Unleash the Hounds! (link roundup)

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There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans and Heathens out there, more than our team can write about in depth in any given week. Therefore, The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. 

  • Ken Ham’s organization, Answers in Genesis (AiG), has filed a suit, making the claim that the National Park Service denied to one of its members a research permit due to his Christian beliefs. According to the case filed this month, Dr. Snelling of AiG was interested in collecting rock samples at the Grand Canyon National Park to “investigate geological phenomena from the perspective of one who believes in the truth of the Old and the New Testaments.” Park officials denied the permit, offering him alternative sites and reportedly calling the proposal “outlandish.” Americans United agrees with the decision, saying, “AiG as an organization has little regard for sound science. […] This is theology, not science.” Snelling’s attorney and AiG believe that Snelling’s constitutional rights have been violated, not only citing RFRAs but also Trump’s new executive order. The new case (Snelling v U.S. Department of the Interior, et. al.) was submitted May 9 to the Arizona District Court in Phoenix for jury trial.
  • The Argus Leader published a story on Ásatrú and Heathenry in prison. The article includes a short video interview with Jody Hadley, who found his practice while in the South Dakota State Penitentiary. “Ásatrú helped me become a better person. When I first went to prison, I was a dirtbag. I lied, I was a thief,” Hadley told the news outlet. The story goes on to detail some of the hurdles faced by some Heathen groups due to the public’s awareness of supremacist groups claiming Heathen religious origins. “One idiot does not a community make,” said Ásatrúar Sam Lopez, who is also the father of an incarcerated man who practices Ásatrú in prison.
  • For “World in Words” podcast on PRI, radio broadcaster Sonia Paul explores the various ways that Americans learn about Indian history and Hinduism in California. She speaks to a variety of individuals to enter the debate on what is being taught, and why. “Many Hindus in California resent that their religion is associated with poverty and caste discrimination.” It’s more than “caste, cows, and curry.”
  • According to the BBC, a statue representing the Greek goddess Themis was removed from a square in Dhaka, Bangladesh after protests from Islamists. According to reports, the statue was only six months old. Protests from conservative groups began in February, and after consideration, the prime minister agreed to remove it. However, secularists then entered the debate with counter protests. As the BBC reports, the statue is being removed “to help keep the peace.”
  • “The spell is working,” believes Los Angeles Times writer Diana Wagman. She begins, “I cast a spell on the president. I was not alone. Thousands of witches, believers and people like me all over the world performed ‘A Spell to Bind Donald Trump and All Those Who Abet Him’ under the waning crescent moon last month. It was not meant to physically hurt him, only to keep him from succeeding at his tasks. Now he’s complaining he’s the object of a ‘witch hunt.’ Maybe the spell is working.” In the article, she said that she planned to do the spell again May 23.
  • But, wait, did New York Magazine Daily Intelligencer just call Trump a pagan? In an article “The Pope and the Pagan,” Andrew Sullivan concludes that Trump is “neither religious nor irreligious. He is pre-religious. He is a pagan.”
  • In a lifestyles article for Wired Magazine, writer Julian Sancton explores the seemingly growing interest in polyamory within the Silicon Valley community. Sancton speculates,”Perhaps that’s because making [polyamory] work is as much an engineering challenge as an emotional one, requiring partners to navigate a complex web of negotiated arrangements. (There’s an app to keep track of that, obvs: The Poly Life.) Some enthusiasts even claim it’s the way of the future.” One valley-based polyamorist told Sancton, “If life extension is possible, we might have to think about relationships differently. It’s pretty hard to have an exclusive relationship with someone for 300 years.”
  • Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship grove was featured in Salon magazine in May. The long and detailed article, written by Caitlin Dwyer originally for Narratively, is titled “Meet the modern day Pagans who celebrate the ancient gods” and features ADF’s Columbia Grove based in the Pacific Northwest. Dwyer visited the group during for ritual and participated in the experience. She concludes, “When it doesn’t work, it looks like cheap theater. But when it does, something inside turns like a combination lock until it clicks, and then slides open. After all, there is nothing like watching the world respond to you.”
  • A recent Big Think article opens with this question: “What would you think if you were looking into the night sky and saw a purple column of light streak vertically in front of you?” The Northern Lights, typically align horizontally and are a different color. The Big Think article then goes on to describe this new phenomenon, which has since been unofficially named “Steve” by the citizen astronomers in Alberta, Canada who first discovered it. The European Space Agency has confirmed its existence and, according to reports, it can be seen from Canada’s Hudson Bay all the way to Alaska.
  • Lastly, David Lynch’s popular Twin Peaks series from the 1990s is now being re-imagined for contemporary audiences. The new show picks up 25 years after the last, in the hope of captivating audiences in the same mysterious way the original did. Recently, occult historian Mitch Horowitz interviewed David Lynch about the show, film making, and his personal practice of transcendental meditation. The full hour interview can be heard on Interfaith Voices.