A brief (re-)introduction

For new and recurring readers.

In the last week my reader list has significantly grown, so I wanted to say hello to all of you new folks and introduce myself a bit.

So, hi! Thanks for reading me.

I’m Rhyd, which I guess you already know. The name is pronounced “reed,” and means river-crossing (ford) in Welsh. Long story involving strange dreams on how I got that name which I’ll tell sometime.

As you’ve already guessed probably, I’m a writer. I’ve been writing publicly now for about 10 years and it’s really one of my favorite things to do. Books kind of saved my life as an awkward poor lonely kid in a ramshackle house in Appalachia (south-eastern Ohio), and words themselves fascinate me.

I’m 44 now, and live on another continent. How I got here is a pretty wild story that I don’t really even know how to tell fully, but there were even more strange dreams involved. That’s a bit of a theme of my life: strange dreams that I give attention to and my life changes.

I write mostly about two different things: paganism and leftist politics. Sometimes I’ll write about both subjects because they’re sometimes related. But it’s better said that each informs the other, rather than them being the same thing.

For me, paganism is something different from the Anglo-American ‘neo-pagan’ Wicca stuff. It’s more an organic, default state of humans outside of the state and imperial belief systems: how people will generally react to nature and the world around them when not subject to capitalist imperatives, urban/civilizational moral enforcement, and mass society. That’s the subject of an upcoming book of mine, as well as a course I teach (more on that in a bit).

I also write about politics from a “leftist” perspective. That label increasingly doesn’t mean what I mean by it, but I haven’t really found a better word yet. What I mean by leftist sometimes looks conservative or even reactionary to some critics, but that’s okay.

Mostly, I write about the “woke” ideology. Again, labels are really fraught things, so it’s better to describe what I mean by that. It’s a new social orthodoxy, primarily an Anglo-American ideology but now spreading throughout the world, that replaces earlier Marxist critique about capitalism with a neo-liberal politics of identity. Basically, instead of class and capitalist exploitation, we talk about social oppression based on identity features, so that a billionaire black woman like Oprah ($2.5 billion) is seen in the same oppression category as a poor black woman working two jobs to support her kids. In the woke ideology, both of those people are then seen as being oppressed by a homeless white man because white skin and man-ness gives him more inherent ‘privilege’ than them.

From the older Marxist perspective, the homeless white man and the poor black mother would appear to have more in common than either of them do with Oprah. And that’s why woke ideology exists, because replacing class with identity is a great way to keep the poor fighting each other rather than asking why the rich have so much damn money while the poor struggle to eat.

That’s a super short description. A much longer exploration of it all is coming next year, as I was asked by a cool leftist publisher in the UK to write a book for them on it.

I write about other stuff too, because I do other stuff. I go to the gym and ride a bike and hike a lot, and so I sometimes write about that.

Some Selected Essays

If you’re new to me, here are a few of my favorite recent essays that you might like.

“Here Be Monsters”: About woke ideology, nature, and the time I went on a date with a bat.

Being Pagan: Connecting to Pagan Time: An essay based on one of the chapters of my upcoming book, on natural time versus machine time.

A Plague of Gods: Cultural Appropriation and the Resurgent Left-Sacred: A very long, in-depth essay on the problem of cultural appropriation from the framework of the sacred itself.

The Secret of Crossings: A shorter essay I wrote after the massive floodings here in the Ardennes.

Other Things You Might Like

I have written and published five books already: three compilations of poetry and essays, one guide to Marxism, and one erotic werewolf fantasy novel. All five are listed at this link. I’m always thrilled when people buy them and tell me what they think. There’s also a sale running at the press right now (20% off orders of $20 or above), so it’s a great time to pick them up (use code FALL21).

I do a monthly podcast with my longtime friend Alley Valkyrie. It’s called Empires Crumble, and it’s usually on culture and politics, but sometimes also on history and magic. You can find the full list of previous episodes here.

I’m also the director of publishing for an anti-capitalist Pagan press. We’ve published over 25 works so far, with another 5 coming in the next few months. It’s also got an online journal where much of my writing also appears. All of that is here.

Upcoming Things You Might Also Like

As I mentioned earlier, I have two books coming out. One, called Being Pagan, is coming out in a few months and it can be pre-ordered at this link (pre-ordering saves you a few dollars on the price and also helps fund the initial print run for the press).

I also teach a course on that book. I’ve already offered it once and enrollment filled up completely. I’m doing it again in a few weeks (2 October), and we’re also currently running a 20% reduction on everything over $20, so you can enroll for cheaper. The enrollment link is here and the code to use is FALL21.

A Note About This Substack

I usually write two pieces a week here (there have been a few weeks I wrote four, but that’s rare). You can always read any of these public pieces regardless of your subscription level.

Paid Subscriptions give you some extra stuff. I record a druid journal by video at least once a month, and you get access to those. You also get to watch videos from the Empires Crumble podcasts. And I write at least one (but often two) long, in-depth essay for the supporters’ journal at Gods&Radicals Press which paid subscribers here also get access to.

If you want to become a paid subscriber, you can use the button below.

If you are reading these by email, you can always either comment here or you can send me direct emails by replying to the email version of the post. I try to answer every email I get, but I’m often very slow. Still, I deeply appreciate hearing from you.

And in addition, since I left social media 1 August, I really appreciate when readers share my work on those platforms. I don’t do any of my own promotion there any more, but it’s super helpful when you do.

Thanks so much for reading me!

Be well!

--Rhyd Wildermuth