Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pagan Temple under attack

On Oct 3rd of this year, I had the pleasure of attending a Pagan Pride event sponsored by Maetreum of Cybele, a pagan convent in Upstate NY in the town of Palenville. I vended at this event and attended an open circle. I had a great time. Unfortunately, the Maetreum is finding itself under attack:

...Not long after we purchased the property a local slumlord addressed a town meeting calling for us to be run out of town by way of zoning and building inspection harassment. While most of the people in town rejected his call and welcomed us, nevertheless over the course of the next several years we weathered continued harassment, vandalism, threats to “burn us out” followed by harassing and illegal inspections...

You can read more of the letter over at WildHunt.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Secret, 2012, and Heaven's Gate (UPDATED)

A while ago, I saw the "The Secret" DVD with a friend. My impression was that it was ridiculous on it's face. Where can I begin? How 'bout the hokey 'scientists' lending an air of credibility to pseudo-physics? Or maybe the incessant mantra of self-help speak mouthed by the participants? Best of all, if you were masochistic enough to sit till the end, came the requisite selling of cheap merchandise! A few months later, someone in our coven wanted to have a group "Secret" viewing. I noticed that at least one other group near me had a similar get-together.

I wish people in our community would do a better job calling out bullshit when they see it. You don't have to be mean about it, or try to make people feel small or stupid. But we can't ignore the tragic deaths that just occurred in a poorly constructed 'sweat lodge', sponsored by the charlatans behind the "The Secret". (For those wishing to read more about this, Jason at Wild Hunt is doing an excellent job covering the story, here and in his "Pagan News of Note, here.)

Does anyone remember "Heaven's Gate" and that cult's sick fascination with the arrival of comet Hale-Bopp? (If you want to read my rants on the subject, I blogged about it here). As bad at it is, at the point I'm writing this, only two people have died. But it could have been much worse.

The latest bunch of hooey to wash by the gutter is this "Mayan 2012" calendar stuff. It reminds me of the End-of-Days stuff spouted by Dominionist Xtians. I'm old enough to remember the "Jupiter Effect" nonsense from the 1970's. All sorts of calamities were suppose to ensue due to a rare planetary alignment. The fact that astronomers told us this alignment was indeed not going to happen, and even if it did would have virtually no effect on us, did little to stem the sale of "Jupiter Effect" books.

The people behind such things as "The Secret" and "2012" are parasites trying to make a buck off the gullible and weak. It wouldn't be so bad if it was only money at stake. But people getting involved in such things can be lead terribly--and sometimes tragically-- astray.

(UPDATE: A third person had died. The sheriff's dept, is treating the incident as a homicide. Details here.)