The Wicker Tree and The Wicker Man’s Legacy

One of my favorite films is the 1973 cult-classic "The Wicker Man." Set in a remote Scottish island, it pits a priggish Christian police officer against a population that has rejected Christianity in favor of a revived Paganism. As the policeman slowly unravels the mystery of a missing girl, he's drawn ever tighter into a conspiracy that will seal his fate. While the slow-burning plot is serviceable, it's really the atmospherics, songs, and attention to detail that make the film transcendent (by the way, if you aren't watching the restored extended version of the film, you are truly missing out). Many modern Pagans have embraced "The Wicker Man" over the years for transmitting an idyllic v … [Read more...]

Passages: Bert Jansch and Diane Cilento

This week has seen an unusually high number of high-profile deaths, from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to civil rights icon Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, but perhaps lost among the many (deserved) tributes and remembrances are two other figures who have had an indirect but palpable influence on modern Pagan culture: Bert Jansch and Diane Cilento. Jansch, who died on Wednesday from lung cancer was a hugely influential guitarist and founding member of the British folk-rock band Pentangle. Pentangle, along with Fairport Convention, The Incredible String Band, and Nick Drake were part of a movement that re-contextualized and reinvigorated folk music and tradition in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They … [Read more...]