The Detroit Free Press published a remarkably pro-Pagan article today, in which the author dispells some of the popular myths about Paganism and witchcraft. Apparently our community is seeing quite a bit of growth here in Michigan, for which I am glad. There is also some discussion with one Michigan witch in particular that illustrates some things that probably most of us have experienced at one time or another. I recommend this article for anyone who might be new to Paganism; I think it’s a serviceable introduction to the subject.
Have you ever noticed how many occult-themed records were released back in the 1960s and 1970s? And I don’t mean occult-themed music. I’m referring to actual ceremonies and ritual procedures that were not only released on vinyl, but which were released by some big-name record labels. The following article provides some nice descriptions of these obscure eccentricities. I haven’t been able to track down or listen to all of the recordings on this list yet, but I am proud to own Vincent Price’s Witchcraft Magic: An Adventure in Demonology (1969) and Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Mass. (LaVey actually invokes Set at the 2:30 minute point! Hi, Big Red!) Luckily, both albums are available for streaming on Amazon, and I’ve included a track from the Vincent Price record below for anyone who might like to try a listen.
(One of these days, I’m going to track down one or more recordings by “Babetta the Sexy Witch.” I can’t believe someone actually had the gall to call herself that back in the day, but then again, I am quite partial to sexy witches, so…)
The Truth About the “Whore of Babylon”
“Perhaps the greatest ‘death’ Ishtar causes is not that of the body but that of the ego, which can be a terrifying experience for megalomaniacs like Gilgamesh.”
The Great Female, or When God is a Hippopotamus
“But most importantly to me, Taweret is a ‘monstrous’ divinity who was born of chaos and who exhibits chaotic traits, but who uses Her chaotic powers to defend the cosmic order, not to un-create it.”
Walpurgisnacht or Walpurgis Night is a spring fertility festival that’s observed each year on April 30. It’s the Teutonic equivalent to May Day or the Celtic Beltaine, but was later renamed after the medieval Christian Saint Walpurga. It represents the cross-quarter point of our solar year between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice, and it’s a time for warding off the last vestiges of winter. It’s most often observed in continental Europe by wearing scary costumes, lighting huge bonfires, and making all kinds of godawful racket to scare away the evil spirits. In fact, you might say Walpurgisnacht is Germany’s version of Halloween; one might even call it “Samhain in the Spring.”
This is a fascinating article about apotropaic symbols that were carved into the walls of a cave system in England centuries ago, but which have only just been discovered and recognized for what they are. (I have to admit, it makes me giddy to see a CNN report with the word apotropaism used in the text several times!)