(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.

Columnist Steven Wells puts the Britney Spears’ head-shaving (and Anna Nicole Smith’s death) in perspective for us.

“Britney is the new Kurt Cobain. And the new Tupac. And the new Jesus. And the new John Barleycorn-the strawman ritually murdered and resurrected every harvest season in the English pagan tradition … The fact is we need Britney to sacrifice herself for us … Britney is … going publicly potty on our behalf as a penance for her fellow celebs not popping clog fast enough. We need to thank her for that. And sharpen our sickles. I feel a harvest coming on.”

Britney’s melt-down as a symbolic harvest sacrifice? I suspect that Joseph Campbell might be spinning in his grave.

The St. Louis River Front Times interviews author and Witch Laura Stamps about her occult novels aimed at women.

“I had shopped it around to a lot of publishers. They’re not crazy about anything with witches if it doesn’t have a lot of sex, death, blood, guts and adultery, which I don’t have. I write spiritual books to help you become a better person. The thing that’s really neat, that witches really like about them, is not only do I include useful tips in there, things about cats and perimenopause, but every chapter has a real chant, ritual or spell in it from my Book of Shadows.”

The future of books about Wicca? Novels intertwined with spells and rituals?

In one of the stranger melding of religions I have seen, a couple got married in a Pagan ceremony at a festival in honor of the show “Father Ted” (a hilarious spoof of Catholic priests on a remote island off the coast of Ireland).

“Bride Louise Kiernan, 24, from Swords in Dublin and groom Luke Callanan, 33, from Limerick tied the knot in a Druid ceremony. “I will love, honour and make you tea all the days of my life,” Louise vowed. ‘Will you marry me? Go on, go on, go on!'”

I’m sure if the real Father Ted was there he might issue a stern “down with this sort of thing”. Or maybe not.

David Attenborough discusses humanity’s long love of depicting animals in art. Starting with the neolithic and moving forward through history.

“Animals were the first things that human beings drew. Not plants. Not landscapes. Not even themselves. But animals. Why? The earliest known drawings are some 30,000 years old. They survive in the depths of caves in western Europe. The fact that some people crawled for half a mile or more along underground passages through the blackness is evidence enough that the production of such pictures was an act of great importance to these artists…This practice of painting images of animals on walls has persisted throughout our history. Five thousand years ago, when men in Egypt began to build the world’s first cities, they too inscribed images of animals on their walls. There is no doubt about the function of at least some of these: the Egyptians worshipped animals as gods. But Egyptian artists also delighted in their natural beauty, for they adorned the walls of their own underground tombs with pictures. The mummified dead in the next world would surely wish to be reminded of the beauties and delights of this one.”

In Attenborough’s view, it is a shared “profound joy” felt by those who immerse themselves in the natural world that links the different portrayals of the animal kingdom through history together.

A columnist in Tampa Bay mis-characterizes the religion of Santeria in order to make about point about keeping religion out of public school.

“Is this somewhere we really want to go? If followers of Santeria wished to bless the desks with the blood of the goat they just sacrificed in the classroom, would we respect that, as the principal in question is asking us to respect her beliefs? Or should we disallow the followers of any other religion to practice their beliefs in our schools?”

Yeah, and I hear Christians have these huge orgies called “love feasts”, and they drink blood and eat flesh at them!

In a final note, the press is abuzz over Daniel Radcliffe’s (who plays Harry Potter in the popular films) performance in Peter Shaffer’s play “Equus”.

“For the most part, Radcliffe’s performance is assured. His vocal range may be a bit narrow — he has a tendency to convey Strang’s anguish by shouting — but his hooded eyes and hunched, defensive posture convey a wounded and bewildered young man. And when he finally lets loose in the climactic 10 minutes of nudity, he is emotionally unrestrained and compelling…Radcliffe aside, Shaffer’s play is given a strong, sensuous staging by young director Thea Sharrock. The play itself can feel a tad self-important, as Shaffer paints a swirl of the pagan, the primitive and the psyche around Strang’s quasi-spiritual, erotic obsession with horses.”

Harry Potter then “Equus”? Certain Christian groups are never going to like this guy (though I’m sure his large number of fans and royalty checks help him get over that fact).

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