Weekly Update: 22 May

We have a great lineup coming up next week, starting off with a guest post by Brian Johnson on “Revolutionary Spirits and Occult Strategies of Resistance.” We also have scheduled a review by Lorna Smithers and essays by Rhyd Wildermuth (on colonialism and decolonization), Dr. Bones (on the precariat), and Christopher Scott Thompson (on the history of anarchism).

Links and News

Last weekend wrapped up almost 2 dozen climate change protests held around the globe known as Break Free. The Wild Hunt has an article covering the involvement of two pagans in some of these events, Margaret Human and John Halstead. Halstead – one of Gods&Radicals’ writers – was one of about 40 people arrested during the protest in Whiting, Indiana, and also has a series of posts up at Patheos discussing his path to environmental activism.

A victory in the works since 1975: The Munduruku, one of Brazil’s largest indigenous groups, have achieved legal recognition of their traditional territory, which grants them the right to “free, prior, and informed consent before the government can use their land.” As a result, a mega-dam project that would have submerged their land has been halted.

Lastly, two articles on animism:

Quote for the Week

Here’s an interesting quote I found on Tumblr, from a book by Gastón  R. Gordillo: Rubble: The Afterlife of Destruction:

Hollywood insists in presenting the image of a capitalist world in ruins as ominous and terrifying. But as Rebecca Solnit argues in A Paradise Built in Hell, the scholarship on disasters conclusively shows that it is the powerful who usually panic amid the rubble created by catastrophes. She shows that the Hobbesian Hollywood nightmare of hysterical masses panicking in wild stampedes and creating a war of “all against all” scenario is an elite fantasy. Most people are certainly shocked and disoriented at first but soon afterward generate forms of solidarity and cooperation and see the possibility of collective transformation and rebirth. In fact, the very fact that sites of power have been destroyed makes people less fearful of the powerful.

History is full of examples of fields of rubble that awakened emancipatory sentiments, even if this effervescence was eventually contained. After the burning of Moscow in 1812 by the Napoleonic armies, for instance, Tolstoy wrote that the rubble of the city opened “unique possibilities of moral regeneration”. In the case of Argentina, Healey shows that the rise to power of Perón in 1946 was inseparable from his role in the plans to reconstruct the city of San Juan, which had been reduced to rubble by an earthquake two years earlier. Perón turned the rubble of San Juan into a collective invitation to build a new, better, more inclusive Argentina. Henry Cobb noted in 1947 a similar enthusiasm for change amid the rubble of Warsaw, which made him realize, “in a strange way,” that “because of the destruction you could remake the world.” And this is at the core of the elite fear of rubble in moments of unrest: that the rubble, indeed, could be an invitation to remake the world differently

Wear Your Best Bonnet to the Revolution

Rebecca Riots.  One of at least 10 peasant and worker uprisings in Celtic lands during the 18th and 19th century invoking sovereignty goddesses, land spirits, Fairy Witches, and other mysterious, usually female beings.  In many of these movements, men wore dresses and bonnets.
The Welsh ‘Rebecca Riots.’ One of many peasant and worker uprisings in Celtic lands during the 18th and 19th century invoking sovereignty goddesses, land spirits, crones, Fairy Witches, and other mysterious, usually female otherworldly beings. In many of these movements, men wore dresses and bonnets.  Other figures invoked included Maeve, Ludd (possibly Llud or Lugh), and Sadhbh.


This week on Gods&Radicals:

Druid and Author of God-Speaking, Judith O’Grady, will appear on Monday with an essay regarding the existence of Evil.

On Wednesday, look for Mark Shekoyan‘s discussion of Pan.

And on Friday, we’ll host an essay by Heathen Chinese, called “Are the Gods on Our Side?”

Links of Interest

Wanna see what our lust for technology is doing to earth? Here’s a horror story.

Called “Pagan” by one local Christian priest, a wooden temple was constructed and burned to heal ancestral trauma in Northern Ireland.

Peter Grey, author of Apocalyptic Witchcraft and the very-oft quoted Rewilding Witchcraft, has published another profound speech on technology, witchcraft, and how we’re giving away our power:

Should you worry about “The New Right” and their co-option of Paganism? Yes, and academic Amy Hale succinctly argues why.

 And the long-awaited Draft Pagan Statement on the Environment is ready for public comment! You may note the absence of a certain “C” word, though….

Glossary: Commodification

Literally, to turn something into a commodity, or to abstract it so that it can be bought, sold, and traded.

The process by which something becomes objectified, reduced to an abstraction of itself, and requiring it to be removed from the social relation that produced it.

Any thing which can be bought and sold is a commodity, but Capitalism constantly requires ‘new markets’ and new ways of making money, so things which were historically never subject to sale on markets (land, most importantly) eventually become commodities because of this pressure.  Everything is for sale within Capitalism, and things thought sacred or set-apart from the market often cannot stay that way.

Water’s a great example of this.  Water falls from the sky in the form of rain, wells from the earth, flows in rivers, and settles in lakes and ponds.  It is, in essence, ‘free,’ or readily abundant in Nature.  Now, however, it is something to be bought in bottles at stores.  In order to maintain such an odd or ‘unnatural’ state of affairs, access to water must be limited, and thus aquifers are often sold to private companies, particularly in the southern hemisphere, and the poor have been forbidden from drawing off ancestral wells.

Related terms: Enclosure, Commodity Fetishism, Appropriation.

And this week’s quotes, from early 1800’s anti-Capitalist revolts:


The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from the goose.
(Anonymous anti-Enclosure Pamphlet, 1821)


No General but Ludd
Means the Poor Any Good
(Luddite slogan, 1811)