Pagan and the Pit(bulls)

The political musings of a Pagan and her dogs.


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White Evangelical Pastor is a bigot. No one is suprised.

Content Note: Bigotry

On August 19th, Reverend John Kilpatrick preached against witchcraft being used against Trump. Since they post their sermons on Facebook, the video has gone mildly viral. Kilpatrick made claims that “when Elijah faced Jezebel, he was facing witchcraft” and that “what’s happening right now in America, is witchcraft’s trying to take this country over”.  Other statements include “I’m not being political, but I don’t see how President Trump bears up under it…here’s what the Holy Spirit said to me last night and what He said for me to tell you. He said, ‘Tell the church that so far, Trump has been dealing with Ahab. But Jezebel’s fixing to step out from the shadows.’ That’s what the Lord said to me…He said ‘Pray for him now, because there’s about to be a shift, and the Deep State is about to manifest, and it’s going to be a showdown like you can’t believe.'”.

Now, I personally find this to be a gross violation of church and state, and that this church should lose its tax exempt status. But that’s neither here nor there.

Witchcraft and Wicca do have a history of using magick against people they don’t like. Doreen Valiente said that she and some friends attempted to use magick against the Nazis during WWII. Witches have been cursing Trump since day one. I, myself, put small curses on his name every time I spit on it. And if his policies kill someone in my family or close to me, I will eat his heart. The fact that Trump is so hated and cursed makes it difficult to refute these types of claims, which may explain why no Pagan or Witchcraft group has called Kilpatrick out and said his claims are bullshit.

Here’s my statement: Trump is a sexist, racist, classist, ableist bigot. He is a traitor to the United States, and guilty of collusion with Russian agents and Vladimir Putin. Many magickal practitioners have cursed him as part of their First Amendment rights to practice their religion freely and as part of protest activities. However, the most effective curses aren’t the ones cast by others, but the ones we put on ourselves.

Here’s the other part of this video that worries me. Kilpatrick isn’t fringe. Kilpatrick has a large platform and he’s using it to spread hate against Pagans and magickal practitioners. His congregation applauded his words. He may have backtracked by saying “it’s not a witch after him, it’s a spirit of witchcraft trying to muzzle him”; but it’s not an apology, and it’s just as hateful as the words he said from the pulpit.

White Evangelical Christians want us gone, and they will do what they have to to get rid of us. Hate crimes start at church.


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White Pagans, time to collect our racist Uncle Wotan

Content Note: Racism, Nazism, Trumpism

Authors Note: Nazism has close ties to Odinism and Asatru, and both Nazis and Neo-Nazis often use Heathen symbols on their images. We can’t afford to ignore this connection, because regardless of what happens, the impact on Paganism and Heathenism is either “bad” or “worse”. I am aware that my own Hellenic and Wiccan traditions struggle with racism as well, and this will be addressed in other posts, primarily because racism takes many forms which deserve their own discussions. I am also aware that not all Heathens, Asatru practitioners, or Odinists are Nazis or racists. However, I will point out that people who use “not all *blank*” tend to be part of the problem as well. For purposes of this post, I will refer to Odinism attached to the Nazi/Neo-Nazi movement as Nazi Wotanism, as Wotan is the High Germanic name of Odin and the name has strong associations with the white separatist movement. If you are a member of any racist or hate group and want to leave, Life After Hate is there for you. Please reach out for any help you need.

Barely a year ago, literal tiki torch-bearing Nazis marched in Charlottesville. They terrorized the town, and their actions led to the death of a brave Antifa activist Heather Heyer (may she return in power). If you paid any attention to the banners and have a passing knowledge of runes, you probably noticed some familiar symbols: elhaz/algis, othala, tyr, and the valknot. These are all symbols used by Nazis during the Third Reich and in use today by Neo-Nazis. Nazis love themselves some Pagan symbols and imagery, they loved the Pagan gods, and that love has been passed down to the Neo-Nazis of America. Which makes them our problem to collect and police.

Nazism and racism have long been part of Paganism’s dark underbelly. The much-admired Madame Blavatsky who influenced many Pagan traditions started it off by popularizing the swastika (seen on the emblem of the Theosophical Society) and endorsed the concept of a “superior race”. One of her followers, Guido von List   Ariosophy, the philosophy of the supposed Aryan priest-kings. Von List was one of Heinrich Himmler’s greatest inspirations and he modeled the Schutzstaffel SS on that Ariosophy. The Thule Society, which was based on Blavatsky and von Lists teachings, is basically a who’s who of the Nazi leadership. The Thule Society’s influence extended past politics and into the private world: women were considered priestesses of the home, and popular holidays such as Christmas were re-branded as Pagan celebrations. This becomes important after WWII because Else Christensen, a housewife, peddled her toxic mix of white supremacy, sexism, and Wotanism in America.

If you recognize Ms. Else as a Pagan activist who pushed to have Odinism and Wotanism recognized by the prison system, good for you. That doesn’t negate her sins in the least.

Many Pagans think that because we’re a minority religion we can hide this association between Nazism and Wotanism. That because we’re often overlooked for things like a holiday, we’ll be overlooked for things like this. They’re wrong.

Nazi Pagans already made headlines in the Washington Post and Vice.

Nazi Pagan Facebook pages exist. And Facebook ignores it when people report the hate. I know that for a fact because while I was researching this, I reported several. And each one was ignored.

Wotanism loves a particular kind of toxic hyper-masculinity and sexualized violence. Scrolling through any of the hate pages on Facebook reveals a consistent pattern in their posts. Memes proclaiming the superiority of the white race and calling for the defense of the traditional family, white women, and children are mixed with Barbie doll Valkyries in impractical armor and near-nude Freyas’ posing provocatively with swords. The message is clear: protect the racist and homophobic ideas of Nazism and this is your reward. This is exceptionally dangerous in the era of Trumpism when calls for stochastic terrorism ring from every rally.

Regardless of how the next couple of months and years play out, Pagans are going to suffer from this representation. We live in a nation that firmly embraces White Evangelical Christianity. Make no mistake, the Wotanist Nazis are tolerated only so far as they can support the nationalist agenda. White Evangelical Christians will throw Wotanist Nazis under the bus when it becomes politically expedient; a movement that gleefully justifies separating children with the Bible isn’t going to make distinctions between the flavors of Paganism. In the event that the elections are free and fair and there is a blue wave, these Wotanist Nazis will just blend back into the Pagan crowd, hiding behind the idea of a progressive minority religion. A cancer hiding until it can grow unchecked again.

So what do we do?

If you are safe and capable of staying safe, we call them out where we can and when we can. And if you can stay safe, keep your connections to the people you know who are Pagan Nazis.

First, call out their behavior. Don’t let them hide in your communities. Don’t let them melt back into Pagan spaces without scrutiny. Don’t let them post their hate speech in your social media pages unquestioned. Circle is supposed to be a space you enter in perfect love and perfect trust. You can’t enter anything in perfect love and perfect trust when there are Nazis. Don’t let them hide behind the claim of minority status. We, as Pagans, are uniquely placed to call out their racist, Nazi, homophobic bullshit, because we hold space and status within their own communities. It’s hard for a Wotanist Nazi to claim they’re being discriminated against because of their religion when the person calling them out is from their own community.

Because it can be difficult to tell Wotanist Nazis from Odinists, Asatru practitioners, and other Heathens; be thoughtful in how you approach this. Educate yourself on what symbols and in what configurations these Wotanist Nazis use them in. And always, always, always keep your safety in mind.

Second, if you have connections to Wotanist Nazis, keep the lines of communication open. Individuals who leave cults and hate groups do so because they have connections to the outside world. You don’t have to help them yourself or approve of what they do. In fact it’s good if you make it clear that you don’t. But let them know that you have resources if they need help with their rage or hate. People can’t access resources they need if they don’t know those resources exist.

Or if neither of these options appeals to you, you can do what I did: plastered links to Life After Hate all over their Facebook pages.


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XI: Prisoner gets Justice for the tarot

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So, today we got a win for religious freedom in the Americas. Serial killer Paul Steven Haigh had 4 tarot cards returned to him. The Canadian Supreme Court ruled the prisoners have the right to practice their religion without unreasonable incursion from the government or guards (obviously, athames and swords are still verboten). Haigh uses the the cards as a meditative doorway and a spiritual tool; like many other Pagans.

I’ve done tarot meditations, and I think the interweaving circles and themes are quite soothing and philosophical. I’m glad that this man is getting some comfort from them. When the guards took 4 cards out of the deck because they showed breasts, it rendered the deck useless as a meditative tool: all the arcana move from one card to the next like stepping stones, take one out and you can’t make the next leap.

I don’t jive with the artwork on the Deviant Moon deck (the deck in question), I personally prefer the Herbal Tarot. But it’s far from pornographic or obscene, which were the reasons given for the card confiscation. I think I’m rather like US Supreme Court Justice Stewart, I know obscenity when I see it. And to a degree this reads like a petty confiscation to me.

I’m glad that the Canadian Supreme Court ruled on the right side of this. Religious freedom is a positive for all of us.


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A Dark Horse on the Horizon

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While my musical tastes are broad and sometimes “auditorily offensive”, Katy Perry is by no means a favorite, and not someone I normally associate with Paganism. So when I saw Katy Perry mentioned on The Wild Hunt, I was a bit confused. Apparently, Perry is in the hot seat again for her 2013 hit “Dark Horse”. For me, Perry is hugely problematic not-fave for reasons you can see here, here, here, and here.

And honestly, even if none of her homophobia, cultural appropriation, or sexual misconduct was a factor, I’m not super enthused by the music video. As a Hellenic practitioner with no real ties to the Egyptian pantheon, I don’t have a horse in the race in terms of divine representation; even if the color scheme in the music video is the hue of my depression. The song is meh and I have no comment on the use of Aphrodite’s name in the lyrics. In an early version of the music video, Perry destroyed a necklace with the name of Allah on it which is really just another sign of her inattentiveness as an artist. Although I did find her Grammy performance of “Dark Horse” distasteful and concerning for a whole host of reasons.

The issue here is that Perry is being sued by Marcus Gray, Lecrae Moore, Emanuel Lambert, and Chike Ojukwu for plagiarism of their song “Joyful Noise“, as well as tarnishing the reputation of “Joyful Noise” with “Dark Horse”s “association with the witchcraft, paganism, black magic, and Illuminati imagery evoked by the same music in Dark Horse. Indeed, the music video of Dark Horse generated widespread accusations of blasphemy and an online petition signed by more than 60,000 demanding removal of an offensive religious image from the video.” Given that Perry has a background as a Christian music singer, and that the songs do share a remarkably similar beat and melody I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Perry didn’t give credit where it was due. And that’s really shitty of her if she did. But I take serious issue with where this fits into the larger cultural narrative, particularly the cultural narrative in Trump’s America. 

Right out of the gate, I will say I don’t expect my celebrities to use their platform politically. I do think that individuals with that kind of reach have an ethical responsibility to use that platform wisely, but having a responsibility doesn’t mean you have to do something. However, I do know for a fact that people who claim minority status have to behave like the eye of the Moirae is on them; because the eye of the public is and it’s not much kinder.

Why does that matter? Perry has claimed to be a New Age practitioner.

Now, if we’re talking labels, “New Age practitioner” isn’t Pagan isn’t pagan isn’t Wiccan isn’t witchcraft isn’t Illuminati (what even is an Illuminati when it’s at home?). But those are differences without a distinction to most of the populace, as we see in the “Joyful Noise” lawsuit.

In terms of the claims from the lawsuit, most of the pagan imagery comes from the music video. Excluding the army of sexy-Bastet, I can somewhat understand it. Ra and Anubis have probably never been so ripped, but many who reject the Christian faith often go through a phase of strongly connecting with the Divine Feminine. Most people don’t have such a large artistic venture to express it though, and others who do have certainly done it better (the bold mixture of Isis and Christianity in The Cranberries “Zombie” and Beyonce as Oshun come to mind).  I can tolerate Perry’s bubblegum attempt at Isis, even if I give it a healthy dose of side eye.

More concerning was her Grammy performance. I’m not going to claim that witchcraft is always rainbows and fairies: in my magickal pantry I have grave dirt, bones, and menstrual blood. But that performance. I was a child during the Satanic Panic, and the evangelical school my parents sent me to clung to the panic even after it passed out of the mainstream media. That Grammy performance was EXACTLY what my parents and the school said witchcraft was: skeletal trees, hooded Baphomet, dancing demons, witches branded with red crosses, women getting sexual pleasure from being burned. I swear, joining my first coven after that build up was such a letdown.

Outside of a very wise group of Cassandras, I don’t think any of us really expected the political rise of the White Evangelical to play out the way it did. In 2014 I remember Pagans talking about LGBTQ rights and evangelism; Trump, Russia, and the malice of White Evangelism were hidden for the most part. Most of us didn’t think it could or would happen. Except it did, and we’re seeing all sorts of human rights violations and bullshit go down. After all, evangelical lobbyists sell access to the president at the Prayer Breakfast, the DOJ uses the Bible to justify separating children at the border, and Jeff Sessions formed the Religious Liberty Task Force (ostensibly to protect the voices of religion in the government, but let’s be real about how that’s going to play out).  In the grand scheme of things, this lawsuit seems small and insignificant. But bigger atrocities are built on the small and insignificant, so this case very well should be watched closely.

Perry has the wealth and resources to inoculate herself against the discrimination every Pagans and magickal practitioners face. Regardless of the outcome of this case, Perry will continue on making money by the boatload and will present an air of the effortless New Age practitioner. She will not struggle to find employment or days off, and should things in America turn against minority religions she has the means to protect herself and her empire. But if Perry claims to be a New Age practitioner, she’s the representative we have in the wider world even if she isn’t one we would have chosen for ourselves. Which means she needs to step up her game, and we need to call her out about it. Because it’s not her neck on the line. It’s ours.