A Pagan Carnival

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 4, 2006 — Leave a comment

Some posts of note from the Pagan blogosphere and beyond.

On Monday Boing Boing and Douglas Rushkoff brought to our attention the fact that legendary cult author Robert Anton Wilson needs help. Wilson, who is dying of post polio syndrome is quickly running out of the money necessary to pay his medical expenses and rent.

“Sadly, we have to report that wizard-author-intelligence increase agent is in trouble with his life, home and his finances. Robert is dying at his home from post polio syndrome. He has enough money for next months rent and after that, will be unable to pay. He cannot walk, has a hard time talking and swallowing, is extremely frail and needs full time care that is being provided by several friends-fans-volunteers and family. We appeal to you to help financially for the next few months to let him die at his home in peace.”Denis Berry

From there the call went out all over the blogosphere, and within 24 hours thanks to the generosity of free-thinkers and Subgenius everywhere they have already raised enough money to last another month. I’m sure they could still use some more, so if you want to support the author of such classics as “The Illuminatus Trilogy” and the “Cosmic Trigger” series click, here for donating info.

On a slightly less serious note, Pagan blogger Sia has a post up plugging the latest Discworld book “Wintersmith” by fantasy author Terry Pratchett. Sia explains how Pratchett has become the litmus test to see if people will understand her form of practice.

“Lots of people write books about what they think witches do. Terry Pratchett knows what witches are. Best of all, he know what witches are for…Whenever I am asked for a list of Pagan books, the insightful, witty novels by Terry Pratchett are the first titles I suggest. To be honest, it’s a kind of test. If people don’t “get” these stories; if they can’t appreciate the humanity and the not-so-common sense which are the heart’s blood of Pratchett’s work, then they won’t understand, or even value, the kind of Paganism that I practice. Terry’s witches are not the sparkley wand types. They don’t, as he says, confuse witchcraft with shopping. Well, most of them don’t.”

I suggest reading the entire post, in which she includes generous excerpts, favorite lines, and recommended starting points.

For those of you interested in the entheogenic experience, the Non-Prophet blog has a guest entry by Dr. Richard Grossman on his healing experience with Ayahuasca.

“Why do I do this? Why do I take people into a foreign country, into the jungle, to be bitten by mosquitoes, to live in an environment that can be uncomfortable and challenging, to take strange herbs, to confront their most fearsome inner demons, to work with shamans who embody an ancient healing tradition? And why do they come with me? Para curar, solamente para curar (to heal, only to cause healing).”

Some may remember the landmark Supreme Court case earlier this year in which US-based members of the UDV church won the right to use ayahuasca / hoasca tea in their rites.

Over at the Blog o Gnosis, Anne Hill celebrates fifteen years of her music label and distro Serpentine Music Productions.

“You can’t make big money from Pagan music. But you can make small money from it, and sometimes that is the best outcome. For me that has been true, even though like all entrepreneurs I had dreams of “making it big.” After many years of hoping for big money and ending up with small money, it dawned on me that I probably wouldn’t be having much fun with the business if it made big money. I’d have to have employees. I’d spend all my time distributing music, and never have time to make any of my own.”

The label’s most recent release was “The Music of Gwydion” featuring two discs of remastered material from a pioneer in Pagan music.

Jay Allen takes a look at a complete religious nutjob convinced that reading Harry Potter is a leading cause of the recent rash of school shootings.

“Ready for the kicker? (Oh yes, there’s more.) Mallory has convinced herself not only that these books are a wicked influence, but that they’re responsible for the recent spate of school shootings across the nation. This self-styled religious scholar of Atlanta claims that, if kids read the Bible, such things would never happen.”

In a final note, I want to follow up on a blog entry I made earlier this week. It concerned the sneaky new language tucked into the House’s 2007 National Defense Authorization Act that would essentially end the requirement of non-sectarian prayer for military chaplains. Since then a “compromise” has been reached where the language has been removed but rules put in place back in 2004 to prevent religious coercion and proselytizing have been rolled back. This one step forward, and two steps back “compromise” only recreates the conditions that lead to past scandals. The military is seeming a poorer place for religious minorities every day.

That is all I have for now, have a good day!

Jason Pitzl-Waters

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