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.
- First off, congratulations to the wonderful Norse Mythology Blog, which won Best Religion Weblog in the 2012 Weblog Awards (aka “The Bloggies”). Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried has written the first of a two-part essay on why he believes his blog on Norse mythology beat out heavy-hitters like Religion Dispatches or Freethought Blogs. If you’d like to explore the Norse Mythology Blog, the site’s archive page is arranged thematically, and is a joy to peruse.
- Haitian musician Frisner Augustin, a master drummer within Haitain Vodou, and director of La Troupe Makandal, died on February 28th from a brain hemorrhage. Augustin was a 1999 NEA National Heritage Fellow, and widely celebrated for his work in changing (mis)conceptions of Haitian Vodou. You can see a video of him performing, here. Our prayers go to him, his family, and his fellow Vodouisants.
- Want to know how to win an election? Consult a Cicero, of course. Quote: “In the Commentariolum, Quintus Tullius Cicero compiled political advice for his brother Marcus. The elder Cicero took the advice and won, becoming a consul of Rome—apparently an underdog upset of Obamanian proportions [...] Would you believe it? The advice holds up. These candidates must have classics scholars on staff, because a close read of Cicero reveals they’re following his counsel.” It should surprise no one that the societies that shaped our modern political systems were also masters in navigating (and exploiting) them.
- What happens when two very different conceptions of Witchcraft exist side-by-side? Britain is the birthplace of modern Wicca, home to scores of Pagan Witches, but it’s also home to a growing population of (largely Pentecostal Christian) African immigrants who believe in “witchcraft” as a malevolent force that must be exorcised, sometimes violently. After the horrific death of Kristy Bamu, tortured to death by his own family due to allegations of sorcery, British police issued a warning that this problem goes deeper than many realize. While some are using this incident to rail against political correctness, I think it goes far deeper than that, to the very roots of colonialism, traditional beliefs, and conceptions of “the witch” in different societies. This is an issue that I fear will only complicate as time goes on.
- Chas Clifton notes that there’s a new survey out aimed at UU Pagans to collect “personal experiences from Unitarian Universalists (UUs) who also practice Paganism or have an earth-centered theology.” CUUPS President David Pollard added that “the author or the survey has been chosen by the UUA to put together the first *official* UU pamphlet specifically addressing Pagan visitors to UU congregations.” Deadline for participation is March 12th.
- Where do Pagans stand when it comes to the neo-atheist war on the dominant faiths? The New Statesman issues a report from “the God wars,” and ends with a quote from Richard Dawkins: “Do you ever worry that if we win and, so to speak, destroy Christianity, that vacuum would be filled by Islam?” Which raises my own question. If “Christianity” is “destroyed” (and I assume the mean politically neutered), will any and all faiths that fill that vacuum, including modern Pagan religions (after all the Pope’s brother complains that “an almost pagan way of life has taken root” in Europe) get the same treatment?
- Another article on Dan Halloran’s support for Ron Paul.
- It seems that compelling government interests that overrule religious objections only apply to small minority faiths in America, and not to Catholics (at least according to Catholic Bishop William Lori).
- They may be building a “meditation room” in the Kansas Capitol Building.
- Joseph Laycock has published a new article that looks at the religious dimensions of the Otherkin community. Abstract: “Otherkin are individuals who identify as “not entirely human.” Scholarship has framed this identity claim as religious because it is frequently supported by a framework of metaphysical beliefs. This article draws on survey data and interviews with Otherkin in order to provide a more thorough treatment of the phenomenon and to assess and qualify the movement’s religious dimensions. It is argued that, in addition to having a substantively religious quality, the Otherkin community serves existential and social functions commonly associated with religion. In the final analysis, the Otherkin community is regarded as an alternative nomos–a socially constructed worldview–that sustains alternate ontologies.” (Hat-tip to TheoFantastique)
- In an update about minority religion’s under Hungary’s controversial new constitution, Religion Clause lets us know that 19 more faith groups have received official recognition (total: 32). Hundreds of religious groups, including Hungarian Pagans, remain unrecognized by the government.
- Work is underway to try and preserve Kalash Valley culture.
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. Oh, and if you’re in the Oakland California area, be sure to drop by Hexenfest on March 9th!