The Man Behind The Wild Hunt
One of the things I love about The Wild Hunt is that you try to represent the entire Pagan community, not just any one branch of it. I'm curious, how do you describe your personal spiritual path?
That would be telling! But seriously, I've often avoided being specific because I don't want my personal affiliations to influence people's perceptions about what I write, or where I might stand on a particular issue. But in the interests of transparency, the bulk of my spiritual makeup is tied to various forms and traditions of modern religious Witchcraft.
The rise of modern Paganism has been almost in lock step with technological advances, from the occult renaissance of the late 19th century when trains and newspapers were everywhere to TweetUps at this year's PantheaCon. I personally found the modern Pagan movement due to an indie media article on the internet. Paganism is supposedly a collection of earth-based religions, so why do you think we're so hooked on technology?
I have it from reliable sources that the internet is based on Earth, so I think we're good. Why are we hooked on technology? Because new and old it has reliably offered our communities a way to organize, share information, and connect across great distances. The concern is to balance our lives with technology so it doesn't obscure or undermine our larger goals. So long as we work toward that balance I think there's nothing wrong with worshipping in the woods one night, and Tweeting about it the next (unless you're oath-bound, then that might be bad).
Pagan magazines have undergone significant changes in the past year. Both PanGaia and Pentacle have morphed into new publications. As traditional print media is crumbling, do you think Pagan magazines can survive?
Yes, I think Pagan magazines can and will survive, but I also think they'll never hold the positions of prominence they once did, and that's okay. New media is just inherently better at certain things, like sharing news, social networking, and grass roots organizing. The people who once picked up a magazine for those things, if they have a reliable internet connection, don't really need to any more (except, perhaps, out of brand loyalty). I think we'll see, or perhaps I just hope we'll see, more limited-edition art objects, thicker and more in-depth journals, and magazines focusing on content that the internet can't easily reproduce.
You use a lot of different types of social media to give people access to The Wild Hunt and the social media landscape is constantly shifting. Livejournal has been around awhile but Twitter is relatively new. Facebook has undergone several major overhauls in the past few years. Is there anything happening with social media right now that you find exciting?
I think the ideas behind the Diaspora project are exciting, and point to a social networking future that is open, private, and in your control. The possibilities of such a system for modern Pagans are endless.
I've had friends who were techno-mages and I recall visiting online shrines to Pagan deities. Some Pagan groups conduct ritual and teaching through webcams and forums. I listened in on PantheaCon panel discussions via podcast. Many Pagan leaders offer divination through Skype. Crowley, Gardner, and Dion Fortune never did it that way. Has technology become just another spiritual tool? Like ritual knives and prayer beads?
I think Crowley and Gardner (though possibly not Fortune) would have loved the internet! As for modern technology being a "spiritual tool," why not? Humans have always imbued their tools with religious and spiritual meaning. Why should a laptop, or a DJ setup, be any different from a sword?
A hopeless movie junkie, Star Foster believes that good movies are the mythic narratives of our times.