Tags: traditional culture

goddess and god

UK Police get Pagan Holidays, Dalits Build Temple to English

Pagan police get right to take festivals as holiday
Times Online, May 10, 2010
" Being serving police officers, they would no doubt leave their sun worshipping, mead drinking and naked dancing for their days off, not to mention the annual practice of leaving food out for the wandering dead.

As of today, however, pagan police have the right to take their festivals as official holiday after their support group won formal recognition from the Home Office.

The Pagan Police Association was announced by co-founder PC Andy Pardy, who, when he is not patrolling the beat in Hertfordshire, is a heathen worshipper of Norse gods including Thor and Odin.
Pagans, including druids, witches and shamans, will have to take their official religious festivals as holiday days, but each day is given the same respect as Christmas for Christians, Ramadan for Muslims and Passover for Jews.

Pagan officers will also be allowed to swear upon their own religion in court now, pledging to tell the truth not before God but by what “they hold sacred”.
One officer, who did not wish to be named, said: “When they talk about political correctness gone mad, this is exactly what they are talking about.

“I mean, what has it come to when a cop gets time off so he can sit about making spells or dance around the place drinking honey beer with a wand in his hand?”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Government wants a police service that reflects the diverse communities it serves.” "

Pagan cops get eight new hols
The Sun, Monday, 10 May 2010
A PAGAN police support group which gives cops the right to take EIGHT oddball holidays each year has been launched today.

Tolerance of paganism now a symbol of civilised society
Times Online, May 11, 2010
"For centuries, Christianity, Judaism and Islam were regarded as the marks of civilisation in Western Europe as they supplanted the beliefs of ancient civilisations. But these beliefs never disappeared. Even in the City of London, with nearly 50 churches in one square mile, the ancient guardians — the giants Gog and Magog — housed at Guildhall, are carried in procession in the annual Lord Mayor’s Show as they have been since the reign of Henry V.

Today the wheel has turned full circle. Practitioners of witchcraft are no longer burnt at the stake — and it is a mark of civilised society that those who follow these beliefs are accorded the same rights as those who follow mainstream faiths.
In some quarters, paganism is gaining in its appeal to younger generations, disillusioned or bored with mainstream faiths.

Although the precise dateline is contended, many New Agers believe the world is moving from the Age of Pisces — the fish became a symbol of Christianity — to the Age of Aquarius.

This is in tandem with the rise of the green movement. Paganism fits well into the lives of this generation, where belief in a transcendent, male God is rejected for a feminine earth force or Gaia, seeking to right the injustices to nature wreaked by rampant materialism.

The election of Caroline Lucas, the first Green MP, is just one sign seen in some pagan circles as marking a new dawn. Internet forums have been debating whether volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are Gaia’s revenge."

Wicca's World
Times Online, May 11, 2010
"The Pagan Police Association stands alongside similar sub-groups for Muslim police, black police, Jewish police, gay police, Sikh police, though not yet Jedi police. Might this not be a good moment for police officers to go back to just being police?"

D is for Dalits and E is for the English Goddess
D Shyam Babu, The Times of India, May 9, 2010
""Had Ambedkar not learned English, he would not have gone abroad," said Eash Kumar Gangania, "and had he not gone abroad, he would not have become Babasaheb for us."

Gangania, a teacher from Delhi, was speaking to 1,500 dalits in Bankagaon, a nondescript village near Lakhimpur Khiri in UP. The crowd was rapt as Gangania added that it all happened "because Ambedkar learned English," finally ending with a powerful and surprising message: "If you learn English, you too can scale the heights Babasaheb did."

Gangania's speech came on a special occasion — April 30, the day Bankagaon's dalits pledged to learn the English language as well as worship it as a goddess. It was the day they laid the foundations of a temple dedicated to "English, the Dalit Goddess".
As more dalit parents insist on imparting English to their children, the market will do the rest. At some point, the supply of English teachers is bound to meet demand, helping educators like Kamal Kumar offer English-medium education. However, two questions remain unanswered. One is the colonial taint of English. The lone foreigner at the temple event, Sussex university professor Marcus Wood, offers an answer. The British empire was responsible for the standardization of English, which paved the way for its emergence as a global language, "but now English does not belong to the English anymore". The dalits' quest for English is their attempt to find a voice. It has all the ingredients of an epic struggle. This goddess may not join the Hindu pantheon of 330 million but it could usher in an era of cultural rejuvenation for dalits. "
goddess and god

'Christian' names, Wicker Man

Police told: don't ask for 'Christian' names, it offends
The Christian Institute, Friday, 19 March 2010
Police in Kent have been banned from asking for a person’s “Christian” name, in case it offends people from other faiths.

The call has been met with dismay, with one experienced officer calling it politically correct “nonsense”.

And the Plain English Campaign questioned whether there really was anyone from other faiths who would be offended.
"In July it was revealed that Pagan police officers were being allowed to take Halloween off as holiday.

It followed the Home Office agreeing to the establishment of a Pagan Police Association.

In September the chairman of a rank-and-file police group criticised forces for over reacting to political correctness. "
Wicker Man burned to mark the start of spring
belfasttelegraph.co.uk, Monday, 22 March 2010
"A huge 20-foot Wicker Man was burned in Fermanagh at the weekend by mummers marking the end of one of the coldest winters in years.

The spectacular mock sacrifice by Aughakillymaude Community Mummers symbolically returned the ashes of last year’s corn and straw to the same field near Derrylin where they were harvested — marking the Spring Equinox and ensuring a fertile season in 2010.

But happily, no-one was burned alive inside the terrifying effigy — unlike in the 1973 cult film The Wicker Man.

Spokesman Jim Ledwith said the burning of effigies on key calendar dates such as the turning of the seasons remains one of the oldest and most widespread forms of pagan worship and is still practiced in such forms as Guy Fawkes Day and the burning of Lundy in Londonderry."
goddess and god

Origins of Mardi Gras, Pagan Hex Against "Iceland’s Enemies" , Invocation court ruling

Uncovering the Origins of Mardi Gras and Other “Christian” Festivals
By Ron Fraser, theTrumpet.com, February 24, 2010
"Take Carnival for instance. Its etymology suggests two sources. One suggests carne vale, from the Latin “farewell meat,” as the source. This would appear to be quite a legitimate meaning of the term, given that the onset of Carnival signals the last debauch prior to the fasting at Lent. However, there is another more ancient derivation for Carnival suggested in some sources, the Latin carnous navilus, being a term describing the naval vessel that bore the Teutonic god of the North from his northern home southward to join in the annual pagan winter festivities.
Ancient history teaches us that this religion began at Babylon, developed in Egypt, and passed its traditions down to the Greeks and Romans. These civilizations had one thing in common. The highlights of the year on the religious calendar tended to revolve around the winter, signifying the cessation of agrarian productivity and the anticipation of spring, celebrating the renewal of fertility. The pagans created annual rites and festivals around these seasons. Rome adopted and promoted the most widely practiced of these pagan festivals and spread their practice throughout its empire under its own names. Thus the celebrations around the winter solstice became the Saturnalia and Brumalia festivals of winter, celebrated in December. The pre-spring festivals at the onset of the final lean month of winter led into the spring festival of Ishtar in Babylon, or Osiris in Egypt, signaling new birth. In between was the “love-fest” of Lupercalia.

When the Roman Catholic Church began to spread its influence throughout the world, it found that, wherever it went, the natives hung on tenaciously to these annual pagan festivals. So the church simply compromised. Rather than force Catholic dogma on the local populations, it simply “Christianized” the pagan festivals enjoyed by the masses. Thus Saturnalia and Brumalia became Christmas, merging with the Catholic teaching of the nativity. The spring festivals, retaining the name “Easter” after the pagan fertility godess Ishtar, merged with the Roman church’s interpretation of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In between was Carnival, leading into Mardi Gras, out of which the Vatican created the season of Lent, leading to Easter, by imposing its own interpretation of Christ’s 40-days’ total fast in the wilderness by setting a time for the denial of meat in the 40 days leading up to its Easter celebration. In between Carnival and Easter, Lupercalia became catholicized into St. Valentine’s Day.
Timed to fall immediately after Mardi Gras celebrations in the Northern Hemisphere, the Sydney Mardi Gras is infamous as much for its beginnings as for its current-day program of events. This major “cultural” event on the Australian social calendar evolved out of the desire of the homosexual and lesbian community to publicize their drive for community acceptance. It grew initially out of a street march by homosexuals in Sydney in 1978, which ended with police intervention. It then mushroomed in leaps and bounds following various changes in legislation as community mores lost their bearings and, under a barrage of “celebrity” endorsements, became a big money spinner for Australian business. The Sydney Mardi Gras became a month-long bash through the month of February. It has now reached the point where tens of thousands travel from all points of the globe to what is billed as the world’s biggest homosexual and lesbian festival. Now, fed by government grants and support from a business community hungry for the “pink dollar” (pink being the color adopted by the homosexual community to promote its cause), the annual festival of homosexual and lesbian debauchery is big business in Australia."

Notes: Easter is the Germanic goddess of spring. While Her name has the same roots as the Assyrian and Babylonian Ishtar They are not the same goddess.

It is interesting that the "pink dollar" is associated with Gay money. I would have thought it was women's money, like pink collar work. I would have thought "lavender money" would be more appropriate for Gay money. Like the Lavender Mafia.
Pagan Hex Against "Iceland’s Enemies" Seems Effective
Iceland Rreview Online, Feb 23, 2010
"Members of Ásatrúarfélagid called for the protection of the four Icelandic land wights, the bull, the dragon, the giant and the eagle, in December 2008 and performed an act of sorcery against Iceland’s enemies, Stöd 2 reports.

Now it appears as if their actions are finally delivering the desired results, almost one and a half years later. Hilmarsson is not surprised about the difficulties Brown is facing because he is one of those named Iceland’s enemy during the pagan ceremony.
When asked why it took such a long time for the sorcery to work, the high chieftain replied: “People believed in the old days that […] magic had to go around lakes and such so maybe the Atlantic Ocean caused the delay,” he said and winked."

Invocation court ruling adds controversy to traditional prayer
By Amanda Greene, Star News Online.com, February 24, 2010
"Last May, Charles Warren made a simple request of his fellow Brunwick County Commissioners – let's invite local clergy and religious leaders to give the prayer or invocation that opens each meeting.
“I think we cannot invoke one religion in a public setting,” he said, “and if we get up at each board meeting, and we're speaking on Christian principles, it's not right.”

His colleagues met Warren's suggestion with mostly vehement opposition.

Reactions from the other four commissioners included: “If we do that, do we have to invite witches?” from Commissioner Phil Norris.

And “if they have a Buddhist who comes in here and prays, I will walk out of here,” was the exclamation from Commissioner Martin Cooke.
“I know who I believe in, and I know who serves me,” Warren said, “but I don't feel right imposing my beliefs on others.”"

goddess and god

Witch vs Green Party, Gods' Robes, Pendle Witch Camp, NZ Pagan Festival, Margot Adler, Hindu Pyre

Witch's poll hopes dashed after rejection by Greens
South Devon.co.uk Herald Express, February 13, 2010
"Ms Goldsmith said she had hoped to represent Torbay on green issues.

She said her lifestyle as a 10th generation hereditary witch was is in tune with the party's politics.

Ms Goldsmith describes herself as a female Shaman — Shamanka or wise woman — who practises the ancient arts to help students on their spiritual journey.

A Green Party spokesman did not make any comment on Ms Goldsmith's recent membership application.

He said: "Sarah Goldsmith resigned from the Green Party in May 2008. The South Devon Green Party will shortly run a selection process to find our general election candidate for the Torbay constituency.

"That candidate will champion our party's goals to preserve public services, restore the NHS, and create jobs to address the recession.""
Gods’ robes marry tradition and innovation
By Tien-ying Hsu, Taiwan Today, 02/12/2010
"The robes worn by altar statues in Taiwanese temples are something to see, delicately embroidered with ancient Chinese characters or nature themes to accentuate the specific blessings that the gods offer.

Tim Chou, heir to a local traditional embroidery business based in the southern Taiwan County of Chiayi, has come up with unprecedented applications for these “gods’ robes.” One of the most striking is his design of tiny versions of the robes to protect and identify the paper-made lucky charms that pilgrims take home after worshipping a deity. These talismans are small and easily lost, especially when entrusted to children. Over time, one may also forget the specific blessing associated with a charm."
Bewitching plans for 400th anniversary of Pendle witch trials
By Jon Livesey LancashireTelegraph.co.uk, 10th February 2010
" A YEAR-long programme of events is being proposed to mark the 400th anniversary of the trial and execution of the Pendle witches.

Adrian Lord, the man behind Pendle Witch Camp, wants to organise the series of events to take place in 2012.

He has offered to chair a committee aimed at securing funding for the festivities and coming up with ideas."
Morrinsville prepares for pagan invasion
By Ali Ikram, 3news.co.nz, Thu, 11 Feb 2010
"Morrinsville will play host to the fourth New Zealand Pagan Festival, starting Friday.

Official statistics show that thousands of Kiwis follow the pagan way of life.

Nightline met with a member of the Order of the Oriental Templars, a secretive group that once counted infamous British occultist Aleister Crowley amongst its numbers.

Lionel Snell was dressed like an accountant on holiday. He's what's known as a 'chaos magician', and while he's used to people thinking that's a bit odd, so are a lot of things.

"Where I come from in England, there were these people who would meet in a temple where there was a field surrounding it where dead bodies were buried, and they'd kneel down in front of images of human torture and degradation and pretend to drink human blood and eat flesh," says Mr Snell.

"That, word for word, is an accurate description of a Church of England ceremony, but it complete misses the point.""
Author, Margot Adler, to discuss paganism at Pacific
The Record, February 09, 2010
"STOCKTON, CA-- Margot Adler, an author and correspondent for National Public Radio, will lecture about paganism in America at 8 p.m. next Tuesday at the Long Theatre at University of the Pacific.

Adler is a practicing Wiccan. She is author of "Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today," a book considered by scholars to be an authoritative guide. Her most recent book is "Heretic's Heart: A Journey through Spirit and Revolution."

Adler's lecture, "Paganism: Religion, Not Superstition," is part of Pacific's Colliver Lecture Series on religion.

The event is free and open to the public. Adler will conduct a book signing after the lecture. For more information, visit www.pacific.edu."
Hindu healer wins funeral pyre battle
By Jerome Taylor, The Independent Religious Affairs Correspondent, 10 February 2010
"In the end they decided that Mr Ghai’s wishes to burn on a pyre enclosed within a large structure but open to the elements was not forbidden by the Cremation Act 1902.

In summing up his judgement Lord Justice Neuberger ruled: “Contrary to what everyone seems to have assumed below, and I am not saying it is anyone's fault, it seems to us that Mr Ghai's religious and personal beliefs as to how his remains should be cremated once he dies can be accommodated within current cremation legislation."

The landmark ruling paves the way for anyone in Britain – be they Hindu, Sikh, religious or non-religious – to opt for an open air cremation as long as they can find a crematorium which can conduct the cremations without falling foul of the strict environmental and public health regulations surrounding the disposal of bodies. Currently no such facility exists although the expectation is that some orthodox Hindus will hope to build one soon."
Polish Nationalists oppose St. Valentine’s Day
by Gazeta Wyborcza, Polskie Radio S.A., 10.02.2010
"Posters saying “F**k Off Valentines, Noc Kupaly OK”, designed by Niklot, a nationalist organisation, have appeared on the streets of the Baltic city of Szczecin.

The organisation wants Poles to abandon the foreign tradition of celebrating Saint Valentine’s Day and go back to their roots, i.e. pagan rites.

Niklot claims that Poles should observe the Kupala Night, a Slavic fertility holiday traditionally celebrated on 23-24 June.

On Kupala Night young men would jump over the flames of bonfires and girls would float wreaths of flowers often lit with candles on rivers, attempting to gain foresight into their relationship fortunes from the flow patterns of the flowers on the river.

Niklot, which opposes the mixing of cultures, languages, nations and races and considers revenge to be the basic right of every man, and is frequently accused of propagating fascism.

“We only refer to tradition, not radical ideology,” Ireneusz Woszczyk from Niklot has said, denying the accusations.

The Helsinki Federation for Human Rights claims that city authorities should wage war against the organisation and check if it has violated the law by pasting anti-Valentine posters with nationalistic slogans."
goddess and god

Haitian Vodoun, and Groundhog Day

This is a good article you should read the whole thing.
Haiti earthquake: voodoo high priest claims aid monopolised by Christians
By Nick Allen in Port-au-Prince, Telegraph.co.uk, 01 Feb 2010
"Max Beauvoir, Haiti's "supreme master" of voodoo, alleged his faith's opponents had deliberately prevented much-needed help from reaching followers of the religion, which blends the traditional beliefs of West African slaves with Roman Catholicism.

"The evangelicals are in control and they take everything for themselves," he claimed. "They have the advantage that they control the airport where everything is stuck. They take everything they get to their own people and that's a shame.

"Everyone is suffering the same and has the same needs. We are not asking for anything more than anyone else. We're just asking for it to be fair."
Kompe Filo, one of the most popular TV and radio personalities in Haiti, and a vocal believer, said voodoo predicted the earthquake six months ago.

He said: “God is angry against humanity, not just Haiti but all humanity. This is a message that man must change, and reconnect with the natural world around him.

“We have a lot of beliefs modern people should believe in. For example we believe that trees have spirits which we should not harm otherwise we will all suffer.” "
“Thirteen Moons on A Turtles Back” And “Punxsutawney Who?”
Findlay Living , Feb 1, 2010‎
"The term actually comes from the number of plates on the shell of a snapping turtle. The Native Americans used it as a way of keeping track of the moons in a year. I know you are thinking, “Aren’t there twelve moons in a year?” That is true if there were not occasionally two full moons in one month approximately every 2.5 years. I am sure you have heard of ‘Once in a Blue Moon’.
We have many cultures to thank for the origin of Groundhog Day. Some of the roots of this shadowy event are found in the archaic time of paganism. The Germans celebrated a pagan event that marked the half waypoint of winter.

That would be the time between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. (February 2cd) When the Catholic religion entered the picture, Candlemas Day was celebrated at this midwinter time to bring blessed light to the people. The blessed candles were put in windows and the day’s weather was watched very closely for shadows. The Germans would look for a badger to see it saw its shadow. When the German migrated to Pennsylvania, the groundhog replaced the badger. The Scotts and English also celebrated Candlemas Day. My Scottish great grandmother (Erskin) Bowerman used to recite a saying around February 2cd that went something like this, “If Candlemas Day be clear and bright, two winter we will have this year.” My Pennsylvania Dutch German great grandfather would then chime in with, If the sunshines on Candlemas Day, the snow will fall until May. If the snow falls on Candlemas Day, the sun will shine before May.” When it comes to folk sayings and this whole Groundhog Day event, Ben Franklin had his own saying. “ Some men are weather-wise and some are other-wise.”"
goddess and god

A "Witches' Ladder"?, Punishment for the people of Haiti?, Review of "The Crucible"

Odds and quads
by Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education, 28 January 2010
"This 1.5m long feathered rope was found in a Somerset attic in the late 1870s, alongside six brooms and an old chair.

It was presented in The Folk-Lore Journal in 1887 as a "witches' ladder": the chair was for witches to rest in, the brooms to ride on, and the cock-feather ladder to help them cross the roof. It still bore this description when it was donated to the University of Oxford's Pitt Rivers Museum in 1911. But its purpose is in dispute.

Some, including the Scottish social anthropologist Sir James Frazer, claimed that the rope was intended for alternative magical purposes such as obtaining milk from neighbours' cows or causing the death of enemies. Others have suggested that it was used by hunters to turn back deer or to frighten birds from crops.

Although the idea of feathered witches' ladders rests on hearsay rather than solid evidence, it was much discussed by folklorists and so proved influential. It has since been adopted in contemporary witchcraft, or Wicca."
A question asked of several local religious leaders.
In Theory: Punishment for the people of Haiti?
La Cañada Valley Sun, Jan 28, 2010
The Rev. Bryan Griem, pastor of Montrose Community Church said:
"Half the population of Haiti practices voodoo, and that might give us pause to think there might be something to this thought that God has had enough of them and their awful pagan ways. But then, how different are they from us, really? I mean, Haiti’s majority identity is foundationally Christian, but U.S. statistics run almost neck-and-neck with Haiti in the way our people maintain a sort of Christian-by-default citizenry, but then practice religion that is very syncretistic with whatever spiritual views seem popular at the time.

When Katrina hit New Orleans, the fact that it was our nation’s murder capital made people wonder about the God question.

When the San Fernando Valley suffered some memorable quakes, it wasn’t long before its “porn capital of the country” moniker entered into the divine wrath discussion. We can only look upon the dark side with our heads shaking, but we can never know with any certainty whether God supernaturally intervened with a heavy hand, or if he simply allowed us to live as we always do, without him and suffer whatever naturally comes our way.

God did flood the world at the time of Noah because mankind had become only evil all the time (Genesis 6:5 NIV). He rained fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah for their perversion (Jude 7), but lest God reveal his intentions with some specificity, we can’t know his activity, though he never does wrong.

I believe that most of our contemporary disasters exemplify the “Three Little Pigs” syndrome. We don’t build our houses correctly, and nature’s wolf blows them down. We build on fault lines, below sea level, and in the case of Haiti, without rebar and earthquake prevention codes.

The sheer mass of helpful response belies our having been made in God’s image, and all our charity shows that we don’t believe this to be his judgment.

Nonetheless, such events do make us look up and consider him."
Walden Theatre presents The Crucible
by Cristina Martin, Louisville Mojo (blog), JAN 28, 2010
""There are wheels within wheels in this village, and fires within fires..." - Villager Ann Putnum.

The more we delve, the more complicated things can seem. Arthur Miller once said, "The job is to ask questions – it always was – and to ask them as inexorably as I can. And to face the absence of precise answers with a certain humility." (National Observer (1/20/1964).

When a work you think you're already familiar with just grabs you and won't let you go, you know you're onto something big. Witchcraft, religious zealotry, mass hysteria, fear, sex, love, justice, condemnation, pride, power, lies, Truth – they're all at issue in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, set in 1690's Massachusetts and depicting the maelstrom surrounding the Salem witch trials.

Like many of us, I was introduced to The Crucible in high school English class -- before, I must say, I even knew what a crucible was. In revisiting The Crucible some 20 years later, I'm amazed at how much I missed. My interpretation wasn't wrong – far from it. But it lacked nuance, and it lacked that finer understanding of human nature that only life experience in the intervening two decades could bring.
"We burn a hot fire here," Deputy-Governor Danforth says. "It melts down all concealment."

But does the truth really come out through an inquisition such as this, or are the waters just tragically muddied? How simple things would be if all were black and white, if we truly had a book like Reverend Hale which contained, "all the invisible world, caught, defined, and calculated.""
goddess and god

Imbolc, Wassailing, and Ati-Atihan Festival

Looking for ray of light, Groundhog Day is coming
by Deane Morrison, University of Minnesota Starwatch, Coon Rapids ECM Publishers, January 20, 2010
"The minor February holiday started with the ancient Celts, who called the day Imbolc, or lamb's milk, because it coincided with the start of lambing season. It was one of four "cross-quarter days" falling midway between a solstice and an equinox.

The Celts considered heavy clouds auspicious, because they foretold warmth and rains to soften the fields for planting. But bright, sunny weather presaged cold, hence our tradition of six more weeks of winter if the groundhog sees its shadow."
Six-day festival set to celebrate Brigid of Faughart
Dundalk Democrat, 20 January 2010
"A major celebration of Brigid of Faughart will take place at the end of this month.
The Brat Bhríde festival celebrates Brigid and the ancient festival of Imbolc with myth, landscape, folklore, spiritual customs, music, poetry and dance.

The emphasis of the festival, according to its organisers, is to revisit and reclaim some of the richness of the traditions associated with Brigid of Faughart, in ways which are relevant to our lives in the 21st century.

Lectures and workshops during the six-day event, which culminates on Saint Brigid's feast day on February 1st, will offer opportunities to deepen knowledge of Brigid, to taste her wisdom and to integrate feminine consciosness more surely to contemporary culture.

Brat Bhríde - meaning 'Brigid's Cloak' - is a voluntary group who have come together to organise this event."
Hanging toast in apple trees – it has to be wassailing
Bristol Evening Post, January 19, 2010
"Wassail traditions date back to early Pagan times, when rural communities would perform ceremonies in January to encourage a healthy apple harvest later that year.

These traditions, which were re-enacted by the children of Sandford Primary School, included the crowning of a wassail King and Queen, a procession led by the Mendip Morris Men, dancing and singing, hanging toast in the apple trees to attract the good spirits, and banging pots and pans to ward off the evil spirits."
A longer, bigger Ati-Atihan
by Nestor P. Burgos Jr, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inquirer.net, ‎Jan 15, 2010‎
"The 798th Ati-Atihan festival has more tribes participating and more days of the famed “sad-sad” street dancing than in the past, said Benny Tirazona, secretary of the Kalibo Ati-Atihan Management Board.

Thirty-five tribes will join the street-dancing contest this year, up from last year’s 33. They will compete in the four categories—aboriginal, original tribe-small, original tribe-big and modern.

Tribes under the aboriginal category will wear costumes made of indigenous materials, such as abaca fiber, shell, feathers and leaves.

Those with at most 60 warriors will compete different categories.
The Ati-Atihan traces its roots in the 13th century as a pagan ritual of Aeta people and later transformed into a Christian tradition in the 18th century after a Spanish priest baptized 1,000 inhabitants of Kalibo. (The name of the town is said to have been derived from “Isa ka Libo,” referring to those first baptized.)

In the final three days of the festival ending Sunday, the streets will be filled with soot-smeared Aklanons and tourists dancing to the drum beatings, cymbals and lyres. This has earned the event’s distinction as the merriest and most fascinating of festivals held every January in honor of the Child Jesus."
goddess and god

Frog Dancing, Horse Weaving, and British Politics

Dancing, frogs and midsummer madness
By Ashley Milton, www.telegraph.co.uk 13 Jan 2010
"Nine adults and five children danced around a decorated wooden cross, pretending to be frogs. It was still almost daylight - despite being midnight - and the rotten herring and dill schnapps from supper was still juggling around at the top end of my digestive tract. I felt like an extra in The Wicker Man. Andreas, my big Viking friend, saw my dazed expression and smiled. "So, what do you think of midsummer in Sweden?"
The festivities take place on a Friday and Saturday in June (in 2010 it will be the 25th and 26th), but with the Swedish summer not really beginning until early July, the term 'mid' could leave you wondering where the first half of the summer went. The celebration itself is thought to be pagan in origin; a cause to rejoice at the end of a bitter winter and the birth of a new season, a good harvest and better times.
The Midsommarstång, a symbol of fertility, is a wooden cross from which two wooden circles are attached to each side and allowed to dangle freely. The whole structure is firmly dug into an upright position and then wrapped in silver birch branches.
Depending on the time and effort given to making it, it may resemble a proud British maypole or a bedraggled hangman’s noose.
The highlight of the evening came at midnight. The entire ensemble moved towards the midsommarstång. Holding hands they walked slowly around the pole, as they picked up speed they started singing and dancing ... about frogs.
“No-one knows why,” laughed Andreas. “The next verse is about pigs!” "

Police probe pagan link to horse weaving
This Is Western Morning News, UK, January 13, 2010
"POLICE believe a bizarre outbreak of horse mane weaving may be the work of a secretive cult of pagan worshippers practising a form of white magic.

The strange practice has broken out in fields in Devon and parts of Dorset and Somerset.

Nearly 20 animals have been singled out for the bizarre treatment over the past three months in Hemyock, Culmstock and Clayhidon, the Culm Valley and Exeter.

Officers initially believed the horses were being marked for theft by organised criminals – until they realised none of them disappeared.

Now they think white witches who practise "knot magick" are using the horses to help them cast spells.

Pagan gods are thought to have a close connection with horses which adds strength to spells that incorporate the animals.

PC Jeff Howley, neighbourhood beat manager for Cullompton, said: "At the moment we do not know of any motive for the plaiting to start with we thought they were being marked for theft but that is clearly not the case.

"One motive from research by Dorset police who are also investigating a number of cases is that it may be a pagan ritual.

"It is hard for us to judge at the moment but any speculation will have to be considered."

Although the braiding does no harm to the affected horses, owners are becoming increasingly bemused and concerned."

'Witch' set to stand in general election
by Raymond Brown, Cambridge News, UK, 13-Jan-2010
"Magus Lynius Shadee, who calls himself the King of All Witches, hopes to cast a spell on voters and steer them away from the traditional parties.
Mr Shadee plans to open an occult centre and claims to have conjured up a demon in Cambridge's Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs in Hills Road, as the News reported.

Now he has contacted the city's returning officer and plans to stand in the election, expected to be called by Gordon Brown in May.

He said: "This is an opportunity to change people's lives for the better. I also hope to have candidates in six or seven other high-profile seats.

"I want to tackle the problems in education, health and crime and turn Britain into a truly secular society by banning faith schools and the teaching of religious education.

"I also want MPs' salaries to be like everyone else's. If they don't come to work, they don't get paid."

His education manifesto includes "a complete ban on all religious and faith schools" and "a ban on all religious and faith instruction in the classroom".

He calls for "all schools to have a uniform" and for grants to encourage students to pass degrees within two years rather than three, with the "incentive" of a "50 per cent refund, taxfree bonus".

He wants the sex offenders' list to be available to the public. He has policies to curtail organised religions by stopping their charity status.

He calls for zero tolerance on crimes involving children, sex, drugs or vice, with fixed custodial penalties. All jailed prisoners should pay for their keep and life should "mean life" when judges sentence people for premeditated and terrorist crimes, he says.

He wants the NHS to link up with private care and national insurance contributions part-shared with the private sector on a voluntary basis.

And he wants more tax on alcohol sold in supermarkets.

He said: "My manifesto is very forward and, if accepted, will change many directions for the better for the human race."

Daniel Zeichner, the Labour candidate, said: "General elections always throw up a mixture of the serious and more light-hearted, such as the Monster Raving Loony Party."
goddess and god

Annual Wassail Ceremony, and Salem Witch on 'What Not to Wear'

Children plan to ward off spirits
The Weston & Somerset Mercury, 12 January 2010
"CHILDREN from a North Somerset village will take part in a traditional celebration on Thursday.

Sandford Primary School pupils will be joining the Mendip Morris Men to take part in the annual Wassail ceremony at Thatchers cider company in Station Road.

Wassail traditions date back to early Pagan times, when rural communities would perform ceremonies in January to encourage a healthy apple harvest later that year. The traditions, which will be re-enacted by the children, include the crowning of a Wassail king and queen, a procession led by the Green Man, hanging toast in the apple trees to attract the good spirits, and banging pots and pans to ward off the evil spirits.

Pupils have been busy all week producing their own pictures to bring along to tomorrow's event.

Thatchers will also be donating an apple tree for them to plant in the school grounds."

Salem witch's 'What Not to Wear' makeover airs Friday
By Amanda McGregor, The Salem News, January 11, 2010
"Marrama, a member of the Salem witch community, was picked for a makeover on the popular TLC program "What Not to Wear," which is set to air Friday.

The show's cast and crew descended on Salem in September, where they filmed Marrama's look being "put on trial" — reminiscent of Salem's infamous 1692 witch trials — by a jury that included other members of the city's psychic community.

The show then swooped Marrama — and all of her clothes — to New York for a week, where "What Not to Wear" hosts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly weeded out her wardrobe and gave her $5,000 to start anew, and redid her hair and makeup.

The results will air Friday at 9 p.m."