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Alternative Faiths

Georgia Guidestones, long treasured and feared, demolished after attack

By Heather Greene — July 7, 2022
(RNS) — ‘The stones would probably have survived a nuclear war,’ said a local historian, ‘but they could not survive Southern culture.’

What’s behind the enduring popularity of crystals?

By Joseph P. Laycock — July 6, 2022
(The Conversation) — Crystals are part of a larger tradition of metaphysical religions that have a long history in the U.S.

Buying into conspiracy theories can be exciting – that’s what makes them dangerous

By Donovan Schaefer — July 5, 2022
(The Conversation) — Overcoming conspiracy theories isn’t just about information. A scholar of religion explains that the emotions they inspire are part of their appeal.

The ‘sonnenrad’ used in shooters’ manifestos: a spiritual symbol of hate

By Helen A. Berger — June 30, 2022
(The Conversation) — The far-right today shares more than just ideas with white supremacists of yesterday – they also share some pagan-inspired symbols.

The Martinican bèlè dance – a celebration of land, spirit and liberation

By Camee Maddox-Wingfield — June 27, 2022
(The Conversation) — After years of marginalization, the bèlè dance has been embraced by a growing community who see it as a form of social and spiritual healing.

At LA’s DisclosureFest, a milieu of New Age mysticism, capitalism and conspiracy talk

By Sam Kestenbaum — June 23, 2022
LOS ANGELES (RNS) — The annual event is equal parts musical carnival, mystic be-in and merchandise swap meet.

Wiccan celebration of summer solstice is a reminder that change, as expressed in nature, is inevitable

By Helen A. Berger — June 17, 2022
(The Conversation) — For Wiccans, midsummer, with the maximum hours of sunlight, is the time for celebrating new life.

Where the witches were men: A historian explains what magic looked like in early modern Russia

By Valerie Kivelson — June 15, 2022
(The Conversation) — The idea of a ‘witch’ was usually female in Western Europe, but not so in Orthodox Russia – partly because of the period’s rigid social hierarchies.

Tallying the dead is one thing, giving them names would take an ‘inexhaustible voice,’ as the ancient Greeks knew

By Joel Christensen — June 7, 2022
(The Conversation) — A scholar of Greek classics revisits the texts to bring lessons on how to honor the lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to make a thousand witches with one Supreme Court decision

By Heather Greene — June 6, 2022
(RNS) — Magic has always been, in lore and in life, a tool of the oppressed.

SoulCycle’s Peoplehood offers a gig-economy cure for loneliness

By Tara Isabella Burton — June 4, 2022
(RNS) — Intimate connection for urban dwellers may be the modern answer to pandemic loneliness.

How the role and visibility of chaplains changed over the past century

By Wendy Cadge and Michael Skaggs — June 1, 2022
(The Conversation) — Chaplaincy emerged as a professional field in the mid-20th century. In the years since, their roles have evolved and they have also come to include many diverse religious traditions.

How a witch is using her grandmother’s Slavic magic to aid Ukraine’s war effort

By Emily McFarlan Miller — May 20, 2022
(RNS) — Madame Pamita's new book 'Baba Yaga's Book of Witchcraft' was released just after Russia's invasion of Ukraine — 'exactly at the time that it was so needed,' she said.

Satanic Temple follows ‘Judeo-Christian’ group’s SCOTUS win with flag request

By Heather Greene — May 6, 2022
(RNS) — The Satanic Temple's aim is to test whether the city's court-ordered acceptance of flags from religious groups includes a commitment to plurality. 

Pagans honor the Earth on May Day. But for many, nature is not enough.

By Heather Greene — May 2, 2022
(RNS) — Holidays such as Beltane can lead to a misunderstanding that all paganism is pantheism.
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