Archives For Time Magazine

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.

A promotional image from American Horror Story: Coven.

A promotional image from American Horror Story: Coven.

  • At Time Magazine, Megan Gibson praises the re-ascension of the Witch in pop culture. Quote: “Now, witches are getting another crack at dominance. And I think that’s a good thing — particularly for the young girls and women who are the primary audience for these shows. Unlike the female leads in most vampire stories, women in witchcraft stories are typically depicted as strong, capable characters. They might not always be noble, but they’re certainly not weak or passive characters who sit on the sidelines while the men take charge. Fictional witches are well-rounded characters with rich interior lives, while the females in vampire stories are the supernatural equivalent of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” Gibson also notes the amoral universe some contemporary fictional witches operate in these days, but thinks that “young girls and women don’t need role models from television, they need options.”
  • Could teaching about nutrition in India help deter accusations of witchcraft? Quote: “The Jharkhand State Women’s Commission is planning to approach the state government to hold nutrition programmes simultaneously with the awareness campaigns against withcraft to combat the superstition effectively. [...] Superstitions were attached to illness caused by malnutrition among children and innocent women were often made responsible for this by branding them as witches. This could be curbed through joint campaigns by health mission and literacy programmes.”
  • Canada’s National Post reports on the World Mission Society Church of God, also known as the Church of God. Specifically, it notes that this Christian denomination worship a goddess. Quote: “Most Christian churches believe in one God, commonly described in male terms as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but the Church of God believes the Bible testifies that two Gods exist: God the Father and God the Mother. [...] The church teaches that since the Bible testifies that men and women were both created in God’s own image, God actually has two images: male and female. In other words, there are two Gods – Heavenly Parents – who together created human beings in Their likeness.” There’s nearly 2 million members of this church, FYI.
  • After the controversy in 2012 over Canada eliminating all paid part-time chaplain services (starting with the Wiccans), effectively making government prison chaplaincy a Christian-only affair, the government has quietly tasked a private company with providing chaplaincy services. Quote: “Kairos Pneuma Chaplaincy Inc., a company started by a handful of current and former federal prison chaplains in direct response to the request for proposals issued in May, won the bid. Since October, about 30 full and part-time chaplains of all denominations, including Wicca and including many who worked in the federal prison system perviously, have been serving prisoners across the country, according to company president John Tonks.” Proponents of the new system says it promotes “equity” among prison chaplains.
  • In a shocking twist, a Christian columnist finds that he thinks Christianity is better than Paganism. Quote: “Absolute truth exists. And truth is not determined by the majority, but by the Truth-Giver. Most important, truth matters and consequences exist. We must be willing to discuss this so we can distinguish between good and bad ideas; or risk the consequence of being held back as individuals and/ora nation; or worse. If we don’t want to accept this, pray the pagans are right so that in the end it doesn’t matter.” He also has some feelings about gay marriage, again, shocking, I know.
Photo of a Vodou practitioner by Anthony Karen.

Photo of a Vodou practitioner by Anthony Karen.

  • Slate.com profiles photographer Anthony Karen, who has spent time documenting Haitian Vodou. Quote: “The Vodou faith teaches us to bless nature and support cosmic harmony for the purposes of mastering divine magnetism. Vodou accepts the existence of the visible and the invisible, in a sense that it is believed that one does not see all that exists, and Vodou is in full compliance with the laws of nature.” Be warned, some of the photos are of animal sacrifice and quite graphic. Meanwhile, Slate.com has also posted a photographic look at a Vodun fetish market in the nation of Togo.
  • So, it seems Charismatic Christians are using the phrase “religious witchcraft” for people who “shame” or “threaten” Christians into bowing “to their ungodly will.” Quote: “So when you discern religious witchcraft—which often manifests as intimidation, manipulation and maligning—don’t try to defend yourself. Let the Lord vindicate you. Don’t stop doing what God told you to do. Keep pressing into your kingdom assignment with confidence that He has your back—because He does.” I can only imagine the havoc this is going to cause Google-ing Charismatics. Good luck with all those Pagan search results!
  • Infamous Nigerian Christian leader Helen Ukpabio is trying to re-start her anti-witchcraft themed ministry. Quote: “Ukpabio has literally re-launched her witch hunting ministry which is blamed for the menace of child witchcraft allegations and human rights abuses in the region. For some time now her ministry has been criticized locally and international because of its role in fueling witchcraft accusation and related abuses in Nigeria and beyond. But she appears unrepentant, and unfazed by the criticisms. Ukpabio claims to be an ex-witch with a divine mandate and power to exorcize the spirit of witchcraft.” As I’ve pointed out before, Ukpabio has received support and money from American churches, and is a public face of the larger problem of Western missions directly or indirectly funding witch-hunting.
  • A Pagan priest in the UK is calling on goddesses to help find a lottery ticket winner, because, well, why not? I guess? Quote: “David Spofforth, priest of Avalon, has called on the help of ancient Goddesses to reveal the holder of an unclaimed EuroMillions lottery ticket. [...] The self-styled Priest of Avalon priest conducted a 20-minute ceremony at St Ann’s Well in Hove, which is said to be the starting point of ley lines running across the South Downs.”
  • Satanic Panic, it really was a thing folks. Seriously.
  • 6% of libertarians belong to a non-Christian religion, while 27% claim to be religiously unaffiliated. This places them at odds with the rest of modern-day conservative-leaning groups. Quote: “By contrast, more than one-third (35 percent) of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement are white evangelical Protestants, while roughly equal numbers identify as Catholic (22 percent) or white mainline Protestant (19 percent), and fewer than 1-in-10 (9 percent) are religiously unaffiliated.”

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of them I may expand into longer posts as needed.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Time Magazine’s 2011 Person of the Year is “The Protester.”

“Everywhere this year, people have complained about the failure of traditional leadership and the fecklessness of institutions. Politicians cannot look beyond the next election, and they refuse to make hard choices. That’s one reason we did not select an individual this year. But leadership has come from the bottom of the pyramid, not the top. For capturing and highlighting a global sense of restless promise, for upending governments and conventional wisdom, for combining the oldest of techniques with the newest of technologies to shine a light on human dignity and, finally, for steering the planet on a more democratic though sometimes more dangerous path for the 21st century, the Protester is TIME’s 2011 Person of the Year.”

For me, this brings up all sorts of reactions. There’s the Pagan community’s own role in Occupy movement, of course, but there’s also a certain sense of creation in Time’s decision. The invocation of an archetype, The Protester, or perhaps the formation of a new power (or powers), the animating spirit of protest itself.  Or maybe this is simply the new face of a god or goddess you already know? Whatever the case, this does seem a victory of sorts for embodied principals and concepts. Let’s see if altars to “The Protester” start popping up, and what it means when The Protester is invoked.

This brings me to an opinion piece over at Religion Dispatches, where Sarah Morice-Brubaker engages in a bit of “nerdy parlor-game fun” and ponders which religious figures would support (or not support) the Occupy movement.

“But what about other religious figures? Surely we can also hypothesize about whether they’d have supported the Occupy movement? In a spirit of nerdy parlor-game fun more than serious analysis, I’ve compiled my own hypotheses, sticking within my own tradition of Christianity since it’s the one I know best and since I don’t like plundering other people’s belief systems for levity. But I’m eager to hear suggestions.”

So I would personally love to hear my readers responses to this question. Which Pagan/pagan thinkers (or powers/gods) do you think would be for the Occupy movement? Which ones do you think would have steered clear, or criticized it? Let’s keep this civil and fun, try to be creative! I’d also love to hear any thoughts on The Protester as an archetype or power, best responses from each of these questions will get featured in a future post here at The Wild Hunt.

In yesterday’s link roundup I mentioned that the LA Times did a feature on Pagans in the Air Force Academy, I thought it was merely OK, but it turns out that the piece had been edited from a far more mocking tone according to Star Foster at Patheos.

Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle at the Air Force Academy

Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle at the Air Force Academy. Photo by: Jerilee Bennett / The Gazette

“Because I’m an idiot, I didn’t take a screenshot of the article, which has now been edited for tone. (I will always take screenshots going forward, just in case.) Her previously snarky piece is now much calmer, yet still complains that the Air Force is spending money to be inclusive of non-Christians. While I’m glad they removed some of the cheap jokes, I don’t think you should edit an article that much after publication without an editor’s note explaining the change.”

Lest you think the alleged earlier version was simply in Star’s imagination, Mark Thompson at Time’s Battleland blog also picked up on the LA Time’s anti-Pagan snark and calls them out on it.

“The Air Force then earnestly tries to deal with – and encourage – religious diversity, and they get stung by stories like this in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times [...] It’s tough walking that careful line in don’t-offend-me America. If you hew too closely to one religion, you’re criticized; if you welcome all, you’re zinged for that, as well.”

On a more positive note, if you click that link on the word “welcome” from the Battleland blog, you’ll notice it heads to part one of the two-part PNC-Minnesota story on Pagans in the Air Force and Air Force Academy. That piece, which was reprinted here at The Wild Hunt, and was written by Cara Schulz at PNC-Minnesota, deserves that attention its getting, and I’m glad Time’s Battleland blog linked to it. While I’m not going to jump to some of the conclusions that Star did, I do think that the Pagan Newswire Collective’s piece did act in some small way to jump-start the current rush of coverage on this story, now running at places like The Telegraph in England. So kudos to Cara, and here’s to Pagan media influencing the narrative!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Delaware Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell‘s recent Hail Mary pass of a political addirectly confronting accusations of “witchcraft” that surfaced after an old clip where she admitted to “dabbling” in the practice and having lunch on a “Satanic” altar as a teenager, isn’t having quite the intended humanizing effect on several Pagans. A growing Youtube response meme has Pagans reminding O’Donnell, and America, that “I’m you” includes Witches. Here’s a run-down of the videos posted so far.

Star Foster, Pagan Portal manager at Patheos.com, was one of the first, and her video gained the attention of USA Today religion reporter Cathy Lynn Grossman.

Right around the same time COG First Officer-elect Peter Dybing (acting as a private citizen and not as a COG representative) also posted a video response.

From there the phenomenon has seemed to take on a life of its own. There are videos from Angela from the Pagan Mom Blog, Kei Dallmer, and Rebecca Chow so far.

No doubt more videos are being made and posted as we speak.

In addition, this revival of “dabble-gate” has spurred even more coverage and interviews with modern Pagans. Time Magazine has a very good interview up now with Delaware-based Wiccan Priest Michael Smith, a member of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, and a Cherry Hill Seminary Board member.

“There was a lot of eye rolling. It obscures the actual issues involved [in Wicca]. Who knows what she did or dabbled in when she was in high school. I doubt very seriously that she knows what it was. Certainly I do not think that she has any concept about what witchcraft, Wicca or paganism actually is. I doubt very seriously whether she has any concept of what Satanism actually is.”

Meanwhile, some mainstream media has become so over-the-top and theatrical in reporting this story that comedian Jon Stewart has to act as the voice of reason on this whole issue.

“You know, I feel like again, this woman, Christine O’Donnell, she may be qualified. She may not. I’m not all that impressed with what’s in the Senate right now. But the last thing that I would suggest is that her witchcraft or masturbation stance is what we should be even thinking about or focusing on, and I think that’s an enormous mistake that the Democrats will make.”

Again, if O’Donnell is indeed elected, what actual worrisome things about her will we miss because the media is having so much fun dressing folks up, interviewing Wiccans, and vainly trying to contain their smirks? I’m glad that Pagans are taking the initiative to use this media storm in a positive way, and I’m also glad that we are getting some more thoughtful coverage in some mainstream outlets, but I wish the mainstream media, and those who consume it, would demand more from their journalism than this ongoing spectacle.

The issue of how local governments regulate psychic and divinatory services has been slowly bubbling up into the mainstream consciousness. These efforts have gone beyond the simple business licences that other industries routinely apply for to include background checks, letters of reference, fingerprinting, and other personal information. Some places, like Chesterfield County, Virginia, limit shops to the “red light” district of town (next to the adult bookstores, pawn shops, and scrap yards), and for some areas obtaining a licence, even if you clear the hurdles, is ultimately down to a judgement of your “good moral character”. When questioned on these ordinances local politicians and officials say it’s to prevent fraud and will point to a con-artist who managed to bilk thousands out of his or her trusting clients. But are those news-making scam-artists the norm? Is there a greater level of fraud within the divination industry than there is in other industries?

Recently, Time Magazine featured an article on a wave of new regulations across the country on businesses that provide divinatory and psychic services. The only psychic practitioner they could get to speak on the record half-favored stronger regulations, while the rest “refused to discuss their practices” on the record. I didn’t think this lack of voice from those who practice divination was adequate considering how many individuals within our interconnected communities are engaged in the practice. So I’ve started a new series called Psychic Services and the Law to get perspectives on regulation from prominent individuals whose voices should be heard as this issue is debated and litigated. In the first installment I talked with tarot expert Mary K. Greer, and this time I’m honored to present a short interview with Rachel Pollack.

Rachel Pollack is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the modern interpretation of the Tarot. She has published 12 books on the Tarot, including “78 Degrees of Wisdom”, considered a modern classic and the Bible of Tarot reading. She has been conferred the title of Tarot Grand Master by the Tarot Certification Board, an independent body located in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition, she’s a celebrated author of fiction and poetry. Rachel also maintains a blog where she discusses issues related to tarot, writing, and inspiration.


Rachel Pollack

Do you feel that the practice of divination should be a government regulated industry complete with background checks, fingerprinting, letters of reference, and other measures?

No, I do not see any need for such regulation. If people are using the guise of divination to defraud or steal from people I would think current laws cover that. It’s not divination that is a problem it’s con artists. If con artists pretend to be doctors in order to trick people out of large sums of money, should we be fingerprinting doctors? Con artists who pretend to be diviners are just the same.

Do you think fraud by psychics is a serious problem, or do you feel it has been overblown by local politicians? Do you have any theories as to why the regulation of those who provide divination or psychic services is still such a popular topic?

Well, I was not aware it was a popular topic. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a news article about it on any of the news web sites I frequent, just on Tarot sites. I really have no way to know how many fake psychic con men there are, compared to people who actually are psychic, or would like to think they are. The actions of con men are very different from psychics, including bad psychics. People who practice fraud are not psychics, they’re crooks.

Many local ordinances dealing with fortune telling have been overturned on the grounds of freedom of religion (in fact, in one case a local reader tried to circumvent the law by arguing she was a “spiritual counselor” rather than a psychic). However, a recent case in Maryland overturned an anti-fortune-telling ordinance on broader Free Speech grounds. Have we been taking the wrong tack in arguing from a religious standpoint? Can the business of tarot reading also be a religious practice?

I agree strongly that free speech is a better grounds than freedom of religion. While many Tarot readers and/or psychics see what they do as religious in some way, I’m sure others don’t.

As a member of several tarot guilds, do you think tarot readers should do more to regulate themselves (as several other industries do)? Is such a move even practical?

I don’t really see how guilds or other groups could regulate readers who don’t want to be regulated. That is, we could have a certification system, but that works only insofar as customers look for it and want readers to have that piece of paper. And what would prevent someone from passing the test, getting the piece of paper to display, and then ignoring all the guidelines they pretended to follow?

As someone who has written several important texts on the tarot, where do you see the practice of tarot reading heading? Do you think it will ever escape the cultural and religious baggage that has haunted it for so many generations?

To be honest, I find it very hard to say where readings might be heading. I do think that we need some sort of breakthrough presentation that would change the societal view of Tarot reading, as bizarre, hokey, and somewhat ridiculous. Tarot needs to come more into public view so that it gets seriously examined. This may happen through some book or movie or through videos…who knows?

—–

I’d like to thank Rachel Pollack for taking the time to speak on this issue, and hope you’ll stay tuned to further installments of the Psychic Services and the Law series. This is an issue that has become intertwined with many modern Pagan individuals and businesses and it behooves us to stay informed and engaged.

Last week Time Magazine featured an article on a wave of new regulations across the country on businesses that provide divinatory and psychic services. It lead with a particularly oppressive example of this trend in Warren, Michigan.

“Anyone who uses cards, tea leaves, psychic powers, necromancy or other objects and activities to forecast the future, remove curses or effectuate other activity, must apply for a license with the city, according to a new ordinance formally passed by city officials this week. Applicants face strict regulations that including fingerprinting, criminal history checks, past home addresses and employment history.”

Worse still are regulations in places like Chesterfield County, Virginia, or Annapolis, Maryland, where approval isn’t merely applying for background checks or filling out forms, but of passing an arbitrary judgement of your “good moral character”. Time’s reporter Elizabeth Dias didn’t seem to find any critical voices against this trend except for a spokesman from the ACLU, an organization that has been involved in several fortune telling related battles.

“But other observers, peering into their own crystal balls, see new worries. Michael Steinburg, of the Michigan branch of the ACLU, suggests Warren’s policy may jeopardize those practicing yoga or predicting the weather. “It makes it illegal to say incantations to give good luck without having a license,” he tells TIME. The ACLU has defended the free-speech rights of Maryland fortune teller Nick Nefedro, who won his case in June to operate a shop in the Washington, D.C., suburbs.”

The only psychic practitioner who spoke on the record to Time was (somewhat) in favor of stricter regulations. Silent in the piece are the many divinatory practitioners within our interconnected communities who have an intimate knowledge of fighting these regulations, those helping to shape fairer regulations where they live, and those who see psychic services and divination as part of their religious calling. The Wild Hunt has long covered what I’ve called the “psychic wars”, and starting today I’m going to be featuring several voices on this issue that I believe should be heard in a new ongoing series of interviews.

Today, I’m featuring a short interview with Mary K. Greer. Greer is an author and renowned expert on the tarot. She is the proud recipient of the 2007 International Tarot Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2006 Mercury Award from the Mary Redman Foundation for “excellence in communication in the metaphysical field.” She also has a blog where she often discusses the regulation of tarot readers by local governments.


Mary K. Greer

Do you feel Tarot readers and other purveyors of various forms of divination should be specifically regulated? If so, where’s the line between fair and oppressive? What do you think of the new regulations in Warren, Michigan where you have to be fingerprinted, pay a yearly $150 fee, and submit to a background check?

No. I don’t believe in specific laws and regulations for fortune tellers that go beyond the standard business laws of any community. It has been found that laws prohibiting fraud cover most cases of abuse perfectly adequately and far better than regulations that discriminate unfairly against this particular profession, especially when they assume criminal behavior where none has been shown by the individual. It has been proved over and over again that discriminatory regulations are created by special interest groups and that they are unfair and almost always unconstitutional.

I’ve always been proud of being part of what I call an “outlaw profession,” partly because it operates outside of the laws, understanding and expectations of regulated society and crosses over the boundaries that tend to distinguish professions, being in-part, entertainment, spiritual guidance, noetic and folk therapeutics, and more. By definition, I provide a service that is not covered adequately by the more traditional and accepted professions. Clients are looking for something extra-ordinary and they get something extra-ordinary. I have the freedom to self-design and describe what I do—which also brings with it the responsibility to explain this as clearly as possible to my clients. I am also responsible to establish my own ethical guidelines and to know and operate my business within the laws and regulations of any area in which I work. While the public is taking a chance on what they are getting, “chance” is, by definition (fate-fortune-chance), part of what they are seeking. However, most of what I’ve said in this paragraph has no bearing on the legal issue, which is a matter of free-speech, occasionally freedom of religion, and is a business service that should be treated like other businesses. If fees and fingerprinting are standard for all businesses then fortune telling should be included.

In your writings you’ve mentioned that fortune telling laws were getting stricter, do you feel there is a religious element to this, or is it simply a case of various interests keeping the “wrong” kind of business out of their neighborhood/town?

Actually, legislation is going both ways – on a case-by-case basis – for instance, Michigan as opposed to the recent Maryland case. Discriminatory laws are almost always urged by people with special interests, whether it’s religious (including “skeptics” as a fundamentalist religion) or proprietary interests in the business community or those who want to control the field from within according to their own private standards. There are always people who want to legislate the rights and actions of others, not according to the highest laws of the land but according to their own beliefs and desires.

How do you feel the various communities that engage in the divinatory arts should respond to tougher regulations? Do you feel we haven’t been paying enough attention to this issue?

I think it is part of professionalism to become aware of these issues. I’m all for educating others and spreading the word. I also understand that it can be very expensive, time-consuming and stressful to fight unfair laws, so I don’t blame anyone who fails to do so. I honor, respect and want to thank each person who has acted legally or editorially against immoral and unconstitutional practices. I especially honor the ACLU, which has been consistently on the side of standing up in court for the rights of fortune tellers, psychics, astrologers, etc. to practice their professions without discriminatory laws. I don’t believe they’ve lost a single one of these cases. I urge others to donate to this outstanding organization.

I was on the board of the short-lived Tarot Certification Board and I discovered how difficult it is to certify practices that are so unique to each practitioner and viewed differently by each certifier. I don’t believe that anything we did, could have served, in practical, consistent-to-everyone terms, both practitioners and clients fairly and equally, nor would Certification, in itself, have prevented fraud. Certification’s greatest gifts to the community have lain in educating everyone involved in laws, ethics, standards, and range of practices, and in acting as a self-diagnostic and rough measurement tool for practitioners who needed help in determining their own abilities relative to others and in understanding and accepting their own professionalism (self-esteem). As a professional field, we are not yet capable of guaranteeing anything, nor of protecting the public through internal investigations and revoking of certifications. However, if there are to be any public regulations or legal certification, I believe it should be defined and overseen by those in the field. A pretty dilemma!

—–

I’d like to thank Mary K. Greer for taking the time to speak on this issue, and hope you’ll stay tuned to further installments of the Psychic Services and the Law series. This is an issue that has become intertwined with many modern Pagan individuals and businesses and it behooves us to stay informed and  engaged.

While the actually holiday of Easter has little to do with pre-Christian traditions, that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some unique blending of Christianity and different folk customs over the years. Time Magazine shares one of the more charming in their round-up of “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Easter”.

“Many of the things you don’t know about Easter have to do with odd, intensely national Holy Week traditions. So why not start off with the most unexpected one — the Easter Witch. In Sweden and parts of Finland, a mini-Halloween takes place on either the Thursday or Saturday before Easter. Little girls dress up in rags and old clothes, too-big skirts and shawls and go door to door with a copper kettle looking for treats. The tradition is said to come from the old belief that witches would fly to a German mountain the Thursday before Easter to cavort with Satan. On their way back, Swedes would light fires to scare them away, a practice honored today by the bonfires and fireworks across the land in the days leading up to Sunday.”

Easter witches! You can lean more about the tradition here, and here. Between this and Italy’s Christmas witch I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t a European Christian holiday somewhere that doesn’t involve some form of witches and children getting presents.

(Pagan) News of Note

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 7, 2008 — 1 Comment

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

A lesson to politicians and public figures, if you’re going to hire a Voodoo priestess to curse an opponent, make sure you don’t bounce the checks paying for said services.

“[Cobb Commissioner Annette] Kesting wrote $3,000 in bad checks, allegedly for the services of a “high priestess of voodoo” to prepare an untimely demise for commissioner-elect Woody Thompson. Kesting wanted the priestess, identified by authorities as George Ann Mills of Blythewood, S.C., to cause Thompson to “catch cancer” or “have a car accident” according to a police report obtained by WSB-TV.”

Apparently Kesting was unhinged enough to not realize that leaving a paper-trail and an unhappy (and unpaid) priestess would come back to haunt her. Police are now investigating the matter.

Time Magazine reviews a new book about witch-hunts by John Demos entitled “The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World”. According to reviewer Gilbert Cruz, the book explores the inherent sexism and insular nature of witch-hunting.

“While the goal for all is separation from a despised ‘other,’ witch-hunting alone finds the other within its own ranks. The Jew, the black, and the ethnic opposite exist, in some fundamental sense, ‘on the outside’…The witch, by contrast, is discovered within the host community.”

According to Demos, the last “real” witch-hunts in the West were the 1982 Bakersfield “Satanic Ritual Abuse” convictions. A sad example of how the “Satanic Panics” led to innocent men and women spending years in prison.

While I’m on the subject of book reviews, Christian blogger and academic John Morehead reads and reviews the odious anti-Pagan smear-job of Linda Harvey’s “Not My Child: Contemporary Paganism and New Spirituality” so you don’t have to.

“Just like other parts of society we evangelicals in our subculture create our own monsters. One of our leading monsters at present seems to be Paganism. Islam and homosexuality are other creatures in our laboratory. I wonder why we create them. That we do can hardly be denied when we consider the plethora of books we write on the topic and the sensationalist tone that often accompanies them. One of the tricky things about monsters is that they often come back to haunt their creators. Sometimes they ask us some thorny questions too … what does evangelical monstrous creation and resultant fear of stereotypical Paganism tell us about ourselves? I’m afraid if we reflect on this monster we may not like the answers.”

John, who edited the groundbreaking “Beyond the Burning Times”, is quickly becoming my go-to filter for books about Paganism written by Christians. You should also check out his review of “Generation Hex: Understanding the Subtle Dangers of Wicca” (an anti-Pagan book I explored here previously).

Remember my post a week ago about the rock-opera treatment of “The Wicker Man” currently playing in San Francisco? Well, fellow Pagan blogger Mertseger recently attended the production and has posted a review.

“Essentially, this stage production is The Wicker Man (1973) minus the music of Paul Giovanni plus the music of Jim Fourniadis … All in all, the show is well worth the price, and I recommend Bay Area Pagans checking it out. If you like the 1973 film, then this show is a lively and small variation on the same material. Be sure to bring a beer in a brown paper bag (or you will feel horribly out of fashion) and enjoy the romp.”

I recommend reading the entirety of this well-written review. If only more Pagan-centric arts criticism could be so erudite.

In a final note, both Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion and Modemac’s Bulldada Newsblog take note of a story in which an academic thesis on racist Odinist/Satanist Kerry Bolton was pulled from the library of a New Zealand college after he complained.

“Waikato University has abruptly pulled a student’s thesis from its library after complaints from the subject of the research – a right-wing extremist. The thesis, exploring satanic and neo-Nazi themes, had already been marked and published, earning its author top marks … The newspaper said it established that no legal threat had been received against either Mr Van Leeuwen or the University of Waikato. Rather, the thesis was the subject of a mere complaint from Kerry Bolton. Professor Bing told Nexus the thesis was a first-class piece of work, and was externally moderated by other universities before being published.”

So an extremist writes in a complaint about a thesis regarding him, and despite rigorous vetting of said thesis for accuracy (by multiple institutions), it’s pulled? Has the University of Waikato no spine? If every thesis that the subjects of research didn’t entirely approve of got pulled, modern academia would very likely grind to a standstill. As for Roel van Leeuwen (himself a member of several occult and esoteric Orders and Societies), the author of the thesis, he stands by his work.

That is all I have for now, have a great day!