Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  February 5, 2011 — 21 Comments

This week has been a rare instance of where I’m spoiled for choice as to what I’ll write about. As the week ends, I find that there are lots of stories, editorials, and essays that I’ve neglected. So to play catch-up, I’m instituting The Wild Hunt’s first-ever semi-regular (as-needed) links roundup: Unleash the Hounds!

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    I don't know why I'm flabbergasted at Fr Euteneur. Clergy sexual abuse is not new news in that church.

  • Bookhousegal

    Well, be fair to yourself. This is some pretty epic fabberghastification we're dealing with here. A veritable Flabbergastiad. Can't really take it all in in just one sitting. :)

    I think it's more the persistent brazen denial among the Church and Catholic community, and how both seem to go on the attack when the abusers are caught out. That's a whole ghast of flabber right there. Flabbers my gast every time. :)

  • Khryseis_Astra

    "Catholic anti-Pagan tract “Wicca and Witchcraft: Understanding the Dangers”
    Great, at least now if my one set of grandparents starts looking at me funny, I'll know why… Not that I'm either Wiccan or a Witch, or that there's anything "dangerous" about either, but I doubt the tract makes much of a distinction between the various groups who may share the use of pentacle as a religious symbol.

    "Catholic exorcist booster, and anti-Pagan paranoiac, Father Thomas Euteneuer is embroiled in a scandal over having sexual relations (or as he put it, a “moral failing”) with a female client he was allegedly performing an exorcism on."
    Why am I not surprised?

    "Is Astrology keeping us down?"

    Yet another article criticizing astrology written by people who clearly didn't bother to learn anything about the subject in order to make an *educated* critique (as most are, I find). The overwhelming majority of modern astrologers have long ago ditched the fatalistic view that the stars "make" anything happen. Rather many of us see astrology as acting through an archetypal synchronicity, wherein the movements of the celestial bodies merely reflect what is already occurring, much like a clock reflects lunchtime for people of a certain schedule.

    And no, no one who knows what they're doing uses Ophiuchus as a sign in astrology, not even the Sidereal astrologers, as this article erroneously reports. Astrologers (of both Tropical and Sidereal Zodiacs) use zoidia or zodiac signs, which are *not* the same thing as the constellations that share their names. Sidereals use constellations as a reference point, but are still using zoidia: 12 equal-length segments of space encircling the Earth.

  • http://northerntribes.wordpress.com/ Lain

    How did my Google Reader miss most of this? Do you mind if I use a couple of these leads for my blog, Jason? With credit to your site, of course.
    Great idea, you should make this a regular feature.

  • Cathryn Bauer

    Yes, I really appreciate seeing this, though it will probably take me the whole week to get through those links!

  • Jason Pitzl-Waters

    Feel free. As for why you might have missed some of these? I subscribe to a LOT of religious news sites, and quite a few Google News key-word searches. In addition, I have a steady stream of tips from readers. So it keeps me rather flush in news.

  • Verac1ty

    In the midst of all this, I accidentally came across a more positive article regarding religious views. When I clicked on the first link here about the HAF article, another article was listed at the top of the page: The Rabbi Who Believes in Zeus. Now, come on, who could resist that? It was a quite insightful essay about religions in general and presented the rarely stated view that there are many people out there who are not extremists and who aren't absolutely certain that their way is the absolute right way – and that's okay. To say, this is my path, but I don't pretend to have all the answers, and the not-knowing doesn't make the path wrong.. How refreshing to find a mainstream religious writer who is willing to say, in essence, that all gods are one god, that we are all seeking enlightenment in our own way, and that's fine, even if every single one of us is on a different path. That it's when we try to force our path on others that we show we have not reached the divine yet, we still have more maturing to do.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-alan-lurie/wh

  • Riverbend

    All of which continues to conspire to keep me from getting any damn papers graded tonight, thankyouverymuch…;)

  • Riverbend

    Er…ok, wait, if the "celestial bodies reflect what is already occurring," does that mean that if a whole bunch of us start doing things differently, we can affect how said bodies move….? Sorry to throw another educated critique at you, but…sheesh, sorry, I just can't swallow this.

  • Crystal7431

    You mean those critics who think because they read the daily horoscopes in the NYT that makes them astrology experts? Yeah, they get on my last nerve, too.

  • Sara

    You can change what time "lunch" is, but you can't change where the sun is in the sky, no. All that would happen is that the meanings of the symbols would change to reflect the new cultural reality. Which is a lot harder to do than it sounds like, actually.

  • Bookhousegal

    Do clocks run slow if everyone's late? :)

    You're just reversing the false assumption that astrology posits there's some causative force between the positions of the stars and planets and human behavior. (A lot of debunkery is premised on this projection of a need for that to be the case.)

    Where people need to be 'educated' before they think they know enough to mock, is about the actual practices they purport to be debunking.

  • Crystal7431

    It's nice to know he's not a fundamentalist thinker, and of course being a Rabbi he doesn't proselytize. However, I found it to be rather condescending as he speaks about the "great thinkers" of past religions, making the assumption that these great thinkers of course believed that Zeus was merely an aspect of the divine, a mode of thinking many liberal monotheists use to make them more comfortable in their role of attempting open-mindedness as far as others' beliefs go. If you believe all gods are one that's fine, but don't go applying your views to all people at all times. Many people today and in the past don't/didn't believe all gods are one, and it's a little irritating when someone like this Rabbi gives the "great thinkers ultimately believed in one deity" speal (even though he may phrase it a little nicer it amounts to the same thing). So, no I didn't find it very refreshing, just more of the same condescension and patronization I come to expect from a lot of monos.

  • Crystal7431

    "There are those who, for a variety of reasons, will concretize these visions and insist that these images are literally true, but the initial vision that brought these visions to us, whether Zeus, a man/elephant, or a pair of snakes, are not descriptions of actual people of [sic] objects, but are mystical poetry that contain a truth." This is a primary example of his inability to look outside his own religious lens. I believe in my Gods and I hate it when monos insist that polytheists are deluded and that They (the Gods) are only visions, figments of inspired imagination, what have you.

  • http://quakerpagan.blogspot.com/ Cat_C_B

    Whoooah Kay.

    Last time I read this blog right before lunch! Lot of queasy-making news this week, apparently.

    Ick. (Times many.)

  • Nick_Ritter

    As a "hard polytheist", I certainly agree with your sentiment regarding the good Rabbi's point of view as, ultimately, a condescending one.

    On the other hand, though, I think there's a lot to be said for the idea that how we perceive our gods, how they are represented in the myths and iconography, is symbolic, is "mystical poetry that contain[s] a truth." I certainly believe that the gods are real, but I also think that myths and iconographic representations of gods are symbolic, metaphorical, poetic and inspired.

    For instance, I don't think that Thuner's (Thor's) red hair and beard are merely brute facts, that he just wound up with the divine equivalent of ginger genes. No, this facet of his appearance in myth and iconography, along with all the rest of his appearance, character, actions in myth, etc. have meaning. The meaning may be obscure, but it's still there. This is why iconography is important as a set of visual symbols.

    Looked at from another point of view, as a student of Indo-European comparative mythology, it seems to me that, for instance, Thuner, Perkunas/Perkons, Perun, Sucellos/Taranis, Mars and Indra are in some sense the same god (I could make other such comparisons with other gods, such as Wodan, Velinas, Lugos/Lugh, Jupiter and Varuna; or Tiw, Nodens/Nuadha, Dius Fidius and Mitra). For someone like me, this is the value of studying comparative mythology: I can gain insight into the gods and myths of my own religion by studying the gods and myths of related religions (I also enjoy studying the gods and myths of unrelated religions, for the contrastive insights I gain thereby).

    However, concerning these gods it could be argued that their iconographies vary widely, and their myths, even though they share a common core, vary in details. How, then, can they be the same?

    The answer, I think, is that the same underlying truth (a god) is expressed differently as different cultures diverge, and each culture's divinely inspired iconography and myth develops along its own lines.

    The gods, then, are real, and not "only visions, figments of inspired imagination, what have you." How we know about the gods is certainly a matter of dreams, visions, inspiration, and ecstatic poetry, and that is no small thing.

  • Crystal7431

    I understand and agree somewhat with your point. However, I really don't think you and the Rabbi are saying the same thing. You'll note his referral to "barbaric' practices in his column, and I doubt you'd make such wide sweeping assumptions about other's beliefs based on your own religious views and practices. There are also hints of his feelings on his own spiritual superiority dropped here and there within the body of his essay that you don't have in your comments. Maybe he doesn't mean to come off this way, in which case his word choice is very poor.

  • Crystal7431

    "On the other hand, though, I think there's a lot to be said for the idea that how we perceive our gods, how they are represented in the myths and iconography, is symbolic, is "mystical poetry that contain[s] a truth." I certainly believe that the gods are real, but I also think that myths and iconographic representations of gods are symbolic, metaphorical, poetic and inspired." And, yes, I agree with this.

  • Nick_Ritter

    "However, I really don't think you and the Rabbi are saying the same thing."

    No, probably not.

    "You'll note his referral to "barbaric' practices in his column, and I doubt you'd make such wide sweeping assumptions about other's beliefs based on your own religious views and practices."

    Certainly not. In fact, one of my favorite authors in comparative religion, Mircea Eliade (whose works I would strongly recommend to all pagans of any stripe), has such high esteem from me precisely because he treats the practices of different religions so sympathetically, to the extent of going to show that even such practices as human sacrifice and cannibalism in New Guinea are religious acts performed with the utmost piety. So, no, I tend not to deride others' religious practices as "barbaric," with the exception of those religions that demand the destruction of all others.

    "There are also hints of his feelings on his own spiritual superiority dropped here and there within the body of his essay that you don't have in your comments. Maybe he doesn't mean to come off this way, in which case his word choice is very poor."

    My impression of most messages of inter-faith tolerance from people in Abrahamic religion is one of veiled condescension. Their holy books were written largely by angry prophets railing against "foreign" or "false" gods and "idols," and think that tends to rub off, even on the most "tolerant".

    Really, I agree with your original comment; I just thought it would be a good place to start a discussion on literalism and non-literalism in the understanding of myth.

  • Khryseis_Astra

    Thank you. :) I was wondering if my analogy was somehow unclear.

    At any rate, Riverbend, synchronicity is defined as an *acausal* connecting principle in the Jungian sense, thus no cause/effect relationship in either direction, just a meaningful, symbolic coincidence. :)

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