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.
Caroline Tully at Necropolis Now conducts a follow-up interview with historian Ronald Hutton, author of “The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft”, and host of an upcoming documentary about Gerald Gardner, about questions raised from his May, 2011, interview at that site. In the interview, Hutton discusses the interface between scholars and Pagans, whether he’ll write about modern Paganism again, and the different meanings of the word “witch.” He also shares an interesting tidbit about historian Margaret Murray, author of “The Witch Cult of Western Europe,” who had apparently become “bitterly hostile” to Wicca by 1960. Essential reading!
- In a guest post for Informed Comment, Anouar Majid writes about democracy and Islam, and makes some very important points about where the now-revered notions of democracy and republics come from. Quote: “Democracy and republicanism arose in pagan, polytheistic cultures, ones whose people could live with many gods; they came to an end with the domination of Christianity. Similarly, the American Revolution was the culmination of the 18th-century Enlightenment, when religion was being questioned by philosophers and tested by scientists.”
- The excellent Norse Mythology Blog is a finalist in the 2012 Weblog Awards (the “bloggies”). So head over and cast your vote! Wouldn’t it be nice to see a Pagan-friendly blog win?
- Actress Fiona Shaw, who played Marnie in the show True Blood, tells The Guardian that she “did a lot of research by going to witches’ meetings” in preparation for the role.
- New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd writes about some recent Catholic controversies, and the rising popularity of exorcisms. In the process of this, she talks to famous Catholic exorcist Father Gary Thomas, who reminds us that “there is a growing amount of paganism – New Age practices like crystals, reiki, witchcraft, black magic, tarot cards, Ouija boards, seances.” You may remember that Father Thomas has played this tune before, and is a believer in Satanic Ritual Abuse, the stuff that lead to the “Satanic Panics” of the 1980s and 90s.
- The Greek financial crisis is affecting all sorts of beings.
- A new stage production in Toronto, “Obeah Opera,” is about “black slaves being caught up in the Salem witch trials due to their association with the practice of Obeah.” Telling the story of the Salem witch trials from the perspective of Tituba sounds very compelling, and I hope we’ll hear more about this in the future.
- New Age guru James Arthur Ray, currently in prison after being convicted of negligent homicide after leading a fatal sweat lodge ceremony in 2009, apparently isn’t quite broke. Ray, recently asked a judge to declare him indigent and appoint him a public defender for his already-filed appeal. However, prosecutors demanded proof of his indigence, wanting to know about his many declared assets. This seems to be something he doesn’t want to do, and has dropped the request.
- Chas Clifton alerts us that researchers from the University of Warwick are doing a survey on Pagan prayer.
- Christians are still debating the inherent masculinity of God, Fred Clark at Slacktivist isn’t happy about it.
- Is there a war on religion, or is there a broader war on civil liberties?
- On February 4th and 5th, the 2012 Conference on Current Pagan Studies was held in California. Joanne Elliot has a wonderful write-up of the event at PNC-Southern California, with some follow-up pictures posted to her Examiner page. In addition, attendee and participant Tony Mierzwicki has written up his experiences of the conference, so be sure to check it out!
That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.