A farmstead from the Viking Age was found earlier this month by a local resident in Þjórsárdalur, a valley in the southern highlands of Iceland. Bergur Þór Björnsson is the great-grandson of the man who discovered the region’s most recently found Viking-era farm back in 1920. With his new find, the total number of known farms stands at twenty-one. Archaeologists from Fornleifastofnun Ísland (“the Institute of Archaeology in Iceland”) were called to the scene and soon found several small objects. Among them was a Thor’s hammer amulet, only the second ever found in Iceland.
Since 2004, the Alternative Religions Education Network (AREN) has produced a regular seasonal newsletter called ACTION. For 6 of those years, the pages of the newsletter have been filled with interviews with Pagans, Heathens and Polytheists from around the world. To date, the newsletter has published around 560 interviews that catalog, record and share the memories, practices and work of a huge diversity of people. Since the beginning, one man has been behind the newsletter from the writing of articles in the early days to producing the detailed interviews that we see today. That man is Christopher Blackwell.
In recent months there have been many discussions and debates about infrastructure in the wider Pagan movement and our collective ability to see Pagan values manifested in the wider culture. In my many years covering our family of faiths I’ve seen many ambitious plans hatched regarding new institutions which have met with varying degrees of success and sustainability. It is easy, especially within a religious movement that often values decentralized grass-roots initiatives, to become skeptical about impressive-sounding plans and announcements.
However, there’s one campaign I’m not skeptical about, that I think is a good idea. That project is the The New Alexandrian Library. It’s headed by a solid, stable, group of folks who know what they are doing, and are focused on a clear, definable, goal.
Author and lecturer Raven Grimassi, along with partner Stephanie Taylor-Grimassi, have been favorites as speakers at a number of Pagan and spiritually-inclined events for over 20 years. Recently, the two have been teaching and developing their own unique system of “Old World Witchcraft,” which has grown from their long experience. This new system will be explored in a new publication from Weiser Books, “Grimoire of the Thorn-Blooded Witch: Mastering the Five Arts of Old World Witchery,” that will be released this Summer. “Learn to Stand with Feet Rooted in Shadow and Hands Stretched to the Stars
‘In your hands is Raven Grimassi’s most personal and powerful work to date. In it he shares profound Craft teachings that will transform your relationship with magick, and your work as a Witch.
The Spring 2014 courses are starting soon at Cherry Hill Seminary, a learning institution dedicated to “practical training in leadership, ministry, and personal growth in Pagan and Nature-Based spiritualities.” Over the past couple years, Cherry Hill Seminary has made leaps and bounds towards its goal of becoming an accredited institution, and part of that is thanks to the growing number of prominent Pagan Scholars who have joined to teach courses and work on its board or administrative body. Joining that number this year is Dr. Jenny Blain, who recently retired from Sheffield Hallam University, and will be teaching “Heathenry: Altered States and Non-Human People” at CHS starting this month. Dr. Blain is author of “Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic: Ecstasy and Neo-Shamanism in North European Paganism,” and co-editor of “Researching Paganisms” in the Pagan Studies Series. In this short interview, we discuss her decision to teach at Cherry Hill Seminary, her work on the topic of sacred landscapes, Heathenry and the practice of seidr, and more. As someone who has been very involved with the development of Pagan Studies, particularly through the book “Researching Paganisms,” what drew you to work with Cherry Hill Seminary?