Column: Doing the Gods’ Work – a Conversation with Ben Waggoner

Pagan Perspectives

Back in 2013 and 2014, when I was getting ready to start gathering sources for my masters’ thesis in Old Norse Religion, I realized something: while the vast majority of medieval Norse-Icelandic sagas were readily accessible in Old Icelandic, quite a few of them were hard to get a hold of in translation. Sure, I could have soldiered on, armed with only my trusty Old Icelandic-English dictionary and go through every single saga in the original language, but it would have taken such a long time that, had I done so, I’d probably still be at it today. What I needed were more general editions and translations, with enough notes and index-entries to quickly find relevant information. When it came to the more popular sagas, such as the so-called “family-sagas” (Íslendingasögur), I had little problem finding good versions. In my excessive exhaustiveness, however, I found a severe lack of material related to the more obscure sagas.

Column: Safety Dance

We’re in the the long and lazy days of summer, and yet, out of habit, I’ve made it into the office. I’m sitting around, minding my own business. I’m good at that. (I’m also good at finding lint, but no one pays me for that.) In the summer, academics are often left to their own devices, daydreaming about research, or travel, or giving everyone an F – that kind of fun. But there’s a hellish risk to visiting the office in the low season: people want to chat. The abandon of summer empowers my colleagues to ask all sorts of questions.

Magic and conjuring arts come to Canadian university

OTTAWA, Ont. – Carleton University has announced that it is seeking an appropriate candidate to be the inaugural holder of the newly created Allan Slaight Chair for the Study of the Conjuring Arts. It will become part of the faculty of arts and social sciences. The university campus is located in Canada’s capitol city, Ottawa, alongside the picturesque Rideau River and historic Rideau Canal. It is also a short distance from Parliament Hill, the epicenter of Canadian federal government.

Wendy Griffin retires as academic dean of Cherry Hill Seminary

COLUMBIA, S.C. –After serving as academic dean at Cherry Hill Seminary since 2011, Wendy Griffin retired from that position on Jan. 31 and has been proclaimed “academic dean emerita” by that institution’s board members. During her tenure at the seminary, a number of new programs introduced and behind-the-scenes infrastructure changes were made, and important steps taken on the difficult path to accreditation. When she was readying to retire from the California State University system after more than 30 years in higher education, Griffin did not intend on taking a new position. However, she experienced one of those coincidences that make some elders nod sagely.

Druid studying Pagan views on death

DURHAM, England — A graduate student at Durham University has launched a survey aimed at better understanding Pagan attitudes to death, funerals, and ancestors. Thus far, Jenny Uzzell reports, the participation has been much more widespread than she might have hoped, meaning it could lay a foundation for more scholarship around these areas in the future. Uzzell is herself a Druid, and the bulk of her scholarship has been focused on British Druidry specifically. However, she’s looking for broader participation in this survey. “I am interested in building up as complete a body of research as possible, into the attitudes of Pagans to a range of subjects related to death and memorialisation, as well as beliefs about what happens to a person when they die,” Uzzell explained.