Vol 8 No. 2 (2006)


University of Houston
The connections between religion and violence, including all types of sacrifice, have a long-standing history of scholarly concern. Because Santería (along with other African-based religions) engages in rituals of sacrifice that include the immolation of animals, an exploration of sacrifice and other types of religious violence through the lens of these religions may provide new insights into these activities. In this article I suggest that the standard approaches to the issues of religion, sacrifice, and violence are flawed by their Indo-European ethnocentrism and that the perspectives of religions like Santería and the Yoruba traditional religion can reconfigure the place of sacrifice in the religious milieu and call into question both the rhetoric and use of violence in other traditions.
Michigan State University
Religious music serves to co-create and carry strategies of theology, authen¬ticity, and behavior. This article examines the history of folk music and folk ideology in creating and maintaining such strategies. I examine several prominent examples of American folk music and Pagan music, articulating their shared historical and theological relationships. Focusing on national¬ism, feminism, and populism, I also argue that an ideology of the common ritual year is a prominent shared theme between American folk music and contemporary Paganism. While underscoring the need for greater attention to this area, the article concludes that the legitimization processes at work are similar to other American heritage musics and aspects of American cultural politics.
Nationalism has been one of the most hotly debated issues concerning Russian Paganism, both within the movement and in public and scholarly debates about it. This article critically examines the usage of the concept in scholarly research. After considering Russian Pagan nationalistic discourse in general, it analyses a Pagan umbrella organization, the Circle of Pagan Tradition, as a case study, and focuses especially on its founding document, the Bitsa Appeal. Using this example, the article demonstrates the hazards in applying the concept of nationalism without very delicate consideration of its multiple aspects. Examining the Bitsa Appeal and the reception it received among Pagans also highlights some basic orientations and one central cause of internal tension within Russian Paganism.
Gothenburg University
This paper discusses the historical roots of the use of ritualized sex in contemporary occultism, with special focus on the teachings of Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), Gerald B. Gardner (1884–1964) and Kenneth Grant (b. 1924). The notion that sexual magic is related to Hindu Tantric practices is addressed, and a detailed historical development of the use of ritualized sex—as illustrated by Crowley, Gardner, and Grant—is presented