Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  January 17, 2013 — 56 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 them I may expand into longer posts as needed.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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

    What Chas Clifton actually did in his blog was to point out that according to Phlip Hesselton in his book Witch Father, Gardner (1) did not “have any success at working magick on his own”, nor did Gardner (2) “have any of what we might call ‘spiritual’ feelings: at any rate, he never wrote about any.”

    One the question of Gardner’s level of accomplishment, magick-wise, let us look to an expert opinion on these matters, according to whom Magick is “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will”. This same expert chose to illustrate his definition as follows:

    “Illustration: It is my Will to inform the World of certain facts within my knowledge. I therefore take ‘magickal weapons’, pen, ink, and paper; I write ‘incantations’—these sentences—in the ‘magickal language’ ie, that which is understood by the people I wish to instruct; I call forth ‘spirits’, such as printers, publishers, booksellers and so forth and constrain them to convey my message to those people. The composition and distribution of this book is thus an act of Magick by which I cause Changes to take place in conformity with my Will.”

    Judged in these terms, and considering the enormous success of Gardner in spreadking the message of Wicca by way of his published books and in other ways, one is likely to reach an assessment rather different from Hesselton’s and Clifton’s.

    As far as what kinds of spiritual feelings or experiences Gardner may or may not have have, how in the fuck is anyone supposed to know that, precisely (or even approximately)?

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      I would find it surprisng if the founder of a religion had epiphanal experiences and did not write about them.

      • PhaedraHPS

        True, but Gardner was very diligent about not positioning himself as a founder of a religion. He positioned himself as a journalist/anthropologist reporting on an existing religion.

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

        In fact, anyone familiar with Gardner’s writings knows that he liked to present himself as an objective, even scholarly observer (and it does appear that regardless of how much, or how little, justification Gardner had for doing so, he took his “scholarly” pretensions quite seriously). Therefore he did not write in the “confessional” mode at all. He was a showman, and he knew how to stay in character – that’s all.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          If there’s no trace of such a thing even in rumors about him, I remain skeptical.

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

            My own opinion is that Gardner was without a doubt inspired by the Gods, and that this is very clearly revealed in both in what he accomplished and how he accomplished it.

            And my other opinion is that there is very little correlation between what people claim about their encounters with the divine and any actual encounters that may or may not have taken place. If anything I tend more toward the belief that in religion, like sex, the more someone brags about their experiences and exploits, the less they should be believed.

          • cernowain greenman

            I would say that Gardner was inspired by the Goddess that he saw in young attractive women without clothing. This moved him more than anything and this ought to count as divine inspiration.

          • Guest

            this comment is grotesque. Nudity is sacred in ritual. By your attitude and tone it’s like you threw something dirty on any admiration of the God/dess, whether it’s done by women or men, in any context.

          • Guest

            I left hope that you weren’t being derogatory by this statement, but my feelings are you were. And that’s sad and messed up.

          • cernowain greenman

            No, I was being serious. I’ve been reading his books lately, as well as Phil Heselton’s book, and it seems that he really found the beauty of the Goddess in women. I’m sorry if others see that as derogatory, it is not meant to be that way at all. It would only be derogatory if a person felt the naked female form was that way, and by Gods, I hope that no one here does.

          • Guest

            And it’s not like Fra. Scire as he signed his work, never heard of the power of Silence.

    • Lēoht Sceadusawol

      Didn’t Gardner originally conceive of Wicca as a form of Ceremonial magic?

      Further, wasn’t it only the input of Valiente that shifted it to a religious model?

      I distinctly reading that when I first got into the whole Paganism ‘thing’. Been a while, that information may be plain wrong or just outdated,

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1186404199 Crystal Hope Kendrick

    My hat is off to The Satanic Temple. Brilliance, sheer brilliance.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      Word.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=614318627 Joanne Dunster

      There is an update to the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/14/satanists-rally-for-rick-scott_n_2471328.html. Apparently the Satanists in question are actors filming a Mockumentary. So next level trolling it seems to be? Pity, It would have been utterly hilarious if it were real. Actually it is still pretty funny. :)

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        Shame. It would have been good to see genuine theistic Satanists getting column inches.

      • Guest

        LaVey was a hilarious, high level troll writing his own mockumentaries, so they can be Church of Satan-ish

  • http://twitter.com/thelettuceman Marc

    Not-for-profit land conservatory programs have been in existence in other areas for a long time. The one I think of the most is the Cedar Creek battlefield site, where it is owned by an individual foundation which prevents the erection of monuments which otherwise clutter up a prominent American Civil War site. I’m surprised that this really took so long to catch on with other specialized endeavors.

  • http://www.miraselena.com/ Heather Greene

    When a film gets bumped,rewritten and rescheduled, it is the first sign that the movie is a complete waste…witches or no witches.

    • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

      From the previews, I would swear that this Hansel and Gretel movie is practically the same movie as the 2005 “Brothers Grimm” which had Heath Ledger and Matt Damon and was STILL terrible.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Sam Webster wrote in his Pagan Restoration blog:
    And, no, you can’t worship Jesus Christ and be a Pagan.

    And, no, I won’t be tracking his construction of a Pagan future in the greater Mediterranean world. If he’s got this kind of exclusionary thinking at the core of his metaphysics I don’t want to ponder a world in which it is the dominant paradigm.

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

      I’m afraid you’ve got it backwards. It was Jesus who was exclusionary, and his exclusivist teachings are completely incompatible with Paganism.

      But, as far as what people actually do, well, people do in fact worship Jesus Christ and practice Paganism. This is because human beings are very capable of doing and thinking things are logically contradictory. But the ability to do and think things are logically contradictory does not remove the contradiction.

      And I really do hate it when I agree with Sam Webster, but I do about 27% of the time.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        I’m not about to marginalize anyone’s religion because it combines borrowings from different traditions — that’s a game they all play — even if the traditions are mutually hostile.
        But I far prefer a blog where you and I can disagree about this without fear of irritating the moderator.

        • http://www.facebook.com/chkraemer13 Christine Hoff Kraemer

          Well, actually, the moderator on Sam’s column is me, not Sam. So disagree all you like, as long as the language is respectful. :)

        • Lēoht Sceadusawol

          Fact remains that it is still common to define ‘Pagan’ in terms of ‘not following Jesus’. That fact, alone, makes it very hard for someone to be a Christian Pagan (and be taken seriously by pretty much anyone.)

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Surely it is — and those folks will likely never be ChristoPagans — but others have definitions that include the sacredness of Nature. Someone like that could still resonate with the Jesus of the Beatitudes and “what you do to the least of these, you do to me.”

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            You know what, I will happily be exclusionary. Someone that follows Jesus, or the god of Abraham, is not Pagan.

            You can’t have it both ways.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            At my Handfasting in 1995, as the Central Mystery of the first public Beltane in the history of Oberlin, we had all our Pagan friends from two Ohio counties. One was Ladyhawk, a young African-American woman who calls herself an “Eclectic Christian.” During the well-wishing circle she conveyed the blessings of the Goddesses and Gods of Africa. Later she couldn’t remember what she’d said and had to ask.
            You can’t keep the gods from having it both ways.

          • cernowain greenman

            I recommend Joyce and River Higginbotham’s book on ChristoPaganism. They explore the various ways that different people creatively combine the two paths.

          • Deborah Bender

            I haven’t read Sam Webster’s blog, and shouldn’t judge that quote out of context. It might make sense as a normative statement. As a descriptive statement, it isn’t true.

            There are many countries where lots of people actively practice both the dominant religion of their community or nation and some other religion that is not fully compatible in its theology or practices. For example: Haiti (Catholicism and Voudoun), England (Church of England and pagan varieties of Druidry), Bolivia (Catholicism and Satan worship among the miners), USA (Judaism and Buddhism, Judaism and Wicca). Sometimes an imported religion tries to swallow an indigenous religion whole (Tibetan Buddhism and Bon).

            People may resolve religious contradictions by developing an idiosyncratic (heretical) theological interpretation of what they are doing. Sometimes, they relegate the two religions to different parts of their lives and different social identities. Sometimes, they don’t care about consistency.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            You’ll find that a lot of the notable ‘Druids’ in Britain are ceremonial appointments by the Eisteddfod, rather than genuine practitioners (Best example of that one would be the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.)

            I find that disrespectful and, whilst they may reach an internal resolution of the contradictions, often there will be some fundamental flaw in consistency. If those people don’t care about consistency, they probably won’t care about not getting respect from others, either.

          • Luminous_Being

            Not that I have any desire or aspiration to attend Christo-Pagan rituals but is it especially necessary to make pronouncements about who is and who is not Pagan? There seems to be this obsession lately with defining Paganism which at some level is quite a cheeky thing to do.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            The label started (more or less) as a pejorative term meaning ‘Not a Christian/Jew/Muslim’.

            Sure, there has been some ‘reclaiming’ with the term but I just can’t get my head around any logic that allows the application of the term ‘Pagan’ to someone who self identifies as a follow of YHWH/Christ.

            As to being a ‘cheeky thing to do’. Why? Correct me if I am wrong but the whole ‘peace, love and tolerance’ crap is Christian, not Pagan.

            I have no qualms about being elitist. At least I am honest in my opinions. (And we are dealing in opinions, not facts, here.)

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            I just can’t get my head around any logic that allows the application of the term ‘Pagan’ to someone who self identifies as a follow of YHWH/Christ.
            This overdetermines the problem by inserting YHWH into the description. One can, for example, posit a theology in which Jesus is born of the Goddess (pick one) and sent to fulfill the messianic prophecies of the Jews in a way they didn’t expect.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            One would have no basis for such a claim and would be deemed a heretic by certain groups and a simply loon by most.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Claim? Who’s making a claim? You said you couldn’t imagine such a think, and it turns out I could.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            I didn’t say “I can’t imagine…” I said I couldn’t get my head around the logic. Big difference.

            I never suggested anyone was actually making that claim, I was merely running with what you suggested.

          • cernowain greenman

            Not everyone accepts your definition of “Pagan” as “non-Xpn/Jew/Muslim”. There are definitions of Pagan that aren’t as exclusive as the one you’ve picked out. So, if others have a different definition of “Pagan” as you, then they could possibly have a different outcome. And that’s how they can be Xpn and another faith and be logically consistent in their own minds. Logic, my friend.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Especially given that the division is not necessary to Webster’s larger plans for his blog as defined in that opening post. It’s a gratuitous shot at his own foot.

          • Deborah Bender

            I’m aware of that. Some of the older Druid organizations aren’t particularly pagan in outlook. That’s why I qualified “Druidry” with “pagan varieties”. Given that Christianity and Celtic pagan religions both have deep roots in Britain, a Briton with a broad outlook might well have an affection for both.

            The idea that you have to give up your birth religion if you wish to take up another one seems to have originated in monotheism (Ahkneton, Book of Ruth). I always find it curious when a polytheist or a mystic of any variety tells someone else that they have to choose between two (or more) religions. That grants the religious authorities of those religions boundary keeping power which overrides the opinions of the individual adherent. One may recognize such authority in one’s own religion, but what’s the basis for passing those kinds of judgements regarding a religion one does not belong to?

            It seems to me that it’s up to the Christians to decide what real Christianity is and whom they are going to listen to on that subject. Anyone who has studied Christianity for more than five minutes knows that Christians have a range of views on almost everything connected with their religion (apart from agreeing that infanticide is a sin) and have no consensus at all on what their beliefs are, or where the ultimate religious authority lies. There’s a Lutheran church, apparently in good standing with its parent organization, a mile from where I used to live in San Francisco, with a big sign on the outside wall saying, “Goddess rosary on Wednesday.” I kid you not.

            IMHO, it’s profoundly silly for a pagan to say, “The Gospel of Matthew says X . . .,” or “St. Augustine says X. . .,” or “The Pentacostal preacher in my hometown says X . . .,” and “Therefore, you have to accept X or you aren’t a real Christian. But if you do accept X, you aren’t a real pagan.” There are holes in this line of reasoning you could drive a circus parade through.

          • Deborah Bender

            For those of you who doubt what I wrote above about Ebenezer Lutheran Church, check it out yourself http://www.herchurch.org.

            One thing you can’t tell from their staggering website is that the church building is large, well kept, and located in one of the more expensive neighborhoods of San Francisco (West Portal).

            If you want a feel for the post-Christian future Jason has been blogging about, it’s not necessary to visit Western Europe or time travel; just spend a couple of weeks in San Francisco. Even the churches of San Francisco are post- Christian (at least most of the Protestant ones). Halloween is a much bigger civic holiday than Christmas in the City. The Board of Supervisors recently held a series of meetings seriously discussing whether to make public adult nudity legal on the streets and parks of San Francisco at all times and places. They decided not to, but in the process, affirmed that nudity is completely legal at public outdoor festivals like the Bay to Breakers race and the Folsom Street Fair. At Bay to Breakers, people take their clothes off (and other people dress in costume) just for the hell of it. OTOH the Folsom Street Fair, which is supported by the city’s hotel tax fund, is a two day S/M sex festival that is both beloved by locals and a big tourist attraction. (The river otter who recently started hanging out in the Sutro Baths ruins is also a tourist attraction. All kinds of fun in the City by the Bay.)

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            I’m not saying that people can’t be eclectic or mingle different beliefs, but some are patently conflicting.

            The most obvious religious conflict would be between Christianity and Paganism (defined, by Christianity, as Non-Christianity.)

          • Guest

            The argument that someone can’t take what’s best and leave the rest (aka “Cafeteria Xian”) drives many people out of Christianity. What they choose to do after that is really up to them, not you.
            Of course if someone’s following another religion, that new religion might have particular conflicts and rules against picking and choosing, too. A lot don’t, though.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            Not up to me, perhaps, but I can still point out flaws of thinking and mislabelling.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            In the process exposing flaws in your own thinking a labeling.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            What you see as flaws, others do not. Like I said, opinions, not facts.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Then how do you presume to identify flaws and bad labeling in others’ opinions? The words are yours, not mine.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            I use logic and reason, not emotional connection to stigmatised words.

            I get that what I see as flaws others may see as strengths, that is what happens when we use relativism.

            You have to see the logic that says that, if you want to use a word, it needs a commonly understood definition in order for you to be understood when placing that word in a conversation.

          • Guest

            Unless you point out that group-working Pagans aren’t Solitaries, or people will be furious.(lulz)

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            People will be furious anyway.

            I really don’t understand why so many ‘Pagans’ keep hammering on about inclusivity, tolerance and a sense of vagueness of meaning that renders and sense of solidarity flaccid.

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

            In fact, “not following Jesus” is the true-blue, original definition of “Pagan”, and it still works for me.

  • http://www.paganawareness.net.au Gavin Andrew

    As the female lead (pictured), apparently a ‘witch-hunter’, would almost undoubtedly have faced burning as a witch herself for wearing male clothing, I can’t approach this movie with anything other than amused contempt.

    • cernowain greenman

      Actually, I was appalled to read a quote from the movie where Hansel says, “Some people will say that
      not all witches are evil. That they’re powers could be used for good. I say BURN
      THEM ALL!” I really, really hope that line was written out.

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        Honestly, I would be less concerned with poor dialogue and worry more about the mentality of anyone that thinks employing Gemma Arterton to act is a good idea.

    • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

      Not only that but Gemma Arterton is also polydactyl, which is far more a burning offense in those times than her manner of dress.

  • M