Column: Nazis in America

America has welcomed the Nazis. I don’t mean Nazis in the sense of “everyone I disagree with is a Nazi.” I mean honest-to-goodness Nazis with swastikas on their flags and chants against Jews on their lips. They are here in today’s America, and they’re on the march. How did it come to this? How did the United States of America go from nearly 75 years of celebrating the defeat of the Third Reich by the Allies to insisting that one should never, ever punch a Nazi?

Pagan Community Notes: Lady Moonfire (1957-2015), Many Gods West, Everglades Moon Podcast and More!

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Column: Lauren Pond’s “American Heathens”

Lauren Pond’s photography had me the first time I saw the Spam. In a photoessay about Heathens, one would expect to find pictures of things like wooden statuettes, leather belts, and offering bowls – the kinds of items that have an intrinsic ritual significance, which seem to automatically activate the area of the brain designated for religion. But one does not expect to find the blue cans of meat nestled in right next to these icons. Of all the things I have read about Valgard Murray, the controversial (to say the least) leader of Asatru Alliance and owner of the items in the photograph, the depths of his predilection for Spam were not among them. But Lauren Pond’s pictures focus on exactly these sorts of details – the human quirks of religious cultures that are often drowned in the seas of theology and ritual.

Pagan Community Notes: American Heathens, Gen-Hex, Starhawk, U.S. Army and more!

A new book American Heathens: The Politics of Identity in a Pagan Religious Movement will is now available from Temple University Press. Written by Professor Jennifer Snook, the book “is the first in-depth ethnographic study about the largely misunderstood practice of American Heathenry (Germanic Paganism).” Snook traces the trajectory of the movement itself and highlights stories from modern practitioners. Snook is a professor of sociology at the University of Mississippi, and has been a practicing Heathen since the age of eighteen. Because of her perspective, the book “treats Heathens as members of a religious movement, rather than simply a subculture reenacting myths and stories of enchantment.”