Archives For vacation

From June 20th through the 27th I’ll be presenting at the 30th annual Pagan Spirit Gathering, at Camp Zoe in the Ozark Region of Missouri. Because Internet and phone connections aren’t a sure thing out there in the wilderness, I won’t be able to blog as usual. But don’t despair! As I’ve done in the past, The Wild Hunt will be featuring a wide assortment of vibrant, challenging, and innovative voices from within (and sometimes without) modern Paganism while I’m gone. Here’s the run-down of The Wild Hunt’s amazing guest bloggers!

Sunday June 20th – Lee Gilmore

Lee Gilmore is a Lecturer in Religious Studies and Anthropology at California State University, Northridge. The author of “Theater in a Crowded Fire: Ritual & Spirituality at Burning Man”, she has been in, out, around, and studying the Pagan community (mostly Feri traditions) for the better part of 20 years.

Monday June 21st – The Wild Hunt’s Summer Solstice Post

My usual holiday round-up in honor of Midsummer!

Tuesday June 22nd – Kulasundari Devi

Kulasundari Devi is the president and founder of the Sri Kamakhya Mahavidya Mandir, a non-profit Hindu Shakta Tantric Goddess temple in Alameda, California that operates with the blessing of the renowned Sri Sri Kamakhya Temple in Assam. She is both a practitioner and scholar of Shakta Tantra, and holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy & Religion from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. In addition to her work with the temple, she is currently pursuing a PhD studying Tantra and Goddess worship in Northeast India, and travels there regularly. Sundari has an extensive background in Goddess spirituality and mysticism of both East and West, which she has practiced for nearly 20 years. You can learn more about the Hindu Goddess, Tantrism, and traditional worship at her website, JaiMaa.org.

Wednesday June 23rd – P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

P. Sufenas Virius Lupus is a founder of the Ekklesía Antínoou (a queer, Graeco-Roman-Egyptian syncretist reconstructionist polytheist group dedicated to Antinous, the deified lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and related divine figures) and a member of Neos Alexandria. He has published a collection of poetry called “The Phillupic Hymns” (Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2008), as well as a number of essays and poems in the various Bibliotheca Alexandrina devotional volumes to Artemis, Hekate, and Isis and Serapis, with several more due out in the near future (for Zeus, Pan, the Dioskouroi and Ereshkigal). Lupus’ day-job (as a professional academic and adjunct instructor) and general daily life is nowhere near as interesting as any of the above, and is therefore best glossed over!

Thursday June 24th – Jordan Stratford

Jordan Stratford is a priest, screenwriter, filmmaker, and author of books on religion and spirituality.

Having received his Licentiate of Sacred Theology with his ordination as a priest in the Apostolic Johannite Church in 2005, he briefly studied the DMin program at Wisdom University but is currently pursuing Doctorate of Ministry Studies at St. Raphael the Archangel Theological Seminary. He served as the Rector of the AJC’s Regina Coeli Parish in Victoria BC from its founding until 2008.

His work has been cited in college course material (Haverford College) and in doctoral dissertations (Graduate Theological Foundation), and he was interviewed in a feature article on Gnosticism in 2006 in US News & World Report along with NT Wright and Dr. Marvin Meyer. Additionally he has been widely interviewed and featured on blogs, podcasts and websites relating to Gnosticism, Esoteric Christianity, Paganism, New Religious Movements, and the Independent Sacramental Movement.

He is the author of “Living Gnosticism” (Apocryphile, 2007) and an upcoming book on Alchemy for Quest Books.

Friday June 25th – Matthew Ellenwood

Matthew Ellenwood is a music director, voice teacher, and the artistic director of Terra Mysterium Performance Troupe. He is also one of the founders of Brotherhood of the Phoenix a Neopagan order for gay, bisexual and transgender men who love men, where serves as the Senior clergyman for the Order, and the Senior mentor of the Brotherhood’s seminary training program.

Saturday June 26th – Cosette Paneque

Cosette is a reader and a write. She loves technology, coffee, and lip balm. She’s a long-time Pagan avoiding bugs in South Florida. Cosette blogs at From Jupiter, and is outreach coordinator for the Pagan Newswire Collective.

Sunday June 27th – Christian Day

Salem impresario Christian Day has made the Witch City his full-time career and often speaks about Salem and Witchcraft in the media. Hi is the proprietor of two of Salem’s most popular shops, HEX and OMEN, and hosts Salem’s annual Festival of the Dead each October, which includes a psychic fair, dumb supper, and the Official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball. Every Wednesday night at 9pm, Christian and Salem Strega Lori Bruno host HEX Education on BlogTalkRadio.com and will welcome Jason Pitzl-Waters as the featured guest on the July 7th episode.

Please give all of them a warm and hospitable welcome, I’m certain they will all contribute something special to The Wild Hunt. If all goes well I should be back to my regular posting schedule by Monday June 28th. While I’m gone, my colleague at the Pagan Newswire Collective, Cosette Paneque, will be holding the reigns of admin power. So if there is a blog or comments related issue while I’m gone, please drop her a line. She will also be dropping in Pagan news-items during the week as she sees fit (so feel free to send her story tips as well). My connection to the outside world will be spotty at very best while I’m at PSG, so please keep that in mind, and don’t be offended if I don’t get back to you.

Now that I’ve safely arrived in the Pacific Northwest (the journey was only a little like this), unloaded my relocubes, and started the long and arduous process of unpacking my books, it’s time to resume my duties here at The Wild Hunt. I would first like to deeply thank all the wonderful folks who filled in at my blog while I was gone, they made my life much easier, and raised the bar for the writing on this blog in the process. I hope you’ll continue to follow their work at their own blogs and web sites. As for me, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, it’s amazing how much Pagan news you can miss in eleven days. So here’s a quick catch-up of some news of note that emerged during my sojourn.

Professor Ronald Hutton (author of “Triumph of the Moon”), scholar of modern Witchcraft, Druidry, and the English ritual year, has been named a Commissioner of English Heritage.

“The Minister for Culture has appointed Professor Ronald Hutton as the historian to sit on the commission that governs English Heritage. The commission has overall charge of the affairs of the official national body concerned with heritage, and its members act as statutory advisors to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (and so effectively to the government) in all matters that involve the understanding and conservation of England’s past. As such, the appointment carries with it a broader responsibility of acting as an advocate for the importance of history in national life. It will commence in October and last for four years with the possibility of renewal.”

Pagans for Archeology called the news “fantastic” and a “well-deserved honour”. To have such a sympathetic voice for the modern Pagan movement advising the government on England’s heritage could change the existing dynamic over issues of access and preservation for sites like  Avebury and Stonehenge.

Speaking of Ronald Hutton, he makes a brief appearance in a preview for a new documentary about Druids (ancient and modern) produced by the Holistic Channel (no doubt to be re-edited soon for a History Channel program).

This, among other recent developments we’ll get to in a moment, have really peeved off a British academic blogger who calls for more discrimination of modern Pagans (they must, in his mind, prove themselves worthy of “respect”), and resorts to quite a bit of name-calling. He also describes Ronald Hutton as Paganism’s “brain in a jar”, excusing the rest of us from developing critical thinking skills. I personally think my “intellectual depth and rigour” is doing just fine.

Before we leave the isle of Britain, I would be amiss in not noting the fact that there are now enough Pagan police to necessitate the formation of a Pagan Police Association, complete with time off for the various high-holidays (oh, and two official Pagan chaplains serving officers on the force).

“Most recently, the Pagan Police Association has been created, allowing police officers to explore their beliefs with other officers. Alongside this, in some forces, officers are being allowed the opportunity to move away from traditional Christian holidays. In practice this means that Pagan officers, rather like those from more mainstream faiths, can take their holidays on the dates which support their beliefs.”

Not everyone is happy about this, but the growing prevalence of Paganism in Britain seems unavoidable lately. Even the Scottish government has more Pagan civil servants than it does Jews, Sikhs, or Hindus. Maybe the British soul really is Pagan.

Turning our eyes back to the USA, specifically Philadelphia, sensationalism seems almost unavoidable in the case of a trans-gendered woman who died while at a three-day Vodou cleansing ceremony in New Jersey. While no charges have been filed, and no apparent wrong-doing has yet been discovered (nor did any harm come to the six other clients undergoing the same process), that hasn’t stopped the press from airing requests from friends of the deceased for “accountability” from “Houngan Hector” over the matter.

“Her friends there say they want answers and an apology from Salva, who goes by the name “Houngan Hector” on his Gade Nou Leve Society Web site. “I’m certain no one meant to hurt anyone, but she was in their care and there has to be some accountability,” said Randi M. Romo, executive director of the Center for Artistic Revolution, a Little Rock-based nonprofit agency for which Hamilton worked as a youth counselor. “They haven’t even contacted her mother.” No one answered at the door of the Loch Lomond Drive townhouse yesterday, and Salva, who claims he was initiated as a senior priest in Haiti, did not respond to e-mails for comment.”

Considering they may not know why she died, going around and taking responsibility for her death seems a little premature. Plus, with the press running headlines like “Voodoo became a fatal obsession”, and the health department and child services being called on them, I doubt the residents of that house are feeling like opening up. I wonder, if tests reveal that this poor woman died of a brain aneurysm, heart defect, or some other natural cause that had nothing to do with Vodou, will the Philadelphia Daily News vindicate Houngan Hector, or simply move on?

In a final note, for years many Pagans have been trying to separate themselves from the “New Age” label, but in an increasingly shifting economy and world, it looks as if  some New Agers, like The Edge editor Tim Miejan, want that seperation to happen too (much to the chagrin of some).

“Miejan favors articles on stress reduction and spiritual quests … But even Miejan’s open mind sometimes snaps shut. Channelers — people possessed by spirits of the dead — are out. So is the belief that reptile-like aliens have taken over the bodies of celebrities, including Queen Elizabeth and — according to one Web site — former Minnesota U.S. Rep. Bill Luther. Paganism? Out. “I am not saying that because paganism offends anyone,” Miejan said. “But it is a complete niche by itself.” Other New Age leaders are appalled. “He is excluding channeling? Yikes. Or pagans? He should not be doing that,” said Kathy McGee, editor of the Washington-state-based magazine New Age Retailer.”

Call it a result of the Oprah-fication of the New Age section, it’s all about personal growth (and “The Secret”) now, not Atlantean masters or Pagan gods. Those who want to keep Pagans (and Chiropractors, and organic farmers) under the “New Age” rubric are probably more concerned about a shrinking pool of markets to target, rather than if we truly belong with the newly-mainstreamed gurus of self-actualization.

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

There are times when you just can’t get to the computer for several hours per day to blog, one of those is when you’re trying to pack and engage in a cross-country move. This week I’ll be pulling up stakes and moving from the Midwest (Milwaukee) to the Pacific Northwest (specifically, Eugene, Oregon). But don’t despair! While I’ll be driving through Montana with my wife and two cats (two, upset, angry, cats), The Wild Hunt will be featuring a wide assortment of vibrant, challenging, and innovative voices from within (and occasionally from without) modern Paganism while I’m gone. Here’s the run-down of The Wild Hunt’s amazing guest bloggers!

July 14thBrendan Myers

Dr. Brendan Myers, Ph.D. is the author of several critically acclaimed books on the subject of ethics and philosophy, environmentalism, Celtic and European mythology, folklore, society and politics, and spirituality. They have been used as inspirational and educational resources by college professors, social activist groups, interfaith groups, Celtic cultural associations, and even humanist societies, in many countries around the world. Brendan’s work has appeared in numerous magazines, podcasts, and radio shows (including America’s NPR). He is the 2008 recipient of OBOD’s prestigious Mt. Haemus Award for recent research in Druidry.

July 15thElysia Gallo

Elysia Gallo is an Acquisitions Editor at Llewellyn Worldwide, the oldest and largest independent New Age publisher in the United States. She acquires books for publication in such topics as Witchcraft, Wicca, Paganism, magic(k), herbalism, and the paranormal. She lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband and two cats.

July 16thCat Chapin-Bishop

Wiccan since the late ’80s, Cat Chapin-Bishop has also been Quaker since 2001. Cat’s essays have appeared in Laura Wildman’s “Celebrating the Pagan Soul”, “The Pomegranate: The Journal of Pagan Studies”, the Covenant of the Goddess newsletter, and “Enchante: The Journal for the Urbane Pagan”. In addition to her work as a Wiccan HPs, Cat is the former Chair of Cherry Hill Seminary’s Pastoral Counseling Department, and she currently serves on the Ministry and Worship Committee of Mt. Toby Quaker meeting. Cat and her husband maintain Quaker Pagan Reflections, a blog dedicated to exploring the connections between Pagan spirituality and Quaker practice. They reside in Northampton, Massachusetts, where they attempt to live peacefully in the midst of chaos.

July 17thLupa

Lupa is the author of “Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone: A Primal Guide to Animal Magic” and “A Field Guide to Otherkin”. She’s also the co-author of “Kink Magic: Sex Magic Beyond Vanilla” with Taylor Ellwood, and a contributor to the “Magick on the Edge” anthology and “Manifesting Prosperity: A Wealth Magic Anthology”. Additionally, Lupa works as an associate editor, layout tech, and nonfiction publicity/promotions manager for Immanion Press/Megalithica Books. Lupa uses the term pagan for simplicity’s sake, though more accurately she describes herself as a totemist, an animist and a pantheist. She has been studying pagan religions and magical topics for twelve years and practicing for ten years. Currently she is developing and training in therioshamanism.

July 18thJohn Morehead

John Morehead is a researcher, writer, and speaker in intercultural studies, new religious movements, theology and popular culture. He has an M.A. degree in intercultural studies from Salt Lake Theological Seminary which included a thesis on Burning Man Festival. He also has an avid interest in aspects of pop culture, particularly myth and archetype as well as the social, cultural and religious dimensions of fantasy, sci fi,and horror. John lives in the greater Salt Lake City area with his wife and two children. Be sure to check out his excellent TheoFantastique blog!

July 19th - Caroline Kenner

A longtime Washington D.C. activist in in feminism and environmentalism, Caroline Kenner now uses her skills to advocate for modern Pagans. In 2006 and 2007 Kenner called pan-Pagan rallies in Washington D.C. to demand religious freedom and equality. The 2007 rally was particularly auspicious as it celebrated the recently-won right to place the Pentacle, equivalent to the Cross, Star, or Crescent, on military grave markers. The event united several large Pagan organizations working to establish Pagan military chaplains and the approval of other specific Pagan symbols worn by Pagan and Heathen veterans. In addition to her activism, Caroline is a graduate of The Foundation for Shamanic Studies‘ Three Year Program in Advanced Shamanism and Shamanic Healing. Caroline also holds an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College and a M.S. from Boston University. She has practiced shamanism since 1989.

July 20th - Chas Clifton

Chas S. Clifton has been blogging since 2003, when he converted his Pagan magazine column, “Letter from Hardscrabble Creek,” into a blog. A widely published Pagan writer, he is the author of “Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca and Paganism in America”. He also edits “The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies”.

July 21stJames R. French

James R. French has been interested in Magick and Paganism since adolescence. He is an Adept of the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn and a Reiki Master. (Mr. French wants us to understand that “Adept” and “Master” are titles within these respective lineages. They do not necessarily indicate anything beyond that.)

July 22ndThorn Coyle

T. Thorn Coyle is a magic worker, mystic, musician, and author of “Evolutionary Witchcraft” and “Kissing the Limitless.” She teaches internationally. Her blog can be found at yezida.livejournal.com or http://www.thorncoyle.com/musings.html.

July 23rdSannion

H. Jeremiah Lewis, also known by his religious name Sannion, is a Greco-Egyptian polytheist who has been actively honoring the gods since around 1993. He has lived all over the country, including Alaska, Nevada, New York, Montana, Washington and Oregon (where he currently resides), and has worked the standard assortment of odd jobs that every aspiring author needs to get by with. Mr. Lewis divides his time between an insanely intense religious practice, writing, research, helping to organize the activities of Neos Alexandria, and directing the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. There isn’t much time for anything else.

July 24thPeg Aloi

Peg Aloi is a Pagan and a scholar who works in both the academic and popular arenas. She is a writer on Paganism and the media for Witchvox, is the co-editor with Hanna E. Johnston of the new volume “The New Generation Witches: Teenage Witchcraft in Contemporary Culture” (Ashgate, 2007), and is currently co-authoring a book with Hannah titled “The Celluloid Bough: Cinema in the Wake of the Occult Revival”.

Please give all of them a warm and hospitable welcome, I’m certain they will all contribute something special to The Wild Hunt. The gods and my new DSL service willing, I should be back to my regular posting schedule by July 25th. Make sure to keep things respectful and polite in the comments while I’m gone, the assorted hells hath no fury like a vacationing blogger who has to log in to a WiFi spot in Idaho to engage in some blog moderation.