Asatru Fight Misconceptions: Just a few quick notes for you today, starting with a look at depictions of Asatru in the media. The Southern Poverty Law Center, in a spotlight on the racist criminal organization European Kindred, mentions the religious split between Asatru and Christian Identity within its ranks.
One of the law enforcement officers in the audience asked [EK founder David] Kennedy about a rumored split between EK members along religious lines. Kennedy replied that as far as he knew, the rumors were false. “Most of the guys in EK are into Asatrú [a neo-pagan faith that is not fundamentally racist, but is practiced by some racists], but then we also have guys who are into Christian Identity [an anti-Semitic theology based on a bizarre reading of the Bible], so it varies,” Kennedy said. “Overall it’s about brotherhood. It’s about blood, not religion.” The ex-gang leader paused for a moment before correcting himself. “Well, actually, the dope comes first. The meth. Then the brotherhood. That’s the reality.”
See that nice little qualifier there about Asatru not being “fundamentally racist”? It wasn’t always like that. The descriptor initially said “a racist neo-pagan faith”, but was changed after several Asatruar, including David Carron of Ravencast, and a few African American adherents, wrote in to protest the SPLC’s definition. Too bad it most likely wasn’t changed in the print version of The Intelligence Report, a publication that is “offered free to law enforcement, journalists, scholars and community activists”. One wonders what the SPLC will do to enlighten the police officers, journalists, and activists that only read the print version that Asatru isn’t “fundamentally racist”. What should the South Dakota man trying to educate people about his new-found faith in Asatru say when someone tells him the SPLC think he’s a racist?
Funeral for an Irish Thelemite, Metal Musician, and Drug Dealer: The Belfast Telegraph keeps it classy in their report on the funeral for Jason Barriskill, an influential metal musician in Ireland who was also an active Thelemite, and apparently, a drug dealer as well.
“A pagan rocker died at his drug-den farmhouse after a witchcraft ritual went nightmarishly wrong. Junkie Jason Barriskill — who worked in the Tayto Castle food lab — was found slumped at his isolated home in Tandragee, Co Armagh, a fortnight ago.”
After a ritual went “nightmarishly wrong”? Really? All the other press says it was a heart attack. Is the Belfast Telegraph a tabloid? Even if he was a drug-dealer, is it normal to dub a dead man “Junkie Jason”? What is certain is that he was indeed a Thelemite, and an “occult funeral”, as the Belfast Telegraph would put it, was indeed held.
“It was also great that one of the Priestesses from the Ard Macha Grove of EGC (which Jason founded many years ago) helped to officiate at the formal service. The Grove celebrated his ‘Greater Feast’ that night, with many friends and colleagues. It was a beautiful ceremony and was nice to give him a full send off in the traditions of Thelema-of which he was a dedicated magician for many years. One of the most moving aspects of the ceremony was a time for everyone to share their stories of the man. Much like what has happened on here.”
I really wish I had access to the rest of the article so I could see if the paper has any basis for its claim that he was killed by a ritual that went “nightmarishly wrong”. If any of my Irish readers have seen the full article, please clue me in. As it stands, even if he was a criminal, or simply harboring criminals, this is sensationalism at its worst.
The Vodou Blame-Game: It seems the religious blame-game in earthquake-ravaged Haiti is still going strong, with various Christian sects accusing Vodou as incurring God’s wrath.
“Their cult, a form of west African polytheism that came to Haiti with the slave trade, is being blamed by some followers of the rapidly growing Christian denominations – evangelicals, Seventh-Day Adventists, Baptists – as the cause of God’s anger in smiting their country. “They say we’re the ones who caused the earthquake. But we know ourselves that we didn’t cause the quake, because it was a natural catastrophe,” said Willer Jassaint, one of the priests, or houngans, leading the Voodoo ceremony.”
The piece goes one to reference the Cite Soleil incident, though no other major religious skirmishes have broken out since then, and local Houngans and Mambos are planning more public rituals for the dead, despite these new tensions.
“Back in the Voodoo shed, as the chanting and dancing and rum-fuelled flames faded, the houngans somberly laid out their plans for bigger, more public ceremonies in the days to come. They owe the spirits of the dead that release, they say – and they owe themselves that show of defiance. “We have to maintain our religion now… Because our religion is our soul, it’s part of us,” Jassaint said.”
I suppose we’ll soon find out if Cite Soleil was a truly isolated incident, or if we’ll see more Christian-spurred violence in the near future. Hopefully, as the rebuilding continues, and the government stabilizes, the tensions we see now will subside to pre-earthquake levels.
That’s all I have for now, have a great day!