(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.

The Windy City Times interviews author Dominique Mainon
about her new book “The Modern Amazons: Warrior Women on Screen”. During the interview, Mainon discusses how modern Paganism and lesbianism have often gone hand in hand when portraying the “warrior woman” archetype.

“Neopagan religions and alternative relationships have infiltrated the average household through media now. It certainly has developed as a common stereotype. It’s interesting to note Barbara Creed’s opinions about witches and vampires as “menstrual monsters” in her book The Monstrous-Feminine. I am very interested in the way witches and vampires are portrayed now the protagonists in many cases these days, rather than their more monstrous counterparts of past. I speak about this phenomenon much more extensively in chapter five – ‘Haunted and Hunted Monster Killers.'”

John J. Anderson, who is charged with the murder of fellow teenager Natasha Miller, wants to have his hours-long confession thrown out of court over claims that he was denied legal counsel and coerced.

“At first, the Wixom resident insisted he had nothing to do with her death. Eventually, he admitted the killing, saying it was an accident, police said. Then for hours he talked about religion, origins of the universe, the Torah, the Quran, the Bible, and his life as a druid — part of an ancient pagan Celtic religion. He placed Miller’s body in the river, he said, for religious reasons, to reunite her with the spirit of water.”

Happily, the local police aren’t trying to paint Anderson as representative of the local Pagan community.

“Oakland County Sheriff’s Detective Christopher Miller said Tuesday outside the courtroom that there is no indication Miller was involved in witchcraft. Miller said Anderson’s contention that he placed the body in the water as part of a druid ritual was unlikely. “This is a guy who has a very rich fantasy life,” Miller said. ‘He needed the druid thing as an excuse for what he did. He’s a very troubled individual.'”

Legendary British music critic Mick Mercer reviews a BBC special concerning the mysterious death of occultist and parish councillor Peter Solheim.

“Apparently Solheim’s house was a veritable arsenal of occult material, most of it harmless, and he had a famous book on how to perform harmful magic, which is mainly compete bollocks. (Ever noticed how magicians supposedly capable of summoning up great power, and who actively seek dominion over others, either die early, can’t effect a decent change in their appearance and can’t ably demonstrate anything the way a stage magician can?) He also had a side interest in illegal firearms and pornography, which another diligent reconstruction seemed to suggest included a 17th century replica flintlock, which I suspect was a novelty brass cigarette lighter, plus some vintage issues of Club International! It was getting funnier by the minute.”

Australian Pagans in Sydney are trying to establish a sacred site.

“Sydney’s pagans have been meeting at Rotaract Hill near Seven Hills railway station for 10 years and want to formalise their attachment by establishing it as a sacred site. The Pagan Awareness Network wants to apply for a grant to erect four stones representing the four points of the compass at the hill’s pinnacle. If approved, the stone circle would become the first official place of pagan worship in Sydney.”

Did you know that Isaac Brock, frontman for the band Modest Mouse, has a Wiccan mother?

“Brock was raised within the Grace gospel church – which was affiliated to David Koresh’s doomed Waco Branch Davidians. He says his family were young at the time, and at least they got out of it. Nevertheless, when he was six he was expected to speak in tongues for the benefit of the church. “I didn’t feel the spirit of the fucking Lord rushing through me,” he says. “I definitely felt awkward. I thought. ‘What’s the best way to make this stop?’ So I ripped off some words from Mary Poppins and said them fast, and the deacons are going, ‘Yeah, all right!'” These days, his mother is a Wiccan. “She meets women, they cast spells,” he says offhandedly.”

Terry Mattingly (who also blogs at “Get Religion”), discusses “Evangophobia” (the fear of the cultural rise of evangelical Christianity) with writer Robert Lanham (author of “A Sinner’s Guide to the Evangelical Right”).

“The panic may strike in the shelter of a Starbucks, when a customer realizes that a quote from evangelical superstar Rick “The Purpose Driven Life” Warren is printed on some of coffee cups. This would cause any latte-sipping liberal to mutter “Oh my goddess” and worry about legions of Focus on the Family donors invading Wiccan book clubs in Unitarian sanctuaries from sea to shining sea.”

Finally, Chicago Public Radio interviews Krista Tippett, host of the syndicated radio show “Speaking of Faith”, about her new book (also called “Speaking of Faith”).

“Early risers on Sunday Mornings who tune in to Chicago Public Radio can hear conversations about religion, ethics and spirituality on the program Speaking of Faith. Host Krista Tippett tackles subjects as diverse as “The Soul in Depression”, “Modern Paganism”, and religious understandings of tragedy, such as the Asian tsunami. Religion and politics has also been a recurring theme. Now, Tippett has written a book reflecting on those conversations: what they’ve meant to her and to her listeners.”

Tippett did an excellent program on modern Paganism not too long ago, and there is a good chance she discusses our religious movement in her new book. Definitely worth checking out.

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