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There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.
- Do you want your hair to done up like a Vestal Virgin? Hairdresser Janet Stephens has been reconstructing ancient Roman hairstyles, including the “sini crenes” of the Vestals, recently unveiled at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Seattle. Quote: “Working alone on a live model with only tools ancient Romans would have had, the process takes about 35 to 40 minutes, Stephens said. Vestal Virgins, however, would likely have had slaves to dress their hair. With two or more people doing the braiding, the hairstyle could have come together in less than 10 minutes, she said.”
- The annual Ifá predictions from Cuba’s Santeria priests, who’ve been gathering for nearly 30 years to make predictions and recommendations, have released their finding for 2013. The prophetic direction for this year is: “Tragedy occurring between people as a result of the usurpation of ‘rights’,” and the ruling divinity is Shango (accompanied by Oshun). In addition, the Yoruba Cultural Association of Cuba, which I believe is the body officially sanctioned by the Cuban government, predicted better lives for the Cuban people, and urged Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to seek their aid.
- The goddess Europa will be featured on the new five-Euro note. Quote: “The image used on the five-euro note comes from a vase in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The vase is more than 2,000 years old and was found in southern Italy.” Perhaps they’re hoping she will bless the troubled currency of the European Union?
- Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, the first explicitly religious “none” elected to Congress, swore her symbolic oath of office on the U.S. Constitution. There’s been lots of speculation about what Sinema’s beliefs are, exactly, some even accused her of being a Pagan (or at least participating in a Pagan ritual at a protest), but I’m perfectly fine with her beliefs about deity being private and wish more politicians would follow her lead.
- Gina Athena Ulysse, Professor of Anthropology & African American Studies at Wesleyan University, reviews Kate Ramsey’s “The Spirits and the Law: Vodou and Power in Haiti” and calls it the “most comprehensive historical study on the subject of Vodou to date.” Quote: “Throughout this work, Ramsey asserts, Vodou is something of a lifeline for many among the Haitian majority. It is a tradition, simultaneously revered as a vestige of its African past by some while reviled by others within and outside the nation-state who deployed it as an object of disgust, an alluring New World commodity as well as a source of oppressive power at given historical moments. With such a perverse and misconstrued history, no wonder the religion remains an enigma.” In addition Ulysse points out that Ramsey, working with KOSANBA, the scholarly association for the study of Vodou, successfully petitioned the Library of Congress to change the subject heading “Voodooism” to Vodou.
- In the wake of the Pagan Federation’s attempt to gain charity status in the UK, The Druid Network, which successfully gained charity status in 2010, is criticizing the Charity Commission, saying they lack “a clear understanding of charity law and needs to produce clearer guidance for religious groups that want to register as charities.” Quote: “It is important to keep in mind that it is not religions that are registered but the individual organisation whose objects are to advance religion for the benefit of the public. To be clear, ‘the Druids’ were not granted registration: it was the Druid Network, an individual organisation that was granted registration as a body that advances religion for the benefit of the public.”
- Rosalind I. J. Hackett writes about how African indigenous religions are “religious freedom misfits” for The Immanent Frame. Quote: “So while it is Muslim-Christian relations in Africa that command current geopolitical attention, we should not overlook the fact that sub-Saharan Africa provides some of the most instructive examples of how indigenous religions are still religious freedom misfits. Kenyan legal scholar Makau Mutua has made the most forceful case that local forms of religious belief and practice have been subject to ongoing delegitimization by the state in collusion with missionary religions and post-colonial elites.”
- At The Revealer Ezra Fieser looks at the Dominican Republic’s troubled relationship with Haiti and Vodou, and that country’s own form of that faith, Devocion de los Misterios. Quote: “What many Dominicans are loath to admit is that they practice a form of voudou although even practitioners are hesitant to call it as much. They prefer Devocion de los Misterios or Las 21 Divisions, a reference to the twenty-one families of African-derived and creole spiritual entities that, in exchange for gifts, confer blessings, such as good health and protection. In reality, the practice shares much with Haitian voudou but the rejection of the voudou label reflects the Dominican resistance to identify with anything associated with Haitians.”
- The Today show visits the Spiritualist community at Cassadaga, Florida, called by some the “Psychic Capital of the World.” Quote: “The town was founded in 1893 with a psychic center, and today nearly all the town’s residents are professional mediums or psychics.”
- Don’t panic Christians! The growth of the “nones” might be leveling off according to a recent Gallup survey. My favorite quote from the piece: “Our current ability to look at it over five years with these big surveys suggests the possibility that the growth [of the nones] may not be inexorable.”
That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of them I may expand into longer posts as needed.