The Slavic feast of Kupalo/a

Our Spotlight on Traditions explores the varied traditions of Pagan, Heathen and polytheistic practice. In this installment just after Lughnasadh and the Day of Perun (the thunder god) on August 2, we look back at the summer season in the Slavic faiths.

Pagan temple planned in Poland

WROCLAW, Poland –Followers of the Slavic tradition known as Rodzimowiercy announced in December that they hope to build a temple according to historically accurate plans that will also serve as a cultural center. A crowdfunding campaign has received donations totaling six percent of the money needed to make the project a reality, using a pitch video that includes lively music and images of stockade buildings. Dorota Solega, a representative of the group Watra which is behind the scheme, was pleased to answer questions about the project. Her responses were translated from Polish, and have been edited with her permission for clarity.  The Wild Hunt: Please give some basic information about your religious tradition: what it’s called, how long it has been practiced (including whether this is a “broken tradition” due to Christian rule), and a brief description of the kinds of rituals involved and the gods or spirits you honor.

Ukrainian Idol to Perun Destroyed by Vandals

At the beginning of this month, a wooden idol of the god Perun, installed in the Ukrainian city of Kiev by Slavic Pagan reconstructionists/revivalists (known as Ridnovir), was destroyed by unnamed vandals. According to the Native Faith Association of Ukraine (ORU) this was a coordinated effort that required machinery and multiple people to accomplish. This desecration comes after a Ukrainian Pagan temple was attacked at the end of 2011 in Poltava.
The European Congress of Ethnic Religions (ECER) released a statement saying that this event “rocked all those who respected the ancient Slavic faith.” This event rocked all those who respected the ancient Slavic faith.

Native Beliefs on Trial and other Pagan News of Note

Top Story: We start with the ongoing James Arthur Ray controversy. The “Secret”-selling guru was arrested and charged with three counts of manslaughter last week, this came in the wake of a long investigation into the deaths of three participants at a “spiritual warrior” sweat lodge ceremony led by Ray in October. Now, after Ray’s lawyer appeared on Larry King (a fan of Ray and “The Secret”), the prosecution is seeking a gag-order on further press appearances. The idea is to stop Ray’s supporters from using the bully pulpit of popular media to pollute possible jury pools, but the Don’t Pay To Pray blog points out that this will also restrict all information about the trial from the public (including damning interviews with sweat-lodge participants). “After James Arthur Ray’s attorneys plastered their faces all over the media, on Good Morning America and Larry King Live, in a transparent attempt to influence a potential jury, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, has requested a “gag order” hearing.