“Our clergy, our priests and priestesses who lead our small circles, covens, kindreds, groves, and groups, perform a fantastic job of helping to keep our traditions balanced. We share the reality that clergy of all faiths have during these turbulent times of mass shootings, the slow disintegration of privacy rights, and the overall pandemic: we are needed more than ever.”
Our Wheel of the Year is a path of constant transition. It reminds us, at times, how nature – all things in fact – are in flow. At times, it feels uncomfortable that flow is real; and, at times, unbearable, that change must happen. One of our deepest mysteries is how impermanence is our bedrock. My colleagues and I at the The Wild Hunt have been in dialogue about our transition for weeks, and yet, Heather Greene’s departure from the team still seems unreal.
ATLANTA – The editor and publisher of The Wild Hunt, Heather Greene, has announced her retirement as of October 31. Greene started with the organization in 2012 as a weekly news writer and took over as editor in 2014 from founder Jason Pitzl. After six years of service to the community as a journalist and editor, Greene has decided to step down in order to spend more time with family and pursue a new career path.
Or, that is how I imagine the news story would start if I or someone else were to write it in that style. But let’s try something a bit more personal. After six years of writing and editing for The Wild Hunt, I have decided to retire and hand the baton over to a new administration.
Madame Death’s dressed all in black and seated next to a battered metal table…
I wrote those words five years ago this month, the opening line to my first column on The Wild Hunt. It’s a riff – I think – on William Earnest Henley’s poem Madam Life’s a Piece in Bloom, which I would have picked up from its use as an epigraph in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, but I don’t remember for certain. It is long enough ago that now I can read my own thoughts from then and not be quite sure whence they came; I was then a different person, and the world was a different world. The Wild Hunt itself has changed entirely, going from the herculean effort of one writer, the blessed Jason Pitzl-Waters, to a publication staffed by 20 writers, editors, and business managers. This morning I have been looking back through my archives of the past five years, in part to figure out an answer to a question I have asked myself over the years: what is this column about, anyway?
“Ministry is fundamentally about serving the congregation, in contrast to being primarily about serving the gods,” wrote Sam Webster. That is essentially the role a journalist fills, and its particularly true for journalists who write for and about minority religious communities, such as we do here at The Wild Hunt. Just as a minister must sometimes stand apart from individual relationships to understand the spiritual needs of the entire community, Wild Hunt journalists commit to the credo that “we don’t stir the cauldron; we cover it.” Determining the difference between interpersonal conflict and newsworthy events requires what is perhaps the most slippery of spiritual tools: discernment. While in many polytheist and Pagan traditions, ministers by any name do not hold explicit authority over others, the respect and deference given them may cause them to be apart from the community that they serve.