Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  August 2, 2013 — 35 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.



The Weird Sisters from Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' After Henry Fuseli (1741-1825); mezzotint by John Raphael Smith (1751-1812)

The Weird Sisters from Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’
After Henry Fuseli (1741-1825); mezzotint by John Raphael Smith (1751-1812)

  • Witches & Wicked Bodies, an exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, has just opened. Quote: “Witches and Wicked Bodies will be an investigation of extremes, exploring the highly exaggerated ways in which witches have been represented, from hideous hags to beautiful seductresses.” Highlights of the show can be found, here. Wish I could go! 
  • A warrant for the arrest of Satanist who did a graveside ritual to turn Fred Phelp’s mother gay in the afterlife has been issued. Quote: “Greaves said nine satanic church members from New York and other states descended on Mississippi for the ceremony.  He insists that no physical damage was done. ‘Desecration, by all the legal definitions I’ve read, usually involves digging up the grave,’ he said. ‘But we left it as we found it.’ The charges have sparked a huge amount of interest in the Satanic Temple. ‘The news of the gravesite ceremony was very slow to get out at first,’ he said. ‘But now it’s really gaining momentum. They’re threatening to arrest me. What it has done is rally support behind us. It keeps snowballing.'”
  • There should be Humanist chaplains because Wiccans! Quote: “Fleming’s rationale was that ‘there is no way that an atheist chaplain or atheist whatever can minister to the spiritual needs of a Christian or a Muslim, or a Jew, for that matter.’ I’d like to ask Fleming whether an atheist chaplain would be less preferable than a Wiccan (i.e. pagan) chaplain, inasmuch as Wicca is recognized as a religion by the military. In fact, Wicca has to be so recognized, under the Free Exercise Clause of the of the Constitution. It’s because Americans are guaranteed the right to practice their faith — and serving in the military makes that more difficult — that the hiring of military chaplains does not represent a violation of the Establishment Clause.” It’s always weird when your faith is used as prop in someone else’s argument, don’t you think? 
  • Stop trying to curse the IRS, I’m sure they’ve got whole teams of magicians working around the clock to counter-act the constant spiritual bombardment aimed at them. Plus, you no doubt risk getting audited. Quote: “Internal Revenue Service agents found an unwelcome surprise — and a possible witchcraft curse — on Friday when unknown individuals left a trio of charred, headless chickens outside the agency’s McAllen offices.” 
  • A Catholic rants against flameless candles, and no doubt echoes the sympathies of many Pagans. Quote: “But in the holy place, the flameless candle preaches a gospel of irrelevance. The simple flipping of the switch extinguishes the profound semiotic value of the votive candle. The flameless candle says that there is nothing significant in a flame’s dance of ascent, or in wax itself produced by the labor of bees and utterly exhausted by the peaceful but consuming flame.”

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


  • harmonyfb

    “Fleming’s rationale was
    that ‘there is no way that an atheist chaplain or atheist whatever can
    minister to the spiritual needs of a Christian or a Muslim, or a Jew,
    for that matter.’

    I’d like to ask him how in the sam hill he thinks that a Christian chaplain can minister to the spiritual needs of Wiccans (let alone atheists). But of course, nobody bothered to do so when he brought forward a self-serving amendment to deprive non-Christian soldiers of chaplaincy services.

    The flameless candle says that there is nothing significant in a flame’s dance of ascent, or in wax itself produced by the labor of bees and utterly exhausted by the
    peaceful but consuming flame.”

    For me, the flameless candle says “I can light it and walk away without worrying that my small children or my pets will set themselves (or something else) on fire.

    • cernowain greenman

      Chaplains (at least the good ones) can give spiritual and emotional support to people of other faiths because a chaplain helps the soldier find his or her own inner spiritual resources. Chaplains seek to support the soldier through the soldier’s personal journey.

      • harmonyfb

        But by Mr. Fleming’s argument, Humanist chaplains aren’t able to minister to Abrahamic faiths…so why isn’t he suggesting that Wiccans, Buddhists, Hindus, etc get their own chaplains? If Humanist chaplains can’t minister to monotheists, then clearly monotheist chaplains can’t minister to Pagans.

        • Lori F

          Don’t be silly. Why would a non-Abrahamic believer need a chaplain. They don’t have problems. [snark intended]

  • Jason Hatter

    “The flameless candle says that there is nothing significant in a
    flame’s dance of ascent, or in wax itself produced by the labor of bees
    and utterly exhausted by the peaceful but consuming flame.”

    Unless, of course, you use petroleum based candles like most people do nowadays.

    • JasonMankey

      I love flameless candles. It’s not quite the real thing, but you can stick them anywhere when you need a candle-like effect. It’s also great not to hear my wife worry about the house burning down.

      • I also appreciate the fact that my two-year-old cannot light herself, the dog, the house, or anything else on fire.

  • cernowain greenman

    The argument for a “Humanist chaplain in the military because Wicca is recognized” would be stronger if the military actually had a Wiccan chaplain. Circle Sanctuary is working hard on providing candidates for Wiccan military chaplaincy, but it has not yet happened. Hopefully it will come to pass in the next coming year or so.

  • cernowain greenman

    Electric candles actually do have a “flame”: it is the fire of a stream of electrons flowing through a tungsten filament. It’s all good.

    • AnantaAndroscoggin

      not-so-much for the LED type flameless candles, thought it’s nice that they do provide that flickering-flame impression.

  • Sunweaver

    After I saw Professor Gutting’s article, I emailed him about it and he very courteously replied that he had not been aware that there were current worshippers of Zeus until he’d written this article. The exchange was very pleasant and professional.

    • Crystal Hope Kendrick


    • Jay

      That was obvious from the article, but it was still one of the best representations of how polytheists view and experience the gods that I’ve ever seen in a mainstream publication.

  • LezlieKinyon

    Flameless candles vs wax as a theological issue… LOL!!

  • thelettuceman

    “Christians oppose Godsmack at Jackson County Fair. The rest of the world wonders why anyone would go to a Godsmack concert to begin with.”

    • Gaddy

      I tried to watch that video. I really did…

      • Wyrd Wiles

        Blasphemy!! Thou shalt not diss-eth the Godsmack!! XD

        (Just because this is text and I can’t convey tone, this is obviously meant as a jest.)

  • Umm, in the first bit about Godsmack maybe a bit of nit-pickiness here, but her name is spelled *Laurie* Cabot, not Lori…


  • You know, with the IRS bit above all I can think of is Shadowrun. ^_^

    • Wyrd Wiles

      Greeting, fellow gamer nerd. Come and join me below…. MUahahaha

      • See you in the shadows, chummer.

  • Crystal Hope Kendrick

    Is that the same Satanic temple that hired actors for Florida’s religion in public school law? And I love their idea of sponsoring a highway. Hilarious. This news roundup was especially comedic. Many thanks, Jason.

  • AnantaAndroscoggin

    One place I worked in the ’80s hired a new receptionist who turned out to be up here in Maine as a member of a missionary group sent up to us from Florida, which lost its funding and fell apart after they got here.

    Can’t say she gave any of us a very good impression of either her work ethics, nor of her “good sense”, seeing as she wore to work LITERALLY see-through blouses, and spray-painted on blue jeans with high spike heels. She only lasted a week.

  • Charles Cosimano

    You don’t curse the IRS, you curse it’s computers! sputtter sputter.

  • Deborah Bender

    The Grio badly needs a proofreader.

  • Yvonne

    I’d love to go to the Witches & Wicked Bodies exhibition too, but can’t make it…Hopefully there’ll be an interesting catalogue, and many reviews of the exhibition, so we’ll know what it’s like.

  • Ariana

    As a practicing Witch and Reverend and of an incorporated non-profit Religious Organisation that focuses on the needs of others, it does not depend on their beliefs it depends on their heart and when one seeks out the help of a Reverend they should be versed in all beliefs. Having had one of our members in the Military who served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan we worked directly with the Army Chaplin in securing his position as a DFGL as a Wiccan Reverend and working directly with those Wiccans in the Military, we had to incorporate an organisation and get it a FEIN number which is quite simple and then we provided him with the necessary documents as were required by the Army Chaplin and they went out of there way to work with myself and our member to meet the needs of those Wiccans in his unit while overseas. We had a great success and our Reverend ended up working directly with another DFGL who was of all faiths.

    • Lēoht Sceadusawol

      I’m not entirely sure I buy the notion that a reverend/priest should be versed in all beliefs.

      My stepfather is an Anglican Priest. He is such because he received a calling from his god. Why should he learn to serve other gods?

      • As I respect this site and do not wish any flaming.
        I never said that another has to serve another God, God, the Gods and Goddess are all from the same source. All I said that it was good to be versed in others beliefs, I personally do not honour another path other than my own, but I do have people who come to me who are not always of the Old Ways, or Wiccan, I have many who come to me who are not of the Old Ways at all, and because I respect their beliefs I am able to work with them.
        It is simply about respecting another beliefs whether or not you honour them or not. It is best to have knowledge of all paths as we live in a very religiously diverse world and when one looks closely we are not so far apart the source of all our beliefs is the Emerald Tablet, we all find the truth in our own way within.
        As Gandhi said until we can all accept one another for who we are and what we believe there will never be peace and harmony. Paraphrased of course.
        It is the opening of one’s heart and mind to allow love and acceptance of all.

        • TadhgMor

          Not all of us believe that “same source” philosophy.

          While I don’t mean to be rude, it would be very hard to truly respect my beliefs if you see not difference between your faith and mine. That is minimizing my beliefs by subsuming them under yours.

          The “Emerald Tablet” is a 6th to 8th century Arabic text. As in, it post-dates the majority of world faiths.

        • Lēoht Sceadusawol

          I will respectfully disagree with much that you have just said.

          You stated that a reverend should be versed in all beliefs. I do not understand why, when so many are incompatible with each other.

          As I said, my stepfather was called to serve his god. Not people.

          Gandhi said a great many things, including ‘be the change you want to see in the world’. Not everyone wants the same change, though.

          • harmonyfb

            You stated that a reverend should be versed in all beliefs. I do not
            understand why, when so many are incompatible with each other.

            I think she meant that they should have a working knowledge of other faiths. I mean, I’ve counseled people who didn’t share my religion – it’s hard, of course, to have to carefully weigh your words so as to not cause a grieving person additional stress, but it can be done.

            Unfortunately, I get the impression that some military chaplains are proud of the fact that they don’t know anything about faiths other than their own. ::shaking head::

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            Should they, though? So long as they know who to point a person to in such a situation, is that not enough?

          • harmonyfb

            If you don’t know anything about other faiths, you won’t know who to point your client towards. If you don’t know the difference between, say, Hellenic Wicca and Hellenismos, you won’t have any idea how to help your client. Likewise, not knowing the difference between the RCC and high church Episcopalians could lead to emotional difficulties for your client.