Column: Of Stryper and Viking Fidget Spinners

Back in high school in the late 1980s, my friend Dan really liked the band Stryper. He cut the sleeves off his jean jacket, drew the band’s logo in Elmer’s glue on the back, then threw gold and black glitter at it to make the only Stryper vest any of us had ever seen. We teased him mercilessly. Why? Because Stryper was a totally cheesy Christian glam metal band from Orange County that sang about Jesus while wearing mascara and yellow spandex, and that seemed the most un-metal thing possible to a bunch of teenage hippies and metal-heads in 1986.

Guest Column: Sharon Knight Reviews Paganfest America

[The following is a guest post from Sharon Knight. Sharon Knight is a nationally touring musician in the mythic-Celtic vein, and also front person for gothic-tribal-folk-metal band Pandemonaeon. With her partner Winter and Anaar of Tombo Studio, they produce Hexenfest, a festival dedicated to magick and Paganism in music and the arts. She has a lifelong fascination for the places where magick and the arts intersect. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and can be found at http://www.sharonknight.net, http://www.pandemonaeon.net.]

San Francisco, DNA Lounge April 17th

There has been an interesting fusion of Paganism and music developing over the last 15+ years, which has recently begun finding its way to American shores.

Quick Notes: Congregational Paganism, Pagan Metal, and a Pagan Millionaire

A few quick Pagan news notes for you on this Wednesday. Congregational Paganism in Arizona: The East Valley Tribune spotlights the Sacred Spiral Pagan Church of Arizona, who recently received their 501(c)3 status, and explores why they abandoned the small-group coven model for a congregational model. High Priestess Rosemary Szymanski disbanded her coven in favor of the Sacred Spiral Pagan Church of Arizona in 2007, having gained 501(c)3 status, which means that the federal government recognizes the group as a tax-exempt church. The whole process of becoming a church took about two years, but the wait was mostly because of paperwork, Szymanski said. In the years since abandoning the title of coven, Szymanski, founder and president, has worked with her fellow witches to organize openly and spread knowledge about Paganism. “Covens are much more secretive,” Szymanski, a witch for 17 years, said. “So in 2007, I banned the coven and created the church.”
Sacred Spiral doesn’t have a physical space at this point, but they do say they are hoping to open a community center.

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. How do you fight Muslim extremism? With Bollywood! As Chas Clifton says, “Aphrodite will not be denied,” but perhaps it would be more appropriate in this instance to say Parvati will not be denied.

A Few Quick Notes

Just a few quick items I wanted to share with you today, starting with a post from my favorite Christian blog, Slacktivist, who tackles the sad case of Ali Sibat’s death sentence in Saudi Arabia, and the sensationalist “500 dead animals” Santeria story from Philadelphia in one fell swoop. “The Supreme Court of the U.S. did not rule that the free exercise of Santeria is “permitted.” It ruled, unambiguously (9-0), that the free exercise of Santeria is protected. This is not a minor distinction. People like Sally Kern — or like Chuck Colson and Robert George and everybody they got to endorse their “Manhattan Declaration” — like to think that their particular religion is protected by the First Amendment while other, less widely held religions are merely “permitted,” merely tolerated out of a benign condescension.