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.
- An Indonesian politician is opposing a law that would effectively outlaw the practice of witchcraft in the name of preventing fraud. Quote: “Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party politician Permadi, who claims to have psychic powers, disagreed with Andi’s argument, saying the article fails to protect the rights of psychics and witches. He said that not all people who could perform magic and cast a spell on someone else use their power wrongly, as some witches use their power in a positive way.” Permadi went on to say that “if you want to make this law perfect, you should involve people who understand witchcraft.” Seems perfectly reasonable to me.
- Religion Clause’s usual round-up of prisoner free exercise cases includes one that involves an Odinist, and one that includes a practitioner of Native American religious practices.
- Lisa Miller at the Washington Post looks at efforts to keep polyamory advocates quiet within the Unitarian Universalist Association. Quote: “…as the issue of same-sex marriage heads to the Supreme Court, many committed Unitarians think the denomination should have a position, which is that polyamory activists should just sit down and be quiet.”I’ve touched on this issue before, and some think the UUA moved to change its policy regarding Independent Affiliates due to polyamory advocates within UU.
- At the Washington Post’s Magazine, Kristin Henderson seeks out Witches in England’s New Forest. Quote: “Turns out Jenny, 57, New Forest commoner, herb gardener, wild pony breeder, fireman’s wife and onetime owner of this gift shop, is a white witch. ‘White witches were always custodians of the forest,’ she says. ‘The forest is precious to us.'”
- PNC-Minnesota interviews Drew Jacob about his successful “Magic to the People” crowdfunding initiative. Quote: “Many Neopagans aren’t aware that in most cultures, magicians charge for their services. It could take hours, even weeks to perform a full ceremony for a client, which means they charge high rates (which is fair) and some people make their living at it. A big part of this is not just because magic is draining, but because it is so time intensive or uses expensive materials.”
- This Summer the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art will highlight a major exhibition of art dealing with the topic of witches and witchcraft. Quote: “Witches and Wicked Bodies will highlight the inventive approaches to the depiction of witches and witchcraft employed by a broad range of artists over the past 500 years, with striking examples by famous names such as Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Salvator Rosa, Francisco de Goya, Henry Fuseli, John William Waterhouse and William Blake. The selection will also include more recent interpretations of the subject, by twentieth-century and contemporary artists including Paula Rego, Kiki Smith and Edward Burra. The exhibition has been curated by the National Galleries of Scotland with artist and writer Deanna Petherbridge and will contain major works on loan from the British Museum; the National Gallery (London); the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Tate; and the Victoria & Albert Museum, to be shown alongside key images from the Royal Scottish Academy and the Galleries’ own collections.” If I were anywhere in the vicinity of Scotland this Summer, I’d go.
- On Friday, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear vetoed a flawed “religious freedom” bill, noting that “the measure is itself vague, and thereby creates impermissible uncertainty for businesses, individuals and governmental agencies as to the boundaries of existing laws.”Beshear took political heat in 2011 for attending a Hindu ceremony, and was indirectly accused of being a polytheist (he isn’t). I’ve written before about these “religious freedom” laws and they are generally bad news for religious minorities, so good on Gov. Beshear for the veto.
- Will Pope Francis be the Catholic Pope to finally recant the Doctrine of Discovery? The American Indian Law Alliance and other Native activists hope so. Quote: “‘Now is the time for the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church to extend a hand and talk about these issues,’ said Tonya Frichner, the president of the American Indian Law Alliance. The Discovery Doctrine was a key element in the moral justification of the European conquest of indigenous people around the world and remains influential in legal circles.” I’ve written before about the Doctrine of Discovery, and the fight to have it repealed.
- The South African Pagan Rights Alliance (SAPRA) is filing a hate-speech complaint against education official Barbara Creecy after religious organizations and government education officials announced that they were teaming up to combat “the growing problem of Satanism and occult practices.” Quote: “This encourages prejudice and intolerance towards these groups, and may even contribute to violence against those whose dignity and right to religious freedom is being made out to be a criminal offence.”
- In a final note, do check out this recording of the “Pagans and Privilege” panel which took place at PantheaCon 2013. The talk was moderated by T. Thorn Coyle, and featured panelists Crystal Blanton, Elena Rose, Xochiquetzal Duti Odinsdottir, and River Higginbotham.
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.