(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.

Modern Paganism continues to grow in India, DNA India files a report from Mumbai about the “bewitching world of Wicca”.

“Twentysix-year-old Sangeeta Krishnan is a part time editor of a scientific firm by profession but a wiccan by choice. She is as adept at using the computer as she is at using the crystal ball, wand, spells and magical charms for her wicca workshops. “I have been into this as long as I can remember. I used to have a lot of mystical experiences in my school days,” says Krishnan, who has been practicing wicca for the last 10 years.”

The fascinating cross-pollination between modern Paganism and Hinduism continues. One wonders what the American and European Indo-Pagans and the Indian Wiccans will be like a couple generations down the line. Will they intersect? Or will they each evolve into something entirely different?

World-famous Hammer Horror actress Ingrid Pitt reminices about “The Wicker Man” while in Scotland being interviewed by the BBC for a documentary concerning films shot in Scotland (which “The Wicker Man” was).

“The filming for the BBC extravaganza was done in the Ellengowan Hotel in Creetown where Britt Ekland didn’t do her naked dance routine. The actual interview was in the bar where the Barman’s Daughter was sung. And standing in the corner was Ian Cutler, sawing away on his fiddle, just the way he did it 36 years ago. 36 years ago! Makes your head spin. Pauline Law, the director insisted we had something to eat before getting down to it and I was seated next to Alan Cumming, the interviewer. Not sure that was the best thing. By the time I had chewed my way through a plate of beef I had told him my life story and hadn’t held anything back for the interview.”

Since I don’t live in the UK, I’ll most likely have to wait for a DVD release of “Filming in Scotland”. Should be worth it just for the on-location Wicker Man interviews.

I suppose I should be flattered that no matter how busy Beliefnet blogger Rod “Crunchy Con” Dreher becomes, he always has enough time to point and laugh at modern Pagans. It really brings home how much his recent conversion to Orthodox Christianity has matured him. This time he unleashes his snark on a lesbian Pagan sepratist who wrote a letter to The New Yorker to complain about a recent feature they published about Lesbian sepratist communities.

“How come Crunchy Con never gets letters like this one to the New Yorker, from a reader who didn’t like lesbian writer Ariel Levy’s recent piece on the history of radical lesbian separatism? … The joke just kind of writes itself, doesn’t it? Still, if she’s got her own little Benedict Option going, good for her. I bet it’s as humor-free as Pyongyang, tho’…”

Ah, what an incisive wit! Reminds of me of the good old days when he’d make snide comments about how many “hit-points” those Pagans with funny names had. Good times, good times. Watch out though, those conservatives who don’t think he’s conservative enough are pretty sure he’s secretly a Pagan (its those organic groceries and acceptance that global warming is real). If he’s not careful, people might think he’s overcompensating with the anti-Pagan barbs in order to hide something.

Were Julius Caesar and Pliny the Elder actually right about the Druids when they claimed they participated in mass ritual slaughter and cannibalism? That’s the hook of a recent National Geographic News story, but when you actually read the article they aren’t so sure.

“Druids may have killed the victims—who show evidence of skull-splitting blows—in a single event. It may have been the Roman invasion itself that escalated the Druids’ ritualized slaughter, researchers say. Mark Horton, an archaeologist at the University of Bristol, thinks the pile of bodies suggests savage resistance to the Romans, either on the battlefield or through deadly ritual. “Maybe the whole thing is a gigantic sacrifice … an appeasement to the gods in order that they will get ultimate victory against the Romans,” Horton said. The Alveston cave bones hint at something even more sinister—cannibalism. A human thighbone in the cave had been broken open in exactly the same method people use to get at the nutritious bone marrow of nonhuman animals. But if the bone is proof of Celtic cannibalism, the practice was probably extremely rare, Horton said. It may be evidence of increasing hunger and desperation as Roman invaders closed in, he added.”

So it there might have possibly been cannibalism based on one bone being split, and there was some sort of mass-sacrifice, but they aren’t really sure about the circumstances. They could have been willing victims trying to magically stop the Romans, executed enemies, or something else entirely. There’s still no real proof concerning how pervasive or regular human sacrifice was among the Druids, and there certainly is no proof they engaged in cannibalism regularly. Its a shame that National Geographic would veer into senstionalism like this.

In a final note, the second issue of Thorn Magazine is now out.

“Thorn Issue 2 is now available. This issue, in observance of Barack Obama’s historic election, we’re delving into the racial makeup of our Pagan traditions– who we are, which cultures we look to in borrowing (or appropriating?) our traditions and inspirations, and how we can preserve the vitality of our ethnic paths in an increasingly multi-cultural world. Including interviews with: T. Thorn Coyle, Isaac Bonewits, and S.J. “Sooj” Tucker.”

It also features a column from yours truly, a smack-down of the Lebor Feasa Runda from Phillip A. Bernhardt-House, and a review of “Talking About the Elephant” by Christine Hoff Kraemer. One of the smartest Pagan publications out there, and I’m not just saying that because I write for them.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!