Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  November 14, 2013 — 10 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.

A promotional image from American Horror Story: Coven.

A promotional image from American Horror Story: Coven.

  • At Time Magazine, Megan Gibson praises the re-ascension of the Witch in pop culture. Quote: “Now, witches are getting another crack at dominance. And I think that’s a good thing — particularly for the young girls and women who are the primary audience for these shows. Unlike the female leads in most vampire stories, women in witchcraft stories are typically depicted as strong, capable characters. They might not always be noble, but they’re certainly not weak or passive characters who sit on the sidelines while the men take charge. Fictional witches are well-rounded characters with rich interior lives, while the females in vampire stories are the supernatural equivalent of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” Gibson also notes the amoral universe some contemporary fictional witches operate in these days, but thinks that “young girls and women don’t need role models from television, they need options.”
  • Could teaching about nutrition in India help deter accusations of witchcraft? Quote: “The Jharkhand State Women’s Commission is planning to approach the state government to hold nutrition programmes simultaneously with the awareness campaigns against withcraft to combat the superstition effectively. […] Superstitions were attached to illness caused by malnutrition among children and innocent women were often made responsible for this by branding them as witches. This could be curbed through joint campaigns by health mission and literacy programmes.”
  • Canada’s National Post reports on the World Mission Society Church of God, also known as the Church of God. Specifically, it notes that this Christian denomination worship a goddess. Quote: “Most Christian churches believe in one God, commonly described in male terms as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but the Church of God believes the Bible testifies that two Gods exist: God the Father and God the Mother. […] The church teaches that since the Bible testifies that men and women were both created in God’s own image, God actually has two images: male and female. In other words, there are two Gods – Heavenly Parents – who together created human beings in Their likeness.” There’s nearly 2 million members of this church, FYI.
  • After the controversy in 2012 over Canada eliminating all paid part-time chaplain services (starting with the Wiccans), effectively making government prison chaplaincy a Christian-only affair, the government has quietly tasked a private company with providing chaplaincy services. Quote: “Kairos Pneuma Chaplaincy Inc., a company started by a handful of current and former federal prison chaplains in direct response to the request for proposals issued in May, won the bid. Since October, about 30 full and part-time chaplains of all denominations, including Wicca and including many who worked in the federal prison system perviously, have been serving prisoners across the country, according to company president John Tonks.” Proponents of the new system says it promotes “equity” among prison chaplains.
  • In a shocking twist, a Christian columnist finds that he thinks Christianity is better than Paganism. Quote: “Absolute truth exists. And truth is not determined by the majority, but by the Truth-Giver. Most important, truth matters and consequences exist. We must be willing to discuss this so we can distinguish between good and bad ideas; or risk the consequence of being held back as individuals and/ora nation; or worse. If we don’t want to accept this, pray the pagans are right so that in the end it doesn’t matter.” He also has some feelings about gay marriage, again, shocking, I know.
Photo of a Vodou practitioner by Anthony Karen.

Photo of a Vodou practitioner by Anthony Karen.

  • Slate.com profiles photographer Anthony Karen, who has spent time documenting Haitian Vodou. Quote: “The Vodou faith teaches us to bless nature and support cosmic harmony for the purposes of mastering divine magnetism. Vodou accepts the existence of the visible and the invisible, in a sense that it is believed that one does not see all that exists, and Vodou is in full compliance with the laws of nature.” Be warned, some of the photos are of animal sacrifice and quite graphic. Meanwhile, Slate.com has also posted a photographic look at a Vodun fetish market in the nation of Togo.
  • So, it seems Charismatic Christians are using the phrase “religious witchcraft” for people who “shame” or “threaten” Christians into bowing “to their ungodly will.” Quote: “So when you discern religious witchcraft—which often manifests as intimidation, manipulation and maligning—don’t try to defend yourself. Let the Lord vindicate you. Don’t stop doing what God told you to do. Keep pressing into your kingdom assignment with confidence that He has your back—because He does.” I can only imagine the havoc this is going to cause Google-ing Charismatics. Good luck with all those Pagan search results!
  • Infamous Nigerian Christian leader Helen Ukpabio is trying to re-start her anti-witchcraft themed ministry. Quote: “Ukpabio has literally re-launched her witch hunting ministry which is blamed for the menace of child witchcraft allegations and human rights abuses in the region. For some time now her ministry has been criticized locally and international because of its role in fueling witchcraft accusation and related abuses in Nigeria and beyond. But she appears unrepentant, and unfazed by the criticisms. Ukpabio claims to be an ex-witch with a divine mandate and power to exorcize the spirit of witchcraft.” As I’ve pointed out before, Ukpabio has received support and money from American churches, and is a public face of the larger problem of Western missions directly or indirectly funding witch-hunting.
  • A Pagan priest in the UK is calling on goddesses to help find a lottery ticket winner, because, well, why not? I guess? Quote: “David Spofforth, priest of Avalon, has called on the help of ancient Goddesses to reveal the holder of an unclaimed EuroMillions lottery ticket. […] The self-styled Priest of Avalon priest conducted a 20-minute ceremony at St Ann’s Well in Hove, which is said to be the starting point of ley lines running across the South Downs.”
  • Satanic Panic, it really was a thing folks. Seriously.
  • 6% of libertarians belong to a non-Christian religion, while 27% claim to be religiously unaffiliated. This places them at odds with the rest of modern-day conservative-leaning groups. Quote: “By contrast, more than one-third (35 percent) of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement are white evangelical Protestants, while roughly equal numbers identify as Catholic (22 percent) or white mainline Protestant (19 percent), and fewer than 1-in-10 (9 percent) are religiously unaffiliated.”

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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  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Good news on the Canadian prison chaplaincy reform. Maybe California could import it.

    • Macha NightMare

      No, not good news, Baruch, at least not that I can see. Kairos has a distinctly Xtian and evangelical approach. I lead the Wiccan circle at San Quentin, and one Saturday when I went there for a circle, the Kairos folks had taken over almost the entire meeting areas (rooms, chapels, prison courtyard) for the entire weekend! We Pagans had to walk thru their crowds to get to our wee meeting room-cum-chapel. I don’t know a whole lot about them, but I do know that they get what appears to me to be the royal treatment from prison authorities, and I can tell you from experience that for us every little thing is an uphill battle.

      And besides, where is this Kairos group supposed to find a Wiccan chaplain? Technically we don’t have any, altho plenty of Pagans, myself included, provide (some) services customarily provided by chaplains.

      I’m just sayin’…..

      • cernowain greenman

        I found Kairos Pneuma online and they state that they are interfaith. Kairos Pneuma means “it’s time for spirit”, which they chose specifically to be inclusive. They are networking to find chaplains of all stripes and religious traditions. Macha, I not sure about what your experience means but we shall see how things unfold in Canada.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Thanks for the info. If they include Wicca it’s still Fabian progress. But your experience looks like the same old dominionism.

      • KhonsuMes Matt

        As you said to me once, ‘small steps’.
        And I know you are making those steps count.
        We’ll get there.

  • Merlyn7

    “Unlike the female leads in most vampire stories, women in witchcraft stories are
    typically depicted as strong, capable characters.”

    I agree, even the most nervous, insecure character on AHS wielded a chainsaw in the last episode.

    • PegAloi

      That was awesome; even The Walking Dead has not used chainsaws on zombies yet.

  • Josh

    I stopped reading the Neal Hooks article after the fifth paragraph. He jumps from an absolute, 2+2=4, to the claiming the universe and moral compass requiring a creator as an absolute.

    Others will disagree, but I see nothing in the universe requiring a creator. On the cosmic scale of things, the universe, let alone our own galaxy, is too vast to claim an evolved species of monkeys on an insignificant rock are somehow special. If anything, our own planet is actively trying to kill us, and our solar system is one massive death trap.

    As for the “moral” compass, perhaps he has a different Bible than I do. Because the god of the old testament has a set of morals I would not want to follow.

  • Genexs

    The “reporter” who invaded a Pagan event comes off like he was channeling St. Ambrose-Lite. I feel sorry for the people he “interviewed”: judging from the comments section, some feel violated by the experience.

    • cernowain greenman

      I agree he’s not much of a reporter. He was pretty quick to put people in boxes, such as “postmodern”, “relativist”, “irreconcilable”, etc. I am guessing he was reacting to their tolerance and open-mindedness.