Tag Archives: raven kaldera

Reading Roundup: 10 September 2012


Sad news for esotericists everywhere as more esoteric scholars have passed away this past week, including Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, whose work featured in my Packet One research. His Introduction to Western Esotericism is one of the most concise texts that discusses the history of the modern esoteric movement that I know of.


Sufenas Virius Lupus, a queer, non-binary pagan talks about the intersection of paganism and queerness. He has even founded a specifically queer pagan practice devoted to Antonius. A lot of my recent readings come out of his very public voice, and I found his introduction to have a lot of similarities to religious studies stance.


Are pagans practicing “indigenous” traditions? Sufenas Virius Lupus has a good reason to say “no, not really” — and I agree. “Indigenous” is a loaded descriptor, and in many cases, trying to claim the “indigenous” label for a religious tradition is a move of legitimization, which ironically can be appropriating and erasing of the struggles of indigenous religious practitioners.


Raven Kaldera’s breakdown of what he calls “classic” (as defined by Eliade) and “core” (as defined by Harner) shamanism. As Kaldera is one of the loudest/most visible voices in the neo-pagan shamanistic circle, his definitions have a lot of currency. I do like the term “shamanic practitioner” as an alternative for “core shaman”.


Raven Kaldera also sets out to define why his “northern-tradition shamanism” isn’t reconstructed, indigenous, or heathenry, and distinguishes “shaman”, a spirit-worker who has been initiated by the Gods,  from a “shamanic practitioner” who uses certain techniques of spirit work. I disagree with some of his points about what are appropriate traditions to draw from and utilize but appreciate the clarity and candor of his vision about  his “wight-taught shamanism”, as well as his sensitivity to issues of appropriation and colonialism.


Speaking of Raven Kaldera, how about a response to the chapter on Agdistis in his book Hermaphrodeities? A really insightful historically-oriented critique of some of the presentation of myth cycles, as well as a critique on the use of “third gender” to lump all non-cis genders together that I agree with.


An American couple is traveling around the world for 3 years to get married as many places and ways as possible. Including, in their own words, by a Peruvian shaman. This is an interesting and rather odd instance of privilege; that these two affluent white Americans can roll up into any country and borrow and buy their way to a “culturally-flavored” wedding in 3 days kind of astounds me. I cannot travel around the world and have a marriage ceremony anywhere I feel like — if I tried, I might simply be refused, or I might be physically threatened, harassed, or arrested. Consuming culturally-specific rituals like dozens of marriage ceremonies illustrates a lot of curious attitudes towards the right of white Westerners to consume whatever rituals they want, wherever they want, regardless of whether they are practicing those rituals correctly or in context. It also reflects the interesting dynamic that by and large, white straight Westerners are permitted to do these things and implies an interesting relationship between indigenous cultures and the West in which indigenous people will facilitate this behavior (perhaps because of the money involved?)