Interview: Dr. Karl E H Seigfried talks Ásatrú, Heathenry and beards

A few weeks back, we pushed out a post about the fact that Heathens serving in the U.S. Army are now allowed to sport a beard as part of their faith. In the story, I mentioned that a group that stands for heathens serving in the military stated that the growing of a beard wasn’t a tenet of Heathenry. Given that Ásatrú, Heathenry and Paganism have been used to describe a wide number of belief systems and religions, I wasn’t sure if making a basket statement like this was factually correct. Fortunately, I know someone who does.

Dr. Karl E.H. Seigfried was the first Ásatrú to earn a graduate degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School. While at the university, he was President of Interfaith Dialogue and served on the Spiritual Life Council, the advisory board for the Spiritual Life Office. He holds degrees in literature and music from University of California at San Diego, University of Wisconsin at Madison, and University of Texas at Austin. He studied literature and art history at Loyola University Chicago, Rome Center, in Italy and took Icelandic language courses through University of Iceland's distance learning program.

Dr. Seigfried currently works at the Illinois Institute of Technology as an Adjunct Professor in Humanities and as a Pagan Chaplain. He’s Goði (priest) of Thor’s Oak Kindred—a Chicago-based organization, dedicated to the practice of the Ásatrú faith and a member of the Troth Clergy Program. Previously, Dr. Seigfried taught Norse mythology and religion at Loyola University Chicago, Carthage College, and the Newberry Library Seminars Program. Read the rest

Bone & Sickle, a new macabre podcast by Al Ridenour

Krampus LA co-founder (and occasional BB guest blogger) Al Ridenour is taking a stab at podcasting with Bone & Sickle, a show that "celebrates the intertwining of horror and folklore."

He writes:

Like my Krampus book, the show explores elements of horror within folklore, or folklore within horror. It’s not an interview show, but more of a manic lecture spun into an overwrought background of original music, drones, effects, snippets of found audio, etc. All within a fictional, manor house framework. Featuring Rick Galiher as my much abused valet, Wilkinson.

In honor of the German holiday of Walpurgisnacht on April 30, Al has "binge released" three 30-minute episodes at once. He suggests starting with the third episode.

Here's a taste of what to expect:

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Nina Paley's haunting, mesmerizing, and life-affirming God-Mother animation

Nina Paley, the ridiculously-talented artist, cartoonist, and animator, has just posted her latest video, God-Mother, and it's another jaw-dropper. Nina is known for intense, highly arresting animations, like This Land is Mine, my vote for one of the greatest visual indictments of war, cycles of violence, and the horrors of human conquest. She's also done the feature-length trip through the Ramayana, Sita Sings the Blues, Death of the First Born Egyptians, and Copying is not Theft. Nina is also a free culture activist.

God-Mother is Nina's ode to Mother Earth and goddess religions. Her haunting, mesmerizing animation is perfectly paired with the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir, singing the Bulgarian folk song, Godmother Denkou. The life-affirming spirit of the video ends with a sad and snarky grace note that is pure Paley. God-Mother is part of Seder-Masochism, an eventual animated feature for which Nina has been amassing content.

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Felt animal hats

Barbara Keal makes unusual felt hats, perfect for cold winter mornings and pagan orgies. [via Trendland] Read the rest