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.
“You’re doing it wrong” is a battle cry that regularly rings out throughout the Ásatrú and Heathen communities; among those who practice one of the various modern forms of Germanic polytheism. In a cluster of religions without central authority or dogma, there is a paradoxical and continual struggle to assert authority and dogma while positing one’s own perspective as the proper one. Especially in America, such assertions often turn to academia for authentication and justification. Perhaps surprisingly to those unfamiliar with the Heathen subcultures, practitioners sometimes adjust their religious beliefs to accord with academic works written by secular scholars who are openly hostile to modern Heathenry. Whether seeking to justify their own beliefs or to critique the practices of others, Heathens often turn to academic writing on ancient Germanic paganism as the fundamental arbiter of modern religious authenticity.
I was just about to get on my bike when I looked in the basket and saw the note. “When you’re done finding Jesus, come by the shop and say hi.”
It made me laugh, and yet it also immediately brought me back to something I had been thinking about a lot lately. Indeed, my bike, which is well-known downtown and easily recognizable, had been locked up outside First Christian Church for the past two hours while I was inside for a meeting with a small group that included the church’s pastor. The author of the note was a Pagan friend of mine who worked around the corner from the church, and I sensed that the mood behind the note was both joking and curious at the same time. And while I hadn’t found Jesus in the previous two hours, I realized in that moment that I had been finding Jesus popping up constantly in my work over the past few years.
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. Michael York, author of “Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion”, writes a response to Christian apologist Peter Kreeft. Kreeft’s article “Comparing Christianity & The New Paganism” says that “new paganism is a joining of forces by three of the enemies of theism: humanism, polytheism and pantheism,” to which York counters that “Kreeft betrays the essential dichotomizing bi-polarity of the theistic construct.” I recommend reading the entire, highly enjoyable, response.