UNITED STATES — When two men were fatally stabbed and another injured on a Portland train in May, officials and journalists began to follow the predictable course of profiling the attacker in an effort to understand why he would resort to such actions. After a few short days, several sources began to speculate on his Heathen religious practice, more specifically on Odinism. This assumption rests squarely on Facebook posts made the attacker over the past year. On May 9, he wrote, “Hail Vinland!! Hail Victory!!”
The Temple of Witchcraft lost one of its members this weekend. Nathan Smith (1990-2017) died suddenly and unexpectedly of causes that have not yet been made public. Smith was originally from Raymond, New Hampshire, and attended Great Bay Community College. He was most recently working as the manager at a local retail store, Rue21. Nathan was Wiccan, and a regular member of templeevents and classes.
BERKELEY, Calif — For the third time this year, people convened in the California city of Berkeley to attend, or to protest, what was being labeled a “Freedom Rally” or “Free Speech Rally.” The scene quickly turned violent as tensions mounted between the two gathering factions. The event was over before it had a chance to really begin. According to the police report, there were 11 injuries and 20 arrests with more possible after video footage is reviewed. Many news outlets have labeled Saturday’s event a pro-Trump rally describing a politically-based scenario pitting Trump supporters against his opponents.
Over this past weekend, Pagans, Heathens and Polytheists from around the country met in Detroit, Michigan for ConVocation. Held annually since 1995, the conference was reportedly once again a huge success. ConVocation is run by the Michigan-based Magical Education Council (MEC), who also sponsors a June Pagan picnic and the “Beyond the Veil” event in October. Along with its usual merchants room, art show, drum circle and guest speakers, the 2016 event included a number of unique workshops and talks. For example, author and publisher Taylor Ellwood “co-facilitated the Pagan leadership workshop with Annika Mongan and Shauna Aura Knight.”
Last week, Heathens United Against Racism (HUAR) issued a statement concerning a public Facebook comment made by the Asatru Folk Assembly director Steven A. McNallen. On Jan. 10, McNallen wrote, “Germany – that is the German people, not sellout traitors like Merkel – deserve our full support…Where are the Freikorps when we need them?” The Freikorps were “private paramilitary groups” created after Germany’s defeat in World War I. They were used to stop uprisings and were consider to be largely nationalistic and conservative. McNallen’s comment was made in reaction to recent reports of violence in Germany.