Friday, October 30, 2009

Contemporary Pagan Studies in the New York Times

The upcoming sessions of the Contemporary Pagan Studies Group at the American Academy of Religion's annual meeting are mentioned in the New York Times.

Some of us have been joking about "the I-word" (idolatry). I wondered if that would catch some journalist's interest.

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How to Celebrate a Christian Halloween

Writing at First Things, an "interreligious" journal ("inter" as in Catholics and Protestants, maybe), Sally Thomas faces that annual hurdle of the Christian parent: What To Do About Halloween.

How can it be fun and still be doctrinally acceptable? She writes,

Halloween’s emphasis on darkness makes many Christians squeamish, but, to my mind, what my friend observed about the medieval feel of Halloween is more on the money.

I don’t especially encourage my children to dress as scary things for Halloween. We are taught, rightly, to avoid flirting with the occult, and the darkest character any child of mine has ever wanted to be is Darth Vader.

Don't you love that "flirting"? It's right up there with "dabbling," as in "dabbling with witchcraft."

Ducks dabble. Witches ... do other things. But, who knows, maybe "the occult" will kick things up a notch and kiss them back, slip them a little tongue. That Darth Vader costume might be the first step into experiential religion. You never know.

On All Saints’ Day, our parish holds a children’s festival, hugely attended, at which children and adults alike dress as their favorite saints. This year mine will be St. Ursula, St. Walburga, St. Gerard Majella, and St. George. I probably will reprise my last year’s appearance as St. Helena, although the True Cross did keep whacking people every time I turned around.

Watch out for the boy who wants to be St. Sebastian: he's probably gay.

Via Rod Dreher at BeliefNet, where the commenters actually display a wide variety of opinions about the celebration.

There is always the issue of sex with demons to consider as well.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fate Magazine Reanimated

When pre-writing the blog post on dining above the dead (something best done while walking the dogs), I was thinking about how it was perfect for Fate magazine.

Digression 1: Dog-walking is not all that meditative, because Something Always Happens, like this morning when they charged off through nine-inch-deep snow to try to catch some wild turkeys.

Digression 2: If the reporter were on the ball, she would re-write her story for Fate or another magazine. Get paid twice for the same work—that is the secret of freelancing.

So it occurred to me, crossing the gully between the county road and my house on Tuesday night pre-bed dog walk, that I had not seen a copy of Fate since last spring. Had it been sucked into the magazine death pool?

I checked the Web site, however, and it promised a new issue soon.

Editor-in-chief Phyllis Galde tells me, "The July/Aug is at the printer, and we will turn around immediately and get the Sept./Oct. one printed."

She promises an "awesome" new Web site but complained that the Web designer and the printing plant crew were all sick with the flu.

So Fate is reanimated, I hope. I miss it. Where else can you get a good ghost story?

The graphic has nothing to do with the magazine. Just some Halloween cheer. You can get it on a T-shirt.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

He's Got the Halloween Spirit

Isn't this headline appropriate for the season?

Government lawyer fired after caught with stripper in graveyard during lunch break. 

 I wonder if they brought any oils, candles, etc. with them.


Dining above the Dead

I opened the Cañon City Daily Record on Monday and learned that M. and I have been dining above the dead.

One of our two favorite cafes in the nearby town of Florence, Colo., is the Aspen Leaf Bakery, which, it turns out, is the second-most haunted locale in that county. (The first is the Prison Museum, a former women's prison, in Cañon City. Funny about that.)

According to the article, local ghost-hunters say the basement of the Aspen Leaf's building seems to be a "meeting space" for spirits. "No one's died there," said one ghost-hunter. "So they're just hanging around."

The Daily Record offers no link (typical!) but at the Cañon Ghost Trackers web site, you can follow their investigations and listen to their audio evidence.

NOTE:  If all the audio recordings start playing at once (depending on your browser settings), that does indeed sound spooky.

My own experience has been more one of meta-ghost-hunting. And I left out of the book what I thought was the spookiest building of all.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Colorado Pagans and News Media Coverage

I noticed a couple of instances in the past month where Colorado Pagans seem to be getting fairer coverage in the news. One was the item about the Pagan Student Alliance at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

(But as a former university professor, I have seen clubs come and go. Only clubs with strong support from a department or a particular professor last more than a year or two, typically.)

A Denver Post story today describes the work of a hospice chaplain and contains this paragraph:

Her patients come from all spiritual traditions and have included a Buddhist priest, a Druid high priest and a Sufi spiritual leader. But end-of-life spiritual care, she emphasizes, isn't necessarily about religion.

So the Druid is one of the exotic Others, but at least the Post did not put "high priest" in quotation marks.

And Tina Dowd sounds like a true priestess herself.

UPDATE: Here is one description of running a university Pagan students' club.

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'Occult Park' Resurrected in Dallas

And apparently it is causing the Dallas Cowboys to lose football games.

Hecate has the details.

How come ace Dallas religion blogger Rod Dreher has not been all over this one?


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Zippy, the Halloween Slug

I have heard of most of these Halloween folk customs.

The one with the slug is new to me, though, but maybe someone in the Pacific Northwest could try it and report.

Meanwhile, Red Witch in Melbourne is in the midst of a Halloween countdown, examining the commercial side of the holiday in Australia. (Some images may be NSFW.)

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Downsizing Polytheism

A 2003 panel from Partially Clips—A Webcomic for Grownups. Click to embiggen if necessary.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Magical Women

A series of portraits by British Columbia artist Linda Macfarlane, some of individuals in the Western occult tradition (e.g. Maud Gonne), others of representative types. (The Wikipedia entry, however, skips over Gonne's involvement with ceremonial magic.)

Via The Galloway Chronicles.

UPDATE: As discussed in the comments, Geocities is gone, and so is this site.

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After 2,000 Years, Hermann is Followed by Ghosts

This autumn is the 2,000th anniversary of the battle when German tribes decisively defeated 20,000 Roman soldiers in the Teutoburg Forest.

But the anniversary--particularly the memory of the leader of the German commander, Hermann (Arminius)--is a complicated thing in Germany.

The events surrounding Hermann, though, are a weird mix of the two, presenting a revised, sanitised, consumer-friendly warrior, a national hero recast as neither “national” nor a hero. “To me, he is just a garden gnome,” Schafmeister said during an interview in his office, his desk piled with Hermann chocolate bars and other paraphernalia. The exhibits and plays organised for the anniversary no longer depict Hermann as the founding father of the German peoples: instead he appears as a minor warlord who got lucky, an interesting figure with no relevance to the present. 

“He is really history,” says Herfried Münkler, a historian at Berlin’s Humboldt University and the author of The Germans and their Myths. “He is no longer relevant to the question of German identity.” 

"It’s a thin line to walk – a year of festivities for a man no one thinks is worth celebrating. “We don’t even call it an anniversary, because that implies a celebration,” said Schafmeister. “It is just a recognition of something that happened from 2,000 years ago.”

The religion journalists at Get Religion often talk about "ghosts" in news stories--a religious element or motivation that the journalist fails to see or explain. (The news media, in other words, do not "get" religion.)

Do you see a religion ghost or two here also?

A few years ago, I was talking with a German student of mine at the university and her boyfriend. The boyfriend had wanted to read a diary kept by some of my own German ancestors about their immigration from Lower Saxony to Missouri in 1843.

I mentioned how Germans who came to Missouri had established vineyards, and how a center of wine-making was the town of Hermann.

"Hermann, of course!" said my student, rolling her eyes.

Had she been one of the schoolchildren who "learnt what a shame it was that the erstwhile hero had prevented Latin culture from reaching northern Germany"?

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gallimaufry with Snow

Snow has been falling all day, and I am working on a lengthy book review, so here are some links:

• Sannion has the best idea for a New Testament zombie novel, and everyone wants him to write it. Already, I would not look at the book of Acts the same again ever.

• Hrafnkell Haraldsson has produced a string of thought-provoking posts, so go read A Heathen's Day.

• Witchdoctor Joe writes on "Samhainophobia Vs Samhainsensationalism."

• The photo is part of our outdoor shrine.

• I have visited England twice but never been to Glastonbury. Still, I keep an eye on its thriving retail scene through this blog.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's That Time of Year!

Are you ready for the cameras and notepads? It's the time of year when journalists notice the Pagans!

ReligionLink is on the job with story ideas. At least they admit that they are recycling their resource list from 2004. (No, that's not my telephone number anymore, sorry.)

"Oh, my" indeed.

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Elizabeth Clare Prophet and Me

Yesterday M. pointed out to me a small AP story in Sunday's Denver Post that I had overlooked: the death of Elizabeth Clare Prophet, head of the Church Universal and Triumphant, one of the chief motivators of the "cults scare" of the 1970s-1980s.

("Suffered from dementia for years" -- there may be some cynical chuckles at that line from ex-CUT members and their families, even though it was Alzheimer's dementia.)

Her hometown newspaper in New Jersey offers photos of her at various ages and more links.

But I owe her thanks for sending me to graduate school, for in the 1970s, when I came back to Colorado after my undergraduate years at Reed, CUT (then called "Summit Lighthouse") was headquartered at One Broadmoor Avenue, Colorado Springs, a prestigious address, in a red-brick 1930s mansion built by some Oklahoman oilman.

I had never heard of Summit Lighthouse and as a Pagan was not too interested in quasi-gnostic metaphysical magical chanting--they called it "decreeing"--but a visiting friend wanted to see it, and so we went.

We picked up some pamphlets and got a tour of the public rooms from some of the followers, who despite the content of the teachings, had a definite Young Republican vibe too them. We did not meet Elizabeth Clare Prophet herself.

(If there was magic worked on behalf of President Reagan, CUT was working it.)

Later, as a reporter for the Colorado Springs Sun, I was approached by Mrs. Prophet's disaffected ex-secretary, who offered herself as a source for a feature story on the group. Mrs. Prophet herself did not do interviews--as high as an outsider could go was the group's spokesman, Murray Steinman.

And I was introduced to the whole network of "anti-cult" groups, parents' groups, and so on, not to mention one stream of American metaphysical religion, going back to the "I Am" movement and even farther.

Writing that story (and a couple of others on other groups) gave me more satisfaction than my regular work on the business beat. I credit them with nudging me towards an eventual decision to go to graduate school in religious studies, because I realized that as a newspaperman I could not really examine new religious movements in any depth.

Later, too, my chief interest in CUT was whether they would sell some of the land they bought for their "end of the world" retreat north of Yellowstone National Park in a deal arranged by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to keep an elk-migration corridor open.

Metaphysical movements come and go, but the elk should endure.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Greenwood's Anthropological Study of Magic

British anthropologist Susan Greenwood is interviewed at Pagans for Archaeology about her new book, The Anthropology of Magic.

In this new book I have taken that argument further and related it to a classical anthropological debate on mystical mentality; and I have also explored the nature of reality in relation to an inspirited world, developing a new methodology of magic from my own experiences, as well as those of others.

The "Luhrmann effect" mentioned by the interviewer refers to the backlash against anthropologists expressed by some British Witches and ceremonial magicians whose practices were discussed by anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann in her 1988 book, Persuasions of the Witch's Craft.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Colorado Pagans To Lose Festival Site

A television news report says that the private Wellington Lake campground, site of Dragonfest and several other Colorado Pagan festivals, is closing for the winter and possibly permanently.

The campground was operated by a concessionaire, Castle Mountain Recreation. The lake itself is part of the Denver suburb of Thornton's water system.

The closure would affect the nearby town of Bailey, the last stop before the lake for those coming from the Denver area.

Rumor has it that the closure is indeed permanent and that some other use is planned for the site—luxury mountain homes?

More when I hear about it.

UPDATE, October 19th: A massive yard sale of all equipment, boats, trucks, etc. from Wellington Trading Post will be held at Wellington Lake from 9-6 each day, Oct. 23-25. That sounds pretty final.

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Third Death in James Ray Sweat Lodge Case

Yet another of the sixty-plus people crammed into James Arthur Ray's Sedona sweat lodge has died. She evidently was one of his true believers:

The Rev. Meredith Ann Murray of Bellingham, Wash., who has completed all of Ray's retreats, said [Liz] Neuman was among Ray's earliest followers and had attended dozens of his events.

According to Ray's Web site, Neuman was the leader of the Minneapolis-area "Journey Expansion Team." The teams, developed by Ray's friends and followers around the country, meet to exchange ideas on his principles. The next Minneapolis-area meeting is scheduled for Oct. 23.

But here is the delicious part. Ray, facing homicide charges, is evidently bobbing and weaving:

In his first public appearance Tuesday in Los Angeles, Ray told a crowd of about 200 that he has hired his own investigative team to determine what went wrong.

Sheesh, Veronica Mars could tell him what went wrong. He was greedy and heedless of the safety of his followers.

Sweat lodges have been around for a long time in many places. I see them as part of the old Stone Age circumpolar religion, along with flat-headed drums and a special relationship with bears.

Whether used for physical health, for contacting the spirits, or both together, they are a small-scale magical technology. It sounds as though Ray tried the "megachurch" approach to sweat lodges--at $9,000-plus per person.

Aside from all the issues that this case raises, it speaks as well to the difficulty of turning small-scale mysteries into congregation-size events.

UPDATE: Tim Giago, a veteran American Indian journalist in South Dakota, asks why, if traditional sweat-lodge ceremonies are so special and good, are they not doing more good for the Lakota:

Arvol [Looking Horse], why are the sacred rites you represent not being used to bring our own people back from the brink? Why aren't they being used to bring back the good health our people once enjoyed? Why is there an unemployment rate of 80 percent on the lands you call home? Why is there such a high rate of STD's and teen pregnancies in Lakota country?

What good does it do to speak out and criticize an event that happened in Sedona, Arizona, when it had no lasting impact upon the Sioux people? Aren't there terrible things happening in our own homelands, right under our noses, to worry about and try to change?

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Friday, October 16, 2009

That Theodish Political Candidate

Sarah Pike of California State University, Chico evaluates Dan Halloran's run for a New York City Council seat as an "out" Pagan and concludes, "Since for many Americans, the Republican Party is inseparable from conservative Christianity, Neopagans were surprised that the party stood by Halloran, and took it as a sign that not only is the makeup of the religious left and the religious right shifting, but that the country as a whole is becoming more receptive toward their religion."

I'll be seeing Sarah next month at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting, and I shall have to ask her about this "Neopagan" usage. Following Graham Harvey, who argues that "Neo-" is outmoded now, the favored term (in academia, at least) is "contemporary Pagan."

But she has written a good opinion piece—read the whole thing. The comments display the usual Pagan hair-splitting and in-fighting.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

2012 Apocalypse Porn

Even some Mayans are finally getting fed up with the whole 2012 end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it apocalypse porn.

(You know it's porn because there is no real goofiness, humor, or affection.)

A little while ago I received a copy of 2012: Science or Superstition, a video from Disinformation.

It's got it all: Hopis, Islamic astrology, reverse cowgirl, Stonehenge, and lots of self-appointed experts saying "X appeared to have Y."

Lots of vague references to "cultures around the world" sharing the same cosmology, which is, shall we say, unsupported.

Why the Mayas? Why not the ancient Roman calendar? The year 2012 will be 2765 AUC. That sounds significant too. Or wait until 2772?

Anthony Aveni, who is a genuine scholar of archaeoastronomy, is in there, along with a bunch of apocalyptic pornographers—and who can tell them apart without a scorecard?

You won't hear much from any Mayas, however.

"The December 21st, 2012 date is gaining ground in the popular media," says one of the talking heads. Yes, and we will see more of that, no doubt.

And Halloween is coming, so you could pick up 2012: Science or Superstition for your scary movie. Or you could watch The Exorcist.

UPDATE: The day that I wrote this post, the new issue of Archaeology magazine arrived, with an article by Professor Aveni examing the 2012 craze.

You will find the full text at the link but here are two brief quotations:

It is amusing that the Y12 prophets are certain the world will end for all of us based on a date that may or may not have had historical significance to the Maya a few thousand years ago, who were themselves looking to a date a few thousand years before that. The ancient Maya might tell us: "Hey, get your own zero point!"


We live in a techno-immersed, materially oriented society that seems somewhat bewildered by where rational, empirical science might be taking us. This may be why the mystical, escapist explanations of a galactic endpoint, replete with precise mathematical, historical, and cosmic underpinnings (masquerading as science), have such wide appeal. In an age of anxiety we reach for the wisdom of ancestors--even other peoples' ancestors--that might have been lost in the drifting sands of time. Perhaps the only way we can take back control of our disordered world is to rediscover their lost knowledge and make use of it. And so we romanticize the ancient Maya.

Some of the people pushing the 2012 stuff said much the same things about the "Harmonic Convergence" of 1987.

That summer, a campfire skit at a Pagan festival in New Mexico celebrated the "Harmonica Virgins."

Bring on the 2012 parodies.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Harry Potter Fans not all that into Magic, Witchcraft

Glancing back at Oberon Zell's sporadic blog, I see mention of the "Azkatraz" Harry Potter convention in San Francisco last July. (Scroll down to the "Escape from Azkatraz" subhead in Aug. 1, 2009 entry.)

The Zells took a vendor space for their Mythic Images business of New Age, Pagan, and Goddess-oriented images, etc.

But it was not a very successful show, as Oberon notes:

And that gets me to the second important lesson we learned: Harry Potter fans aren’t interested in Wizardry, Witchcraft, Magick, an online school, or anything that isn’t specifically and only about the Harry Potter stories and characters. The only successful vendor was the one selling licensed trademark Harry Potter merchandise—such as Hogwarts House patches and regalia, movie replica wands, Harry Potter games and toys—and pointy hats. I bought a really nice new one,as well as several books from the book vendors. And we sold two copies of the A Wizard's Bestiary: A Menagerie of Myth, Magic, and Mystery by managing to convince some folks that the magickal beasts featured in the Harry Potter stories could be found in this book. This is true, and I do hope they’ll go on to read about other beasties as well.

I don't doubt his observations. It's not that the Harry Potter books "drive children to witchcraft," it is more that some Pagan Witches hope that Potter-readers will wonder what real witchcraft is. Most, however, probably will not, having enjoyed the stories just as stories.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dancing Homer

Via Sannion, links to a site of choreographers who attempt to reconstruct ancient Greek choral dance. (Scroll down for videos.)

Here dancers and drummers perform
while a rhapsode declaims the Catalog of Ships from the Iliad.

I suppose it's one of those interesting ideas that goes into the "But we'll never know for sure" file. (Or does it smell too much of the lamp?)

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Ted Haggard is Back

You can't keep a good drama queen down.

Ted Haggard, the disgraced pastor of the New Life megachurch in Colorado Springs, whom you might of thought would never occupy a pulpit again, but rather skulk around Phoenix, Arizona, peddling life insurance, is ba-a-a-ack.

Ted Haggard, who proves that the Elmer Gantry archetype is alive and well in American Christianity.

Ted Haggard, who thinks downtown Colorado Springs is controlled by demons.

Ted Haggard, who, to his credit, thought that evangelical Christians should embrace environmentalism, but then got busy with meth and gay escorts.

Really, he belongs in a convertible with a sash (Drama Queen 2008) doing his best parade wave ("elbow elbow wrist wrist").

Really, he is Colorado's gift to religious journalism. What will he do next?

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

'Cultural Appropriation' is not a Religious Issue

Part One here.

Arguments about "cultural appropriation" are usually dishonest.

Although they often take place in venues devoted to religion, spirituality, and magic, they are not about religion, spirituality, or magic.

Instead, they are political arguments about cultural survival, usually taking the form, "We/You took everything from them/us, and now we/you want to take their/our spirituality too!"

Let me propose a hypothetical bit of "cultural appropriation."

I fetch the old Catholic missal off the shelf, blow the dust off (Colorado is dusty), and open it to the ritual for the Eucharist.

I find items to serve as chalice, platen, and all the other necessaries, make myself some cheat cards for the Latin, set up my altar, and proceed to celebrate the Tridentine Mass.

Cultural appropriation? I doubt that the Vatican will be too disturbed, and I will not need to watch out for albino assassin monks.

Is it not "cultural appropriation" when the so-called victim is large and powerful? If so, that makes me think that all talk about appropriation is merely politics.

So what are the consequences of my unsanctioned Mass? From the Catholic Church's viewpoint, Aquila non capit muscas, I suspect. Any other consequences?

Now you can discuss the religious, spiritual, or magical issues.

Postscript: This post is somewhat based on a dream I had months ago, in which I was called up to baptize someone in some Protestant denomination, and of course I was thinking (a) what baptismal ritual do these people use and (b) since I am a Pagan, will it be "valid"?


It's Time to Critique "Personal Growth"

Jason Pitzl-Waters offers more links on the Sedona sweat-lodge deaths, including to the Beyond Growth blog, which has been critiquing James Arthur Ray for some time.

(Related: I want to read Barbara Ehrenreich's newest, Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America.)

I sometimes wonder at the whole concept of "growth." Did Socrates talk about "growth"? I don't think so. Wisdom, yes, attained by philosophical inquiry, life experience, and maybe the gift of the gods—chiefly the first. I expect he would have scorned a workshop that involved putting a couple dozen people (Correction: 64 people) in a sweat lodge and heating it until they collapsed. Not much logos there. Not much inquiry. Not much virtue.

While I am waiting for the book, I think I shall be reading the blog.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Who Cares about 'Cultural Appropriation'?

Some of the reaction in the Pagan blogosphere to the "shamanic" casualties in Sedona have trotted out that old horse named Cultural Appropriation.

A couple of months ago, one of the Pagan lists in which I participate had a whole discussion of "cultural appropriation." Cultural Appropriation was led by the halter and trotted around the ring, and all the usual arguments were made:
  • All our ancestors were tribal once.
  • I can understand Native Americans being upset.
  • All the spiritual leaders I know and who have been teaching their spiritual truths for decades welcome students, and their interest is what is important, not what their culture is, nor what they do with the teachings.
  • Now, I follow Celtic dieties because THEY came to me. I didn't go seeking after them. They spoke to me in English and have never demanded that I learn a different language to speak with them.
  • And of course someone brought up the new Pagan book on the topic, Talking About the Elephant.
Eventually that discussion thread wore itself out. Not two weeks later, someone posted an announcement for a Sun Dance:

The Sun Dance is a ritual of community and praise for the sun and the great spirit that the natives of this continent felt drew them together. Regardless of our faith, everyone can appreciate the sun's power and importance to all life on Earth. So this will be an upbeat celebration of the sun, the summer we have just had and community. It is also a ritual praising the sun and saying farewell for another year.

Since there is no one ritual for the Sun Dance, and so many tribes viewed and practiced this event differently, we will have a blending of many traditions in our Sun Dance. Please bring drums, bells, noise makers, whistles, rain sticks, musical instruments, or anything else you'd like to celebrate and make a joyful sound with. This event will be outdoors so please wear appropriate clothing as the weather dictates. Also, as part of the ritual involves body and face painting, if possible please wear something that gives you access to your collarbones.

And ol' Cultural Appropriation stayed in his stall. No one said a word online.


In the long run, religious creativity will always trump the kind of finger-pointing accusations that you hear about "cultural appropriation" — even before you come to the theological argument that "the gods choose whom they will."

We have freedom of religion. You cannot stop someone from holding a Sun Dance and calling it such unless you show up and threaten bodily harm. You can threaten other sorts of consequences—that it will offend the spirits or the Grandfathers and someone will suffer—but you cannot guarantee such threats. What if the spirits like the other person better?

As Shawn Spencer, the fake psychic detective, says in the TV series Psych, séances—or in this case, Sun Dances—are like garage sales and plastic surgery: Anyone can have them.

Pagans are well-placed to realize that religion is a creative activity. Writers incorporate the influence of other writers, musicians "steal" from other musicians, actors learn from other actors—why should religious practitioners be any different.

I have complained about some "plastic shamans" in my time too, but to what effect? Just do it. See what happens.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

I Need Some Creative Juices

And how I know where they come from.

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Can You Sue Your Shaman?

Two dead, others sickened after lengthy sweat lodge ceremony at the Angel Valley Retreat Center in (where else?) Sedona, Arizona, which advertises, "Angel Valley offers the opportunity to 'retreat' from the 'bus-i-ness' of life while providing the optimal condition and the services to assist in connecting with and expressing who you are, being your True Authentic Self."

From the AP story:

Authorities said self-help expert and author James Arthur Ray rented the facility and was hosting the group inside the dome, a low-lying structure covered with tarps and blankets. In a testimonial on the retreat's Web site, Ray said it "offers an ideal environment for my teachings and our participants."

On Ray's Web site, a guide for participants of the five-day "Spiritual Warrior Event" includes a lengthy release of liability that acknowledges participants may suffer "physical, emotional, financial or other injuries."


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Are You Too Old for Trick-or-Treating?

I was in a state government office today and saw my first office Halloween decorations. It's coming. So read this Metafilter discussion about when you are too old for trick-or-treating.

Lots of great comments, but don't miss np312's! It's the most creative Halloween "trick" I ever heard of.


Monday, October 05, 2009

Gallimaufry with Bison

• I have been traveling--and writing about it at the other blog. So for now, some links.

• Raw food and Linux: Interview with two Pagans. Raw food is fine, but it's easy to look good if you are in your twenties and have the bone structure ... As for Linux, that's fine too, but I have no real reason to switch from Mac OS X. Just not geeky enough—or you could say that I prefer to be geeky about other things.

• Jordan Stratford claims the steampunk aesthetic for Gnosticism. Next, raw food and Linux.

• Boing Boing is hosting guest-blogger Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation.

Is it the pop version of Catherine Albanese's A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of American Metaphysical Religion? I need to read it and find out. (via The Wild Hunt).

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