Pagan Politics, Part Whatever

John Beckett asks an interesting question: Must Paganism be Transgressive?

Do we lose something when a radical spiritual movement starts to be accepted by the mainstream? Or is it more complicated than that?

Beckett looks at a few other discussions going on in the Pagan blogosphere in examining this question. I saw a few themes that I’ve talked and thought about before, so I felt the need to open my big mouth.

Continue reading

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Paganism and Environmentalism

And here I begin to delve into politics. Sorta.

There are a lot of Pagans out there that regard activism and environmentalism as integral to their paganism. If that’s their deal, then fine: I won’t hold it against them. My issue is when they assume that because those elements are central to their religious understanding, that they assume that those elements must be central to my religious understanding, and that if they aren’t then I aren’t a “real Pagan” or I’m not “enlightened” enough, or I’m a hypocrite because I’m part of a “Nature Religion” and I’m not committed enough to protecting “Nature.”

Because nothing is more endearing than a bunch of people who reject the labels and pigeonholing of the dominant and oppressive overculture, only to have them insist that you live by their rules, labels, assumptions, and dictates. Continue reading

Pagan Politics and Hypocrisy

I get very annoyed when I hear about “pagan politics,” for several reason.

First and foremost, I don’t think there is such a thing. Paganism is such a diverse conglomeration of religions, practices, traditions, and ways of thinking that to even entertain the idea that there are monolithic political values or ideas shared by all pagans is laughable.

Secondly, when most pagans talk about “pagan politics,” what they mean is their politics, which they assume that all other pagans share.

Thirdly, the presumption that people who don’t hold certain political positions aren’t really pagan. Or are just really bad pagans that are an embarrassment to other pagans. Because pagans are all enlightened, and are therefore better than “normal” people, and thus agree with “enlightened” and “progressive” political ideologies. (Some leeway given to Asatru on this, but not much.)

And Fourth, the hype and hyperbole. TEH EVIL INTOLERANT OPPRESSOR RIGHT-WING CHRISTIAN EXTREMISTS ARE MINUTES AWAY FROM BURNING US ALL AT THE STAKE! YOU MUST SUPPORT THIS POSITION OR ELSE THEY WILL WIN AND KILL US ALL! No, really. Because that’s not over the top at all. Continue reading

Pagan Politics

I’ve commented on this a few times before. Apparently it is one of those things that needs to be said over and over again, especially given the complex debate going on right now over how to define paganism.

There is no such thing as pagan politics.

Let me say it once more for emphasis.

There is no such thing as pagan politics!

Now there are brands of paganism that are very political. And the birthing of contemporary neo-paganism was greatly assisted by the counter-culture and political activism of the 60’s. And some of those elements have blended, so that for some politics and paganism are inseparable (as I’m being reminded). But there is not “pagan politics.” There cannot be.

Speaking of pagan politics (unless you’re talking about the internal political issues within the pagan community) is meaningless. We have a “community” that is so widespread and diverse that one of its most favorite activities is to argue over how to define it. The very thought that there is any political position that is universal for all of those people is just damn silly.

When most people speak of “pagan politics,” they mean political issues that affect paganism in general. A lot of this has to do with religious freedom issues, which are admittedly of pretty big concern to most pagans. But all political issues affect all pagans. Some pagans are concerned by some issues, and some are not. Starhawk is all about using her identity as a witch to promote her anti-war activism, but I worship a war god and view war as sacred, so I’m not going to hold the same position she does (and I’m certainly not going to set up a hot pink circle in a Marine recruiting station). Jason at The Wild Hunt may be very concerned about laws relating to unions, but attempting to present a “pagan position” on such a debate is silly. I’d be willing to bet that most pagan religions have little to say about unions, and that most pagans will have widely divergent views on the subject.

I have a very liberal Wiccan friend that is pro-life. (I told him that revering the divine feminine, following European pagan holidays, practicing magic, and being pro-life actually made him Catholic. He lol’d.)

I have a Hellenic friend that is adamant about his right to own guns. Big ones.

I know a Druid who believes that providing socialized health care should be a religious obligation.

I’ve met women who insisted that men should not be allowed to worship any goddess, because it reminds them of the pain Patriarchy inflicted upon wimmin.

All of those are pagan political positions, because they are political positions held by pagans. And they are widely varied, because we are widely varied.

The image of the left-wing hippie dirt-worshiping pagan is a popular one, and probably more accurate than not in many cases. But there is no monolithic “pagan position” on any issue, and no one issue that affects pagans more than other folks. There are no “pagan” political issues, and no “pagan” political positions.

Because our community is diverse, which means our opinions are.

Pagan Polytheism

So earlier today I posted a post about Wicca and polytheism. I personally maintain that Wicca, at least as first designed and implemented by Gerald Gardener, is only giving lip-service to polytheism — even so called “soft” polytheism — and is essentially monotheistic, with any gods and goddesses given lip service to seen as archetypal aspects of the Divine Creative Source, whatever That may be. That is not to say that all people who identify as Wiccan hold this view, but that the original format of Wicca and the ritual structure that supports it has this assumption built into it. And I believe that this is one of the factors that is causing what I perceive as a rift between Wicca and other forms of Paganism.

But I may have spouted off rashly, and some of my own biases have shown through.

It seems to make sense to assume that, since one of the traditional definitions of the term “pagan” is centers on polytheism. And really, I don’t know that I have met a Pagan who did not at least believe in other gods, even if they didn’t worship them.

You see, I am conflating polytheism with Paganism, and that may not be valid.

What it comes down to is the fact that there is still a debate in the Pagan community about what it means to be Pagan. And I’ve kind of been sitting it out.

In my own case, I have pretty much regarded three groups as comprising paganism. The first would be the Reconstructionists, or the hard polytheists, who seek to worship the old gods in ways that are as similar to the ancient ways as practical or possible. (“Gods” in this case does not have to mean gods in a pantheon, but can also refer to any other type of divine critter running around.) The second would be what I call Neo-Wiccans, the eclectic types that build off a basic Wiccan framework but aren’t really Wiccan in any sense that Gardener or Alexander would recognize. This encompasses a lot of the soft polytheism out there, the belief some gods/goddesses are aspects of others, or manifestations of natural forces. Then there are those that I consider the Outlyers, the magic-users or mystics that are ignored or rejected by other religious groups, but that Pagans don’t have a problem including. Satanists, Chaos Magicians, Ceremonial Magicians, and whatever else fits.

This has worked for me, but looking about at some other models, it seems a bit inadequate. So I must engage the debate.

Let’s start with this article by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, on hard polytheism in Paganism.

What I am noticing more and more recently, however, is that modern Paganism is being purposefully defined so as to not include the gods. In recent weeks alone: Jonathan Korman has defined “the pagan sensibility” as not necessarily needing to include the gods; John Halstead has discussed the four centers of modern Paganism, but has portrayed the deity-centric forms of Paganism as inherently creedal; and here at Patheos’ Pagan Portal, Yvonne Aburrow has defined “theology” as “reasoning about the Divine” rather than “reasoning about the gods,” which is not remotely the same thing (on which more will be said in a moment).

I have studies religion and history for some time. One thing that I have noticed is that in almost all cultures, a sophisticated and intellectual elite emerges in any religious tradition and abstracts that religion away from worship of deities. In some cases, they deny it happens at all, although the practices of the “common folk” usually belie this. History records this phenomenon in ancient Greece, ancient Rome, in China, in India, and even in Judaism and Christianity. The underlying assumption is that believe in specific gods with personalities is primitive superstition, and that abstract forms of interacting with the divine are more evolved and enlightened. (And we know how much I love evolving to more enlightened forms.)

Contemporary Paganism has a curious history, since it actually began among the enlightened elites as a more abstract form, and “devolved” into a more concrete and hard polytheistic practice. Such a development easily accounts for the reason that the gods are absent from many discussions about paganism. And it must also be said that much contemporary Pagan thought is often influenced by or a response to Christian thought. (The very act of referring to a religion as a “faith” or “creed” is a very Christian thing. Orthodoxy is extremely difficult to find among pagan religions — practice usually trumps belief.)

For a long time now, I’ve been hearing modern Paganism characterized as a “nature religion” or an “earth-based religion.” That is true to an extent (and in some cases, far less true than others—and not necessarily in a negative sense). However, I suspect a huge reason that it is characterized that way—especially to non-Pagans—is because of fear of being thought foolish or “primitive” for recognizing the gods. We have then internalized that dialogue and have spent lots of virtual and actual ink on determining whether or not one group or another is truly “earth-based,” when in fact that understanding in itself might be more of a problem than an accurate portrayal.

This touches on what I said earlier, as well as hitting the “nature religion” point. The concept of Paganism as a “nature religion” is a very modern understanding, and assumes a very romantic worldview relating to worshiping nature. I have found little to suggest that ancient pagans were “nature worshipers” as we conceive the term — most of them sought to placate the gods and spirits of nature to preserve order from chaos. It is far more accurate to say our pagan forebears were “order worshipers.” My own Roman ancestors did not worship nature in any meaningful sense, and in fact celebrated their grand civilization and the order it brought to people’s lives as having divine origins.

The idea of Pagans as “nature worshippers” fits in perfectly with the Christian conception (and, as in my case, misconception) of ancient polytheists as unsophisticated bumpkins with no place in civilized society, and therefore no business doing their rituals indoors.

In additions, it also fits perfectly with the romanticism of the politics embraced by the counter-culture that embraced early neopaganism. The emphasis on environmentalism contrasted with the exploitative stewardship model of Christianity, and the notion of free-flowing outdoor worship contrasted with the Christians hiding from the “real world” in their little boxes. Or something like that.

I am beginning to understand, more and more, the reason why many modern polytheists have chosen to distance themselves from the term “Pagan,” since polytheism most certainly involves gods (and lots of them!), whereas many modern forms of Paganism seem bound and determined to define their religiosity in every way apart from honoring, reverencing, or (horror of horrors!) worshipping a number of gods.

I think that this touches on some of my frustration with Wicca. (And indeed, in my last post I was implying that Wicca may not be properly “Pagan” because of its insistence on cramming all of the gods into two molds.) What it really comes down to for me is that I don’t like being told that the gods and goddesses I revere and interact with on a daily basis are just archetypes, or figments of the imagination of some Great God who Himself is an impersonal abstract expression of somethingorother. I see little difference between this and Christian telling me all of my gods are deceptions from Satan, or Hindus telling me that Jove is really an incarnation of Vishnu. Yes, I will desire to distance myself from anyone who condescends me like that.

Pagan or polytheist practice that emphasizes cultus presupposes a definite being with volition and consciousness on the other end of the interaction. (Cultus, for the present purpose, is active and deliberate interaction with divine beings.) Thus, when I hear Pagans being described or self-defining as “nature worshippers,” I wonder how interaction can take place at all. “Nature” doesn’t care if you make offerings, hold festivals, or sing its praises and dance and feast with your friends. Dancing at Lughnasadh will not avert global warming; singing a hymn won’t stop an earthquake; pouring a libation won’t prevent it from raining. The best way to “honor” nature is to do things like recycle, not drive, reduce one’s carbon footprint, and so forth.

But, if one (for good or ill, depending on who one asks) personifies nature to some extent as genii loci, land wights, and other spirits of nature and place, then one can usefully interact with these things even if it still might rain, have earthquakes, or get warmer. The more ecologically-conscious one’s religiosity is, the more scientifically-informed it tends to be; and if that’s the case, then the utter irrelevance of “nature worship” in any cultic fashion should become all the more obvious. Nature—and the wider cosmos more generally, with its colliding asteroids and exploding stars—is utterly indifferent to human existence at this stage, and likely will be so forever.

And this is another thing that bothers me about Wicca. If your gods are so abstract, then what are they? I interact with the gods because I can, because while they may embody cosmic forces, they do so in a way that my puny human brain can comprehend and handle dealing with. And when it comes down to it, they have their own moods and tendencies, their own preferences. Nature has no such compunctions. Which leads me to respect the gods much more than nature. The gods can be angered and placated — nature is just an environmental setting and can be manipulated as such. Regarding nature as an abstract offers no reason for not developing a forest other than aesthetics — regarding that forest as a home to spirits that will fuck you up if you mess with it will.

Christine Kraemer responded to Lupus’ article with one of her own, offering a template for Paganism that helps explain why some Pagans may feel a bit left out from the mix.

Today, in 2013, I think the three legs of the contemporary Pagan cauldron are these: polytheism, Goddess worship,* and earth-based spirituality. These three focuses for belief and practice have all contributed to what we think of as Paganism. Within the movement, a great many practitioners embrace all three perspectives, and many also engage two of the three.

A Venn Diagram is included.

Because this makes for a diverse set of attitudes, beliefs, and concerns, though, the outliers in this Venn diagram tend to struggle with the idea of “Pagan” identity. Pagan identity is most stable where the three categories overlap. Polytheists who aren’t particularly earth-based or interested in gender politics may feel marginalized, as may indoor worshippers of “the Goddess.” Those practicing “deep ecology” — a nature-based spirituality that has little to do with deities at all — may also feel out of place in the Pagan midst.

There is a lot to his, and I think it helps out. My biggest problem with this model, however, is that fact that two of the three categories are not religious elements, but political ones. “Earth-Based Spirituality” is romantic environmentalism under a spiritual sheen; “Goddess worship” in many cases is radical feminist similarly wrapped in a spiritual coating. (I would suggest something more like “Holism” for the environmental category and something more like “Monism” in the place of goddess worship, as the former includes the inter-connectivity of all things in a system, and the latter considers that the divine essentially underlies all things, in my mind embracing the divine feminine as well as the masculine. But I’m not too good at philosophy, so I may have that off …)

Some of the most potent practitioners I’ve known have been non-theist animists, urban polytheists, and Jungian spiritual feminists — and I was lucky enough to meet them because we gathered under a “Pagan” umbrella.

Agreed. And this is where I was previously unfair. In my grudge against Wicca, I was excluding a good number of pagans that are not polytheists but are still very pagan.

I’m not sure how we’ll solve this dilemma of who is Pagan and who isn’t. And maybe we shouldn’t. I think that Kraemer is on to something, but it still needs some work, especially since it reeks of the conflation of political and religious ideals that permeates so much of contemporary Paganism. It’s a good start, though, in that it allows some consideration of what does constitute Paganism, yet still allows room for those on the edges.

This need to define Paganism doesn’t seem to be waning, although the underlying issue in the above debate doesn’t seem to be so much as defining Paganism, but as defining one’s own type of Paganism as distinct from others. Paganism is such a broad term that until definitive categories are established within it, people will worry about being confused with other types that are far different from their own. (Lupus described this in an interaction with a Church and the assumption that all Pagans worship outside, which isn’t very Hellenistic. My gods had Really Big Temples back in the day.) I don’t want to be mistaken for a Wiccan, or an Asatru or a Druid, or even a Hellenic. I want to be recognized as legitimate in the bounds of Religio Romana, which is Pagan, yes, but is also its own very unique thing. And I think that is the conversation that is really going on here.

I don’t think Paganism is fracturing or imploding or fundamentalizing. I think that we’re just a bunch of people who have moved into a really big house and are making sure everyone knows where their rooms are.

Your Hatred Will Make Me Famous

Via Wren’s Nest

Religion Dispatches has a story on a character that can only be called “interesting” — at least, assuming you are unwilling to call him “bat-shit crazy.”

We have a man named Jonathan Sharkey, who identifies as a Satanist, a “Hecate witch,” a vampire, and calls himself  “The Impaler” based upon the belief he is descended from Vlad Tepes. He has been involved with the law multiple times, and has a bad habit of calling for all of his enemies to be impaled. And he has run for political office multiple time in multiple states, in gubernatorial and presidential elections.

Sound crazy to you? He sound crazy to me. So why is he of interest?

Well, he’s trying to run for president in 2012 on the Republican ticket.

My initial reaction was simply: “So what?” And really, why is it a big deal if a nut wants to run for office? Would he be any less crazy or outlandish is he ran as a Democrat?

Apparently so. Because instead of addressing what seem to be as the real issue here, that there is a crazy guy pretending to be pagan, and hence is misrepresenting paganism and making a mockery of it, Religious Dispatches is taking the opportunity to do something completely unoriginal: slam the Republican Party.

It is very easy to mock Jonathan Sharkey. But while the media has treated his exploits ultimately as a fairly standard human-interest piece, perhaps we should take Sharkey more seriously as an index of what American politics have become. Increasingly polarized and ugly political rhetoric, along with a partisan willingness to win at any cost, has changed our idea of what a viable political candidate is. Toss in some populist outrage and the ability to have all news filtered through liked-minded pundits and bloggers and you get the toxic environment from which Sharkey emerged.

“The Impaler” arose during the Bush Administration, seeking popular appeal by promising to kill an unpopular president. And while he has continued this strategy during the Obama era, sadly he no longer seems nearly as crazed and peripheral next to the extreme fringes of the Tea Party movement. Simply put, violent rhetoric has become more acceptable. Progressives have criticized Sarah Palin for a political “hit list” on her Facebook page that features gun crosshairs over the home states of targeted Democrats. Sharkey and Palin are in effect both catering to the same sentiment. While Palin has never called for the impalement of Harry Reid, her supporters might not take offense if she did.

Seriously? Is that really how these people are trying to spin this? That this guy is somehow indicative of conservatism because he’s calling for people to be impaled?

This bothers me on multiple levels. The first, which is most obvious, I have already mentioned: shouldn’t the article be focusing on the crazy being linked to paganism, instead of desperately stretching to link the crazy to conservatism?

But the stretching also bothers me. Was his call for impaling President Bush somehow okay? What extremist and fringe rhetoric has been coming from the Tea Party to make our intrepid author suspect them of wanting to impale people? Does anybody with a ration mind really think that Sarah Palin marking key political districts with crosshairs — something both parties have done for decades — means that she want to impale her political opponents?

I’m not wanting to spark a political debate here. What I want to spark is a debate about just how far out your rhetoric can get before people call shenanigans. This is a perfect opportunity to have a discussion on how to deal with crazy people that appropriate the names of legitimate religious movements to gain notoriety. Instead it turned into a baseless attack on a political movement that is completely unrelated to said crazy person, using rhetoric that said crazy person might find reasonable.

Follow the argument:

  1. This person is crazy
  2. He wants to impale his enemies
  3. He says he is a pagan
  4. He says he is a Republican
  5. I am not a Republican
  6. Therefore, Republicans are all crazy, and Sarah Palin wants to impale her enemies.

Huh?

The article closes with this bit of wisdom:

This raises a critical question: Is it anachronistic that Sharkey has modeled himself on a grim 15th-century monarch or has America regressed to a more medieval idea of law and order? Like the vampire of legend, Sharkey could not have entered our political arena without an invitation. When we abandon civil discourse in favor of vicious polemics, we summon The Impaler.

What? he couldn’t have entered politics without an invitation? Does the author of this piece understand how politics works? You fill out forms, get some signatures, and you’re on a ballot. Where is the “invitation”? Thousands of random loons run for public office. What is telling here is that this particular nut has never won a race.

And the last line I quote cracks me up the most. Is this what he imagines to be civil discourse? The whole article is nothing more than “vicious polemic,” which again is a shame, since it wastes an opportunity to address a legitimate issue in the pagan community.

I’m not sure which bothers me more: the fact that this article was written, or the fact that Wren found it so noteworthy.

And quite frankly, a couple of the comments at Wren’s Nest don’t get much better:

So everyone, including all the die-hard Republicans here, thinks this “vampire” is just a huge joke… Well, put this into your brains and set ’em on “Stop And Think About It For More Than One Minute”:

The only REAL difference between him and the rest of the Right-wing Republican Conservative whack-nuts is that this guy ain’t afraid to PUBLICLY state what he really wants to do to everyone he don’t happen to like.

That’s right — a lot of the RwRC whack-nuts want to be able to execute “illegal aliens”, gays, queers, “traitors”, “commie sympathizers”, “socialists”…and everyone who “dares” to not toe their politico-ideaological line.

Oh, did I say there is only one real difference? Sorry, there are two, actually…under the rule of any of the other RwRC whack-nuts, the “Vampire” would be executed, too — for not being a “Christian”.

I can only assume that this statement is based upon an exhaustive representational survey, in which the majority of Republicans answered “Yes, I would love to execute my political opponents.” I am extremely bothered that this kind of rhetoric can be found on a website frequented by people who use magic to attain their goals. With such beliefs about Republicans, would this person feel justified in using magic to attack them?


Fortunately, most of the responses were much more reasonable:

What puzzles me is that this idiocy makes it onto religious news sites. Why is he on RD? Why is he on Witchvox? He obviously won’t be nominated!

Focusing on Sharkey does three things:

1. It reinforces his own self-importance, and I think we all agree he’s had enough of that.

2. It makes it look as though we take him seriously. This can do some very serious damage to our cause of acceptance–people don’t want to live around the insane, or around pedophiles, and if they equate Sharkey with Wicca or Satanism, both groups will be universally derided as twisted, perverted freaks by outsiders.

3. It forces us to look at his ridiculous dramatic posing, which resembles the Highlander or Dracula far less than it does a 12-year-old LARPer with a Nerf sword. I don’t see how even the most desperate teenager could have ever found this man attractive.

Amen and Amen. So mote it be.

I’ve had enough of Mr. Sharkey, and from others’ comments, so have they. He’s a nutcase, and a potentially dangerous one. And every word of publicity he gets just feeds his delusion that he’s ‘An Important Person.’ Including –especially– here on WitchVox. Here’ he can not only delude himself that he’s Important, he can delude himself that he’s part of the Pagan Community. Even, that he represents us.

Please, can we stop feeding this man’s ego? We know what’s going to happen to him — he’s eventually going to wind up either in prison or the loony bin. I’d like to see a moratorium on articles about him here.

Another brilliant point. Not only is this distracting from more important issues, but it is giving this tool the popularity he wants. Of course, I’m here talking about him, too, but I see it this way: 1) I’m bringing him up incidentally while trying to discuss another issue, and 2) I firmly believe that stupidity needs to be fought, and that this guy should be ridiculed openly and often. Yes, he wants publicity, but he wants to be taken seriously. He should be laughed at. Constantly.

Someboby tell me that the Pagans in his area have made it VERY clear that he is not representative of any pagan faith and does not speak for “US”. Blessed Mother, why don’t they lock up people like this. He’s a danger to young women and apparently on the radar of Homeland Security! Although, I don’t actually know how difficult it would be to have that distinction! 🙂

And I think this is where the ridicule comes in. Let the world know he has no legitimate place.

And again, this isn’t about politics, or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s about the fact that a person who is obviously very disturbed and potentially dangerous is using religion to gain attention — and this is being spun by an author at a religious website as a political concern.

As for Sharkey, he should be ridiculed and laughed at anywhere he appears, and then dismissed and forgotten.


Witches, Crones, Sirens

On May 9th, in Berkeley, California, the radical leftist group Code Pink, as part of its long-running campaign against a Marine recruiting office, decided to cast a spell to drive the recruiters out and end the conflict in Iraq, and presumable end all military conflict and masculine aggression in the world.  Code pink has been waging its own war against this particular recruiting office for some time, being granted exotic permits from the left-leaning city council to set up their protests in the recruiter’s own parking lot and doing all they can to harass the Marine and disrupt their work.  Apparently, simply giving people the option of joining the military is an evil that cannot be tolerated.

The political considerations here, however, are not what interests me — people on the far left demonizing anything to do with military service or freedom of action is nothing new.  I’m interested in the stereotypical and pseudo-religious dressing they decided to give to this particular “protest.”

The item on the Code Pink website states:

Witches, Crones, Sirens come to the MRS today to cast spells, weave magic, invoke the foremothers, share wisdom, lead rituals to banish war and violence and to bring peace to the MRS, to protect our youth from the powerful spells of pro-war forces, to lead the men of the marine recruiting station off into the oceans of peace! Some witches, crones and sirens are willing to risk arrest, others are not. We call on all crones, witches and sirens to come to the MRS, to bring your energy, your wisdom, your fierce determination to end war now and bring peace to our world. Contact Kali at sylviasoven@yahoo.com or Marie at keeptahoepink@yahoo.com


This smacks of the radical feminist attitudes toward witchcraft that have lingered since the emergence of the neopagan movement.  The fact that Wicca actually acknowledged a goddess led many feminists to conclude that it only needed a goddess, and they developed such wonderful pseudo-anthropological theories as GAM and patriarchal dominator societies.  Wicca and witchcraft, they decided, were not means of attaining religious enlightenment, but feminist political empowerment.  The image of the witch was appropriated as the image of the empowered womyn, who weilded the forces of creation that men could not comprehend, and thus feared and suppressed.  This is the attitude that led that nice Dianic seperatist so many years ago insist that I was I liar when I said I practiced magic, because men simply can’t do magic.

Please keep your radical feminist politics out of my religion. Yes, Starhawk, this means you and your Code Pink club, too.  Oh, did I mention that Starhawk is a prominent member of Code Pink?  I’d have hoped that as such a high profile member of the neopagan community, she’d want to project a more comprehensive image of neopaganism than simply as a feminists plaything.  Then again, I’ve read her books.

It gets better, though.  Take a look at this picture from the “event.”

Do those look like the peaceful, white-light witches that so many have worked to build the image of over the decade?  Do they look like empowered womyn who are seeking to bring peace, enightenment, and understanding to heal a bunch of warmongering hypermasculine brutes?  Or do they look a bit more like the stereotype of the evil, cruel witches of past folklore, who use their power to control and harm others?  Do they look enlightened and peaceful in the least, or do they look hysterical?  Thanks for the positive PR for our religion, ladies.

I’m not one to want to restrict the magical or religious practice of others.  Hoestly, if you feel that you have the obligation and the ego, I mean ability, to cast a spell to end a war, go right ahead.  I’ve considered using spellwork to support some political initiative I’d like to see go through, and I don’t see why othesr should abstain.  But that’s not what this is.  This is a group of radicals and hysterics appropriating the religious practices of others for their political purposes.  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not be compared to a bunch of hysteric women who have nothing better to do than break into a Marine recruiting station dressed like the wicked witch of the west and sitting on a hot pink circle.  Can you please make your political points without cultuvating negative stereotypes of my religion?  What, has the noble savage image of the Native Americans been overdone?

Here’s the story on this: Link.
A response by pagan author AJ Drew (who does initially seem to erroneously believe they were casting a spell to kill the Marines):
Link.

A Larger verson of the above photo, which sisplays the ridiculous “spell book” and the hot pink magic circle (which I admit looks kind of cool)