Whether revived, re-imagined, reconstructed, or revealed, modern Pagan religions all look to our collective pre-Christian past for inspiration, connection, understanding, and a sense of continuity. Because of this phenomenon, many Pagans follow the world of archaeology very closely, both for new information, and to monitor the preservation of objects and artifacts that reach back to a time when pagan religions were the dominant expression of faith. When the Egyptian revolution started, many Pagans, particularly Kemetics and Greco-Egyptian polytheists, expressed great concern at reports of looting and vandalism of the nations many antiquities. However, there are ongoing debates within modern Pagan communities over what the best way to honor our ancient past is. Some, like, British Druid leader King Arthur Pendragon (aka John Timothy Rothwell) want a hands-off approach to monuments and sites they see as part of a collective spiritual heritage, while other groups, like Pagans For Archaeology, argue that extensive scientific exploration enriches the body of knowledge available to modern Pagans.
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. First off, I hope all my readers, friends, and supporters out on the East Coast, and in the path of Hurricane Irene, are safe and have taken proper precautions. Though the storm is less intense than first expected, there’s still plenty of damage a storm of that size can do. COG First Officer Peter Dybing offers a prayer for safety, as does ADF Archdruid Kirk Thomas.
A helpful reader pointed out this thoughtful and insightful essay by Louis A. Ruprecht at Religion Dispatches about the politics of plunder, repatriation, and display of classical pagan art. At the center of the story is the controversy over who owns the Elgin Marbles (Britain or Greece) that were looted from the Athenian Parthenon and Acropolis. “What is clear is that Lord Elgin used his position as ambassador to Istanbul to gain access to the Athenian Akropolis — as well as the right to remove objects from the temple for further study. It is not clear that the sultan who granted the permission imagined Elgin taking these things away permanently, but that is what Elgin arranged. The Greeks object that the Turks had no business giving Greek marbles away, but of course, then our quarrel is with the whole structure of nineteenth century gunpowder imperialism.