Top Story: A coalition of Ukrainian political parties have introduced a sweeping bill into parliament (full text) that would outlaw virtually any activity that involves any kind of predestination in exchange for a fee. This isn’t just an ordinance to limit palm-readers and psychics, it’s almost obsessive in its thoroughness.
“…future (fortune) predicting services – is the activity of fortune-tellers, chiromancers, astrologers, seers, sorcerers, clairvoyants , soothsayers, prophets and other persons who, with the use of fortune- telling, palmistry, numerology and magic ceremonies and techniques try to guess the future (fortune) or unknown facts about persons, objects or other phenomena (weather, harvest, etc.), as well as allegedly correct the future (fortune) of a person and his/her problems, kill the hoodoo with the use of magic techniques and ceremonies.”
In addition to banning the practice of these services for money, they are also banned from appearing on television, placing advertising, or being written about in a positive light by the local press. Needless to say this has been controversial for those who engage in some of those practices. Ukrainian astrologers are protesting the measure, but as an outsider it’s hard to tell how successful they will be, or what the prospects of this bill are in the Ukrainian parliament. The bill’s author, MP Pavel Unguryan, had this to say about it.
“The Government and the people’s deputies of Ukraine have long been receiving numerous complaints from citizens, Christian faiths, religious and community organizations concerned about the harmful effects of Ukrainian citizens work of psychics, healers, fortune tellers, palmists and dominance in the media and television variety of commercial software, which offers paid services of questionable content on the so-called healers, fortune-tellers and psychics”
One wonders if this is fall-out from the fact that certain prominent politicians in the Ukraine are (in)famous for engaging the services of psychics and fortune-tellers. Indeed, psychic services are generally quite popular in that country. So passage of this bill may not be a sure thing. Due to the language barrier it will be hard for me to keep track of this story so I ask anyone who’s following this matter in the Ukraine to please keep me posted if you hear any developments.
In Other News:
Modern Paganism and Islam: Can a religion like Wicca appeal to someone raised in a Muslim household? Enough to have them convert and renounce their former faith? Apparently it can. The Guardian prints an editorial from “Goldie Kuresh” about her journey from Islam to Paganism.
“I gravitated toward paganism, specifically witchcraft. I liked that these were not “people of the book” and their only “book” was one that the follower created him or herself. I liked that there was a whole pantheon of gods and goddesses to engage with; it wasn’t worship in the old sense of the word, it was co-creation. The only thing that troubled me about my new tribe was its propensity to want to organise into groups that then try to get mainstream recognition. I quite liked the lack of organisation and/or dogma that paganism represents.
The lack of any structure, hierarchy (as a solitary person I never joined a coven with a priest or priestess), or rules meant that I was free to do as I pleased. I followed the guidance I received in dreams. I accepted and adopted that which felt true to me and rejected that which didn’t. I celebrated the solstices and lived by the moon. It was a time of expansion and magic.”
It seems that for some, modern Paganism’s lack of hierarchy, and decentralized structure, is a selling point. One wonders if Goldie’s experience is unique, or if other young Muslims are looking to Paganism as an alternative.
More on the Stolen Secular Cross: An anonymous letter that is alleged to be from the thief of the controversial WWI Mojave desert cross memorial has surfaced. The alleged letter explaining the theft was printed in its entirety by the Desert Dispatch, here’s an excerpt.
“The cross in question was not vandalized. It was simply moved. This was done lovingly and with great care. The cross has been carefully preserved. It has not been destroyed as many have assumed. I am a Veteran. … We as a nation need to change the dialogue and stop pretending that this is about a war memorial. If it is a memorial, then we need to stop arguing about the cross and instead place a proper memorial on that site, one that respects Christians and non-Christians alike, and one that is actually recognizable as a war memorial.”
It should be stressed that there is no evidence at this time that the letter is from the thief (or thieves). So its content should be taken with the requisite grain of salt until proven to be genuine.
How Not to Dress at a Powwow: The Native Appropriation blog examines a recent incident where a group of teenage girls showed up to Stanford powwow, one of the largest powwows on the West Coast, in war-paint, feathers, and fringe.
“These girls are students at Palo Alto High School. Definitely one of the best high schools in the area, if not the state. It is a high school that turns out tops students who go on to top colleges, and enrolls children of professors, stanford employees, and other well educated silicon valley execs. To top it off, the school is literally across the street from Stanford. Across the street from a school that hosts the largest student run powwow in the nation for 39 years running, that is home to nearly 300 Native students, that has one of the strongest college Native communities in California.
I would like to think that the combination of those factors would equate some level of understanding, that a high school of their caliber would incorporate some type of curriculum on Native history, or at least a basic level of cultural sensitivity. Clearly, that doesn’t seem to be the case.”
Adrienne goes on to discuss the fine line between engaging with Native culture, and mocking/appropriating it. I also recommend her essay on why that “hipster headdress” is a bad idea.
That’s all I have for now, have a great day!