Minority Religions and Esoteric Practices as Courtroom Evidence

On Friday, the Contra Costa Times reported that an appeal to overturn a 2010 fraud conviction was denied. California's 2nd District Court of Appeal decided that prosecutors did not unfairly prejudice the case by bringing up a "voodoo" (though more likely Palo Mayombe, according to one expert) shrine that belonged to Ruben Hernandez, saying the evidence was "highly probative" of his "consciousness of guilt."In a 35-page ruling, the appellate court justices noted that Hernandez testified during the trial about the "benevolent purposes served by the dolls." "He characterized the dolls as an element of his Catholic faith in which the pins stuck in the dolls were a form of 'spiritual acup … [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.First off, congratulations to the wonderful Norse Mythology Blog, which won Best Religion Weblog in the 2012 Weblog Awards (aka "The Bloggies"). Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried has written the first of a two-part essay on why he believes his blog on Norse mythology beat out heavy-hitters like Religion Dispatches or Freethought Blogs. If you'd like to explore the Norse Mythology Blog, the site's archive page is arranged thematically, and is a joy to peruse. Haitian musician Frisner … [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.If I'm reading this right, it looks like Jessica Orsini, Alderwoman in Centralia, Missouri, and a Hellenic polytheist, isn't running for reelection in 2012. Quote: "Ward 3 incumbent Jessica Orsini is not a candidate; Landon Magley is the lone candidate for that two-year term." Orsini is in her third term as an Alderwoman, and one of the few openly transgender and Pagan elected officials. I'd like to thank Orsini for her public service, and wish her well in future endeavo … [Read more...]

The Solace of Vodou for Haitian-Americans

After the 2010 Haitian earthquake there was quite a bit of attention on the religion of Vodou, though largely that attention was not positive. Immediately after the quake there were triumphalist smears from figures like Pat Robertson, and allegations that it was Vodou that held Haitians back from progress. While there were emerging "Vodou voices" rising up in defense of the religion, most notably Max Beauvoir, but more often than not the centrality of Vodou to many Haitians was often ignored. So it is a breath of fresh air to read Silvana Ordonez's piece on Vodou among Florida's Haitian-American community for the Miami Herald, talking about how the faith brought solace and re-connection aft … [Read more...]