The Pagan Carnival

Welcome to the debut of The Pagan Carnival, a bi-weekly summary of the best writing in the modern Pagan, Heathen and occult blogosphere. Help spread the word and strengthen our online community by posting a link back to this entry. Don’t forget to submit your nominations for the next edition! Now on to the carnival!

Chas Clifton sent me a line recommending a post on Brenda Daverin’s site Red Ravens’s Roost about how modern Paganism responds to changing scholarship.

“There are modern pagans who class Belenos as a solar deity, using prior scholarship as their guide. The new data contradicts this approach. And the news leads to examples of how different pagans treat such changes. I know of some who look at the information as the god’s way of letting us know we’re getting him wrong. Others refuse to change, whether because it works for them or they’d prefer more direct input from the god in question before they change their approach. While I’m all for that kind of spiritual inspiration, I can’t help but remember the old joke about the man who said ‘Jehovah will provide’ when rescuers came by to fetch him off the roof of his house before the waters rose too high and he drowned. I can’t help but picture Belenos looking at the people who insist he’s a solar god in the face of the new data and saying, ‘I sent you three Celtic scholars and a dictionary! What more did you want?'”

Speaking of Chas, he provides a helpful post on where to find the Pagans at the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion.

One of our favorite Heathens Dave Haxton has a few choice words for the Pope in regards to some recent comments he made in Germany.

“Take a look at your history, Mr. Pontiff, and tell me what you see. I see the Spanish Inquisition persecuting Jews, and pagan Lithuania as the only country in Europe willing to accept them. I see “Passion Plays”, pogroms and ghettos – in fact, I see a rampart hatred of “Christ-killers” all over the Christian world. I see the Nazi’s throwing the “neo-pagan” runemaster Friedrich Bernhard Marby into Dachau, and imprisoning many other occultists who disapproved of their usurpation of pagan symbology. I see the Vatican, represented by a man who would become Pope Pius XII, signing a concordat with Hitler. People who live in glass houses should refrain from tossing rocks …”

LaSara Firefox
chats about her Starwood experience in her travel blog and tips us off to some mainstream coverage of the modern Pagan experience coming our way soon.

“A true highlight of the week was meeting the irascible, irreverent and wholly endearing and engaging Paul Krassner…Paul is writing a piece on Starwood for The Nation. Make it a point to read it! I personally can?t wait to see Paul?s interpretation of the event. He has a knack for noticing nearly invisible trends, and then tying them together. It?s bound to be a good read.”

Meanwhile (on a more philisophical note) T. Thorn Coyle answers the question of if we (and our actions) really matter in the grand scale of the universe.

“On the one hand, it matters not. I am not the center of the multiverse, rather, it is much larger than I, and its cycles are mostly inscrutable. On the other hand, it matters deeply. Because I believe in immanent divinity, I believe there is connection. I believe, feel, sense, that there is a web of life, of matter, of the trans material, that we are all a part of. And damnit, if I am a part of that web, I want to do my best by it. I want to buoy it up, not drag it down. The multiverse lies at the center of me, and I am simultaneously one small spark in the midst of that multiverse. I am the immanent divine, if I remember to be so. Or as Yunus Emre would say, I am the drop that became the sea.”

Isaac Bonewits gives a satisfying end to a tale of intolerance in Montana I reported on in my blog earlier this month.

“We’re in a camp that is usually leased by a local Presbyterian congregation, one member of which no doubt annoyed the rest of her church by making a fuss over the Heathens using ‘their’ campgrounds. It took a lawyer writing a letter to the Park Service, the church, and this woman to remind everyone that the Park isn?t allowed to discriminate against would-be renters based on their religion. The woman had been promising to bring a large crowd of Christians to picket the entrance to the festival, but she only managed to attract six or seven people, one of whom was a reporter for the local newspaper. He later interviewed us, which gave us a chance to put out some accurate information about Neopaganism. He told us that the trouble-maker was probably not representative of local Montanans, most of whom have a live-and-let-live attitude.”

Former Pagan (and current Catholic) Carl McColman has a lot of nagging questions about modern Paganism and magic left over from his Pagan days and asks his readers to provide some answers.

“Behind the cut is a list representing a hodge-podge of nagging/unanswered/perhaps unanswerable questions I have about a variety of spiritual topics, mostly involving magic and Paganism. Some of these questions date back to the crisis of faith that precipitated my conversion from Paganism to Catholicism. Others are not so much about my disenchantment with Paganism, but simply reflect places where my natural curiosity has never been fully exhausted. I’m offering these questions not to criticize or challenge Paganism or anyone’s commitment thereof. Rather, I’m genuinely interested in hearing what people may have to say about one or more of these topics.”

Several Pagan bloggers stepped up to the task, including Daven, Morgaine Swann, Brenda Daverin, and, well, me.

Jane Crow considers “Desperate Housewives” and ponders the cult of the sexy mother.

“Thinking through all of this, part of me wants to celebrate the fact that older women are gaining notice. It’s great that my older sisters are having fun and living playfully. But I can’t help but feel we are lassoed with the burden of being defined solely by our pro
jected sexual self. When, rather, we should be celebrating the contributions and fully lived aspects of ‘the older woman.'”

Finally, August saw the passing of Monica Sjoo, an important figure in the goddess spirituality movement. Several Pagan bloggers commented on her passing including The Furious Spinner, Inanna, Alison Ashwell, Goddess Manifesta, Chas Clifton, myself, and Starhawk.

Thanks for reading, if you have submissions for the next Pagan Carnival or are interested in editing an edition drop me a line. Remember to post a link to The Pagan Carnival in your blog and spread the word!