(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 First Amendment Center has written a nice opinion piece explaining why the veteran pentacle victory is so important to the principles of our country.

“…religious diversity in America goes far beyond the “Protestant, Catholic, Jewish” description of the nation popular in the 1950s … As the religious playing field grows more crowded, the only way to avoid conflict and litigation is for the government to enforce the First Amendment ground rules without favoring one religion over others – or religion over non-religion. It doesn’t matter whether the group is Wicca, Summum or any of the other hundreds of faiths in the United States, government officials are supposed to stay neutral toward religion. And that means – to invoke a virtue we learned in kindergarten – be fair to all.”

The Chronicle Herald spotlights a local Canadian artist who turned to Goddess worship during a time of crisis and has in turn created a series of goddess-oriented quilts now on display at a local museum gallery.

“Gregory called the process ‘a different way of looking at feminine power. Women have to learn about their power. At one point, women were recognized as the source of power, but that power has been denigrated by patriarchy. We’re trying to go back to how power symbols were used by women before they were distorted by patriarchy.’ But Gregory insists her desire to educate and encourage women through feminist art is not anti-male. She said she wants her husband and her son to be comfortable in the gallery.”

Michael Pye at The Scotsman reviews “Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy” by Barbara Ehrenreich, and takes issue with her interpretation of pre-Christian religion.

“…the silliest cliche’ in the book: “Dionysus was the first rock star.” Since later Ehrenreich will acknowledge Bill Haley in that role … The next stop is, of course, Jesus, and whether he was confused with Dionysus by his first followers. The answer, as with anything in the first 350 muddled years of church history, is: ‘yes’ and ‘no’. But it’s quite a leap from Saint Paul asking women to keep their heads covered in church – a convention of Middle Eastern modesty, Jewish, Muslim or Christian – to assuming Paul really meant they shouldn’t toss their long hair about in ecstatic dance. That theory demands a resounding: ‘Maybe.'”

You can read my original post on this book, here.

For those wanting more Bjork background after my blog articles discussing her pagan inclinations, the New York Times has a lengthy interview concerning her new album and the process behind making it.

“Bjork, 41, describes ‘Volta’ as ‘techno voodoo,’ ‘pagan,’ ‘tribal’ and ‘extroverted.’ Those words barely sum up an album that mingles programmed beats, free-jazz drumming, somber brass ensembles, African music, a Chinese lute and Bjork’s ever-volatile voice. It’s a 21st-century assemblage of the computerized and the handmade, the personal and the global.”

Finally, with Beltane coming up, different groups are making big plans. The Dolmen Grove near Dorset is burning a large Wicker Man during a Beltane festival this weekend.

“Dolmen Grove druids and witches are staging one of the biggest pagan festivals in England this weekend – complete with a giant wicker man made in a Weymouth garden. The figure plays a leading role in the Beltane Spirit of Rebirth Festival at Burnbake camp site near Corfe Castle when it will be burned as the high point of a fire ritual on Saturday night.”

Meanwhile Edinburgh’s Beltane Fire Festival, the biggest (and most colorful) Beltane celebration in the UK, prepares for their biggest year yet.

“It does become a bit crowded up there,” acknowledges Renwick. “We have around 380 performers this year and it will be tight for them to move through the crowds, but many argue that is part of the experience. No matter how much the demand grows we’ll never move from Calton Hill. It’s integral to the festival and it’s our home. Obviously it’s fantastic that the support has been growing every year and it shows the public enjoy the event and want to keep it happening.”

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