Column: Soup for the Land Wights

Pagan Perspectives

Today’s column comes from your humble Weekend Editor, Eric O. Scott. Eric was raised by witches. He has a PhD in creative nonfiction writing from the University of Missouri and has written for The Wild Hunt since 2012. The Wild Hunt always welcomes submissions for our weekend section. Please send queries to eric@wildhunt.org.

Editorial: Douthat’s post-Christian future, a response

Yesterday, columnist Ross Douthat wrote The Return of Paganism for the New York Times. As the essay’s subtitle commented, “Maybe there actually is a genuinely post-Christian future for America.”

As I read the article, what I find myself focused on is the incredible disservice this essay did to the – writ large – Pagan community around the world. Mr. Douthat reduces “Paganism” to a series of disconnected beliefs in spiritual and supernatural forces that focuses skeptically on moral standards, although he correctly points out that Paganism generally centers on immanent reality as a manifestation of the spiritual. At the same time, Mr. Douthat becomes trapped by the philosophical perspectives of pantheism of Nietzsche, Spinoza, and even Walt Whitman. He plays with the cultic aspects of a Pagan world, and finally does his greatest disservice by engaging in an ever-present, and frankly ignorant, need to link together “New Agers and neo-pagans [sic].” He exposes his ignorance of the Pagan and polytheist community by noting that he has “in mind the countless New Age practices that promise health and well-being and good fortune, the psychics and mediums who promise communication with the spirit world, and also the world of explicit neo-paganism, Wiccan and otherwise.” He ultimately laments that “there may soon be more witches in the United States than members of the United Church of Christ.”

Editorial: The Barrow and the State

Pagan Perspectives

Today’s column is by your humble weekend editor, Eric O. Scott, who has written for The Wild Hunt since 2012. The Wild Hunt is always open to submissions for its weekend section. Please send queries or complete submissions to eric@wildhunt.org. Earlier this week, BBC News reported that a burial chamber designed as a replica of Neolithic-style long barrows had been designated as a Druidic place of worship. (The Wild Hunt covered the story in our regular Pagan Community Notes feature on Monday.) The barrow will eventually hold hundreds of urns, housed in dozens of small niches built into the walls of four burial chambers.

Editorial: The Good News

Pagan Perspectives

When I began to write for The Wild Hunt, one of the first things I was asked by friend outside the Pagan community was, “What exactly is ‘Pagan news?'”

My answer was, “You wouldn’t ask that question if the word ‘Pagan’ was replaced with ‘Jewish.’”

At least in my Miami circles, there’s no doubt what our Jewish newspapers cover: news about Jews and Judaism that comes from or impacts the Jewish community. That might include commentary about events and it might include some related stories, but every story emerges from or intersects with the Jewish community. That could be stories about sampling Ashkenazi DNA or a reflection about the Shoah and contemporary refugee crises or work-arounds for electricity use on different days of the week (In some Jewish denominations, the use of electricity on Shabbat is generally forbidden as interpreted they interpret Halacha). In our community, it could be stories about traveling to Iceland, representation of Witches in media, or Pagans are conducting food drives. How then could “Pagan news” be a confusing term?