Archives For skyclad

Just a few quick news notes for you on this Sunday.

Ardantane Needs Infrastructure: Ardantane, a Pagan learning center in the Jemez Mountains (that’s in New Mexico), is holding a fundraiser through IndieGoGo to help build a free-standing eco-friendly handicapped-accessible restroom/shower.

Ardantane

“One rather glaring problem with our facilities is – a lack of restrooms. We have one small toilet in the staff residence, but it’s not handicapped-accessible. Thus we created the HARRE Potty Project: “HARRE” stands for Handicapped-Accessible RestRoom, Eco-friendly. We figure it will cost about $15-16,000 to build a fairly spacious, free-standing restroom with two toilets, two sinks and a shower, and tie it into our water treatment system (which goes to a drip irrigation system to water our “Oasis”). We have eight or nine thousand raised, but will need about $7,000 more to get the project done. You can help!”

It’s a flexible-funding campaign, so all donations made will go towards the project. There are 28 days left in the fundraiser, and a number of perks available to those who donate.

  • Dan Halloran Undergoing Brain Surgery: New York City Councilman, congressional candidate, and Theodish Heathen Dan Halloran is undergoing brain surgery to remove a benign tumor. Quote: “On Wednesday, I will undergo a neurosurgical procedure to remove a benign tumor.  It’s a lengthy operation that will require me to remain in the hospital for the rest of the week.  Then, after all goes well, I’ll return home to rest and recuperate.  My doctors expect a speedy recovery, and I hope to be back on my feet within a few weeks — and get back to the business of serving you in City Hall and fighting for our district, the middle class, and our shared values.” We wish Halloran a quick and speedy recovery.
  • SPLC Reports on Odinist Terrorist: The Southern Poverty Law Center reports on the sentencing of white supremacist Wayde Lynn Kurt, who was accused of plotting to assassinate President Barack Obama. Kurt, 54, was sentenced to 13 years in prison on charges related to firearms and forgery. Tapes played during the trial showed Kurt saying that Obama “needs to be killed.” Kurt was involved in the racist Odinist group “Vangard Kindred” (whose co-founder is also in trouble with the law). FBI Special Agent Joseph Cleary testified that he believed “Mr. Kurt had a terrorist plan that involved the president of the United States.” During the trial, prosecutors played a video of a Odinist blot Kurt took part in, where the Norse pantheon was invoked to protect them from other races, with Nazi flags flying in the background.
  • Skyclad Ritual in India: The Times of India reports on the remote village of Handanakerae, where once a year women clad only in leaves give homage to the goddess Gonimaradamma in return for answered prayers. Quote: “I prayed to goddess Gonimaradamma for my family’s well-being. She fulfilled my demands and that’s why I performed this service. No family member or any villager forced me to do this ritual. I’ve been getting good things from the goddess and so I do this service for her. What’s wrong in it?” Women who participate in the ritual are treated as manifestations of the goddess, and any misbehavior is heavily frowned on, believing it would bring punishment from Gonimaradamma.

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

Philip Carr-Gomm, head of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD), recently released a new book entitled “A Brief History of Nakedness” that explores the psychology, history, and politics of the unclothed form. Here’s Carr-Gomm explaining how he came up with the idea of writing the book in an interview with The New Yorker.

“It should be the simplest thing in the world for us to do: to take all our clothes off to soak up the sun or skinny dip, and yet it is such a fraught activity for so many people. This started to intrigue me about ten years ago when I was hiking on a hot day and stopped to rest. No-one was around, and I was so hot that I took my clothes off to cool down and enjoy the breeze. As I did this, I wondered whether I was breaking the law, and was suddenly hit by the oddity of the idea that I could somehow be committing a crime simply by being myself. Could I only legally exist in public if I was covered? Thoreau talks about this same issue when he notes in his “Journals”: “What a singular fact for an angel visitant to this earth to carry back in his note-book, that men were forbidden to expose their bodies under the severest penalties!” I began researching the taboo against nakedness, and discovered an extraordinarily rich vein of material that I have been mining ever since.”

Considering the Druid chief’s religious interests, nakedness in the context of religious ritual, specifically Pagan ritual, is mentioned in the book; and the subject seems to have created some very divergent responses from critics. Ed Caesar of The Times found the topic fascinating, while Peter Conrad of the Guardian views it though a distorted lens of hippie-hatred.

“Carr-Gomm is a hippy who, rather than growing up and outgrowing the 60s, has discarded his tie-dyed garments and cantered off to worship orgiastic pagan deities … Cheerfully indiscriminate, Carr-Gomm’s “Brief History” romps through religion, politics and aesthetics. At times he is woozily mystical – he seems to take seriously the fertility rites performed by adherents of Wicca…”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as up to the occasional round of Baby-Boomer backlash as the next disgruntled Gen-Xer, but I try to keep tabs on when my personal biases are influencing the way I encounter something I’m supposed to objectively review or report on. That fact that Conrad’s review boils down to a giant “TMI” screed undercuts some of his more serious critiques of the larger work. It makes him seem more prudish than anything else.

In any case, the book may be worth a look, especially if you attend clothing-optional events or participate in a “skyclad” tradition. You can find more information, including more reviews and an excerpt, at Philip Carr-Gomm’s web site.

(Pagan) News of Note

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  September 22, 2007 — 3 Comments

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

A hospital chaplain in Maryland was fired for preventing the Gideons from handing out copies of the New Testament in every hospital room. Jews on First reports that Peninsula Regional Medical Center, a publicly funded non-religious hospital, eventually demanded the resignation of the Rev. Kay Myers when she continued to bring up the health and privacy concerns presented by handing out non-sterile Bibles to every room.

“As director of pastoral care for a community hospital in Maryland, the Rev. Kay Myers halted the placement of sectarian Christian books in patients’ rooms. Myers said her decision was one of the carefully measured steps she had taken during her seven-year tenure to move her department to a professional level of pastoral care. The hospital’s response was not so measured. The CEO immediately countermanded Myers. Within months she was forced to resign.”

Sounds like grounds for litigation to me, in the meantime residents of Maryland might want to avoid a hospital whose administration doesn’t respect your health, privacy, or religion.

Monika Ann Dilmaghanian, an adherent of Asatru, has been sentenced for 15 years to life for stabbing her partner. The argument that lead to the stabbing was reportedly over the proper cleansing of a ritual blade.

“Monika Ann Dilmaghanian, 34, had pleaded guilty as charged last month to first-degree felony murder for the April 6 death of 24-year-old Nathan D. Harris at a campground near Causey Reservoir. Defense attorney Bernie Allen – who believes Dilmaghanian is guilty of the lesser crime of manslaughter – said she refused to go to trial and seek a lesser conviction because she did not want her children to have to testify against her … family members agreed that Dilmaghanian acted out of anger and under the influence of alcohol, rather than intentionally.”

A friend and co-religionist of Nathan Harris claims that hundreds showed to his funeral, and that he is sure Dilmaghanian meant to murder her husband and will speak against her at any parole hearing.

UU World profiles alternative scouting organizations, including the Pagan-friendly (and founded) Spiral Scouts.

“The Unitarian Universalist Association parted ways with the BSA over those two issues after the BSA withdrew approval in May 1999 for a religious emblem the UUA awarded to Scouts who had earned it through a program of study in their congregations. Since that time some UUs have wanted a more inclusive youth program. SpiralScouts and Navigators are two such groups. Neither group is officially affiliated with the UUA, although UUs may lead them and participate in them. Some groups meet in UU buildings or are sponsored by individual UU congregations. Other UUs continue to participate in Boy Scout programs … SpiralScouts is directed primarily at children and youth whose families identify as Wiccan or Pagan and with Earth-centered spirituality, but it is open to anyone, says Janet Callahan, SpiralScouts International program director.”

It should be interesting to see if Spiral Scouts will continue to make inroads into communities that for one reason or another are dissatisfied with the Boy Scouts.

In an interesting article for those who prefer to practice skyclad or are committed to naturism, Slate.com explores the question of if children are harmed by seeing their parents naked.

“If the kid is younger than 3 years old, it’s probably harmless. At least, this is what many adolescent psychiatrists believe; there have been few rigorous studies of the subject. Very young children won’t notice anything odd about a parent who prances around the house in the buff. Likewise, babies who breastfeed at 12 months are physically intimate with their mothers and don’t think twice about it. Chances are good that a 2- or 3-year-old won’t form any lasting memories of seeing his parents in their birthday suits.”

The article claims that the issue becomes more complex between 4 and 8 when a child starts to learn the societal norms of dress and privacy. Of course there are still few academic studies on the subject, and naturist groups claim that there isn’t any problem with growing up in a clothing-optional house. Many parents seem quite sanguine about the issue as well.

Comic company BOOM! Studios reassures its Pagan readers that their new comic “Salem: Queen of Thorns” won’t vilify Pagans and Witches.

“We agree that a comic book that asserts Pagans are evil and destructive might well be considered insensitive, offensive and even slanderous. However, SALEM: QUEEN OF THORNS is not that book. We appreciate your criticisms, but feel they are based on a mistaken understanding of the true content of our story. In SALEM, the religious authorities are an evil force that persecutes innocents in the witch trials. They aren’t celebrated in any way and are, in fact, major villains … More importantly, one of our chief characters, Hannah Foster, is a healer accused of witchcraft. She is in no way the “demonized” villain of the piece. Rather, she is one of the key heroes on a noble journey to combat evil and save the world.”

Proof that you shouldn’t judge a book by blurb alone.

The Toronto Sun enlists local Witch Tamarra James to help the local soccer team score a goal.

“This ought to do the trick, soccer fans. “Zeus, Lord of Olympus,” Tamarra James cries out. “Receive this offering of precious incense and turn your eyes to this place.” A cloud crosses the midday sun over BMO Field. A gull keens. A security guard shifts nervously. Ms. James, 56, is high priestess of the Wiccan Church of Canada. She is this country’s top witch. We are here, with her deputy witch, Nicole Cooper, 31, to put a spell on Toronto FC. A good spell. A spell to bring a harvest of goals. Or at least one. Starting today, with Columbus in town.”

Makes you want to watch the game to see if her prayers were effective.

Finally, Boing Boing links to a post by Aranamuerta on how to make your own Witch Kitchen Jars.

“Making witch kitchen jars and ingredients is easy and inexpensive. Any jar or bottle of any size will do. I collect jars from my own kitchen, from friend’s houses, from garage sales, and from one of the thrift shops in town that always carries a vast and bizarre selection for very cheap.”

Only 39 days till Samhain! That is all I have for now, have a good day.