Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  January 2, 2013 — 13 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.

Spencer Butte in Eugene, Oregon

Spencer Butte in Eugene, Oregon

  • This just in: walking in the woods is good for you! Quote: “In an effort to benefit the Japanese and find nonextractive ways to use forests, which cover 67 percent of the country’s landmass, the government has funded about $4 million in forest-bathing research since 2004. It intends to designate a total of 100 Forest Therapy sites within 10 years. Visitors here are routinely hauled off to a cabin where rangers measure their blood pressure, part of an effort to provide ever more data to support the project.” Those of us who love to sojourn into nature regularly can most likely attest to the salubrious effects of wooded terrain.
  • Religion Clause reports that the USDA has “released a lengthy report titled USDA Policy and Procedures Review and Recommendations: Indian Sacred Sites.” Quote from the summary: “[The report calls] for USDA and the U.S. Forest Service to work more closely with Tribal governments in the protection, respectful interpretation and appropriate access to American Indian and Alaska Native sacred sites on national forests and grasslands. The report recommends steps the Forest Service should take to strengthen the partnerships between the agency, Tribal governments, and American Indian and Alaska Native communities to help preserve America’s rich native traditions.” This seems a welcome step forward after some recent incidents involving sacred lands.
  • Moral panics often help promote the very thing they (sometimes literally) demonize. Quote: “The most common way for music to blow up from a small scene into global pop is for a controversy to erupt. Music history is littered with examples of “moral panics”: be-bop jazz was blamed for white-on-black race riots in the mid-1940s, just as rap music was blamed when riots erupted in Los Angeles following the Rodney King trial. In both cases, sensationalized news reports and especially a focus on the “dangerous” elements in the music attracted young people in droves. Moral panics, like magnets, repel and attract.” That quote is from Jennifer Lena, whose book “Banding Together: How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music,” looks very interesting. To give this a Pagan spin, one wonders if the “Satanic” panics of the 1980s and 1990s actually drew people into the occult and modern Paganism? Yet another factor to explore in the “teen witch” boom?
  • Remember folks, reality television, all reality television, distorts its subjects.
  • In a final note, Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish is going independent, and will subsist on reader donations. Which makes me wonder, will the future of media not be with massive ever-expanding content hubs, but with smaller, curated, islands that are more responsive to the communities they serve? Or, at the very least, will the new media ecosystem allow for both to thrive?

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.

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Damon Leff

    Thanks for the Penton mention, Jason.

  • “For the record, the BBC reports that the clerk did speak Welsh, but simply gave the final total in English.”

    I don’t understand. It would have cost her nothing to just say it in Welsh and make a customer happy. It’d be one thing if she didn’t speak the language, but she was, what, being obstinate? For what purpose? It’s not like he was asking her to do something wrong. I just don’t even get it.

    • Lēoht Sceadusawol

      There is probably some stupid rule that says she is supposed to say the price in English. Welsh is (depressingly) still a minority language in its own country, after all.

      • Lee

        practicality more like; saying eight fifty-eight os gwelwch, is easier and quicker than wyth punt ac pumpddeg wyth os gwelwch. Most of my family are first language welsh speakers and use things like this all the time. Some people however like being an ass about the smallest of things.

        • Lēoht Sceadusawol

          Wenglish isn’t Cymraig.

          Sure, I get evolution of language (I wouldn’t suggest that the English revert to Englisc, for example), but this particular point was more about political pressure than linguistic purity.

    • Gareth

      It would cost everyone even less to let an artificially sustained language die. Used to be pro-Wesh but then I moved to Wales.

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        Personally, I’d like to see the national languages and regional dialects return to these isles.

        • Nick Ritter

          I agree, and I think that should be the case everywhere. Cultural diversity, including linguistic and religious diversity, benefits the whole.

      • We’re not talking about “everyone else” are we? We’re talking about a specific incident that occurred between specific people.

        Apart from that, your comment sounds about as racist as the people here in the US demanding that everyone speak English.

  • I believe that the media ecosystem will pretty much always allow for both, but in a constant state of shifting percentages. We had a slow shift to “portals” for a while, and now the pendulum seems to be swaying in the other direction, eg. Wild Hunt, BitG, et al. Music isn’t the only form of art that gets blamed for influencing life in directions the establishment sees as a threat to it’s power and order, but it’s a very accessible form and I personally hope that musicians won’t ever let that stigma scare them from their creative endeavors. Creativity is a rare commodity in today’s world, often viewed in the corporatist system as a counter-productive misuse of resources. So few people manage to hold onto the fearless possibility of failure and still going forth.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    He said there was an “unusual connection” between Christianity and witchcraft in some chapel circles in Wales.

    Probably some Goddess devotees mentioning Her in church. Scandal!!

  • To give credit where credit is due, the idea that moral panics “often help promote the very thing they demonize” was actually first put forward by the same person who coined the term “moral panic” in the first place, Stanely Cohen. In his seminal work, “Folk Devils and Moral Panics”, Cohen talked about what he called the “deviancy amplification spiral” (which would make an excellent name for a Death Metal Band).

    An excellent example of this phenomenon is the way that the current gun-control moral panic has already led to a dramatic increase in gun sales.

  • M

    BBC on ‘nones’ and alternative spirituality: