Back in 2013 and 2014, when I was getting ready to start gathering sources for my masters’ thesis in Old Norse Religion, I realized something: while the vast majority of medieval Norse-Icelandic sagas were readily accessible in Old Icelandic, quite a few of them were hard to get a hold of in translation. Sure, I could have soldiered on, armed with only my trusty Old Icelandic-English dictionary and go through every single saga in the original language, but it would have taken such a long time that, had I done so, I’d probably still be at it today. What I needed were more general editions and translations, with enough notes and index-entries to quickly find relevant information. When it came to the more popular sagas, such as the so-called “family-sagas” (Íslendingasögur), I had little problem finding good versions. In my excessive exhaustiveness, however, I found a severe lack of material related to the more obscure sagas.
UNITED STATES –A U.S. Army soldier has been given the go-ahead to wear a beard as an expression of his Heathen faith, but not everyone in that community is on board. Leaders of some of the higher-profile Heathen organizations have questioned the sources, the messaging, and even the motivations of those who supported the bid. In a story published late last month, Army Times reporter Meghann Myers explained how the opportunity for this particular request only opened up in early 2017, when religious beards were approved as “a response to years of requests — and a lawsuit — from Sikh soldiers seeking to both serve and adhere to the tenets of their faith.” For Sikhs, the issue is that kesh, uncut hair, is a requirement of that religion. However, even the loosening of military beardlessness to accommodate members of that religion does require some cutting; facial hair can’t be allowed to grow more than two inches past the bottom of the chin.
Paganisms and Witchcraft traditions in Australia are no less subject to the times as they are anywhere else in the world. While we draw vast inspiration from the past of Europe, Christian and pre-Christian, we are subject to the influences of contemporary pop-culture, public discourse, prevailing political paradigms and social trends as they are manifest in post-colonial Australia. This influence can go one of two ways in terms of our practices. First, as a minority spiritual school(s) of thought, as a sub-culture, or indeed, a counter-culture, standing outside the square and looking in on society writ large, modern Pagans and contemporary Witches can be deeply progressive, revolutionary, subversive and flat out contrarian. Or, our practices change according to the influences of the over-culture.
Last year at this time I wrote about being inside an ancient burial mound in Ireland for Winter Solstice. If anything, this essay is the shadow of that essay.
I write it for the obscured, the displaced, and the massacred at Wounded Knee, and elsewhere, as well as all the other First Nations people whose lives and sacred sites are not honoured by Americans, Pagan or otherwise. And this is also for Anthony. Mound and Mountain Laid Low
I woke into world the bastard child of a slaughtering Empire. I woke into world in an old Shawnee town, but I am not Shawnee, and the town is their ghost.
Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started! The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, has just published a special double-sized edition, catching the publication up after a delay.