Column: Oshun on the Altar of Pop Culture

With the her announcement of twins and her recent Grammy performance, Beyoncé has become the center of media attention once again. Not only is Queen Bey trending this week, but she has been trending throughout the entire month of February. With her Instagram announcement of her pregnancy Feb 1, Beyoncé broke the record for the picture earning most likes on the social media platform with 2.4 million likes in one hour. As is usual, the fans and the haters are all over the interwebs weighing in on the topic. With all the hype about what’s next for Beyoncé and the loud group of people vocalizing how much they do not care, I couldn’t help but focus on the strong spiritual significance of the imagery on display.

Humanizing The Religious Other: Pope Francis Takes A Step Forward

During his recent visit to Brazil, Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, did something unprecedented. The Pontiff met with a representative of the Candomblé faith, the first time a Catholic Pope has ever done so. “At odds since colonial times, Catholicism and Afro-Brazilian religions have embarked on a process of mutual acceptance. Pope Francis added words and gestures to this reconciliation of two groups that share a common interest: confronting the growth of evangelical and neo-Pentecostal churches. The photo of Francis wearing a “cocar” headdress given to him by Ubiraí, a Pataxó Indian, went around the world. Ivanir dos Santos, a “babalawo” or priest of the Afro-Brazilian candomblé religion, was also received by the pope in the Municipal Theatre of Rio de Janeiro as part of the rapprochement between the Catholic Church and other creeds and cultures during his Jul. 22-28 visit to Brazil.

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. Some folks really don’t want Godsmack to play the Jackson County Fair, apparently part of the opposition comes from lead singer Sully Erna’s Wiccan beliefs. Quote: “Sully Erna, the lead singer of Godsmack, has acknowledged he is a practicing Wiccan. Critics have called him a devil worshipper, to which he has said: ‘We also don’t worship Satan; he is a Christian creation and they can keep him.

Let the Journey Carry Me Forward: A Pagan Initiate to Palo Mayombe

In the past decade I’ve noticed a rapid increase in the number of modern Pagans who have taken initiations in African diasporic religions like Santeria, Vodou, and Palo Mayombe. Likewise, a growing number of elders and teachers in those traditions have started to attend Pagan events like PantheaCon in San Jose, California. I’ve long been interested in the shared struggles our faiths face, and find the increasing interactions a fascinating and under-studied phenomenon. What will this growing trend mean both for modern Pagan religions and for the African diasporic faiths? To address some of these questions I’ve interviewed Stacey Lawless (Ngueyo Ndumba Kunayanda), who lives in the Southeastern United States where she is currently reinventing herself.

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. A new documentary produced in Germany, “The United States of Hoodoo,” looks like a must-see for anyone interested in Afro-diasporic religion and traditions. Quote: “[Darius James] immerses himself in the fabric of urban creativity where he encounters artists, musicians, writers, spiritual leaders and scholars. He finds out that the African gods have taken on new forms since their arrival on North America’s shores.