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. At the excellent Religion In American History blog Kelly Baker points to a a conversation about sacred space in America with Erika Doss, Anthea Butler, Jacob Kinnard, and Edward Linenthal in newest issue of Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief. According the Baker, the conversation includes mention of the special outdoor worship area for Pagan cadets at the Air Force Academy. The circle was officially dedicated in May of this year.
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. How do you fight Muslim extremism? With Bollywood! As Chas Clifton says, “Aphrodite will not be denied,” but perhaps it would be more appropriate in this instance to say Parvati will not be denied.
Yesterday the Air Force Academy in Colorado held a dedication ceremony for an outdoor stone circle erected last year as a place for Pagan and earth-centered faiths to congregate and worship. “The academy is home to about 10 cadets who regularly attend “earth centered” worship groups. Earth-centered is a catch-all phrase for groups including New Age religion, paganism, Wicca, Druids and ancient Norse beliefs. “This is very important for us, we didn’t have a place to call our own, to be outside in nature,” said cadet Nicole Johnson, a member of the earth-centered group. Johnson and others used to meet in an engineering classroom to worship before construction of Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle, on a 7,200-foot hill top that overlooks the main cadet chapel.” While the circle was created in response to a genuine need among Pagan cadets, it has also been something of an PR tool for an institution that has long been accused of being a focal point for evangelical Christian takeover of the military, and is still struggling to create an environment friendly to all faiths. This struggle was underlined when the Pagan site was vandalized shortly after it received press attention, an event the academy is trying to ensure never happens again.
I just have a few quick news notes for you this morning. UUA Japan Relief Fund: Those still looking for locally-focused and Pagan-friendly options in their donations towards aiding Japan in the wake of Friday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, the Unitarian Universalist Association has set up a fund that sounds very promising. “Following Friday’s devastating earthquake and resulting tsunamis, the UUA has been in contact with our religious partners in Japan to express our concern and our willingness to partner with them in recovery efforts. Our partners, including Rissho Kosei-kai, Tsubaki Grand Shrine, the Konko Church of Izuo, the Tokyo Dojin Church, and the Japan Chapter of the International Association for Religious Freedom are all in discernment about the specific efforts they will be taking to support recovery work, and the UUA will walk with them in the directions that are ultimately chosen. Please join with UUs throughout the United States by contributing to the UUA’s Japan Relief Fund which will support the work that our Japanese partners pursue.” A partnership of UUA, Buddhist, Shinto, and Japanese religious freedom organizations would seem to help avoid the allegations and scandals that some international aid organizations are encountering, and work towards immediate and locally directed assistance. For more ways to stand with Japan during this time, see my previous post on the subject.
05. The Druid Network Receives Charitable Status in UK: Perhaps the biggest Pagan-related story coming out of the UK this year was the Charity Commission’s decision to approve The Druid Network’s application as a religious charity. In Britain, there’s a marked difference between a charity and a nonprofit, and The Druid Network was the first Pagan organization to take advantage of the the Charities Act of 2006, which lowered the hurdles towards becoming a religious charity. This not only caused a wave of press in the UK, but in America as well. Guest author Alison Shaffer did a remarkable job summing the whole issue up back in October.