Unleash the (Holiday) Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  December 24, 2011 — 11 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. This week, I unleash the special yuletide holiday hounds (they’re like the regular hounds, but with festive accessories) and bring you a collection of links that leans towards matters seasonal.

That’s all I have for now, I hope all my readers have had/will have a festive holiday season, whatever your faith or tradition.

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Mia

    I would love some scholarly sources regarding the “long history of shamanic use from Western Europe to Sibera” of the mushroom and it’s relation to Santa. The author’s article doesn’t list anything, unless I just didn’t see it.

    • Nick Ritter

      This may be one of those “truthy” memes: it *sounds* true, so people treat it like truth. That said, I do think that there may be a connection between Santa and shamanism, by way of St. Nicholas being a Catholic folkloric adaptation of the god Woden, who does do some fairly shamanic things. Whether this relates in any way to amanita muscaria is an open question, I think.

      Also, I think it is important to note, the taking of psychoactive substances for religious purposes is not necessarily always shamanism. I think the meaning of the term “shamanism” is actually somewhat more specific than that.

      • Crystal Kendrick

        Well, obviously psychoactive fungi are related to Santa. Duh, they’re the same color; just as candy canes are obviously medicinal holdovers from medieval blood letting practices.

      • Mia

        The meaning of the term “shamanism” is more specific than that, which means there is little solid evidence of shamanism occurring regularly in what is now called Europe, particularly Western Europe. People tend to throw that term around rather loosely and distorting it in the process to make it apply to any possible “magical” thing. That’s why I was so skeptical of the article and wanted the author’s evidence.

        • “there is little solid evidence of shamanism occurring regularly in what is now called Europe”

          I’m a little confused by that statement. Do you mean in just more recent Europe or throughout the entire history of Europe? I wouldn’t agree with the latter assertion as shamanism, as I understand it, was in fact present in Europe, particularly among Finnic peoples in the far north of Europe (Finnic here meaning the entire ‘Finnic’ branch of the Finno-Ugric peoples, Finns, Sami etc.)

          • Nick Ritter

            And the Germanic peoples may have adopted and adapted shamanic techniques from both Finnic and Hunnic peoples; but there is little conclusive evidence of this. So, the question I would like to pose to both you, Kauko, and Mia is: what would you consider “shamanic” in the narrow sense?

          • I actually meant to include in my question to Mia: How do you define ‘shamanism’? Is shamanism a religious practice unique to certain indigenous peoples of northern Asia (where the word itself comes from), or is shamanism a type of religious practice common to many peoples all over the world? For my own understanding, as a non-expert, I see a shaman as person in an indigenous society who functions as a kind of link between the human society they are a part of and the ‘spirit world’ (the unseen world which includes gods, nature spirits, ancestors etc), this person often functions as a healer among their people as well.

  • Obsidia

    This “Christians and Pagans” song (by Dar Williams) always brings tears to my eyes…..such a wonderful song for the season. “We find magic everywhere” is my favorite line! Thanks for posting this. Blessed Be.

  • Harmonyfb

    The Telegraph reports that Rollo Maughfling, the arch druid of the standing stones in Wiltshire, predicts a good 2012. Quote: ”Just as the ceremony came to an end the sun came over the horizon, it was excellent […] It has been a very jolly occasion. It’s a good omen for the year ahead.’

    From their lips to the Gods’ ears.

    • Crystal Kendrick

      I keep pulling Justice. Over and over and over, and then some. Every time I sit down to do a reading, Justice is pulled from the deck. Indeed the world is trying to tell us something. I’m going to take it as a good sign.

  • Crystal Kendrick

    About Elizabeth Hunter’s blog, the Victorians ruined everything good by white-washing everything into something barely recognizable.