Last fall 2008, I gave an interview to Christopher Blackwell, the moderator of the Paganmen list. Christopher's next newsletter was mostly one on Heathenry or about those I have refered to as Norse Practioners. They have a list called HeathenNation. This list is a bit like our LaVecchia *was*. It is composed of many members who, while praticing the "same" tradition, may not think or do all the same things. Raven Grimassi gave an interview in Christopher's next newsletter.
Why am I on the Paganmen list? Because we are looking for Paganmen (and women) and a way to grow our tradition.
Why am I on the HeathenNation list? Because they are looking to create a common area for practitioners and advance their tradition.
Maybe some of you out there remember what those eMail lists of the early 90s were like. Maybe you all remember what the lists were like before the American Tanaric Clan united under Umbrea & after. Maybe you don't. But what I see on HeathenNation is the same type of stuff that "we" (either members on those first lists of the 90s or as a Clan or as members of LaVecchia who were sharing with a large Pagan/Streghe audience) went through. They are in a period of intense activity and development. The discussions on HeathenNation are as detailed and passionate as ours were. There are obviously groups of individuals who are more alike and aligned with each other than others. There are those who have "special interests" (carving or a facination with a "Russian" heathen, or scientific studies in archeaology or DNA) and there are those who are mythos maniacs - I love those folks. And sometimes the variety of folks on the list butt heads. But they talk. It looks like they mostly use their own secular names and not just pagan names, which I find facinating. They disagree, sometimes vehemently but usually in a detailed and respectful way. I watch them and I can see them learning and I remember what it was like for us... What to say? How to say it? How much of it to say to those who are not "your people". The difference I think is that their Way places critical importance on "troth". Truth, honesty, fortrightness. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Respectfully. Doing honor to the Gods and to yourself and your "friends" (and this word is not used lightly). Any "Agendas" in these groups tend not to be hidden. The issues ... all of any of the issues... get placed on the table, discussed, worked out and through. These "Ways" (of interacting, of troth) are the ways that my birth family taught me. HeathenNation is definately NOT lacking in activity. But I ask myself will it last? Will they burn themselves out or will the activity rate continue? I think they will continue. I think this because they are composed of groups of larger groups (essentially their organizational approach is different than Clan but like LaVecchia without the malicious infighting). I think this because it seems that each group's link to their larger history seems stronger than what I saw on LaVecchia. I think their percieved strength of this link to their history is what allows them to feel strong enough not to *need* to take someone else (who's opinion may differ) "down". They do not seem to suffer from if "yours" is good then it diminishes "mine". Which was a lot of what seemed to go on, on LaVecchia. They are also more focused. They are not watered down by neoWiccans looking for Italian seasoning, all the while not sure how good the basil bush really is. They are fully commited to Heathenry, which while Pagan, is so very NOT Wicca. And this NOTWicca, aspect of Heathenry is what draws me to watch and learn. Again I think they will last. BUT only time will tell. What I want is to find a way to "get some of what they have" for US.
LaVecchia is quiet. Is it dead? Is Stregheria going to become either an underground pagan tradition or watered down Italian Wicca? I don't know. What I do know is that the lack of activity on LaVecchia makes me think that Raven's books on Italian Witchcraft created a pool of energy for people who were/are seeking. What I fear is that rather than finding a way to be true to "our" history, mythos, WAYS, that we have/are being drowned in a sea of watered down neoWicca. NeoWiccan for me is both a blessing and a curse. Did anyone see The Good Witch or The Good Witch's Garden on Hallmark this weekend? NeoWicca/NeoPaganism is a blessing because it brings our values into the mainstream and I think the mainstream needs MORE "Pagan" values. It is a curse because it waters down who and what we are so that the masses can understand and not be fearful. I think more and more that the key to our survival is to be unique, be specific, be who we are, right out there for everyone and anyone (Wiccan, neoWiccan, Pagan, Chritian, non-believer...) to see and let the cards fall where they may.
And this is why I have this blog. Because it is in this space that I can be WHO I am as a Strega. This is where I can put out the foundational tenants of our Ways. If others find this and are interested, Fine. If it is not for them, that is fine too. I am not looking to be popular, but true to what I know is true. How very "german/norse/heathen" of me. My maternal grandmother is probalby both proud of me and rolling in her Christian/Germanic grave.