A Brief History of the Polytheist Monastic Forum

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Danica Swanson

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A Brief History of the Polytheist Monastic Forum
« on: May 05, 2019, 12:57:55 AM »
[Ed. Note: this is preserved in the Knowledge Base, but we wanted a copy of it posted here, too.]

A Brief History of the Polytheist Monastic Forum

Site founders Roger Finney (WeepingCrow) and Danica Swanson, both polytheist bloggers, began a correspondence and then met in person in Portland, OR, USA in 2016.

Danica has been writing about polytheist monasticism since 2011 at her Black Stone Hermitage blog, and thinking about it since 2006 when she first discovered that there were other polytheists interested in monasticism.

In 2015-2016 Roger and Danica observed increasing interest in polytheist and pagan monasticism, particularly through the online and in-person conversations associated with the Many Gods West conference. Many people contacted the founders through their blogs to express surprise and delight that they'd found other polytheists who share this interest.

Merri-Todd Webster founded the Pagan and Polytheist Monasticism Facebook discussion group in September 2016, and within 48 hours of launch the group had attracted nearly 200 members through word of mouth alone. Danica served as a co-administrator of the Facebook group for just over two years.

As momentum continued to build, it became clear that there was a need for something more organized. In January 2018, the Facebook group's membership expressed interest in a public web forum, while deciding to keep the Facebook group active as well.

Modern 'revived' polytheism is still in its infancy. Few people outside our communities even know that polytheist monasticism exists, and many of us were quite surprised to discover there was such extensive interest. In light of these developments, Roger and Danica decided the time had come to take on more structured public religious outreach and hospitality work. They decided to establish a community-owned, community-supported forum that would remain entirely outside the control of social media platforms, advertising, and any other third-party interests not aligned with the forum's religious mission.

After many months of planning, testing, and lengthy unexpected delays, they acquired a domain name and set up the software in October 2018, conducted testing and development of the forum through April 2019, and launched in May 2019.

During the process of working on the forum, two related milestone efforts were launched:

1) Danica and Roger decided to form Black Stone Abbey, a contemplative Order of polytheist-animist monastics inspired by pre-Christian Norse religious and folk traditions. 

2) Janet Munin decided to edit an anthology on polytheistic monasticism, and sent out a Call For Submissions. Danica is serving as a consultant for the project.