(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in January 2015. It has been one of our most popular articles since that date.)
UNITED STATES — It’s become fairly commonplace for articles about Blue Monday to come up at this time of year. According to a formula concocted for a now-defunct travel network, the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year. While that designation was most likely created to sell vacation packages, it does serve to focus attention on a complex, often intractable condition. Pagans are certainly not unusual in suffering from depression, but since their worldviews can differ widely from that of the over culture, the tools and techniques for treating depression may also differ.
New years resolutions, new life goals, savings plans, and losing weight are a few of the common conversations that circulate in social media during January. However, the transition from 2016 to 2017 hasn’t been average. From the highly intense political climate to the most recent celebrity death, the sliding into this new year has clearly been a much bumpier ride for many people. Some have expressed relief from what felt like a year of death, while others have expressed concern and fear for the future. From preparation of protests, to a highly contested inauguration, to lots of knitted “pussy hats,” the start to 2017 has been anything but normal.
[The Wild Hunt is pleased to welcome Tim Titus to our monthly team. Titus’ column will appear on the first Saturday of every month, beginning in August. He will be sharing his own perspective on life, community and religion. Check out his full bio for more on his work and interests.]
The notions of freedom and personal spiritual authority are driving factors that bring people into the practice of a Pagan religion. Many modern Pagan practitioners are fleeing the older, more dogmatic and hierarchical forms of religion offered by the mainstream in favor of seeking a spiritual practice that speaks to them and is controlled by them.
The journey to report on the Sacred Space/Between the Worlds conference was difficult. What would have taken four hours on the road on a clear day was seven through a late-winter snowstorm on the Eastern seaboard, driving forty miles an hour past at least a dozen vehicles which hadn’t fared very well in those conditions. Journey’s end, however, included welcomes from familiar faces, introductions to local luminaries, and an invitation to lunch with a group of Southern witches who simply wanted to show some hospitality. Those warm gestures led to this question: what role does hospitality play in your tradition? Those who were able to respond created a rich tapestry of perspectives. Byron Ballard, Mother Grove Goddess Temple:
I always cringe in interfaith circles when we try so hard to find That One Thing that we all do.
On Feb. 16, tragedy hit Katwood, a 40-acre Pagan sanctuary and sacred retreat nestled in rural southern Virginia. The homestead and all its contents were completely burned to the ground, leaving its full-time occupants, Priest Daniel and his wife Sue, without a place to live. Katwood has been the couple’s home for decades. Daniel, now in his 60s, is the founder and priest of Oak Tree Clan, a group that considers Katwood Sanctuary its spiritual center.