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.
- Virginia’s Board of Social Services has approved a truly audacious list of new adoption rules that authorize agencies to discriminate on the basis of age, gender, political beliefs, family status, and religion. This is ostensibly to prevent same-sex couples from adopting, but could be used to discriminate against religious minorities, like Pagans, in the state. Lawsuits are already being geared up to challenge these new guidelines. We’ll have more on this story in the future, including perspectives from Virginia Pagans.
- On Tuesday, Gianluca Casseri in Florence, Italy, went on a racially-motivated killing spree killing two and injuring three others before taking his own life. Casseri apparently had ties to Italian far-right groups and, according to The Guardian, “dreamed of a return to the pagan roots of a Europe reigned over by Norse kings.” Mark Sedgwick, author of “Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century,” explores Casseri’s writings at his blog and says that his “ideological profile” as a Evolian Traditionalist is “reasonably clear.” According to Sedgwick, Casseri argues for finding the “‘roots of Europe’ not in Christianity or the Enlightenment but in paganism, Indo-European religion and ultimately the Vedas.” I’ll be digging into this story more in the coming weeks, and what the ramifications might be for Pagans in Italy and Europe.
- Two Romanian witches were arrested in a high-profile blackmail case involving television celebrities. The witches, in return, claim the public charges being made by Oana Zavoranu are motivated by vengeance due to a death spell against her mother not working. Romania was embroiled in a political battle over the licensing and regulation of psychics, fortune tellers, and witches this year, with the proposed new laws ultimately failing.
- Drake Spaeth, a Clinical Psychologist and co-founder of Earth Traditions, has been named Elder Sentinel on the Council of Elders of the Brotherhood of the Phoenix, a Pagan order for Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender men who love men. Spaeth released the following statement on his appointment: “I am deeply honored to officially announce that I now hold the position of Elder Sentinel on the Council of Elders of the Brotherhood of the Phoenix, for a term of three years. The Elder Sentinel holds an “at large” position and works to ensure the security of the organization and communicate about issues in the larger Pagan context that could impact the Brotherhood in a significant way. Earth Traditions and the Brotherhood have worked well together now on several endeavors, to the mutual benefit of each, and this connection further strengthens bonds of friendship and spiritual kinship! I look forward very much to the great work our two organizations will continue to do together!” Congrats to Drake Spaeth!
- Miraselena, Public Information Officer of the Dogwood Local Council of the Covenant of the Goddess (COG), has written an essay exploring the experiences and processes the coalition of Pagan advocacy groups who worked with the Turner family of Bowden, Georgia, whose son, Christopher (11), was facing religiously-motivated harassment by his school. Quote: “The School Administration demonstrated a sincere willingness to work with the Turners going forward and to put systems in place to alleviate many of their concerns. Unfortunately, we are not at liberty to disclose the details of these actions because of the involvement of minors. Such private information is normally reserved for approved school personnel and primary caregivers, in this case, Ms. Turner. However, we can say with confidence that, as a Pagan community, we have made significant steps forward in the education of our educators.”
- Here at Patheos, columnist P. Sufenas Virius Lupus writes about the Christian persecution complex. Quote: “You cannot rightly claim to be in the position of a persecuted minority any longer; you have, more often than not, been the persecutors for the last 1650 years or so. For those of us who are not of your belief system, we have no interest in “dying for” our religion, because we value life and wish to have it in abundance, here, in this very good and beautiful, though flawed, world. For us, martyrdom is not a virtue nor an ideal. For us, who are now in the position that your spiritual ancestors were when your religion emerged, would you act in ways towards us that you still execrate the Romans for nearly two millennia later? “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” indeed…” Also, may I note that the ever-erudite Lupus has published a new book: “Devotio Antinoo: The Doctor’s Notes, Volume One.” I can only imagine it is excellent and that you should buy several copies.
- Also at Patheos, Gardnerian Elder, author, and Beliefnet blogger Gus diZerega writes about Pagan and American individualism. Quote: “Even in its secular guise, the traditional American model of an individual is deeply Protestant. From that perspective are individual atoms with firm boundaries and each having a unique relationship with God, a relationship for which we are ultimately entirely responsible. When this idea of an individual became secularized, it usually incorporated its Protestant Christian assumptions of atomistic separation from the world and from other people.”
- The English version of Pravda features an interesting interview with Yakutian ethnographer Sergei Alekseev on the Evenki clan of Deer People, and the mysteries of shamanism. Quote: “We believe that each thing in this world has its spirit, its nature, its aura, its biological field. For example, you and I are wearing glasses. Our glasses also have their own auras. If I wear your glasses, I will be looking at the world with a different pair of eyes. It was you who bought these glasses, so they have absorbed your aura and your biofield. My glasses have mine. We never pass our things of one generation to another. For example, I have a hunting knife, but I am not giving it to my son, because my son must have his own knife. My knife is my knife only. When I die, they will put my things next to me.”
- Back in 2010 New York City Councilman, and Heathen Theodsman, Dan Halloran floated the idea of running for Congress, but ultimately backed down. Now he’s eyeing another step up on the political ladder, New York State Senate. Quote: “Queens Republican Councilman Dan Halloran, one of New York City’s more colorful political figures, is leaning toward running against similarly colorful Democratic state Sen. Tony Avella, according to multiple sources who have spoken with Halloran.” Will he run, and will his faith become an issue if he does? Stay tuned…
- The California Literary Review anticipates Robin Hardy’s film “The Wicker Tree,” the forthcoming companion film to the classic 1973 Pagan-themed horror film “The Wicker Man.” Quote: “Early press for The Wicker Tree has not been overwhelmingly good, but one might say it has been encouragingly mixed. The original Wicker Man did not become known as “the Citizen Kaneof horror films” overnight, or even during the horror boom of the 1970s. It vanished into relative obscurity for some time before its rediscovery, and look at that baby burn now! Expecting the same kind of masterpiece all over again might be pushing it, but who is to say what the future holds? That is the magic of the cult film. And cult films about cults are extra special.”
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.