Archives For New Forest

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.

Indonesian politician Permadi, photo by Edi Wiyono.

Indonesian politician Permadi, photo by Edi Wiyono.

William Blake, The Whore of Babylon, 1809, Pen and black ink and water colours, 266 x 223 mm, © The Trustees of the British Museum

William Blake, The Whore of Babylon, 1809, Pen and black ink and water colours, 266 x 223 mm, © The Trustees of the British Museum

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of them I may expand into longer posts as needed.

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

Thinking of holding a Pagan conference at a resort on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean? You might want to think twice. It seems the mere rumour of a “witchcraft conference” caused a huge controversy.

“The State-owned Radio St. Lucia first alerted listeners about the supposed meeting, when it claimed that witches from around the world were gathering here for the conference that would also involve members of the island’s elite. The radio station said that the conference had created “a media sensation” and that a local pastor, Anderson Cato of the Stream of Power Tabernacle, had condemned the authorities for allowing the gathering. “I think we have to consider what we allow ourselves to be exposed to as a people. There is a God and there are certain things that he is pleased with and others he can’t be pleased with.  In the Bible it is clear that God has spoken against witchcraft, sorcerery, adultery and sin,” Cato said. President of the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) Anthony Bowen said while he was unaware of such a conference, the “witches” were within their right if they decided to meet in St. Lucia.”

The rumour-mill and finger-pointing caused loads of political strife and angry denials. So if you’re thinking of going to St. Lucia, you might want to tuck in that Pentacle/Hammer/Awen/etc necklace.

Canadian paper The Star lists Wicca, witchcraft, and Sybil Leek as selling-points for visiting the recently created New Forest National Park in Britain.

“It’s common knowledge that the forest is still home to Hedgewitches, women who continue their Wicca practices in a solitary way. Witches’ spells, the best-sellers in the local witchcraft shop, are made by local Hedgewitches. There was a time when Sybil Leek, a past resident of Burley and a well-known “white witch” of the 1950s, incurred the wrath of the locals when she started dressing like the more sinister variety of witch, which made her, uh, unwelcome with the superstitious locals. She moved to America where she had a long and successful career as an occult writer and restaurant owner.”

What, no mention of Dorothy Clutterbuck and the (in)famous New Forest Coven? The British tourism industry should put together a comprehensive “history of modern Witchcraft” tour ASAP.

A woman from Louisiana visits Portland, Oregon and finds that it isn’t so bad. Of special note in her sojourn in “Hippie Land” is an encounter with a Wiccan on a bus.

“…a pagan/Wiccan evangelist on the bus. He started his pitch with “Do you like my rose quartz?” while brandishing a crystal worn around his neck. He then told a young woman on the bus that his quartz held special “mother goddess powers” and asked if she believed in the mother goddess. The answer? A very awkward “kinda.” Can’t really argue with that.”

Wiccans! How exotic! How unlike the South! Well, except for the hundreds of Pagans from Louisiana, not to mention the thousands of Pagans living in the Southern states. In fact, the entire column seems less about Portland, and more about her defensive excuses for not recycling, and how bums in Louisiana know their place.

Should an unsanctioned Santeria ritual in a cemetary get you ten years in prison? A woman in Massachusetts sacrificed a rooster at an old grave and then set it on fire, prompting a call to the police. The Eagle-Tribune lays out exactly what she could face if prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“Officer Ariel Montas was sent to the scene and after an investigation arrested Portalatina, charging her with malicious damage to property over $250, animal cruelty, willful and malicious killing or poisoning of an animal, willful destruction of a gravestone and setting a fire in the open without the permission of the Fire Department. The malicious damage to property charge carries a penalty of up to five years in state prison, two and a half years in the house of correction, and a fine of not more than three times the value of the damaged property. The charges of animal cruelty, willful and malicious killing of an animal, and willful destruction of a gravestone each carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, two and a half years in the house of correction, and up to $5,000 in fines.”

Sacrifice a rooster, lose years of your life in prison? Yet another reason why we need a sane set of regulations and guidelines for those who want to engage in animal sacrifice.

In a final note, we take a look at the dark side of magic and religion. Authorities in Spain have broken up a Nigerian human trafficking ring that used Vodou to intimidate women in prostitution.

“The traffickers lured their victims with promises of a better life in Europe and took them to a voodoo priest before departure, the police said in a statement. The traffickers then smuggled them to Spain, where they told the victims they had to become prostitutes to repay a hefty debt for their journey or face the wrath of voodoo spirits. Musikilu Mojeed, a journalist for the Nigerian online newspaper 234Next.com who has written about voodoo and human trafficking, said voodoo, known in Nigeria as juju, was a fairly common tool of intimidation used by traffickers. Women were taken to a voodoo shrine and made to swear before a priest that they would never reveal the identities of the traffickers, he said. The priests took pieces of fingernails or hair from the women as part of the ritual.”

A reminder that pre-Christian, alternative, or minority religions are also capable of committing abuse and instilling terror. No faith is immune from human weakness or evil intentions.

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