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.

Unleash the Hounds (link roundup)

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans and Heathens out there, more than our team can write about in depth in any given week. Therefore, The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. 

A “seismic political week”

As has adequately been reported throughout mainstream media, the Trump administration generated a number of executive orders and memoranda that are now creating significant backlash and raising concerns in many communities. These orders include, but are not limited to, the revival of the North Dakota Keystone pipeline project, immigration restrictions, and actions to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. To see read more about what the administration has done in what some are calling a seismic week of executive action, read the White House website’s weekly report. While Trump’s first week as president has been punctuated by seemingly non-stop protest and rallies of one kind or another, the pipeline memorandum and immigration orders have generated the most immediate public reaction.

Pagan Community Notes: Rachel Pollack, Conway Pagan Pride, Bay Area Pagan Festival and More

It was recently announced that writer and teacher Rachel Pollack was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Pollack is one of the world’s leading authorities on the Tarot and has written numerous books on the subject, as well as many fiction novels. In addition, she is a respected comic book writer who, according to one report, gave DC Comics its first transgender character in the Doom Patrol series. Pollack’s next book, a novel titled The Child Eater, is due to be released in July. In addition, Pollack is a regular and welcome presenter at the annual PantheaCon conference in San Jose.

Pagan Community Notes: The Seeker’s Temple, The Patrick McCollum Foundation, CUUPS and more!

The Seeker’s Temple, based in Beebe Arkansas, has announced that it is closing its doors. In a Facebook statement, High Priest Bertram Dahl said, “The city of Beebe has not only managed to make things too difficult to stay open here, but are also attacking us personally and threatening the life of our family.” Tonight will be its final public meeting. As we reported in June 2014, Dahl, with his wife Felicia, had moved to Beebe, where they re-established the Seeker’s Temple. After some time, the Dahls found themselves at the center of a local controversy due to ongoing conflicts with both the town and a neighboring church. As noted by the Temple’s announcement, those problems never ended. In a recent post, Dahl reports that many of his outdoor statuary were vandalized.

Religious Freedom Updates: Arkansas, Alabama and Virginia

Over the past few months we have been reporting on several stories involving religious freedom challenges. Here are updates on those stories:

Beebe, Arkanasas makes national news

On June 17, we reported that Arkansas resident Bertram Dahl had been denied the necessary permits to open a Pagan temple on his property. In addition, he was harassed by a neighboring Pentecostal church and, eventually, arrested on charges of disorderly conduct. This past week, the national news picked up Dahl’s story. On July 28, The New York Times published the article, “Pagan High Priest Finds Few Believers Inside City Hall.”