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Nov 7 2010

Some Quick Basics on Heathenism

Many neo-pagans have attitudes regarding the various “heathen” faiths that range from suspicious to openly hostile. Much of this is due to some misrepresentations of heathery as a whole by academia and the media. A quick personal story will illustrate this.

A little while back Village Voice “journalist” Steven Thrasher contacted me for an interview regarding the candidacy of Dan Halloran for a city council position in New York City, Queens I think. We arranged a time to do a phone interview and and I spent almost an hour talking religion with Thrasher and made three things very clear

1) I was not a Heathen but I was (very) loosely affiliated online with some. I myself am a Pagan with no connection to any organized faith.

2) As I am Bi-racial and not shy about it I conclude that most Heathens, and even some “folkish” ones, aren’t racists since they’ve been nothing but polite and honorable to me

3) The idea that all Heathery is some sort of neo-Nazi cult is bigotry that was spread by certain academics (like Daniel Levitas who wrote the awful Terrorist Next Door) looking to cash in on the fear of Nazis in the 1990s and some Wiccans who ran with the smear for political and economic reasons.

When the piece came out I had a few of my more salacious quotes wedged between “experts” claiming anyone who ever worshipped Woden was a neo-Nazi and a page long examination into the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang and it was strongly inferred that I was a racist Heathen.

Halloran, who won his seat by the way, belonged to a kindred with Black members but Thrasher’s interest in doing a hatchet job on a Republican ended up further cementing the image of Heathenism as one step away from White Supremacist groups in the minds of most.

But that’s not the Heathenism I know. Thor Sheil uploaded this quick 20pg basic guide to Heathenism on Scribd and it’s a great place to start for Pagans looking to learn more about this tradition. It also gives a brief description of Heathen views on magical practice that practitioners of all kinds might be interested in:

What is Heathenism

Nov 7 2010

Akkadian Exorcism for Sickness Induced by Magick

This exorcism is a translation of an ancient Akkadian incantations translated by scholars in the late 19 and early 20th centuries. It is believed to date back to around 1800 BCE.

I first came across this particular charm in E.M. Butler’s magnificent Ritual Magic which translated the charm into English from Kiesewetter’s  Der Occultismus des Alterums. I have had modest success with it alone as a chant and others report it is easily blended into larger rituals of your own design.

The Seven are Born in the mountains of the West,
The Seven go down in the mountains of the East,
Their Throne is in the depths of the earth …
They are the instruments of the wrath of the gods,
Disturbing the high road, they encamp by the way,
The foes, the foes:
Seven are they! Seven are they! Seven are they! …
They are the day of mourning and of noxious winds!
They are the day of fate, and the devastating wind which
precedes it!
They are the children of vengeance, the sons of revenge,
They are the forerunners of the plague …
They are instruments of the wrath of Nin-kigal,
They are the flaming pillar of fire which works evil on earth.

There are some phrases missing from the original tablets. Butler goes into great depth describing the meanings of the references above and she’s well worth a read just for her commentary on these almost pre-historic incantations.

Oct 25 2010

Oklahoma Shocked to Discover Satanists are Kind of Childish

The devil you say! Pun intended.

If you have spent a significant amount of time in the occult community you have met Satanists, who are not part of any individual religion but more of a collection of left hand pathers who adopt the name to describe any number of theologies. This includes the radical atheism of some Church of Satan members who expressly believe that there is no Satan.

I have known and been friendly with a few self-described Satanists and some were decent enough but most were a bit childish and unsophisticated, especially in regard to their Art. Most were not so much pro-Satan as they were anti-Christian and anti-Wiccan. A few were literal devil worshippers, but in reality most people who describe themselves as Satanist are simply being pretentious.

The Internet has changed that in some respects. Easy access to a wider variety of materials than The Satanic Bible had given the “Satanic Underground” more depth than they had in the 80s when I first came to know many. Diana Vera’s Theistic Satanism was on the forefront of the resurgence of a more occult based Satanism which coincided with the sudden popularity of Demonolatry and Luciferian Witchcraft. While these trends created a (somewhat troubling) new seriousness in the theological underpinnings and magical practices of Satanist, culturally the Satanist has never progressed from the days of Anton LaVey’s magically meaningless orgies disguised as rituals.

So it came as no surprise to me that “Satanists” created some sort of scene in Oklahoma which seemed designed to irk Christians. When said Christians did what the Satanists wanted them to do (pay attention to them) the Satanists reacted like scolded children:

The ritual began at 8 p.m. Thursday and drew plenty of controversy.Before making it inside where the Satanists were practicing their religion, prayers were heard outside by groups opposing the ritual.Chiquita Carbajal said she is against the ritual.

“No place for Satan in Oklahoma,” she said.One woman outside began screaming at the Christians to kill each other and rape children.

God doesn’t exist,” she said.

Sad really. Then as icing on this childish cake the Satanists, who claimed that all would be able to witness their “Blasphemy Ritual” locked the doors so that no one could see them do whatever it was they were supposedly doing in there.

Which you and I both know was nothing.

There are indications that Satanism is maturing and we may all hold our different opinions as to what that means, but right now no one should be shocked to discover that your local Satanists are more interested in offending you than Satan’s will.

There’s a video report at KOCO-TV.

Oct 8 2010

Witchcraft in England in the 1600s

Neo-Pagans often use the phrase “the burning times” but most have no firm grasp on the history of Witchcraft prosecutions (which stretch back into Pagan Roman times at least) or modern occult history. This is largely due to the surprising resistance of the modern Neo-pagan community to allowing themselves to be exposed to academic, historically accurate materials regarding their new found faith. This is one of the key differences between the “old school” of Wicca and Neo-Paganism and today’s Hot Topic Pagans.

Le Loup, a historical re-enactor who runs the excellent blog A Woodsrunner’s Diary, posted this video at the blog for the Armidale New England Colonial Living History Group (1680-1760). It is an excellent overview of one of the most infamous Witch hunters in history, Matthew Hopkins, and a excellent introduction to for young and new pagans to the history of Witchcraft prior to it being legalized. It features Cambridge Anthropologist Alan Macfarlane who made a career studying Witchcraft belief.

Part I:

Part II:

An interesting end to the Hopkins story is his death by “consumption” which most people nowadays take to be tuberculosis but is known by practitioners to also describe the wasting away of victims of curses.