Top Story: The Associated Press reports that a mob of Haitian Christians threw rocks and drove out a small group of Vodou practitioners who were trying to perform a ritual for the dead.
“Voodooists gathered in Cite Soleil where thousands of quake survivors live in tents and depend on food aid. Praying and singing, the group was trying to conjure spirits to guide lost souls when a crowd of Evangelicals started shouting. Some threw rocks while others urinated on Voodoo symbols. When police left, the crowd destroyed the altars and Voodoo offerings of food and rum.”
A member of the anti-Vodou mob claimed the Vodouisants “came and took over” while they were preparing for prayer, drawing the ire of the tent-city inhabitants. This latest incident seems to only highlight the increasing religious tensions in Haiti as several Christian missionary groups see an opportunity to expand and evangelize. Some Christian aid groups are allegedly using baptism certificates as identity papers for the purpose of distributing food.
“People see rice being distributed in front of churches and those homeless now needing papers are being offered baptism certificates that can act as identity documents,” Voodoo priest Max Beauvoir told The Associated Press before speaking at Friday’s service. “The horrible thing though is that by rejecting Voodoo these people are rejecting their ancestors and history. Voodoo is the soul of the Haitian people. Without it, the people are lost.”
There is a very real chance that post-earthquake Haiti could see a massive, and unreported, crack-down on Vodou in the weeks and months to come. Further threatening an already misunderstood and demonized faith. Leaving us with the question of what ideology will guide the hand that rebuilds Haiti? We can only hope that Max Beauvoir and other emerging Haitian Vodou voices can keep the international community aware of Haiti’s native faith.
In Other News:
The Rise and Fall of Bill Schnoebelen: I recently mentioned professional ex-Witch/Satanist/Mormon/Mason/Vampire Bill Schnoebelen in the context of a Christianity Today article looking at the popularity of vampires. Now, author and ritual magician Frater Barrabbas, who actually worked with Schnoebelen for several years while he was still a Witch, is reprinting a long essay about his experiences in several parts on his blog.
“Bill proceeded to involve the whole coven in his personal magick and his personal pathos, seeing himself as the ultimate authority in all situations, and perhaps this is where things went wrong. However, we did not indulge in child pornography, rape, murder, larceny, kidnaping, torture, animal sacrifice, blood drinking, and shooting up strange evil drugs. Bill claims that this is what witches do, that he whole-heartedly participated in them, and it’s possible that he did indulge in some of the milder of these practices. Yet the more outrageous were realized exclusively within the confines of his imagination.”
This may be the definitive behind-the-scenes look at the man who would eventually pen ”Wicca: Satan’s Little White Lie“. I recommend that everyone read through the posts, and subscribe to Frater Barrabbas’ intelligent and well-written blog. On the same subject, I’d also urge you to check out John Morehead’s criticisms of using Schnoebelen as a source from a Christian perspective.
Don’t Mess With Heathens in Iceland: The Iceland Review reports on an act of sorcery against Iceland’s enemies, and high chieftain Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson (a friend of both Bjork and Sigur Ros) claims that the working is, well, working.
“An act of sorcery against “Iceland’s enemies,” undertaken by members of the pagan society Ásatrúarfélagid in Iceland at the beginning of the economic crisis, finally seems to be delivering the desired results, as high chieftain Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson pointed out on the news yesterday—the Dutch government has collapsed and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s political career is hanging by a thread.”
You can read more about the initial ritual, here. The moral of this story? Don’t mess with the Asatru in Iceland, unless you want your economy to crumble and your politicians to falter. At least they didn’t call for a blight on their lands.
Johnny Depp & The WM3: Superstar actor Johnny Depp is diving head-first into advocacy on behalf of the West Memphis 3, the actor will appear on CBS’s ’48 Hours to call for their release. The case, in which three teens were convicted of murdering three children, has long drawn criticism for using “Satanic Panic” to gain convictions.
“Depp is not alone in his belief that the men were convicted on flimsy or fabricated evidence. He joins stars like Eddie Vedder, Winona Ryder, the Dixie Chicks and Disney teen star Demi Lovato in insisting the men were actually found guilty for their fascination with heavy-metal music, Stephen King and the occult. “I firmly believe Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley are totally innocent. It was a need for swift justice to placate the community,” Depp says on Saturday’s show.”
Momentum has long been building for something to be done in this case, not only among actors and activists, but by many legal organizations as well. With Damien Echols on death row, and legal appeals running out, one can only hope that real justice emerges before it’s too late.
Telling the Story of the Pendle Witches: The Lancashire Telegraph spotlights author Mary Sharratt, who’s forthcoming historical novel, “Daughters of the Witching Hill”, tells the story of the infamous Pendle witches.
“Set during the infamous witch trials of 1612, which took place at Lancaster Assizes, the novel features the people involved and according to Mary, a large amount of her research involved scrutinising the transcript recorded by Thomas Potts, a clerk at the court.”
You can read more about the book, and why she wrote it, here. I’ve received an advance copy of the book, and I can heartily recommend it. I’ll be featuring an interview with Sharratt at The Wild Hunt in April as part of her promotional tour for the novel. So keep an eye out for that!
That’s all I have for now, have a great day!