Quick Note on Missouri’s ‘Right-to-Pray’ Amendment

In elections held yesterday, Missouri overwhelmingly passed a state constitutional amendment that claims to affirm their religious rights, reinforces a student's "right to pray and acknowledge God voluntarily in their schools," and forces schools to post the Bill of Rights in schools. However, critics of the amendment pointed out that the ballot language doesn't tell the whole story. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oF8Ni6MSTQ"The ballot did not mention language in the amendment allowing students to refuse to participate in school assignments that violate religious beliefs, or ensuring elected officials the right to pray on government property. "This was misleading in its presentation an … [Read more...]

Pagan Community Notes: Maetreum of Cybele Loses Case, M. Macha NightMare Leaves Reclaiming, New Alexandrian Library Raises Funds, and Spiral Scouts Step Up

Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started!Judge Rules Against Maetreum of Cybele Exemptions: The Maetreum of Cybele, Magna Mater, in an ongoing tax battle with the Town of Catskill, New York, has just lost their exemption battle before the New York State Supreme Court. While Judge Platkin acknowledged the Maetreum as a valid religion, he denied their building … [Read more...]

Dharmic and Pagan Reactions to Wisconsin Sikh Temple Shooting

Yesterday a neo-Nazi by the name of Wade Michael Page walked into a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and opened fire, killing six, and wounding at least three others, before being shot and killed by police at the scene. The shocking incident brought up past trauma for the American Sikh community, which has faced over 700 reported bias attacks since the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. To the ignorant, Sikhs, with their beards and turbans, fit the stereotype of "Arab-ness" in the post-9/11 era and found themselves literally caught in the crossfire as American extremists decided to "retaliate" against Islam. The World Sikh Council - America Region, released a statement yesterday u … [Read more...]

Question: When Do You Get to Choose Your Faith?

When should a child be able to make their own religious decisions? At what age does individual conscience outweigh parental guidance? A UK judge has decided that a 10-year-old should be able to make that choice, despite objections from one parent. "The schoolgirl’s divorced parents were “at war” over her desire to be baptised at the church her father, himself a convert, now attends. But at the end of an unusual case a judge has ruled that she is mature enough to choose her religion, and alongside his judgment wrote a personal letter to the girl explaining his decision." Since the judge cannot order someone to convert, or not convert, he simply refused to place any legal impediment from it h … [Read more...]

Those Dark Satanic Mills: The Moral Panic That Won’t Die

On Thursday, Religion Dispatches featured a guest editorial from Joseph Laycock, religion scholar and author of "Vampires Today: The Truth about Modern Vampirism." Laycock examined the most recent crackpot theory from crackpot conspiracy theory king David Icke, he of the "reptoid hypothesis." In short, the opening ceremony of the London Olympics were part of a brainwashing Satanic conspiracy, and in turn a rallying cry to the spiritual warriors, the "experts in evil" skilled in rooting out these hidden conspiracies. While Icke is largely a figure of fun, a comical nut who sees evil vortexes and reptoid hybrids under his couch, Laycock reminds us that this is no laughing mat … [Read more...]

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.Noted children's and young adult author Margaret Mahy passed away last week due to complications resulting from cancer. The New Zealand author wrote several acclaimed titles, and was beloved in her home country, my personal favorite was “The Changeover,” a story about Witchcraft, initiation, and growing up. That title won the annual Carnegie Medal in Literature from the Library Association, and is worth seeking out, as are many of her works. What is remembered lives! Wit … [Read more...]

A Pagan Appreciation of Gore Vidal (1925 – 2012)

Famed American author, essayist, public intellectual, and gleeful bomb-thrower Gore Vidal died on Tuesday from pneumonia at the age of 86. While Vidal's mind often turned towards the conspiratorial later in life (causing some to dismiss his contributions entirely), his output as a whole has been widely praised for its wit, insight, willingness to cross boundaries, and fearlessness.  Right now obituaries, remembrances, and tributes are pouring out to this lion of letters, but I thought it would be appropriate to give a specifically Pagan appreciation of Vidal's work.For many Pagans, Vidal's most beloved work is his 1964 novel "Julian" which sought to reframe  the Roman emperor Flavius … [Read more...]

A Blessed Lughnasadh

Today is Lughnasadh (also known as Lammas) the first of three harvest festivals celebrated in many modern Pagan traditions. Lughnasadh originated as one of the four main Celtic fire festivals and was dedicated to the Celtic god Lugh/Lugus the many-skilled (or, in the case of Ireland, Lugh’s foster-mother Tailtiu). It is a time of thanksgiving, first-harvests, and the end of summer.Here are some quotes for the holiday. "The First Harvest is a time to take stock of our fields; to survey all that has grown throughout this year. Some seeds planted took root, and others did not. Some soil was better prepared, and better tended to. But, it’s undeniable that there has been change, and that … [Read more...]

Pagan Voices: Star Foster, Dan Halloran, Jason Mankey, Thorn Coyle, and More!

Pagan voices is a new spotlight on recent quotations from figures within the Pagan community. These voices may appear in the burgeoning Pagan media, or from a mainstream outlet, but all showcase our wisdom, thought processes, and evolution  in the public eye. Is there a Pagan voice you’d like to see highlighted? Drop me a line with a link to the story, post, or audio."When I look at the trajectory of Jonathan Merritt’s life, I often think there but for the twist of fate go I. Had I stayed in that church, and in that culture, I don’t know that I would have become Pagan. My Pagan spiritual life was borne of having a vacuum, a space, in which to explore the concept of religion from a new p … [Read more...]

Updates: Demonic Influences, Ministerial Exception, and those Pagan Olympics

Just some quick updates on stories previously discussed here on The Wild Hunt.More Discussion on Exorcism and Demonic Influences: Last week I took issue with Patheos Catholic columnist Fr. Dwight Longenecker, who made the argument that Aurora, Colorado killer James Holmes may have been demonically possessed. Now, Religion News Service has picked up the story, bringing this controversial view to a much wider audience. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qK58CZslAs"Longenecker dismissed the range of explanations for what might have motivated Holmes -- a bad childhood, mental illness, social awkwardness, extreme political or religious views, or exposure to violent video games or to the Ba … [Read more...]