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.
- Damien Echols of the now-freed West Memphis 3 discusses his interest in the art of tattooing, and the ink “talismans” he designed, for the Needles & Sins tattoo blog. Quote: “This one is for success in all ventures. And that’s what it says around it in the Theban alphabet; it’s also nicknamed the Witches’ Alphabet. And inside is my name and the word “success” entwined.” Echols’ interest in the occult and Witchcraft was used against him in court during a time of moral panic in our country, leading him to be unjustly imprisoned for nearly 20 years. Want to be tattooed by Echols? He’s raising money to pay off his legal expenses by doing simple “x” tattoos at Sacred Tattoo and Gallery in Soho.
- As many predicted, New York City Republican Councilman (and Theodish Heathen) Dan Halloran will face off against Democratic State Assemblywoman Grace Meng for an empty seat in New York’s 6th congressional district. On winning the primary, Meng called for not both campaigns to not “discuss race or religion,” which caused a Halloran spokesman to instantly accused the Assemblywoman of “trying to muddy the waters,” a tone that Meng called “disrespectful.” Considering the backgrounds of Meng and Halloran, I predicted that religion wouldn’t be a focus of this race, but Halloran has seemed curiously willing to go on the attack concerning matters of faith. Is this a tactic to shut down discussion before it begins? I guess we’ll see as we approach November.
- Why should you avoid over-estimating your religion’s growth and numbers? Because it can come to bite you in the ass later. For example, Scientology in Australia saw its numbers crater in most recent census, down to just over 2000 members, despite an official estimating that they had hundreds of thousands of adherents a couple years earlier. Complaints that your faith group is being under-counted in census figures or surveys only seems credible when your numbers keep rising, as they have been for modern Pagans in Australia. A cautionary note for those who are quick to be effusive about our community’s growth.
- South Korea, one of the most Christian countries in Asia, is witnessing a revival of interest in its indigenous shamanistic practices, with local mudangs (priests or priestesses) being consulted by politicians and featuring on popular television shows. Sociology professor Shin Kwang-yeong thinks the popularity is due to Koreans dealing with the “strong uncertainties” of their modern existence, with many crediting shamanism with bringing healing and piece of mind to their lives. Quote: “I felt something from my heart. This ritual has everything in there – happiness, sadness, anger and fun [...] Sometimes tears pour out from my heart. Sometimes it’s just fun when everyone is dancing and bowing. And, it’s healing.”
- Father Thomas Euteneuer, a star in the Catholic pro-life activist ranks, and vehement anti-Pagan exorcist, admitted to having inappropriate sexual relations with at least one woman back in 2011. Now, a Jane Doe is filing suit against Euteneuer, alleging that the priest sexually abused and assaulted her, using his position as an exorcist as a means to force sexual contact. This spiritual/physical rape of the Jane Doe has caused the Catholic church to recall him for counselling and remove his “priestly faculties,” meaning he can no longer perform mass or other sacred rites.
- There’s a deep connection between synthesizer music and the occult, Klint Finley explores it for Boing Boing. Quote: “You can find traces of the occult throughout the history of electronic music. The occult obsessed Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo built his own mechanical instruments around 1917. The famous Moog synthesizer made an early appearance in Mick Jagger’s soundtrack to Kenneth Anger’s occult film Invocation of My Demon Brother in 1969. And in the late 1970s Throbbing Gristle built their own electronic instruments for their occult sound experiments, setting the stage for many of the occult themed industrial bands who followed. The witch house genre keeps this tradition alive today.”
- The Border House looks at the controversy surrounding the upcoming game SMITE, and the protests from Hindu activist Rajan Zed over the depiction and ability to control their gods and goddesses, most notably Kali, in the game. The Border House also calls out the “pornification” of Kali. Quote: “This is truly disgusting. Not only is a faith appropriated, but it is done so in a way which turns a widely revered deity into a male sexual fantasy. A goddess in non-sexual nudity is somehow less preferable to a caricature in which she is put in a costume for the male gaze. Whether you agree with Rajan Zed or not about controlling Hindu deities as combat tools is not the issue. The cultural imperialistic mindset which allows a westerner to pornify symbols of Hinduism and yet think he has the right to lecture a Hindu about the religion, this is the issue.”
- Associated Press reporter Christopher Torchia says that ancient Greek myths lend valuable context to the country’s current fiscal and political crisis. Quote: “Greek mythology is full of examples of how mortals should find the middle way in order to live a happy life, or as it said on the walls of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, ‘Nothing in Excess,’” Peter Meineck, associate professor of classics at New York University, wrote in an email. He noted that, according to the Greek poet Hesiod, “the first divine agent that caused creation was Eros — the spirit of erotic drive or the impulse to create anything.”
- Tammy Trotter-Bazzle, a Pagan priestess living in South Carolina, shares her experience advising the pastoral staff at AnMed Health after a Pagan patience was admitted. Quote: “I feel blessed and honored to have had that opportunity. At the end of a day, good was done for the greater good. Pagan patients will be better understood at AnMed. And that was, after all, the reason for this class; to help the patient. I, along with many of the local Pagan community, are happy to see this step forward.”
- A majority percentage of Jews, Catholics, Mainline Protestants, non-Christian faiths, and unaffiliated religious believers favor same-sex marriage rights. Yet we are told that we must “protect” the conservative Christian viewpoint on marriage by denying all other faiths and traditions the ability to perform legal same-sex rites. How is this about religious freedom again?
- Is polyamory ready for its close-up? A Showtime reality program is on its way, featuring neo-tantra practitioner and “bliss coach” Kamala Devi. Will Paganism make an appearance? Are we ready for the questions if and when it does?
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.