Monday, March 31, 2008

Gaulimaufry to Fill Space 2

Still too busy to write the really startling post that's in my head. So here some more links.

¶ "White folks Was Wild Once Too" -- The video, in case you missed it.

¶ You thought that Lord of the Rings was about a Quest? Actually, it illuminates questions of property law as well.

¶ The Druidbook blog discusses homegrown American polytheism. I like this approach.

¶ You could call these people a sort of priesthood of the dead.

¶ An online petition for a European Pagan Memory Day. Interesting idea, but do online petitions ever accomplish anything? And do signatures of people not living in Europe help or hurt?

¶ Watch this, and you will never think of Bollywood music videos in the same way again.

¶ Contrary to what you probably have read, the Thuggees of early 19th-century India may not have been Kali worshippers at all.

¶ A definitive list of fluffy and non-fluffy Paganisms? It's a wiki, so you can jump into the discussion. UPDATE: Comment on the list here.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Gallimaufry to Fill Space

Back from a week on the road to a full inbox and a desk covered with bills to pay, I offer a few links for your kind attention:

¶ Attention Kemetic reconstructionists: Don't let your temple-builders become anemic.

¶ A list of things that offend Muslims. Anyone want to try the Pagan equivalent? I think it would be a lot shorter. Piggy banks and Easter eggs don't bother me. Can you imagine Pagans rioting in the streets over the crappy remake of The Wicker Man and giving director Neil LaBute the Theo Van Gogh treatment? I can't either. We prefer to just make fun of it.

¶ This will go onto my must-see list: Jason Pitzl-Waters notes an upcoming movie about the philosopher Hypatia. An uncompromising Neoplatonist, from what I understand, she was murdered by a Christian mob after some bishop put out a fatwa against her.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Time Warped in Taos

A slow day today: a couple of hours at the Wired coffeehouse in Taos, N.M., a visit to the art gallery where a friend was "working" on a slow Easter Sunday (in other words, M. and I were the only people to drop by) and continued reading of Stephen Oppenheimer's book at World Cup Coffee and on a bench in the central Plaza after the sun came out.

Just back from drinks at the Sagebrush Inn, where we normally might have stayed, but it was full due to spring break and the sudden influx of snowboarders, now that they are permitted at Taos Ski Valley.

It's good to come to Taos. We have friends here, and it the super-secret cut-off road is not snowed in, it's only 175 miles from our house.

The trouble is that I keep running into this guy here. He is tall with long hair in a ponytail, dressed in denim with a white straw cowboy hat.

He is me from thirty-some years ago, when I worked a construction job for a couple of summers.

It is here (well, Talpa actually) that I decided I really was a Pagan -- possibly the only one in the world. (Don't laugh, it was the early 1970s.)

But he keeps creeping into my mind every time that I visit. Sometimes it is minor stuff, as when I suggested to M. that we eat lunch at El Patio, a restaurant that for many years has been known as the Alley Cantina.

So I look for restaurants that are here no longer, expect to see people that are here no longer.

He was at a loss about his future, so I wish that I could tell that it has turned out all right so far.

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DNA, the Celts, and Roman Britain

I have started reading Stephen Oppenheimer's The Origins of the British, which I referenced earlier in my series of "Who's a Celt Now?" posts.

From a genetic analysis -- his main tool -- buttressed by linguistic studies and ancient written sources, he appears to be making these points:

  • The people of Ireland, Wales, western Scotland, western England, and the Atlantic coast of France came north from Iberia and southwestern France after the ice melted. These people spoke Celtic languages.
  • Conversely, they did not come from central Europe and are not connected to the so-called Hallstatt and La Tene cultures.
  • After the ice melted, eastern England did receive settlers from the Continent--but remember that back then, people could walk from what is now France to England, until the sea levels rose.
  • During the 400 years of Roman colonization, many (or most) inhabitants of the province of Britannia were probably speaking a Germanic language (related to Dutch or Frisian), not a Celtic language. If true, that is the biggest revelation for me.
  • The subsequent Anglo-Saxon invasion was not a genocidal "wipe-out," but was more like the Norman Conquest of 1066. One ruling class replaced another, but life for Jane and Joe Commoner went on as before.

I will post again after finishing the book.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

All Charged Up

M. and I are preparing to hit the road to where we can eat some good red chile sauce and look at some 17th-century churches. So what am I doing? Charging ...

  • the iPod
  • the digital camera
  • the cell phone
  • the laptop computer (correction, twoPowerBooks. M. needs her in case of student crises.

It didn 't use to be so complicated. We packed clothes.

But this way you might get to see a photo from where we are going.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Blogging on a Snowy Day

A traditional Colorado St. Patrick's Day: dank and snowy. If I were not bogged down with grading, I could contemplate which one of seventeen Irish recipes sounded most appealing. Guiness-and-cheddar fondue?

M. and I will be hearing some music tonight, though.

I finished reviewing the proposals for the American Academy of Religion's Contemporary Pagan Studies Group.

Our theme for this November's meeting in Chicago is "The Polytheistic Challenge," and it looks like we will have enough good papers for our two sessions -- about ten papers total. Add to that a session shared with the Popular Culture group, and we will have more.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Gallimaufry with Beheaded Statues

¶ When monotheists turn violent (which is often): Mormon missionaries vandalize Catholic shrine in southern Colorado. Mormon higher-ups ask forgiveness of Blessed Mother. That was a joke. Actually, they apologized to the San Luis, Colo., town board: one quasi-theocracy to another. They also want to build a huge church in the little town.

¶ Indigenous religious leaders meet about environmental crises. News of the meeting did not apparently make it to the BBC, for instance. I applaud what they are doing, but, unfortunately, they need better media relations. Or else to invite some Pagan bloggers such as Jason.

¶ Wicca is the "designated Other" for comics artists too.

¶ Maybe the Church of Google monotheists would not behead unbelievers.

No pardon for Helen Duncan, convicted under the 1735 Witchcraft Act. (Earlier post here.)

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Monday, March 10, 2008

The Scholar and the Festival

The registration brochure for the big Pagan Spirit Gathering in June came in the mail. I won't be going, but I read it for general information and found this:

Pagan Scholars who want to conduct Pagan Studies research at the Gathering as part of their participation must submit a research proposal by March 30, 2008 in order to be considered.

An old joke from the Navajo Reservation came to mind. You have to know that traditionally the Navajos were matrifocal--a man lived with his wife's people.

Q: What is a typical Navajo family?

A: A grandmother, her daughter(s), their husbands, the kids, and an anthropologist.

Are Pagan festivals these days that overrun with people handing out questionnaires? And what about the non-Pagan scholar studying Paganism?

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Busman's Holiday

Some weekends I have no student papers to grade. So what do I do? Grade papers.

In other words, this weekend is all about reviewing a group of papers for an academic folklore journal. Don't expect much blogging unless something really interesting happens.

"Busman's holiday" defined.

Update: I forgot to mention the twenty-some proposals that I need to read and rank for next November's Pagan studies sessions at the American Academy of Religion meeting. That is part of the job of a steering-committee member.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Pomegranate 9.2

I've been remiss in not noting the contents of the latest issue of The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies. Videlicet:

• "The Quandary of Contemporary Pagan Archives,"
Garth Reese,

• "The Status of Witchcraft in the Modern World," Ronald Hutton,

• "Kabbalah Recreata: Reception and Adaptation of Kabbalah in Modern Occultism," Egil Asprem

• "Putting the Blood Back into Blót: The Revival of Animal Sacrifice in Modern Nordic Paganism," Michael Strmiska.

And the book reviews.

Abstracts are online, and the book reviews may be downloaded in their entirety.

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