Archives For Genesis P-Orridge

Top Story: Is eclecticism and syncretism part of America’s religious DNA? A recent survey by the Pew Forum seems to suggest just that. While America is dominated by various forms of Christian belief, many adherents also partake in different religious practices and subscribe to various beliefs outside the theological boundaries of their faith.

“In total, upwards of six-in-ten adults (65%) express belief in or report having experience with at least one of these diverse supernatural phenomena (belief in reincarnation, belief in spiritual energy located in physical things, belief in yoga as spiritual practice, belief in the “evil eye,” belief in astrology, having been in touch with the dead, consulting a psychic, or experiencing a ghostly encounter). This includes roughly one-quarter of the population (23%) who report having only one of these beliefs or experiences. More than four-in-ten people (43%) answer two or more of these items affirmatively, including 25% who answer two or three of these items affirmatively and nearly one-in-five (18%) who answer yes to four or more. Roughly one-third of the public (35%) answers no to all eight items.”

This increasing trend of heterodoxy undermines the idea that the Religious Right, and other vanguards of religious orthodoxy, have much sway outside their main base of support. When nearly a quarter of America Christians say they believe trees possess spiritual energy, I’m far more convinced we’ll see a post-Christian culture than some sort of Family-style conservative Christian coup in the years to come. This transition may upset some, but I suspect that most Pagans, especially the eclectic and syncretic, will feel right at home.

In Other News: Pagans seem to be the ultimate test of how “open” your local city council’s opening invocations are. When a government body is accused of engaging in primarily sectarian prayer, as is the case in Bakersfield California, they usually point out that the invocation slot is welcome to any faith tradition that wants a turn. But as Americans United senior policy analyst Rob Boston points out, that openness often grinds to a halt when a Wiccan signs up.

“When communities try to set up a totally open forum for prayers, “what usually happens is that sooner or later someone comes along from a religion that is unpopular or misunderstood” — such as a Wiccan or Pagan — “and the conservative Christians throw a fit,” he said in an e-mail.”

Councilmember Jacquie Sullivan says Bakersfield is ready to pass the Pagan test, stating that “it would be their turn”. Did you hear that Bakersfield Pagans? Time to step up! They are ready. It’s your turn! Whether the “include a Wiccan” gambit would help them in a lawsuit is still an open question.

In Toronto, a con-artist who bilked a woman out of tens-of-thousands of dollars isn’t just up on charges of fraud, but also on charges of pretending to be a witch.

Det. Constable Jones says it’s rare to charge someone under Section 365, but the circumstances of this case fit. “It’s a historical quirk,” says Alan Young, a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. Some sections of the Canadian criminal code reflect offences that were more prevalent centuries ago. When the code was enacted in 1892, witchcraft per se was no longer a punishable offence, he says, but lawmakers wanted to ensure witchcraft wasn’t used as a cover for fraud. Section 365 states that any one who fraudulently pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, or enchantment or who “undertakes, for a consideration, to tell fortunes … is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.” “It’s not really about occult activity,” Prof. Young says. “It’s about defrauding people.”

One would assume that a real Witch would be immune from such charges. One would also hope that this near-forgotten law won’t be abused in a crusade against honest psychic practitioners, as they have been in America.

The Daily Grail features an excerpted essay from Greg Taylor that is very close to my heart, the history of occult practices in rock music.

“There is a vast amount of related material we could cover: from the influence of the occult upon Norwegian Black Metal, to Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson’s interest in Aleister Crowley, which has recently resulted in a feature film. Or perhaps even The Mars Volta’s use of an Ouija Board in the creation of their 2008 album The Bedlam in Goliath (considering the mayhem that allegedly resulted, perhaps they should have listened to David Bowie’s advice…). But, ultimately, rock music is about transcending the intellect, and just losing yourself in a maelstrom of sound and feeling.”

That essay, and others, is from Darklore volume 2, available now from Amazon.com. Also, in a somewhat related note, Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth’s “Thee Psychick Bible” (a project initiated by Industrial music pioneer Genesis P-Orridge) has been re-released in an updated, expanded, corrected edition. Perfect gifts for the occult music-lover in your family, and if all this talk of occult and Pagan music has you wanting to listen to some, why not check out my weekly podcast?

In a final note, the Houston Chronicle looks at the massive December pilgrimages in Mexico, with many traveling to the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe (her feast day is on Saturday), located on a former pagan shrine. While nearly a million travel to gain the blessings of the “goddess of Mexico”, the local priests want you to know that there is no trace of pre-Christianity left in the rites and traditions surrounding this popular saint.

“Arriving by bus, car or bicycle, the faithful first stop at the artesian stream springing from the roots of a huge and ancient cypress tree. They don crowns made of fresh flowers and leave petitions to God hanging from the fence posts, wash in or drink from the spring and dance before the statue in a small chapel … When their dance is finished, the pilgrims ride a few miles down the mountainside to the village of Chalma itself, where they walk through a gantlet of vendors and restaurants to arrive at the church. There they attend Mass, get blessed by priests and leave petitions or letters of thanks to God hanging on walls. “It is 100 percent Catholic,” Manzanares said of the pilgrimage, “based in Catholic belief for the Catholic faithful.” Chalma’s shrine was erected by Spanish friars in the 1530s conquest in a cave that the Aztecs once worshipped as the dwelling of Ozteatl, a god represented by a large man-sized black boulder they believed had healing powers. The friars destroyed the stone, according to some accounts, and a Christ statue appeared in its place.”

Catholic perhaps, but grown from “pagan” soil and tradition. Whether Guadalupe is “100% Catholic” or a Christianized version of the Aztec moon goddess Tonantzin, she is still the most-venerated goddess/saint in the Americas, and neither Catholic nor Pagan should take that lightly.

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

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.

The recent arrest of Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic, who was posing as a New Age guru named “Dragan David Dabic”, has sparked some eager pundits to form a link between the New Age movement and mass murder!

“The New Age Dr Karadzic was not a disguise; it was a peep at what could have been, an alternative history. If Pol Pot had come to Britain, he might have opened a respectable stall at the Stoke Newington farmers’ market. If Dr Karadzic had moved to Camden market he could have become a quiet and harmless guru. As it was, he butchered half a country. The lesson is: keep an eye on those health stores.”

Igor Toronyi-Lalic’s correlations become ever-more perilous, performing mental acrobatics to link organic farming to murder because Pol Pot liked it, and claiming that New Age stores readily carry copies of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. If this extended Reductio ad Hitlerum points to any conspiracy theorist, it must be the author himself.

Speaking of conspiracy theorists, want to dig up the “Harry Potter leads children to the occult” argument again? No? Too bad! Joe Max e-mailed me a link to a dazzlingly tunnel-visioned editorial from 2003 entitled “Heresy in the Hood II: Witchcraft among Children and Teens in America”. Heresy in the hood! Gods that tickles me. That should be the title of a movie.

“Any Web–savvy child can be indoctrinated into a pagan worldview and start casting spells before a parent catches on to this new interest.”

And they are probably downloading their records for free! Truly Satan is powerful! But why am I mocking an article from five years ago? Because the Christian anti-abortion hub LifeSiteNews references it extensively in a recent editorial by Hilary White.

“As of June 2008, the seven book Potter series has sold more than 400 million copies and the books have been translated into 67 languages. The phenomenal success of the books has made their British author, J.K. Rowling, the highest-earning novelist in history. Three years after Harry Potter, Harvey writes, a review of television programs, major children’s book publishers, and popular youth websites, ‘should more than confirm our initial warnings.'”

Blah, blah, blah, Harry Potter, blah, blah, Buffy, blah, blah, Satan, blah blah. Really I can’t even muster the energy to debate this stuff any more. Especially if they don’t even go to the trouble of writing a new piece, instead of simply paraphrasing one from five years ago. Perhaps both sides are stricken with Harry Potter outrage fatigue?

The Richmond Times Dispatch features a column from A. Barton Hinkle that looks at a recent decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding non-sectarian prayer in the town of Fredericksburg (it was challenged by a Christian pastor who wanted to say the “J-word”). Hinkle explains how the ACLU could press for non-sectarian prayer in this instance, yet fight for the inclusion of Wiccan Cynthia Simpson in a different public prayer case.

“There is a defensible rationale for the stance the ACLU has taken, and it goes like this: Governmental bodies should not allow invocations, period. But given the fact that Chesterfield had done so, then it was obliged to treat all religions equally by allowing prayers from other faiths: Buddhist, Shinto, Wiccan, or Spaghetti Monster. Having opened the door to Abrahamic faiths, it couldn’t slam the door on non-Abrahamic ones. In the Fredericksburg case, the ACLU doesn’t want the door opened at all.”

In other words, if you want sectarian prayer, you have to invite the Pagans.

Paging Llewellyn! Remember your hilarious moral victory in North Carolina? Well, you just might get your chance to repeat it in Arizona.

“Alliance Defense Fund yesterday announced that it had filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Arizona on behalf of the First Baptist Church of Maricopa and its pastor, Jim Johnson, challenging Maricopa County school district’s policy on distribution of literature by nonprofit groups … School policy permits nonprofit groups to have their literature promoting various events and activities made available to students in schools. However the policy excludes literature from any sectarian organization or literature that promotes a particular religious belief or participation in religion.”

Network with some Arizona groups now, contact the local media and tell them that if First Baptist Church of Maricopa wins, you’ll be happy to distribute Pagan books and flyers to the kids. As I mentioned earlier, if you include sectarian religious content, you have to let everyone in!

In a final note, Technoccult points to an amazing in-depth look at the relationship of Throbbing Gristle/Psychic-TV founder Genesis P-Orridge, and Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge, who tragically passed away last year due to an undiagnosed heart condition.

“If we can be with this woman as lovers, as partners, for the rest of our lives, thought the front man of the legendary bands Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, who’d easily piled up enough experiences and enough identities to justify that royal “we”—it’s all we’ll ever want in the universe.”

A true tale of magick, love, gender, music, and the art of becoming one being.

That is all I have for now, have a great day!