Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup + Crowdfunding Update)

Welcome to the latest installment of Unleash the Hounds, in which I round up articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans. Before we get started I wanted to give an update on the Pagan journalism crowdfunding experiment I launched on March 21st. The very excellent news is that not only have I reached my fundraising goal of $1850 dollars to send The Wild Hunt to Chicago in November so that I can cover the American Academy of Religion’s 2012 Annual Meeting, but I’ve surpassed that goal by hundreds of dollars. All in less than a week! Thank you! Your enthusiastic response not only means I’ll be covering the AAR’s Annual Meeting, but that we have a head start on the next crowdfunding assignment (all monies raised beyond the goal will be rolled over into the next campaign).

http://www.indiegogo.com/thewildhunt-AAR

http://www.indiegogo.com/thewildhunt-AAR

Once the month-long campaign officially ends I’ll update my affiliates page with all those who chose to become underwriters, and update all who’ve donated on other promised perks. Considering the success of this initial go, I think it’s fair to say that I’ll be using this model to fund other assignments. The big question now is, where would you like me to go, and how often do you think I should hold a crowdfunding assignment campaign? I welcome your feedback, and once we have some solid ideas for events you’d like to see me at, we can even hold a poll to gauge reader interest. Some initial ideas for future assignments include the Esoteric Book Conference in Seattle, and Paganicon in Minnesota. Make your voices heard, and if there’s enough demand, we’ll try to fund them one at a time. Ultimately, I would like to build this up and work towards funding a trip to the 2014 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Belgium.

So again, thank you to my generous supporters. You made this happen. Now then, let’s unleash the hounds, shall we?

PNC Managing Editor, Cara Schulz with Presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson

PNC Managing Editor, Cara Schulz with Presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson

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

About Jason Pitzl-Waters
  • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

    Lazaro Cuesta, the Cuban Babalao quoted in the Havana Times article linked to by Jason, is also a high ranking Freemason. He was recently featured in a post at Eoghan Ballard’s Hedge Mason blog, which focuses on (among other things) both Latin American Freemasonry and Afro-Caribbean religions: Lázaro Cuesta Valdés appointed Cuba’s new Sovereign Grand Commander.

  • Anonymous

    “I never got anything like that growing up in Nebraska.”

    Go Big Red! XD

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      I support the removal of those terms from standardized tests. The reason cited, “suggests Paganism,” is annoying but the reason for my stance is that the “right” answers to such questions will very likely be rooted in the Christian background that still permeates this culture.

      Standardized test authors often are not grounded in the subject tested. My favorite example is an oldie in which it was asked in what event matter is converted into energy: Striking a match, lighting a fireplace, a nuclear explosion, turning on a light, starting a space heater. The correct-physics answer is *all* of them, but the test only gave credit for the nuclear-explosion answer because the test author didn’t understand the subject.

      Given that the “right” answer is to match the level of ignorance of the author of the test, I just as soon not see the occult or Paganism on standardized tests, thank you.

      • http://www.facebook.com/marienne.foxwood Marienne Hartwood

         As I mentioned earlier today when discussing this elsewhere, this topic is a non-issue because most reputable standardized test content developers (like the one I work for) already have extensive standards for what is or is not permissible for content development. The whole point of standardized tests is to test students on a level playing field. To do that, you need to remove as much bias and as much potential that a student’s background would make it more challenging to come up with the correct answer than a student with a different background if their academics were the same. If the content of the test becomes a distraction for one student taking the test and not for another, then the test writer didn’t do his or her job from an ethical standpoint–it takes the “standardized” out of the test, thus making it wholly useless for metrics. It isn’t an issue only on “controversial” topics either. For tests in Florida, you don’t ask about how to make a snowman because some students have never seen a real snowman and are thus disadvantaged. We don’t use math word problems that talk about cassette tapes anymore because kids today probably don’t know what they are. For any reputable company, this is just part of the norms that are used for ethical test writing–including that if you’re writing material for a subject area, you must have an educational background (and for most companies, a master’s degree or PhD) in the subject matter for which you develop content. Once the materials are written, they are peer reviewed, professionally vetted, sample tested, and gone back through the review process again (plus editing and proofreading at every step of the way) over a period of a year or more before the questions should ever be released into the wild. (Or at least that’s my experience in the field…I have a feeling that cheaper companies might be less likely to take that kind of quality control stance, sadly.)

        • kenneth

          A depressing thought occurs to me. One could make the case that any test question which demands a base of knowledge, logic, critical thinking and attention span is biased against Americans and must be removed! 

          • http://www.facebook.com/marienne.foxwood Marienne Hartwood

             Yup, but thankfully standardized tests rarely test for any of those. ;)

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jackson-Nels-Thorson-Eflin/1367902057 Jackson Nels Thorson Eflin

            Ye Gods that’s depressing. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/dsalisbury David Salisbury

    I vote coming to PSG. Its pretty cheap in general so it looks like from the rollover, you might already have most of the funds right there from this campaign.  Though I’m biased because it would be awesome to see our fearless PNC leader.

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      I’d be open to it, but it happens the week before Faerieworlds here in Eugene. Since I work for the promoters of Faerieworlds, I don’t think they’d dig it if I disappeared for a week before the big event. 

  • Hecatedemetersdatter

    “Wiccan-identified”??? Were there also Catholic-identified participants? Or just Catholics? Jewish-identified participants? Or just Jews?

    • Silvergryphon

      If you follow the link included and read the opening paragraph, you’ll find that while the majority were Christian identified, there were people who were Jewish identified, Muslim identified and more.

      • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

        Silvergryphon is right. However the result is a true crime against language:

        “Christian-identified participants were the overwhelming majority, and
        there were also Jewish, Muslim, Native American, Buddhist, and
        Wiccan-identified participants, and more, including multiply-identified
        persons. We also convened an interfaith service at Occupy Oakland. The
        whole conference was generously facilitated by theologian and activist
        Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock.”

  • deerwoman

    In the article on Christopher Vaughn there was an interesting statement: “But prosecutors also want to include a posting Vaughn made in which he
    called himself a ‘solitary Druid.’ Connor said it was another indication
    that Vaughn wanted to rid himself of his family.”

    I honestly know nothing about the case other than what I’ve just read in this article, and I’m in no way condoning the murder of family members (or complete strangers for that matter), but I’m pretty sure that the term “solitary Druid” does not remotely imply what the prosecutors are hoping to show in this instance.

    I would think that “solitary Druid” simply means that he does not belong to a Grove, much the same way as a “solitary Wiccan” does not belong to a Coven or Circle. Unless there are other incriminating comments Vaughn made in the context of those internet posts, trying to claim that “solitary Druid” = “going to kill my family so I can finally be alone” is a huge stretch.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

    The link in Jason’s post goes to Botton’s book, but not to Gray’s review, which is here: http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2012/02/religion-atheism-atheists.

    Gray’s review of Botton’s book is actually worth a look, despite the nonsense about “Greek philosophy” causing “distortions” in Christianity. It is especially moronic to claim that “western Christianity” was overly influenced by Greek philosophy, while Eastern Orthodoxy avoided such contamination!

    • http://kenazfilan.blogspot.com/ Kenaz Filan

      He did say that, didn’t he?  Sheesh… back to school with you, Mr. Gray: your first class will be “An Introduction to Byzantium and Orthodox Christianity.” 

      I was always under the impression that Hellenic religion (and most other religions of the time) was more about praxis than theology.  So long as the gods were served through the proper rituals, no one worried about whether or not you actually believed they existed or that you visualized them in a proper way.  You could think their myths were metaphors, literal truth, or bad poetry so long as you showed the proper respect in public.  And, honestly, Protestant Christianity is much more worried about one’s “personal relationship with Jesus” than either Orthodoxy or Roman Catholicism.  Not saying they don’t think it’s important to have faith, but they place a pretty high premium on the sacraments and believe one can be “saved” through proper performance of those rituals with all doubts and sins intact.

  • http://twitter.com/PhoenixGrove Phoenix Grove

    Apparently the “Solitary Druid” on my email line, Amazon wish list, and wordpress user name is evidence that I’m going to off my romantic partner.  And here I was thinking that it just meant I didn’t practice my druidry with other people.  Thank heavens I don’t have the blog by that name anymore.  At least we all know up front what being a lawyer means….

    • Anonymous

      Seriously! I’ll have to think twice before identifying as a “solitary Witch” lest someone should think I’m plotting something.

  • Malaz

    Gray sniffs that the “fixation on belief” in Western Christianity “results mainly from the distorting influence of Greek philosophy.” 

    Fail!

    Here’s a note:
    Christianity is Greek Philosophy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism

    http://www.google.com.hk/search?hl=en&newwindow=1&safe=strict&site=&source=hp&q=gnostic+roots+christianity&btnK=Google+Search

  • Yesherabbit

    Congrats on reaching your funding goal! What great news!

    I’d like to request that you consider coming to the Sacred Harvest Festival put on by Harmony Tribe in MN this summer. I’ll be there :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/marienne.foxwood Marienne Hartwood

    Because it is such an infrequent event, and yet attracts such great talent worth covering, would Between the Worlds (in Delaware) fit in your schedule? http://www.sacredwheel.org/BTW/Between_The_Worlds/Home.html


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