We know many people set a new year’s goal for learning a new language. We start with the best intentions, and, just like losing weight, language learning means commitment, time and concentration, with the last two commodities increasingly difficult to come by. But like any goal, this project can be tackled by breaking down the objectives into simpler pieces and recognizing both the frustration and the achievements inherent in the process. The Lukumi religion tells us that Orisha Elegguá speaks all languages and as the trickster he is also the source of all frustrations around communication. So, like in the Yoruba tradition, we first honor Elegguá before embarking on language learning, in this case, even exploring language learning. For any objective, staying focused on small accomplishments is important.
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.
Technological advances and access to technology have greatly changed the everyday experience of many communities around the world, especially here in America. Everything from access to information, training, and the ability to connect with people in different geographical areas, have made the process of connection much different than it was ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. According to Internet World Stats, 84.9% of the population in the United States have internet access or are internet users. Avenues of communication in greater society have been largely replaced with social media platforms, email, video chats, and online learning systems; these same systems are translating to Paganism as well. The impact of living in a booming technological age on Paganism has shown how interesting advances can enhance or hamper community connectivity.
The current climate of society has always directly influenced the cultural tone of the time. With increased racial tension in the United States, between Obama’s re-election, the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, and the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, these larger society issues also have a profound impact on Pagans and how we interact in community. Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, and other social networking mediums have been flooded with reactions and responses to the most recent media bomb, the Trayvon Martin court case verdict, and everyone seems to be talking. What has become quite apparent in these discussions everywhere is the disconnect between different concepts of oppression, culture, cultural response, and empathetic exchange or cultural sensitivity. The widening diversity gap within the faces seen in Pagan groups and circles bring about a growing need to understand the complexities of cultural integration into the Pagan community.
The Pagan Newswire Collective, an open collective of Pagan journalists and writers who are interested in sharing and promoting primary-source reporting from within our interconnected communities, is proud to announce the launch of two new group blog projects. These new blog projects will join the already launched Pagan+Politics site, and provide more topic-focused coverage and opinion on subjects of special interest to modern Pagan readers. Warriors & Kin: A Blog of Military Pagan Voices
The first new group blog project, Warriors & Kin, will give a voice to Pagan men and women who are serving, or who have served, in the United States military. Military Pagans have often been at the front lines of many Pagan rights issues, and their honorable service has endured prejudice and misunderstanding from politicians, government agencies, and even the Pagan communities they call home. We are hoping that this project will not only shine a light into the struggles of both Pagan veterans and active duty personnel, but serve as a tool to build bridges within our faiths between those who have served and those who have not.