Tag Archives: mainstream culture

Omnium Gatherum: June 18th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 18th, 2014

Moon, clouds, smoke, skeleton hunt in the air from Restoring the Lost Sense: Jun 12, 2014, Craig Conley, Abecedarian
“Moon, clouds, smoke, skeleton hunt in the air” from Restoring the Lost Sense: Jun 12, 2014 — Craig Conley, Abecedarian


  • The Beast is Back — Erik Davis and Maja D’aoust interview Gary Lachman, Expanding Mind

    “Thelemic visions, magickal texts, and the tedium of transgression: a talk with occult historian Gary Lachman about his new biography Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and the Wickedest Man in the World (Tarcher).”

  • Theosophical Attitudes towards Science: Past and Present — Egil Asprem

    As is typical for esoteric movements of the modern period, the Theosophical current exhibits a deep ambivalence towards the professionalized natural sciences. Active in the middle of the so-called “clash” between science and religion in the latter half of the 19th century, Blavatsky and the early Theosophists sought a critical reconciliation, guided by the quest for esoteric “higher truth.” The negotiation with science and religion was clearly present from Blavatsky’s first major work, Isis Unveiled (1877), which dedicated one volume to a criticism of each, and has continued to twist and turn in various directions until the present day.

    “Science” is, in short, a centrally important yet ambiguous “Other” for the entire Theosophical current.

  • Opting Out of the System — Inominandum, Strategic Sorcery

    The “system” is a house of cards that is perpetrated by force and fraud. I think that taking a stand against that in terms of magic and lifestyle is a worthy thing. But just like I say to people that reject materialism as anathema to spirituality: You must really live that view for it to have meaning.

    It is not a matter of your values and your magic being in line. It is a matter of making your life be about something.

  • Where the Occult & Pagan Community Lost the Plot — Nick Farrell

    The occult community is doomed to be hijacked by right-wing nut-jobs and other idiots because it has become paralysed by its own desire to be “spiritual.”

  • Theater as Plague: Radovan Ivšić and the Theater of the Weird — Jon Graham, Weird Fiction Review

    Like its counterpart in fiction, the theater of the weird exists on the margins of mainstream culture, where its deadly accuracy when targeting the shibboleths of the cultural consensus can be safely muffled before its subversive potency does any visible damage.

    For Ivšić, theatrical space offers the ideal spot for opening that space within the spectator that allows experience of individual singularity not as a rupture, but as a vitally essential difference that makes it possible for the world to breathe. He saw the play as the result of a dark conspiracy between the world and the individual, who intentionally withdraws from this relationship in order to return by means of the Trojan horse of fiction.

  • D&D Yoga — swi in collaboration with Sarah Dahnke and Eric Hagan [HT Erik Davis]

    D&D Yoga can be played in many ways. The varying flavors range from that of a guided narrative while people do yoga to a far more interactive experience where players are in conversation and play a more active role in the campaign. For the first trial, we thought it would be wise to veer closer to the guided narrative side of things. Players still made decisions and rolled dice to dictate a few directions that the story took but generally we wanted to see how the experiment would play out and then build from there. As we proceed into future events we are building more interactivity into the game.

  • Appeals Court Finds Scanning To Be Fair Use — NewYorkCountryLawyer, Slashdot

    scanning whole books and making them searchable for research use is a fair use

    the creation of a searchable, full text database is a ‘quintessentially transformative use’, that it was ‘reasonably necessary’ to make use of the entire works, that maintaining four copies of the database was reasonably necessary as well, and that the research library did not impair the market for the originals.

  • «Dracula è sepolto a Napoli, ecco dov’è la tomba» — Paolo Barbuto, Il Gazzettino

    «Il conte Dracula è morto a Napoli, è stato sepolto nel cuore della città ed è ancora qui»: c’è un gruppo di persone che da settimane percorre strade e vicoli a caccia del segreto.

    E non sono ragazzini sognatori, fanatici, esaltati, ma serissimi studiosi dell’università di Tallinn in Estonia. Sono convinti di ciò che fanno, sostengono di avere già in mano i documenti che provano la verità, così hanno avviato una campagna di ricerche sul territorio.

    “Count Dracula died in Naples, was buried in the heart of the city and is still here”: there is a group of people who for weeks along the streets and alleys in search of the secret.

    And kids are not dreamers, fanatics, exalted, but very serious scholars of the University of Tallinn in Estonia. They believe in what they do, they claim to have already got the documents to prove the truth, so they launched a campaign of research in the area.

  • From Algernon Charles Swinburne’s Songs Before Sunrise at “Save His Own Soul He Hath No Star” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    His soul is even with the sun
    Whose spirit and whose eye are one,
    Who seeks not stars by day, nor light
    And heavy heat of day by night.
    Him can no God cast down, whom none
    Can lift in hope beyond the height
    Of fate and nature and things done
    By the calm rule of might and right
    That bids men be and bear and do,
    And die beneath blind skies or blue.

  • Two giant planets may cruise unseen beyond Pluto” — Nicola Jenner, NewScientist; from the where-is-your-astrology-now dept.

    The monsters are multiplying. Just months after astronomers announced hints of a giant “Planet X” lurking beyond Pluto, a team in Spain says there may actually be two supersized planets hiding in the outer reaches of our solar system.

    When potential dwarf planet 2012 VP113 was discovered in March, it joined a handful of unusual rocky objects known to reside beyond the orbit of Pluto. These small objects have curiously aligned orbits, which hints that an unseen planet even further out is influencing their behaviour. Scientists calculated that this world would be about 10 times the mass of Earth and would orbit at roughly 250 times Earth’s distance from the sun.

    Now Carlos and Raul de la Fuente Marcos at the Complutense University of Madrid in Spain have taken another look at these distant bodies. As well as confirming their bizarre orbital alignment, the pair found additional puzzling patterns. Small groups of the objects have very similar orbital paths. Because they are not massive enough to be tugging on each other, the researchers think the objects are being “shepherded” by a larger object in a pattern known as orbital resonance.

  • ‘A Funny Kind Of Relationship’ Alan Moore On Iain Sinclair — Nick Talbot, The Quietus

    Whilst not quite a household name, instead occupying a liminal status maintained by a principled refusal to be involved in any Hollywood adaptations of his work, Moore is widely regarded as the finest writer in the medium, and it is difficult to imagine how the comic book landscape would look without the enduring influence of his exceptional work. But it is equally difficult to imagine how From Hell (1989), his first major work beyond the costumed vigilantes and superheroes genre, and also his Magnum Opus, would have looked had he not discovered the work of Iain Sinclair. A quintessential writer’s writer, Sinclair is a Hendrix-cum-Kevin Shields of the English language, mixing scholarly historical research, formal training and technical linguistic virtuosity with a wildly impressionistic, stream-of-consciousness prose-poetry delivery that is dazzling, dizzying, and for those with literary pretensions, frankly dispiriting in its apparently effortless genius. Sinclair’s subject is predominantly London, most often East London, and the relationship between its history, its continually shifting cityscape and the psyche of those who inhabit it. Sharing similar concerns, themes and stylistic flourishes with Peter Ackroyd, both with works appearing in the eighties and nineties, this uniquely East London-focused micro-genre came to be dubbed ‘psychogeography’. Soon complemented by Will Self and others, the movement could be interpreted as a response to the corporatist regeneration of London’s East End by the Thatcherite Conservative government in the 1980s. The spatial and historical density of London allows for an unusually potent and apparently limitless store of inspiration, but what marks out Sinclair in particular is his ability to see patterns, sigils and correspondences where perhaps the rest of us see dog shit, broken fencing and inane graffiti.

  • Eating Flower Spirits” — Sarah Anne Lawless

    Summer flowers are brought inside, painted the colours of sarees and gypsy vardos, and fill tea pots and canning jars. Nighshade, poppies, red clover, comfrey, daisies, sage flowers, and foxgloves. Some from the yard, some escaped from gardens into the neglected back alleys of the old neighbourhood. I know that by taking them home I am consuming them, making their already short lives even shorter, but I try my best to ask sweetly for their blessings before I snip off their heads and bring them home. I try my best to let them know why and what will be done with their beautiful sacrifice – their souls burned up like incense to be eaten by my own beloved spirits – eaters of flowers.

  • What Athens Has Got To Do With Jerusalem: The Marriage of Greek and Jewish Themes in the Apocryphon of John” — Dan Attrell

    This paper presents a summary overview of how the Apocryphon of John, an apocalyptic work drawn from the Nag Hammadi Library, is explicitly the product of an syncretism between Greek language/philosophy and Jewish mythology/mysticism in the 1st century CE.

  • Coincidentia Oppositorum: Exploring the Dialogue in the Recent Historical Literature of Medieval and Early Modern European Alchemy — Dan Attrell

    The study of alchemy has posed a number of complications for historians. Among historians of science who wrote as late as the mid-20th century, alchemy was perceived to be a mystical philosophy, an obstacle to the progress of „rational‟ chemistry, and even a pathology of the mind. This rather out-dated tendency toward knee-jerk dismissals has, however, been recently curtailed as the wider community of medievalists and early modern historians began to understand alchemy on its own terms, having placed it firmly within in the context of an ‘alchemical worldview.’ The recent dialogue among historians concerning alchemy in Europe has chiefly been directed toward (a) understanding of what ‘alchemy’ actually meant to the people who lived amongst it or practiced it themselves; (b) determining to what extent alchemy was interrelated with the religious consciousness of its practitioners; and most noticeably (c) reconciling or collapsing a number of exaggerated, artificial, and misleading dichotomies within our modern perceptions of medieval and early modern alchemy. Was European alchemy a ‘theoretical’ or a ‘practical’ art? Was it a ‘spiritual’ or a ‘material’ pursuit? Was it a ‘medicinal’ or a ‘metallurgical’ practice? How and when was ‘alchemy’ differentiated from ‘chemistry’? Were they ‘on the fringes’ of learned society, or were they at the cutting edge of knowledge as defined by traditional institutions? Were alchemists outright ‘frauds’ (Betrüger) or misguided ‘fools’?

    These are all questions which a handful of historians have recently tackled and shown to be somewhat misguided. Such dichotomies arose from the dialogue of recent centuries wherein scholars and theorists from various disciplines began exploring and reconceptualising alchemy and its history; each angle, each discipline, each perspective offered some rather rigid model for understanding alchemy, and many of these models crystallized into opposing camps. Alchemy, however, was never a static or monolithic pursuit and thus eludes any attempt to give such simple definitions. In response to this problem, it is this paper’s goal to flesh out the most recent scholarly dialogue – to outline and synthesize the most pertinent points made in the recent historical literature concerning alchemy. What I hope to show is how the most recent historical research tells us that ‘alchemy’ meant many different things to many different people at many different junctures in history, even among the relatively isolated practitioners of Europe. With no source of official authority such as the Church or the University to govern alchemy as a branch of knowledge, the art was free to take on and accumulate a number of its practitioners’ idiosyncrasies. Free as it was, as a model to explore and communicate features of the known universe, European alchemy was a rich and dynamic practice which contained within itself all of the artificial polarities mentioned above.

  • Rewilding Witchcraft — Peter Grey, Scarlet Imprint

    We have mistaken social and economic change for the result of our own advocacy. Marching in lock-step with what used to be called mainstream, but is now mono-culture, we have disenchanted ourselves, handed over our teeth and claws and bristling luxuriant furs. I will not be part of this process, because to do so is to be complicit with the very forces that are destroying all life on earth. It is time for Witchcraft not to choose, but to remember which side it is on in this struggle.

  • London’s calling: the city as character in urban fantasy” — Ian ‘Cat’ Vincent, Spiral Nature

    Each of these series draws on what I would say are the main characteristics of London’s soul. It’s old – continually inhabited since before Roman times; it’s powerful — but nowhere near as much as its past as the heart of an empire; it’s stubborn — enduring centuries of hardship and prosperity, adapting to huge changes in population and traumas ranging from plague to fire to Nazi bombs to the very modern stresses of wealth inequality. London changes — it has to — but there’s some core of its personality that always remains.

    Of course, London as a whole is the sum of its parts, none of which are quite alike — the genius loci of Camden differs greatly from those of Catford and Chelsea. But each also touch the greater gestalt of the place. Inevitably, the best way to grasp the specific psychogeography of a place is to walk its streets.

  • Weekly Apocryphote: June 8-14 — April D DeConick, Forbidden Gospels

    You have not come to suffer. Rather you have come to escape from what binds you. Release yourself, and what has bound you will be undone. Save yourself, so that what is (in you) may be saved … Why are you hesitating?


If you’d like to participate in the next Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.

You wouldn’t hit a guy in a fluffy bunny costume would you?

It seems to me that the wider Pagan and Occult community has been using Wiccans as human shields. Nowadays it’s not “you wouldn’t hit a guy with glasses, would you?” it’s “you wouldn’t hit a guy in a fluffy bunny costume, would you?”

Somewhere mainstream culture has internalized the message that Paganism is equivalent to Wicca, and it seems like that might just be a matter of convenience that those Pagans in the mainstream have enjoyed the mistake. This is especially true whenever there’s some new ridiculous bit of hysteria which paints anything Pagan as Satanic or whatever epithet meant as a shortcut to thinking is applied within the time limit of a sound bite.

These days it seems to me that Wiccans are beards for not just dark Pagans but are being put into the line of fire for everyone in the wider community. Heck, Pagans are a varied and diverse group of strange bedfellows, so to speak; not to be so easily signified by a small sample.

(Maybe Pagans are an equivalent to the Anti-Federalists, a rabble rebellion collected together under a label for convenience because they’re allied in demanding to be heard, seeking personal rights and freedoms from the tyranny of conformity imposed by privilege and power and the mainstream. The joke that any two Pagans have 3 opinions is a kind of truism.)


Not too long ago there was an uproar over the dabbling done by O’Donnell in what she claimed was witchcraft. The general response I remember hearing from Pagans in the media was, “That’s ridiculous because whatever it was she was doing wasn’t real witchcraft! Witchcraft is all about fluffy bunnies!” That whole thing about the dabbling of O’Donnell as a witch seriously bothered me, and at the time I just didn’t mention it anywhere or to anyone; but I find myself thinking about it again.

Of course, the more recent and truly stupid insanity of the pedophiles in Wales that made the news is an example of what the community is really afraid of being linked to, characterized by and treated like. And, to be sure, in that case the acts of insane people have been used to colour the character of something they happen to be abusing in their implementation of the insane. I mean, they wore clothes and eat food too, so let’s all become nudists and breatharians in response to the implied and contagious evilness of clothing and food. The colocation of insanity or criminality with X does not make X insane or criminal. Insane pedophiles are insane pedophiles, and there’s nothing more that needs to be said than this tautology to demonstrate that their opinions on anything else is suspect. And yet, it seems like the logic of the media hype engine is the opposite: that somehow the opinion of insane pedophiles is suddenly the most authoritative on any topics about which they might be ranting than other more generally sane voices who might be trying to speak. I blame the media … and: Oh, the humanity!

However, beyond whatever distain I might have for the criminal and the insane and the liars out there, like Welsh pedophiles and politicians like O’Donnell; it’s the reaction from the wider Pagan community that bothered me about these things even more. The reaction from the community was essentially a broad and universal shock, shock I say, at being accused of anything resembling any unwholesome activity whatsoever, being accused of anything more suspicious than a fluffy bunny petting. It’s the Wiccan Wookie defense. Nothing to fear here, lookee cute bunny! Cute, 6-foot tall, very hairy bunny … with a crossbow; but, hey, it’s fluffy, so, you know, it’s a bunny! (For the life of me, it never occurred to me until just now that Wookies were actually Púca. Or, maybe highly evolved Snuffleupaguses … Snuffleupagi? Snuffleupagans! Pagan Furries FTW! Just, you know, wholesome and sane … *ahem*)

Okay, so here’s where the inane, weak, unsubtle thinkers are going to go off the deep end because I need to make a strong distinction between the baby and the bath water. Throughout I’m not suggesting a defense for heinous acts like pedophilia or politics, to which, if current events are any indication, criminal and insane people seem so attracted. I’m rather talking about the willingness of the Pagan community to jettison anything remotely dark or uncomfortable in order to avoid looking anything like that which might be confused with things criminal or insane. I’m not saying that real Pagans are into pedophilia or politics. Rather, I’m saying that the fact that there are pedophiles and politicians in the world is not a reason to reject the edgy parts of Paganism as if those parts didn’t exist. I’m saying that these two things are not the same, and are not related and should not be confused; and to the extent that they are confused, it should behoove everyone to help those intellectually challenged among the population to understand there is a difference. Or, at the least, it should be the intellectually challenged who should be identified as the problem, not the edgy pagans being falsely identified as something they are not by hysterical morons.

In understandably denying any connection whatsoever to ridiculous or heinous acts, the community feigns, with a straight face, the nigh incomprehensibility of engaging in anything which might require more than a G-rating. And that’s just disingenuous, because if anything the reality of Paganism is worthy of a solid R at the box office, or it’s just more New Age noise. Whether it’s a Gnostic Mass or a Great Rite, even symbolically, there’s something going on that someone somewhere would get uptight about. Moreover, once on the slippery slide away from truth, all other real and true expressions become suspect.

Look, here’s one thing: people kinda know when someone’s not being honest. They may not be able to prove it, but I think there’s some sense where people just generally know something’s not on the up and up. They may be motivated to suspend disbelief for some reason, but I think deep down people know even when really practiced liars lie. So, when Pagans go out in the world and pretend that there’s nothing edgy about Paganism, I think people’s internal alarms go off. I think it does more harm even in the successful denial than would the unsuccessful attempt to disabuse the morons about their faulty reasoning. It’s like speaking truth to power, one has to speak truth even when speaking truth itself is edgy and dangerous. (Mind you, I’m not counseling the kind of suicide in the face of overwhelming mobs against which even Martin Luther King Jr realized nonviolence would painfully fail; but that there’s need to stand up against irrationality and injustices and singling out.)


Also, while I’m talking about this, I should be clear that I really haven’t experienced anything that I myself would call evil. Even though, no doubt, there are some reactionary idiots somewhere who would even claim eating marshmallow Peeps™ is a form of pure EVIL™; and gods know I’ve enjoyed my share of brutally microwaved Peeps in my instant s’mores (Mea culpa! Mea culpa! Kyrie eleison!); I don’t really know from first hand experience that there’s any or a lot of what I might think of as evil action going on. (Frankly, I’ve experienced things far more likely to be characterized by an observer as dark or evil that had nothing soever to do with esoteric practices in any way than I have esoteric practices that might be characterized as such.) But, that doesn’t mean I think it’s not possible, or even likely, that somewhere there’s something going on. (I mean, who am I kidding? I was pretty much oblivious to the pervasive cocaine use in the bathrooms of my high school, so what do I know?) Throughout history, one person’s angel is another’s demon; but there seem to also be people doing various kinds of edge-seeking who are unfairly demonized. I’ve experienced a lot of edge-seeking and intentionally iconoclastic behaviour, but not really anything evil by any definition I’d use except in jest or intentional hyperbole. But, even still, I do recognize that there are true evils going on in the world. Again, I’m not defending true evil here, but rather defending edge-seeking work.

I can imagine that there are people engaged in activity they intentionally and seriously hope is evil and that I would consider calling evil. I also imagine that of these people there are a vanishingly small percentile who are contentious practitioners, where the rest are thrill-seekers of some kind or another seeking to do things that shock. In regard to those looking to shock, if it weren’t one thing it would be another; it’s the ends not the means that matter, or rather its not the method but the image. For the thrill-seekers, the trappings are just accidental.

Then, again, there’s also, I have no doubt, a subsection of those thrill-seekers who are desperately in need of professional help, who are engaged in activities due to mental imbalance; but moreover those people would be mentally imbalanced no matter what activity they were doing, so the specific activity is actually entirely irrelevant. Crazy people are crazy. Period. For these people it’s crazy turtles all the way down, and they’re all out of turtles.


One of the most recent documents added to the collection at The Hermetic Library is a story by Yeats called The Sorcerers. This purports to be a personal narrative of an encounter with some “dark” practices. Within the story, Yeats talks about those engaged in evil acts, and details some practices of animal sacrifice and communing with “evil powers”

“The sorcerer then took a black cock out of a basket, and cut its throat with one of the daggers, letting the blood fall into the large bowl. He opened a book and began an invocation, which was neither English nor Irish, and had a deep guttural sound.” [via]

Practically a scene straight from Maya Daren’s Divine Horsemen, but, you know, Irish.


Okay, I’m definitely not claiming that this story related by Yeats is fact. Who knows? He was a writer so he wrote, right? Whether the experience was true, partially true or fancy isn’t my point. It’s what got me thinking about this again, and why I ended up writing this. Here’s a story with animal sacrifice, and yet I found myself questioning the idea of posting that section of the story as a quote to the public forum of The Hermetic Library’s facebook page. I realized that there might be reactions from reactionaries. I ended up posting that very quote to the feed, in part because I was thinking along the lines in what I’m writing now. So far, there’s been a predictably juvenile response to the fact that the words “black cock” appear in the quote; but other than that I’ve not seen the reaction I thought might appear.

This self-editing seems pretty widespread. I know I’ve sometimes skipped over posting some interesting quote or another from a new document I’ve added to the library because of how it might be hysterically perceived, not just in the context of EVIL™, but in other ways by those reacting to a quote who mobilizing their righteous indignation without bothering to explore the context or complexity or, frankly, maybe even without reading the actual quote itself. People have gotten indignant about one quote or another and that usually says more about them than it does about any particular quote per se.


(Some of this is learned defensive behaviour, and it’s a reaction to how some pretty insistent people use quotes as a way to push particular agendas. So, some of the reactivity I’ve seen to quotes I’ve posted seems to be about assuming that I’m expressing a hidden agenda in my choice of quote. This is one of the insidiously damaging things that I see happening in the online community as a result of the behaviour of those who use quasi-contextual or at least heavily curated quotes as a maneuver to prove something or other else they want to force home. These quote pushers are not people interested in discussion, but are rather interested in using quotes to stop discussion; as appeals to authority mustered to silence those ideas that they don’t want to hear expressed or to force conversation in a particular way. Or at the least, they use quotes to convince themselves of the righteousness of their crusade. It’s about intent and motive, and those can be obfuscated by façades of reasonableness and tactical syntax.

There was one time, for example, that I posted something from a period piece by Crowley, and was accused of valourizing misogyny. My thought is that not posting anything that might be seen as mysogynistic would be to, in effect, white-wash over that, and would actually in the omission do more to valourize or at least normalize that as non-exceptional, as not worth mentioning. But, moreover, it is by posting and hopefully thereby talking about such things that a more accurate and broad perspective is formed, and a parallax is created between one expression of thought to another.

In another case, I posted a particular quote with a link to the source and someone responded saying, “Where did you get that idea?” Um, try clicking on the helpfully provided link to the source to find out, I thought, and read it yourself. But it was clear that the response was assuming that I necessarily by posting agreed with the statement and was pushing some kind of agenda. They were triggered and taking revenge in their response.

Really, this is the basic stuff of academia, people. I become increasingly convinced we don’t need universal service, but rather universal University. If only I had faith in the success of University to do the job … Hell, even at a place like Evergreen they could mostly only create a conducive environment, not ensure a result. There were still those who couldn’t, wouldn’t and didn’t. Woe to the hope for joy at a lesser institution!)


At last year’s Esoteric Book Conference, there were presented some images from the Richel-Eldermans Collection, which had been intentionally left out of the publication of The Occult Reliquary as a preemptive measure to avoid potential hysterical reactions those images might have caused even with context. And, notice, even here a fortiori I’m not going to describe the content of those images but leave that to the greek chorus of your imagination to describe, or, you know, take a trip to The Museum of Witchcraft to see them for yourself, you lucky you!

We seem as a broad group to have internalized a lesson about the need for secrecy in the face of potential witch-hunts of one kind or another. It’s not just the self-identified witches that need to be concerned about the public turning into a mob looking to burn someone, figuratively or literally.

But, at the same time, I think the existence of this cloak of cuddly white-light does a horrible disservice to ourselves. Not the least of which is the fact that any time the cloak is shown to be just that, there’s more chance of a more violent reaction by those predisposed to violent reactions in the first place.

Anyhow, I recognize that the overall need still for forestalling hysteria by keeping cloaks on some issues, but I also find myself lamenting the way that the white-lighters are both used as beards to form an ablative shield against the cultural bullies out there, but also are then used as whipping boys within the community as examples of scorn. That’s the kind of double standard that’s going to bite someone in the ass at some point because it’s a duplicitous deception as well as being cruel to the poor little bunnies.

The dirty truth about any truegeek cultures has always been that they are predisposed to eating their own young with viciousness and dark delight of shocking proportions. So, even if accusations of evil aren’t true in specific, they are true in some general tangential way. Geeks of any kind have historically been just plan mean to newbies, and that reveals a streak of nastiness that cannot be denied. In this case the young being eaten aren’t babies, but still there’s a kind of ritual sacrifice going on that’s more than even hazing.

(Oh, and, yes, I did just, with tough love, characterize pagans as geeks.)

As unfortunate as the bearding of Pagan culture might be, I think the community has to also recognize that it is both forcing the Wiccans into the fray all the while treating them, generally, as little children. It’s a children’s crusade against the mob. What I mean is the way that all these fluffy bunnies are the target of scorn and derision by the “serious” Pagan community but when push comes to shove, we seem to shove these same fluffy bunnies into the line of fire. The fluffy bunnies may be pawns in the game, but they’re our pawns; the fluffy bunnies are the first wave of integration between our sub-culture and mainstream culture, and we need them to be there as allies and emissaries. The fluffy bunnies represent the extent to which culture has changed, so I suggest that sacrificing them is tantamount to sacrificing progress.

Indeed, in another part of Yeats’ The Sorcerers:

“He would not tell me more, for he had, it appeared, taken a vow of secrecy.”

It really should be clear that secrecy has a manifold purpose in protecting people from people not just the secrets from people or people from secrets. So is it really so inconceivable that edgy things happen somewhere in the community? Is it really so hard to fess up and face up to the bullying? When it comes to edgy expression within the wide pagan community of experience, I think the Lady and Lord, while wearing rabbit-fur lined cloaks, doth protest too much.

It’s a disservice to the potential for culture change inherent in the counter cultural confrontation of both willful ignorance and self-righteous morality to raise the level of discourse around consensual practices which can and must be seen in distinct relief to the practices of insane and sick people. It’s a disservice to hide our naughty bits behind the fig leaves forced on us generically by the pervasive paternalistic judgments of Judeo-Christ-Islamic culture.

I mean, I know I’m not the only Pagan that yelled a figurative or, in my case, literal “Fuck Yeah!” at the scenes of gritty and realistic ancient Paganism in the HBO series ROME, amirite? Not all pagans are Wiccan, and neither are all witches Wiccan. The Wiccan rede is not universally subscribed to, and it is just incorrect to characterize all pagans as holders of that belief.

We’re an edgy lot; and should be out, loud and proud about that. Besides, it’s getting really itchy and hot in this fluffy bunny outfit.


This is a re-posting of You wouldn’t hit a guy in a fluffy bunny costume would you? from John Griogair Bell’s Blog.