Unleash the Hounds (link roundup)

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. Religious freedom in the courts

Colorado school district officials violated the Constitution when they openly supported a Christian mission trip to Guatamala, a court ruled. According to reports, the Douglas County School District produced fliers and information about the trip and sent them home to families, as well as hosting a fund drive for the trip during school hours. As reported by the Denver Post, “The case started in 2014 when a group of students from Highlands Ranch High School’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes decided to take a spring break mission trip to Guatemala.”

Column: a Quest for Faith Over a Year, and Over the Years

From the point of view of many global onlookers, most of Western and Northern Europe might seem an oddly secular, even religion-less place. Despite a history of (ofttimes violent) religious upheaval during the Christian era and a relative growth of Islam in the present day, there is no denying that religion, and more specifically the expression of religious sentiment, has little to no place in the public sphere in many European nations. As such, even simply discussing religion, and especially Pagan and magical ones, isn’t something nearly as self-evident as in other regions, like North America, where a similar degree of religious freedom is the law of the land. In such a context, the experiences of individuals who might want to experiment with various spiritual paths are rarely if ever publicized or talked about. Yet under this veneer of secularism lies a dynamic and ever-changing religious landscape that has much to offer to those willing to get real with religion.

Column: Resiliency and the Spirit War

“6-3-6: The concept of politics has then become completely absorbed into a war of spirits.” —Nietzschemanteion

Or as Diane di Prima wrote, “the war that matters is the war against the imagination/all other wars are subsumed in it.” The enemy is despair, but secular ideologies of progress will never be enough to keep the enemy at bay. It takes a certain kind of sympathetic magic to counter despair. The seeds of what one is fighting for must be contained in one’s actions. If you want to live in a world where the relationships between the gods, the ancestors, the land and human beings are in harmony, then you have to put effort into strengthening and balancing those relationships right now.

SCOTUS denies review of Buddhist temple case

NEW YORK –  Since 2011 the China Buddhist Association (CBA) has been involved in a legal battle over the excommunication of members and the management of its organization.  The original 2011 Tung v China Buddhist Association went through the New York courts, landing it at the doorstep of the U.S. Supreme Court. However, on Jan 9, certiorari was denied, allowing the lower court’s ruling to stand. “The court will not intervene in matters that are predominantly religious disagreements.” (New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Nov 13, 2014)

The China Buddhist Association was formed and incorporated in 1963 by Master Mew Fung Chen to support the Chinese immigrant population in Manhattan and, eventually, the growing community in Flushing, Queens.

Book Review: The Tao of Craft

The Tao of Craft: Fu Talismans and Casting Sigils in the Eastern Esoteric Tradition by Benebell Wen. Published by North Atlantic Books (600 pages)

The Tao of Craft, by Benebell Wen (also author of Holistic Tarot), is an English-language practitioner’s guide to Chinese 符 (fú). 符 is usually translated as “talisman,” but Wen chooses to use the word “sigil,” which more specifically captures the use of written texts and glyphs and symbols, the ritual charging of such designs, and their relationship to both spirit-work and directly achieving desired practical results. Wen also chooses to use the term “craft” rather than “magic.” The lines between “magic” and “religion” have always been blurry, and while she acknowledges that the vast web of traditions comprising Daoism is often religious, Wen argues that the metaphysical principles underlying the Fú techniques themselves can work from a variety of religious frameworks.