The Rantin’ Raven: The Pagan America Project

The Rantin’ Raven: The Pagan America Project July 18, 2016

Today I almost gave up on writing this column. I’m so discouraged by the political situation in our country I can hardly think straight. Everything I read in the Pagan blogosphere is equally depressing. More so, because these are people I thought I knew and could trust, tearing each other down and our movement (I don’t call it a community any more) with it. I couldn’t think of anything relevant to say in the face of all that but then I had a thought.

Some years ago a great but sadly now defunct Pagan Zine called Enchanté ran a photo essay about the huge amount of Pagan — mostly classical — art in New York City. Then a few months ago someone on Facebook posted a photo of a Greek goddess from a public building in their town, and I had a brain flash. I started the Pagan America Project. And I’m inviting you to join!

a sculture of three human figures, a male representing Zues in the center, and two females, Aphrodite and Demeter, flanking him, with a child representing Triptolemus
Photograph of Zeus, Aphrodite (left), and Demeter with the child, Triptolemus in a pediment at the Museum of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Photograph by Ed Uthman / CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikipedia Commons

All over the United States there is an enormous quantity of public art depicting Pagan deities. Murals, statues, busts, cornices, and plaques adorn courthouses, railroad stations, hotels, mansions, even factories. There are even a few whole buildings, like the Maryhill Stonehenge in Washington and the Parthenon in Tennessee with its glorious reproduction of the famous chryselephantine statue of Athena. So much for the contention that America is and always has been a Christian nation — America is full of Pagan images and ideas; it’s just that we don’t notice them anymore.

Joining costs exactly zero. No dues, no Kickstarter or GoFundMe, nothing.  All you have to do is request join the Pagan America Project on Facebook.

Then start looking – really looking – at the public spaces where you live. Take photos of the Pagan imagery you’ll discover all around you, and post them, along with a sentence or two describing the image and its location, to the Project’s page. (There are a few stock photos already on the page to show the sorts of thing we’re looking for, but after this no more stock photos will be accepted.) You must have taken the photo yourself or otherwise have a right to it. Invented “deities” like the Statue of Liberty and Portlandia don’t count, no matter how much we may love them.

What’s even cooler? Since I first came up with the idea, the Pokémon GO phenomenon has hit. How about setting a lure at every item of Pagan public art you find, and bringing it to the attention of others in your city?  So come on and join the Pagan America Project. These days doing something just for the fun of it is downright subversive!

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