For three days beginning on July 13, Atlanta hosted Mystic South: Theory, Practice, and Play. According to the convention’s Facebook page, the Pagan event “highlights the Southern flair and mystic spirit of our own part of the country.”
Headliners this year included John Beckett, Ivo Dominguez, Yaya Nsasi Vence Guerra, Sangoma Oludoye, Mama Gina, and the Night Travelers. The conference schedule included rituals, workshops, papers, panels, presentations, and a live podcast. Several events centered on Norse material and Heathen religions. To get a sense of the conference from a Heathen perspective, I spoke with Ryan Denison of the Mystic South organizing committee.
The fall equinox is celebrated in many different ways by practitioners of Ásatrú and Heathenry. Those who practice modern forms of polytheistic religions rooted in Northern Europe have revived, reconstructed, and reimagined a variety of practices and rituals to mark the turning of the year from summer to autumn. Haustblót (autumn sacrifice) is mentioned by name in the saga of the Icelandic warrior-poet Egill Skallagrímsson. The Ynglinga Saga of Snorri Sturluson tells of laws established by the god Odin, including the timing of the main annual sacrifices:
Þá skyldi blóta í móti vetri til árs, en at miðjum vetri blóta til gróðrar, hit þriðja at sumri, þat var sigrblót. There should be sacrifice toward winter for a good year, and in the middle of winter sacrifice for a good crop, a third in summer, that was victory sacrifice.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Vir. – It began with online organizing among nationalist groups to protest the removal of a Confederate statue from a local park. It ended with street battles, three people dead, and an unknown number injured. While most Pagans watched the events on the news or through live streams, there were Pagans and Heathens present at the weekend riots.They were protesters who lined the streets around the park, and they also participated in the Unite the Right rally as members of the self-described “alt-right.” And one well-known Pagan even helped organize the rally and was scheduled to speak.
VICTORIA, Aus. — Robin Fletcher, convicted sex offender, is once again seeking more relaxed supervision. In 1998, Fletcher was jailed for the rape and prostitution of two 15-year-old girls. He reportedly told the girls that the acts were part of their Witchcraft initiations, and he maintained that premise throughout his court hearings. Fletcher has been quoted as saying that his arrest was based on “a huge cultural misunderstanding” and that “his practices had a symbolic religious meaning and were not sexually motivated.”
TWH –The Satanic Temple (TST) is once again in the news. This time they are working to establish After School Satan Clubs in schools that already have student groups which are organized by Christian ministries. TST’s mission is largely considered a push to more thoroughly separate the functions of church and state. However, the efforts of this group has implications for members of minority religions, including Pagans, Heathens and associated traditions. To learn more about the religious clubs in the school systems, The Wild Hunt spoke with Pagans who are also teachers to find out about how religion is approached in their schools.