A Few Quick Items

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  May 28, 2009 — 2 Comments

I’m out on the road today, but I did want to share a few news items of interest. First off, the Chicago-based web publication Gapers Block features a review of a recent Pagan unity ritual and appearance by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart. While starting off pretty snarky, the journalist is ultimately taken in by the experience.

“People are circling the candlelit altar, clapping and stomping and screaming with abandon. Suddenly, the chant drops out, giving way to a wordless, pulsating hum. It’s a totally spontaneous, genuinely moving moment, and it sends shivers down my spine. I forget, for a moment, all about wizards and unicorns, forget that I mostly came here looking for a cheap laugh; the simple joy of being in a room full of people, singing and dancing and feeling at one, is more magic than I could have hoped for, and if this is the sort of spell that Oberon Zell-Ravenheart is capable of casting, then perhaps his claims to wizardry are not as far-fetched as I’d believed.”

You have to wonder how many skeptical journalists have been won over by better-than-expected rituals over the years. If you want to see the ritual in question, it’s up on Youtube.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Lisa Rose of the Star-Ledger explores if the economic downturn has been good for  New Age and Pagan belief systems and businesses.

“Like Reynolds, who is a Wiccan, a growing number of Jerseyans are exploring alternate routes to their spiritualilty — rather than joining a church, synagogue or mosque — to cope with the economic tailspin. While she’s been studying the stars and worshiping the earth for decades, there are plenty of novices shopping for inner wisdom at New Age stores and botanicas. “People are looking for something,” says Kim Sandak, owner of Whispers of Enlightenment, a New Age store in Hewitt. She reports healthy sales since she opened in October.”

Apparently “green”, “healthy”, and other counter-cultural businesses are also weathering the current downturn well. Whether this perceived trend continues, or even really exists outside individual cases, remains to be seen.

In a final note, we have an update on the controversial case of a Canadian mother and Odinist who had her child taken away after she was sent to school with a swastika and “white supremacist symbols” drawn on her arm.

“On Tuesday, another social worker testified the girl said she was missing school because her mom and stepfather didn’t wake her up on time. She told the social worker that her stepfather made the rules in the house, that he was angry and would get drunk, and that he didn’t make meals, or change her brother’s diaper often enough. The girl, now eight years old, went to school with white supremacist symbols drawn on her skin in March 2008. Her teacher scrubbed them off in the afternoon, but the girl showed up again the next day with another one, along with other white supremacist symbols drawn on her body. CFS caseworkers were alerted and went to the family’s apartment, where they found neo-Nazi symbols and flags, and took custody of the couple’s two-year-old son. CFS officials picked up the daughter at her school. The children have been in foster care since then.”

The stepfather is filing a constitutional challenge, while the mother is hoping to tell “her side of the story” and says that the social workers are lying about her and her daughter. You can read my original coverage of this issue, here.

That’s all I have for right now, have a great day!

Jason Pitzl-Waters