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.
- Nathaniel Rich at the New York Review of Books looks at the story of the West Memphis Three through Damien Echols’ book “Life After Death,” the “Paradise Lost” documentary series, and the feature documentary “West of Memphis.” Quote: “Investigators asked Jerry Driver, a local juvenile officer and self-described “guru” of the occult, to compile a list of local kids involved in cult-related activities. At the top of Driver’s list was Damien Echols, an eighteen-year-old high school dropout who had been hospitalized for depression. [...] In his closing statement, district attorney John Fogleman pointed at Echols and said, “There’s not a soul in there.” That argument carried the day.” As always, the story remains a cautionary tale of how a moral panic over “cults” can send innocent children to jail.
- Santero Jorge Badillo has filed a complaint against several officials in Monmouth County, New Jersey for civil rights violations after police searched his home (fruitlessly) for a gun belonging to his brother, went through his sacred items, and filed a complaint with the SPCA who proceeded to flood the man with citations with little evidence of wrong-doing. Quote: “Badillo claims Amato issued the tickets without any evidence that any of the animals had been abused. ‘To sacrifice a sick or maltreated animal to the Orishas or to perform the sacrifice in a way that causes the animal to suffer is prohibited in Santeria as this would be an insult to the Orishas,’ Badillo says. Amato then contacted the Asbury Park Press, a local newspaper, and told it about the summons he had issued to Badillo. The Asbury Park Press published an article, in print and online, and included Badillo’s address, he says in the complaint. As a result, Badillo claims, his home and car have been vandalized and he and his family have been threatened.” Badillo claims the accusations ruined his family’s attempt to adopt children, violated their civil rights, and endangered his family.
- The latest edition of Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions is out and features an article on Heathenry and two on Otherkin/Therianthropy. At his blog, Pagan scholar Chas Clifton examines the Otherkin articles, noting that both heavily rely on Lupa’s “A Field Guide to Otherkin.” Quote: “To Laycock, Otherkin are perhaps best described as an ” ‘audience cult,’ a movement that supports novel beliefs and practices but without a discernible organization. [...] Robertson spends more time explaining the concept of Therianthropes’ self-descriptions of “awakening” to their dual natures…”
- Last year, Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who oversees Canada’s penitentiaries, eliminated all paid part-time chaplain services, effectively making government prison chaplaincy a Christian-only affair. This came after he retracted a paid position for a Wiccan prison chaplain. Now, a prisoner’s rights group in British Columbia is suing the government for violating the constitutional rights of non-Christians. Quote: “Two Buddhists, two Wiccans, two Muslims, a Sikh and a Jewish believer say Corrections Canada is denying them reasonable access to religion and spirituality [...] [Lawyer D.J.] Larkin says she has documented a number of cases where prisoners have requested religious counselling but have been unable to attain it.”This was one of the top stories involving Pagans in 2012, and I’ll be following this development in the weeks and months ahead.
- After my participation earlier this month in an interfaith dialog between evangelical Christians and Pagans the two evangelical participants have followed up with editorials about how to move forward. John Morehead, in a guest post at the Patheos Pagan Portal asks if “we [will] ever be able to move beyond our history of ignorance, misunderstanding, misrepresentation, bigotry, and combativeness,” while Paul Metzger argues against a secular “naked” public square as the ideal place for interfaith interactions. Quote: “It is important that we make space for other religious and philosophical traditions to receive air time so that a naked, secular square free from religion does not get put forth as the preferred and only legitimate option.” I thought then, and still think now, that progress will only come from evangelical Christianity owning its privilege, and showing it’s collectively ready for change.
- Four Llewellyn titles have been named as finalists for the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards including “Jesus Through Pagan Eyes: Bridging Neopagan Perspectives with a Progressive Vision of Christ” by Rev. Mark Townsend (reviewed at The Wild Hunt). Congratulations! Winners will be announced at BookExpo America.
- The legal tangle over what is and isn’t in the public domain regarding Sherlock Holmes reminds me very much of the Rider-Waite Tarot’s own legal saga.
- Trinity College Dublin has a digital version of the Book of Kells up for viewing.
- So I assume you’ve heard that there’s a new Catholic Pope? Will he revitalize interfaith within Catholicism? Hindus are hoping for a better dialog moving forward, the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions holds similar hopes. Meanwhile, John Beckett sends him some Pagan wishes.
- “Vodou is like a gun, you can pick it up and save your grandmother’s life or shoot yourself.”
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.