Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  December 5, 2013 — 25 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.

  • Will Marianne Williamson become the first New Age guru elected to Congress? Williamson, who rocketed to fame with the publication of “A Return to Love” in 1992, is challenging Democrat Henry Waxman in California’s 33rd Congressional District of the U.S. House of Representatives. Quote: “In these first days of her unlikely campaign, Ms. Williamson is making the case that an injection of her brand of spirituality is what American politics needs. ‘America has swerved from its ethical center,’ she said. ‘Most of us want to feel that we can have a progressive conversation and contextualize it morally. To me, drone use is a moral issue.’” Unseating the popular Waxman may be difficult, and Democratic operatives are skeptical that she’ll succeed. Still, Williamson’s candidacy does introduce an interesting dynamic of spiritual progressive “Left-Coast” superstars deciding to take an active interest in political matters.
  • The Hopi Tribe has filed suit against a Paris auction house, hoping to stop the sale of sacred Katsinam masks. French laws are far more permissive about such sales, and doesn’t have the regulations that the United States has regarding indigenous sacred items. Quote: “Advocates for the Hopis argue that selling the sacred Katsinam masks as commercial art is illegal because the masks are like tombs and represent their ancestors’ spirits. The tribe nurtures and feed the masks as if they are the living dead. The objects are surreal faces made from wood, leather, horse hair and feathers and painted in vivid pigments of red, blue, yellow and orange.” This is not the first time such a sale has transpired, and the Hopis hope this new round of court battles will provide a different outcome.
  • The Guardian reports that the Vatican and Bodleian libraries have launched an online archive of ancient religious texts. Included in those texts will be several works of interest to my readers. Quote: “The works to be digitised include the small but staggering collection of Greek manuscripts in the Vatican, including ancient texts of works by Homer, Sophocles, Plato and Hippocrates.” 
  • I maybe be downright chilly towards the antics of New Age gurus, but early New Age music? That’s another thing entirely. Quote: “Forget everything you think you hate about New Age music. I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1999 is a stunning compilation of beautiful, chill, complex, psychedelic, trancy, spacey, and surprisingly deep music that was self-published and self-distributed, mostly on cassette tapes in a 1970s and early-1980s heyday of experimentalism.” Like Disco, commercial plunder ruined the genre, but both are having their proper place in history restored.
  • Televangelist Paul Crouch, founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, died on November 30th. During his life Crouch was dogged by accusations of fiscal impropriety and plagiarism, among other things. The Los Angeles Times has a thorough obituary for the curious.
Lance Reddick

Lance Reddick

  • Actor Lance Reddick, famous for his work with the show Fringe, is joining the cast of American Horror Story: Coven as the loa Papa Legba, who oversees communication, and acts as the intermediary between our world and the word of spirits and powers (as such he is uniquely honored within Haitian Vodou). There’s just one problem, he’s being decribed as, quote, “voodoo Satan” by the producers. Quote: “The character, described as Coven‘s version of ‘voodoo Satan,’ plays a pivotal role in the life of Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) and will be an important figure in the series’ remaining four episodes. Show co-creator Ryan Murphy teased Legba’s involvement in our recent EW AHS: Coven cover story: ‘You find out that’s how come Marie Laveau looks so good — because she sold her soul!’” So, that’s problematic, to put it nicely. I imagine practitioners of Vodou who are already unhappy with how their faith is being portrayed won’t be especially pleased by this new turn of events. I will be following up on this story soon.
  • Brooke McGowan of the Tea Party News Network is apparently concerned that Wiccans are making God, like, really, really, angry. Quote: “In this nation we have turned away from the God of the Bible and we’ve told him he’s simply not welcome here,” McGowan said. “We have welcomed pluralism, atheism, secular humanism, Wicca and even Islam.” What a charmer! I bet she’s fun at parties.
  • The Fayette County jail in Pennsylvania will now allow Wiccan services for inmates thanks to the efforts of Kathryn Jones. Quote: “Kathryn Jones of Uniontown told the board Wednesday she has ’15 years’ leadership as a Wiccan.’ [...] Jones said she had been permitted to conduct services in the prison chapel in the past, but recent requests have been denied. ‘I’ve asked for months for a visit in the chapel,’ Jones said. [...] Angela Zimmerlink and Vincent Zapotosky, county commissioners who serve on the prison board, said Jones’ requests are to be granted, provided her requested times do not interfere with previously scheduled uses of the room.” Sometimes, activism can be a simple as not going away.
  • Here’s the first official trailer for Pompeii, out in February. Quote: “The film stars Kit Harington as an enslaved Celtic gladiator named Milo who falls in love with a noblewoman (Emily Browning) on the eve of a massive volcanic eruption that destroys Pompeii, an event that also brings him face-to-face with the man who slaughtered his family years earlier.”

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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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • g75401

    American Horror Story: Coven is nothing more than a point of humor at this point. Sure, I’m sure the new character will offend Voudoin practitioners, but I’m pretty sure they’ve already been offended. The show started off offending wicca and witchcraft. To me, it got truly ridiculous when the headmistress asked when the next full moon was…

    • Merlyn7

      The show does not make any reference to Wicca.

  • Mojavi

    I could never understand the audience’s (a percentage of) insistence for AHS:Coven to depict realistic witches. AHS is a work of fiction, not a documentary.

    • Lēoht Sceadusawol

      Possibly because it is about time someone did?

      • Luna

        Sure, right after police procedurals start depicting realistic timelines in solving cases, realistic tech, realistic cops…

        • Lēoht Sceadusawol

          That would also be good, yes.

          • Merlyn7

            I’m not so sure, you would have to get people to watch 48 minutes of taking notes and filing paperwork every week. People don’t pay their cable bills to engross themselves in reality each month.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            You’ve seen the popularity of reality TV?

          • Merlyn7

            You aren’t for one minute insinuating that reality TV is realistic are you? In real life we don’t compete in zany contests every week with the possibility of being voted out of what we’re doing.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            Not suggesting that it is realistic, merely that people will watch anything.

          • Gaddy

            Yes, but ironically that actually proves Merlyn7′s point…

    • Susan Skyes

      Do most tv shows depict realistic christians? Why yes! Yes, they do! So why can’t other religions also be depicted properly? OR the next season of AHS should be called ‘CONGREGATION’ and have normal, everyday Southern christians with their cannibalistic Sunday communion (it’s supposed to be someone’s body AND blood, right?), and hippie, anger management needing, zombie lord. CAN’T WAIT.

      • MarkTemporis

        I wouldn’t be surprised if they did a season on snake-handlers.
        There was mention this season that one of the characters was burned by her own cult, so Christians probably won’t come off so good this season either. It’s just an alternate universe where all religions are run by the most horrible, corrupt version of themselves. Fred Phelps is Pope.

        • Charles Cosimano

          There is a series about snake handlers.

    • MarkTemporis

      There’s a huge gap between ‘depicting realistic witches’ and ‘outright slandering their religion’. This falls around the latter part. I’m loving AHS for what it is, and have liked Lance Riddick in most of his stuff, so I’ll be cautiously optimistic, but AHS has all kinds of weird holes in its research: it’s not like they didn’t bother finding out, but more like they DID bother finding stuff out but decided to make shit up instead.

  • http://www.cernowain.com/ cernowain greenman

    That is a very well made and energetic campaign clip for Marianne Williamson. She’s smart, she’s beautiful, she is a gifted speaker… I look forward to seeing how well she does. I hope her idealism can translate into practical leadership in the world of politics.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      Oh, the curse of growing old. There was a time when I would have resonated strongly with Williamson’s speech. But then I saw what happened when millions of people my age did just that. Richard Nixon in the White House. Later, Ronald Reagan in the White House.If people across the country were ready for Williamson’s call, the Democratic Party would be invigorated thereby and eat the GOP’s lunch, instead of seeing which party can organize the loudest circular firing squad.Part of this is regional. I can see the Left Coast responding to her call (though I doubt she’ll out-poll Henry Waxman, a very experienced incumbent). But the rest of the country is different. I would love to see a wave of liberal populism sweeping the land, but I don’t expect it.

      • Charles Cosimano

        I can hear the jokes already.

    • Natalie Reed

      Marianne Williamson pointed me in the direction of Paganism – her book “A Woman’s Worth” is what made me aware of the Goddess movement and set me along this wonderful path. Though she is much more mystical Christian than pagan by any stretch, her tolerance and openness would be nice to see in our political system.

  • http://www.cernowain.com/ cernowain greenman

    Pompeii has the same misfortune of the movie Titanic… you know the ending already!

    • Merlyn7

      Spoilers! ;-)

  • http://www.forgingthesampo.com/ Kauko

    I’m hoping that at some point in Pompeii a red-haired woman comes up to Kit Harington’s character and says, “You know nothing, Milo.”

    • Jason Hatter

      I’m kind of hoping for a shot of a blue box, myself…

  • hellinahandbasket

    Marie Laveau evil? She was a mixed race witch and voodoo devil??? I admit for myself voodoo is an advanced practice and I won’t d it unless I know more about it. I take tv for what it is, a tool of mass consumption for the fourth reich of greed.

  • http://www.craftandconjure.com/ Priestess Najah

    I stopped watching AHS Coven, after the first episode. It upset me so much I couldn’t watch it. And on this day, as we honor the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, I see this show doing the same thing as has always been, taking the religious practices of the African Diaspora and turning it into some exotic carnival side show. My heart and soul winched at the portrayal of Marie LaVeau, who was a cultured, elegant, refined, loved, feared and respected woman of her time (and still is). I am not a practitioner of Voudoun, but I am tired of seeing my people portrayed as exotic, snake charmers, and not revered for the ancient knowledge and wisdom, we carry in our DNA.