(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.

Author and ceremonial magician Donald Michael Kraig sings the praises of Silver Raven Wolf for the Llewellyn Journal.

“I was very impressed with what she was doing. Silver and I wrote to each other several times. It was clear to me that she knew more than most people about Paganism, writing, publishing, and marketing. It was inevitable that I would ask her the following question: “So when are you going to write a book?” She was too busy and had never written anything in such a long format, she replied, but I have to admit that I recognized a writer and knew that just as my question and encouragement was inevitable, there would be an inevitable result.”

Kraig, while heartily endorsing RavenWolf’s new book, also discusses how he met her through the (seemingly) now-defunct Wiccan/Pagan Press Alliance. Perhaps, in the age of blogs, e-zines, and podcasts, a new and revitalized press alliance is needed?

Side-Line Magazine interviews Olaf Parusel, the mastermind behind the classic darkwave band sToa, about his band’s new album “Silmand”, stoic philosophy, and working with famed “faerie” musician Louisa John-Krol.

“Louisa and [I] know each other from the old times on [the] Hyperium-Label. Fortunately [the] Internet has enabled us to stay in contact. When Louisa was on tour in Europe, we have met. We have made music together very intensively in that time. For example, we went to a church of a remote monastery high up on a hill, put up a microphone and performed medieval vocal improvisations. It’s the famous monastery found by Konrad of Wettin. Later on I composed music for a historical documentation on Konrad of Wettin and used Louisas phantastic recordings for it.”

To listen to sound samples, check out sToa’s MySpace page. You can also hear tracks from sToa’s latest album “Silmand” on my A Darker Shade of Pagan podcast.

The editorial pages are tackling the thorny free speech and religious expression problems presented in the Summum case currently before the Supreme Court. The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel hopes a solution can be found that “respects this nation’s undeniable Judeo-Christian roots”, while the Austin-American Statesman mulls over the thorny First Amendment problems of letting the Ten Commandments statue remain alone.

“Because the government allowed a memorial to troops who died in the Vietnam War does not mean it also must accept a memorial to those who died opposing it. But a different question arises when the government accepts a religious symbol because the First Amendment prohibits government from establishing a religion. If a monument to the founding tenet of Judaism and Christianity is acceptable in a public space, why are Wiccan pentagles or Summum aphorisms or Mormon angels unacceptable?”

Those two are hardly alone in voicing an opinion. The Concord Monitor says: “Bring it on!” Jewish groups are torn on which side to take according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, while The Week explores editorials that argue if the already existing Ten Commandments monument should be removed. All sides will have a while more to argue, since the justices won’t be handing down a decision on the case until Spring.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that a local Catholic Church had its statue of Mary destroyed. Who are the culprits? Fr. Michael Shershanovich seems to suspect dark occult powers!

“Shershanovich said several black marks had been spray painted on the statue and on the church in the weeks leading up to the desecration, including a pentagram, a five-pointed star synonymous with witchcraft.”

Yes, synonymous with witchcraft, because no other group or organization uses a five-pointed star. In fact, Witches love to roam the night and bash Catholic statues with road signs. That’s just how we roll. Has the secretive, thousands-strong, cult of disturbed teenagers struck again?

In a final note, The Chicago Tribune reports on the precarious fate of religious minorities in Iraq, and how one of them, the Mandaeans, are on the brink of extinction.

“Mandaeans, known as Sabis in Arabic, are just one of several minorities who have historically given Iraq its distinct identity as a cradle of religious diversity. All have suffered disproportionately from the spread of anarchy and extremism in the wake of the U.S. invasion. Iraq’s once-substantial Christian community has seen its numbers dwindle from about 800,000 to 500,000. Yazidis, a lettuce-shunning minority that venerates the forces of good and evil, have been targeted for attacks in their enclaves along the borders of Iraqi Kurdistan. Shabbaks, a Muslim sect that permits alcohol and is neither Sunni nor Shiite, have been persecuted in their ancestral lands near the northern city of Mosul.”

The fruits of a militant monotheism is that all heretics and potential rivals must be eliminated. Once the secular (though evil and tyrannical) government of Saddam Hussein was overthrown and war raged, the old rivalries were able to come to the surface once more. It seems increasingly unlikely that plans to restore the best elements of pre-war secularism will succeed, and many are expecting/fearing Iraq’s future will be as a Islamic Republic in practice, if not necessarily in name.

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