Welcome to The Wild Hunt’s semi-regular round-up of news and opinion, unleash the hounds. As you read this I’ll be on my way to San Francisco, California to attend the American Academy of Religion’s Annual Meeting. The AAR is the world’s largest association of academics who research or teach topics related to religion, and their annual meeting has become a vital place to hear about the latest scholarship in the field of Pagan Studies (and just about every other religious and philosophical tradition as well). This year will feature an abundance of Pagan-friendly events, including the Contemporary Pagan Studies Group’s stellar-looking line-up of presentations. I’ll be attending as many Pagan-oriented presentations as I can, and will report back with some initial thoughts, photos, and hopefully some interviews.
In the meantime, here’s some links of note to tide you over!
- It’s time for Operation Circle Care once again! Circle is looking for donations of new and gently used items, as well as funds, to cover air mail postage. These donations will be made into care packagers to be sent to Wiccan and Pagan troops in active duty war zones. You can find out more about this year’s effort by checking out Operation Circle Care’s Facebook page.
- At Patheos, T. Thorn Coyle writes an open letter to progressive activist Rabbi Michael Lerner, who voiced some criticisms of the Occupy movement in a recent HuffPo piece. Quote: “I take particular umbrage at the casual dismissal of the encampments as a “fetishization” of the occupied spaces. Place is sacred. Place tells us we have somewhere to stand. People establish sacred relationship with spaces, which strengthens the roots of Occupy. More importantly, taking up space is what ignites the imagination, and gives the larger movement outside the camps a touchstone, something to return to.”
- At the USC media blog Trans/Missions, Lee Gilmore writes about modern Paganism and the Occupy movement. Quote: “The Occupy movement may have seemed lunatic and naïve when it first sprouted on Wall Street, and its long-term significance remains to be seen. But, at the moment at least, it has ignited a potent social energy that pushes the always porous boundaries of the standard “religion and spirituality” beat. It may be a mostly “secular” movement, yet the term “Occupy” itself draws people to understand its meaning in broader terms—as containing an invitation to mindfulness and participation in ways that are simultaneously spiritual and earthly: Occupy the Earth, Occupy your Life, Occupy Everything.”
- This week I wrote about the Pope’s impending visit to Benin, birthplace of Vodun. Now, some reports are coming out that focus on practitioners of Vodun, and their views on syncretism. Quote: “We worship the same God. The priests always tell us that we cannot do both at the same time. They forget that we had worshipped voodoo before the missionaries arrived.” Meanwhile, the Catholic press gets out its broad brush and starts painting.
- At The Immanent Frame David Martin examines the new book “Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age”. Quote: “I have telescoped, glossed and simplified Bellah in order to bring out a central message that seems to me as true as it is controversial. ‘We’ are inveterate story tellers as well as theoreticians. ‘Nothing is ever lost’. Moreover, the platforms in consciousness from which we formulate our visions of how we might be, and how the world might be, were set up in the axial age.”
- The always interesting Religion in American History blog gives a run-down of AAR sessions dealing with, well, religion in American history.
- The Revealer has an interesting look at the intersections of diet and religion in prison.
- New to Asatru? Steven T. Abell has some tips for you. Quote: “Read. Ásatrú is often called “the religion with homework.” There are people and organizations that can help you learn more about this, but there is no substitute for reading our lore yourself, and making of it what you can. You won’t have to take any tests or earn any degrees. But look at it this way: life is a test, and your knowledge of the lore will help you pass that test.”
- The Baltic Times looks at the Velu laiks period, which means the “time of the souls.”
- The Washington DC bureau of the Pagan Newswire Collective has the latest updates on the Open Hearth Foundation Pagan Community Center.
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.