Christina is the founding director of Treadwells Bookshop, both its London location and its online location. A former university academic, she has also been active organiser and volunteer in the British pagan community since 1989. In addition to running Treadwells, she occasionally writes and lectures.
London — Many Pagans dream of being able to say ‘I do’ in a handfasting and have their vows recognised in law. ‘Why can’t a handfasting be legal?’ is a complaint we heard around the UK for decades. Well, in 2004, the Scottish Pagan Federation addressed it first and then, finally, England and Wales followed suit in a groundbreaking case.
The Glastonbury Goddess Temple was licensed for legal weddings after a whirlwind one-year process. In a first for Paganism, the Temple’s marriages are legally binding. The approval can now be used in precedent, which is incredibly important for the long term.
[Columnist Christina Oakley Harrington is our talented columnist based in London. She is one of the team members who has assisted in expanding our coverage beyond U.S. borders. If you enjoy reading her work, consider donating to our Wild Hunt Fall Fund Drive. We are completely reader-funded, so it is you that makes it all possible! So, donate today and help keep The Wild Hunt going for another year.
When Ronald Hutton’s Triumph of the Moon hit bookstores in 1999 something changed in British Pagan culture. It was immediate. Someone known to be friendly and spiritually sympathetic had put us on the academic map, and shown Pagans we have a rightful place in Britain’s cultural history. The book was eloquent and magisterial, linking Pagan ideas to literature, social justice, liberalism and the broad cultural avenue of western esotericism. The book drew young Pagans who were intellectually gifted to want to study Pagan-related subjects at universities for Masters and doctorate degrees.
It’s been a hell of a winter here in the UK. The Pagan community has had to come to terms with the issue of child abuse within our community, as no fewer than four pedophiles, identifying as Pagan, were sent to prison. Generally, there have been many child abuse court cases recently. The British police and justice system has had a change of culture in recent years, and is now proving itself committed to detecting and prosecuting child sex abusers. Well-known British television personalities and even government ministers have been investigated and some convicted.
England is small, green and – apart from a bit in the East – rolling. So hills are plentiful. English Pagans are great clamberers up these hills. However it’s less than half of all sunrises that we will see from these green and luscious vantage points, because the sky is clear so rarely. We stand attentively and enraptured; though a little disappointed on those many visits when the overcast British ‘sunrise’ is actually just a gradual lightening of the sky from a dark grey to light grey over a slow meditative hour.