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.

- T. Thorn Coyle has issued an appeal to help raise money for the American Magic Umbanda House of Oakland, to help rebuild their sacred Lubisha, destroyed last year in a devastating fire. Thanks to generous donations, including one from Thorn’s Solar Cross Temple, they’ve already reached their modest goal of $450. However, I think they could use a cushion, don’t you? Any money above the goal will be used towards House related expenses, including their famous Pomba Gira ritual at PantheaCon, so let’s help out. “May the sound of drumming rise.”


- In other fundraising news, Datura Press, a small esoteric publisher that publishes the work of Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, Gareth Knight,  Alan Richardson, and W.E. Butler, is in the midst of a campaign to buy advertising and discounted copies of their own titles so they can expand and make a better profit. Owner-editor Debbie Chapnick says that, quote, “the company is at a crossroads. People want these books. I have been contacted by distributors and bookshops from all over the world. All I need to really get this going is to have enough books in stock to fill the need.” The goal is $10,000, with 12 days left to go.  Any money raised over the goal will be donated to the New Alexandrian Library Project.

- Humanist-officiated weddings are on-track to receive full legal status in Ireland, a classification that only Health Service Executive registrars and members of religious bodies previously received. While Pagan Federation Ireland has permission to legally marry couples in Ireland under the Civil Registration Act of 2004, the new changes could allow any “philosophical and nonconfessional body” to also perform legally binding ceremonies. Starting in 2007, Ireland allowed State-recognized weddings in the venue of the couple’s choice, instead of having to hold two ceremonies.

- A teenager in Britain was convicted of religiously harassing a McDonald’s employee who is Pagan. The youth repeatedly returned over a period of two months to engage in verbal abuse, despite being told to stop by the employee and management. Barrister Laura Austin, who mitigated on behalf of the teen, said he “did not realise paganism was a recognised religion,” and that this was “this is the first case of its kind,” so far as she knew. The teen was sentenced to community service, and a restraining order was issued.

- The 2010 U.S. Religion Census, released this week by the Association of Religion Data Archives, has some interesting data for those who are following the shape of (non-Christian) religion in America. While the data is skewed towards congregational models, it did show that “Buddhist congregations were reported in all 50 states, and Hindu houses of worship in 49 states.” All together, “the number of non-Christian congregations – synagogues, mosques, temples and other religious centers – increased by nearly a third, from 8,795 in the 2000 study to 11,572 in the 2010 census.” Meanwhile, Mainline Protestants “cratered,” Catholic numbers decreased overall (with a growing disconnect between “active” and non-active adherents), and non-denominational Christian houses of worship exploded.

- Oh, did I miss the National Day of Prayer this year? Maybe because it’s almost exclusively focused on “Judeo-Christian” modes of worship and conceptions of deity. As CNN Belief Blog contributor Stephen Prothero put it, “how to pray as a nation when some believers affirm more than one God and some affirm fewer?”

- Out & About Newspaper in Tennessee profiles author Christopher Penczak in advance of his visit to the fifteenth annual Pagan Unity Festival. Quote: “I think of witchcraft, rather than just Wicca, as a vocation and tradition that springs up all around the world, not in any one culture, there is a mystical, healing, cunning tradition in most cultures. The inner experience of the mysteries is the same, and I like the hunt for all wisdom around those mysteries.”

- SF Weekly looks at David Talbot’s upcoming book “Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love,” which charts the shifts in San Francisco’s culture and politics between 1967 – 1982. Author, actor activist, and former Digger Peter Coyote is quoted as saying “I blame Mick Jagger for f***ing with black magic,” when asked about the disaster that was Altamont. Sounds like an interesting read.

- It looks like the recent attention paid to infamous Nigerian Christian leader Helen Ukpabio may have had an effect. It seems the witch-hunter canceled her March trip to Texas, and a scheduled May visit as well. Ukpabio claims the the cancellations were due to death threats from Stepping Stones Nigeria, a charity that aids children accused of witchcraft, and is highly critical of her. Blogger Richard Bartholomew is highly skeptical of these claims, pointing out that Ukpabio’s church has been slandering that organization for some time now.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru3gH27Fn6E

- In a final note, I’d like to recognize Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch of the Beastie Boys, who passed away yesterday after a years-long battle with cancer. Yauch was an adherent of Tibetan Buddhism, famously commemorated in the song “Bodhisattva Vow,” and worked for the Tibetan independence movement. However, for most members of Generation X, the Beastie Boys were a game-changing Hip Hop group that shook off their earlier party-boy lunk-headed image to release amazing albums like “Paul’s Boutique,” “Check Your Head,” and “Ill Communication.” Praised as “revolutionary MCs” by Chuck D, the Beasties helped define what Hip Hop would become, and oversaw its entrance into the mainstream. My consolation in this tragedy is that MCA has left behind a lot of awesome music, and that he’s now a Hip Hop Bodhisattva watching over all those who suffer.

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
  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Stephen Prothero:

    Religious Humanists create affirmations that address no God by name but (to some) are as compelling as prayer. Some are found in the Unitarian Universalist Association  hymnal “Singing the Living Traditions” (Beacon Press).

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      Oops, should have been “Tradition.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000354917825 Ellen WhiteOwl Smith-Apple

    RE: National Day of Prayer  I “like” quite a few pages on Facebook, one of which was https://www.facebook.com/SouthernRecipes. I had “liked” the page solely because I am a middle aged Southern woman who loves to cook and eat. On Thursday, there was a promo for the National Day of Prayer. This was included : 
    For those of us of the Christian faith, today, May 3rd is the National Day of Prayer – visit the web site to find an event in your community: http://nationaldayofprayer.org/about/find-an-event/.

    I commented on the post, saying something to the effect that there are other spiritual traditions in this country and that Christians are not the only ones that pray. 

    My comment was deleted.

    I commented again, cited the deleted comment and stating that the deletion disappointed me and as a result I was “un-liking” the page. 

    My second comment was deleted.

    Now I know that a Facebook pages content is at the whim and discretion of the creator/administrator. I have posted more than once that I have no compunction whatsoever at deleting or blocking and that if people do not want to see my posts, etc. they have the option of not reading or looking at my page. 

    I am not ticked off by the removal of my comments.

    I am amused, in a sad way, at the action of this woman. She has a Facebook page that more than 35,000 people have liked and a website as well. The stated purpose for both is Southern cooking and recipes. I wonder if this poor unfortunate soul actually thinks that:
    a) only Christians pray 
    b) only Christians can participate in the National Day of Prayer 
    c) only Christians read her content on Facebook and the website she runs 
    d) perhaps all of the above

    I know she will never see this, and that is too bad. Because there are people of all ethnicities, races, religions, paths, cultures and persuasions trudging through the data on the internet every day who live full and productive lives (that may even enjoy the occasional food or drink from Mississippi) that she judged and condemned with the deletion of those comments.

    There is such a dearth of understanding and inclusion in this country. 

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Yauch’s death was treated almost as a local story by the Cleveland metro daily, what with him having just been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Hall in Cleveland.

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

    The most intolerant and theocratic elements of Christianity just keep going from strength to strength.

  • Mia

    I still have their old, silly songs on my ipod. They’re never going to lose their party image, not even after they get to Brooklyn :P

  • Deborah Bender

    I couldn’t get off work to go to Altamont, but I had a similar take on the murder and near-assassination of Jagger that day to what Peter Coyote said. I don’t know what Jagger was doing in his personal life at that time, but Sympathy for the Devil comes very near to being an effective Satanic invocation. All of the rock stars of that period were channeling enormous amounts of energy and adoration thrown at them by crowds. Some, like Jagger, could handle it and stay sane, but few had any idea where to direct the energy they stirred up.

    Coyote’s remark about Janis Joplin, if it wasn’t taken out of context, is mean. Joplin had terrific style and was a great live performer. Her recordings don’t do her justice.

    • Obsidia

       Good points, Deborah.  As someone who was at Woodstock, many could sense the spiritual power of Rock and Roll…the power was potent.  Still is.  I hope we’ve all learned to help direct the energy to the good of all, according to free will.

      Alan Richardson, in his book “Earth God Rising,” speaks of his experience of the Rolling Stones and Jagger evoking the Horned One.  Phyllis Curott speaks of Jim Morrison’s channeling of Dionysius.  It might help our artists’ mental health to manage their toxic fame if they could realize they are not the deities that they might channel….and to learn to ground themselves afterward….

    • Henry

      I doubt the stones were all that responsible. The ‘dead had  refused to go on stage because the crowd was already showing signs of violence.

  • Thorn_the_Seeker

    I think that Datura Press would benefit from a Kickstarter campaign. It would be an easy way for people to donate and track the donatiions. I did the Jenna Greene and the Amanda Palmer Kickstarter campaigns.

  • Eagle Eye

    As both a Beastie Boys fan and a Buddhist, thank you for ending the roundup with a tribute to Adam Yauch. We hear about too many troubled celebrities, it’s good to read a tribute to one who put his faith in action (and died too young.)


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