Confronting the Darkness with Kari Tauring

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA –The time around the winter solstice is, in the far northern parts of the northern hemisphere, a period of deep darkness. Many northern-based spiritual traditions, including forms of modern Heathenry and similar paths, have rich traditions, which involve dealing with this darkness in the physical world, as well as on emotional and spiritual levels. Artist Kari Tauring, who has been exploring these concepts for some time, created a show called Winter Solstice in the Northlands, which she had been staging annually from 1999 to 2006. This December, after an eight year hiatus, she brought the show back to life. We were able to catch up with Tauring in between her performances to ask her about the production and her background.

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. The Associate Press reports that Angel Valley retreat in Sedona, Arizona, where the now-infamous and deadly sweat lodge ceremony led by James Arthur Ray was held, has settled a civil lawsuit brought by victim’s families and participants. The sum is not disclosed in the report, and there is no admission of liability by the owners of Angel Valley. The trial of Ray, who is charged with three counts of manslaughter, continues.

Offensive Runes?

Word has been spreading like wildfire through Heathen/Asatru Internet communities that the MySpace social networking site is now considering the display of runic symbols to be offensive and against the company’s terms of service.”So this image is offensive, according to myspace. So its ok to have pornographic images and default pics of guys holding guns and masks? Please feel free to use this image in protest of these ridiculous regulations and REPOST so all can see this!!! Keep messaging myspace also; to show them we are still fighting the religion option…”Old English Futhorc runes.From what I have been able to figure out, the outcry started when a MySpace petition profile (now switched to a closed/private profile) to expand the religious labels for Pagan MySpacers beyond “Wiccan” or “Other” had its profile image removed by administrators due to its “offensive” nature. Since then there have been claims that other Heathen/Asatru profiles also had their runic symbols taken down.”Recent whispers through out the Myspace Asatruar community, as of today, have several pictures removed from peoples profile where upon Runic symbols are present.

A Few Quick Notes

A somewhat slow news day today, but there are a few smaller items that may be of interest.The always-excellent legal blog “Religion Clause” has pointed out two recent legal cases of interest to modern Pagans. The first is a prisoner case involving an Asatru inmate:”In Keen v. Noble, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69629 (ED CA, Sept. 20, 2007), a California federal district court refused to dismiss a federal prisoner’s complaint that his free exercise rights were violated when prison authorities refused to provide him with runestones for his Asatru religious practices. However the court agreed with a Magistrate’s recommendation to dismiss on qualified immunity grounds plaintiff’s complaint that he was denied a hof.