Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup) April 4, 2012

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.

Ellwood "Bunky" Bartlett


That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of them I may expand into longer posts as needed.

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  • As the author of that Fifth Branch—and thanks for publicising this, Jason!—I’d like to point out that it’s a very loving literary spoof, composed in a precise imitation of the Middle Welsh of the Mabinogi, which is my professional speciality as an academic. (Needless to say, none of the ‘errors’ in the texture of the language which this Gareth chap hurried to find in the text are, in fact, errors: his understanding of the technical details of Welsh c. 1100CE doesn’t seem to be as good as he thinks it is…) So it’s hardly plagiarism! 

    Besides, as I pointed out on Chas’s blog, *my real name and (then) real place of work heads up the text* (in its original home, before it was filched by Y Plant Don without attribution) and has been from the first. Since anyone can  find me cheerfully ‘confessing’ and discussing the process of creating the story via a simple google search, the claim that it was, ahem, ‘borrowed’ to ‘flush me out’ is just, well, a bit crazy. It’s never been a secret that I wrote it, though I was mightily amused to find it recycled as ye ancient Keltick lore.

  • If a conversion story starts out with “I used to be into [insert hedonistic tendencies here]”, it is a fairly reliable indication that any information which follows can be safely ignored. As there is only one line in the entirety of the story which mentions “paganism” at all, and the fact that the witnesser’s mother was a Christian and was concerned about his choice to become a Muslim, this is at best a misapplication of the Pagan moniker.

    I would be genuinely interested in a polytheist converting to monotheist story, if such narratives were genuine. Unfortunately these kinds of conversion narratives are little more than dabblers “coming back to X religion” or misapplications of the religious affiliations they believe they have.

  • I LOVE IT.  Especially the description of Chas, “look[ing] on, munching popcorn.”  I don’t think I’ve ever heard such an eloquent description of Chas’s essential Chas-ness before.

    *giggling helplessly*

    Blessedly, this sort of bald-faced-and-yet-incompetent plagiarism seems to be going out of fashion among Pagans, perhaps as more of us have accepted that a reconstruction in religion is not a horrible thing, or perhaps merely as we’ve come to understand that many other people possess the mystic power of Google-fu, and plagiarism is likely to be found out.

  • Mark Williams

    You’d think! I didn’t spot I’d been ripped off for two years…kinda flattering though. 🙂

  •  Ohh I would love to go on the SOA pilgrimage sine I’m a member and all but alas, I am broke. I can spare some cash though to help Erynn Laurie out though, thanks for the update (I should really check the SOA page more often I’m horrible I know)

    BWHAHAHAHAHA at the 5th branch. Just…come on. COME ON. Also that webpage is a nightmare to look at, what is this 1997?!

  • You are obviously a double-secret-crypto-plagiarist!

  • Keith Campbell

    Well, it does happen — but it’s not always acrimonious, and the sort of people who make that choice for genuine spiritual reasons (rather than as a rejection of their previous shitty behavior, which they’ve somehow attached to their former rebellious religion or a religion of which they’ve never truly been a member) are not the sort of people to give crowing interviews about it.

    I met a young man at a Reclaiming Witch Camp in 1996(?) who had been involved with Reclaiming for some time, but was leaving after the current camp to go become some sort of Christian monk. That didn’t stop him from participating fully in the Witch Camp, as I recall; he didn’t seem to see a conflict. 🙂

  • Mark Williams
  • soloriens

    It may interest people to know that the current home to Pagan Spirit Gathering, Stonehouse Park, is having troubles. Residents of the nearby small town have taken issue with the music festivals (and two drug incidents) that Stonehouse also hosts. There is a possibility that Stonehouse may get zoned out of business, because the current reccomendation could be as little as a capacity of 300 people, instead of the 5k it is at now.


    (full disclosure: my brother in law is currently working there, and I’m hopefully running an event there in May — if the zoning doesn’t change.)

  • Erynn Rowan Laurie

    Thank you so much for the mention, Jason.

    Just to clarify for those interested, the Ireland portion of the pilgrimage is essentially taken care of. I’m traveling to the Isle of Man and other locations afterward, including megalithic sites in Brittany, and it’s that portion of the trip that needs a little bit of financial help. To those who might donate, if you like, I will be happy to make an offering and tie ribbons to the clootie trees at Brigid’s well for you, while we’re in Kildare.

    I’ve written a little about the pilgrimage and the process of preparing for it over on my Searching for Imbas blog here: http://searchingforimbas.blogspot.com/2012/02/preparing-for-pilgrimage.html — there are some details about what I’m planning post-Ireland. I’m also posting a bit about some of the other sites we’ll be visiting in Ireland, associated with a number of different deities, including Airmed, the Daghda, Medbh, and many more. I’ll be blogging while I’m in Europe, and posting photos when I can, though the majority of the photos will be posted when I return.

    I have been working on a book on Brigid and flamekeeping, and my experiences from the Ireland pilgrimage will be incorporated into the material when it is relevant, so this is all very important to me on so many levels.

    Given that Manannán is also a primary deity for me, and that little has been written about him or about holy sites on the Isle of Man that is known by or accessible to modern Pagans (some material is out there, but much of it is old), I plan on doing some writing about this part of my pilgrimage as well. There will no doubt be essays and photos dealing with sites associated with him in my future. If anyone reading has been there and has suggestions, please do let me know!

  • Erynn Rowan Laurie

    Thanks for considering helping me out. It’s greatly appreciated.

  • Guest

    All this attention! You must be flushing!

  • kenneth

    There’s always a few elements in common with these “saved from the satanic occult” stories. In cases where priests and bishops brag of “saving” lots of folks, they can never seem to produce said folks. The reason given, of course, is that their identity has to be kept secret because the “cult” is now gunning for them body and soul.
        When the “ex-witches” themselves come forward, they invariably claim to have been a high priestess/some uber ranking muckety muck for many years. Yet no one in their home community has ever heard of them, or remembers them as sort of marginal members of the scene. Some of them betray an obvious ignorance or lack of firsthand involvement by spouting utter nonsense: “I was a Wicca for …years.”    The ones that did have some real involvement with paganism and had bad experiences are invariable people who started young, with a shit-train of baggage like drug abuse, sexual abuse or mental illness. The went into witchcraft for the wrong reasons, with a wretchedly inadequate understanding of what its about, and usually fell in with the coven leaders who sniff out damaged people to exploit. They thought the end-all be all of witchcraft was power over, when in fact the foundation must be built on some deep self-work which they were in no place to do. Of course it ended badly. To put it in alchemical terms, they went into the furnace as cracked crucibles.     It’s not even a pagan-specific phenomenon. These folks would have cracked in any equivalent high-strain spiritual or mental discipline – many Christian monastic communities, regular seminary, medical school, you name it.    There are, of course, many people who try paganism in good health and good faith and simply find that it’s not for them, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But I make a point of challenging the lurid tales that imply we are something to be “saved” from. 

  • kenneth

    So is this year’s PSG up in the air because of this? 

  • Anonymous

    No idea, I had to inform my own event coordinator about this so we can increase security and do some risk management. I only found out because of a former employee sharing the article with me.

    (now under my real id. Cause I’m not at work!)

  • Moonfeather

    PSG planning is going on as usual.  The zoning issues Stonehouse Park are dealing with have been going on since last October and we are well aware of them.  I as PSG Manager have personally been attending the meetings, have spoken with government officials at Planning & Zoning, several county board members, and local law enforcement, etc.  This zoning is part of the required renewal of their special use permit (happens every 3 years) and there have been public hearings where neighbors have expressed their opinions on crowds, traffic, and noise from the music festivals held there last year.  Area neighbors had no complaints about PSG being held there.  There was a suggestion that the capacity be lowered from the current 2000 persons per event capacity to 500 people.  At their last meeting, planning and zoning realied that number is too low and recommended 1500 capacity.  Stonehouse Park owners have also made some other concessions to be good neighbors.  There are meetings planned for April and May and then the special use ordinance is expected to be approved with modifications from the original application.  But as I said, we and other events scheduled there for May, June, and July are all proceeding as usual. 

  • Anonymous

     I’m so happy that you’ve kept on top of it. I wish we had known about it so that we could do similar to what you’ve been doing. We’ve had our events at Stonehouse since the new owners took it over.

    And your report is a lot better than the articles I’ve been reading. Gives me hope that my bil will still have a job.

    We’re going on as usual too, reviewing our some of our risk management, trying to mitigate some of the concerns the townspeople have. We’re not the issue either, but best face forward!

  • Breton “fan” here. What sites will you try for? Will you be trying to attend a fest noz?

    I got to Merlin’s Well–not a megalithic site!–and Carnac. Outside of the field of Carnac in 1987, to the south, I think, there was a SuperMarché des Druides, I kid you not. I’d love to know if it’s still there: it was more like a gas station with a mini-market than a supermarket.

  • Erynn Rowan Laurie

    Thank you.

    I’ll be staying with a friend (an archaeologist, even!) who currently lives in La Ville aux Gentils. She says that the Festival Interceltique de Lorient is happening nearby while I’m there and that we will likely visit that, as well as megalithic and other sites in the area around where she lives. I don’t currently have any more specifics than that, but will be talking to her about potential places to visit so that I can do a little reading and research before I get there. If you have any thoughts about what’s most worthwhile to see and do in that area (assuming you are familiar with it) I would love to hear them.

    My friend promises me that there are lots of megalithic and Arthurian sites scattered all over the place. I’m definitely interested in Merlin-related stuff, primarily for his associations with sacred madness.

  • Considering that it’s going to help you write more I have no qualms about helping, I get something out of it too 😀

    (and the hope that if it’s successful you’ll do it again and I’ll be able to go!)

  • Erynn Rowan Laurie

    Well they did say if it was successful we might do it again sometime, so one never knows! And thank you. 😀

  • Thanks for the mention of Boyer. He did excellent work and will be missed.