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.
- Noted early-music performer Owain Phyfe, a long-time fixture on the Renaissance Faire circuit, science fiction conventions, and Pagan festivals like Pagan Spirit Gathering, passed away this week from pancreatic cancer. Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary, who knew Owain, had this to say about the musician: “Thank you, Owain, for good times, friendship, & carrying on the bardic tradition with old & new songs & stories! Thank you for being part of the Pagan Spirit Gathering & Green Spirit Festival! Blessings of our Welsh ancestor Owain Glyndwr, upon you as you make your way in Annwn, the Otherworld!” You can find out more about Owain at his Wikipedia page, or this article from Renaissance Magazine. What is remembered lives.
- How do you stop a witch-hunt from happening? In rural India, groups of women who met through micro-loan programs are banding together in solidarity to resist the hysteria that can come with an accusation of witchcraft, and have met with some success. Quote: “In one case, a woman was accused of causing disease in livestock and an attack was planned. Members of the self-help groups gathered in a vigil around the woman’s home and surrounded the accuser’s home as well, stating their case to the accuser’s wife. Eventually the wife intervened and her husband recanted and ‘begged for forgiveness.'” So how do stop witch-hunts? Empowering women seems an important first step.
- Brian Pulliam, a racist skinhead who has been arrested in connection with a double homicide, is receiving scrutiny for his Asatru faith, which he believes requires him to drink alcohol. The story has prompted a representative of the local Asatru community in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area to speak up and clarify their beliefs, distancing themselves from Pulliam. Quote: “…his claims that Asatru requires him to consume mead for various holidays during the year are baseless. While many of us choose to drink mead or other alcoholic beverages during our celebrations, there is absolutely no requirement to do so. People whose medications won’t allow them to drink alcohol, those who are underage, and active service members in the Middle East, to name just a few examples, are capable of fully celebrating without mead.” The author, Sorn Skald, also noted that Pulliam’s racism would not be welcome in the group with which he worships.
- The Vancouver Sun has more on the unfolding controversy over Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ move to stop the issuing of new contracts for minority-faith chaplains, including a Wiccan chaplain, because he’s “not convinced” that it is needed. Quote: “For the past six years, Wiccan priestess Kate Hansen has been visiting federal inmates across British Columbia who follow the pagan religion, guiding them in meditation and leading them in prayerful chants [...] “If they choose to scrap this, they’re denying the rights of all of these people – their access to spiritual advisement of the religion of their choice,” Hansen told Postmedia News.” For more on this situation, read my post from yesterday, and be sure to check out the comments section, which features input from a Canadian Pagan prison chaplain.
- There’s been a lot of chatter online about Naomi Wolf’s (author of “The Beauty Myth”) upcoming book “Vagina: A New Biography, “ specifically concerning language that explicitly (and implicitly) points towards a Goddess consciousness for women connected to their vaginas. One example: “Despite the repeated invocations of cutting-edge scientific research, the smell of patchouli pervades throughout: there are sentences such as “the vagina may be a ‘hole’, but it is, properly understood, a Goddess-shaped one”. Brace yourself.” A Guardian reviewer called it “dumbed-down feminism” that acts “lesbianism never happened, nor class, nor vast swaths of feminist theory.” You get the idea, the scorn is rising on this one, has Naomi Wolf jumped the shark?
- Paul Louis Metzger, author of “Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths, ” which I reviewed not too long ago, interviews Mike Stygal of Pagan Federation London and Foundation for Religious Diplomacy Evangelical Chapter Director John W. Morehead for the New Wine, New Wineskins podcast. They, quote, “discuss matters of religious diplomacy between Christians and Pagans and explore why the two groups generally have a hard time interacting with one another.” You can directly download the audio, here.
- A couple weeks ago I reported on Lakota, Dakota and Nakota efforts to purchase the land known as Pe’ Sla, an area in the Black Hills of South Dakota, that was being sold by its owners. This land is sacred to the Sioux, central to their creation story. After gaining media attention, the scheduled auction was stopped, and now spokespersons say progress has been made in getting the money together to purchase the land, though the process is still at a delicate stage. Quote: “Though the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (RST) has recently announced progress in their efforts to purchase the sacred site of Pe’ Sla in the Black Hills of South Dakota and RST President Rodney M. Bordeaux has stated to the public, “We have secured funding for the earnest money deposit of Pe’Sla,” the purchase is not final. According to Debra White Plume, a resident of Pine Ridge, information stating Pe’ Sla has been saved is not entirely correct.” We’ll keep you posted on further developments in this case.
- With “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” coming out soon, and Vin Diesel possibly starring in the in-development “The Last Witch Hunter,” IndieWire asks the pertinent question: “Is Witch Hunting a thing now?” It’s obviously time for a remake of “The Craft”!
- Over at his Witches & Pagans blog, Sam Webster asks: “do we really want to be using this kind of Belief-language?” Quote: “It’s the Christian mode for thinking about religion. (We’ll talk more about them in a future post.) Do we want to model our religious thought on theirs? I don’t. I think it poisons our view of Paganism if we uncritically adopt the belief-oriented Christian view of religiosity and supports their distorted understanding of the rest of us.”
- Reminder! If you haven’t yet, please support Patrick McCollum’s campaign so he can represent Pagans at the Awakened World 2012 gathering in Rome. Also, congratulations to the New Alexandrian Library for meeting their latest crowdfunding goal in getting their library built!
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.