted by Schreiwer, this includes the “Fiber Arts, Artisans, Culinary Arts, Herbalism, Musicians, Language, and Customs.”
During this year’s celebration and observance, the Distelfink kindred honored both Wudan and Holle. The ritual, which was partly spoken in the Pennsylvania Deitsch language, began with an “Intonation of the Runes” and then proceeded through “The Hallowing,” a statement of purpose, offerings, oaths, blessings and, finally, the burning of the Butzemann. Schreiwer noted that the “heart hex sign [above the altar] reflects the ‘goal of all love’ … in the context of the holiday.” But laughing Schreiwer added that this heart was only used because their customary hex sign got lost by FedEx on its way back from the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Utah.
Although many Pagans and Heathens must schedule group holiday celebrations around modern schedules, the actual marked calendar days may still bring private observances for individual practitioners. With that in mind, there is still time to burn a Butzemann and make the appropriate offerings. Like Samhain, Allelieweziel arrives this weekend and, for the followers of Urglawe, it marks the end of one year and beginning of another.
The Wild Hunt is now in its 11th year. What began as an experiment in 2004 by an enthusiastic novice, has slowly developed into one of the most widely-read news journals serving the modern Pagan, Heathen and Polytheist communities worldwide. Thousands of people visit our site to read the work of a talented and diverse group of writers, all of whom are dedicated to The Wild Hunt vision. As editor and as a member of this collective community experience, I find it incredibly humbling to read and hear the daily positive feedback and to learn of the place that this service has in people’s lives.
Your support and enthusiasm has made this incredible growth possible. In 2012, you helped us to shepherd a small blog into a bigger project with an editorial structure, writers, and a selection of monthly columnists, who continually challenge and enlighten us. In 2014, we made another big transition as we said goodbye to founding editor Jason Pitzl-Waters, and set off to write the next chapter of our story. This year, we achieved independence as an incorporated business with nonprofit status through Independent Arts and Media. We also added several new monthly columnists and features to extend our coverage to include a greater diversity of topics.
Pitzl-Waters recently said, “When I started The Wild Hunt in 2004, it was with the dream I could one day wake up, check on the news relating to my religious community, and then go about my day. Now, that dream has come true, and in manifest ways I could scarcely dream possible back then. I hope you’ll support this campaign, and give your resounding vote of confidence so that The Wild Hunt’s mission may continue. I know I will.“
So today begins the new 2015 Fall Funding Drive. We are asking for a base budget of $15,000 to run the site for another year. We hope that you will help us, once again, not only meet this goal, but surpass it. The more we raise, the more we can do. Want to see more monthly columnists? More posts per day? Want to see more weekly writers? Then we must push well past that base goal in the coming month. There are thousands of readers out there. It would only take a small donation from each one of us to go well beyond the funding goal and to allow us to better serve you with a robust and expanding news service.
I have always believed very strongly in the power and magical presence of the written word. And, I joined the Wild Hunt writing team not only believing in its current mission as a news service, but also seeing its potential future. Those beliefs and that vision have not wavered. Now as editor, my goal is to continue nurturing our growth, serving our collective communities, supporting the writers and building a solid infrastructure that will allow The Wild Hunt to exist far into the future. Last October, I invited you to join us on that journey and I extend that invitation once again.
Author and activist T. Thorn Coyle recently said, “I’m grateful for The Wild Hunt. Grateful for it’s perseverance, for it’s reporting, and for the insights of it’s columnists. Heather Greene is doing a marvelous job at its head and I hope the community –such as we are– continues to support this valuable resource.”
Our $15,000 funding goal will allow us to pay our writers, including our guests, and to cover all other technology and business related expenses. Our partnership with Independent Arts and Media makes it possible for all donations to be tax-deductible. For this year’s Funding Drive, we have included a few new exciting perks, such as the “Save the Bees” patch and a signed copy of The Witchcraft Manifesto. In addition, we also have some perks more familiar to our past supporters. Yes.The Viking Panda is back!
Thank you to all of those who have already contributed to the 2015 Wild Hunt Fall Funding Drive and to those many people who have donated over the past year.
If you can’t contribute now, you can still help! Just share this campaign on Facebook, on Twitter, on Tumblr, on your favorite email list, and let them know why The Wild Hunt is important to you. The more people speak out, the better we can do!
See what people have said over social media:
“Absolutely the best Pagan press coverage anywhere” – @GrayWind0
“Now *this* is a Pagan blog worth reading. Not a breath, but a gust of fresh air” – A.H.
“Leave it to The Wild Hunt to have the best reporting on this case.” – E.W.
“The Wild Hunt is such a great resource.” – Farwater
The Wild Hunt would like to take this moment to pay tribute to the many people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001; to the brave who stepped forward and not back; and to the families who still grieve. In memory of the victims and acknowledgement of the survivors, we offer the words often spoken here: What is Remembered, Lives.For more thoughts from our writers:
Fear of a Blue Sky by Alley Valkyrie
“For the rest of the week, I spent my afternoons in Union Square, praying and making offerings for the dead. The screaming only started to fade a few months later as the fire finally went out, but I heard the screams in traces for the next several years.”
The Sacred Void: the 9/11 Memorial: by Heather Greene
“I can’t pretend to know what the 9/11 Memorial means to others – specifically to those who directly lost loved ones in the attacks. For me the memorial was not what I expected. I had hoped to find a place of calm where I could process my own lingering sadness. But I didn’t. I wanted the memorial to fill me with comfort and pride in my country. But it didn’t.”
Existing in a Changed World: Pagan Reflections on 9/11 by Jason Pitzl-Waters
“September 11th was one of the things that started me on the path towards Pagan blogging and journalism. Years before The Wild Hunt I had a small proto-blog called MythWorks where I tried to find Pagan reactions to the madness that had just occurred. The 9/11 attacks awoke a need within me to find the stories we were ignoring or overlooking, to stop sitting on the sidelines of my faith community and become an active participant.”
This editorial was originally slated to be published two weeks ago, on the last day of our fund drive and a few days after Jason announced his retirement. However, life happened. As a result, we had to move with the news and not with our own agenda. I consider this a “take two” or perhaps even a “take three.” I have lost count. So before time escapes anymore and the world is lost beneath a flurry of silver solstice cheer, I now squeeze this article into the rotation. Please sit back and relax as I welcome you to join us as The Wild Hunt begins its new journey…
I remember as a child standing in the expansive LAX airport, tears rolling down my face, as we readied to board a jumbo jet and to wave goodbye to my grandparents. The pain of leaving was always oppressive. The bonds, which had been forged over a week’s vacation in sunny California, were now stretching, buckling and tearing under the weight of those goodbyes. Before stepping out into the jetway, my grandmother would always kneel down and hug me one last time. I would muddle out a little “goodbye” between sobs and, she would always say back, “This is not goodbye, Heather. This is just a ‘see you later.'”Of course, the time eventually came when the ‘see you later’ didn’t happen. My grandmother died around Samhain 1999 before I could have one last hug. As painful as that was, the spirit of her yearly wisdom remained with me. Even before she died, I began to better understand the power in those words. When I embraced Paganism, their meaning deepened and eventually evolved into a profound truth. There is never truly a “goodbye.” There is always a ‘see you later.’
This concept is particular powerful at this time of year, as the veil thins and we honor our dead. As one road ends, another is always waiting. The memories and imprints of past journeys, good or bad, remain with us as we embark on new roads. The past becomes the archives of our lives – ready to guide, ready to remind, ready to influence. Although it may be hard to let go and frightening to continue, the journey does continue.
After landing back in New York City and returning to my daily routine, I carried with me the memories of our California vacation. I remember picking lemons off the tree while listening to my grandparents’ tales of working in Hollywood during its golden era. I remember my grandfather’s woodshed and my grandmother’s bright pink lipstick. Memories of those summer days made my childhood richer and stronger. They undeniably shaped my future. Furthermore, the bonds between us never broke no matter how far we traveled; even beyond the veil.
So here I am, at Samhain, facing another transition. The Wild Hunt has said goodbye to its founder and turned its attention to a new era. For me, this change is quite profound. Samhain not only marks my transition to full-time editor but also my start as a weekly Wild Hunt writer. My first article, an interview with actor Mark Ryan, was posted Oct.27 2012. Now, almost exactly two years later, I find myself taking on the role of steering this crazy ship or, better yet, leading this proverbial “wild hunt.” As it has always been for me, Samhain brings ends and beginnings.
When I started writing for The Wild Hunt, Jason said, “Write a post introducing yourself.” I never did. So I suppose this will serve partly as my introduction. Who will be managing The Wild Hunt going forward? Being a Gemini that is an extremely complicated question. What day is it?
Perhaps you would prefer to know what led me to Paganism? Last year, I was asked to write that story as a guest blog post and can still be read online. It has something to do with Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness, high school angst, social anarchy and Manhattan.
What I can say now, in clarity, is that it all started with that book – The Heart of Darkness. There in that place, where all the social constructs are gone, there is nothing but raw, unbridled, animalistic humanity – body and blood, love and lust, hate and rapture, and spirit. It is the elemental point of beginnings. It is only from that point that we can see the world for what it is – a stack of cards. It is only from that point we can see ourselves, explore our past and find our motivation. It is honesty at a critical level. Deep within the Heart of Darkness, we are pure. Coming out from that space is the journey of a lifetime – and it just may blow your mind.
So let me begin at Samhain 2012. When Jason first asked me to contribute, I was very surprised. “Who Me? Why? Are you certain that you dialed the correct phone number?”I had just ended a freelance job writing for an L.A. public relations firm. Sculpting articles for the wireless technology industry had become less than inspiring. I desperately wanted to produce something meaningful; something with more substance than could ever be extracted from stories on “converting old routers to access points” or “the right settings for optimal wireless streaming.”
Do I really need to elaborate on how Jason’s invitation presented a very welcome change?
Now exactly two years have passed and the best part of the entire experience has been in the learning. Before writing for The Wild Hunt, I was only moderately aware of the myriad colors, details and diversity present within the collective communities for whom we write. I did not personally know anyone practicing Asatru, or a Polytheism or Hellenic Reconstructionalism. Now I work with one of each. You can’t get that writing publicity materials for wireless corporations – at least not yet.
Last spring, when Jason asked me to take over as editor, I was equally surprised – honored but surprised. Stepping into the editor’s role brings with it new obstacles that will, no doubt, be difficult and, at times, grueling. However I’m willing to stand in that space and take up the reins, because I know that the work will ultimately be rewarding for me personally, for our writers and for our readers.
While the entire staff was sad to see Jason leave, we recognize and embrace the need for change – both his and ours. We are collectively thankful to him for providing us with the opportunity to be a part of this wild journey.
On Samhain, we finally closed that door and, in doing so, I was reminded of my grandmother’s words: “See you later.” Although one era is over, the cycle of influence never ends. Jason has left an enduring legacy and a strong foundation here. That influence remains no matter where he travels next or where we go. In that way, our “goodbye” is only a ‘see you later.’
This year’s fall funding drive was a huge success. With your generosity and help, we reached our goal in just two weeks and, then, far exceeded it. Thank you. All of those donations and words of support have empowered us to maintain and hopefully expand our work. Our columnists will be returning at their regular times to explore and discuss the issues of the day. Our two weekly staff writers will be covering the news as it happens. Next month, we will be welcoming our eighth and final weekend columnist, who will be focusing on the issues and subjects important to the youngest members of our communities – the college and high school students.
As editor, I will strive to uphold the ethical standards, sensitivity and substance, which has been the hallmark of The Wild Hunt. Our mission will not change. We will aim to provide a broad spectrum of news and poignant commentary as we have always done since The Wild Hunt‘s inception as one man’s blog and through its evolution into a respected independent news organization.As we usher in this new era, I welcome everyone to join us on the journey. Every day as we publish, we will be leaving new footprints along the path.Those marks will eventually become the memories of tomorrow – ones that will linger in a liminal presence waiting to inform, remind and advise our future writers and editors. And, as such, the cycle will continue on.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for supporting us. And most importantly…see you later.