My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.
We all know that modern Druids in Britain have a special connection to Stonehenge, but it seems that Druids in New Zealand are getting in on the action with a Stonehenge all their own.
“As the sun set last night at the Kiwi-style Stonehenge, built on a hill east of Carterton, druids from across New Zealand – along with Britain’s Chief Druid, Phillip Carr-Gomm – gathered to be part of the ancient ceremony of Alban Elfed, the autumn equinox…Stonehenge Aotearoa is an adaptation of the 4000-year-old ring of stones on Salisbury Plain in England. The 24 pillars that make up the circle are not stone, but the cement-and-plaster structures look the part. Stonehenge Aotearoa took its final form in 2005.”
Will Druids in America soon want their own Stonehenge? If funds are a problem, they could always use Carhenge as a substitute.
Wiccans are the victims in a new novel “White Night” by Jim Butcher. The book, part of a series called “The Dresden Files” (now a television series on the SciFi channel), stars a hard-boiled magician who solves occult-related crimes.
“Further investigation reveals the presence of a serial killer preying upon Wicca practitioners and worse, folks on the street keep seeing a tall man in a gray jacket, a description that fits Dresden. Harry soon uncovers evidence that implicates his brother Thomas as the killer but before he can clear him, he’ll have to battle ghouls in a showdown…”
If your a fan of the “Wiccans getting off-ed” motif in occult-tinged stories you might also want to check out M.R. Sellars’ Rowan Gant Investigations series, and possibly Rosemary Edghill’s “Bast” mysteries.
Ireland has launched its first (and only) Mumming center near the Fermanagh border.
“Ireland’s only mumming centre was officially launched this morning in a former national school close to the Fermanagh border. The 266,000 Euro cultural centre, built in the restored listed building of Aughakillymaude National School on the shores of Lough Erne, is set to become a major attraction for tourists plying the Fermanagh waterways. The key attraction will be an exhibition dedicated to the vanishing tradition of mumming, in which eerie straw-masked figures perform a midwinter folk drama whose origins are lost in pagan times.”
For more on mumming, check out the Wikipedia article, and of course the final third of the original Wicker Man features some lovely mumming (and a bit of human sacrifice, but its all for the good of the land).
“I’ve been an atheist all my life, Jon convinced me not to use that word. He said I was defining myself negatively. So I don’t call myself anything, a seeker, perhaps. I had been interested for a couple of years in religion and how it affects policy. I was thinking of writing a book about religion in Washington.”
The article also makes special note of the inclusion of Starhawk in the proceedings, and makes much ado over Quinn’s affection for labyrinth-walking as a possible sign she has “found” religion.
Bloomberg reports that the Louvre is presenting a special show of the 4th century BC Attic sculptor Praxiteles, famous for his images of Aphrodite.
“Several versions of the lady can be admired at the Louvre, which has organized a rare Praxiteles exhibition. Most of his works survived only in the form of Roman copies. The originals were destroyed by the ravages of time, natural disasters or Christian zealots who, like the Taliban, wouldn’t tolerate images of pagan sensuality.”
They also point out that the pure-white statues we see now aren’t quite what the ancients looked at due to the fact that statutes back then were often painted in vibrant colors.
Finally, for fans of Pagan-created music, the amazing Hungarian Pagan band The Moon and The Nighspirit are releasing a new album entitled “Rego Rejtem” (which in English means “I conjure with magic”) on April 2nd. Unlike their first album “Of Dreams Forgotten and Fables Untold”, this album is recorded entirely in their native tongue instead of English.
“This time they have traveled further into times bygone, rekindling the flames of the Taltos (Hungarian shaman) and reawakening the spirits of the Elders. The music has acquired a more varied and colorful tone through the use of varied ethnic instrumentation (such as kaval, tapan, jew’s harp or zither), and has also become significantly more energetic and vibrant, without sacrificing the unique ambiance that the band had found on their debut album.”
That is all I have for now. Have a good day!