Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  June 8, 2011 — 44 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

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  • Jonathan

    Ayn Rand!!!! I've been saying it for years!!!! Someone finally caught on!!!

  • Teh Grey Badger

    Yeah. Ayn Rand for bored suburbanites. In fact, I read one of his books a long time ago. It had a couple of good ideas, but the sensibilities of a carny teaching people how to scam the rubes.

    • Bookhousegal

      Ayn Rand was *always* for bored suburbanites. If she had anything useful to say to someone she extols, , they'd neither be bored, nor suburbanite….

      • Bookhousegal

        I'll punctuate that by saying Ayn Rand clearly *hated* being a woman, in ways rewarded by certain establishments in the conspicuous persons of Bachmanns and Palins and Coulters: Crazy in ways I find *very* uninspiring.

        Tsk.

        Suburbanites lap it up, though.

        • chuck_cosimano

          Well, that while she was a dreadful writer and a lot of the logic had holes you can drive a truck through, she had the misfortune to be right far more often than she was wrong. Of course the same could also be said of Anton LaVey.

          • http://castwidethecircle.blogspot.com/ grimmorrigan

            Misanthropes always look right when they criticize large cultural trends with vague statements. All I got from Rand was that she was mad at the world for not recognizing her "genius" . You can get the same feeling from hanging around the student center at many liberal art colleges.

            No one has linked this yet?… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_j56IiLqZ9U

          • Pagan Puff Pieces

            You know… I think that explains a lot about the dreary, dogmatic phase teenagers can go through.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Jason, thanks for the heads-up on the Marilyn Sewell film.

  • thorncoyle

    I made the Rand/Lavey connection upon perusal of the Satanic Bible oh so many years ago. It is clear to me that he was influenced by her "philosophy" such as it was.

    • http://badocelot.com badocelot

      I was under the impression that LaVey was quite explicit about Rand's influence, so I don't really understand why this is surprising anyone.

      • Bogomil

        Yeah, next thing you know, someone will "discover" that the section of the Satanic Bible entitled "The Book of Satan" is copied directly out of Ragnar Redbeard's "Might Is Right."

        I don't know how open Lavey was about it, but Rand's influence certainly has been a well known fact for a long time. According to one source (Lords of the Left Hand Path by Stephen Flowers), Rand's books were recommended by the Church of Satan in the early '70's, but later she was downplayed. Then, in the '80's a Setian named G. Smith claimed that Lavey's Nine Satanic Statements were based on a speech by John Galt in Atlas Shrugged. Elsewhere, I found an article from 1972 where Karla LaVey (Anton's daughter) says that Satanism could be referred to as "Ayn Rand with ritual." So this connection is hardly some kind of new discovery.

        • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com/ NorseAlchemist

          Well, both are basically forms of Humanism, if I remember correctly.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Objectivism is a Humanism because it constructs a worldview without God(s). Satanism is not, because it has a God (Satan).

          • http://xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

            Actually, LeVeyan (LeVeyesque?) Satanism explicitly rejects gods of whatever flavour, and they see Satan as an archetype to be emulated, not an actual being.

            Or at least, thats what I got from the last time I did any research into it – basically it boils down into narcissistic ego-worship (which in many ways is indistinguishable from both objectivism and evangelical Christianity as practiced in the US).

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Well, if Satan is only a metaphor then Satanism could be regarded as a post-modern Humanism, though old-line Humanists hate that sort of metaphor.

          • Don

            Since when is humanism atheistic?

          • http://xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

            well, according to Mirriam Webster, humanism is "a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; especially : a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual's dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason."

            Wikipedia has "A secular ideology which espouses reason, ethics, and justice, whilst specifically rejecting supernatural and religious dogma as a basis of morality and decision-making."

            According to both ihumanism.org and humanists.org, the first point of a ten point list is, "Humanism believes in a naturalistic metaphysics or attitude toward the universe that considers all forms of the supernatural as myth, and that regards Nature as the totality of being and as a constantly changing system of matter and energy which exists independently of any mind or consciousness."

            Since those definitions all reject the supernatural, they are either atheistic or (skeptically) agnostic. QED.

          • Don

            Humanism, as a historical phenomenon, has not been atheistic. Humanism that excludes the religious dimension of human existence is an unfortunate modern development. As pagans–and humanism is pagan–we should resist any sort definition of humanism as atheistic.

          • http://xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

            You are aware that there is a difference between religious humanism and secular humanism, yes?

            And, once again borrowing from Wikipedia, "As an ethical process, Humanism does not consider metaphysical issues such as the existence or nonexistence of supernatural beings."

          • Don

            I am aware of the difference and I indicated that when I said that secular humanism is an unfortunate modern development. Also, you are selectively quoting Wikipedia, which provides non-secular definitions of humanism as well.

          • http://xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

            Don writes:
            secular humanism is an unfortunate modern development

            According to you. YMMV, as with all religious matters.

            And as to selectively quoting, natch – I can't fit the whole bloody article in here can I?

            Additionally, you've yet to rebut my argument, cf. Webster and the rest. (I'll admit, I don't have my Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy at hand, being as I am at work).

          • Don

            History should be sufficient. Humanism from classical antiquity to the early modern era was not atheistic and didn't become associated with secularism and secular values until after the Enlightenment.

    • Pitch313

      Lavey's Church of Satan emerged on the San Francisco scene just about the same time as topless dancers. And he offered topless altar girls. I suspect that it was scandalous flamboyance more than Objectivism that garnered media attention. The Church of Satan was presented to scene watchers as more randy than Randian.

  • Faemiller

    Oh Lord and Lady, that nut-job with the billboard calls himself Pagan? I feel sick. What can we do to effectively distance him from us, because this stunt has 'national media blitz' written all over it?

    My prayers and energy go out to the (very) young woman he dated/abused. I hope she gets far, far away from this lunatic and heals from the damage he's done to her.

    I know that good people can differ in opinion on the subject of abortion, and that there are inequities in how family law treats men and women. However, can we all just agree that until men can develop working uteruses the act of pregnancy is one in which the woman is going to have the final say, even if that offends a 50/50 idea of 'fair'!? Sometimes nature isn't fair. Paganism should help one accept that, not whine about it like an adolescent.

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

    Let's not give Ayn Rand too much credit here. That is, let us not credit her with espousing a coherent "philosophy" or anything like that. America is the land of the pseudo-intellectual, and these creatures always want to style themselves as philosophers with their own very unique philosophical system. In Rand's case her system is so-called "Objectivism". But how many people actually claim to be Objectivists? Obviously there are some fools who do, but most of the people who are "fans" of Ayn Rand take little or no interest in seriously "studying" her "philosophy".

    Rand's popularity has more to do with her sophomorically expressed (and I say that with apologies to sophomores everywhere) espousal of three ideas that are very popular, and worthy, in and of themselves: (1) hatred of Christianity, (2) individualism, and (3) anti-modernism. But her hatred of Christianity was based on her general misanthropy rather than on any genuinely humanist or "anti-clerical" leanings; her individualism was really just anti-social pathology; and her anti-modernism was just insipid nostalgia for a past that never existed.

    • Matt

      How would you define "anti-modernism"?

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

        Personally I define "anti-modernism" as the ability to see through the Myth of Progress.

        Obviously, "anti-modernism" depends on and presumes some accepted negative view of "modernism".

  • Traci Loagn Wood

    Jason are you taking a "shot" at Pagans Tonight? I am asking cuz it sure feels that way..

    • Jason Pitzl-Waters

      Not at all. I have no beef with "Pagans Tonight". Sorry if you felt I was taking aim at you. The link was more pointing to the fact that one could guess who the elders and teachers might be due to the participants being on your show.

    • Leea

      Tracy, there has been a whole lot of self-promotion by certain Salem witches (or warlocks, or whatever..), which is what I'm thinking Jason was refering. There are some Elders in our various communities, including the Wiccan, who don't necessarily live in Salem, but who have worked VERY hard for Pagan's of all varieties…they are well respected-and I really, really hope that you are going to use some of them..and NOT the "look at Me" variety, who tend to make the rest of us look…silly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Camille-Klein/100001266797497 Camille Klein

    I think he's just butthurt that he won't have yet another child to brag about refusing to pay child support for.

    He's a nidhling, and he will get his one day–hopefully sooner rather than later.

    • Nicole Youngman

      Nidhling….? That's one heathen (I think?) term I don't know, can you help me out? Sounds useful. :)

      • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com/ NorseAlchemist

        it roughly means a "nothing" or a "no one" Nicole. It's one of the stronger curses that can be thrown out there by heathens. Sadly, I've seen it tossed around too freely sometimes, generally by people who are wanting to discredit a person whose politics they don't like, at least that's how I've seen it used most these days. I don't know if it's warranted in this case, but if I understand it correctly, it means the person is stripped of humanity, of kinship and tribal ties, cast out, and viewed as worse than the Jotun, a foul creature on the order of Grendel or the like. Like I said, it's a bad curse.

        • Nicole Youngman

          Just saw your reply–thanks NA!

      • elnigma

        Here I thought it came from Garth Nix's days of the week books.

  • Henry Buchy

    hmmm 'reality series', begins filming in august, to be released in fall," will document the everyday lives of the five young wiccans as they navigate one of the city's busiest seasons, Halloween."??
    Isn't that october 31st?
    "The show focuses very heavily on people who made the very private choice to follow an eons old religion,"
    ???
    This ought to be pretty funny.

  • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com/ NorseAlchemist

    Could someone please explain why all the hate for Ayn Rand? I'll admit her book atlas shrugged was a door stopper, but it's not like she didn't have some interesting and potentially valid ideas. I'm not sure if I agree with them, being both an Asatruar and something of a studier of Nietzsche (who was quite different from her) but I fail to see why her ideas and stuff are so worthy of the hate.

  • Pagan Puff Pieces

    "Real satanism has been around since the beginning of history, selling an appealing message: Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God."

    That's… a pretty universal claim, isn't it?

    • Crystal7431

      Even Christianity encourages its followers to become Christ-like, maybe for different reasons, but it boils down the same.

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

        There are severe limitations on the concept of "becoming Christ-like" in orthodox Christianity. This is one of the reasons for the formula "ONLY begotten Son" in the Gospel of John, which (according to one interpretation, of which Elaine Pagels is a prominent proponent) was directly aimed at Thomas-Christians and other troublemakers who were promoting ideas to the effect that we are all, potentially, Sons and Daughters of God equally with Jesus.

        Unlike orthodox Christian thought (but possibly like Thomasists and/or Gnostic thought), the Hellenic Pagan concept of "becoming God-like" places no upper limit on just how "godlike" we can become.

        It is also true that modern Satanism emphasizes the "no holds barred" approach to becoming like the Gods, although I don't really know what justification there might be for positing, as the quote cited by Pagan Puff Pieces does, that such an idea has been promoted by people who can be considered "Real Satanists" prior to the modern era.

        • Crystal7431

          Yes, but my point is- and I was thinking about this earlier when reading another article- that once you look at the bible's commandments (not The Commandments, but the more recommended suggestion commandments) the ascerbic arguments Christians make, are not that contrary to their own beliefs. Yes, there are fine details that underscore the differences but these are always overlooked or just ignored in the broad sweep of Christian fundamentalism, and they choose to make their arguments and accusations in such ways that make them look extremely ignorant and hypocritical. As above, for example, in the First Things article, if the author had not used the phrase "you will be like God," and instead used something to the effect of, "you will become God," then the author might have had an argument. But personally I don't see a lot of difference semantically in becoming like God and becoming Christ-like. Both mean that you will take on certain characteristics of a deity, like I said for different purposes ultimately, but still…

        • Pagan Puff Pieces

          I guess it also relies a lot on what means by "Like God."

          I mean, if being "like God" means becoming a selfish, disconnected manipulator whose strength is a lack of empathy, that's pretty different from other people's goals of becoming godlike.

          Hm, but I think a lot of people only ever think or care about these things in terms of power and authority to kill. It's a shame.