(Pagan) News of Note

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  November 8, 2007 — 3 Comments

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

The New York Sun prints an article on modern Pagans and opines that if mainstream integration poses too many stumbling blocks, they would fit in well with America’s long history of secluded religious enclaves.

“Drag yourself to enough roadside historical plaques around the nation’s midsection and you realize this place was built of enclaves … being remote can be good. There’s nothing like a little added geography to solve social friction. Your neighbors will bother you less if you don’t see them. Thanks to the Internet – the witch school is online, after all – and thanks to simple things like decent highways, the isolation is optional. And from trekking Mormons to the kind of frontier refugees who populated the literary prairies of Willa Cather or Laura Ingalls Wilder, there have been few things more American than finding autonomy by opting for isolation.”

You never know, the next Salt Lake City (famously founded by a Mormon enclave) could start with a group of Pagans fed up with Christian-dominated politics.

Speaking of politics, Democrat Elaine Lite, who was running for a spot on the Asheville City Council, has lost her bid.

“Challengers Dwight Butner and Elaine Lite failed to chip away at incumbents’ support … Lite, a Democratic environmental activist, wanted to slow city growth through greater restrictions on development. The publisher of Critter magazine differed with fellow progressives Freeborn and Newman on partisan elections, opposing the switch from the current nonpartisan system.”

Lite was the target of a political smear campaign that mocked her involvement in a environmental rally led by modern Pagans. Local conservative blogs spared no time in gloating over her defeat, labeling her “Elaine ‘Dances With Witches’ Lite”.

While metaphysical shops in America my enjoy fiscal success from time to time, in England it seems you can also win mainstream critical plaudits. Such is the case for Treadwell’s in London which is listed as one of the “finest bookshops” by The Guardian.

“Treadwells is full of mysterious books about magic, myth and belief amid incense and even magic wands! There’s also a lovely sofa to relax on while you read and think.”

American metaphysical shops take note!

Hillsboro, New Hampshire Police Lt. Darren Remillard is publicly apologizing to Witches and Pagans after suggesting that a dug-up grave may have been the work of local Witchcraft practitioners.

“I offer my apology to all witches and certainly did not intend to offend anyone by insinuating this was done by a witch or witchcraft. This could be a sick prank or someone misusing some sort of religion.”

The officer’s off-the-cuff statement to a local news team lead to a local outcry from the Pagan community over this misguided profiling. One wonders if this police force were visited by occult “experts” who spread disinformation about Pagan faiths?

For those of you who love beer, and you know who you are, Guest on Tap takes a look at the pagan history of beer and some modern beers made from ancient recipes.

“Leading the pack is Froach Heather ale. Dating back 2,000 years – a full five centuries before the Romans first invaded – this Scottish brew replaces hops with sweet gale and flowering heather, producing a light, mildly bitter brew redolent of honey and zesty lemon. I first had it near Hadrian’s Wall in Scotland, but you can find it in good bottle shops in the Northwest as well. Froach also brews an Elderberry Black Ale called ‘Ebulum,’ based on a drink formerly enjoyed by 9th-century Welsh Druids. Made with roasted oats, barley and wheat, it is boiled with herbs and then fermented with ripe elderberries, yielding a rich black ale with fruity aroma, soft roasted flavour and gentle finish – perfect by-the-fireplace-sipping beer.”

In accordance with my Germanic roots I’m partial to a tall Hefe-weizen with a twist of lemon. Its very tasty.

English Pop Idol star Rik Waller has decided to stop singing professionally after marrying a star-struck fan in a Pagan ceremony.

“Waller, who was once thrown off Celebrity Fit Club for binge eating, said they planned to have a pagan wedding ceremony. Miss Bliss, 23, agreed – but only if Waller ended his singing career. ‘This is definitely the real thing and, although our pagan beliefs mean that ours isn’t an engagement in the conventional sense, we have bought rings as a gesture of love and commitment to each other,’ said the singer.”

No word yet on why his Pagan wife would want him to stop singing, especially since most Pagans are quite fond of music and performing.

Finally, The Salem News takes a look at the aftermath of Salem’s yearly Halloween extravaganza and defends the towns role as a magnet for witch-loving tourists.

“Strangely, there are some who seem to pine for the days when the Essex Street pedestrian mall became a barren expanse the day after Labor Day, and every other storefront had a vacancy sign. You can visit many other older urban retail districts for that experience – and we bet their mayors would dearly love to have an event like Haunted Happenings that kept stores, restaurants and parking facilities full for a month each autumn.”

You can bet that so long as Salem is pulling in profits of over 100,000 dollars (after expenses), then the spooky, Pagan-friendly festivities will certainly continue.

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

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Labrys

    Yes! All hail the heather ale! It IS the ale in my ritual ‘cakes and ale’…it is in our blessing cup at every family rite. Not Wiccan, but we have taken the bits and pieces and that heather ale is most excellent.

  • Hekateris

    Aww, it’s a pity that Rik Waller’s not going to sing anymore, he’s got a lovely voice.

  • Peg

    Just a little thing: The heather ale brand is spelled “Fraoch” not “Froach” (as is seen inthe link provided). I have only had this stuff once (from a liquor store in Boston) and it is realy great!