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. Before I begin, let me just remind everyone that the Pagan Japan Relief project, an initiative to raise 30,000 dollars for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières is just over 3,000 dollars from its final goal! That the Pagan community has been able to collectively raise nearly 27,000 dollars already is a monumental achievement, but lets do a final push, spread the word, and prove that serious fundraising for worthy causes can happen among our interconnected communities. For more background on this initiative, and why it’s important, check out Peter Dybing’s blog.
Now then, unleash the hounds!
- As if to underscore the recently released Australian Human Rights Commission survey on religion, which found that there is pervasive distrust of modern Pagans in that country, the Ballan Autumn Festival has banned a vendor’s wares under a clause forbidding “products or services relating to the occult, black magic or devil worship”. The festival secretary says the matter is resolved, but the Wombat Regional Arts Network says it’ll withdraw support until the regulations are reviewed.
- The New York Review of Books (paywall link) tackles “The Last Pagans of Rome” by Alan Cameron, a book that seeks to prove that Western paganism went out with a “whimper,” and that “the acceptance of classical literature, learning, and art by most elite Christians may actually have helped the last reluctant pagans to finally abandon the old cults and adopt Christianity.” This sounds like a book that tries to dismantle the idea of survivals, and resistance, that have grown up around this period. I’ll have to get my hands on it once the price ($85) comes down a bit.
- As the James Arthur Ray “death lodge” trial drags on, and is estimated to hear testimony well into June, court proceedings have drawn a wide variety of spectators. “A mix of family members of Ray and the victims, American Indians who have long valued the sweat lodge tradition and others wondering about the lure of Ray’s teachings” according to the Associated Press. With testimony about Ray’s business practices scheduled soon, expect that interest to only ramp up.
- Why did police in Queens confiscate colored powder from Hindus celebrating Holi? Parade organizer Vishnu Mahadeo said “they walked around and started grabbing from anyone they saw [...] they said the law said you can’t have powder.” Hindus in Richmond Hill have been holding this parade for 25 years without incident. They can’t still be scared of Anthrax, can they?
- PNC-Minnesota has just posted part 4 in their video series on creating a community Sacred Space. Previous segments of this series can be seen here: Part 1 (Getting started), Part 2 (Challenges and Construction), Part 3 (Funding).
- CNN’s Belief Blog rounds up various faith perspectives regarding the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and while I’m heartened that some Buddhist voices were incorporated, I’m disappointed that Shinto was not represented. Religion News Service coverage is still, sadly, overly focused on the Christian experience within Japan. It’s a sad commentary when the Baptist Press has more coverage of Shinto than mainstream news outlets.
- The B.C. Civil Liberties Association is siding with polygamists and polyamorists in the controversial case to decriminalize the practice of polygamy in Canada. Monique Pongracic-Speier, lawyer for the BCCLA says that “this law is a Victorian statute. It is time for it to be relegated to the scrap heap of history.” For my full coverage of this case, and why it’s important to modern Pagans, click here.
- Did you know that Witchcraft and black magic ruined Dave Mustaine of Megadeath’s life? True story. “It wasn’t that I was a bad guy or that I had a big mouth, it was that I got into witchcraft and black magic and it ruined my life.” See? So remember kids, don’t mess with Witchcraft of black magic, or you might end up like Dave Mustaine.
- Yoruba leaders in Nigeria are warning against the extinction of their culture and traditions. At a recent book launch and presentation Chief Mathew Ogedengbe noted that “we have allowed foreign languages, cultures and traditions to rule us.” Participants in the discussion called for the teaching of vernacular language in schools, and criticized the Nigerian film industry, which often demonizes traditional beliefs and practices.
- The new evidentiary hearing in the West Memphis Three case is scheduled to begin on December 5th. The WM3 (Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley Jr.) have long been considered by many to be victims of panic-fueled miscarriage of justice, and winning the right to new evidentiary hearings provides them their best chance yet of overturning the convictions.
- The next Parliament of the World’s Religions will be held at Brussels in 2014.
- Congratulations to P. Sufenas Virius Lupus on his new Patheos.com column “Queer I Stand!”.
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.