Good things happening! Doctorate degree, where I’ll be blogging next, and more!

Gah! I am SO excited to be writing this post! So many good things have so suddenly happened – doors have been blasting open for me, and it seems that, finally, I am beginning to see the beautiful fruits of my labor in my work and in my love of the Gods.

It seems that the theme this week has been acceptance. First off, I’ve been accepted into a doctorate program! The Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, has extended an acceptance offer into the doctorate degree for History and Culture of Religion, where I’ll be specializing in New Religious Movements. I’ll be concentrating on studying the contemporary pagan community (which is my goal for all the schools I’ve applied to), making my contributions on an academic and personal level. (My application was also reviewed and accepted by UC Berkeley, so I can take classes there, work with faculty there, use their library, and more! AHH!) If this is where I’ll go, not only will I be where other pagans are, but I’ll also be in a program that will support my work (like the godspouse project that I have on hold right now due to my thesis!). I want to change how the pagan community is seen, understood, and written about on both the academic and “lay” level, so to speak – but I also want to do a ton of other amazing things, but the point is, I GOT IN!

One of my biggest sources of anxiety was that I wasn’t going to get accepted anywhere. I still have six schools to hear from (Northwestern denied me admission on the basis that they couldn’t have a faculty member overseeing my work) but the fact that one school accepted me has lowered my stress levels immensely – and has made me so, so, so much more hopeful for the future, my work, and especially what I can give to the pagan community.

Secondly — I recently found out that Patheos was bought out by BeliefNet. One of the changes that came with this was a new contract and, unfortunately, the demands of the contract were absolutely incompatible for many pagan bloggers. (As much as I dislike John Halstead, an article he wrote on Patheos titled ‘Read This Before Patheos Deletes it’ was censored and removed – and he was locked out of his own blog! I think that is absolutely wrong, and what they did to him was absolutely shitty and dishonorable. Gods&Radicals did something good and hosted up his censored article here, so if you’d like to read it, there’s the link). With this came what I understand to be a massive walkout of pagan writers – and then the creation and hosting of a new blogging site by and for pagans titled Pagan Bloggers.

So what do I have to do with any of this? Well, it means that I submitted an application to be a blogger there – and it was accepted! Very soon I’ll be writing original articles alongside amazing, influential, and powerful pagan voices and contributing in my own way to the pagan community! (Of course, I’ll write under L.V. Boloix – I’ll make a note to remind people I used to write as Ossia Sylva). I’ll be writing about my experiences and lessons working with the Gods, Seership and divination, devotional polytheism, work with spirits and entities, spirit companionship, and many, many more things (I think my writing is just as varied and spontaneously as my devotional polytheism – I’ll always be writing about different things at different times). I’m really excited for this because I thought that I was “too young” to contribute anything of value to the community. I see that I have been shown otherwise, with my sign-up as a writer on Pagan Bloggers as well as the publication of an article online on The Pagan and the Pen and my upcoming devotional publication to Cernunnos!

Gah! SO EXCITED! Paths are opening and things are happening fast. I have to work harder but I love it. I’ll definitely continue to blog here, although I think it should be expected that, every few posts here, one of them will be a link to an article I’ve written on PaganBloggers or somewhere else. I really want to write and share my voice, young that it is.

For those of you who would like to know more about Pagan Bloggers, you can click on the aforementioned link. For those of you who would like to donate to the IndieGoGo Fund, there’s the link!

One final thing to my readers: if you’re interested in me writing about a particular topic, please share your thoughts with me! I’ve never had the opportunity before to write on such a public scale, so I’m definitely interested in seeing what you’re interested in reading from me!

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9 thoughts on “Good things happening! Doctorate degree, where I’ll be blogging next, and more!”

  1. Congratulations on both counts. I would be fascinated to know how many modern Polytheists and Pagans studying at degree level in archaeology and history, as well as in religious studies, feel able to be open about their beliefs. I’m a member of a county Egyptology society and don’t feel I can put my hand up and openly admit I’m a Polytheist. I live in a very Christian, very conservative county in the UK.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      I am actually really interested in that, too – how many pagans working in academia are “out.” More importantly, I wonder to what extent their work is taken seriously – which is something I’m frustrated with when it comes to scholarship, past and present, about the pagan community: I get the feeling that the scholars in question aren’t actually pagan, but if one WERE out as a pagan, their work wouldn’t be taken as seriously. (So much for insider commentary). Then again, I could be very wrong. I would have to play the field carefully, but I have a feeling that coming out with my real name, despite the fact that I know there may be repercussions, was the best thing I could do.

      I am sorry that you feel that way – that you have to feel like you have to hide. I am so, so sorry. And I hope that my work can help us all, where for one we can work on decriminalizing ourselves, and then work on getting people to realize that we are religions, not mere trends. There are trends in religions, of course, but what I mean is that it’s time for paganism to be taken seriously – and I fully intend to do that in ALL of my work.

      Regarding our mutual curiosity (and fascination) about how many academic pagans are out, I think it also really depends on where you are. The school that accepted me is VERY welcoming of pagans (and even has a school of ministry that welcomes people who want to specialize in pastoral counseling for pagans – something that I definitely see happening in my future!) and the West Coast in general is chock-full of pagans. My intended advisor knows exactly who I am and what kind of work I intend to do, and has informed me that there are many pagans and polytheists both at the program and in the city (Berkeley). However, I don’t think I can say the same for, say, Emory University (which is in Atlanta, Georgia). It would be more difficult to be an “out” pagan there, I think.

      Either way, if there is any way I can help, let me know. And depending on what school I go to, I will snoop and ask around. There may be a lot more pagans working scholarship than one might realize but, again, due to extremely understandable concerns, they may be under the pagan radar.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, and it’s really good to hear that you are supported by your advisor. Geographic differences would probably be a factor too.
        I can remember reading an article about Ronald Hutton, and how when he first came out it basically ruined his career. Thankfully he persisted and is now more well respected, but I wonder how many feel they can’t be true to who they are because they’re involved in an academic field.
        Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go to university because of my health, so the Egyptology society is like my window to that world. I often wonder if any of the speakers, let alone the members, have Polytheist or Pagan beliefs. It kind of makes me wish I could send a questionnaire out to all the historical, archaeological and religious studies departments and societies asking about whether people feel they can be open about their religious beliefs. I too would like to know how Polytheist and Pagan academics are perceived by their non-pagan peers. Is their work deemed too ‘close’ to their religious beliefs, too much to provide a so-called impartiality? But then you get it from our side as practitioners and believers, where we’ve had only the monotheist or atheist filter.
        It’s very interesting. I would be fascinated to know of any discoveries you make in relation to these things.
        Most of all I’m really happy we have an openly Pagan scholar to speak up for us.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Actually those kinds of questionnaires are quite common, particularly with both researchers and those in pastoral counseling (of which I think pagans need more of). In my studies I will certainly keep my eyes open, and of course on my blog I will definitely be posting my thoughts, opinions, and experiences with colleagues, peers, and strangers when interacting with me.

        There is something very strange about how pagan studies is approached – it’s almost as if pagans themselves aren’t allowed to do their own research out of bias. Yet, at my institution (and others!) I see Catholics writing about Catholics, and their voices are taken seriously; inversely, “outsiders” who write about Catholicism tend to not be taken seriously, or are considered to be people who “just don’t get it” and therefore their voice is not important. That’s certainly not the case for EVERY single publication or lecture, but I do notice the trend. Then again I also understand that I am in theology, but I have certainly seen publications about religions by adherents to those religions – and I wonder why that is not afforded to us.

        For me, I think it’s an issue of being taken seriously, which is something I intend to do with grad studies. From the moment I stepped into my program I demanded respect, not crudely but through showing my excellence in my work, my intellectual faculties, my compassion with others, and in showing others how I love my Gods. I have found that I am deeply respected in the department precisely because of the way I have comported myself, both as a person and as an academic who can write without bias yet explain without apologetics. I am certainly willing to fight by proving myself to others with offering not just good but excellent work – and maintaining a position, creating a space, where I am taken seriously.

        I hope most of all that my voice helps our community – that it makes us stronger, brings us together in diversity, and that my voice can show others that we are a living, breathing religion that is developing and is to be taken seriously. I would like to be the voice that is also taken seriously in academic circles; I know it’s a pipe dream that everyone is going to love me, but good scholars recognize each other, and I intend to contribute to academia powerfully. If I have to change the game, so it shall be. 🙂

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  2. Congratulations on being accepted at GTU! Say hello (and, sadly, goodbye, much of the campus is being bulldozed) to Pacific School of Religion, where I got an M.Div. as an out-Pagan in 1982. I look forward to hearing more about your adventures on Holy Hill.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 😀 Congratulations! It’s so clear that you’ve labored for this; it’s gratifying to see someone get the relief and recognition they so ardently worked for.

    I’m a trans geographer-in-the-making and I’m more comfortable coming out about my ridiculous sexuality and gender nonconforming labels than I am my spiritual beliefs. I half expect people to laugh when I say, “Oh I worship Loki,” and they do at which point I’ve got to reconcile that, well I did tell the truth, but I really don’t want to elaborate anymore because the thought was laughable. I would absolutely be concerned about, say, my masters advisor or faculty finding out about my beliefs because they might not be able to grok how I could be a legitimate social scientist while being a devotional polytheist.

    All that to say, we have a long road ahead of us, and I’m deeply humbled and grateful for the work and effort that you are pursuing. ^_^

    Rhys (I’ve emailed you from my “real name” account as Brooke)

    PS Loved your piece on Pagan Bloggers! So much to think about

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I finally found your wonderful comment – thank you for your thoughts and for your meaningful work! I will answer fully as soon as possible, but if there’s one thing that’s true, it’s that we have a LONG road ahead of us – and that’s why it’s all the more important to be together in community, to work together and alongside each other, and to support each other!

      Thank you for taking the time to read my work, and I hope that my work continues to be pleasing and useful for all! If you need anything, or want to speak further, don’t hesitate to message me! I’ll always reply! Much love and many blessings to you and your own. ❤

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