There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans and Heathens out there, sometimes more than our team can write about in-depth in any given week. Therefore, The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.
This week saw the death of Cuban leader and despot Fidel Castro (1926-2016). His brother Raul made the announcement Friday on Cuban TV, and word spread quickly evoking both cheers and mourning. Raul said:
“I say to the people of Cuba, with profound pain I come here to inform our people, our friends of America and the world, that today, 25 November, 2016, at 10:29 pm, died the chief commander of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz.”
Castro was born in 1926, and led a series of uprisings against Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. He was eventually successful, becoming president in 1959. Castro then transformed the small island nation according to his political and social agenda, and held power for nearly 50 years. Then, in 2007, brother Raul took over the presidency, when Castro became too ill to continue the work.
Castro’s revolution and his subsequent rule have left an indelible mark on international political history, and throughout his life, he triggered both disgust and passionate celebration. Cuban author and historian Louis E Perez is quoted as saying that Castro “was a historic figure way out of proportion to the national base in which he operated.” Will, as Castro once himself said, “history absolve him?” That will seemingly depend on when, where, and who writes that history.
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In a story we’ve been following closely, Standing Rock tensions continue to mount. As has been announced, the Army Corps of Engineers will be shutting down parts of the camp Dec. 5. “This decision is necessary to protect the general public from the violent confrontations […] and to prevent death, illness, or serious injury to inhabitants of encampments due to the harsh North Dakota winter conditions.”
In response, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement, “It is both unfortunate and ironic that this announcement comes the day after this country celebrates Thanksgiving – a historic exchange of goodwill between Native Americans and the first immigrants from Europe. Although the news is saddening, it is not at all surprising given the last 500 years of the treatment of our people.”
Visiting Pagans,and those involved in other ways, continue to send in reports to TWH, and we will share those accounts as we can.
- According to a Daily Beast article, Satanist Monica Lujan is suing a private prison for violating her religious rights and punishing her for her beliefs. “[New Mexico Women’s Correctional Facility] allegedly confiscated nearly all of Lujan’s belongings, leaving her with one pair of underwear, and no bedding for four months.” The chaplain reportedly also berated her in public and “called her the devil herself.” The ACLU of New Mexico is representing Lujan.
- A Virginia woman is fighting for her right to maintain a lush front yard garden. Lori Brent’s property is reportedly a certified wildlife habitat, and has been for over 10 years. Recently a neighbor’s complaint prompted a visit from the county inspector, who formally requested that Brent cut back her “overgrown” and “abundant plant life.” Instead of complying, she has decided to fight the county.
- Broadly posted an article about an Australian-based Pagan community and its Beltane festival. The article, “Overflowing with Joy and Pagan Pride at Australia’s Biggest Witch Party,” interviews Pagan Jae Llewellyn, and provides vivid photographs of the event and its attendees. While the article may appear positive to outsiders, it has, reportedly, provoked frustration from the local community. When asked specifically about the reported outrage, Fio Aengus Santika told The Wild Hunt that the article, which seemed to focus on the Wildwood tradition, was released “without any member of our Tradition being aware it would come out.” We’ll have more from Santika tomorrow in Pagan Community Notes.
- In a recent article, Heat Street reported on the growth of Paganism in the Army. The article, titled “Paganism Growing in The U.S. Army: Choose Your Own Gods,” follows the practice of Pagans in South Carolina’s Fort Jackson. There are interviews with several circle attendees, as well as leader Rachel Lichtenberger, “whose husband is a drill sergeant.” The video, which is embedded below, can be found at the top of the article and shares the same information.
- In Kenya, clerics have recently announced that if any candidate uses “witchcraft” to sway the election, they will be banned from church. According to the article, “Embu clergymen say wizards are set to make a killing in the polls.” A “killing” in this case means “get rich.” The article goes on to report on the financial gains made by alleged “wizards” who help aggressive politicians. While the claims of witchcraft-infused politics may seem familiar to an American population, who just witnessed similar claims in the November presidential election, it is important to remember that references to witchcraft in Kenyan culture and politics are not the same as that referenced in the American culture. Witchcraft-related abuses and violence continue to plague this region and to concern local and world human rights organizations.
- The Getty Research Institute, based in Los Angeles, is hosting an exhibit called The Art of Alchemy. “The mysterious art of alchemy transformed visual culture from antiquity to the Industrial Age, and its legacy still permeates the world we make today.” The exhibit opened in mid-October and will run through Feb. 12.
- Interested in the ouija board? Did you have the popular toy as a child? Or do you use a similar type spirit board in your magical practice? Here is a short video on the strange history and use of the board with Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America.