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.

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

About Jason Pitzl-Waters
  • http://vermillionrush.wordpress.com Vermillion

    I’m interested to see the Wicker Tree yet not interested at the same time. On one hand I think it pretty well was perfect. Didn’t need a single, didn’t need to expanded on, it’s good. On the other, the notion of another film made in the same vein intrigues me but I wonder, will there be graphic violence for the sake of it? The Wicker Man is sort of like Shirley Jackson Horror, nothing in your face BLOOD! GORE! but when the revelation comes you’re like O_O.

    Alan Moore is love.

    Good for SPC getting more cash and good of the Earth House Project to donate.

    Those pictures from Life are amazing.

  • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

    I am on the edge of my seat waiting for The Wicker Tree to come out. I hope it’s decent, it can never be The Wicker Man, but at the very least I anticipate this will be a film I will love to hate. I expect to see it with friends and then then dissect it over food and drinks after. Good or bad, a good time will be had!

  • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

    I am on the edge of my seat waiting for The Wicker Tree to come out. I hope it’s decent, it can never be The Wicker Man, but at the very least I anticipate this will be a film I will love to hate. I expect to see it with friends and then then dissect it over food and drinks after. Good or bad, a good time will be had!

  • http://forestdoor.wordpress.com/ Dver

    That story about ibogaine is upsetting, because sketchy behavior like that only further discourages the government from doing real studies on the potential of ibogaine in treating addiction. It’s already unlikely enough that they will ever approve a drug that (gasp!) causes hallucinations and other psychotropic effects, even if it cures a scourge like heroin addiction in a dose or two, but this certainly doesn’t help the cause.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      Word! (Gad, it’s been 20 years since I ran across an ibogaine reference.)

    • Auntie Mame

      I don’t think ibogaine cures addiction — there is no cure. But it does help with withdrawal symptoms, which would get people on the road to recovery faster. That fact alone (quicker and less painful withdrawal) might make more people seek treatment, so IMO it’s worth investigating the drug. You’re probably right that the government won’t though — a lot of people believe an addict should suffer. As if a life of addiction isn’t suffering.

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      What cures addiction is stopping one’s behavior, not switching to an alternative substance. ‘Tis why there are so many methadone relapses. Ibogaine merely reduces withdrawal symptoms by itself altering neural responses. It is not in and of itself addictive, unless you believe in psychological addiction.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

        The mere act of stopping substance use in no way cures addiction. It is of course crucial to the recovery process, but it is a lifelong disease and will progress even in a state of physical sobriety if other treatment is not pursued and the person does not learn the skills needed to maintain wellness. Even many years of abstinence and successful recovery do not “cure” an addict.

        They will always have the same vulnerability to the substance or activity they struggled with. A true alcoholic will never, over the long term, be able to have two beers with their buddies after work and keep it at that. True addicts also tend to show that behavior pattern in other areas of life. I can almost always spot an addict after knowing someone a short time, even if they have been clean from drugs for decades. They invariably “binge” in other activities in their life – exercise, hobbies, religion etc. They may be far healthier obsessions, but it’s clear that these people have fundamental differences in the way their reward circuitry in their brain works. This is being born out by lots of science and brain imaging studies. The notion that addicts can be “cured” by just “sucking it up” and threats of prison etc. are as outdated as a belief that miasmas and planetary alignment causes infectious disease.

        Willpower and personal responsibility play a huge part in recovery, no doubt. They are not enough by themselves, and that fact is evident by the universal nature of addiction. Many people who lose their health and lives and careers include those who are highly disciplined and responsible people – people who were tough enough to make it through things like Navy Seal training, professional schools etc. People who are hardcore conservatives who believe in personal responsibility like it was their own Gospel. If will power was the cure, none of these people would be addicts.

        We will never cure addiction nor even see many lifelong recoveries until we develop medicine that gets at the biochemical roots of the process. Ibogaine may or may not hold that promise.

        • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

          “The mere act of stopping substance use in no way cures addiction. ‘ Sure it does, in the same way that stopping overeating and keeping to a healthy diet cures obesity.

          And it’s not a “disease”, for crying out loud, it is a character flaw. A disease is something over which you have no control. Parkinson’s is a disease. Leukemia is a disease. An addiction to heroin can be controlled by — guess what? NOT using heroin. An addiction to alcohol can be conquered by NOT using alcohol.

          “If will power was the cure, none of these people would be addicts.” Will power surely is the cure, which is why I am no longer an addict. Did so without any alternative substance, twelve-step program, psychological meddling, government programs, or anything but prayer and will power.

          I’m not so strong (if I were, wouldn’t have used in the first place) so if I can do it, anyone can.

          • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

            That’s not true in the case of heroin. The alterations heroin and similar drugs make on the body are irreversible, which is why treatment is necessary. In fact, heroin was actually developed to “cure” addiction to laudanum after Civil War vets found themselves caught in an escalating addiction to the very drugs their doctors prescribed.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            You folks would have us believe that addicts can’t take a small bit of a substance, such as taking one drink, then stop, and go on and act normal. One of the tenets of AA and NA is that we are “powerless”. If that were true, then a former heroin addict couldn’t have surgery with anesthesia, take pain medication, and go on with our lives. If we were powerless, we could not perform acts of magick to effect change. That expectation of powerlessness seems to be, well, job security for the medical and social work professions, and excuses for those who choose to be week. You can’t take a bit of a substance, then quit?

            Well, I just did. Had major surgery, needed pain control. It was one of my worst fears (not just the severe pain, not just dying), that I’d take a couple of pills, be hooked again, and get right back to seeking out $800 / day of street drugs, including, yes, Star, heroin… (yes, it was a “real” addiction, don’t be obtuse, Kenneth… severe cravings, physical symptoms, and the desire to associate with scuzzy Mexican cartels who don’t give a fig about your life, your loved ones, or ruining America; in order to procure more drugs.) Asked the doctors, who had NO WAY to address this fear other than bogus “talking cures” or NA, or methadone. Of course, selling drugs is what they do for a living… they wanted me to take months of drugs. They really do desire to replace an addictive substance with another addictive substance… one from which they make money!

            So, once again, the ol’ will power kicked in. Anesthesia, check. Pain pills, check. Took ‘em for four days, then quit. Will power. Mild withdrawals. Major pain from the surgery, but that’s better than wallowing with the lowlifes one must associate with to procure street drugs. Yes, one CAN take a bit of a substance, and quit again, no matter what liberals and the medical establishment would have us believe.

            I am sharing this with you to show that will power and magick and mental strength work so much better than all of the whining to social workers and replacement drugs in the world.

            MertvayaRuka — this is not a talent like singing, playing basketball, or a learned skill like accounting. Anyone can stop using. Willpower is neither genetic nor a talent.

            Kenneth — if you have weak lungs from working in a coal mine or a paper mill, don’t smoke. If you have diabetes, don’t eat wads of sugar and fat. You have a genuine genetically based disability to not manufacture insulin. But anyone, ANYone who is given strong pain medication for six months is gonna develop an addiction. We can justify that addiction, we can talk about it ’til we’re blue in the face, or we can QUIT and cure ourselves.

            Mark Mandrake is working on a book about how to do just that… watch for it!

          • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

            In response to Alice:

            First, who are you referring to as “you folks”? I’m not a member of or fan of AA/NA. I don’t understand who you’ve decided to lump me in with…

            Taking heroin, cocaine, laudanum and similar drugs for an extended period of time does indeed change the chemical makeup of your body. It’s not drug company propaganda, it’s science. It’s really old and well documented science.

            You shouldn’t assume that your experience is representative of everyone’s experience, or that the people you are talking with haven’t had issues with addiction or withdrawal themselves.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            “You folks” meaning those who have replied to my comment. You DID say, above, “treatment is NECESSARY”. I’m living proof that NO, it is not.

          • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

            Responding to Alice again:

            Again, YOU are not representative of every person who has battled addiction.

            I drink, but my usage of and reaction to alcohol is not representative of everyone who uses alcohol.

            The science behind heroin addiction: http://www.nida.nih.gov/infofacts/heroin.html

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Star, my knowledge of heroin comes mostly from hanging out with users in my mis-spent youth. It’s my understanding from that that your facile comparison with heroin use and moderate alcohol use is fallacious. There is no non-addicting level of regular heroin use for the person who has never been an addict of it. Some addicts who have been through rehab evidently can revisit heroin occasionally without becoming re-addicted, but that’s pure anecdote afaik.

          • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

            Baruch, medical research states only 23% of heroin users become addicts. Some of those may be one-time users. For those addicts treatment of some form is necessary.

            It’s also unfair to compare my drinking experience to that of an alcoholics. Which is my entire point. One person’s experience with anything does not set a gold standard for all people. We’re Pagans. We should get that without having it explained.

            I quit anti-depressants cold-turkey years ago and have managed my issues without drugs ever since. I don’t presume to say because I could anyone else could. Then again, I also am open to exploring treatment again if the need should arise. Tolerance and moderation. Good old Pagan values.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Star, thanks for the stat. I wasn’t comparing your alcohol use to alcoholism; quite the opposite.

          • Anonymous

            I’d wager there are many people in this world who can do things you cannot, and I’d further wager you would not accept anyone marking your inability to match those feats as a “character flaw”.

            As Star Foster points out here, there are real and documented physical changes that drugs make to the human body. People can and do DIE from the stress withdrawal puts on their bodies. Would you chalk that up as a character flaw? Though I do suppose a dead person would be “cured” and no longer addicted to anything.

            This idea of addicts as not in need of medical treatment but actually mentally and spirtitually inferior is nothing more than social Darwinism at best and Calvinist dogma at worst. The only “cure” it presents is for the nagging pangs of conscience plaguing those who embrace it.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

            The smart money says you were never a true addict. You may well have had a dependency or a pattern of drug or alcohol use that was destructive. Not everyone who falls into substance abuse is an addict by any means, and most of us can indeed turn things around with will power and a dose of maturity, getting our priorities straight etc. If that were not the case, most people who partied hard in college would be dead by their mid 40s.

            To say that addiction is a “character flaw” is medieval thinking. There’s just no nicer way to put it. It’s in the same league as six-day creationism or the belief that schizophrenia can be cured by “slapping some sense” into its victims.

            The evidence for addiction as a true disease state is absolutely staggering. There is a huge and growing body of good, solid science which is documenting genetics and specific dysregulation of the mesolimbic dopamine system and the mechanisms which tell the conscious brain when we’ve had enough of a stimulus. It is as real and definable a disease state as Parkinson’s and Leukemia.

            Your insistence otherwise in the face of this mountain of evidence is the very sort of thing which has turned me off to modern conservatism. It has become a world view that admits of no complexities. The world is what we say it is, and evidence and critical thought are just tools of namby-pamby liberals to subvert it. We know what we know. At its heart it is pure Stalinism. (In mindset, not ideology). The Soviets were the masters of reality by decree. Any facts or evidence of economics, science or anything else that clashed with what their pre-formed narrative decreed as truth was simply ignored.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Kenneth, you are engaging in a bit of reality by decree yourself. You are declaring that AC was never “really” an addict because her behavior curve doesn’t fit your theory of addiction. Again, that’s inventing data to fit a theory. (If you want to call that “Stalinist” fine but you must apply that label to yourself.)

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

            I think we’re talking past each other on what addiction is and is not. Addiction and physical dependence are very different things. Most people given opiates, even strong ones, for months and even years are not addicted. They are physically dependent. Even most people who use drugs in an abusive fashion do not go on to become true addicts. Only about a quarter of heroin users become addicts in this medical sense I am referring to.

            The addicts are not amenable to cure by simple will power because they have real and demonstrable problems with the circuitry in their brains that governs our most primitive instincts. Their brains believe they need the drug in the same way a person needs oxygen. It’s that level of instinct. Can you will away the drive to breath after a couple of minutes of holding your breath? This kind of primitive instinct is what made waterboarding such an effective method of torture. Hardened terrorists who would have gladly died in a suicide bomb attack broke under manipulation of that panic circuitry. Bin Laden would still be alive today if will power was enough to overcome that circuitry, and that’s a fact.

            Based on your reasoning, schizophrenics should be able to cure themselves by will. Why wouldn’t they be able to? Many of them are intelligent strong willed people. Many of them have insight into the fact that they are ill. Apparently anti-psychotic meds and other therapy are just employment scams for the medical industry and excuses for crazy behavior offered by liberals.

            There is no qualitative difference between addiction and schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s as real brain diseases. Anyone proposing to treat them by will power alone is in the same league as those who would resort to crystal therapy alone for a stroke or a ruptured spleen.

            I’ll be interested to see the brain imaging studies and large scale trials that back the superiority of Mr. Mandrake’s method vs traditional treatment of addiction.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s have genuine, legitimate brain chemical deficiencies or an over abundance of brain chemicals, or brain cells disintegrating or changing form.

            We salivate when we hear the word lemon, too, which is a physiological response. That does not cause a permanent change in our brain, though, does it?

            Wanting drugs is the same as wanting a new truck. Sure, it raises brain chemical levels of dopamine. Not a permanent change.

            So, we want a new truck, or we want drugs. Our dopamine levels go up in response. We crave it. We can choose to steal a new truck, or work hard for it, or go without. The desire to obtain something, and the action of gaining it, or not, are within our control.

            We can mentally (and magickally) program ourselves to say, “No, stealing a truck is bad, I will not do it” or “Using drugs is harmful to me, my loved ones, and my country” and make the choice to not use them.

            Or we can make the conscious choice and decide to gain what we desire, even though it is bad for us, and illegal. That is not a “disease”. That is not any deficiency in any brain chemical, or in anything but character.

            I am not obligated to buy anyone a new truck, nor am I obligated to feed, clothe, support, pay for medical care, help, enable, or buy drugs for those who want them.

            Back to the ibogaine — if it helps an addict to live through withdrawal symptoms, it’s like taking a Tylenol to live through a bad headache. Go for it. You can live through the withdrawals, just as you can endure the headache, but if it makes it easier, then I’m all for it.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            “I’ll be interested to see the brain imaging studies and large scale trials that back the superiority of Mr. Mandrake’s method vs traditional treatment of addiction.”

            Sure, I’d like to see some scientific studies that show us how magick, works, too. How we can bring our will into manifestation. How summoning and invoking actually perform. But we ain’t there yet. However, most of us who read this blog agree that magick exists and works.

          • Anonymous

            “MertvayaRuka — this is not a talent like singing, playing basketball, or a learned skill like accounting. Anyone can stop using. Willpower is neither genetic nor a talent.”

            Couple of points you seem to be missing here. Your solution worked FOR YOU. That it does not or will work for others is no more a flaw in them than it is a flaw in you if you can’t sing.

            Also, people can and do train to resist physical and mental hardships. You’re trying to claim it as an innate characteristic while simultaneously trying to say it isn’t “genetic or a talent”. You’re treating something incredibly complex and variable as if it’s a switch that can just be flicked on by anyone at any time. Additionally, whether you realize it or not, you’re trying to claim yourself as a universal example for a ridiculously huge cross-section of humanity. As if they’ll all be saved if they just follow your superior example and if they’re not, obviously they’re just weak and lazy. How’s that different from either the Calvinists and their fixation on predestination or AA’s wretched “You’re a powerless weakling and you must admit it first” nonsense?

            Again, this feels more like a balm for conscience than anything else. Seeing other addicts as universally weak, lazy and contemptible neatly relieves one of any inclination towards helping them. You know, hard work that will likely be full of disappointment, tragedy and loss. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that would take a lot more willpower than spitting at their feet and walking away.

          • Anonymous

            “MertvayaRuka — this is not a talent like singing, playing basketball, or a learned skill like accounting. Anyone can stop using. Willpower is neither genetic nor a talent.”

            Couple of points you seem to be missing here. Your solution worked FOR YOU. That it does not or will work for others is no more a flaw in them than it is a flaw in you if you can’t sing.

            Also, people can and do train to resist physical and mental hardships. You’re trying to claim it as an innate characteristic while simultaneously trying to say it isn’t “genetic or a talent”. You’re treating something incredibly complex and variable as if it’s a switch that can just be flicked on by anyone at any time. Additionally, whether you realize it or not, you’re trying to claim yourself as a universal example for a ridiculously huge cross-section of humanity. As if they’ll all be saved if they just follow your superior example and if they’re not, obviously they’re just weak and lazy. How’s that different from either the Calvinists and their fixation on predestination or AA’s wretched “You’re a powerless weakling and you must admit it first” nonsense?

            Again, this feels more like a balm for conscience than anything else. Seeing other addicts as universally weak, lazy and contemptible neatly relieves one of any inclination towards helping them. You know, hard work that will likely be full of disappointment, tragedy and loss. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that would take a lot more willpower than spitting at their feet and walking away.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          Kenneth, it seems to me you are here defining addiction and recovery in a way that begs the question: accept them, and it becomes impossible by definition to recover from addiction. I realize you are not a Drug Warrior but you seem to have borrowed some of their circular reasoning.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

            I am in no way suggesting it is impossible to recover from addiction. It is, at present, impossible to “cure” in the way we think of that term as a one-shot treatment to forever put the problem behind oneself. I would liken the problem, very loosely, to diabetes. All of the men in my father’s line have turned up diabetic sooner or later, and most of them have died of it after years and decades of horrible complications.

            Will power and personal choices play a tremendous role in the outcome. Their choices and mine determine whether the disease is something we can live with for most of our lives or one which will destroy us decades before our time. I can, and so far have, made choices which have thankfully kept my blood sugar normal. But I still have that type of metabolism, which I know by virtue of characteristic patterns in other sorts of blood values.

            I can choose to engage in behaviors which will tend (not guarantee) to keep me well or sick. I cannot will away the underlying disease state. I will simply never be able to get away with some of the things “normals” can. Many people can lead healthy and happy lives as modestly (or more) overweight people. I cannot. It would be a death sentence. I don’t like that fact, anymore than A.C. Fisher likes the idea of addiction as a real disease. At the end of the day, reality doesn’t care whether we like it or not or whether it clashes with our personal ideologies. We engage the world as it really is, not as we wish it to be, or the world grinds us into a fine pulp and moves on….

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            As it happens I have diabetes and I have addiction to nicotine in my history, and I find them nowhere near as similar as you suggest. I know I was addicted by the common definition: I had withdrawal symptoms (in spades!) when I quit.

            Your insistence that you hold the keys to reality in this matter is beginning to get old. We are nowhere near as close to certainty in such matters as you suggest.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PMTLR3IIGKPHZ2YNU3PDXWK4WA Kenneth

      They will not approve such a drug because science is not even a tangential concern of the Drug War, let alone the central one that it should be. Our politicians and prison and police industries (and other forces) have an enormous financial and political investment in maintaining prohibition at any cost. The science in favor of medical marijuana (or derivatives), amounts to hundreds of feet of studies. None of that matters to the federal government.

  • http://moma-fauna.blogspot.com/ Moma Fauna

    The Haitian Vodou photographs are absolutely breathtaking! (The interview/captions, meh.) Thank you so much for the link.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/C457RWVNM2URJSL52FSWFKJJ6U A. Marina P. Fournier

    When you wrote:
    You can read all of my “Wicker Tree” coverage, .
    I went , but it is quite self-referential, having led me right back where I started.
    Could you please fix that, so I can read your coverage?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/C457RWVNM2URJSL52FSWFKJJ6U A. Marina P. Fournier

    The conflict of choices in The Ancestors Are Calling is rather like the late Tony Hillerman’s Jimmy Chee, where he is trying to figure out how much he wants to be a traditional Singer (healer) or to pursue a strong career in law enforcement. For a non-Native, an immigrant from Germany, even, Hillerman was able to capture the world of the Diné well enough to suit the Navajo Nation.

  • Anonymous

    Regarding ibogaine.

    If it’s legal in Canada and Mexico, then go to there to get treatment with it. The US has a long border with these countries and it’s easy to cross iinto them.

    It’s stupid to subject yourself to the DEA and prosecution in order to us it here.

    • The Bony Man

      Not everyone can just cross a border. Some people live hundreds or thousands of miles away. I don’t know anything about ibogaine, but “just going to Canada” just isn’t possible for lots of people.

      • Anonymous

        If you’re in a situation where you need the treatment you’re far better off moving near-by so you can easily cross the border for treatment.

        Subjecting yourself to the law enforcement system is a very poor choice with far reaching, long term ramifications.

  • http://profiles.google.com/thorncoyle T Thorn Coyle

    In case anyone’s interested, Starhawk and I had a good conversation about activism, embodied religion, and the 5th Sacred Thing in Elemental Castings #46:
    http://www.thorncoyle.com/videos-podcasts/podcasts/

  • http://PaganCenteredPodcast.com Dave of Pagan Centered Podcast

    I think Rick Perry not talking and generally being a weasel should no longer be considered news. Rick Perry speaking or taking responsibility for a perceived mistake, now that would be newsworthy.


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