On April Fools 2010 I began working with Patheos, and added my first post to this blog. It has been an amazing adventure, and like all adventures, it has come to an end. Effective today I am stepping down as Managing Editor of the Pagan Portal at Patheos.
I never wanted to be a Big Name Pagan. Never wanted to be the next Buckland or Starhawk. Never wanted to be asked to speak at festivals. Never wanted to see my name on a book published by Llewellyn or Weiser. When I started here at Patheos I wanted to be known as “Pagan Admin” and nothing more. I had no problem with being a public Pagan, but I became far more recognizable than I ever intended. Part of it was necessary for the work of growing Patheos Pagan. I was a nobody, and had to prove myself in order for people to trust me. Part of it was simply inevitable, and I have had to make peace with the fact that you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.
My life has changed pretty dramatically over the past month, and so has what I need and what I can give. In the midst of those changes I realized that not only is this not what I need, but in scrambling to rebuild my life I simply can’t give Patheos what it needs. It hurts a little. I birthed this baby from scratch and now I am handing it over to someone else to raise it. We went from 4 pageviews a day to several thousand. We have the largest following on Facebook of any Patheos faith channel, beating out the Catholics and Protestants by over a 1,000 fans easy. We have some of the leading Pagan bloggers making their home here, and I think we have a pretty awesomely diverse selection of voices, many kinder and gentler than myself. I’m proud that such compassionate and accepting voices agreed to write alongside my curmudgeonly scribblings. Patheos bloggers are indexed by Google news, making them highly influential in how the would sees Pagans and Paganism. I’m pretty darn proud of that.
When I joined Patheos there was an idea that we were going to be about religion first and foremost, and less about vague spirituality. While the original vision has certainly expanded over the years, the idea of writing about Paganism in terms of religion fascinated me, and still does. Approaching Paganism that way has had a profound effect on me, and being a Pagan blogger dramatically affected my faith. Being this involved in online Paganism on a daily basis, reading hundreds of blogs and digesting theology, community, ethics, news, and practical activism every day took its toll. At one point I became very close to walking away, from both my gods and my community. Luckily, I struggled through, thanks in large part to my readers and Patheos Pagan colleagues. My faith has been tempered and honed, undergone a personal initiation by ordeal more intense than any man-made ritual could hope to achieve, and that is saying a lot.
I’m also grateful to the Patheos staff who had faith in a nobody from a hick town in Georgia who had never published before. Leo, Cathie, Deborah, Elizabeth, Shatter, Dan, Tim, Dilshad, Kathleen, and most importantly David, supported and welcomed me, taught me, and commiserated with me. Sometimes even patiently endured my fury. They are good people doing good work. Also, I have to shout out some love to the Slacktivist, Vorjack, and Karen Zacharias Spears for writing some of the most interesting non-Pagan blogs on Patheos.
My readers are genuinely the most amazing people in the world, always showing me overwhelming support. Even when I’m full of crap. You have challenged me, educated me, inspired me, and even sent me funds when I was facing disaster. You are amazing people, you saved my life on more than one occasion, and you make me proud to be Pagan.
So this is my last post for this blog. My fond farewell. I need to focus on something other than Paganism for awhile, or at least Paganism at large. My personal practice has suffered, and needs some tender loving care. I won’t completely disappear. I might do a story or two for the PNC. One day, I might even blog again. But I’m going to be silent for a long while. I need that desperately.
Thank you so much for letting me serve you. Paganism has given me so much. I hope I’ve been able to give back, even just a bit, during my time here at Patheos.
Blessings upon this site, and all within it.
[Even though we didn’t make it to 4,000 fans on Facebook, and I was really wanting to leave on that high note, as a parting gift I made a happy dance video. You voted for Bohemian Rhapsody, so here it is! And it is possibly the worst dance video ever. Oh well, I tried…]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2UyJF2jpsQ