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.
- In wake of the recent record-breaking Mega Millions jackpot, The Baltimore Sun checks in with Ellwood “Bunky” Bartlett, a Wiccan who won over 40 million dollars in the Maryland state lottery back in 2007. Bartlett says that he made mistakes “giving money to help other people realize their dreams instead of my own,” but that he still has around $15 million in the bank. Bartlett recently made the news when he launched an (unsuccessful) million-dollar Kickstarter campaign to build a new video game world.
- Speaking of fundraising campaigns, my IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds so I can cover the American Academy of Religion’s 2012 Annual Meeting in Chicago has done so well that it’s now featured on the front page (on the main rotating image)! To everyone who’s donated, thank you! Once the campaign ends (in 16 days) I’ll contact donators about promised perks and underwriting arrangements. All funds raised over the goal will be rolled over into the next assignment campaign.
- While I’m on a roll talking about raising funds, I’d like to point you to a pilgrimage to Ireland that is being led by author, poet, and Celtic Reconstructionist Erynn Rowan Laurie. Sponsored by the Sisterhood of Avalon, “Seeking Brigid: Sacred Well, Holy Flame” takes place in July, and features “conscious sight-seeing, scholastic inquiry, and spiritual exploration inspired by Gaelic tradition.” While the Sisterhood are covering most of the expenses for this trip, Laurie is also seeking donations from supporters to help with food, lodging, and travel while she’s making her journey. So if you’d like to support this trip, and Laurie’s work, why not donate a few dollars to making her trip an easier one.
- A Santero, Orlando Robles Ortiz, has been arrested and accused of helping to run a drug-smuggling operation. The Santero allegedly consulted the spirits before engaging in operations and before letting new members into the smuggling ring. DEA official Pedro Janer said it was unusual for a Santero to take such a direct role in drug smuggling (the investigation was code-named “Voodoo Sam”). Sadly, the Associated Press did not follow Winegarner’s rules for covering minority faiths.
- I’ve seen plenty of Pagan-turned-Christian conversion stories, but a Pagan-turned-Muslim narrative is still somewhat unique. Ibrahim Killington says that he was “looking into Norse Mythology and Paganism,” but that a friend told him to “look around a bit more” before deciding. That look around led to Islam. While the article is titled “From Paganism to Islam,” Ibrahim didn’t really seem to be a formal adherent of any religion, so much as a seeker.
- A suit filed by Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, against two chaplains, and the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches for using “imprecatory prayers” against him has been dismissed. Judge Martin Hoffman said that no connection between the prayers and threats of violence or vandalism against Weinstein could be proven. However, the larger question of if prayers that incite violence could be outlawed was left undecided.
- History professor Paul Boyer, author of “Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft” and “When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture,” passed away on March 17th at the age of 76. The cause was cancer. Boyer was a lifelong pacifist and raised in a Mennonite offshoot church.
- The Village Voice profiles the New York-based Wiccan Family Temple Academy of Pagan Studies. The story is essentially on how the sluggish economy has hit the academy, and how cheaper Wiccan-oriented classes at places like Magickal Realms may be cutting into their shrinking bottom line. Quote: “Lifting their arms skyward, they called upon their gods and goddesses to provide them with safety, love, power, and, most importantly, wealth. They’d need it to pay the rent.”
- A Greek court dismissed charges of defamation and insulting a national symbol against a German magazine that portrayed a Photoshopped Venus de Milo statue flipping the bird, wrapped in a Greek flag. The court found that the article targeted specific politicians, and not the nation as a whole. You can see the offending cover, and my initial coverage of that story, here.
- Congratulations to Charlene Spretnak, author of “Relational Reality: New Discoveries of Interrelatedness That Are Transforming the Modern World” and “Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths,” who has been awarded the Demeter Award for Leadership in Women’s Spirituality by the Association for the Study of Women & Mythology (ASWM). Hat-tip to Medusa Coils for the link.
- A faked “Fifth Branch” of the Welsh Mabinogion was lifted by a Welsh-identified Pagan group and passed off as genuine, despite telling clues that the whole thing was a fake. Chas Clifton looks on, munching popcorn. Y Plant Don now claims they knew it was fake all along! It was all a cunning plan to flush out the plagiarist, yeah, that’s it.
- Bishop of Monmouth Dominic Walker says that the revival of Witchcraft has spurred a rash of Church vandalism, and that he’s had to use his Bishop-powers “on several occasions” to “help people escape” Satanic groups. Bishop Walker says that some occult groups are “sort of religious version of belonging to a gang.”Am I the only one who thought of the classic “The Bishop” sketch from Monty Python when reading this?
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.