(Pagan) News of Note

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  July 25, 2007 — 1 Comment

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.

For those keeping track of the July 4th Pagan Religious Rights Rally that took place in Washington DC, one of the participants: Caroline Kenner, has posted a write-up of the event at the Witches Voice web site.

“Finally after all these months, we were listening to brave speeches about freedom of religion, and the need for a Pagan chaplain in the military, the need for Thor’s Hammer and the Druid Awen symbol to be recognized by the VA as the Pentacle has been. We had a diverse roster of speakers representing many national Pagan organizations: The Troth, Asatru Folk Assembly, Military Pagan Network, Sacred Well Congregation, Ar nDraoicht Fein and Circle Sanctuary. It was inspiring to see so many diverse Pagans working together, people with very different beliefs, practices and deities sharing a common purpose.”

You can read all my coverage of the rally and related news articles, here.

Having exhausted all other angles, Christianity Today asks the question: what would Jonathan Edwards (the prominent colonial-era fire-and-brimstone preacher) do about Harry Potter?

“So there we have it. The most engrossing imaginative world created at the start of the 21st century is essentially pagan. Don’t get me wrong – I like the Harry Potter series. I’ve read all of the books. And I’m sure Jonathan Edwards would have done so, too … That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t read it. Nor does it mean that Edwards would disapprove of us learning from it (light from wherever it comes), but (borrowing from more recent intellectual heroes like Lewis or Tolkien) it does mean that if the world’s imagination is captured by Potter-esque versions of the afterlife and the transcendent – a less-than-Christian way of looking at the world – we have work to do. The imagination is a hairbreadth away from the soul.”

The article seems to call for a “Christian” Harry Potter to “rescue” the souls imperiled by their runaway imaginations, but the next C.S. Lewis seems less likely than ever in our ever more polarized society. In other Harry Potter news, James Dobson does not approve!

A new shopping center in Britain has seemingly changed its proposed name after a coven of Witches, unhappy with the proposed Witchy-sounding name of Highcross Quarter, registered the domain names first and refused to sell.

“A coven of elderly witches has claimed victory in a battle to change the name of a £350-million (about R4,9-billion) shopping centre. They objected after developer Hammerson announced a huge addition to Leicester’s Shires mall would be called Highcross Quarter. That’s the name given by witches to the four most important periods in the “wicca” calendar … Once the name was announced, the witches immediately registered several Internet domain names using the term. Morrigan Wisecraft, a witch from Loughborough, said she was contacted by Hammerson within days of registering the domain names last year. She claimed the group was offered large amounts of money to part with the titles, before Hammerson took the matter to the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organisation. Now the company has appeared to have given up on the fight but would not comment on whether pressure from the local “alternative faith group” was behind a decision to change the name.”

I’m not sure if I would claim this as a “victory” for Pagans, it isn’t as if “highcross quarter” is a term used solely by Pagan groups. The case seems to come very close to “cybersquatting” under the protection of religion. It brings up a larger question, do modern Pagans “own” or have rights to things we label as sacred, even if those things have other uses or contexts?

Xtra profiles the spiritual and emotional reasons behind GLBT folks’ tattoos, revealing some very “pagan” ideas in the ink. [Warning: a couple of the photos may be NSFW]

“My tattoos are dedicated to my spiritual development … [The goddess] is a higher power, the beginning of life and death, and of knowledge. I got that the same year I had my first relationship with a girl. Coming here from the Ukraine I was pretty repressed. There was no such thing as gay or lesbian, or drug use, none that was open. I wasn’t exposed to any of that growing up. [The goddess] represents woman, with mothering and birth. She has two horns and goat feet so she can be perceived as Pan, a male god. That is my take on two sides.”

In a final note, part two of a the three-part podcast interview with author/Witch/activist Thorn Coyle has been posted. You can find part one, here.

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

Jason Pitzl-Waters