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Selling Your Readers

June 11, 2015 — 21 Comments

An open-letter to other Pagan internet writers on the privacy of our readers.

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View from the window

View from my window in 2009. Yes, that’s a disco ball.

 

My first original essay for Gods&Radicals was posted today, entitled The Roots of Resistance:

Capital requires new markets to expand, but the earth is limited and we only need so much shit.  Enclosures are an old trick, and the displacement they cause generate both more profit for the rich, but do something even more vital for the smooth running of Capital: displaced peoples lack community, become desperate, and most significantly of all, have no access to their history.

Slaves hauled across oceans cannot visit the graves of their ancestors; peasants forced off land cannot visit the old wells and stones which rooted their world firmly in the other.  Old contracts with the land are broken, old gods forgotten, and the standards once used to judge if an act would serve the community or damage it fall away.

There’s a lot there.  One of things that has been missing from so many conversations about Gentrification is how it’s not precisely a new form, but is a hyper-efficient process developed by early Capitalists in the British Isles.

And one of the things that’s been missing from a lot of Pagan discourse is how disenchantment springs from the soil of uprooted peoples, a point first brilliantly made to me by my friend Sarenth Odinsson.  The uprooting of peoples has had a primary cause in the last 300 years–Capitalism.

And it’s precisely the intersection between Capitalism and Disenchantment that I’ve been trying to unravel for people over the last few years, that Capitalism and Pagan belief are forever at odds, and that you cannot hope to world back the gods when everything you plant becomes uprooted by the profit-seeking of the powerful.

Other things of interest:

That piece is part of a longer chapter of the book on Pagan Anti-Capitalism I’m finally turning my (very limited) attention towards.  I’m tentatively titling the book Throwing Open the Gates, but this may change.

It appears I’ll be speaking at Many Gods West on top of co-organizing.  We had an early cancellation (one I’m really bummed about, though I understand their scheduling difficulties).

Speaking of scheduling difficulties–since January, I’ve been working full-time, and since March I’ve been putting a lot of effort into Gods&Radicals.  On top of co-organizing Many Gods West.  On top of writing monthly for The Wild Hunt.  On top of working on the book.  This…hasn’t been easy, and I’m actively looking for ways to reduce the amount of time I spend selling my time as a Social Worker.  I have about 2 hours during any day when I’m not working on something, and I don’t think I can keep up such a state for much longer.  And as waged work is the least meaningful (to me) of everything I’m doing, it’s gonna have to go somehow.  Not sure how yet, because Capitalism.  But Capitalism never stops me for long.

Be well, dear people!

 

 

ophelia trashThere’s a very short list of Pagan writers whom I admire.  Many with great skill craft pieces which evoke beautiful emotions only to end in sputtering ambiguity, as if all their arts become bound in a refusal to lead the reader to a conclusion for fear of waning popularity.  It’s a waiting trap, I suspect, for anyone who suddenly finds more people reading their words–might a few be offended if some statement is made, some conclusion reached?

The end result of that path is beautiful words, “signifying nothing.”

One should be warned that writers wield the most insidious power.  A poet plays with your heart as you read her words, and though the experience is often ecstatic, the result is not always kind.  Like the fae, some will drown you in their carelessness or mere curiousity, wave after soothing wave lapping over your soul until you are whelmed over, underwater, breathless in the futility of all human action.

The better amongst them incite you, showing you mysteries and sorrows along their paths of words before leading you back to the gates of the forest, whispering, “now do something.”  You’ve seen what they’ve seen, the creeping plague rotting the hearts of ancient trees still strung with fairy lanterns, the animate shadows choking out the lives of fragile flowers, sacred wells bittered with sorcerous poisons, monstrous roar of metal and glint of axe-heads amongst the voracious armies of foresters cutting swathes of destruction through the lamenting land.

There are too many examples of the first sort of writer, and not enough of the second.  Fortunately, one Alley Valkyrie is worth dozens of cloying writers embattled in ambiguity, afraid to show you the rotting roots of the beauty they see.

Read her most recent piece at The Wild Hunt: Dispatches from River Mile 11