From the Comments and Around the Blogosphere

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  August 17, 2009 — 1 Comment

Yesterday’s post concerning the state of the Pagan press and Pagan periodicals has generated some interesting commentary on the continued survival of print publications and the future of Pagan news. Many seem to have accepted that the Internet is where you go to get up-to-date information concerning the Pagan community. Baruch Dreamstalker admits that he “long ago gave up dead-tree media as a source of “hot” Pagan news”, while Erynn Rowan Laurie opines that “Print can never hope to keep up with developing stories”. Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, one of the strongest voices concerning the future (or lack of future) of print media comes from professional journalist Victoria Slind-Flor.

“I guess my question is why Pagan print media should escape the fate of the rest of print media? Bottom line, as I see it, is that we’re three-quarters of the way through a major technological revolution in journalism and print is not a media that will survive … We Pagans are smart savvy users (and, in many cases, creators) of the Web. We know and love the immediacy of Web communication. And I doubt very much we’ll ever embrace any form of print journalism again. Why get our Pagan information at the speed of post-office delivery when we depend on all our other information sources at warp speed?  Over the years I’ve contributed pieces to most of the Pagan print publications. And I have to say they largely share the same faults: they were/are produced on a shoestring, are indifferently edited, come in unattractive formats, and are published on irregular schedules at best. So why would anyone expect them to survive?  I wish them all well, but I am not sanguine about their prospects of survival. On the other hand, I’m immensely impressed with what Pagans are doing in Cyberspace.”

It wasn’t all bad news for Pagan publishing, Michael Night Sky argued that we should “support what printed zines do, serve the greater Pagan Community.” Night Sky also stated that he couldn’t imagine a would “without printed pagan magazines”. Finally, Jordan Stratford praises the PanGaia/newWitch merger, and agrees that “the “Abraxas” lit-mag style is the way to go – semi-annual publications of meatier articles, professionally edited, and landing in the $15 – $20 range”. Have something to add? Why not join the conversation?

Turning our attention outward, let’s look at some recent developments in the Pagan blogosphere and beyond. First, Chas Clifton announces that fellow Pomegranate editor Michael Strmiska has started a new blog entitled The Political Pagan. There is already a facinating post up about Nazism, Paganism, and Christianity, so be sure and add him to your blogrolls and feed-readers. Speaking of Nazis, over at Beliefnet, Pagan blogger Gus diZerega has a twopart essay exploring a Pagan perspective of fascism.

“People who don’t know much history, or are blinded by their ideological preconceptions, have often argued that Pagan religion has a tendency towards devolving into Fascism. I’ve encountered such stuff over the years, and had a debate with Peter Staudenmaier in the journal Pomegranate on this issue with special reference to environmentalism.”

Moving on from fascism and Nazis into the (slightly) less controversial topics of polyamory and Woodstock, we find the Get Religion blog covering both. First E.E. Evans wonders why recent high-profile coverage of polyamorous relationships have left out the religion angle, specifically the religions that are (generally) more welcoming to polyamorous families.

“While this particular triad is not, polys are also engaged in religious communities. Among them are Unitarian Universalists, pagans and those who represent other faiths. There’s no discussion of the religious connections here. But does the existence of approximately half a million polyamorous families mean that “traditionalists better get used to it?” That’s at least debatable. It’s also snarky, distracting readers from taking the piece seriously.”

This blog has tacked the, sometimes tense, issue of polyamory within modern Paganism in the past, and you can expect that conversation to continue as polyamory (and its intersections with modern Paganism) continue to gain mainstream attention. Meanwhile, Terry Mattingly explores the recent journalistic love-fest over Woodstock’s 40th anniversary, and how that pivitol festival changed religion in America.

“Now, on the religion side of the equation, you knew that someone was gonna connect the dots — Joan Baez and “Amazing Grace” right on over to Ravi Shankar — and make the argument that Woodstock is, in many ways, the tipping point that turned religion into spirituality for the Baby Boomer generation and, thus, for America. We’re talking sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and do-it-yourself visions (often a combination of the previous three ingredients).”

The 1960s certainly did see modern Paganism, specifically British Witchcraft and various home-grown faiths, take root. But was Woodstock the “tipping point”, or simply the last gasp of the free-love/anti-war hippie era as it morphed into back-to-the-land movements, identity politics, and more mainstream/populist political endeavors? Woodstock may continue to reverberate through Protestantism, but in my mind the 1970s were far more influential a decade on the development of today’s religious diversity.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Jason Pitzl-Waters