(Pagan) News of Note

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

For those of you who have been missing pioneering acid-house band The KLF since their retirement, it seems that “New Rave” act The Klaxons are here to pick up the slack.

“Pogoing behind the banks of synthesisers is, instead, a band steeped in art rock, soft pop and science fiction…That old rascal Aleister Crowley gets exhumed once again. ‘Do what you will,’ urges ‘Magick’, abetted by an irresistible on-beat.”

You can find the lyrics to their Thelemic ode, here. For some samples of their musical wares, try The Hype Machine.

Cambridge Classics scholar Mary Beard criticizes the Greek Pagans who made the news recently for their lack of blood sacrifice.

“True, the worshipers last week poured a libation of wine and incense over a copper tripod. But where was the animal sacrifice? As almost everyone who studies ancient Greek religion insists, the key centre of the whole religious system was sacrifice: it was the ritual of killing and sharing the animal that was, if anything, the “article of faith” that defined the ancient community of worshipers. And it was through sacrifice (rather than ecology) that ancient Greeks conceptualized their own place in the world – distinct from animals on the one hand and the superhuman gods on the other. Until these eager neo-pagans get real and slaughter a bull or two in central Athens, I shan’t worry that they have much to do with ancient religion at all. At the moment, this is paganism lite.”

Pagan scholar Chas Clifton fires back with a resounding “so what”?

“Her slightly patronizing tone aside, so what? Religions do change–even while their adherents insist on continuity with the past. I have great respect for Beard as a Classics scholar–I own one or two of her books–but I suspect that she has not given much thought before to new religious movements until she decided to give her opinion on this new development in her blog.”

This caused Mary to get a tad defensive in the comments…

“I think I was really responding to the claims made by this group that they WERE reviving ancient paganism. I am absolutely OK with the idea that religions change. I was reacting to their claims to be a modern version of ANCIENT ‘paganism’.”

For quite a bit more debate on if blood sacrifice is a necessary component of a revived Greco-Roman paganism, check out the comments on Beard’s blog.

In case you were wondering, supermodel Naomi Campbell is not a witch.

“Naomi Campbell called the other day — no jokes about flying cell phones, please. The supermodel was a perfect lady, even as she made her complaints about newspaper stories in Brazil, England and here that she is interested in Brazil’s African-based Candomble religion, which has rituals some have likened to witchcraft.”

I was going to bring forward a witness who said she turned him into a newt, but sadly he “got better” before I could alert the tabloids. No word on if she weighs as much as a duck.

If you can make it to Santa Cruz, I couldn’t think of a better activity than attending Robert Anton Wilson’s Cosmic Meme-Orial & Lasagna Levitation Celebration on February 18th.

“Celebrate the life, work and continued multi-dimensionality of Robert Anton Wilson by joining us in a giant, jammin’ Translation Celebration and 8th Circuit Soiree! Be a part of Bob’s Raucous Processionary Send-Off as his ashes sail out of the cove and rejoin his beloved’s in the Pacific!”

Organizers are still accepting contributions for their media presentation. Send your photos of Wilson or creative graphical tributes as 300 x 600 jpegs to the e-mail address listed here.

Finally, the newspaper of my old hometown in Champaign-Urbana Illinois covers the possible Witch School reality program in Hoopeston.

“The witch school that moved into Hoopeston’s elephant building three years ago may soon be the site of a reality TV show on the Sci-Fi channel. “We’re pretty excited even though we don’t know that much about it yet,” said Don Lewis, who is the Witch School’s chancellor…A spokeswoman for the network confirmed that a reality series to be filmed in Hoopeston is in development. “We don’t have a production timetable as of yet, nor do we have additional information on the details of the production,” Adrienne D’Amato wrote in an e-mail.”

Doesn’t sound like anything is in stone at this point. You wonder if they’ll insist on a photogenic cast of teachers and students?

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