Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  January 30, 2014 — 22 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.

Photo by: Jason T. Pitzl

Photo by: Jason T. Pitzl

  • What would a Millennial-created faith look like? According to a new Religion Dispatches piece major features would be “no Hell, no priests, no punishment.” Quote: “Most of the religions my class invented incorporated Eastern religious ideas like meditation— especially meditation used for psychological growth or personal fulfillment—as well as ideas like reincarnation and karma. When Western religions were included, the pieces taken from them were such things as pilgrimage, like the hajj to Mecca required by Muslims, or rituals like prayer. But the prayer was of a particular stripe, always centering on personal—or even material—enrichment. There were several components of religion that were glaringly absent. Not one of them had career clergy who were in charge of services, rituals, or care of the congregation. There were, for the most part, no regular meetings of the faithful. Some had monthly or annual gatherings, like conferences, but most were very individualized religions, centering on personal growth and enrichment away from a physical community.” Boy, that sounds really familiar, but I just can’t place my finger on it…
  • Thanks to reality star Wiccan Carlton Gebbia, the Psychic Eye Book Shop in California just got thousands in free publicity. Quote: “Want to delve into Wicca like Carlton Gebbia? Now we know just the place to send you to! The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star was spotted stocking up on supplies during an afternoon outing on January 29. The 40-year-old designer was photographed browsing her way through the Psychic Eye Bookshop, where she picked up some incense and what appeared to be books.” I can see Psychic Eye’s new tagline now: “we sell incense and what appears to be books.”
  • Some Christians are totally OK with a Satanic statue being erected on the Oklahoma capitol lawn. Quote: “The leader of a Satanic temple said he has been touched by the support his group has received for its proposal to place a monument next to the Ten Commandments at the Oklahoma State Capitol. “It’s really encouraging. It’s really moving. We do get a lot of messages that start out with the caveat, ‘You know I am a Christian.’ However, and they explain that they appreciate what we’re doing,” Lucien Greaves, a spokesperson for the Satanic Temple, told KWTV.” Tell you what, I’ll totally support a multi-faith public square if all Christian monuments are automatically balanced with a mandatory Satanic monument. How does that sound?
  • Cultural conservative were not fond of the Grammys! I am shocked, shocked. Quote: “Conservative commentator Erik Rush admitted he didn’t actually watch the Grammy Awards last night, but still observed that the ‘Same Love’ performance ‘makes you want to vomit.’ Rush said the performance was led by ‘a disgusting pack of subverts’ who want America ‘shepherded down the path to Hell.'” Meanwhile, Grammy officials were gratified to hear that someone still thinks they’re culturally relevant.
  • Some Papal blood was stolen recently, but it probably wasn’t Satanists. Quote: “But what would someone do with the stolen relic? Irwin said in centuries past, relics were regularly stolen to give influence to a community. But in today’s globally flat world, could a town, no matter how remote, keep secret such an item? ‘Who is going to ‘fess up to stealing this?’ Irwin said. ‘My hope upon hope is it’s being used to venerate.'” Seriously folks, probably not Satanists.

  • So the Katy Perry performance at the 2014 Grammys was something that happened. Apparently some folks are offended, so I guess mission accomplished? Personally, I’ve seen more shocking stuff at Midwestern goth club nights. This was one step up from Disney’s Haunted Mansion… maybe.
  • Hey, love the idea of blasphemy laws? Move to Pakistan where terrible things can happen to you if you belong to the wrong faith. Quote: “Pakistan’s blasphemy law is increasingly becoming a potent weapon in the arsenal of Muslim extremists. Although Pakistan has never executed anybody under the law, vigilantes frequently entrap and sometimes kill adherents of minority religions accused of blasphemy. They have created a climate of fear, forcing frightened judges into holding court sessions inside jails and keeping witnesses from coming to the defense of those on trial.” Separation of Church and State may not be a perfect system, but I’ll take it over just about anything else out there.
  • A man in New York killed his girlfriend and her daughter, clutching a Bible, claiming they were “witches.” Quote: “A hammer-wielding madman found clutching a bible after allegedly bludgeoning his girlfriend and her daughter to death in their Queens home because he believed they were “witches” who were casting spells on him, authorities said on Wednesday.” 
  • The Chicago Reader profiles local Wiccan Marty Couch. Quote: “If I ever write a book, it’s going to be called Free and Cheap Wicca, because it’s a religion that people can spend a lot of money on. You can buy everything from robes to crystals to cauldrons—all these things people think are going to make everything that much more magical—and for the most part, they’re just making revenue for the source. You don’t need to buy anything at all. The god and goddess are everywhere.”
  • Scholars have discovered new poems by ancient Greek poetess Sappho. Quote: “The two poems came to light when the owner of an ancient papyrus, dating to the 3rd century A.D., consulted an Oxford classicist, Dirk Obbink, about the Greek writing on the tattered scrap. Dr. Obbink, a MacArthur fellow and world-renowned papyrologist, quickly realized the importance of what the papyrus contained and asked its owner for permission to publish it. His article, which includes a transcription of the fragmentary poems, will appear in a scholarly journal this spring, but an on-line version has already been released.”

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


  • gary p golden jr

    “…So the Katy Perry performance at the 2014 Grammys was something that happened. Apparently some folks are offended…”

    Annnnnnd I went and read the comments…

    • Oididio

      “Personally, I’ve seen more shocking stuff at Midwestern goth club nights.”
      I can attest to this.

  • thelettuceman

    Re: Papal Blood

    And somewhere, Dan Brown is furiously scribbling a new manuscript.

    • Relics are always a hot commodity item. I’m not surprised. I imagine whoever took the blood it was to sell it on the underground relics market. Lots of PJP2 fans out there who would want a drop for healing, I imagine.

      • Wolfsbane

        Why would Satanists need to steal John Paul II’s blood?
        After the crimes against humanity the man committed when he was alive, it’s not like their boss didn’t have access to any piece of him he desired to have access to within five minutes of John Paul II dying.
        So if they desired any, all they’d have to do is ask him.

  • “Personally, I’ve seen more shocking stuff at Midwestern goth club nights.”

    Are you kidding? Alice Cooper on The Muppet Show was more shocking. Also, I never realized before that you summon demons with stripper poles. It certainly explains a lot about a former roommate of mine.


    • I watched Katy’s performance and I felt she was mocking gothic culture. I could be wrong, though, about her intentions, whatever they may be.

      • Merlyn7

        What gave you that impression?

        • I felt her energy was rather blasé. And to be honest, I think she a lot of her acts come from a desire to put her new life into the face of her old pentecostal friends and family of origin.

  • Hey Jason can you send me an email to my public addy shawnuscoc@gmail.com I want to show u my recent post about a cause i am taking up trying to get the state of PA to change their laws so ordained witches can marry. i think since my last comment had a url in it your server rejected it. We have commented back and forth before. Lee / Shawnus

    • Lee, I saw your link. I’ll include it in an upcoming community news round-up.

  • Sarah

    That first article makes me wonder why we don’t value community more. The author seems to think that the only reason groups would meet weekly is to be preached at by an authority figure, and that makes me sad. What about the value of what you learn from your co-religionists, who are on their own amazing journeys of spiritual discovery? What about the emotional, physical, and financial support people share? What about the incredible energy of being in a room full of people focused on the same purpose?

    • Boris

      As Hagbard Celine (Illuminatus!) said: communication is only possible between equals.

      • I don’t know if it was community that Illunimatus was speaking about when he said this. Communication of ideas happens all the time between people of different status.

    • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

      I think people also underestimate the value of having dedicated clergy and temples.

  • Scott Schulz

    A quick translation of the Sappho verses into English is up at the languagehat blog: http://languagehat.com/new-sappho/ .

    • Deborah Bender

      Thanks for the link. Translation and comments on pronunciation of Greek and Latin poetry very interesting to me.

      The quick translation did not attempt to reproduce the music of the original, only the sense, but even so it seems to be a very decent poem.

      I have long hoped that more of Sappho’s work would turn up.

  • Merlyn7

    I’m not certain why it took this long to invent a broomstick pole dance – I’m just glad it has happened.

    • Isabel

      Yeah, I liked that part too!

      However, I found the performance as a whole uncomfortable watching. Mainly because it strongly suggested that a strong woman must be doing ‘black magic’, or how else can she be so influential? If I’m not mistaken that rapper guy even compared her to the ‘cannibal’ that was in the news some years ago. That is not a compliment, moreover cannibalism is an accusation traditionally used against witches.

      What I found most shocking is the burning of the witch in the end. People seem to think the circle of fire is a ritual circle, but it’s obviously a burning pyre, also given Katy’s expression while being ‘burned’. Besides being in extremely poor taste, given that women are still being burned for ‘witchcraft’ all over the world, the message clearly is that powerful women should be destroyed.

      These powerful visuals enter our subconscious, which thinks in symbols not words. Our subconscious isn’t aware of their pop context. I don’t think this kind of stuff is harmless, albeit not for the same reasons as the anti-Satanists!

      • When Katy’s dancers cast the circle with red powder I think “Oh, ritual circle.” Then when it goes up in flames and she’s leaning against the broom I think “Oh, witch burning!” I think you’re right about what’s happening subconsciously.

  • NoBodE

    Unfortunately, a moratorium has been put on any monuments being put up alongside the ten commandments.there are supposed to be requests from Buddhists, Hindus and (rumor has it) the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The state senator who had the monument erected on State property was told it was unconstitutional before he did it. He and his fellow xians have decided it is better to spend tax money on a court battle that was decided long ago.

  • Wolfsbane

    I think Oklahoma Pagans should show the breath and depth of our respect for this ten commandments monument placed upon public land. I recommend doing so by arranging for it to be anointed at least nightly or more often, if the manpower is available.

    I suggest a trip to your local hardware store or pool maintenance supply store to procure some muriatic acid, which can then be used to show our respect by liberally anointing the monument. If that’s not available, white vinegar or even citrus juices could be used.

    It’s so important to keep public monuments clean. Let’s show our civic mindedness by helping with this task.