Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  February 8, 2013 — 6 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.

Cécile Pouilly, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Cécile Pouilly, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

  • In response to the burning of Kepari Leniata in Papua New Guinea, covered here at The Wild Hunt yesterday, Amnesty International and the United Nation’s human rights office have both urged the government to take “concrete” actions to stop witch-killings in the Commonwealth nation. Quote: “We urge the Government to put an end to these crimes and to bring perpetrators of attacks and killings to justice through thorough, prompt and impartial investigations in accordance with international law […] We note with great concern that this case adds to the growing pattern of vigilante attacks and killings of persons accused of sorcery in Papua New Guinea […] We urge the Government to take urgent action to prevent further cases through education, to provide protection to persons accused of sorcery and witnesses of sorcery-related killings, and to provide medical and psychosocial treatment for victims.” Let us hope that the death of Kepari Leniata was not in vain, and this will trigger safeguards against this horror happening again in Papua New Guinea. 
  • The Pagan Newswire Collective bureau in Minnesota reports on the 6th anniversary of the Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance, and debates whether there will be a 7th as membership has dwindled in recent years. Quote: “The organization notes that while over 300 people have been involved with UMPA over the past six years, membership has dwindled and that is prompting leadership to ask members and the community, ‘… does this mean UMPA is no longer needed? We don’t know. This is an opportunity gather for a great meal, entertainment, and to join in and discuss the future of UMPA; either find some new leadership and participation, or dissolve the organization and pass on any funds raised to another non-profit.'”
  • Author and magician Donald Michael Kraig has been named “Acquisitions Editor: Magic(k) and Occult Topics” over at Llewellyn Worldwide and he wants you to write! Quote: “I’ve been fortunate enough to travel all over the U.S. and Europe giving workshops. Everywhere I go I hear the same sort of thing, “I could write a better book!” Whenever I hear people say that I encourage them! “Please do! We need new books and better books all the time.” Some of the people I’ve encouraged have gone on to write numerous popular books. They had the determination to do the work and see it through to the end. I congratulate them!” Congratulations to Kraig on his new role! 
  • Science Fiction blog io9 takes the new film version of The Sorcerer and the White Snake to task for making a religious/supernatural persecutor the hero, when he should have been the villain. Quote: “If [Jet] Li had simply been a villain — or if the movie had allowed him to be –- White Snake could have surpassed a lot of the limitations it sets upon itself; one genuinely interesting performance can make up for a lot of mediocre special effects. In one version of the original Chinese fairy tale, Fahai actually is the villain — although he’s a vengeful terrapin demon who takes the form of a monk, rather than an actual monk. But I can’t help but think that would have been a better choice for everyone.”
  • While I’m on the subject of io9, they review a recent episode of the show Supernatural that apparently had an abundance of OTO/Crowley references. Quote: “Last night’s episode of Supernatural had a lot to offer: a hot lady in a great 1950s dress, several Aleister Crowley references, and at least one trip to the coolest comic book store in the world.” [Hat-tip Invocatio]
  • It seems that Satan totally loves the full moon.
  • What do you do when you rely on the conservative Christian vote, but know that the country is getting more and more religiously diverse? Can you please one without alienating the other? Quote: “The challenge confronting the GOP as it attempts to broaden its base is not limited to Jewish voters. A survey conducted by Pew last year found that more than six in ten (61%) non-Christian affiliated Americans (a group that includes Hindus, Jews and Muslims) agreed that ‘religious conservatives have too much control over the Republican Party.’ Nearly two-thirds of religiously unaffiliated Americans also affirmed this statement. These groups are among the fastest-growing religious communities in the U.S. And if the GOP is serious about appealing to these voters, its candidates must navigate the difficult path of keeping conservative Christians engaged and committed while not appearing beholden to them.”
A fiasidi pauses to say a silent prayer while sweeping the pathway between the shrines for the male Togbui Adzima deity and his wife, Mama Wena in the sacred forest. Photo: Dana Romanoff/The Revealer

A fiasidi pauses to say a silent prayer while sweeping the pathway between the shrines for the male Togbui Adzima deity and his wife, Mama Wena in the sacred forest. Photo: Dana Romanoff/The Revealer

  • The Revealer looks at life in and around the Adzima shrines in Ghana. Quote: “While visitors shape much of the activity in the shrines, they are also homes for the priests, their wives and their children. Since a priest is rarely allowed to leave the proximity of the shrine, his wives take turns staying with him and cooking his meals. The priests’ wives have their own homes nearby, built for them either by the priest or on their own, where they reside intermittently, along with their children or relatives. The priest’schildren visit daily, asking for lunch money and school fees. The shrines are not simply or only religious spaces—they’re households, with children running around, studying for school, preparing meals, washing clothes, and entertaining guests.” This is an amazing piece, please go read the whole thing.
  • Rev. Irene Monroe writes about how Haitian Vodou is accepting of LGBTQ people, even if some of the individual practitioners are not. Quote: “Gay males in Haitian Vodou embrace the divine protection of Erzulie Freda, the feminine spirit of love and sexuality. Gay males are allowed to imitate and worship her. Lesbians are under the patronage of Erzulie Dantor, a fierce protector of women and children experiencing domestic violence. Erzulie Dantor is bisexual and prefers the company women. Labalèn is a gynandrous or intersexual spirit. And LaSirèn who is the Vodou analogue of Yemayá, a maternal spirit, is a revered transgender.”
  • Oh, and Vodou didn’t cause the Superbowl blackout, in case you were wondering
  • At HuffPo ReligionPagan and interfaith minister Wes Isley has an honest question about grief. Quote: “Maybe that sense of spiritual isolation after grief is universal no matter what faith we practice. And maybe I’ll feel more like my old self in six months or so. But what if I don’t? What if I abandon this Pagan path? I’ve already lost my partner; must I lose my faith, too? This brings me to my central dilemma: Whatever spiritual path we choose should be able to sustain us through the toughest of times; if it fails to do so, is it worth keeping? Once before, I changed my faith when it no longer made sense and failed to sustain. Is that about to happen again?” Maybe some of my wiser readers can help him out? 

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


  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    I get that news junkie’s delight, Washington Post politics headlines online, and my favorites these days are about the GOP trying to re-brand itself. The Emperor, no longer imperial, needs new clothes. I’m pleased my gut feeling that “nones” are less susceptible than average to religious right propaganda, is validated by the pro’s at Pew.
    To Wes Isley, my sympathy at your loss of your partner. Perhaps you could journal or otherwise find some way to write down what does sustain you through this trying period, and later — when things are better — review it to see if a new faith path is indicated.

  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    Lots of interesting news, I’ll try to same something about each article (probably not meaningful, but something nonetheless.)

    As a commonwealth country, perhaps Papua New Guinea should be pressured by the rest of the commonwealth to do something about the troubling situation it has going on right now.

    If a group starts haemorrhaging members, it needs to find out why. Perhaps it is no longer relevant or perhaps it has done something notably against the ideals of its members.

    Everyone has a book in them, it is just finding the right words to fill it.

    Jet Li does make a good bad guy.

    I only watch Supernatural when it comes out on DVD, so I am lagging behind a bit at the moment. For me, that show will always infuriate more than it entertains. It is depressingly Christonormative.

    Who doesn’t love the full moon?

    The big problem I have with politics is that it is more about popularity than it is about policy. If the GOP is representing the desires of the core demographics, is it that important whether that demographic is large in number?

    I look forward to a time when Pagan shrines are common across the lands.

    I think more religions need to just be neutral when it comes to the gender spectrum. Should Vodou have to put out a statement like this?

    I can’t give anything deep or insightful about grief, but I will say that it is a selfish emotion. You mourn your loss. There is nothing wrong with selfishness. In fact, some times it is pretty important.

    • Guest

      my favorite Jet Li movie is “The One” and in it, he plays both the good guy and the bad guy, though some of it he’s fighting another badass martial artist that his face is transposed on through CGI

  • guest

    good roundup

  • kenneth

    Huff Post is miserable to work with for posting comments, so to Wes Isley:

    “……why, when you felt them calling you so strongly before, why are they now so silent?…”

    More than likely, they’re still calling you. You’re just not in any position to hear them right now. They get that. You’re not failing them or failing as a pagan to keep up your altar and normal routine of devotional and magick work etc.

    I can’t tell you whether you should abandon your faith for another, but I will suggest the criteria you are using will be unproductive wherever you look. People tend to evaluate religion as a piece of software. “Is it powerful enough to do x,y,z applications?” Will it make the death of someone we love OK or at least bearable?”

    Pagan religions won’t do that. Neither will any others out there, and those which purport to do so are selling the spiritual equivalent of opiates. They cannot make the death of a loved one OK because it is an inconsolable loss. That pain is the other side of the love you had for him. Those two things cannot exist apart from each other, any more than could electric and mangnetic fields. Numbing that pain with drugs or theology is not the answer. You need to embrace that pain even on the days you think it crush the breath from your body.

    You WILL have those days, and weeks and months, if you haven’t already. Forget 6-month targets. This acute phase will take you a year, probably two. If you let yourself take that journey properly, you will be maybe 85% better. That healing and grieving process will continue every day of the rest of your life. When you come out of the worst of it, you will see that that pain IS love and that your loved one hasn’t gone nearly so far from you as you think. You will always wish you had them with you on this plane, but you will find a different sort of intimacy that is real and can grow to depths beyond what you ever thought possible.

    What religion can do for you is to provide you with a way to understand life and death and give you a framework and tools for that journey, not an opiate or a helicopter ride above the rough terrain. Pagan religion can do that as well as any other IF it speaks to your heart and soul AND if you give its resources a fair shot. We have a treasure trove of mythology that offers some powerful insights into death. For ritual, I find there is NO better ritual resource for death anywhere than a well run Samhain. In my circle and others around here, we honor that day and hold it in deeper reverence than even Beltane (it is Beltane in another guise, in fact). The ancestors we honor are THERE in the room with us.

    You should experience a good Samhain. It will change your life and your understanding of pagan religions death teachings. Come to the Chicago area for the one held by Angie Buchanan at Earth Traditions. You will not find a more powerful and well run public Samhain anywhere. If you want some professional counselors who are pagan themselves, look up Drake Spaeth or Selena Fox at Circle Sanctuary. Great people, both of them. I wish you well on your healing journey and whatever spiritual path you follow.