Editorial: The challenges of 2020

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Happy secular New Year from The Wild Hunt! We hope that 2020 brings many blessings to everyone.

As we look to the new year ahead, we know the coming news cycle will bring interesting challenges. We will all likely be bombarded with political advertisements. For those of us in the US, there will soon be nonstop robocalls and commercials that will leave us weary by November.

Brexit will continue to claim its fair share of the spotlight, as will the US-China trade war. The 2020 Olympiad in Tokyo will be a distraction as will the NASA scheduled launch of the new Mars rover. The 2020 World Expo will take place in Dubai. Eurovision 2020 in Rotterdam and the new Grand Egyptian Museum is expected to open its doors before the end of this new year.

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It will all be filled with proxy politics. The climate crisis will undoubtedly deepen and the outcomes of climate change may become more visible. These grand events will affect our community and we at TWH will strive to cover the Pagan connections that might emerge as well as follow sciences and arts as they relate to our community.

But nothing is frankly more relevant to our community than ourselves and we will strive to report on those events even more in the hopes of sharing the stories our community’s accomplishments with our readers.

As we begin the year, the view from here speaks to some challenges facing our collective minority faiths. While we have different traditions, our paths are interlinked; especially given that much of the world sees us a singular path, and in some ways a singular threat.

So below, is a list I’ve been compiling over the past years regarding challenges to us, using us in the “big tent” way. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, more of a conversation starter.

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5. Our Past

This year has been difficult and painful as individuals from our collective past who helped build and evolve the earlier movement of Neo-Paganism, writ large, have been identified abusers and their behavior is inexcusable.

For those who have been around for many decades, we often think “things were different back then.” But things were, in fact, not different back then. Abuse was abuse then and is abuse now.

What attracts many people to Paganism is that they have found a home, and homes are safe and free of abuse.

The challenge ahead will be how organizations and individuals respond to the realities of past leaders, and that will be news whether much or nothing is done.

4. Discrimination

More and more we are seeing the challenges faced by our community in delivering spiritual services or being overlooked as spiritual leaders. We’ve learned in the past years that there will be threats to our collective rights, and, more seriously, threats to our safety.

The landscape remains full of misogyny and patriarchy. We have seen attacks on people believed to be Witches, and we have seen Pagans deliver invocations at public events. Those tensions and stories will continue.

That we are marginalized is not news. That we resist marginalization is, and it will continue to be.

3. Elders

Our elders are passing and far too often unremarked. As they cross the Veil, their work and their stories are often lost. Unlike the so-called “Big Name Pagans” who are often memorialized in many places, including here on The Wild Hunt, the stories of elders who are doing the groundwork of the Pagan movement do not get told as often as they should.

We at TWH will do better telling these stories. Their passing will be news, but their successes already have been news that we and others have failed to report. We want to celebrate those with them while they around to share them in their own words.

2. Exclusionism

Whether in the form of binarism, racism or eurocentrism, our community is slowly becoming aware of the barriers that have been built that limit the full and safe participation of others in our work, our rituals, and our festivals.

Exclusionism has taken root in our community in too many ways to mention from transphobia to DNA testing, all leading away from a celebration of diversity that was very much the cultural focus during the resurgence of Neo-Paganism in all its forms during the 1960s and 1970s.

In different ways, exclusionism will likely be news again in 2020.

1. Heathenry’s challenge

The Heathen community is specifically being challenged right now and in the coming year as their symbols and rites are being defiled by white supremacists. Unlike any other branch of our minority faiths, Heathenry is experiencing an unprecedented threat that has the potential of marginalizing the faith within our community and to the world.

But, all of Paganism has the potential to go with it. As mentioned earlier, the world does not differentiate us in a responsible and informed manner. To the greater community in which we reside, we are Heathen and there is little interest in differentiating us. As such, the threat of white supremacy cannot realistically be born by the Heathen community alone. All branches of Paganism- especially those rooted in European culture-  will be participating in educating others about Heathen symbols.

The continued presence of white supremacy will be news. How we resist supremacy and assist the Heathen community will be news, and better stories to share in 2020.

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As always, we invite you to share your insights and your news tips. We thank you for being here, our readers, our supporters, and our detractors. We appreciate you correcting our reporting, sometimes editing, and always sharing the stories. The complaints, the concerns, and the praise speak to us being one community.

Happy New Year!