Column: Iceland: Fire, Ice, and Sustainable Energy

In seventh grade world history, I learned two things about the country of Iceland. The first was that the name of the capital city was pronounced “REJ-a-vik.” This was incorrect. The second was that Iceland, despite its name, is a land full of fire. It utilizes natural heat from the earth to provide heating and electricity to its people. This second part was true.

Column: Toward a More Sustainable Paganism

Respect for the Earth, however that may be interpreted by a practitioner, is one of the common hallmarks of Paganism. The concept of following an “Earth-based” religious path is a common attractor for seekers, and — perhaps in an effort to make Paganism palatable to monotheists — interfaith communities often refer to the Pagan representatives as “Earth-based.” While there are a large number of Pagan paths, and not all would describe themselves in this way, most would at least acknowledge that respect for the Earth, its changing climate, and its long-term health is a value to them. Pagans have played a prominent role in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline, allying with the local native community to defend sacred land from being desecrated by oil interests. Pagans of multiple traditions have fought against other pipelines, fracking, strip mining, clear-cutting forests, and pioneered sustainable living practices. Support for the Earth can be interpreted in many ways, but Pagans, regardless of tradition, tend to lean toward a love for the planet and advocacy for its preservation.

The Future of Pagan Gatherings: Virtual and Local?

This year Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG), a Midwest Pagan festival that’s been running for more than 30 years, broke attendance records, drawing over 1000 people to the week-long event. The West Coast Pagan convention PantheaCon, held each February in San Jose, California, has gotten so popular that they’ve introduced a new reservations system to prevent individuals from gaming the system. Pagan-friendly fantasy-oriented events like Faerieworlds are anticipating record-breaking numbers this Summer, and even brand-new Pagan events like Paganicon in Minnesota are growing at a healthy rate. It seems like Pagan festivals and conventions, at least in the United States, are doing great, but are the days of the large Pagan event that draws a national or even international audience numbered? That’s what Frater Barrabbas Tiresius at the Talking About Ritual Magick blog argues.