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.
- This week Elysia at Llewellyn tackled the thorny issue of Pagan/metaphysical book piracy after discovering a site distributing PDF copies of 32 Llewellyn titles. Several emails and one DMCA notice later, the content was taken down, but not before the pirate did her level best to paint herself as the Robin Hood of Wiccan literature. Quote: “How shall I educate the poor, the disenfranchised, without the books?” Considering how easy it is to get a hold of Pagan books these days, far easier than it has ever been in any point of our modern history, the argument that book pirates are performing a noble service rings increasingly hollow. If someone is truly concerned about saving and spreading information then they should work with authors and publishers, instead of illegally bypassing them.
- Did you know that Hungary’s center-right government passed a new constitution? It’s true! Despite criticism, both local and international, the Prime Minister, whose party commands an overwhelming majority, remains unrepentant. One of the laws passed under this new constitution greatly restricts official recognition of religion. Now, only 14 Christian and Jewish faiths are officially recognized, and the hurdle for additions to that list is high. One wonders what will become of the many Hungarian Pagan organizations, have any of them applied for government recognition? I’ll be keeping an eye on this issue.
- The U.N. Human Rights Office has publicly criticized the government of Saudi Arabia for its increase in executions, for not meeting international trial standards, and for using torture to gain confessions. Saudi Arabia has made the news several times here for its willingness to kill men and women for the crimes of “sorcery” and “witchcraft”. Will outside international pressure make a difference? Recently, a Saudi princess living in London blasted her country’s religious police, saying they had a “dangerous effect” on society.
- Richard Bartholomew reports that controversial Nigerian Pentecostal preacher Helen Ukpabio is returning to America, there the infamous witch-hunter will meet with her Western backers. Ukpabio’s particular “gospel” includes propagandistic “expository” horror films featuring witchcraft possessed children, and selling non-fiction religious titles like “Unveiling The Mysteries of Witchcraft” that make assertions about the reality of child witches. Think this madness can’t spread? Tell that to Kristy Bamu, a teenage boy in the UK who was tortured for days (along with his siblings) and then drowned by his family after they accused him of sorcery. Make no mistake, when the reckoning for the African witch-hunts finally comes, more than a few fingers will be pointing at Western churches and missionaries.
- Is New Age guru James Arthur Ray, currently in prison after being convicted of negligent homicide after leading a fatal sweat lodge ceremony in 2009, broke? That’s his claim, and he wants a judge to declare him indigent and appoint him a public defender for his already-filed appeal. The judge couldn’t come to a decision, and prosecutors want to know about his many declared assets. Is this a ploy by Ray, or has his empire crumbled already?
- The ongoing Dorje Shugden controversy within Tibetan Buddhism continues as the Dalai Lama recently urged his followers to not follow the deity, saying that “after knowing and understanding the harmful impacts of worshipping the deity, it is my responsibility to urge my devotees not to follow it”. The debate comes down to whether the Dorje Shugden is a Dharma protector or a “worldly spirit” (in which case the entity is not fit for veneration within Buddhism). From the outside, the issue is a fascinating look into how Tibetan Buddhism navigates the realm between polytheism and non-theism.
- PNC-Minnesota has started an interview series with Pagan polyarmorous families. The second installment was posted on Friday, and interviews Johnny, who’s in a poly relationship with two other women, and is the father of triplets. Quote: “We are a nuclear family. We went through the pregnancy together and are raising the kids together. We share the bills together. Everything that the traditional nuclear family does, we do together, except there are three of us.” You can read The Wild Hunt’s coverage on the intersections between polyamory and modern Paganism, here.
- Did you know the Queen of Heaven is behind same-sex marriage? Well, all acts of love and pleasure are her rituals…
- Jury selection is under way in the trial of Gerald Field of Massachusetts, who is accused of raping and imprisoning a woman for five days. It seems that Mr. Field follows a “Nordic pagan religion” and his lawyer is asking jurors if that, and his “alleged anti-Semitic remarks” would prejudice them in a trial. Mr. Field better pray to his gods that none of his fellow Heathens get picked for the jury, as most Heathens I’ve met don’t take kindly to their faith being drawn through the mud by alleged rapists.
- Show me on the doll where the demonic realm touched you.
- Finally, congrats again to the Open Hearth Foundation in Washington DC on the opening of their new community center! Check out this video from PNC-Washington DC on the event.
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.