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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.
- The “paganism-as-slur” story continues to gain ammunition, this time from the Family Research Council, who argue that America has entered an age of “pagan” sexuality. Quote: “What we really have outside is a pagan sexuality which is totally different from a Christian sexuality. And I don’t think enough Christians have yet put that way starkly enough to themselves. What you’re really being invited with all this is entry into pagan sexuality.” Signs of “pagan” sexuality include, according to Dr. Patrick F. Fagan, pornography, abortion, gay marriage, and infidelity. Meanwhile, Fagan attests that monotheists have the very best sex, so take that Pagans!
- Christian Day isn’t the only person to cry foul at horror movie “The Conjuring” for its Salem witch sub-plot. Salon.com critic Andrew O’Hehir lambastes the film for it’s retrograde social politics and revisionism. Quote: “Along with the overall tone of hard-right family-values messaging, “The Conjuring” wants to walk back one of America’s earliest historical crimes, the Salem witch trials of 1692, and make it look like there must have been something to it after all. Those terrified colonial women, brainwashed, persecuted and murdered by the religious authorities of their day – see, they actually were witches, who slaughtered children and pledged their love to Satan and everything! That’s not poetic license. It’s reprehensible and inexcusable bullshit.”
- Religion News Service reports that would-be Humanist military chaplains are facing the same road-blocks as would-be Pagan military chaplains. Quote: “He fits the requirements— with master’s degrees from both Brite Divinity School and Oxford University. His paperwork is complete. He passed the physical tests and has been interviewed by a Navy chaplain. The only thing he does not have is an endorsement from a religious organization approved by the Navy. And there’s the rub: Heap is a Humanist. He carries the endorsement of the Humanist Society, an organization of those who believe in the positive power of human potential, but not necessarily in God. The Humanist Society — like all organizations that represent nonbelievers — is not among the Department of Defense’s list of approximately 200 groups allowed to endorse chaplains.” You may want to read The Wild Hunt’s coverage of this very issue, starting with the case of Don Larsen, continuing with the first-ever Buddhist Army chaplain, and now currently in the same limbo as the Humanist candidate.
- Interesting book alert: “…in his very strange, compelling, and aptly titled Why Hell Stinks of Sulfur: Mythology and Geology of the Underworld. A geologist by training, Kroonenberg takes Homer, Virgil, and Dante as his guides as he attempts to mediate between what these epic poets described of the worlds beneath our feet and what we now know about them. A “look at hell from a geologic perspective,” he calls it: fieldwork from the abyss. Along the way, he offers geologic explanations of the mythology of the Underworld, explaining how real geologic events filtered into our ignorant consciousnesses, and how past cultures have been able to shape natural phenomena they barely understood into rich stories of life and death, Heaven and Hell, above and below.”
- Poland has upheld the ban on ritual slaughter of animals, both Kosher and Halal. Quote: “One of the reasons why Jews are especially sensitive to legal measures against ritual slaughter, as Tusk surely knows, is that the Nazis banned it in Germany only three months after they came to power in 1933. And like many of today’s animal rights activists, the Nazis depicted the methods of shechita as a gruesome, needless celebration of animal suffering.”More here.
- Don’t worry fans of The History Channel’s hit show “Vikings,” there will be plenty of pagan-Christian tensions to be found in the second season. Writer/creator Michael Hirst, when asked, said “absolutely, that’s very central.”
- At the recent San Diego Comic-Con, writer Neil Gaiman and artist J.H. Williams III discussed the upcoming “The Sandman: Overture” series coming later this year (which I recently wrote about here at The Wild Hunt). I’ve embedded the video above.
- At the Oxford University Press blog, Francesca Moore writes about the wisewoman in industrial society. Quote: “During the nineteenth and early twentieth century, most women gave birth at home with the help of women like Nell who had learned their midwifery skills by being present at births. Working-class women continued to prefer the services of these bona fide midwives, largely because they had built up relationships of trust having been cared for by these practitioners through several pregnancies, and, in the case of Nell, having sought her advice for a range of health problems. Nell was not only famed for her skill as a midwife, but she was greatly respected as an herbalist. Using ingredients collected from the moors near her home, Nell created herbal ointments and preparations for her clients. We know that these services were extremely popular, with clients travelling large distances and queuing at her door to buy her remedies.”
- Congratulations to Professor Ronald Hutton, author of “The Triumph of the Moon” and “Blood and Mistletoe,” on being elected a Fellow of the British Academy. Quote Hutton: “Having been a historian at Bristol for over thirty years, I am delighted by the honour that the Academy has done to my subject, department, school, faculty and university, and being inherently sociable I look forward to pulling my weight as a member of one of our nation’s most valuable scholarly institutions.”
- Satanists troll Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church infamy, say they did a mass to turn his dead mother gay. I can neither confirm nor deny the efficacy of their work.
- Michael Dirda at The Washington Post reviews “The Dark Side of the Enlightenment: Wizards, Alchemists, and Spiritual Seekers in the Age of Reason” and “Solomon’s Secret Arts: The Occult in the Age of Enlightenment.” Quote: “The psychologist C.G. Jung — who was deeply interested in alchemy and astrology — might label the simultaneous appearance of these two similar-sounding books as an instance of what he called ‘synchronicity.'”
- This NYT piece on Ghanaian traditional priest Nana Kwaku Bonsam is pretty awesome, and holds all sorts of interesting details. Quote: “In Africa, traditional religion has always been considered extremely local, while Christianity was seen as a way of joining the larger world,” said Birgit Meyer, a professor of religious studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands who conducted research in Ghana for 25 years and has written about Mr. Kwaku Bonsam. “But by using Facebook and YouTube and finally residing in New York City, Mr. Kwaku Bonsam shows that traditional religion can also go global. He’s making it fashionable, in other words.”
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.