Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  May 3, 2011 — 33 Comments

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

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


  • http://vermillionrush.wordpress.com Vermillion

    Re: Mysteries of the Unknown series.

    There are four things that steered me toward becoming a Pagan when I was a kid. This series was one of them! But io9 are kind of right, it IS pornoish hehe.

  • John Beckett

    I haven’t seen much handwringing over bin Laden’s death. I’ve seen – and engaged in – a lot of handwringing over the _celebration_ of his death.

    What do we have to celebrate? 9/11 hasn’t been undone. The wars aren’t over. There are still lots of terrorists out there who want to kill us.

    The people celebrating in the streets weren’t celebrating victory. Nor were they celebrating justice. They were celebrating vengeance.

    Vengeance is a dangerous, addictive brew. In precisely the right measure, it can remove current dangers, deter future threats, and give victims a sense of righteous satisfaction even when restoration is impossible. But if the measure is off ever so slightly, it can start or perpetuate a bloodthirsty feud lasting years, generations, or even centuries.

    We did what was necessary. I’m glad bin Laden is gone.

    But I won’t celebrate his death.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Carron/100001353268347 David Carron

      Celebrate? Not exactly.

      But as Twain said, "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."

      Although, in truth, I really wish we took him alive for interrogation.

  • vibe

    We should not be dancing on the graves our enemies.

    I do not dispute this was unfortunately necessary but I strongly disagree with celebration.

    The worst part of all is this will change nothing.

    • kenneth

      It won't begin to solve the problem of terrorism, which we compound by our own actions and policies. It will, however, lead to some positive outcomes. One, it demystifies Bin Laden's mystique in extremist circles. It shows he is a man, like any other, and that there is no safe place anywhere on the planet for them.

      Second, and more important, I think it will give future extremist leaders pause. Men like Bin Laden and many other top echelon leaders come from the social and economic elite. These were educated, well to do men from the professional class. Angry tribesmen willing to kill westerners are a dime a dozen, but guys like Bin Laden are rare, and they are absolutely necessary for the creation of terrorists organizations with the capability to project force across the globe. You can't carry out big bombings all over the world without lots and lots of money, technical expertise, fairly sophisticated counterintelligence techniques and well crafted ideological campaigns.

      The achilles heel of all this is that the guys at the top like Bin Laden are basically like chickenhawk politicians everywhere. They talk a big game about dying for the cause, but they have NO interest in doing so themselves. If martyrdom really was all that glorious, Bin Laden had plenty of opportunities to die on his feet, even take a few with him. It's very telling that he died in a suburban mansion, not a cave. His death sends a message to would-be leaders that martyrdom isn't something you just get to send 18-year-olds to do. If you take up the cause, you WILL die for it, and unlike the young kids you send as suicide bombers, your end will not come at a time and manner of your choosing. It won't deter the true believers of course, but it might give pause to the politicians who want to be tough guys from a remote air conditioned situation room…..

  • Morwyn

    I will celebrate when there is PEACE through-out the world. I see dark times ahead.

  • Jennifer Parsons

    The more I read the Wild Hunt, the more I find Pagan blogs that I like to read– Sannion at The House of Leaves, P. Sufenas Virius Lupus's works, and now Lupa at Therioshamanism. Jason, you're filling up my Reader feed!

    I strongly recommend the discussion over at Therioshamanism; it's getting really good just now.

  • Crystal7431

    "In fact, the desire to hammer down the meanings of words, to draw sharp lines around concepts and say for sure who belongs in the club and who doesn’t, is antithetical to the Pagan aesthetic. The very idea that a “religion” is defined by what you believe is a concept borrowed from Christianity. Leave the hard-and-fast black-and-white definitions to the dogmatic monotheists and church authorities. The tangled, organic nature of the meaning of Pagan reflects our worldview better than any other word could." Couldn't have said it better myself.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Evidently Zakaria is unaware that Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Al Qaeda in the Maghreb are fully operative franchises.

  • embreis

    I don't know that I've seen that much hand-wringing over the fact of Bin Laden's death; I've seen a lot of people expressing disgust at the display of pep rally triumphalism and jingoistic blather with which the news of his death was greeted in some quarters. Cheering the death of crazy old man, no matter how much evil he has done, is unseemly and stupid. No one knows what effect this will have on the future of Islamic Jihadist terrorism but there will be terrorism enough to go around. I'm pretty sure Bin Laden's death will not have any influence on the kind of terrorists who assassinate gynecologists and blow federal day care centers.

  • fyreflye

    As for bin Laden's ultimate legacy, I can't help but agree with Rodney Balko:

    "In The Looming Tower, the Pulitzer-winning history of al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11, author Lawrence Wright lays out how Osama bin Laden’s motivation for the attacks that he planned in the 1990s, and then the September 11 attacks, was to draw the U.S. and the West into a prolonged war—an actual war in Afghanistan, and a broader global war with Islam.
    Osama got both. And we gave him a prolonged war in Iraq to boot. By the end of Obama’s first term, we’ll probably top 6,000 dead U.S. troops in those two wars, along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans. The cost for both wars is also now well over $1 trillion.
    We have also fundamentally altered who we are. A partial, off-the-top-of-my-head list of how we’ve changed since September 11 . . .

    * We’ve sent terrorist suspects to “black sites” to be detained without trial and tortured.
    * We’ve turned terrorist suspects over to other regimes, knowing that they’d be tortured.
    * In those cases when our government later learned it got the wrong guy, federal officials not only refused to apologize or compensate him, they went to court to argue he should be barred from using our courts to seek justice, and that the details of his abduction, torture, and detainment should be kept secret.
    * We’ve abducted and imprisoned dozens, perhaps hundreds of men in Guantanamo who turned out to have been innocent. Again, the government felt no obligation to do right by them.
    * The government launched a multimillion dollar ad campaign implying that people who smoke marijuana are complicit in the murder of nearly 3,000 of their fellow citizens.
    * The government illegally spied and eavesdropped on thousands of American citizens.
    * Presidents from both of the two major political parties have claimed the power to detain suspected terrorists and hold them indefinitely without trial, based solely on the president’s designation of them as an “enemy combatant,” essentially making the president prosecutor, judge, and jury. (I’d also argue that the treatment of someone like Bradley Manning wouldn’t have been tolerated before September 11.)
    * The current president has also claimed the power to execute U.S. citizens, off the battlefield, without a trial, and to prevent anyone from knowing about it after the fact.
    * The Congress approved, the president signed, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a broadly written law making it a crime to advocate for any organization the government deems sympathetic to terrorism. This includes challenging the “terrorist” designation in the first place.
    * Flying in America now means enduring a humiliating and hassling ritual that does little if anything to actually make flying any safer. Every time the government fails to catch an attempt at terrorism, it punishes the public for its failure by adding to the ritual.
    * American Muslims, a heartening story of success and assimilation, are now harassed and denigrated for merely trying to build houses of worship.
    * Without a warrant, the government can search and seize indefinitely the laptops and other personal electronic devices of anyone entering the country.
    * The Department of Homeland Security now gives terrorism-fighting grants for local police departments across the country to purchase military equipment, such as armored personnel carriers, which is then used against U.S. citizens, mostly to serve drug warrants."

    More: http://www.theagitator.com/2011/05/02/he-won/

  • fyreflye

    That's *Radley* Balko. This site needs an Edit function.

  • Pitch313

    I'm OK with the term "Pagan" including plenty of diverse trads and spiritualities. But if somebody wants to use a different term, that's OK, too. I think that there are enough commonalities, but there are also differences. I generally go in the "everybody's welcome" approach, myself.

    At a fairly early age, I figured out that terrorism was not a path for me. But it does work, operationally speaking. It's scary, attention-getting, lethal, and changes policy and social arrangements. I heard somebody on cable news describe Al Qaeda as a franchise a couple days ago. Bin Laden may be gone, but other folks are still running their franchises. Less change, maybe, than many hoped for.

  • Lori F – MN

    Bin Laden is dead. Had this happened in the first days of the war it Might have made a difference. This wasmearly a tiny amount of retrobution for 9/11. It will not stop the war. What might stop the war is for all troups to come home. After all, if there is no one for the jihadists to fight, they will end up fighting amongst themselves, with any luck.
    America is Not better off since 9/11. The TSA is proof of that. That's an awful lot of money spent to accomplish nothing. Foreign countries laugh at their efforts. How many flyers actually feel safer with x ray scans and groapings?

    • Morwyn

      Well said, Lori. I agree with what you have said here.

  • Mike the Heathen

    I've been amazed by the conflicted, hand-wringing of so many people over Bin Laden's death. Spouting platitudes about cycles of violence and how we've only created a martyr rather than looking at history which demonstrates that most movements collapse without their charismatic leader. Bin Laden's demise signals that Al Qaeda is probably finished and that is indeed cause for celebration. Anyway, I am tired of the Christian "love thy enemies" rhetoric and hoping for some refreshing pagan sentiment. Anyone here have some to share?

  • http://www.facebook.com/EdAHubbard Ed Hubbard

    Anyone who thinks Al Qaeda is finished because Osama's death is mistaken, it has splintered into a series of smaller groups, just like gangs did in USA, and Cartels in South America. The fact is reveling in the death of another is a human trait, barbaric, savage and deep. That is why we release it whenever we can. Christians, Pagans, and all USA citizens can revel in the savagery of violence. This was not revenge, nor justice, but simply pageantry, with all those fancy words given to make it okay. This was simply the inner heart of humanity released across the media world.

    The battle for the word and label "Pagan" is deepening. I saw first hand the desire to change the meaning, from the Parliament of the World's Religions to the street levels across the USA. I don't think the word can hold, and maybe it will for some, but for many it will got he way of Hippy and Bohemian, a descriptive of a ideological time, where we thought we could be more. We will choose new labels, and that is already begun happening.

  • http://kallisti.writingkaye.com Kayleigh

    Back in 2004, I took a Russian history course. We discussed at length some of the Cossack and associated rebellions. The problem there is that, when the Russian state killed the leaders, someone would just pretend to be one of the dead leaders a few years later and raise a new army.

    Similarly, bin Laden's death doesn't really solve the problem of terrorism. This isn't a charismatic religious movement; this is a terrorist organization. Bin Laden may have been the charismatic "face," but the decentralized nature of terrorist organizations means that destroying any one node does not necessarily cripple the rest. We have likely just bought ourselves some time before the next terrorist with +20 charisma rises to promenance in some organization or other … and it's our responsibility to make ourselves look good in the meantime. His death just gives everyone a false sense of security.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Carron/100001353268347 David Carron

    "Anyone here have some to share? "

    I am Asatru, I say you attack my village or family then you go down. Anyone who stands with you, goes down. You wish to attack "America" you can use whatever words you wish. Go nuts. But when people are physically hurt, injured or killed, then the gloves come off. Would Thor or Odin stand by passively awaiting a shoe to drop? And to be clear, this is not a religious war; this is a doctrinal war. You can believe what you wish, up to the point that you seek my physical destruction or those that I care about. Respect is a two-way street. I am hospitable and caring of those around me and my community. But when folks attack us, they forgo the civilities and are our enemies. What else could or should we do?

  • Pagan Puff Pieces

    I don't know if it's that. I was kind of hoping for an interrogation, at least, before his execution. I doubt he had Hannibal Lecter-type escape skills.

    Personally, I kind of feel…

    Did you ever watch Sesame Street? There was an animation about a cat whose mistress got too distracted by a phone call to feed her. She goes nuts on the can in the meantime. Finally the human opens the can and dumps the glop into the bowl. The weary cat looks at it for a moment and then passes out face first in it.

    That's kind of how I feel. Not hand wringing. Relief and closure, but with a touch of emptiness.

  • kenneth

    So here's my take, which is essentially what I posted over on Gus di Zirega's blog:

    As a pagan, my faith in no way demands that I love my enemy nor that forgiveness is something I am duty-bound to extend to everyone. Vengeance is a perfectly legitimate instinct as far as I’m concerned. Now, it’s also one that ought not be indulged too casually for our own sake and that of others.

    I acknowledge that Bin Laden was, as are all of us, a creation of Goddess and no more inherently corrupt or evil than anyone else. However, he made a repeated and very conscious choice to conduct himself in so vicious a way that he posed an existential threat to the web of life itself. I believe our right to live and have our lives safeguarded in the framework of civil society is linked to our willingness to honor it’s most basic precepts.

    The social compact only works if all of us agree not to live like we’re all still in Hobb’s “state of nature.” If you want the right to live as a cell among the body of civilization, you have to act like a cell and not a tumor or pathogen. Once you cross that line, I believe, you forfeit any consideration and any obligations society once owed you. That is why I have no philosophical problem with the death penalty. I oppose it only because our track record in administering it is horribly slipshod.

    I agree that our “war on terror” is counterproductive in that killing terrorists does little good if your policies inspire five more to replace them. Nevertheless, men like Bin Laden have no right to live out their lives or to ever know a sound night’s sleep.

    I also think Bin Laden's death is not something which we ought to "celebrate" as so many are: by whooping it up in the streets or tavern like it was a football match. Not because I'm "conflicted" about what he had coming but because celebrating a killing is the mark of a thug and common killer vs a warrior. It is unprofessional and unbecoming.

    Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/apagansblog/2011/05/def

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

    "I am tired of the Christian 'love thy enemies' rhetoric and hoping for some refreshing pagan sentiment. Anyone here have some to share?"

    Gods bless the Navy Seals!

    Sheesh. I expected this namby-pamby hand-wringing from the Buddhists, but not so much from Pagans. Now there seems to be some kind of competition over who can be more earnest and smug in their invocations of Martin Luther King. meh.

  • harmonyfb

    I take a page from Sun Tzu: Celebrate your victories only with funeral rites.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    I don't know of anyone who's suggested that al Q is finished because of Osama bin Laden's death. I'm a classic news junkie and everywhere I look I see warnings that al Q may go into eclipse for a while but will probably still be a force — possibly a diminished one — for the foreseeable future.

    What killing bin Laden does accomplish is to take down the mythology associated with him, and I'm surprised that Pagans of all people don't recognize how important that is. Just recall how the American Civil Rights movement stumbled after the assassination of Martin Luther King, or how American liberalism lost its way after the assassination of Robert Kennedy.

    Reports from North Africa and the Middle East, where the Arab Spring uprisings are mostly led by people under thirty, suggest that bin Laden is yesterday's news anyway. These young adults don't want mass murder or a Caliphate replacing Westernized governments. They want the freedoms they read about on Twitter and see on YouTube.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Citing Dr King as an example of a charismatic leader whose death hobbled his movement is not the same as invoking his ideas.

  • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com kauko

    I was amused to read earlier that the quote, supposedly by King, that's gone viral these last few days, which everyone is using to justify their opinion on the various reactions to Bin Laden's death was, in fact, never actually said by Martin Luther King (at least not in the form it has been showing up all over the internet).

  • Mike the Heathen

    Hail Thor! Couldn't agree with you more.

  • paosirdjhutmosu

    This Kemetic agrees. Set doesn't wait for Apep to impale his head on a rock or something. He gets on the prow of the Sun-barque and spears that mother's head! That said, I can understand the good intentions of those who may not agree.

  • Don

    What if you're Irish?

  • whateley23

    When Cormac was asked what is best for a king, he replied (among other things), "Military action for a just cause, justice without bloodshed, leniency within the integrity of the law".

  • Don

    What I meant is that Irish funerals rites are not exactly the solemn observances harmonyfb would find appropriate on this occassion.

  • whateley23

    Sure, but since she was quoting a Chinese writer, that would follow. I just ran with it, and quoted an Irish text in regard to these events. You'll note the slightly different focus there, what with all the "just cause" and no mention of either celebration or solemnity.