This coming Friday will mark the beginning of Gods & Radicals: a collective that was born from the minds of Alley Valkyrie and Rhyd Wildermuth when they came together to concoct a presentation regarding Pagan (and Heathen) Anti-Capitalism of a more, well, radical texture. In essence, Gods & Radicals is pioneering the way for a more active approach to ending Capitalism through mysticism and other skills of Pagans and Heathens, not just the through the tools of our time.
Much in the vein of the now infamous Rewilding Witchcraft by Peter Grey Gods & Radicals won’t be donning fashionable livery in order to fit it – which is how the contributors to the collective would seem to like it. This is really little surprise though, as one half of the dynamic duo who conceived is someone who I have previously described as being “coarse or brusque… but respectful”. That I am one of them is not as much a surprise as getting in touch with Rhyd about writing with Gods & Radicals; the reality of having asked versus the reality of doing. I’ve long grappled with the idea of keeping my various ‘bits’ quite distinct and separate from one another, not wishing to see any single aspect of my life bleeding across into the other parts for fear that I will become entirely synonymous with it. Now, I’m not so sure that is the case anymore, both in terms of that identity crisis and the extreme partitioning of what are in fact interconnected things (even if I won’t admit as much at times).
Even though the group hasn’t actually started as of yet, we have all been in contact with one another to a certain extent and have all been working on pieces for the upcoming ‘soft’ opening and accompanying month. Thirty (ish) days in a month, a clean thirty writers, you can probably figure out that it is all evenly distributed; despite that though I have been spending a significant amount of my free time of late working on potential pieces to write for Gods & Radicals – draft papers, writes and re-writes of poetry, research and hours spent chasing particular theories and schools of thought. The more I have poured myself into this pursuit, this chase, the more I have found myself thinking about my own way of doing things. Obviously, this is hardly out of the ordinary for Pagans or Heathens or even myself personally however what is unusual for myself at least is that I actually have a greater sense of context about the why of it. In the past I have always been considering my praxis in a very abstract sense, detached from everything other than itself and totally isolated; this time however I have the benefit of plumbing the wisdoms of practitioners whose words ‘sound right’: the very elusive, almost meta-esoterically so, description that so many Pagans and Heathens have used to describe when they first came across a praxis that made them go ‘Aha! That’s the right direction!’
When I first conceived of what I would write in a blog, I settled on my stumbling through the process of going from neophyte-come-baby Pagan/Heathen as being a good subject. Consequently I have never shied away from mentioning when I don’t feel all that certain of myself in my Praxis, when I have wondered if there was anything more for me beyond the simple idea of Paganism and Heathenry; I’ve often used the metaphor of doors: When I stood in front of the door marked ‘Pagan’ I knew, somehow, that it was the door I should go through. Later I painted ‘& Heathen’ onto that door. However once inside that threshold I was confronted by the reality that a thousand more doors were before me and that only some of them would feel the same way the first one had. Up until recently I have never really felt anything from any of those additional doors, metaphorically standing for the potential of Paganism and Heathenry. I won’t shy away now from saying that for a long time I have been concerned that I have lacked focus because of this, maybe I have and maybe I haven’t. However I have felt a strange sense of concentration or direction in the time that I have been preparing for Gods & Radicals to open. It’s highly unlikely that this is because Gods & Radicals is my foretold place or destined path and far more likely that by dint of being exposed to works I otherwise wouldn’t have found.
I’m reluctant to say much more, but I would like to close with the words from the Gods & Radicals’ primer that Alley and Rhyd write, which really got under my skin and stayed there:
“You know what needs to happen. You can feel it.
The spirits cry out—there’s not much time.
The gods seem to prepare for war.
The dead whisper voicelessly at those who’ll soon join them.
You have magic.
You were born with power.
You’ve seen the Gates to the Other World. Open them, and let them through.”