Column: Animism and the Eternal Recurrence of Myth

The fourth century C.E. Neoplatonist Sallustius, a friend of the Roman Emperor Julian (who revoked Christianity’s status as state religion and attempted to revive polytheist worship), wrote in On the Gods and the Cosmos that the myths told in religious initiations “never happened, but always are,” and that “as the myth is in accord with the cosmos, we for that reason keep a festival imitating the cosmos, for how could we attain higher order?” (section 4) Sallustius wrote that myths which mix both psychic and material interpretations particularly “suit religious initiations, since every initiation aims at uniting us with the world and the gods.” As an example of a “mixed” psychic and material myth, he cites the story of Kybele and Attis, putting forth the interpretation that Kybele “is the principle that generates life,” that Attis “is the creator of all things which are born and die,” and that “the creator who makes these things casts away his generative powers into the creation and is joined to the gods again.” Kybele’s priests, the Galli or Gallai (the latter term, of feminine linguistic gender, found in a fragment of Callimachus), were known for re-enacting Attis’ self-castration in their own ecstatic rituals. There is also a cave in at Hierapolis in Phrygia, of which Daniel Ogden writes in Greek and Roman Necromancy: “The …

Yule, Pennsylvania Dutch style

PHILADELPHIA — Pagan and Polytheist traditions have a tendency to be influenced by local culture, and that’s particularly evident in Urglaawe, a form of Heathenry practiced in Pennsylvania. The term “Pennsylvania Dutch” comes originally from  Deutsch or Deitsch, and provides an Americanized lens through which to explore Heathenry. Robert Schreiwer, a leader of Urglaawe, explained how the dark times leading up to and through the winter solstice are honored in this unique tradition. It’s a practice that includes concepts common to Heathenry such as the Wild Hunt, as well as the visual spectacle of a flaming, spinning Yuletide sun wheel and a visit from Krampus. Yuul, as the winter solstice is called, is a time of introspection, the buildup to which began at the end of October.

The Wild Hunt’s 2016 Fall Funding Drive Begins

Help fund another year of independent journalism at The Wild Hunt. Your support makes it happen. From Managing Editor Heather Greene:

The Wild Hunt is now in its twelfth year. What began as an experiment in 2004 by an enthusiastic novice, has slowly developed into one of the most widely-read news journals serving the modern Pagan, Heathen and polytheist communities worldwide.Thousands of people visit our site to read the work of a talented and diverse group of writers, all of whom are dedicated to The Wild Hunt’s vision. As editor and as a member of this collective community experience, I am compelled to do this work.

Pagan Community Notes: Circle Sanctuary, The Troth, Academy of Arcana, Isis and more

Circle Sanctuary has announced the launch of its new membership program. Since its founding in 1974, Circle has been an open organization that has relied predominantly on donations, volunteerism and community support without any form of official membership needed. At Imbolc, organizers officially changed Circle’s traditional structure. In a press release, they wrote, “By creating a more formal membership program, we can open stronger channels of communication; learn from our members about how we can support their spiritual and personal development; and focus on members’ needs now and in the times to come.” Membership is open to a wide variety of people, limited only by a willingness to agree to “a set of three basic ethical tenets” involving nature, respect and inclusivity.

Editorial: the Importance of Archiving

Before beginning I’d like to express my enthusiasm for the future of The Wild Hunt. Writing for and about this extended community has been both challenging and invigorating. One of the perks of the job is in the education. Every time I write an article or retell someone’s story, I learn something new. That’s the gift that I receive in return for my time and effort.