Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mainstreaming British Paganism

Another "Pagans in our midst" article, this one from The Guardian, a generally left-of-center British newspaper.

Writer Cole Morton advances the "fastest-growing religion" meme, promoted also by the Pagan Federation:

The Pagan Federation, which aims to represent all "followers of a polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion", claims the number of adherents has trebled at least. That would mean there were 360,000 committed, practising pagans, putting them ahead of the Sikhs (329,000) and fourth behind Hindus (552,000), Muslims (1.5 million) and Christians (42 million, according to the census).

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

2nd (or 3rd) Generation Pagan on a Backhoe

High Country News reports on a woman with interesting roots doing environmental restoration in the Pacific Northwest.

Erion grew up in a dying timber town outside Portland, where her father logged Mount Hood's forests and taught her to run the heavy rigs she now uses to decommission his old logging roads. He was the type of guy who would flick cigarettes into the forest, Erion says, then toss the pack after them. She was the type of 6-year-old who yelled at him for it. Her mom eventually divorced Erion's dad, moved to Portland and opened The Goddess Gallery, where she sold Roman, Egyptian and pagan idols, crystals and Mother Earth icons.

(Probably one of the same dying timber towns where I was repairing slot machines in the 1970s.)


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Greek Orthodox Cover-up of Parthenon Defacing

Via Richard Bartholomew: Orthodox clergy in Greece demanded -- and got -- removal of a film segment in the Parthenon visitor center that showed their predecessors smashing Pagan statuary, etc., centuries ago.

UPDATE: (Via Jason) The museum backed down and is restoring the original film.

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Crushed Velvet, Anyone?

A British newspaper posts a slideshow of tryouts to be the "Wookey Hole Witch," an event that came to the attention of the American Pagan blogosphere earlier this month. Watch it if you dare.

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Gallimaufry with Ancestors

• From Svartesól, five ways of communicating with the gods.

• Paula Jean West has a round-up of posts on Pagan festival etiquette. But needing a wi-fi hotspot? I thought some people went to festivals to get away from all that. Write some columns in advance--that's the traditional way of dealing with that issue.

• Caroline Kenner's guest post at the Wild Hunt on ancestors (i.e., the Mighty Dead) is worth reading. It's a bit long for a blog post--but as a guest, she did not have the luxury of breaking it into three parts.

• Graduating from college, Annyikha offers her long hair to Artemis and Athene.

A personal protection spell for handguns. The "witch who lives in the woods alone" probably would approve.

• This week's best search words that brought a visitor to this blog: "you tube videos secret witchcraft threats." If they were truly secret, would they be on YouTube? Some people have such trust in the InterWebz. It's sort of touching.

• Actually, maybe this post is too long. I would look more productive if I made a separate post out of each bullet point, wouldn't I.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Hutton Named English Heritage Commissioner

Ronald Hutton, the history professor at Bristol University who is best known among Pagans for writing The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft and subsequent books on Druidism, has been named a commissioner of English Heritage.

From the news release:

English Heritage was established by the National Heritage Act 1983 as the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England. It is the Government’s statutory adviser on the historic environment. English Heritage (EH) receives around three quarters of its income from the Exchequer in the form of Grant in Aid (£129.4 million in 2007/2008). The remainder (£49.2 million) is self generated from commercial activities and fund raising. English Heritage’s role is to champion and care for the historic environment.

EH Commissioners receive an allowance which directly reflects the level of responsibilities undertaken, such as chairing an Advisory Committee and/or duties as a regional Commissioner. The remuneration range is currently £4,030 to £9,200 per annum.

Given all the controversies over ancient megalithic monuments in particular (although Hutton is equally an expert on the 17th century, the English Civil War, etc.), I am waiting to hear if he will be concerning himself primarily with the management of Avebury, Stonehenge, etc.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Druidry and Made-up History

Here is the YouTube trailer for a new documentary on British Druidry. Yes, that is Ronald Hutton at the beginning (long hair, glasses). (If the YouTube link does not work, try this one.)

And here is the video clip dissected with a sharp knife by a different British Pagan academic.

It's true: there is nothing in the historical record on ancient Druids (which would fill about two typed pages) about land ownership or the rights of women. The one speaker is simply making it up.

It is the "crisis of history" again. Can your religion get respect when it is based on non-existent "history"? It works for the Mormons, true, but not without some pain.

Hutton's Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain offers the whole history of making up Druidic "history."

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Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm Not Here, I'm There

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Britain's Pagan Cops Request Religious Holidays

Pagan police officers in the UK are requesting--and sometimes getting--religious holidays that are "set in stone" (unintentional pun there, I think, on the reporter's part, given the illustration). Here is a confusing/confused comment on an unofficial police web site. "Worship witchcraft"?

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My First-Draft Paper on the 'Crisis of History'

My CESNUR paper, "In the Mists of Avalon: How Contemporary Paganism Dodges the 'Crisis of History,'" has been published on line at the organization's web site.

It is sort of quick and lightweight, but I want to work more on those ideas in the future.

In the immediate future, however, I need to come up with something for my guest-blogger spot at The Wild Hunt. Warning, it's more likely to be snarky than deep.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Photos from the Edges of the Festival

M. and I have returned from the smallest of the three Colorado Pagan camp-out festivals held at Wellington Lake, a large private campground. Wellington Lake is dominated by a large rock formation called (imaginatively) The Castle.

The photo above, however, is the west (back) side, which most festival attendees never see. But if you are a boundary-crossing transgressive Hagazussa, then, perhaps you might find yourself on the Rolling Creek Trail into the Lost Creek Wilderness.

RIGHT: Some Pagans spend so much time at Wellington Lake that they feel a certain sense of ownership.

LEFT: The wet weeks of June meant that more mushrooms were available in the forest than usual for this time of year, including this and other boletes.

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Gallimaufry with Stakes

Buffy versus Edward (of Twilight). Nice creative remix; too bad about the different color palates. (Via Odious and Peculiar.)

• Napoleon was [not] short, and five other "facts" about historical figures that their enemies made up. (That process is still going on.)

Novelist Douglas Coupland mused on the 25th anniversary of Macintosh computers:

PCs can sort of mimic the effortless transmodality of the Mac, but they're way crashier, and their clunky interfaces make you feel like you're in East Berlin circa 1974 while everyone in the West has already entered a funner, smarter future, the other side of that pesky wall.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

John Keel Has Died

Author and Fortean John Keel died Friday in New York.

Not long after his signature book, The Mothman Prophecies was published, I saw on the Colorado Springs downtown library's new-books shelf and passed it by--repeatedly--because the title sounded too weird.

From the Cryptomundo obituary:

After years of writing parts of the story in various articles and other books, in 1975, Keel published The Mothman Prophecies, an account of his 1966-1967 investigation of sightings of the Mothman, a “winged weirdie” reported in and around Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Keel corresponded with Ivan T. Sanderson quietly for months, trying to determine what kind of bird might be involved with the sightings. It was later, as Keel more fully revealed the tale of the sightings and concurrent phenomena, that other elements came into the mix.

"Other elements" is putting it mildly. When I finally read The Mothman Prophecies, I realized that it offers a vivid depiction of the strangeness that any investigator of the paranormal encounters, the feeling that part of your body or part of your consciousness is sliding into an unfriendly parallel universe. Never mind the Mothman, read it for the psychology.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Movie for Reconstructionists

That would be Rain in the Mountains.

Described by reviewers as a "quirky indie comedy," it is about trying to go back to the old, ancestral ways.

And that guy hanging from the tree and telling people their destinies? Hmmm. The screenwriter, you will note, was an Anglo, not an Indian.

Netflix has it.

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