(Pagan) News of Note

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 7, 2008 — 1 Comment

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

A lesson to politicians and public figures, if you’re going to hire a Voodoo priestess to curse an opponent, make sure you don’t bounce the checks paying for said services.

“[Cobb Commissioner Annette] Kesting wrote $3,000 in bad checks, allegedly for the services of a “high priestess of voodoo” to prepare an untimely demise for commissioner-elect Woody Thompson. Kesting wanted the priestess, identified by authorities as George Ann Mills of Blythewood, S.C., to cause Thompson to “catch cancer” or “have a car accident” according to a police report obtained by WSB-TV.”

Apparently Kesting was unhinged enough to not realize that leaving a paper-trail and an unhappy (and unpaid) priestess would come back to haunt her. Police are now investigating the matter.

Time Magazine reviews a new book about witch-hunts by John Demos entitled “The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World”. According to reviewer Gilbert Cruz, the book explores the inherent sexism and insular nature of witch-hunting.

“While the goal for all is separation from a despised ‘other,’ witch-hunting alone finds the other within its own ranks. The Jew, the black, and the ethnic opposite exist, in some fundamental sense, ‘on the outside’…The witch, by contrast, is discovered within the host community.”

According to Demos, the last “real” witch-hunts in the West were the 1982 Bakersfield “Satanic Ritual Abuse” convictions. A sad example of how the “Satanic Panics” led to innocent men and women spending years in prison.

While I’m on the subject of book reviews, Christian blogger and academic John Morehead reads and reviews the odious anti-Pagan smear-job of Linda Harvey’s “Not My Child: Contemporary Paganism and New Spirituality” so you don’t have to.

“Just like other parts of society we evangelicals in our subculture create our own monsters. One of our leading monsters at present seems to be Paganism. Islam and homosexuality are other creatures in our laboratory. I wonder why we create them. That we do can hardly be denied when we consider the plethora of books we write on the topic and the sensationalist tone that often accompanies them. One of the tricky things about monsters is that they often come back to haunt their creators. Sometimes they ask us some thorny questions too … what does evangelical monstrous creation and resultant fear of stereotypical Paganism tell us about ourselves? I’m afraid if we reflect on this monster we may not like the answers.”

John, who edited the groundbreaking “Beyond the Burning Times”, is quickly becoming my go-to filter for books about Paganism written by Christians. You should also check out his review of “Generation Hex: Understanding the Subtle Dangers of Wicca” (an anti-Pagan book I explored here previously).

Remember my post a week ago about the rock-opera treatment of “The Wicker Man” currently playing in San Francisco? Well, fellow Pagan blogger Mertseger recently attended the production and has posted a review.

“Essentially, this stage production is The Wicker Man (1973) minus the music of Paul Giovanni plus the music of Jim Fourniadis … All in all, the show is well worth the price, and I recommend Bay Area Pagans checking it out. If you like the 1973 film, then this show is a lively and small variation on the same material. Be sure to bring a beer in a brown paper bag (or you will feel horribly out of fashion) and enjoy the romp.”

I recommend reading the entirety of this well-written review. If only more Pagan-centric arts criticism could be so erudite.

In a final note, both Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion and Modemac’s Bulldada Newsblog take note of a story in which an academic thesis on racist Odinist/Satanist Kerry Bolton was pulled from the library of a New Zealand college after he complained.

“Waikato University has abruptly pulled a student’s thesis from its library after complaints from the subject of the research – a right-wing extremist. The thesis, exploring satanic and neo-Nazi themes, had already been marked and published, earning its author top marks … The newspaper said it established that no legal threat had been received against either Mr Van Leeuwen or the University of Waikato. Rather, the thesis was the subject of a mere complaint from Kerry Bolton. Professor Bing told Nexus the thesis was a first-class piece of work, and was externally moderated by other universities before being published.”

So an extremist writes in a complaint about a thesis regarding him, and despite rigorous vetting of said thesis for accuracy (by multiple institutions), it’s pulled? Has the University of Waikato no spine? If every thesis that the subjects of research didn’t entirely approve of got pulled, modern academia would very likely grind to a standstill. As for Roel van Leeuwen (himself a member of several occult and esoteric Orders and Societies), the author of the thesis, he stands by his work.

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

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Anonymous

    Remember, assumption makes an ass of you and umption – or something to that effect.If the said thesis has be through a process of “rigorous vetting” then why was the thesis allowed to be edited long after it was originally accepted, passed, and published into the public domain?Check out the video on YouTube about this editing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDq8GuZHLUgI think it would be wise for the pagan and occult community to wait until the thesis is made public again by the University and a full explanation issued as to why it was pulled, and why the complaint is so frivalous.