I’m at my computer- it’s a cold drizzly day. The air smells cold with a hint of rain to come. On the Wild Hunt there’s an article written by Teo Bishop– a young man who is leaving ADF: a (clearly polytheistic) Druid fellowship and Paganism after about 3 years, to return to Christianity. How very honest. On his public blog he separately says he will still study Druidry with the Order of Bards Ovate and Druids (OBOD). So he’s leaving Paganism, but not actually leaving Druidry. Lovely. Sounds like a plan. Wish him well.
But then 3 days later the story gets picked up on the Huffington Post. My comment to the article about Teo studying with OBOD, and Druid orders that include non-Pagan paths isn’t posted. (Twice.) The comments on Teo’s given name (Matt Morris) Facebook page were mostly from Christians welcoming him back- glad he is no longer ‘straying’. (The Matt Morris FB page was removed as of April 14-14, and his music page removed as of April 2022. Comments started off disabled on the Wild Hunt article.)
But good news- Teo (not Matt) says he will continue to write about being ‘not-a-Pagan’ on the “Wild Hunt- A Modern Pagan Perspective”! Now for me this becomes- not as Teo would say ‘more complicated, more nuanced’ – but ‘Gods no- not the non-Pagan media defining us again’ theme!
And since media outlets like blogging that’s about feelings-
I feel nauseated.
Like atonal chords blowing on the wind.
Not by Teo or his honesty. (May the god of Abraham bless him; but lo, not come anywhere near me.) But by our own part in this latest media foray into Paganism.
Pagans didn’t have effective ways to repel Julius Caesar’s propaganda nearly 2000 years ago. Society still has big media spin doctors that don’t have minority faiths’ interests at heart. What part are we playing now if one of our few Pagan media outlets starts down a path of feeding big media ‘non-Pagan’ content, especially if sites like HuffPo go on to censor Pagan reader comments? I don’t believe that ‘any publicity is good publicity’. Does the lure of publicity- any publicity- instead bind us?
The media issue goes deeper. Teo’s first Patheos post was just 9 months after he joined ADF in December 2010. Are media outlets so desperate for cogent, young, semi-celebrity (Teo- or rather Matt- is a professional musician, which makes him ‘sexy’ media-wise) voices, that they publish the words of a brand new Pagan like Teo?
We now know the Awen led Teo to in his words “build a name and reputation as a writer and thinker in the Pagan community”, but like many others he is encountering surprising changes in his faith and path. (I suppose he could still be a great visiting contributor with an intro on every post that honestly discloses that he had limited time in Paganism and is now not Pagan, for when his new articles get picked up off the Wild Hunt.)
So God speed, Teo- I wish you well.
I don’t know why established Druid and Pagan voices aren’t being heard in the media- even our media.
Maybe I’ll get inspiration that will help me make out the tune that is being played.
The Gods willing.
Columnist Teo Bishop will be stepping down from his position at The Wild Hunt effective immediately. I sat down to speak with Teo personally on Tuesday, and we both agreed that his spiritual journey had changed his relationship with modern Paganism, and that it would be best if he concentrated his writing at his personal site, and on the Huffington Post.
December 3, 2013: The New York Times published this article on November, 22, 2013- An Ex-Mouseketeer’s Journey Back to Christianity From Paganism
March 10, 2014: Teo reports he is taking back his Christian name Matthew Morris on his Twitter account.
2018: Matt starts his Substack A Queer Imagination.
June 2023: Three years after being ordained, Matthew (not Matt) requested and was released and removed from the Episcopal ordained ministry. Read here in his ‘A letter to my bishop and the impeccable timing of the Holy Spirit‘.