I have a few news stories I wanted to share before tomorrow’s Winter Solstice, starting with a look at the annual pilgrimage for Saint Lazarus in Cuba, that not only draws devout Catholics, but devout adherents to Santeria as well. “Several thousand people walked to the church during the morning clutching bunches of mauve gladioli, pink bougainvillea and fat cigars to leave as offerings to the saint, who also symbolizes the deity Babalu-Aye in the Afro-Cuban Santeria faith. Experts explain this fusion of Santeria and Christian figures by saying that African slaves in Cuba originally pretended to worship the Catholic saints of their Spanish masters while secretly paying homage to their own deities.” The Reuters article notes that religious expression, particularly Catholic religious expression, has become more pronounced in Cuba since the Pope John Paul II’s visit in the late 1990s. However, despite this relatively recent religious openness, Cuba is still rated as the least religiously free country in the Americas by a recent study of global restrictions on religion released by the Pew Forum.
Even though negotiations for a new global climate accord at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen seem to be rapidly deteriorating, with frustrated demonstrators trying to force their way into the talks, you wouldn’t know it by reading the (largely) right-leaning pundits. They all seem convinced that global environmental-pagan-cult rule is only days away. For example, we have this little gem from Joe Soucheray. “It is a religious gathering in Copenhagen, nothing more and strikingly pagan in nature, but religious. They might as well be wearing hemp cassocks and green vestments, with a glittering crown of recycled pop-can tops for their spiritual leader, Al Gore, who is trying to pioneer the theological mischief known as plenary indulgences, only this time you can use gasoline to sin in St.
Top Story: We are still in the midst of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, but that event seems to be increasingly haunted by the upcoming/overlapping UN summit on climate change in Copenhagen. This reality was noted by Reclaiming Witch and community organizer Zay Speer at the Pagans at the Parliament blog. “The Parliament may be taking place on the other side of the world from Copenhagen, but Copenhagen is not very far from peoples’ minds. There are at least eight talks here with “climate change” in the title, more in the descriptions, and it is appearing as a persistent subtheme throughout the conference, from all traditions. Despite not having a voice on any of the Ecology panels, we Pagans are working it in too. The Community Night Pagan ritual hosted by Melbourne Reclaiming ended with an activist-style raising of energy for the healing of Mother Earth, ‘all the way through to Copenhagen!'”
Can religious groups influence the debate over a new global climate pact?
On a random whim I signed up for the yearly Blog Action Day a couple weeks ago, mostly because this year the theme was climate change/global warming and where better to talk about the environment than a blog that services many faiths that describe themselves as “earth-honoring”, “earth-centered”, “nature religion”, or even “Gaian”? However, I realized I had nothing new to say, despite helpful prompts from the Blog Action Day people like “Global Warming Facts and Figures”, “Top 100 Effects of Global Warming”, and “10 Solutions for Climate Change”. So instead of attempting something entirely new, I’ve decided to link and excerpt several past climate change and environmentally-themed posts here at The Wild Hunt. Think of it as our “greatest environmental-themed hits”. Nature Religion For Real (A Review of “National Parks”)
“However, we’ve come a long way from the nature-loving hunter-conservationism of Roosevelt, and his party is more often the party of “drill, baby, drill”.
Blogger and classicist Mary Beard reports back from the annual Classical Association conference and relates her experiences at a talk by noted author Richard Seaford concerning the ancient Greeks and what they can teach us concerning wealth, our environment, and global warming. “The modern world had bought into the idea of the limitlessness of money, he suggested. The Greeks warned about just that aspect with instructive mythological exampla. What is the myth of Midas except the terrible story of a man whose whole aspirations are focussed on the ‘sign of money’. Greek culture, as Seaford sees it, insisted on the culture of limit.