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Last month, in one of my regular link roundups, I mentioned the extremist Greek political party Golden Dawn, and how Greek Jews were increasingly fearful of their rabid antisemitism. In closing that brief blurb, I made mention of the fact that the party had, when it suited them, appropriated Hellenic and pre-Christian trappings to reinforce their pure Greek identity.

“For those wondering, the party did/does embrace nationalistic pseudo-pagan trappings, but has also realized the populist potential of catering to Greek Orthodoxy. Like most fascists, belief and tradition are simply avenues to power.”

Shortly after that post, I received an email from a supporter of the Golden Dawn, chastising me (as a Pagan) for not being on-board with the controversial political party.

Golden Dawn rally at Thermopylae, congregating around a statue of King Leonidas of Sparta

Golden Dawn rally at Thermopylae, congregating around a statue of King Leonidas of Sparta.

“In an article by Jason Pitzl-Waters, you make mention that Greece’s Golden Dawn is only using tradition and esoteric nostalgia to get into power, and accuse them of also working in [with] Greek Orthodox Christianity. Yet you make no mention of the Greek Orthodox turning against Golden Dawn and accusing them of being ‘Pagans.’ The church asked the party to clarify its position on paganism, including worship of ancient Greek gods. Golden Dawn accused them of kowtowing to the establishment. Why have you not mentioned this? And why have you not spoken about the Golden Dawn’s pilgrimage to the oracle in delphi? Or the recent spiritual honoring of King Leonidas at a statue built in his honor? They have also been accused of making sacrifices to ancient Greek gods. Who knows if that is true, but have you heard of any political parties anywhere in the world this open and friendly to paganism? yet you attack them with your words. Why not be friendly to these people, who only want to save Greece and crush international Zionism and the banking system. Golden Dawn may only be around for a short time maybe only decades who knows, maybe a lifetime, but while they are here, a task has been assigned to them. Golden Dawn are not followers but leaders, and any church that has attacked us can be sure to receive wrath in the future. Any group that we have extend our hand to in kindness that then turns around and attacks us will be handled without mercy. This can be said for any church or religion that has attacked our Golden Dawn and our great leaders, including the Greek Orthodox church. Not to mention those who we never approached in friendship like the jewish, Zionist controllers of Greece today. Today is only a day but tomorrow a great golden dawn will rise, not just in Greece but across all Europe and the world. As our great leader Nikos Michaloliakos has promised ‘When we are strong, we will be merciless!’

I’ve spared you the link to the white nationalist/supremacist site Stormfront that was included in the message, though I think the anti-Semitic rhetoric and with-us-or-against-us language makes it pretty plain where the writer stands. I was going to simply ignore the letter, archiving it my ample “cranks” file, but I felt this issue deserved more attention. Especially now that the Greek government has taken action against Golden Dawn for their role in the murder of an anti-fascist musician and activist.

Extreme-right Golden Dawn party senior lawmaker Christos Pappas is escorted by anti-terrorism police officers to a courthouse in Athens October 3, 2013. Photo: Yorgos Karahalis/REUTERS

Extreme-right Golden Dawn party senior lawmaker Christos Pappas is escorted by anti-terrorism police officers to a courthouse in Athens October 3, 2013. Photo: Yorgos Karahalis/REUTERS

“Some 35 people associated with the political party Golden Dawn, which gained 18 MPs in parliament last spring, were arrested on Saturday in a crackdown sparked by the stabbing murder of an anti-racism rapper last month. ‘This government is determined not to allow the heirs of the Nazis to poison our social life, to commit crimes, to terrorize and to undermine the foundations of the country that gave birth to democracy,’ Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in a brief televised address after the death of rapper Pavlos Fyssas.”

So how deep are the Golden Dawn’s ties to Hellenic polytheism and modern Paganism in Greece? Do any of them support this party with deep ties to fascist ideals? I turned to Christos ‘Pandion’ Panopoulos, a Hellenic polytheist in Greece, who admitted that the issue of Paganism/polytheism in Greece is “a pretty complicated picture,” but that, for the most part, Hellenic polytheists and Greek Pagans aren’t falling in line with the toxic racism and ultra-nationalism of the Golden Dawn.

Christos 'Pandion' Panopoulos

Christos ‘Pandion’ Panopoulos

“As far as organizations are concerned , at least the few 4-5 visible ones, usually they do not openly support any political party, although looking at leading members opinions within can show tendencies. The only exception to the rule has been as far as I am aware of Panagiotis Marinis the leading figure (and founder) of Elliniki Etairia Arxaiofilon (one of the first and centered around a personality groups, now mostly inactive and most members having moved to YSEE), who has made several open statements in favor of GD, despite its Christian characteristics with  the “logic” that the biggest problem from modern Greece is the immigrants etc. All this of course falls alongside with his known racial – in the strict term of the word-  outlook on many things.  I think his opinions and reasons can sum up for most of the few polytheists who have done the same.

Other than that I can only speak for myself and for my community “Labrys,” but probably expressing the opinions of a major percentage of Hellenic polytheists as well, that having as a defining characteristic a. Religion b. The Hellenic culture, we find almost all modern political  ideologies more or less incompatible with our culture one way or another even more so concerning parties that are openly pro-Christian for religious reasons and even more so parties with fascist ideologies that are not only pro-Christian but totalitarian in the deepest and worst monotheistic example, which of course is the exact opposite of our ancestral culture. As such we see GD as a threat and even if we try to publicly abstain from political debates (in order to keep the religious character as our primary guide without further and for the most part objective distinctions) individually we usually raise our voices against such phenomena.  Personally I have written a few blog entries addressing some of these issues after this effort to mark pagans as GD supporters or GD as a pagan party appeared which you can find here.

To sum up I cannot possibly think of any reason that a Hellenic polytheist would vote for or support GD and I strongly believe that the character of such parties/ideologies etc are deeply monotheistic in their origin having nothing to do with traditional polytheism (not only the Hellenic one but others as well) and they are just using our imaginary, myths, holy symbols etc just to promote their agendas and at the same time causing issues for us.”

Panopoulos points out that some of the confusion stems from ”arxaiolatres,” a term used for Greeks fascinated with ancient Greece, but not in an explicitly religious fashion. Several Golden Dawn supporters in recent years, according to Panopoulous, have embraced a romantic view of ancient Greece to justify their beliefs.

“In the last couple of years it seems that there was a rise of Golden Dawn supporters within the larger umbrella group of “arxaiolatres” not to be identified with actual polytheists, mainly involving those that have ‘found’ ancient Greece for the wrong reasons. Atheism and antisemitism, antisemitism becoming anti-Christianism, easily found ‘brilliant’ quotes out of context to support whatever modern twisted ideology etc, pumping up of lost national pride with childish videos about Spartans (of course containing the 300), stupid articles of how the Greeks were always better and fought for freedom and things like that, being targeted to and created by semi-educated middle class people that never learned many things about their history and feel better parroting low quality blog articles etc.”

Scholar Alexandros Kalozoides, who wrote a paper on the history of Greek Paganism and radical politics, echoes Panopoulos, and points out that there is “no central community – no such thing as a ‘Greek Pagan Community’ in the sense that it is found abroad.”

“There are lots of small groups which come together for some festivals, but are usually at each others throats the rest of the time. The official body representing Hellenic Paganism, (Supreme Council of Ethnic Hellenes) is not anti-semitic, it’s anti-Christian in the sense that Christianity is perceived to have destroyed the old religion. It certainly does not support the Golden Dawn, but their followers may well drink from both cups, and it would not make the slightest difference whether they came out with an official statement or not. However, their response to questions regarding their political values in their FAQ is both unambiguous, and encouraging.
 The other thing is, the Golden Dawn are not openly pagan, they are deliberately vague about religion. The ‘Pilgrimage to Delphi’ was marketed as paying tribute to ‘our ancient ancestors.’ The dynamics of paganism are different here – you get faithful Christians who still partake in the practice of honouring the ancient ancestors without it being a matter of faith – it’s a matter of shared (mythic) history.”

Kalozoides also pointed to an editorial published in a prominent Greek esoteric magazine, penned by editor Georgios Ioannidis, that clarifies and debunks the notion that the Greek Golden Dawn is somehow connected to the magickal order of the same name.

“The syncretic magical system followed by the HOGD has a clearly esoteric character that supports the mage in his attempt to know and contact the subtle planes of the universe, with the aim of spiritual regeneration, which is to say a golden dawn of his transmuted self.  This model of thought and practice is far removed from the “paganism” of the nationalist movements, that, just as with German national socialism, was cultivated only to the degree whereby it could forge a connection between modern man and the ancestral tradition, thus creating an illusion of unbroken continuity, with the ultimate aim of stressing the sense of cultural and racial superiority in relation to religions that originated mainly in ancient Palestine.”

All of these views, coming directly from Greeks familiar with the Pagan, polytheist, and esoteric communities in Greece, underline my initial thesis: that the Golden Dawn party utilizes Hellenic culture and religion to gain power and followers, but have little to do with organized Paganism or esotericism in the country (despite the preferences of scattered individuals). They wrap themselves in a flag of “Greek-ness” and purity, and will gladly exploit any community that will further their noxious goals.

As for the wider world, Pagan, polytheist, and esoteric groups have been quick to publicly condemn the values of the Golden Dawn, and clarify that they in no way support the controversial political party. In late September US-based Hellenic polytheist organization Hellenion recently released a statement clearly rejecting the use of Hellenic polytheism to promote any kind of hatred. Earlier in that same month, The Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn categorically rejected any possible connection with the “racist, and arguably fascist, Golden Dawn political organization of Greece.”

“The Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn stands against racism and intolerance. Our Golden Dawn tradition stems from a magickal Order begun in Victorian-era England, and we are not in any way aligned with the racist, and arguably fascist, Golden Dawn political organization of Greece (The People’s Association – Golden Dawn, Greek: Λαϊκός Σύνδεσμος – Χρυσή Αυγή, which has been in the news recently. We are a constitutional democratic institution and reject authoritarianism in its fascistic or other forms. We accept applications for membership from all sincere applicants who are local to an OSOGD Lodge, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, physical abilities, ancestry, gender identity, religion, or sexual orientation.”

In addition, author and magician Donald Michael Kraig has issued a call to all Golden Dawn leaders to make plain their views on the political party, stating clearly that “Greece’s Golden Dawn does not represent the ideals of any group claiming to be associated with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.” As a result, more orders are doing exactly that.

Whatever happens in Greece, and with the Golden Dawn political party, we must remain vigilant that fascists and violent ultra-nationalists do not co-opt our faiths, and we must stand firm with the Hellenic polytheists, Greek Pagans, and esoteric practitioners in Greece as they weather this crisis. There will always be groups and individuals that will try to exploit our faiths, using a brew of romanticism and nationalism to claim power in the name of the people. We must not allow that to happen, not in our names, and certainly not in the names of our gods.

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.

Evo Morales receiving the blessing of the Aymara priests.

Evo Morales receiving the blessing of the Aymara priests.

  • Is Bolivia imposing an animist/indigenous worldview on Christians? That’s the charge some Christian groups are making in the wake of a new law which oversees the recognition of religious groups in the country. Quote: “They want to control the activities of the evangelical churches,” Agustín Aguilera, president of ANDEB, told the Santa Cruz newspaper El Deber. “Article 15 (of the law) would force all religious organizations to carry out our activities within the parameters of the ‘horizon of good living,’ which is based on the [ethnic] Aymara worldview. This is an imposition of a cultural and spiritual worldview totally foreign to ours.” It should be noted that the ethos of “Living Well,” while originating in indigenous thought, does not force a particular theology. Since Christianity Today is so concerned with people being forced to conform to religious philosophies not of their choosing, I’m sure they’ll speak out against a monarch in Nigeria who converted to Christianity and is now jettisoning traditional practices beloved by the locals. Right? Any day now…
  • Sociologist Robert Bartholomew says there’s a “sudden upsurge” in cases of mass psychogenic illness, better known in the common parlance as “mass hysteria” Worse, Bartholomew says that it can now spread via social media, which is bad news for those trying to prevent another “Satanic Panic,” or plain-old witch-hunt for that matter. Quote: “In a paper titled “Mass Psychogenic Illness and the Social Network: is it changing the pattern of outbreaks?” Bartholomew writes, ‘Local priests, who were inevitably summoned to exorcise the ‘demons’, faced a daunting task given the widespread belief in witchcraft, but they were fortunate in one regard: they did not have to contend with mobile phones, Twitter and Facebook.’ However, the old and the new are more intertwined than one might expect. Two separate strangers messaged Thera through Facebook saying she needed an exorcism.”
  • Greek Jews live in fear of the Golden Dawn, an extremist political party that’s been on the rise in the wake of austerity and fiscal crisis. Their words and actions are getting increasingly reminiscent of another European political party that arose during a time of fiscal crisis.  Quote: “In Athens on July 24, another song was heard — a Greek version of a Horst Wessel song, a Nazi anthem. The Golden Dawn Party blasted it outside its headquarters while handing out free food to “Greeks only.” Golden Dawn says it wants to “clean” Greece of foreigners. Its black-shirted supporters attack poor South Asian and African migrants, claiming they’re all in Greece illegally. The violence scares Orietta Treveza, a Greek-Jewish educator who has three young daughters. ‘It’s very scary because we think that we are next,’ she says. ‘It’s not going to end with the immigrants.’” For those wondering, the party did/does embrace nationalistic pseudo-pagan trappings, but has also realized the populist potential of catering to Greek Orthodoxy. Like most fascists, belief and tradition are simply avenues to power.
  • Satanic Panic bottom-feeder Bob Larson and his troupe of teenage exorcists have hit London, and the results are pretty much exactly what you’d expect. Quote: “Savannah seriously weighed in on why London is full of dark forces, explaining, ‘I think it’s been centuries in the making, but I believe it all kind of came to a pinnacle, a peak, with the Harry Potter books that have come out, and the Harry Potter rage that swept across England.’ Her sister Tess agreed, commenting, ‘The spells and things that you’re reading in the Harry Potter books? Those aren’t just something that are made up– those are actual spells. Those are things that came from witchcraft books.’” There’s the fruit of reality television for you, anything so long as it draws attention. Oh, and there’s going to be new Harry Potter soon, so I guess Satan wins again?
  • A United Nations housing expert has criticized a new “bedroom tax” in the UK, so naturally the Daily Fail accuses her of being a Marxist Witch. Quote: “Her lengthy CV lists countless qualifications, civic achievements, books and publications – but Raquel Rolnik makes no mention of dabbling in witchcraft. Yet the architect and urban planner appears to be an avid follower of Candomble, an African-Brazilian religion that originated during the slave trade. The academic, brought up a Marxist, actually offered an animal sacrifice to Karl Marx…” This is yet another reason why Pagans should not support or link to this tabloid.
An image from the "Abused Goddesses" campaign against domestic violence.

An image from the “Abused Goddesses” campaign against domestic violence.

  • A lot of attention has been paid recently to the “Abused Goddesses” awareness campaign against domestic violence, which features representations of Hindu goddesses that carry bruises and cuts from beatings. However, reactions from Hindus have been somewhat mixed. Praneta Jha of the Hindustan Times says that “trapping women into images of a supposed ideal is one of the oldest strategies of patriarchy – and if we do not fit the image, it is deemed alright to ‘punish’ and violate us.” Sayantani DasGupta at The Feminist Wire notes that “these images of Hindu goddesses looking sorrowful and downtrodden undermine culturally located sources of female power – however ‘contradictory’.” Lakshmi Chaudhry calls it a “giant step backward for womankind,” and USF professor Vamsee Juluri adds that “there has been such a great deal of misrepresentation, if not outright malicious propaganda, about Hinduism, that the campaign already seems to many Hindus to be a perpetuation of that, rather than a sincere attempt to address the real problem of domestic violence.” Finally, Suhag A. Shukla says that “what will be the ultimate test of the success of this campaign, however, is if it is able to stop the first of many abusers from letting his raised hand meet its intended target.”
  • Does philosophy have a problem with women? Katy Waldman at Slate.com ponders: “Taken one by one, the various explanations for philosophy’s woman problem are like Zeno’s arrow, inching ever closer to a target they can’t quite hit.”
  • In Israel, the tradition of participating in the kaparot ritual using a live chicken has caused debate after MK Rabbi Dov Lipman of Yesh Atid called the practice “deplorable” and “pagan.” Quote: “The ritual involves circling a live chicken over one’s head three times and symbolically transferring one’s sins to the animal. The chicken is then slaughtered and eaten. Many have the practice of donating the chicken’s meat to the poor [...] Lipman urged Jews to perform the kaparot ritual with money or with flowers instead, as many currently do.”
  • Mitch Horowitz writes about how the occult brought cremation to America. Quote: “Cremation was introduced to America in the 1870s by a retired Civil War colonel, Henry Steel Olcott. As a Union Army staff colonel and military investigator, Olcott had amassed a distinguished record, which included routing out fraud among defense contractors and making some of the first arrests in the Lincoln assassination. In his post-military life as a lawyer and journalist, Olcott developed a deep interest in the esoteric and paranormal — which drove his fascination with the then-exotic rite of burning the dead.”
  • Definition of a slow news day: these leaves and overgrowth on power lines look somewhat like a witch! Wow! Really? Let’s get that spread around as quickly as possible.

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.

Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started!

Witchesmustdie001jpg-2568309_p9Last week, several Pagans became aware of a Facebook page entitled “Witches Must Die By Fire,” and a group called “Those Witches And Wizards Must Die By Fire By Force.”  While hate speech complaints seemed to initially work, the page is back up, and Facebook is sending back an automated message saying it doesn’t violate hate speech guidelines. A number of Pagan responses have emerged from the controversy as growing numbers of our interconnected community discover the page and group. These responses include a petition, a group on Facebook dedicated to removing hate pages and groups, a call to involve Interpol, and an overview of the issue from South African Pagan Damon Leff, who notes that rhetoric about burning witches shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Quote: Throughout Africa women, men and children frequently become targets for witch-hunters. Incitement to burn Witches anywhere in Africa must be taken deadly seriously and response to such credible threats of violence against Witches on Facebook aught to be immediate and decisive.” As an Atlantic Magazine article published yesterday about Saudi Arabia’s ongoing and deadly hunt for witches and sorcerers illustrates, the global problem of witch-hunts and witch-killings are not merely idle talk, and rhetoric underlying these actions should not be simply dismissed. The Wild Hunt is currently in contact with several Pagan organizations about further responses and constructive paths forward.

The Warrior's CallA call has gone out to Pagans in the United Kingdom to participate in a public ritual at Glastonbury Tor designed to “protect Albion from Fracking.” Quote: “Albion is in peril. Her sacred sites threatened like never before. Chalice Well and the Goddess Sulis (Bath’s geothermal springs) are in danger of becoming toxic. The Great Mother’s flesh is to be cracked open and drained dry, uncaring for consequence to bird and beast, land and life. All those of good intent are summoned hither – regardless of age or gender, color or Creed – to gather at noon on Saturday the 28th of September atop Glastonbury Tor. There, we are to engage in group magickal working for the betterment and protection of this sacred landscape.” One of the co-sponsors of the ritual is Wiccan Marina Pepper, a politician and environmental activist, who has made the issue of fracking a key concern. Pepper’s concern seems well founded, as Heritage Daily has also sounded the alarm over potential damage to the famous wells of Aquae Sulis by hydraulic fracturing. As I mentioned last week, prominent UK Pagans like Damh the Bard and Philip Carr-Gomm have already been protesting fracking operations, and it seems like concern over this issue is only intensifying as Britain’s natural landscape is threatened by this process.

Peter Dybing

Peter Dybing

This past week Pagan activist Peter Dybing, a logistics specialist who works in disaster management, has been in Idaho helping to fight the wildfires raging through Sun Valley, the biggest fire in 25 years. Wildfires are currently spreading throughout the Northwest region of the United States, which has been plagued by drought and dry weather. In a missive posted to his blog, Dybing noted how his Pagan faith, and his work fighting these fires intertwine. Quote: “Today I am back from a fire, in Boise, resting, planning and preparing to respond again. As I reflect on my actions it is clear that the most profound influence my beliefs have had on me are my instinctive actions in crisis. When direct decisions are necessary NOW, they are laced with compassion, internal tears for the destruction Gaia faces in this firestorm and the need to be of service. The most profound expression of my Pagan beliefs and practice shine through most brightly when I have little time for piety.” Our prayers go out to Dybing, and all the brave first responders fighting these fires. May the rains return soon.

In Other Pagan Community News:

  • Modern Witch Magazine is now accepting submission for its fifth volume, entitled “Veils and Visions.” Quote: “The theme is centered on working with the other side, ancestors, energy work, and psychic development.” Deadline is September 25th, you can find guidelines and more information, here.
  • Water, the quarterly newsletter of the Pagan Educational Network, has just released its Lughnasadh edition. The publication is for members only, but you can get a membership subscription on a sliding scale.
  • September 27th through the 29th in Salem, Massachusetts will see the debut of “OCCULT,”“weekend long Esoteric Salon honoring, exploring and celebrating the intertwining vines which feed both Magick and Creative Art.” Co-produced by Aepril Schaile and Sarah “Jezebel” Wood the event promises to “recognize that, especially together, both Magick and Art are greater than the sum of their parts, and each in dwells the other; they are rooted together…To raise consciousness, challenging false perceptions of separation between these so-imagined opposed sorceries. With OCCULT, we seek to challenge old beliefs through the juxtaposition of beauty and magick, of art and ritual, blending the ingredients to make an event of highest harmony, a conjunctio of non-opposites.” You can see a lineup of OCCULT workshops and events, here. Artist line-up, here. Presenter bios, here. There will also be a masque.
  • This Saturday, August 24th, Friends of the Gualala River are starting a public action campaign to convince a winery to spare 154 acres of Gualala River’s redwood forest in California. Pagan author and activist Starhawk will be on hand to do a ritual that will (hopefully) turn “wine back into water.” Quote: “I’ve been working with Friends of the Gualala River and representatives from the Kashaya Pomo to help build a campaign to save an important Kashaya heritage site from being clearcut for vineyards.  Artesa, a Spanish company and the third largest wine corporation in the world, is planning this conversion.  It’s the last redwood-to-vineyard conversion planned in California, after the defeat of the huge Preservation Ranch proposal, which thankfully was defeated.”
  • Medusa Coils reports that the Lammas issue of Seasonal Salon, the online publication of the Re-formed Congregation of the Goddess International, has been released.
  • On September 22nd, the Stella Natura festival, held in Sierra Nevada’s Tahoe National Forest Desolation Wilderness will begin, and will include the Norwegian experimental runic band Wardruna in an exclusive American performance. Meanwhile, Circle Ansuz, a Heathen Anarchist collective, has begun a series of posts digging into the beliefs and past of influential Heathen Stephen McNallen, whose Asatru Folk Assembly is acting as co-sponsor for Stella Natura. I will be following this story in the coming weeks, and will update you on any responses or new information.
  • As I noted previously, the Gerald Gardner documentary “Britain’s Wicca Man,” renamed “A Very British Witchcraft,” was finally aired in the UK after being shown in a truncated version in Australia. You can see the 46-minute version of the documentary on Youtube, here (for as long as it lasts). Enjoy!

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

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.

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.

At the beginning of June, copies of a new anthology, “Crowley: Thoughts & Perspectives, Volume Two,” started arriving at the homes of individuals who ordered the book. Published by Black Front Press, the volume received generally positive feedback from commenters at the Aleister Crowley Society. On June 10th, well-respected esoteric publishers Scarlet Imprint released a statement regarding Black Front Press, and its head, Troy Southgate.

“We were approached recently to contribute to Troy Southgate’s Black Front Press whose last published work was a Crowley anthology. After a little research, we were disturbed to find their rather murky history hidden beneath the anti-corporate, anti-capitalist and permaculture ideals. Though we are very happy to promote the independent esoteric and occult authors and publishers whose work and dedication invigorate and stimulate our community, it is entirely another matter to contribute our energy to a project which would seem to be attempting to use a multiplicity of voices from the occult scene to promote the ideas of the so-called New-Right.

It seems that Southgate is the leading figurehead for the “National Anarchist” movement, a political extension of the European “New Right” (not to be confused with neoconservativism). National Anarchists endorse a manifesto that defines Zionist Jews as “vampiric parasites intent on carving up the world’s resources in an attempt to create a single, global market,” rejects egalitarianism, and is pro-racial separatism.

“Race defines who we are, it provides us with an identity and exists for a damn good reason. Without maintaining this essential diversity, something you can find throughout nature, the world will become increasingly drab, standardised and monotonous and the only people left on the planet will inevitably form part of a coffee-coloured mush of uniform humanity. National-Anarchists wish to preserve the different races of the earth and believe that multi-racialism ends with the dissolution of all races. Racial separatism is the only way that the organic balance can be restored. We realise that it is impossible to separate people in the large cities and towns, many of whom have racially-mixed children or wish to live among foreign populations, and neither should we attempt to do so. Indeed, we believe that the nation-states of the West are likely to collapse in the next few decades and that our respective countries will begin to fragment along racial and cultural lines. So there is clearly no need to treat people inhumanely by herding them into camps or deporting them in the way that the Nazis and Soviets did in the last century; something which ended disastrously for those concerned. National-Anarchists must form new communities based on their own racial and cultural values. The maxim of the future will be respect for others and unity in diversity.”

Scarlet Imprint noted that they held a “profound” disgust for the views expressed in the National Anarchist manifesto, and stated that “what is clear in magickal history is that racial mixing has been incredibly beneficial.” The well-regarded San Francisco esoteric book-seller Fields Books thanked Scarlet Imprint for their stance, and promises “a longer and more nuanced response to all of our customers soon” on the matter. In response, some Crowley fans instantly went on the defensive, wondering if there was going to be a “blacklist” of contributors, bemoaning the “war of ideologies” that will be raised on the issue. This is exactly the kind of response that National Anarchists like Southgate hope for, since a veneer of an apolitical “pox on both your houses” attitude is what gives these New Right/third positionist groups their oxygen.

“The danger National-Anarchists represent is not in their marginal political strength, but in their potential to show an innovative way that fascist groups can rebrand themselves and reset their project on a new footing. They have abandoned many traditional fascist practices—including the use of overt neo-Nazi references, and recruiting from the violent skinhead culture. In its place they offer a more toned down, sophisticated approach… Their cultural references are the neo-folk and gothic music scene, which puts on an air of sophistication, as opposed to the crude skinhead subculture. National Anarchists abandon any obvious references to the Hitler or Mussolini’s fascist regimes, often claiming not to be “fascist” at all.

Like the European New Right, the National-Anarchists adapt a sophisticated left-wing critique of problems with contemporary society, and draw their symbols and cultural orientation from the Left; then they offer racial separatism as the answer to these problems. They are attempting to use this new form to avoid the stigma of the old discredited fascism, and if they are successful like the National Bolsheviks have been in Russia, they will breathe new life into their movement. Even if the results are modest, this can disrupt left-wing social movements and their focus on social justice and egalitarianism; and instead spread elitist ideas based on racism, homophobia, antisemitism and antifeminism amongst grassroots activists.”

Before Southgate and his apologists muddy the water on the debate that will no doubt gear up, lets be clear that his views are extremist, but always with the added caveat of “we’ll leave them alone if they leave us alone.”

“The most important thing for us is the Natural Order. It is natural for men and women to procreate. Anything which threatens the harmony of Nature must be opposed. Feminism is dangerous and unnatural not because it threatens to leave men with a pile of dirty washing-up and a few smelly nappies (as some of its adherents claim), but because it ignores the complimentary relationship between the sexes and encourages women to rebel against their inherent feminine instincts. Anyone interested in the opposing view should read The Female Woman by Arianna Stassinopoulos (Davis-Poynter, 1973) or Chapter 20 of Julius Evola’s Revolt Against the Modern World (Inner Traditions, 1995). Homosexuality is contrary to the Natural Order because sodomy is quite undeniably an unnatural act. Groups such as Outrage are not campaigning for love between males – which has always existed in a brotherly or fatherly form – but have created a vast cult which has led to a rise in cottaging, male-rape and child sex attacks. Nature is about life and health, not death and AIDS. One of the most eye-opening pamphlets produced on this issue is Alexander Baron’s truly excellent Guide to Gay Sex: A Primer For Young People (Infotext Manuscripts, 1994). But we are not trying to stop homosexuals engaging in this kind of activity like the Christian moralists or bigoted denizens of censorship are doing, on the contrary, as long as this behaviour does not affect the forthcoming National-Anarchist communities then we have no interest in what people get up to elsewhere. I just hope these people respect our own right to live in the way we choose. As far as abortion is concerned, this process violates the sanctity of life and once again the killing of an unborn child is flying in the face of Nature and one could do far worse than read Abortion: Yes Or No? by John L. Grady (Tan Books, 1979).”

Amazingly, the “we’ll let you live in peace apart from us come the revolution” defense seems to often work. Allowing views that would get them painted as neo-fascists to get lost in a constructed apolitical fog. However, any direct contact with self-proclaimed National Anarchists makes plain what they are, and apologists end up having to twist themselves into pretzels in order to insulate figures like Southgate from the odious effects of their pseudo-intellectual rhetoric.

I don’t think there should be a “blacklist” for those duped into thinking Black Front Press was truly apolitical in orientation, but once enlightened, it will become increasingly hard to erect a firewall between Southgate’s publishing arm and the views he and his followers espouse. Just because this book on Crowley avoided becoming a pamphlet for neo-fascist views doesn’t mean the publishing house that produced it should be given a free pass. Ultimately, there’s an expectation that intelligent people will consider who is funding and distributing a project. If your work is helping to bolster the image of a company that endorses the philosophy of the National Anarchists, if your work helps these groups further insinuate themselves within Pagan and esoteric communities, then the fig leaf of apoliticism must be challenged.

When it comes to politically transgressive art, where does the line get drawn between exploration and endorsement? If you sing about fascists, does it make you a fascist? Does such art empower and fuel extremism? The post-industrial musical genre known as “neofolk” has long dealt with these questions, with many artists having to issue position statements due to past collaborations or friendships with various infamous individuals. The whole issue gets progressively murkier the more individual bands and artists are put under the microscope by music critics and various “antifa” (anti-fascist) activists. Why does this matter to the modern Pagan community? Because there is a significant overlap between neofolk and various Pagan, Heathen, and occult groups, and we should be alert and educated to how these conflicts may affect us.

The reason I’m bringing this up now, is that Rose City Antifascists, the Portland, Oregon chapter of the Anti-Racist Action Network, has put out an alert about the Austrian band Allerseelen (who broadly affiliate themselves with Paganism), who are touring the West Coast and Pacific Northwest this month, and opening for the popular metal band Agalloch on certain dates.

“This December, the Austrian far-Right “post-industrial” and martial music project Allerseelen is set togive a series of performances on the US West Coast. Allerseelen is the project of Gerhard Petak (AKAKadmon and Gerhard Hallstatt) who also incorporates other performers into the act when playing live. Several of the Allerseelen shows are scheduled to take place in larger venues supporting the prominentPortland, Oregon “dark metal” group Agalloch, who will be touring to promote their new album. Thehitching of Allerseelen onto the tour of a larger heavy metal act will provide new outlets for Petak’sextreme-Right messages. Agalloch, the group which Allerseelen will support, is at present crossing overfrom underground cult status to something nearer the mainstream, the group’s latest album even beingpromoted with a write-up and “exclusive first listen” on National Public Radio’s music webpage. It istroubling that the act Agalloch chose to expose to its growing audiences has a long history of far-Rightinvolvement and propaganda, and is attempting to make aspects of fascist discourse acceptable.Agalloch’s decision to further link itself to Petak / Allerseelen by appearing on a new compilation CDreleased by Petak’s label is likewise of concern to anti-fascists and is of similar poor judgment.”

Nathan Carson, owner of the booking agency Nanotear, denies any fascist intentions in putting the tour together, and  claims he’s being harassed by anonymous individuals spurred on by the Rose City Antifascists.

“Anti-fascist bloggers calling me out for booking an Allerseelen tour. I guess they don’t know about my Jewish blood (and big nose). [...] they phoned me from a blocked number at 10:30 this morning to get a statement from me. I refused to be quoted on 6 hours of sleep but told them I was entirely unaware of any fascist connections and that I’d make a personal decision myself after spending a week in the van with Allerseelen (who are also staying at my house.) [...] they’ve posted my private cel # on some sort of site or list. I’m fielding blocked calls from uppity college students that are demanding to know why I’m promoting a fascist band in Portland. When I ask them their names and why they are calling from a blocked #, they invariably hang up. I’m anti-fascist in principle too, of course. But I don’t see a smoking gun or a strong case in this instance.”

So how fascist, or neo-fascist, is Allerseelen and frontman Gerhard “Kadmon” Petak? They cite his admiration of traditionalist philosopher, and Nazi/fascist sympathizer, Julius Evola, his links to European New Right publications, and song lyrics that seem to praise various Nazi figures. All of which seems to make him a politically unsavory individual that I would prefer to avoid, but the report gets murkier when they start digging into his ties with “right wing occultism,” his admiration of Leni Riefenstahl, and connections to figures like musician/publisher Michael Moynihan (who also edits the “radical traditionalist” journal Tyr). As for Petak himself, he claims to have no political motivations (and denies fascist affiliations), something the Rose City Antifascists refute.

“What is the meaning of Petak’s denial of any politics or political motivation? While not referring explicitly to Allerseelen, Anton Shekhovtsov’s article “Apoliteic music: Neo-Folk, Martial Industrial and ‘Metapolitical Fascism’” points to an answer by discussing Evola’s concept of apoliteia as well as European New Right influence in relation to certain sectors of the post-industrial scene. 91 From a stance of apoliteia, Petak is able to claim detachment from worldly politics, yet apoliteia far from the same as pure political apathy. Rather, Petak appears to be active in a metapolitical “invisible order” engaged in anti-Enlightenment culture wars, along the lines of the European New Right and its Right-Gramscian project. While Petak does not dirty his hands in Right-wing Party-building, he nevertheless contributes to a climate favorable to fascist politics, through fighting for the hearts and minds of countercultural audiences. He knows what he is doing.”

So is Petak a stealth neo-fascist softening the underground for traditionalist takeover, or is he more of a dilettante engaging with transgressive politics and figures in order to gain attention? I personally find bands who recklessly/cynically dabble in Nazi/fascist imagery and themes tiresome and wouldn’t support them with my time or money, but I’m not sure enough of a case has been built here to tar Agalloch, or the tour promoter, as neo-fascist supporters/sympathizers by working with this band. I’ll leave it up to the readers to decide whether Allerseelen are a pernicious influence, or just creatively bankrupt.

As I said at the beginning of this piece, politics in neofolk can get murky, especially when you are dealing with terms like “radical traditionalism”, which might mean different things to different groups. Make no mistake, there are racist and neo-fascist bands within genres like neofolk, metal, and punk, and they should be opposed when they try to increase their audience by infiltrating Pagan or Heathen communities, but we should also be careful to thoroughly investigate for ourselves before acting. Whether this is such a case, is up to each individual to decide.

The New York Times has report on a rising tide of violence against Muslim immigrants in Athens, Greece.

Immigrants have been beaten and stabbed near central squares, and several makeshift mosques have been burned and vandalized. In the most grievous attack, at the end of October, the assailants locked the door of a basement prayer site and hurled firebombs through the windows, seriously wounding four worshipers. “The attacks are constant — I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Naim Elghandour, who moved to Athens from Egypt in the 1970s and now heads the Muslim Association of Greece. “I used to be treated like an equal. Now I’m getting death threats.”

The Greek media are linking the rise in violence to Chrysi Avgi (“Golden Dawn”), a neo-fascist Greek organization that, like several European racist groups, embraces a National Socialism-tinged brand of Pagan occultism. While Chrysi Avgi’s ideology nows tolerates Greek Orthodox Christianity (most likely out of political necessity), their continued embrace of Paganism has alienated some Hellenic Nationalists. Nor is this simply a small band of  thugs with dreams of a Fourth Reich, this “Golden Dawn” have gained political clout and popular support on a wave of discontent over Greece’s fiscal meltdown, getting their founder, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, elected councilman in the Athens Municipal Council on November 7th.

The party appears to have fed off public anger against illegal immigrants in central Athens, a sentiment that has been rising partly because of the troubled economy. “Chrysi Avgi is still marginal, but it is not a welcome development,” says [University of Athens political science professor Kostas] Ifantis. “When things in a society are not going well, there is room for demagogues.”

Meanwhile, politicians who criticize this troubling trend, like current Republic of Cyprus president Dimitris Christofias, are defensively criticized and ridiculed when they dare to speak out.

Christofias became the first Cypriot president to address the Hellenic Parliament to mark 50 years of the Cyprus Republic. During his speech, he made reference to the coup by the Greek junta, and subsequent Turkish invasion, saying that some had not learned from the past. He referred specifically to the appearance in Cyprus of “destructive” mentalities of extreme organisations like Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) and others.

“Every democrat feels indignation and outrage when they see on the internet the unrepentant grandfather teaching his three-year-old grandson the slogan ‘Long live the junta’ in front of the framed shield of the fascistic junta hanging on the wall…the child holding the pistol and being taught to kill Turks and communists,” Christofias said. He was referring to a video posted on Facebook by a civil servant in a senior position made public last week. An opinion piece in Phileleftheros yesterday accused the president of taking an isolated incident of “blatant perversion” and using it in the most historic speech ever given by a Cypriot president.

What’s clear is that violence and tensions continue to rise, and extreme right-wingers are growing ever-more bold.

“A large mosque with minarets in the city center will be a provocation,” said Dimitrios Pipikios, the head of a residents’ group in Aghios Panteleimonas, where Chrysi Avgi drew 20 percent of the vote in recent elections. Mr. Pipikios said the only way to ease tensions was to deport immigrants. “There is no room for us all,” he said, adding that extreme rightists were patrolling the area “because the police are not doing their job.”

The tactics, beliefs, and rhetoric of Chrysi Avgi are a stain on Athens, and on the reputation of Pagans living in Greece that are fighting for equal treatment in the Orthodox-controlled country. No matter what the true depth of their connection to modern Pagan worship is, neo-fascist appropriation of pre-Christian symbolism, thinkers, and beliefs harms us all. Giving ammunition to those who would brand fascism as an outgrowth of “pagan” belief systems. There can be no alliance or sympathy for those who twist and appropriate our faiths in this manner, who think that violent thuggery is the proper response to immigration or poverty. One can only hope that the election of Michaloliakos was an aberrant political blip that will soon correct itself.

If any of my Greek readers can give me further insights on Chrysi Avgi, the election of Michaloliakos, and the current anti-Muslim/anti-immigrant tensions, please leave your thoughts in the comments. Also, as a warning, comments that sympathize, endorse, or apologize for racist thug fascists risk immediate deletion. There are plenty of places to engage in thinly-veiled pro-fascist sophistry, but this isn’t one of them.

In November of last year I noted a story concerning a leaked membership list* for the British National Party, a whites-only far-right (some would say pseudo-fascist) political party in the UK. The list revealed some members identifying themselves as Witches, and in one instance as Pagan clergy, which prompted the Pagan Federation to issue a press release that this person is in no way affiliated with them. Since that story first ran, the BNP have had a run of good luck, exploiting a political melt-down in the Labour party to win two seats in the European Parliament, and an English county council seat for the first time. But while the BNP is trying to present a more civilized (and mainstreamed) face to the public, a recent undercover expose of last weekend’s BNP Red White and Blue festival (a “family” event full of “nice” people) showed something quite different.

“Saturday night was the climax of the festival – and when the vileness reached its peak. Firstly, around 50 skinheads took part in a PAGAN ceremony to summon occult powers for their cause. They chanted incantations as they passed around and drank from an animal horn filled with mead. Two hours later, local council candidates John Coombes, of Maidenhead, Berks, and Dick Hamilton of Marlow, Bucks, were sitting with others around a brazier. Hamilton’s ghettoblaster blared out songs supporting Hitler and attacking “ni**ers”.”

Sounds very family friendly, doesn’t it? Other highlights include throwing wet sponges at a man in an Obama mask locked in a stockade, and burning a “golliwogg” (essentially a black-face doll) for the crime of being black. The reporter goes on to list several other instances of racism and thuggery that party leadership either took part in, or turned a blind eye towards.

As for the “pagan” ceremony, since the reporter didn’t go into specifics we have no way of knowing what (if any) tradition these skinheads adhere to, or if it was simply a ritualized racist pep-rally. What is increasingly certain is that the core of the BNP is simply a political front for a motley assortment of racists, aging National Fronters, and outright Nazis, who happened to luck into chaotic political landscape (rife with economic uncertainty and tensions over immigration) and gain a small taste of power. While this sort of “blood and soil” politics may charm some Pagans who hold romantic ideas of their “British-ness”, we must remember that romanticism is often exploited by fascists, pseudo-fascists, and other authoritarians for their own political ends, often leading down violent and ugly roads. The BNP doesn’t care about the British people, it cares about the ever-shifting “other” (blacks, immigrants, Indians, Jews, etc) they can place under their boot-heel in order to feel powerful.

* Concerning the membership leak, two have been charged, and in a case of delicious irony, the BNP had to complain under the Human Rights Act, which they vehemently oppose, in order to stop the list from being published.

If I could outlaw one rhetorical and stylistic device I think it would be comparing your idealogical opponent to Hitler, Nazis, and fascists*. It cheapens the true horrors of WWII and the Holocaust, and instantly destroys any chance for a civilized debate. The political left and right both employ this “scorched earth” tactic of demonizing the other side, and some religious leaders aren’t much better. So I felt a certain amount of disappointment when I read an article about an intermittent California Bay Area ban on wood burning sent to me by a reader of this blog.

“…most Bay Area residents have been surprisingly receptive to a new rule banning wood fires on pollution-laden Spare the Air days during the winter, say officials at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District … But don’t try telling that to the neo-pagan pantheist who fired off an e-mail to district employees and members of its board of directors. ‘I will NOT be deprived of my constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of religion by bureaucrats looking for more ways to control even more aspects of our lives,’ wrote the pantheist. ‘I’m claiming an exemption because this ban violates my right to practice my religion, a right that is guaranteed by the Constitution … When the government controls everything we do, say and think, that’s fascism … Anyone who would turn in their neighbor for burning wood would be right at home in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. Think about it, people, what have we become.’”

Who knew that the new jack-booted thugs would come in the guise of a program banning wood burning on Winter days when air pollution reaches unsafe levels.

“In the wintertime, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) becomes the pollutant with the greatest impact on air quality … When our morning forecast predicts that concentrations of PM2.5 will exceed the national health-based standard, the Air District will issue a Winter Spare the Air Alert. Winter Spare the Air Alerts will be posted on our Spare the Air home page and on the Air District’s www.baaqmd.gov home page.”

Now perhaps our anonymous Pagan pantheist had a point in asking for a religious exemption, but by comparing an initiative to improve air quality with Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia he has labeled himself an un-serious crank who will be ignored by those in power. In addition, Pagan groups who do seek to get an exemption should a holy day fall on a day when a Winter Spare the Air Alert is issued will have to combat the impressions made by this Pagan who cried “fascist”. So if you are planning to write a letter of complaint about a local ordinance, try not to compare your elected officials with regimes that have murdered millions of people, you might be surprised how much further you get in resolving your issue!

* Of course, should your idealogical opponent actually aspire to emulate Hitler, Nazis, or the principles of fascism, feel free to let those analogies, metaphors, and rhetorical flourishes fly!

Since I first mentioned the leaked membership list (which included some Pagans) of the far-right British National Party, the press in England have tried to put the 12,801 names into perspective.

“Your first instinct, naturally, is to check if you know anyone. I didn’t, as far as I could see: no one in the small Middlesex village where I grew up (though four in Pinner, where I was born), and only three in the district of west London where I now live. Colleagues have pored in amazement over the records for their home towns.”

Jon Henley’s editorial for The Guardian also touches on the fact that Pagans were/are a part of the whites-only extremist party. He first notices that BNP leaders (much like mainstream political leaders) were worried that Pagan membership would make them look bad (“Member describes himself as witch: potential embarrassment if active”), and that an alleged “Pagan prison chaplain” was among their number. This has, in turn, sparked an immediate press release from the Pagan Federation stating that none of their chaplains are BNP members.

“We are not aware of any British National Party members serving in the Pagan Federation Prison Ministry. All Pagan chaplains are subject to counter-terrorist clearance (CTC) by the Home Office. This includes in-depth checks about associations and memberships or affiliations with activist groups. The British National Party is one group that no Prison Service worker is allowed to be a member of … Should it subsequently come to light that any potential or current Pagan prison chaplain has made a false statement about such memberships, I would take immediate action in removing that individual from the Pagan Federation Prison Ministry … The claim being made on a widely circulating list that an individual named on that list is a Pagan prison chaplain is false.”

For more Pagan reactions to the BNP leak check out the Pagan Network message boards. I find it interesting how prison chaplaincy for Pagans is so centralized within the Pagan Federation. It certainly allowed for a quick response to allegations of BNP Pagan chaplains. I can only imagine the havoc that would ensue among the Pagan community in America should a similar list surface here.