Today’s column comes to us from Karl E.H. Seigfried, goði of Thor’s Oak Kindred in Chicago. In addition to his award-winning website, The Norse Mythology Blog, Karl has written for the BBC, Iceland Magazine, Journal of the Oriental Institute, On Religion, Religion Stylebook, and many other outlets. He holds degrees in literature, music, and religion, and he is the first Ásatrú practitioner to hold a graduate degree from University of Chicago Divinity School. Our weekend section is always open for submissions. Please submit queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Today The Wild Hunt welcomes its newest columnist Clio Ajana. Coming to us from the upper midwest of the U.S., Ajana is an educator and caregiver with a master’s degree in writing and a doctoral degree in literature. She is also a Hellenic Orthodox High Priestess and member of the House of Our Lady of Celestial Fire, E.O.C.T.O. Ajana has been published in the blog Daughters of Eve and contributed to the anthology Shades of Ritual: Minority Voices in Practice, and Bringing Race to the Table. Her column will appear here the first weekend of every month.]
At the beginning of February, in the cold northern hemisphere, we celebrate the return of the light. In my home tradition, we call the sabbat Brunalia.
The recent terror attacks in Lebanon and France have sent shockwaves through Europe and the United States. On Nov 12, Beirut suffered a double suicide bombing killed 43 and wounded more than 200 people. That was quickly overshadowed by events the next day in France, where 129 people have died and over 100 were wounded. Daesh has claimed responsibility for both attacks. In response, France has initiated a military campaign against suspected terrorist targets in Syria and has arrested over 100 suspects. Anti-immigration protests are taking place nationwide, and theits President has proposed changes to the French constitution that would expand his powers.
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Vir. — This story begins in 2002. Cynthia Simpson, a Wiccan and member of a local Unitarian Universalist congregation in Virginia, approached the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors to be included in a rotating lineup of local clergy who gave opening prayers/invocations at board meetings. Simpson was rebuffed by the County’s lawyer, saying that due to the “polytheistic, pre-Christian” nature of her faith they could not honor the request. So, starting in 2003, a lawsuit was filed. “The Chesterfield County Board opens its meetings with an invocation given by invited local clergy whose names are drawn from an official list that the County maintains.
Today’s the day. The Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway, which centers on the role of prayer at government meetings, and could shape the legal landscape on this issue for decades to come. I have written extensively on this case, and you can find a round-up of my coverage here. The ever-essential SCOTUSblog gives us a preview of the arguments expected to be made today. “It is no exaggeration to say, then, that the constitutional meaning of church-state separation is very much in flux, and it is tempting to think that the Court has taken on a case from a town in New York to reach for some new clarity. At its core, the Town of Greece case is about the constitutional test to review government involvement in practices that have or can have religious meaning. Should such involvement be judged by its potential effect in endorsing or promoting one religious faith over others?