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.
- The Associate Press reports that Angel Valley retreat in Sedona, Arizona, where the now-infamous and deadly sweat lodge ceremony led by James Arthur Ray was held, has settled a civil lawsuit brought by victim’s families and participants. The sum is not disclosed in the report, and there is no admission of liability by the owners of Angel Valley. The trial of Ray, who is charged with three counts of manslaughter, continues.
- In a review for Real Clear Religion, Rod Dreher endorses Jeffrey Kripal’s book “Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred” which notes that both “orthodox religion and orthodox science” have a hard time grasping the paranormal. Which makes you wonder about the growth of religions and traditions that do embrace phenomena that we can’t explain.
- It’s a food-centered week over at No Unsacred Place as Ruby Sara writes about sacred eating in earth-centered ritual, Juniper Jeni tackles the controversy over Bob Parsons shooting an elephant (then eaten by local villagers), Cat Chapin-Bishop charges that “we eat uncaringly, unfeelingly, ignobly,” and Howling Hill talks Pagan food restriction.
- The Miami New Times has been following an increasingly odd feud between animal activist (and real estate developer) Richard “Kudo” Couto and Santeria priest Oba Ernesto Pichardo (of Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah fame). There’s too much to sum up here, but as one Santeria practitioner puts it “I don’t see how his job in real estate, when he started his organization, animal defecation, or cartoony music helps the religious community.”
- For more on Pagan participation in the Marin Interfaith Council Prayer Breakfast, at which Don Frew was a featured presenter, there’s a second write-up of the event from M. Macha NightMare, the sole Pagan member of the Marin council, who helped pave the way for Frew’s invitation.
- A temple to the goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone was discovered by Bulgarian archaeologists near the town of Sozopol on the Black Sea. For those keeping score, yes, a Christian monastery was built on top of it.
- Kendra Vaughan Hovey, a former reality-television star who converted from Wicca to Christianity, now claims to be neither Christian nor Wiccan, simply a Witch. Hovey notes that “if I must label myself anything, this label seems to define my spiritual practices—and who I am at the very core of my being—best.”
- How can you tell when a “Satanic” crime might not be Satanic? When only tabloids report on it.
- The tenth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues started yesterday, featuring an opening address by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. During the address Ki-moon stated that “we know that indigenous peoples have a close spiritual relationship with nature. Now we have to make the connection between their knowledge—your knowledge—and our world.”
- Jamie L. Manson at Religion Dispatches has perhaps my favorite response to the controversy over Jim Wallis and Sojouners rejecting an ad calling for the welcoming of LGBTQ individuals in Christian churches. Manson writes that “so many religious gays and lesbians have to operate “under the radar,” and keep silent about their personal lives,” which is just one reason why I’m largely proud of a modern Pagan movement that is overwhelmingly inclusive to LGBTQ individuals. Even when there is controversy and conflict, it produces an entirely different conversation than what you would find within the dominant monotheisms.
- Traditional besom broom makers in the UK are in danger of extinction.
- A local newspaper interviews Alaskan resident and rune master Doc Warner.
- A report from the Maryland Faerie Festival.
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.