Get Your Jesuses Now . . .

jesus sale. . . they will be back to the regular pricing during the pre-Christmas shopping season (Camino Real Mexican-import store, El Prado, New Mexico).

La fiesta de los zombies

What do New Mexico zombies eat? Brain tacos, of course.better off dead

  • 2 lbs. brains
  • 6–8 tortillas
  • 1 fresh tomato, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced, shredded lettuce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cover brains with water in saucepan, add salt and simmer 15 minutes. Drain well and mash with fork while adding seasonings. Cover and keep warm while preparing taco shells. Fill shells with brain mixture, onions, tomatoes, and shredded lettuce. Serve immediately.

The recipe is from Yolanda Ortiz y Pino’s Original Native New Mexican Cooking. Sure, she specifies “beef brains,” but we know better, don’t we.

Scholars have taken notice of the fact that “the zombie is ubiquitous in popular culture, as note Deborah Christie and Sarah Juliet Lauro, editors of Better Off Dead: The Evolution of the Zombie as Post-Human (2011), which I am just getting around to reading.

One of the contributors, Lynn Pifer, (English, Mansfield U.) notes that the George Romero-style zombie hordes have completely supplanted the old-style Haitian worker-zombie in popular culture.

Something I doubt that any of the contributors deal with is the popularity of the zombie-as-Other in the shooting sports.

New Publishing Opportunity in Euro-Paganism

Headline: “Genetic analysis reveals present-day Europeans descended from at least 3, not 2, groups of ancient humans.”

So how before someone writes a book on “Ancient North Eurasian” shamanic Paganism?  Campfire, drum, bears . . . take it away.

Missing Sekmet Statute Mystery Solved

When the statue from the Temple of Goddess Spirituality in southern Nevada disappeared last April, many Pagans wondered if it was a hate crime or what.

“It was foolish kids doing foolish things,” said Candace Ross, temple priestess.

Kids who freaked out and smashed the statue. But a new one is in place.

Is Anybody There?

Do the dead belong in the living room? More information.

Female Viking Warriors? A New Cinematic Arthur? And the Intern’s Tale

¶ Based on only six skeletons, some people are going crazy on Facebook, etc., about female Norse warriors. It’s not that simple, says someone who read the original archaeology paper. But it’s still interesting.

¶ Peg Aloi is a bit short of breath about a possible new film series on the Arthurian legend.

¶ What is it like to be an intern in a witchcraft museum? At least here is someone who knows who Cecil Williamson (Gerald Gardner’s business partner) was.

‘Sacred Lands and Spiritual Landscapes’

sacredlands Sacred Lands and Spiritual Landscapes, papers from the spring 2013 Cherry Hill Seminary symposium, edited by Wendy Griffin, is now available for purchase from CHS.

Contents

Preface, Holli Emore

Introduction, Ronald Hutton

The Land Within, Wendy Griffin

Song of the Cattahoochee: On Being a Southern (Pagan) Witch in Atlanta’s Urban Landscape, Sara Amis

Glastonbury Syndrome: An Ecstatic Moment in Pilgrimage, Christina Beard-Moose

Born-Again Pagans: An Industrial Band Discovers Sea, Hill, and Wood, Hayes Hampton

Into the Sacred Woods: The Inner and Outer Value of a Pagan Sense of Place, Elinor Predota

Betwixt and Between the I-and-Thou, Jeffrey Albaugh

The Persistence of Romanticism in Contemporary Pagan Thought, Chas S. Clifton

My article includes comments on those by Predota, Albaugh, and Hampton, since I served as respondent to the panel session in which they were presented.

The “industrial band” was Coil, but Hampton had a little surprise awaiting him. Even though the book was produced by the Druidic house of ADF Publishing, a weird typo crept in. All of the chapter’s running heads (except two, oddly) read “Born Again Christians.”

“The return of the repressed,” he said wryly.

Printing and publishing are infested with gremlins, I always say.

Blogging Break Over, Book Stuff Ahead

I have taken a brief and unwanted break from blogging, but I hope that it is over. First the MacBook Pro that I use for writing and blogging developed a weird, possibly demonic (or daemonic) directory corruption that flummoxed even the specialists up at Voelker Research. About the same time, my desk/computer chair broke, which felt like a sign. A sign that I should just go hiking and read more novels, possibly. And ponder some vivid and meaningful dreams.

That was wonderful, but I have to give a couple of talks next week, and I needed to prepare. So there I was out on the veranda with a legal pad and a stack of books and print-outs, preparing. If I have learned anything in teaching it is that I am not as good at “winging it” as I like to think I am—unless it is a course that I have already taught ten times over.

So while I am doing that, here is an interview with Doug Ezzy about his new book, Sex, Death, and Witchcraft: A Contemporary Pagan Festival.

The book is both a rich ethnographic account of controversial Pagan festival and a provocative reflection on the role of emotions, symbols, and ritual in theories of religion.  The festival involves “a recreation of the Witches’ sabbat . . .  It’s R-rated, it contains adult themes, nudity and sex references”, according to Harrison — one of the festival participants I interviewed.  The theory develops what Graham Harvey and I are calling “relational theory” in the study of religion.

It is on my reading list.

And speaking of reading, expect more book reviews here over the next few weeks.

The Spanish Piper at the Ghost Town

Carlos Núñez in Galicia.

Carlos Núñez in Galicia.

I had long admired the music of the Galician piper Carlos Núñez. I bought a couple of this CDs—one of the collaborations with The Chieftains plus Os Amores Libres.

But to hear him live, that would be a big-city proposition. Maybe I would need to attend some festival in Europe.

Not true. It took just a drive through the mountains and then 25 miles of gravel road, ending at a Colorado ghost town that I never had visited (and me a native).

Up at 9,000 feet, it is summer-home territory, and the audience tilted toward hearty retirees in cargo pants and fleece vests. The later summer rains are upon us — as we crossed the Huerfano Valley, even that country looked as green as Gal-i-thia.

The former S-Curved Bar Tavern

The former S-Curved Bar Tavern

The venue is a ramshackle 1920s (?) dancehall and tavern — a little different from Kennedy Center, where the band will be playing later this month.

“We are so happy to be in thees . . . ghost . . . town,” Carlos said, drawing out the vowels.

And they — him, his brother Xurxo, the drummer; guitarist Pancho Álvarez; and Ontario fiddler Stephanie Cadman — launched into a hard-driving 90-minute set during which dancing in the aisles was not only encouraged, it was pretty near compulsory. (“E-stand-e up!“)

At times Xurxo’s miked bodhran was competing with a bigger drummer — thunder bouncing off the ridges of the Cumbres Range. And the wooden planks of the old dance hall bounced and thrummed.

huefano valley copy

Driving into the Huerfano Valley on the way home.

Behind the group’s appearance were the organizers of the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival, who for ten years have been bringing big names in Celtic music to southern Colorado to play in old movie theatres, ghost towns, and tiny schools.

Assessing Margot Adler and Moving Toward a Polytheistic Philosophy of Religion

¶  Link to National Public Radio audio (14 minutes) of Ronald Hutton and Phyllis Curott talking about Margot Adler’s influence on contemporary Paganism.

The presenter rather made it sound as though we Pagans were all in the wilderness (no elders?!) until Margot brought us out, but then, as you pointed out in milder language, one thing that Margot did was make Wicca, etc., a bit more respectable to the chattering classes of the Northeast by being something that they recognized: a politically pink, secular-seeming Jewish intellectual, descendent of a famous psychoanalyst, thus easily penetrating their particular bulwarks of snobbery — not someone from Flyover Country or the wrong sort of foreigner.

Drawing Down the Moon was the third or fourth “I go among the witches” book of the era, following on Hans Holzer’s The New Pagans, Susan Roberts’ Witches USA, etc. and hitting some of the same locales, but it was far, far better and deeper, and I agree that it did give contemporary Paganism a bit of intellectual ballast.

¶ A philosophy professor from India talks about how beginning with Hinduism instead of one of the desert monotheisms changes how we discuss the philosophy of religion.

Taking Christianity as the exemplar of religion skews philosophical discussion towards attempts to solve, resolve or dissolve difficult philosophical puzzles inherent in monotheism: problems about God’s powers, goodness and knowledge; attempts to provide rational arguments for God’s existence; the problem of evil; and so on. Hindu philosophers have traditionally been far more interested in a quite different array of problems, especially questions about the nature of religious knowledge and religious language, initially arising from their concerns with the Veda as a sacred eternal text and as a source of ritual and moral law.

¶ What about a polytheistic philosophy of religion? Using ancient Greek materials, Edward Butler offers Essays on a Polytheistic Philosophy of Religion (parts of which previously appeared in The Pomegranate, I am happy to say).