Facebook, Witch-Hunts and the Stand for Human Rights

This past week we witnessed a crescendo of frustration and fury fly from the global Pagan community in the direction of a Facebook Fan Page called “Witches Must Die by Fire” and a Facebook Group called “Those Witches nd Wizzards [sic] should die by Fire by Force.”  The rally cries came by way of social media, blogs and email.  At this point, I would include the links but the “pages” were removed by Facebook around 4pm EST on Thursday, August 23 2013. These offending Facebook “pages” advocated for the extrication and burning of alleged witches and wizards throughout the world. Using a Christian fundamentalist context, the moderators repeatedly preached their gospel on the evils of witchcraft while celebrating all attempts to defeat it.  As proof of witchcraft’s existence, the Fan Page displayed a photo of a South African-Zimbabwe sensationalist rag called H Metro Zim with a headline that read something like “Woman gives birth to frogs…daily.”
Let’s first examine the pages themselves and who owned them? The answer is important because it contextualizes the accusations and religious zealotry.

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

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. Let’s start off with Salon.com’s follow-up to the outing of rogue Wikipedia editor “Qworty,” which focuses on his strange vendetta against Pagan, esoteric, and occult pages. In the piece Andrew Leonard links to my run-down of the story, and manages to dig up some new information as well. Quote: “Every page deleted or altered by Young on grounds of self-promotion or conflict-of-interest clearly deserves a second look.

Witch-Hunts, Moral Panics, and Modern Pagans

In North America and the UK the “Satanic” moral panics of the 1980s and 1990s are seen as an unfortunate rement of the recent past. A time when fear of secret “occult” and “Satanic” forces led innocent men and women to be accused of, and sometimes imprisoned for, imagined ghastly crimes against children. Sadly, these panics are not a remnant of the past, they continue to flare up across the world, and now that modern Pagan religions are truly global in scope, we are increasingly involved in, or endangered by, these panics. In South Africa, a country with a small but thriving Pagan community, religious organizations and government education officials are teaming up to combat “the growing problem of Satanism and occult practices.” Quote: “The MEC also said that Satanism and occultism were being dealt with “when they arise and get reported.” The department said the MoU will also help in tackling issues such as school discipline, teenage pregnancy and spiritual disturbances including Satanism at schools.” This comes after the death of Keamogetswe Sefularo, who allegedly was killed in a “Satanist” attack. 
Witch-hunts and witch-killings have been an ongoing issue in parts of India, and Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, India’s most famous Wiccan adherent, believes the religion can be a beneficial influence in these cases. Chakraverti also believes that Wicca can have an affect on the treatment of women in India, especially after a violent gang-rape that gained international attention. Quote: “The Delhi gang-rape was a turning point.

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

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. Deseret News reports on Indra Neelameggham, the first Hindu (and first woman) to ever give an opening invocation at a Utah governor’s inauguration. Quote:  “It is a prayer for peace, happiness, harmony and contentment, Sen. (Orrin) Hatch and (former) Gov. (Jon M.) Huntsman both told me after the ceremony that they thought my prayer was inspiring, so I guess it went pretty well […]  So many people believe that in Utah we are just a Mormon community,” she said. “Certainly that is the predominant religion, but we are so much more than just that.

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

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.