The Anxiety Over America’s Shifting Spirituality

A recent essay by Jay Michaelson at Religion Dispatches, and a post by fellow Patheos blogger Fred Clark, shone new light into a phenomenon that I've pondered for a long time now: the general anxiety over America's (and more broadly, the West's) shifting spiritual practices and demographics. Michaelson, taking note of a recent anti-Yoga hit-piece in the New York Times, blasted a certain tendency to "ridicule any non-Western, non-rationalistic, non-neurotic spiritual practice." "How ironic to criticize spiritually-minded people for indulging themselves, when what’s really indulgent is to coddle the fear of anything that might disturb the status quo, might actually attack the neurosis and do … [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.Back in October I wrote about Christian talk-radio host Janet Mefferd's "Gay Pagan Hysteria," criticizing her for comments about "pagans" wanting to "wipe out Christianity." It seems my criticisms actually caught the eye of Ms. Mefferd herself, as she dedicated some time in November to discuss modern Paganism and the "ideology" of "paganism" with Peter Jones, editor of "On Global Wizardry: Techniques of Pagan Spirituality and a Christian Response". How can I tell that she was … [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.The Seattle Times reports on the passing of Brian Fairbrother, a well-known and liked barista, who was also a member of the local Pagan community. Fairbrother defined himself as an "urban Pagan," and commissioned the "Sacred Shrine of Caffeina, Goddess of the Waking Day" near his espresso walk-up back in the 1990s. Fairbrother died as a result of head injuries from a bicycling accident. May he rest in the arms of his gods, and may his family and friends be comforted. Sarah M … [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.Duke Divinity School professor Mark Chaves, author of  “American Religion: Contemporary Trends,” explores why a growing number of Americans are willing to say they don't belong to a religious tradition. I recently mentioned Chaves in an earlier post about the decline of religon, and what that might mean for modern Pagan religions. British shaman/Vodou initiate Peter Aziz has been jailed for 15 months for distributing brews of ayahuasca at a retreat in 2007. Aziz's lawyer sai … [Read more...]