Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  March 4, 2013 — 18 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.

Captions from Young Avengers #2.

Captions from Young Avengers #2.

  • Last week, the comic book Young Avengers #2 had the conversation that many Pagan comic-book fans were awaiting: What’s up with Wiccan calling himself “Wiccan”? Here’s hoping it leads to a new code-name that isn’t also the name for a, well, Wiccan. The issue was written by Kieron Gillen with art by Jamie Mckelvie, the same team who did the criminally under-appreciated Phonogram miniseries (which should be required reading for anyone who loves the intersection of music and magic).
  • Some Charismatic Christians are worried that the practice of prophetic ministry might be crossing the line into “witchcraft” for some.  Quote: “When he released the words over me, it came with a spiritual force that made me feel as if I had been covered with goo. My eyes began burning. I felt like I was in a daze. It was spiritual witchcraft.” What’s interesting is that this piece gets close to admitting that a lot of charismatic practice is like magical energy work, and that it’s too easy to blur the boundaries. Now, if they’ll address spiritual warfare…
  • Are rooster heads found at a North Carolina cemetery ”Voodoo”? No one knows for certain, but let’s wildly speculate anyway. Quote: “Brandy Nunn told Fox Charlotte, ‘God only knows what they’re really doing with cutting heads off. What are they really messing with over there?’” I’m sure that no one will jump to conclusions over this.
  • Bleeding Cool covers a new witchcraft-themed comic book, “The Westwood Witches,” complete with human sacrifice and appearance by Baphomet. It’s a “horror” book, so take that as you will. Quote: “It’s not just about witchcraft but about beliefs, too. What seems real to us sounds like nonsense to others, and that’s the power of literature… and quackery. But overall, The Westwood Witches is a tale about neighborhood and neighbors. In this book, they’re beautiful, they’re kind, and they’re demon worshippers. You could say it’s like Desperate Housewives with macabre murderings”.
  • Indie art-rockers Yeah Yeah Yeahs have a new album coming out in April, and their lead single “Sacrilege” is influenced by “the New Orleans vibe. Just the juju in the air.”
  • It’s the collapse of mainline Protestent political power, and I feel fine. 
  • Religion in American Historyponders the reactions to Hinduism by U.S. President John Adams. Quote: “Adams consistently compares Hindu religion to Roman Catholicism in the margins, writing ‘Oh Priestcraft!’ and labeling Hindu practices as ‘ridiculous observances.’ When Priestley writes, “But the Hindoos go far beyond the rest of mankind in voluntary restrictions and mortifications,” Adams asks ‘Far beyond the Romish Christians?’ in the margin.”

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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  • Mark S

    Well, of course he’s against academia being banished from Burning Man; he’s an academic. Seriously though: what does Burning Man have to do with pagans?

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      Have you been to Burning Man?

  • LezlieKinyon

    So, guess I won’t be going to burning Man any time soon…

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

    Wiccan’s been aroujnd for years, ever since they started the whole New Avengers thing. Most people thought it was a pretty terrible name to begin with, but the criticism sounds a lot better coming from Loki.

    I’ll be contrarian and say it’s not a completely unlikely name for a kid with no magical background who suddenly lucks into mystical abilities and finds out he’s the son of Scarlet Witch (which, really, is just as problematic a name if not worse). In that situation, picking your name by the first ‘witchy’ sounding thing off the shelves of your nearest bookstore’s “Religious-Spiritual” section might actually be kind of rational.

    • Luminous_Being

      I actually really like that his hero name is Wiccan. His mother is the Scarlet Witch so it always worked for me. His creators mentioned early on that he would explore Wicca to some degree.

      His original name was Asgardian (when he was more based on Thor than the Scarlet Witch) but as was pointed out by his teammates in one issue: the press would have a field day with a gay hero whose name sounds like “Ass Guardian”

  • Stacey Lawless

    It seems to be headless chickens in the Charlotte cemetery, not chicken heads. Though that does make it slightly more likely that they are there in the graveyard for some sort of ritual purpose, the local Fox affiliate’s tone was pretty annoying: the usual mix of scaremongering and disdain. Charlotte’s in my state; I’m going to see if I can find any more coverage of this thing.

    • Stacey Lawless

      Happily, it looks like the headless-chicken story isn’t going anywhere. The story has popped up a few places online, but that seems to be it for the present. I talked to some Pagan and Heathen acquaintances in Charlotte last night, and they had not heard about it. They gave me the name of the local botanica; when I called this afternoon, they had heard about the chicken incident but said they weren’t worried about an adverse response.

  • Ivy

    Interesting that a description of “spiritual witchcraft” is so rife with seeming double entendres of the sexy sort, that it’s a wonder it wasn’t written by a high school-age fan fiction writer.

    • cernowain greenman

      That’s how most articles in the magazine Charisma are written. They focus on an emotional response, not an intellectual one.

  • Gwyn

    I’m really pleased to see the Young Avengers panels here! (At first I was confused and thought I had opened the wrong page, because I do follow that series.).

    Loki was the perfect one to call Wiccan out on his codename (And someone has needed to do it since the beginning of the series.) And I’m pleased that the writers are in this way acknowledging that Wiccan’s codename is problematic!

  • Deborah Bender

    The article on the decline of the National Council of Churches appeared in the American Spectator, a magazine of conservative politics, which accounts for the tone of glee. I’m old enough to remember when the organization was in its prime; I knew its fortunes had faded but I had no idea things were this bad. I think the analysis Mark Tooley offers about the reasons for the sharp decline in the NCC’s influence has merit, but to be fair, many other movements and institutions of U.S. society lost their moorings and common sense for awhile around 1968.

    Not being a social or religious conservative like the article’s author, I don’t view the disappearing influence of the NCC as a Good Thing. Despite the period of flirtation of some of its member churches with leftist revolutionary politics and atheism, their forms of political engagement were IMO more benign than the latter-day Christian Right’s. By being an organization that included black denominations, Orthodox churches, moderate and liberal white Protestant denominations, they modeled and practiced inclusiveness and tolerance within the house of Christianity, something which has been unusual in Christian history. The NCC also engaged in dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church and Jewish denominations on a basis of mutual respect. Though that seems narrow rather than inclusive today, it was a step forward in its time. It laid the foundation for the recognition and inclusion of many other religions in the interfaith movement, which benefits American Pagans now.

    Unlike Jason, I don’t expect that America in which Christianity is no longer dominant will be a better place to live. It might or might not be; that depends on what takes Christianity’s place.

    • Lēoht Sceadusawol

      Post-Christian America might not be a better place to live, but it could well have a positive effect on the rest of the world.

    • cernowain greenman

      The decline of the NCC is not good news. Christianity loses a voice that was tolerant, inclusive and ecumenical. It wasn’t the NCC’s politics, but the growing old of their denominational church members that doomed it. The anti-institutionalism of the 1960′s caused that generation to reject good organizations (like the NCC) and bad ones alike. Now, without the NCC, American Christianity is finally at its worst as it bashes other religions, including Pagan ones, and the voices of reason within the church are now completely marginalized.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      In my gloomier moments I think that it hardly matters if Christianity is replaced in the Southern and rural parts of the country. The narrow-mindedness and reflexive othering of the different would remain ingrained, and the nature of our country would still be a subject of struggle.

      • Deborah Bender

        The values that Judaism inculcates seem to be passed down for about three generations after a Jewish family becomes completely secular; after that, the offspring think and behave like everybody else. So you may be right.

      • cernowain greenman

        There will always be a “city” vs. “country” divide. It’s what made the old TV shows “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Green Acres” so popular. In some ways Paganism bridges that divide, since many Pagans live in urban areas and yet honor the Nature that the country people enjoy.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          True enough, but it’s the fate of Pagans living in rural areas that concerns me. Consider how cagey festival providers are about the exact rural location of their event in their publicity, vs how open the publicity for an urban campus event.

  • Malaz