Silence, and The Collapsing Big Tent

December 18, 2015 — 8 Comments

It’s exactly one year since I was here:

Nick took this photo of me down from the cliff.  I'm carrying a cedar tree because I was supposed to, and I gave it to a nymph.

And 363 days since I took this photo from inside Newgrange on Winter Solstice:

newgrange light

 

A friend emailed me today to check up on me on account of my long silence here.

I have been silent, huh?

I’ve been…damn busy.  You know about A Beautiful Resistance, right?  I’ve been doing that since September, sifting through about a hundred really good essays, editing 30 of them, formatting and laying the thing out, getting it printed, paying writers (holy fuck, by the way…we actually got to pay writers!), and then shipping it to 6 different countries and getting it into stores and the hands of writers, reviewers, and anyone who asked (whether they could pay or not).

It’s been the fucking most awesome thing I’ve ever done in my life, Also, we sold out of our initial print run three weeks after it arrived.

So, yeah.  That’s mostly what I’ve been up to.

Want to read something from it?  Jonathan Woolley’s really fucking brilliant essay, The Matter of the Gods, was just published at Gods&Radicals. When I first read it I was floored (and a bit aroused, actually)…it explains more clearly what we’re all on about than any single thing I’ve read from another Pagan writer.

I asked him if we could post it at the site for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, it’s brilliant, and I wanted people to get an idea of what’s in the journal.  But more importantly, uh…fuck.  I haven’t been writing about Polytheism lately and definitely not responding to stuff, but I’m getting kinda worried.

On the one hand, I’ve noticed some people I once respected are getting really awfully shrill lately.  It’s kind of embarrassing to watch.  What’s worse, though, is that the atheo vs. polytheist online debates have led certain really awful racist Heathens to gain acceptance into places they normally wouldn’t be offered a platform.

Much of this is that there are more polytheists now than there were 2 years ago when some of the worst of their writing was published. People new to this stuff (or new to the online shit, which is a cesspit anyway) don’t actually know what these people have written.

Either way, though…this is awful.

Here’s the thing, though.  If anything, what Gods&Radicals has been doing thus far is proof that Pagans (and I mean that as broadly as possible) of all sorts can find deep commonality when the discussion isn’t about who’s right about the gods or magic, but what the fuck are we gonna do about colonialism and capitalism and fascism and global warming?

That is, stuff that affects everyone.

We have atheists who write with us. Animists. Druids. Hard Polytheists. Soft Polytheists. Archetypalists. Reclaiming, Feri, and Wicca witches. A handful of ceremonial mages. Kemeticists. A communist or three. Some anarchists, some tribalists, some socialists, some “I don’t need a name-ists.” And all of ’em against Capitalism.

That, I think, is a lot more what Paganism means to people than the increasingly fragmented demand for boundaries and declarations of wars over the finer points of theology than I’ve been reading .And it’s worlds away from the glossy pay-lots-of-money-for-magic-shit that’s dominated American paganism and now reached into polytheism.

(psst.  that’s $300/day after airfare and meals to go to Ireland. Seriously, take it from someone who’s been to Europe 8 times and is about to do it again…either they’re really shit travel-planners, or you’re being exploited in the name of a goddess.

But what do I know? I’m just some punk Bard of a Raven King who was inside Newgrange for Winter Solstice last year.)

It’s really disappointing to see all that, but my world is full of searing hope as the “big tent” collapses and we realise that the whole earth is our home.

I’ll be writing more about this soon.  I’ve a few essays coming up on Gods&Radicals (one on Fascism & Paganism, one on the Luddites), my next book is coming out soon, and I’ve got a couple of weeks before the next shipment of A Beautiful Resistance shows up and the mailings start again.

Be well, you people.

And fuck fascism, and fuck exploiting gods, and fuck being mean.

 

8 responses to Silence, and The Collapsing Big Tent

  1. 

    I honestly don’t know that anyone can say what “we’re all on about,” which is what I think one of the points of Jonathan’s essay was, actually.

  2. 

    Silence is sometimes necessary 😉 I guess for me what unites pagans is love for and devotion to the earth and her inhabitants some of whom may take precedence over others – whether its a tribal group, a woodland, a god or gods, or polar bears… we’re all in this together.

    Yes, the bickering between factions made me walk away from the internet for a while. I think in some senses it’s good to be able to define our paths and to have a framework that helps us understand the world and its divinities and what happens when we die. But when it gets systemic that’s when folk start bickering over concepts rather than what is and thinking there is an answer that is true or right.

    I prefer to work with myths and stories because by their nature truth is perspectival – no arguments about who is wrong or right – an infinity of portals to many lands and persons who can hopefully guide us to find our individual truths and together build a better relationship with our divinities, ancestors and the earth herself.

    My twopence anyhow. Well done with the G&R Journal 🙂

  3. 

    I REALLY liked Jonathan’s article in the journal. Whether people agree with it or not, it does attempt to address what appears to be a fundamental difference in the communities on either side of the pond. It might be an inaccurate assessment – but there *IS* a big difference.

    I am at the stage now, having followed the bickering on patheos and various other blogs where I roll my eyes an think “Oh for fuck’s sake, more of this?” Sometimes you just have to accept other people see things differently and your time and effort are better spend doing rather than fannying about arguing online.

  4. 

    oh shit..forgot to say…the journal is beautiful,I spent ages stroking the cover because it feels so lovely.

  5. 

    A good friend of mine has lived in Ireland before, and was on the trip to Ireland that you mention (assuming you’re talking about the trip organized by the Coru), and she says that the costs were reasonable. Obviously, there are ways to travel for much cheaper, but they’re harder with large groups. For what it’s worth.

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