I’d like to begin by sending out my thoughts to all those who were affected by yesterday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon. There have been many Pagan responses to this still-unresolved tragedy, but I think Ár nDraíocht Féin Archdruid Rev. Kirk Thomas’ statement may be the best:
“We in ADF participate in a public religion. The gatherings of the folk are important for our communal worship of the Kindreds. Terrorists, such as those who bombed the Boston Marathon today, are counting on the fear of the people to disrupt our sense of community, that we may be isolated from each other, and thus lose our way. I believe that it is our duty as civilized people to resist this impulse, to find our courage, and so defy these enemies of Good, that our relationships with the Kindreds and with each other will continue to thrive.”
May the perpetrators be caught, may justice be done, may the wounded find care, and may the grieved find comfort.
- In Columbia, Missouri, a Thelemite and ritual magician by the name of Brian Daniels was murdered recently in his home, two men have been arrested in connection with the murder. An editorial in the local paper tries to see beyond the occult trappings to find out what kind of man Daniels was, and concludes that “the man with the lonely eyes and shadowy friends who dealt in Egyptian antiquities and wrote about indecipherable rituals” was “an honest man.” I was pleasantly surprised how Mike Martin of the Columbia Heart Beat avoided the easy insults and actually strived to uncover the human being beneath his initial impressions. I’ll be keeping an eye on this story as it continues to develop.
- Albion Calling’s ongoing series of interviews with Pagan scholars continues with Christine Hoff Kraemer, who works at Cherry Hill Seminary and Patheos as their Pagan Channel manager. Quote: “My research leanings are in theology right now, though, and theology is inherently an insider discourse, as opposed to religious studies, which has a range of participant-observer approaches. I’d like to think that Pagan theology will have a place in the Pagan studies in the future, just as Christian theology has a place within the academy now.”
- The sale of sacred Hopi masks in France went ahead despite protests from the Hopi tribe of northeastern Arizona, Survival International, and the actor Robert Redford, who called the sale “a sacrilege, a criminal gesture that contains grave moral repercussions.” Stephen Corry, Director of Survival International, said that “potential buyers of these objects should be aware that the Hopi are profoundly distressed at their sale, and regard them as the rightful property of the Hopi people. French law appears to offer the Hopi little comfort, but we still hope that justice will prevail, and that these objects can still be returned to their proper owners.” One incredibly patronizing collecter said that “one day I might give some back,” and credited 19th century collectors with preserving Hopi culture.
- The New York Times reports that Papua New Guinea’s prime minister has vowed to work on repealing the country’s controversial Sorcery Act in the wake of several brutal murders. Quote: “We have quite a lot of issues on the table, so please give us a chance to work on it […] realistically, a few sessions away, we will be able to put an act to Parliament to stop this nonsense about witchcraft and all the other sorceries that are really barbaric in itself.” You can see all my previous coverage on this issue, here.
- Is Peaches Geldof, the daughter of Bob “I Don’t Like Mondays” Geldof, into Aleister Crowley and Thelema? It’s a definite maybe. Quote: “The former wild child so beloved of the British tabloids—pregnant with her second child—has now taken to her Twitter account and urged her followers to read up on the “do what thou wilt” philosophy of occultist Aleister Crowley. Geldof also tweeted an Instagram pic of the yantra of Babalon (a symbol closely associated with Crowley).”
- The Yossi Milo Gallery in New York is currently exhibiting a collection of “Wild Man” costume photos by Charles Fréger, taken at various European pre-Christian festivals. Slate.com has a selection of the impressive costume photos up at their site. Quote: “The concept of a “Wild Man” is steeped in pagan celebrations connected to changing of seasons, rites of passage, and other life changing events. Fréger said many of the traditions are full of joy and, regardless of the country, had a lot in common.”
- Who’s to blame for the invasion of giant African snails in Florida? The site PopSci gets confused and names Santeria followers in the headline, when they meant a follower of an African Traditional Religion. It may seem like a small mistake, but there is a difference, and there are actually some tensions between Santeria and practitioners of Yoruba traditional religion over a variety of issues (including this one). It pays to do a little digging before you write that headline.
- Vodou is alive and well in Haiti. Quote: “There is much beauty in Haiti. There are mountains, the countryside, the sea and beaches, but what I find most beautiful is the culture of this country. There are many elements that contribute to Haiti’s rich culture and Voodoo (also spelled Vodou and Voudou) is definitely one of them.”
- At the Oxford University Press blog Owen Davies looks at some of the other Salem witch trials. Quote: “The history of American witchcraft is indelibly associated with Salem, Massachusetts, where in 1692 nineteen people were executed as witches after the accusations of two young girls sparked a wave of fear. The village of Salem, the centre of the events of 1692, is now the town of Danvers, with the focus of today’s witchcraft industry centred on Salem city. But there are numerous other Salems in America, born of the country’s religious heritage – Salem in Hebraic means “peace”. But forget colonial Salem for a moment, as on two occasions in America’s more recent past Salem was the scene of trials related to witchcraft.” Davies’ latest book is “America Bewitched: Witchcraft After Salem.”
- The new Catholic pope supports the crackdown on American nuns and the Russian Orthodox Church doesn’t like feminism. In other news, water is wet.
That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.