Column: Heathen South – Interview with Ryan Denison

Pagan Perspectives

For three days beginning on July 13, Atlanta hosted Mystic South: Theory, Practice, and Play. According to the convention’s Facebook page, the Pagan event “highlights the Southern flair and mystic spirit of our own part of the country.”

Headliners this year included John Beckett, Ivo Dominguez, Yaya Nsasi Vence Guerra, Sangoma Oludoye, Mama Gina, and the Night Travelers. The conference schedule included rituals, workshops, papers, panels, presentations, and a live podcast. Several events centered on Norse material and Heathen religions. To get a sense of the conference from a Heathen perspective, I spoke with Ryan Denison of the Mystic South organizing committee.

Witch and author Fiona Horne gets naked in new autobiography

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands — It’s not unusual for Tom Jones to sport a charm fashioned from a four-leaf clover, a piece of amber, and a bone from a fox penis. Well, at least the Welsh superstar singer was gifted such a charm by celebrity Fiona Horne, or “Fiona the Hot Witch,” as Ryan Seacrest once labeled her during a segment on E! News back in the early 2000s. Those are just a few of the revelations in Horne’s new autobiography, The Naked Witch, which will be released in the U.S. Feb.

Goodbye, Emerald Rose. “We had a hell of a time!”

“It’s been a great journey, but all things have a life cycle. It is time for us to let you all know that Emerald Rose has decided to retire as a band after the end of this year.” – Arthur Hinds, July 16

ATLANTA, Ga. – On July 16  Arthur Hinds, singer and songwriter for the popular band Emerald Rose, announced via his personal Facebook page  that it was time to split the party. The Wild Hunt talked with Hinds, who is also a well known ritualist and bard at Pagan gatherings, about the highlights of performing with Emerald Rose and what’s in store for him in the future. Over the years, Emerald Rose gained a devoted following in two areas that often overlap: Paganism and geek culture.

Aronofsky’s Noah: Dark, Mythic, Biblical Environmentalism?

On Friday, March 28, Paramount Pictures will release Noah into U.S. theaters after a flood of controversy. Noah, dubbed a biblical blockbuster, was co-written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, the award winning director of Black Swan (2010.) Noah has an all-star cast including Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connolley and Emma Watson. http://youtu.be/_OSaJE2rqxU

Almost any time a biblical story is adapted to film, there will be controversy. Does the movie adhere to the original narrative? Does it represent its characters and thematics accurately?  Are the creative elements born of the spirit in the original text?

Column: A Pagan Response to the Award Winning 12 Years a Slave

Winning the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay, 12 Years a Slave continues to generate conversation among people from all over the world. The movie, based on the true story of Solomon Northup, has brought the reality of slavery in the United States to the big screen – as others before it — but this time gaining lots of attention for a production well done. The story of slavery is not new, society is still learning from the impact and damage of this glitch in time, and ultimately how that trickles down to the many different factions within our world today. These conversations — generated by what is current on the big screen — help to shape culture and have a potential influence on discussions that help to further shape culture; this is not just within greater society, but even within the smaller sects of society, like it is within the Pagan community. The winning award for this movie shows some, previously lacking, acceptance for movies that depict people of color as the main attraction, but also for the story itself.