I have a few quick news notes to share with you this Friday.
More on Pretending to Practice Witchcraft: The South Asian Focus looks at the recent arrest of Canadian citizen Yogendra Pathak on charges of fraud and the once-obscure ordinance against “pretending to practice witchcraft”. They note that the case is being watched by several communities to see how this will ultimately affect them.
The case is being watched closely by some who fear any fallout could inevitably impact them. Pandit Prithipal, another well-known service provider in the GTA, said roughly 200-300 people are currently practicing astrology to help clients in different ways. Apart from South Asians, communities from the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and elsewhere also offer parallel services. Sgt Shah agreed there are other people who are also offering the same kind of services, but said: “We cannot act unless we have a complaint.”
I covered this story last Friday, and noted then that the accused perpetrators were caught and charged with existing laws against fraud, making this additional charge nothing more than a sensationalist addition that could have far-reaching implications if allowed to stand. When you start to think about the variety of services and practices being offered from different cultures in Canada, the cast net of possible future “witchcraft” charges seems to grow uncomfortable large.
The Satanic Candidate: While I’m in Canada, and as a refreshing change of pace from the Christine O’Donnell tempest, here’s a candidate who admits to far more than “dabbling” with Satanic altars.
“Scott Robb could have a devil of a time winning a seat in October’s civic election. The 31-year-old security officer is the founder of the Darkside Collective, which he believes is the first Canadian-based satanic church. ”I have been a practising Satanist since 1996. I briefly joined the Church of Satan in San Francisco in 1997 and quit there in February 2000 and started my own church.” Robb, one of five Ward 4 [Edmonton] council candidates, compared his group’s beliefs to psychological improvement or Buddhism rather than the occult activities of popular culture.”
You can find Robb’s campaign web site, here. Here’s the official candidate list. Robb doesn’t want to make an issue of his Satanic beliefs, and of his campaign states that “I kind of equate it to the first (openly) gay politician and wondering if their sexuality was a key point in their campaign.”
Reviving the Worship of the Moon Goddess: The Teochew people in the Kluang district of Johor in Malaysia have revived the worship of Chang’e (aka Chang-er, Ch’ang-O, or Chang-Ngo) the moon goddess during their mid-autumn festival.
“Since the Teochew people believe that men should not worship the moon, the ceremony was held exclusively for females and children, with the ritual conducted by the women’s wing of the Teochew Clanhouse … Organising chairman Huang Chun Long said they were doing their best to promote the worshipping of the Goddess of Moon and celebrating the mid-autumn festival in a bid to remind the public of the traditional Chinese customs, especially among young people.”
According to a government official, this is the first time such an event was held in Kluang. One wonders what the social and cultural ramification are of reviving the worship of Chang’e?
Salem Would Be OK Electing a Witch: Who cares about politicians dabbling in Witchcraft? Not the “witch city” of Salem. The Salem Gazette is running a poll in the wake of Christine O’Donnell’s “dabble-gate” and the results are heartening for any would-be Pagan politician in the area.
“For some people, the news raised questions about whether O’Donnell is fit for duty as a senator, especially a conservative one. But for other people, there’s a broader issue: the effect of O’Donnell’s comments on witches and Wiccans.”
So it seems that where Pagans are out, active, and an economic force, they can be a viable political candidate as well. While other Pagan communities don’t have to be as flamboyant as Salem, we could all certainly look at all the things they have done right in forging an identity and community there. I would be fascinated to see the results for such a poll in Paganistan or the Bay Area, I have a feeling they would be similar.
That’s all I have for now, have a great day!