TWH –An recently discovered case of the sharing copyrighted Pagan books via a Facebook group highlights the seriousness of this problem in the digital age. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Pagan-themed books were discovered to be hosted through The Wiccan Circle. While the group’s owner is now removing those copies, he is not only unapologetic, but has made it clear that he will find other means to share the books. He believes that it his right, because he purchased them in the first place. In response, many group members are expressing outrage, not over the sharing, but over it been stopped.
In April, scientists and supporters in cities across the United States marched in a unified protest. “In the face of an alarming trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery,” states the March for Science website, “can we afford not to speak out in its defense?” Pagans across the country joined scientists, whether in spirit or in the flesh, and supported the march. This demonstrates a general support for scientific work in the Pagan community, yet that support can take different forms depending on one’s particular spiritual practice. The Pagan umbrella is large, and the practices that claim space beneath it are diverse; each practitioner has a different relationship with the scientific community. This can vary based on your beliefs, your professional life, and your understanding of scientific inquiry.
Since Klein was convicted on child pornography charges Apr. 6, his supporters have been advocating on his behalf. Klein’s sentencing, initially scheduled for Apr. 20, was pushed back to May as his attorney filed several motions, including one for a new trial. Covering all the bases, attorney Bradley Phillips also filed papers asking for a post-conviction acquittal and, if that doesn’t work, submitted a sentencing memorandum which included “nearly 20 letters from Klein supporters around the country pleading for the judge’s leniency,” according to reports.
New years resolutions, new life goals, savings plans, and losing weight are a few of the common conversations that circulate in social media during January. However, the transition from 2016 to 2017 hasn’t been average. From the highly intense political climate to the most recent celebrity death, the sliding into this new year has clearly been a much bumpier ride for many people. Some have expressed relief from what felt like a year of death, while others have expressed concern and fear for the future. From preparation of protests, to a highly contested inauguration, to lots of knitted “pussy hats,” the start to 2017 has been anything but normal.
In an article posted May 31, Kari Paul at the Broadly channel on Vice pitted Wiccans and professional tarot card readers against popular smartphone apps that purport to offer divination to any user at the tap of an icon. To Paul’s credit, her piece was not the sort of exploitation piece you often see when mainstream journalists cross paths with Witchcraft and Paganism. Her tone comes off as that of a sincere investigator trying to discuss a real tension between two different types of people. At the same time, Paul presents a relatively black and white world where the battle lines are clearly drawn: Witches have a bone (or a card, or a rune) to pick with programmers who think they can mathematically create the randomness and relationships necessary for accurate divination to occur. For example, she quotes one professional reader named Tea Cake who calls divination apps “extremely gimmicky and next to useless.” Tea Cake goes on to question the tarot skills of app programmers, stating that their unknown credentials make it “difficult to sort out what is bullshit.”
Another Witch in the article, Maria Palma-Drexler, tells Paul that “technology has its place in witchcraft, but only as an aide,” while another, known as Blue June, states emphatically that “practices like divination are better carried out the way they have been traditionally: by humans, not apps.” She stresses that “there is no need to add technology.” While Paul does quote author Mary K. Greer in support of apps toward the end of her piece, the overall picture is one of Witches and readers distrusting the skills and sincerity of software developers.