MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Pagan clergy, prison ministers, and members of the Minnesota Sex Offenders Program (MSOP) took part in a panel discussion at a Midwest Pagan conference on Sunday. The panel was created to assist MSOP members in understanding Pagan communities’ concerns and suggestions about reintegrating ex-sex offenders after they have served their prison terms and completed a lengthy rehabilitation process. The discussion also touched on other persons released from incarceration for felony offenses. The panel was moderated by Clio Ajana at Paganicon, the yearly Pagan conference held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Every community has common stories, images, histories, and practices that help to shape and define a narrative. This very narrative can serve as a thread of culture and togetherness among the community, yet it can also serve as a gatekeeper that restricts change or expansion. This intricate dance exists within every group, society, and even within modern Paganism and Polytheist communities. Shared narratives help to define what becomes the status quo, even among smaller subset groups and cultures. The default beliefs and practices often shape how we relate with one another, what becomes acceptable, and what is expected within a given space, community or interaction.
TWH – The Pagan, Heathen, and Polytheist communities are in a very dynamic time and who knows what the future for these religions may be. The Wild Hunt asked community members to guess the future by having them answer this question:
“What do you think Paganism in the USA will look like 100 years from now?”
Phaedra Bonewits, 60’s, Occult Generalist
“I think about where we were a hundred years ago, still in the throes of German Romantic Neopaganism, folklore obsessions in Britain, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn fallen apart, and America still fascinated with 19th-century Spiritualism and Theosophy, plus the Eastern religions to which they’d been exposed a scant 23 years earlier at the first World’s Parliament of Religions. Wicca wasn’t yet a gleam in Gerald Gardner’s eye, and Heinlein was still in rompers. Magical lodges were still popular, but a vast amount of occultism and magical practice was firmly rooted in a Christian paradigm. “Now, we’ve got hard polytheists, public rituals to the old Gods, major conventions, scholarly works, Internet research, and more solitaries than at which you could shake a stang.
“To Know, To Will, To Dare, To No Longer Be Silent – by Tanisia Greer
Today is the last day of February concluding Black History Month for 2015. Each year the U.S. celebrates the legacy, and influence of Black people whose stories have historically been omitted from history books. It was in 1926 when Carter G. Woodson first founded Negro History Week. In 1976, it was expanded into Black History month. One week or an entire month, this celebration has held a lot of meaning for many of over the years. While the elevation of African American voices during this one month does not erase the disproportionate lack of celebrating these voices throughout the year, it it does bookmark a consistent time where we are mindful of the contribution of Black people in this country.
The use of the internet in modern Paganism has changed the way that people access information and express themselves in modern culture. One of the most widely used mediums for information sharing has become the blogosphere. Pagan blogs range from having an academic theme to the purely personal, and everything in between. The popular transition from reading books to reading blogs has created a culture of fast information gathering and the ability for everyone to have a format. This has also contributed to the idea that everyone is a potential “expert,” making the distinctions of reliability challenging.