A Note from the Editors Regarding Loki in the White House
December 2nd, 2018
Dear Readers of The Wild Hunt:
Since the publication of Loki in the White House, the column has been discussed at length across the Pagan internet. To say that its portrayal of Loki, and its comparison of Loki to Donald Trump, has been regarded as controversial would be an understatement. The Lokean community in particular has strongly criticized the column, with many feeling that it was tantamount to a call for Heathens to cut ties with Lokeans altogether. (A group of Lokeans sent a letter to The Wild Hunt calling for amendments or a retraction to the column; that letter can be read here.)
At The Wild Hunt, we are proud to have writers from many different backgrounds represented in our roster of regular columnists, including multiple writers of color, writers from outside the Anglosphere, and writers of queer identities – not to mention writers from many different approaches to Paganism. We see our commentary section as a place for these voices to have the freedom to analyze, critique, and debate issues of interest to Pagans in deep and challenging ways.
Review: Sexuality and New Religious Movements. (Part of the Palgrave Studies in New Religions and Alternative Spiritualities series) Edited by Henrik Bogdan and James R. Lewis. (Palgrave Macmillan, 252 Pages)
Few topics can stir us as quickly as sex or sexuality, particularly when it is different from what is assumed to be “right.” Perhaps this is one reason that Sexuality and New Religious Movements is such an engaging read. According to the editors, Henrik Bogdan and James R. Lewis:
Sexuality is intimately connected to questions of identity: who we are as individuals and also our role in society. Human sexuality is thus inextricably linked to cultural, political, and philosophical aspects of life, which are regulated through legal systems based on morality and ethics.
The Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia, has drawn to a close. The closing plenary by His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso the XIVth Dalai Lama given, and some remarkable advances for modern Pagans at this massive interfaith event have been achieved. As we await post-Parliament reflections from Pagan participants, an issue of identity and language has emerged this past week that could spark some bitter divisions just as our interconnected communities gain greater respect and visibility among the world’s religions. In a post yesterday to the Pagans at the Parliament blog, Ed Hubbard, who has been covering the Pagan presence at the Parliament, noted a trend towards new definitions of certain Pagan traditions. “The first Pagan presentation of the Parliament helped begin this change of identity and was called “People Call Us Pagans-The European Indigenous Traditions”, by PWR Trustees Angie Buchanan, Andras Arthen, and Phyllis Curott.
My second and last day attending this three-day conference was considerably more hectic than the first. Lots of run-walking through hallways and catching the shuttle service between the two conference hotels. After a bit more time spent with the book publishers in the exhibition hall, and a quick coffee break with M. Macha Nightmare, I raced to the New Religious Movements Group to hear a presentation by three key figures in NRM scholarship. The group was presided over by Douglas Cowan, and featured presentations by Eileen Barker, founder of INFORM, Massimo Introvigne, founder of CESNUR, and J. Gordon Melton, founder of ISAR.Eileen Barker and J. Gordon Melton.It was clear that these figures, and their respective organizations, have had a large hand in steering religious scholarship away from the “anti-cult” and “countercult” mindset so prevalent a generation ago, and towards a more open-minded and fair appraisal of new religions. This hasn’t come without some criticism, and all have been accused of being apologists for various movements (most notably Melton, who has received a lot of criticism for defending Aum Shinrikyo during the investigation into the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway).
Last week the BBC announced a new religious series debuting in early 2009 called “Around the World In 80 Faiths”. The show will feature part-time Anglican Vicar Peter Owen Jones traveling the world and participating in a variety of religious rituals. Peter Owen Jones, photo by Alan Burles. “Part-time Anglican Vicar, Peter Owen Jones embarks on an epic challenge – to travel the globe and observe and take part in the most important rituals of 80 of the world’s faiths. On the way he’ll be exploring some of the planet’s most beautiful and holy places: he’ll be meeting snake handlers, Voodoo practitioners, whirling dervishes, horse-riding Sikhs, shaman and Taoist monks seeking immortality.”