Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  January 15, 2012 — 27 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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  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    The comments about Mr. Tebow were hysterically funny.

    The article about the sweat lodge was extremely racist. If anyone of European descent had written that about any other culture, they’d have been excoriated by commentators. Substitute the words “sweat lodge” and “whites” and you’ll see what I mean. Let me give you an example: “I went to the football game, but I didn’t know there’d be Lithuanians there”. Yeah. And don’t give me the excuse that the author was hosed about cultural appropriation. There were much better ways to protest that amateurs were infringing on a culture’s sacred rites.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1066316113 Jocelyne Berengaria Houghton

      Your analogy of a sports event with a religious and cultural rite is off-base, and I think you know it. If you would engage your compassion – as well as some knowledge about the history of First Nations and this country – perhaps you would understand that what the author is “hosed” about is more than cultural appropriation, it is cultural genocide.

      I am dismayed by the author’s tone, because I (a white person) stand in solidarity with First Nations peoples. However, I am well aware of the devastation wrought by the very real policies of cultural genocide implemented by the governments of the US and Canada, and the bitter irony of white folks appropriating the religious and cultural heritage once forbidden the First Nations peoples in order to “kill the Indian, and save the man.” It is a despicable history, and I believe the proper response should be one of compassion and solidarity, not defensiveness and trivializing of a ritual that a magic-work and witch should respect.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        I must give this one to Alice, by a hair. The problem with the white participants was not that they were whites, but that they were louts and wannabes. Had the author focused on that the article would have been unobjectionable.

        “Just-suppose” exercises such as Alice did are instructive because they can bring hidden stereotypes to the surface.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1066316113 Jocelyne Berengaria Houghton

          The author’s stereotypes were anything but hidden, and as a white person who stands in solidarity with First Nations, I was myself hurt by them.

          The author did focus on the fact that the white participants were louts. The author also clearly had some deep prejudices against white people – at which, as stated above, I was dismayed.

          However, there is a context for this attitude, and I think it is disingenuous to propose a “just-suppose’ exercise that not only ignores this context, but states outright that it is not to be taken into consideration.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I empathize, but a racial utterance from anyone is likely to have a context.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1066316113 Jocelyne Berengaria Houghton

            What is the “racial utterance” here?

            The author talks about going to a sweat that he assumed would be Natives-only, about being surprised that there were white people who presented themselves in appearance and in action as cultural appropriators, and about his conflict in keeping his cultural customs in this situation.

            I fail to see any racism in this article, and I fail to see how playing a “just-suppose” game that does not adequately parallel the situation in question can make it thus.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Jocelyne, I did not speak of racism. You did. I said “racial utterance,” of which a mention that the people involved were white is an example.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Um, some guys who were louts being rude and unknowlegeable about a religious rite leads to genocide HOW?

        I am complaining about the author’s racist tone and language. He could’ve said, “I don’t like these jerks trivializing my religious ceremony” rather than expressing dismay about their racial composition. If a person of European descent had made a similar comment, it would’ve been immediately recognized as being racist.

        If someone had come to a Cymri ceremony and acted thus, we’d gently explain proper ritual etiquette. And if they continued to be jerks, we’d expel them… all without making comments about their ethnicity.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1066316113 Jocelyne Berengaria Houghton

          Alice, I think you need to re-read my comment. I did not state that the white folks in the article were enacting cultural genocide.

    • Anonymous

      Huntsman just dropped out. There goes the last shred of sanity in the Republicans.

      http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/story/2012-01-15/huntsman-withdraws-presidential-race/52587668/1

  • Zan Fraser

    ‘SH** New Age Girls Say’ is hilarious!

  • Ellen Apple

    Just a note, Chesterfield County Virginia, not South Carolina. Though as a Virginian I do wish it were not Virginia

  • Anonymous

    In regards to the sweat lodge, who invited the author to the sweat, and who invited the “whites”? Was it the host? It didn’t seem that the host was the person that invited him. At least that’s the impression I got from the article. What questions did the author ask of the inviter before he went. Plus he didn’t stay and see what happened afterwards. Who’s to say that the “whites” weren’t spoken to and shown the error of their ways? It’s very presumtuous of the author to speak for the host. I wouldn’t like it if someone came to my home for ritual as a guest of another guest, take offense at something that one of my invited guests says or does and then, without staying to see if I corrected the situation, disrespected my guest and by inference me as well.

    This being said the “whites” in the article were way out of line if they did what the author said they did. I know nothing about sweat etiquette or Jewish, Muslim or whatever, but I know enough that I keep quiet and watch and before hand I might ask for someone to be a guide for me. I did this at a Conservative Jewish Passover Sedar. It was an awesome experience.

  • Anonymous

    In regards to the sweat lodge, who invited the author to the sweat, and who invited the “whites”? Was it the host? It didn’t seem that the host was the person that invited him. At least that’s the impression I got from the article. What questions did the author ask of the inviter before he went. Plus he didn’t stay and see what happened afterwards. Who’s to say that the “whites” weren’t spoken to and shown the error of their ways? It’s very presumtuous of the author to speak for the host. I wouldn’t like it if someone came to my home for ritual as a guest of another guest, take offense at something that one of my invited guests says or does and then, without staying to see if I corrected the situation, disrespected my guest and by inference me as well.

    This being said the “whites” in the article were way out of line if they did what the author said they did. I know nothing about sweat etiquette or Jewish, Muslim or whatever, but I know enough that I keep quiet and watch and before hand I might ask for someone to be a guide for me. I did this at a Conservative Jewish Passover Sedar. It was an awesome experience.

  • Anonymous

    In regards to the sweat lodge, who invited the author to the sweat, and who invited the “whites”? Was it the host? It didn’t seem that the host was the person that invited him. At least that’s the impression I got from the article. What questions did the author ask of the inviter before he went. Plus he didn’t stay and see what happened afterwards. Who’s to say that the “whites” weren’t spoken to and shown the error of their ways? It’s very presumtuous of the author to speak for the host. I wouldn’t like it if someone came to my home for ritual as a guest of another guest, take offense at something that one of my invited guests says or does and then, without staying to see if I corrected the situation, disrespected my guest and by inference me as well.

    This being said the “whites” in the article were way out of line if they did what the author said they did. I know nothing about sweat etiquette or Jewish, Muslim or whatever, but I know enough that I keep quiet and watch and before hand I might ask for someone to be a guide for me. I did this at a Conservative Jewish Passover Sedar. It was an awesome experience.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, my computer was having problems.

  • Harper Jocque

    People are missing the point of the sweat lodge story. Mentioning that white people did something rude does not 1) make the writer racist (they may be prejudiced, but racism only works as systematic oppression of people, and there’s oppression of Native peoples, not us white folks, based on race).

    White Pagans seem to have a…. grim habit of thoughtlessly and harmfully appropriating from Native cultures. There’s a streak of “no one OWNS a belief” and “anything goes” sort of attitude among some Pagans and some New Age types.

    The trouble is that 1) not all religions think “anything goes” and 2) there’s already a historical context in which Native religion, culture, land and materials were taken forcibly from Native people by white Americans. This is still going on: the amount of Native children in foster care? poverty rates? sexual assult of Native women by non-Native men? and the “smaller” insults of smudge sticks for all, dream catchers for everyone, and having a “Cherokee princess great great grandmother” etc.

    Among Native religions, many have hereditary and location specific aspects. These are not “exportable” or universal. Some rituals may be meant only for members of the community. Others you need to be a certain gender, or have a certain role, or be actively initiated into a religious society, so heritage isn’t even enough to be part of those rituals! In this context, it is understandable that some Native people would have a huge problem with any non-tribal members taking part in a sweat lodge, no matter how open minded, quiet and respectful they were. It sounds like these people were not quiet.

    Mind, Native people (like women, black people, Pagans, anyone!) are not the borg. This one writer doesn’t speak for all. I’ve heard of non-native people being invited to sweat lodges, being adopted into tribes, etc. I’ve even heard a Cree woman say she thinks the Sundance should be open to anyone who can respectfully and authentically get something out of it, which is NOT something many others would say.

    But need we remember James Arthur Ray? Wrong use of the sweat lodge is a real issue. Or watch the film “In the Light of Reverence” for many examples of Native religion being infringed upon. There’s even a story about a tribe’s struggle to keep white people (they were identified as New Age, not sure what they would have self identified as) away from their sacred spring. Or watch “White Shamans and Plastic Medicine Men” to see how this is a real issue.

    And for a substitution exercise? What about men entering a women’s only ritual? What about Christians chanting about God and Jesus at a Hindu or Pagan or anything else ritual? What would that be?

    • Anonymous

      The “whites” may have been appropriating but they were invited. This calls into question the host of the sweat for inviting the “whites” into the sacred space.

  • http://www.register-domainname.in/ Buy Domain Names

    Thanks for this good post..I appreciate the way you have put this post..

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    Oh, please. If you hate or denigrate those people of another race, purely on the basis of their ethnicity, then you’re a racist.

    This “systematic oppression” fallacy is annoying… if you went by those criteria, the Irish and Welsh have been oppressed for centuries, so we’re “entitled” to hate everyone else. We’re entitled to have Europeans-only colleges and Celts-only rituals, right? After all, we’re just protecting the purity of our race. Sounds awfully exclusionary, doesn’t it?

    I just read another site, written by someone of African descent, lamenting both the ignorance of Europeans and whites’ appropriation of other cultures. We can’t have it both ways…. when Europeans learn about other cultures, we’re considered to appropriate them, or when we write about only our own cultures, and then we’re being ignorant and Eurocentric. Can’t win for losing!

    I also want to point out that we Cymri people had sweat lodges for thousands of years… you can view some ancient ones online at the “Megalithomania” website. Ours were made of rocks, rather than hides, and we summoned different entities… but the ceremonies are nearly identical.

    Anyone who wants to, and can act respectfully, is welcome to come to any of my rituals and participate… wasn’t there just a big to-co about Transgender ladies attending a women’s rite, and a young lady who is transgender attending Girl Scouts? If a Christian or Muslim wishes to participate, fine, if they act nice. (Yes… this happens often… in the next edition of Magickal Media you’ll see photos of my son’s best pal, who is a Muslim, being a Plough Witch last Calan Fair / Imbolc.)

    Don’t use culture and tradition as an excuse to be racist and exclusionary, please.

    • Harper Jocque

      But you’re ignoring the power differential here. Please, how is “systematic oppression” a fallacy? I want to know. What is the historical and modern basis to think that people have NOT oppressed one another based on race as well as sex, gender, disability, class? What is the basis to think that all groups in this discrimination have had equal power. If one group says “I don’t like you but I don’t have the resources to do much about it” and the other group says “I don’t like you and I’m going to steal your children, put bounties on your head, break agreements, treat you as not-human, make laws against your religion, beat children who speak your language and force you into economic situations of great poverty” then that is, yes, systemic oppression. It works in the system of society. It is not individuals being mean, but groups as a whole acting to oppress.

      You’re also ignoring that race as a social construct fluctuates to absorb and expell certain people across time. Yes, the Irish and Welsh have been oppressed for centuries. At certain periods, being Irish or Eastern European or all sorts in America meant being oppressed. This is true. This was racism. But now, when a person sees another person of Irish decent on the street, they see a white person. Not an Irish person. Remember, it’s not what people think about themselves, but how society treats you, because individualism is nice and all, but it won’t get you hired, get you an educational, get you an apartment. All that depends on other people trusting you. And getting to being seen as society as white, means getting white privilege. Being Native mean not having white privilege. You can hate whites as much as you want, but you can’t take their kids away.

      This is ALL about the power differential. Whites have more power in society than non-whites, at least in the Unites States. This privilege extends to religion and appropriation of cultures. You see, the reason that “You can’t lose for winning” is that white people GET to do this. You say losing means being called out, but I think losing means being physically and spiritually suppressed. Being called out doesn’t seem so bad when there’s little repercussion for it. In fact, the white people in this story got to stay in the sweat lodge. It was the Native person who bowed out! Look at the court rulings in which Native people ask to have their religious rights recognized.

      At what point did I suggest that various cultures don’t have sweat lodges? Maybe to some people, close enough is close enough. Maybe to others different entities and different construction is too different. People have various opinions.

      “Anyone who wants to, and can act respectfully, is welcome to come to any of my rituals and participate” That’s fantastic! But does everyone have to act the same as you? Are they bad people for not?

      As for the inclusion of trans* people, again, the power differential. People are allowed to be hateful to people who are trans* and people who are cissexual are strongly privileged over non-cis people. So the power dynamic is different. The Girl Scouts situation is a no-brainer (let the girl in!) and the women’s rite sounds like it had a lot of drama around it so I feel uncomfortable talking about it.

      I encourage you to read the following. Understanding this stuff is really important. It helps open up conversations and is just really valuable:
      http://theangryblackwoman.com/required-reading/

      As for, whites being exclusionary and wanting spaces of their own? Most of United States society is a “space of our own”:
      http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html

    • Harper Jocque

      But you’re ignoring the power differential here. Please, how is “systematic oppression” a fallacy? I want to know. What is the historical and modern basis to think that people have NOT oppressed one another based on race as well as sex, gender, disability, class? What is the basis to think that all groups in this discrimination have had equal power. If one group says “I don’t like you but I don’t have the resources to do much about it” and the other group says “I don’t like you and I’m going to steal your children, put bounties on your head, break agreements, treat you as not-human, make laws against your religion, beat children who speak your language and force you into economic situations of great poverty” then that is, yes, systemic oppression. It works in the system of society. It is not individuals being mean, but groups as a whole acting to oppress.

      You’re also ignoring that race as a social construct fluctuates to absorb and expell certain people across time. Yes, the Irish and Welsh have been oppressed for centuries. At certain periods, being Irish or Eastern European or all sorts in America meant being oppressed. This is true. This was racism. But now, when a person sees another person of Irish decent on the street, they see a white person. Not an Irish person. Remember, it’s not what people think about themselves, but how society treats you, because individualism is nice and all, but it won’t get you hired, get you an educational, get you an apartment. All that depends on other people trusting you. And getting to being seen as society as white, means getting white privilege. Being Native mean not having white privilege. You can hate whites as much as you want, but you can’t take their kids away.

      This is ALL about the power differential. Whites have more power in society than non-whites, at least in the Unites States. This privilege extends to religion and appropriation of cultures. You see, the reason that “You can’t lose for winning” is that white people GET to do this. You say losing means being called out, but I think losing means being physically and spiritually suppressed. Being called out doesn’t seem so bad when there’s little repercussion for it. In fact, the white people in this story got to stay in the sweat lodge. It was the Native person who bowed out! Look at the court rulings in which Native people ask to have their religious rights recognized.

      At what point did I suggest that various cultures don’t have sweat lodges? Maybe to some people, close enough is close enough. Maybe to others different entities and different construction is too different. People have various opinions.

      “Anyone who wants to, and can act respectfully, is welcome to come to any of my rituals and participate” That’s fantastic! But does everyone have to act the same as you? Are they bad people for not?

      As for the inclusion of trans* people, again, the power differential. People are allowed to be hateful to people who are trans* and people who are cissexual are strongly privileged over non-cis people. So the power dynamic is different. The Girl Scouts situation is a no-brainer (let the girl in!) and the women’s rite sounds like it had a lot of drama around it so I feel uncomfortable talking about it.

      I encourage you to read the following. Understanding this stuff is really important. It helps open up conversations and is just really valuable:
      http://theangryblackwoman.com/required-reading/

      As for, whites being exclusionary and wanting spaces of their own? Most of United States society is a “space of our own”:
      http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html

      • Harper Jocque

        I’m sorry everything doubled!

        • Anonymous

          It may be disqus because I had troubles yesterday and I see AC has a tripli-cated entry as well.

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    Oh, please. If you hate or denigrate those people of another race, purely on the basis of their ethnicity, then you’re a racist.

    This “systematic oppression” fallacy is annoying… if you went by those criteria, the Irish and Welsh have been oppressed for centuries, so we’re “entitled” to hate everyone else. We’re entitled to have Europeans-only colleges and Celts-only rituals, right? After all, we’re just protecting the purity of our race. Sounds awfully exclusionary, doesn’t it?

    I just read another site, written by someone of African descent, lamenting both the ignorance of Europeans and whites’ appropriation of other cultures. We can’t have it both ways…. when Europeans learn about other cultures, we’re considered to appropriate them, or when we write about only our own cultures, and then we’re being ignorant and Eurocentric. Can’t win for losing!

    I also want to point out that we Cymri people had sweat lodges for thousands of years… you can view some ancient ones online at the “Megalithomania” website. Ours were made of rocks, rather than hides, and we summoned different entities… but the ceremonies are nearly identical.

    Anyone who wants to, and can act respectfully, is welcome to come to any of my rituals and participate… wasn’t there just a big to-co about Transgender ladies attending a women’s rite, and a young lady who is transgender attending Girl Scouts? If a Christian or Muslim wishes to participate, fine, if they act nice. (Yes… this happens often… in the next edition of Magickal Media you’ll see photos of my son’s best pal, who is a Muslim, being a Plough Witch last Calan Fair / Imbolc.)

    Don’t use culture and tradition as an excuse to be racist and exclusionary, please. And if you don’t want people with red hair or who eat pork to hang out with you… don’t ask ‘em!

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    Oh, please. If you hate or denigrate those people of another race, purely on the basis of their ethnicity, then you’re a racist.

    This “systematic oppression” fallacy is annoying… if you went by those criteria, the Irish and Welsh have been oppressed for centuries, so we’re “entitled” to hate everyone else. We’re entitled to have Europeans-only colleges and Celts-only rituals, right? After all, we’re just protecting the purity of our race. Sounds awfully exclusionary, doesn’t it?

    I just read another site, written by someone of African descent, lamenting both the ignorance of Europeans and whites’ appropriation of other cultures. We can’t have it both ways…. when Europeans learn about other cultures, we’re considered to appropriate them, or when we write about only our own cultures, and then we’re being ignorant and Eurocentric. Can’t win for losing!

    I also want to point out that we Cymri people had sweat lodges for thousands of years… you can view some ancient ones online at the “Megalithomania” website. Ours were made of rocks, rather than hides, and we summoned different entities… but the ceremonies are nearly identical.

    Anyone who wants to, and can act respectfully, is welcome to come to any of my rituals and participate… wasn’t there just a big to-co about Transgender ladies attending a women’s rite, and a young lady who is transgender attending Girl Scouts? If a Christian or Muslim wishes to participate, fine, if they act nice. (Yes… this happens often… in the next edition of Magickal Media you’ll see photos of my son’s best pal, who is a Muslim, being a Plough Witch last Calan Fair / Imbolc.)

    Don’t use culture and tradition as an excuse to be racist and exclusionary, please. And if you don’t want people with red hair or who eat pork to hang out with you… don’t ask ‘em!

  • Lin

    “Sh** New Age Girls Say” was hilarious indeed.

    Beg to differ on the UK headline, though, which to a UK reader like me makes perfect sense – our headlines typically have a main clause in the passive, and almost everything else is a cheerful mashup of nouns – some acting as nouns, others as adjectives, others as verbs.

    Mind, US headlines baffle us, so ..