At past Faerieworlds, Friday is usually seen as the least busy of the three-day event. People have to work, it’s a shorter day, and many are still arriving. However, this year seemed far, far, larger, and the energy level was high, making me think that we’ll see record-breaking attendances on Saturday and Sunday. Like all opening Fridays at Faerieworlds, it started with a ceremony/ritual led by Emilio and Kelly from Woodland, with help from S.J. Tucker. They did a Lammas invocation, including offerings of fruits and grains, with Donovan and his wife as special guests of honor. Then, a giant spiral dance was led by a local priestess while the musicians played.
That kicked off a day of amazing music, headlined by the transcendent Persian fusion ensemble Niyaz, featuring the amazing vocals of Azam Ali. However, I think that the performance by Soriah with Ashkelon Sain is one that truly surprised a lot of people, and created hundreds of new fans. The shamanic throat-singing ensemble, by the end of their set, had entranced the audience, and I feel confident this won’t be the last time they’ll play at Faerieworlds.
Check out my A Darker Shade of Pagan podcast tomorrow for an exclusive post-show interview with Soriah and Ashkelon Sain. Today at Faerieworlds I’m hoping to conduct an interview with S.J. Tucker for The Wild Hunt, so stay tuned! Meanwhile, here are some Pagan news links to peruse while I’m away with the faeries.
- Apparently there’s this event called “The Olympics” that also started on Friday, The Religion News Service looks at the history of religion in the games, starting with ancient polytheistic Greece, while the London Evening Standard focuses exclusively on the mythological, pre-Christian, games. I know some Christians get annoyed when Pagans brag about how pre-Christian religions did things first, but guys, pagans totally invented the Olympics (there’s even a goddess on every medal). You can keep track of the wins (and losses), here.
- PNC-Minnesota interviews Crystal Blanton, author of “Bridging the Gap: Working Within the Dynamics of Pagan Groups and Society,” on her return to the Sacred Harvest Festival. Quote: “To keep people and a community engaged you need people to help guide you in an ongoing process that has been started. Some Circle Keeper training may help create a landscape and offer some tools where the process can continue onward by an invested community.”
- Indian Country Today reports on two indigenous declarations released during the United Nations Rio+20 Conference, the International Declaration of Indigenous People on Sustainable Development and Self-Determination, and the Rio de Janeiro Letter/Final Declaration of Free Land Camp IX – Living Well/Healthy Full Life. Both letters, according to Indian Country Today, shared an sentiment that “the salvation of the planet is in the ancient wisdom of Indigenous Peoples.”
- Is there really a link between benevolent behavior and religion? The Public Religion Research Institute says we may soon find out thanks to the decreasing rate of active religious adherence and activity by the younger generations. Quote: “If there truly is a link between religiosity and positive social behavior, the Millennial generation may signal a shift in social interactions in the United States—or at least a shift in the source of prosocial behavior. The 2012 Millennial Values Survey found that 25% of college-age Millennials are currently unaffiliated, while only 11% say that they were raised this way.” Of course, many cultures, even religious cultures, thrived without the threat of an explicitly “watching deity” waiting to judge us, maybe we’re simply shaking off generations of Christian conditioning.
- Secularism isn’t atheism, just as any Pagan! Quote: “What secularism does concern itself with are relations between Church and State. It is a flexible doctrine that can embody a lot of policy positions. Strict separationism is one, but not the only, of those positions. At its core, secularism is deeply suspicious of any entanglement between government and religion.”
- Finally, happy anniversary to PNC-Minnesota! I’m very proud to have played a small role in your success!
That’s it for now, back to the Realm for me!