Essays of Note: In Defense of Magical Beliefs, Religious Satanism, and Loki Trouble

I’d like to highlight three excellent essays worth checking out today. In Defense of Magic: Andrew Sullivan points to an excellent essay by Jessa Crispin, editor and founder of Bookslut.com, that talks about the endurance of religion, of irrational beliefs, of magic, in a seemingly rational and increasingly secular age. In the process she discusses two new books, Ronald Hutton’s “Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain,” and Nevill Drury’s “Stealing Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Modern Western Magic”. “Wasn’t the Enlightenment supposed to wash the world of its sins of superstition and religion? And yet humanity keeps clinging to its belief systems, its religious leaders, and its prayer.

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. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but apparently Osama bin Laden was killed. PNC-Minnesota has reactions from the local Pagan community. Zaratha “will not apologize for rejoicing in Osama bin Laden’s death, ” Lori Dake thanks the troops, Star Foster is conflicted, and Erynn Rowan Laurie wonders if that means the troops get to come home now. The town of Bel Air in Maryland has overturned its total ban on fortune telling.

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. We have two new high-profile endorsements for Pagan Coming Out Day on May 2nd. The first from T. Thorn Coyle who invokes the memory of Tempest Smith and Harvey Milk, and the second from Phaedra Bonewits who notes that “by coming out, we are affirming our right to love ourselves for what we are.” I have to say, the trailer for Tarsem Singh’s movie “Immortals” is very, very, pretty. I will be seeing it for the eye candy alone, if nothing else.

The Law of Mother Earth and other Pagan News of Note

Top Story: The Guardian reports that Bolivia, one of the countries hardest hit by global climate change, is planning to pass a law that would enshrine a list of rights held by nature. Called “The Law of Mother Earth” (la Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra), it seeks to establish “a new relationship between man and nature” according to Vice-President Alvaro García Linera. The country, which has been pilloried by the US and Britain in the UN climate talks for demanding steep carbon emission cuts, will establish 11 new rights for nature. They include: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered. Controversially, it will also enshrine the right of nature “to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities”.

Circle’s Cemetery and other Pagan News of Note

Top Story: Circle Cemetery, located at Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve, just north of Barneveld, Wisconsin, has become America’s first National Pagan natural burial ground and contemporary Green cemetery to be platted and recorded in Wisconsin. Selena Fox at a memorial for Marion Weinstein. “For its first fifteen years, Circle Cemetery took the form of an area on a ridge top where cremains were placed and Green funerals were conducted.  In 2005, Selena, along with her husband Dr. Dennis Carpenter, Circle Sanctuary church attorney Chip Brown and others in the Circle Sanctuary Community began the legal process of permitting body burials and expanding the size of the cemetery to 20 acres.  Circle Sanctuary minister Rev. Nora Cedarwind Young of Washington State assisted with Green cemetery platting research. In Spring of 2010, Selena, Dennis, and Chip took the expanded cemetery proposal before local government officials through a series of meetings.