My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.
“We think it’s important to encourage the writing of advanced books on occultism. There’s a small, but steadily growing interest in advanced occult texts. Writing a blog post or a single article, while it can cover an interesting topic, just doesn’t provide the needed depth or volume that a book can bring. And while there are some excellent sites for occult writing, including this one, actual texts are needed in order to fully capture and develop some of the more advanced ideas in more detail. Additionally, there’s definitely benefit to having your work edited, whether in a (hardcopy or online) magazine, or through the editing staff of a publisher. With all the unedited drek that floats around on the internet, peer-reviewed information, especially advanced, is even more necessary.”
Speaking of “advanced” books, keep your eyes peeled for articles and interviews on this blog concerning some groundbreaking new Pagan books by authors like Brendan Cathbad Myers, Emma Restall Orr, and Gus diZerega.
Laura Miller at Salon.com gives Ursula K. Le Guin’s new book “Lavinia” a favorable review. Calling it “a tribute to a relatively uncelebrated culture, that of early Rome”.
“‘Lavinia’ is an old writer’s book — Le Guin is 79 — in the best sense of the word; it is ripe with that half-remembered virtue, wisdom. This, Le Guin seems to be saying, is what it feels like to be the personification of your land and your people, to speak the words and perform the rites of “the old, local, earth-deep religion,” to be the sacred guardian of harmony and plenty for a handful of rustic villages and farms, and to carry their past and future in your body. It’s not a life any of us know how to live anymore, and most likely not one that most of us would choose, but some of us can still imagine it, and imagine that it was good.”
I am very much looking forward to reading this book. You can read my previous post on Le Guin’s “Lavinia”, here.
“With prices soaring for staples such as cooking oils, wheat, lentils, milk and rice across the globe, priests like Atrey say they are seeing the consequences in their neighborhood temples, where even the poorest of the poor have long made donations to honor their faith. ‘But today the common man is tortured by the increases in prices,’ Atrey lamented during one early morning prayer, or puja, adding that donations of milk were down by as much as 50 percent. He had recently met with colleagues from other temples, along with imams from local mosques, who reported similar experiences. ‘If poor people don’t even have enough for bread, how will they donate milk to the gods?’ he said. ‘This is very serious.’”
Within Hinduism, milk is seen as a holy substance and is an integral part of daily religious life in India (not to mention dietary life, since many Indians are vegetarians). If a solution isn’t found soon, a major crisis of hunger and faith in the country seems inevitable.
Ohio State University’s religious studies program has been hosting a lecture series entitled “Through a Glass, Darkly: Public Interest in the Occult.” Student paper The Lantern reports on the closing lecture by Lynn Schofield Clark on the intersection of the occult and popular television programs.
“Delving into the topic of current television shows, she attempted to explain why interest exists in them. Television shows about mysterious things have now evolved from scripted shows to reality shows such as SciFi’s “Ghost Hunters” and the Canadian series “Ghost Trackers,” highlighting the increasing popularity of this genre, she said. Clark connected the popularity of the shows to the nation’s attitude post-Sept. 11. She said after the unexpected terrorist attacks, the nation’s interest piqued in pop culture that shows unresolvable issues.”
The lecture series also featured a talk by Pagan academic Sabina Magliocco, author of “Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America”. As for “occult television”, I don’t care how “occult” it gets, I refuse to watch “Ghost Whisperer” (though I do admit to watching “Moonlight” now and then).
A Pagan woman was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder after she told a group of teens and twenty-somethings (that she met regularly with at local Pagan gatherings) that a local man (and fellow practitioner) had raped her and her daughter (she also provided materials used in the attempted murder).
“‘This is a group of young people with some strange beliefs … being led by the passionate, distraught histrionics of an older – and in their eyes, much more powerful – mother figure,’ York-Poquoson Commonwealth’s Attorney Eileen Addison said. ‘They got carried away … but they got carried away because she encouraged them to do so.’ According to testimony, Davidson met co-defendants Stephen Walters, 26, Dianna Breznick, 18, Thomas Rogers, 24, and Aaron Meadors, 23, at a shop in Norfolk that advertises itself as carrying Wiccan and pagan supplies. The group regularly attended a pagan drum circle there on Monday nights. Davidson was known to the group as “Red Phoenix.” Barron, who was known as “Lord Othis,” also attended the circle.”
No proof or charges have been brought against Barron/Othis for his alleged assaults, nonetheless two of the attackers were unrepentant calling his maiming/torture “justice”. No matter what the real chain of events that lead to this situation were, the outcome is a shameful one that mocks true justice and brands these Pagans as criminals who replace due process with unrestrained savagery.
In a final note, further memorials to Cora Anderson, who crossed over yesterday, have been posted at The Witches’ Voice and the Acorn Guild Press web site. The latter contains a short eulogy from Starhawk.
“Cora was a great inspi
ration, a wonderful teacher, and a pioneer in the Craft at a time when it was a very hard and lonely path. I will always remember her stories, her humor, and her wonderful blend of mysticism and sheer common sense. I know that she will continue to guide and inspire now, wherever her soul journeys.”
Further tributes can be found, here.
That is all I have for now, have a great day!