Today’s column comes from your humble Weekend Editor, Eric O. Scott. Eric was raised by witches. He has a PhD in creative nonfiction writing from the University of Missouri and has written for The Wild Hunt since 2012. The Wild Hunt always welcomes submissions for our weekend section. Please send queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few years ago, I was visiting a Pagan event, which will remain nameless. The event was well-patronized and filled with participants from all sectors of our community writ large. It was organized by an amazingly competent team who were sensitive and caring. There were carefully prepared spaces that I am sure you have heard of, red tents to male mysteries. I visited one of these, the Pagans of Color safe zone, and was asked to leave; I was told the space was not meant for “straight white dudes.” (I am gay and multiracial, and while I have in rare cases been called a “dude,” it is not in any top ten list of nouns for me.) So I left.
Over the past year, and especially since the Frith Forge conference in Germany, I’ve noticed increasing use and discussion of the term “inclusive Heathenry.”
It often seems more of a rebranding than a revolutionary concept. Practitioners of Ásatrú and Heathenry have long taken sides over issues of inclusion, with some taking hard stances on either end of the spectrum and many situating themselves in a complicated middle ground. The battles that have raged for so long have been between positions that were often defined by the other side. The universalist position supposedly said that anyone could be Heathen – no questions asked. The folkish position supposedly said that only straight white people could be Heathen – with many questions asked.
[Today’s column comes to us from Luke Babb. Luke Babb is a storyteller and eclectic polytheist who primarily works with the Norse and Hellenic pantheons. They live in Chicago with their wife and a small jungle of houseplants, where they are studying magic and community building – sometimes even on purpose.]
The old man likes to corner me. I worked for a while in high end kitchen retail – the sort of small business that can only exist in big cities, where the wealthy come to buy designer pots and “give back to the community.” One of those stores that really wants customers to access those ancestral memories of the general store they saw on Anne of Green Gables as a kid. Playing into that hometown feel, once a year this store participates in a neighborhood street festival and sells something that is only available on that weekend – apple pies.
Pantheacon is an annual “conference for Pagans, Heathens, Indigenous Non-European and many of diverse beliefs,” which is held on the unceded land of Tamien Ohlone-speaking peoples in the city of San Jose, California. Pantheacon 2016 took place from February 12-15. The inherent contradiction of a conference billing itself as being at least partially for “Indigenous Non-European” people while taking place on Indigenous Non-European land was highlighted and addressed by several events scheduled on Sunday February 14. At 9 a.m., a panel was held on “Indigenous Experiences Inside and Outside the Pagan Community.” The panelists who spoke were Gregg Castro [t’rowt’raahl Salinan/rumsien Ohlone], Jacki Chuculate, Kanyon Sayers-Roods (Hahashkani-Coyote Woman) [Costanoan Ohlone and Chumash], Ryan Ts’ítskw Kozisek [Tlingit and white] and Michaela Spangenburg [multiracial Huron-Wendat].