Even a Stopped Clock is Right Twice a Day (You Can Decide Who the Clock in Question Is)

Look, it’s finally happening…the me and Billy Graham blog!  I almost bumped it again because of the “Evangelical Manifesto” press conference, but then I thought maybe I should actually read the manifesto before writing about it. 
Perhaps it’s hard to imagine, but I recently came across some advice Rev. Billy Graham gave someone, and I kind of agree.  I know, spooky.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has an Ask Dr. Graham section, weird but true.  The column I read involved a Mrs. N.D. writing to Graham about her recently passed husband.  Her friend says she knows a psychic that can put her in touch with a loved one who has passed, and asks if there is any reason to not visit this psychic.
Well, Graham advises against it, of course.  First he explains that much of what passes for psychic activity is actually fraudulent, so she would be wasting her money.  Then he goes on to play the usual song of “Let no one be found among you who…is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.”  Party poopers.
If Mrs. N.D. had asked me, I would have also advised her against it.  I truly believe there are people with psychic abilities, but I also believe that the profession of psychic is a nebulous one that is rife for abuse.  When you visit most psychics they emphasize that it’s “for entertainment purposes only” and although I try not to make light of psychic readings I do try to put them into a perspective.  I would not let anyone’s opinion, regardless of how informed; blindly tell me how to live my life or what to believe.  Sure, a psychic may knows things that you don’t, but you know, my Mom does too and I don’t let her tell me what to do (much).  I view the advice of a psychic the same as I view advice from my Mom, well intended.
And then there is the matter of who she wanted to speak to.  That’s risky business in my book.  Penn Juliette kind of sums it up on his show “Penn & Teller: Bullshit”.  He talks about how when someone dies, you have the memories of them.  Some are good, some are bad, but they are all 100% true and real memories.  When you ask a psychic to communicate with that person after they passed, whatever that psychic tells you rewrites your history of that person and your relationship with them.  In my opinion, that’s too big of a chance to take.  I would talk to a psychic about my love life, or my career, but I don’t think I would trust a stranger with the memory of someone I loved.  Maybe that’s just me.
So, there you have it, Graham and I would actually have given this woman the same advice.  For different reasons, but still, we agreed.  Yep, definitely scary.

Madonna Commands You to Dance

The producers are back! Producers have always been a key piece in the music manufacturing puzzle, but in my opinion the producers haven’t shone like stars, like they do now, since disco’s heyday. Again, in my opinion, I don’t think that’s entirely a coincidence. During the time of disco, large portions of the population wanted an escape, and the high energy light content music of disco filled that desire. Although many of the disco performers were talented vocalists in their own right, it was the music those vocals were over that people cared about, and soon the producers became viewed as the artist. It even reached the point were producers started cutting out the middle man and released their work with them as the performers.

I think it’s safe to say that again, large portions of our population would like to forget about all the crap going on and just dance, dance, dance. And again, as notable and talented as the artists may be, it’s the producers who are gaining the notoriety. Despite working with such talented, or questionably talented, women as Gwen Stefani, Nelly Furtado, and Britney Spears, the credit for their recent successes seems to be falling squarely on such producers as The Neptunes, Timbaland, and Justin Timberlake. All of whom worked with Madonna on her new album “Hard Candy”.

This album received a lot of hype from industry folks saying that Madonna is trying to capture the urban market. Long time fans, such as myself, will remember that when Madonna first came on the scene, in a time when radio airplay came first and music videos came second, many people thought that Madonna was a Black artist. There was genuine shock when they saw the videos for “Borderline” and “Lucky Star” that featured a spunky, slightly pudgy, and absolutely Caucasian woman dancing about. Madonna isn’t trying to capture the urban market; she’s trying to recapture it.

“Hard Candy” wants you to dance so much that what you hear is the absolutely most danceable options available. No real risks were taken (since I wasn’t shocked, annoyed, or concerned about her collaborations with hip hop producers) and no real intimacy was provided (like in her equally danceable, but decidedly electronic, offerings of “Ray of Light” and “Music”). Take the R&B/hip hop of top 100 radio, mix in some disco, add a dash of techno, and you have “Hard Candy”. That said, “Hard Candy” commands you to dance, and makes you want to obey.

The first single “4 Minutes” is the real stand out on the album. Not only is it one of the tracks that really captures the R&B sound of the moment, but it has a marching band loop in it! Let me state for the record that what R&B needs is MORE marching band! It was the reason I liked JC Chasez’s song “Blowin’ Me Up (With Her Love)”, and I love it here now. The other song I really like on “Hard Candy” is “Heartbeat”. It really takes the old school Madonna and rubs a little funk on it. It’s got the thump, it’s got a catchy melody, and it’s got Pharell’s patented heys in it. The rest of the album is an exercise in mainstream danceability. Not that it’s bad per say, it’s just not inspiring. Occasionally it strays a little too far into disco territory like on the song “She’s Not Me”, which is okay with me, but it’s probably a touch too disco for today’s top 100 listeners.

Madonna wants you to dance, even if it means sacrificing herself on the altar of the producer. Honor her noble sacrifice and shake that thang!

Enjoy “4 Minutes” below. I have to say, that yes, I know she has trainers, and stylists, and all that jazz, but this 50 year old woman is holding her own with a spry young Justin Timberlake. When they do a little undressing of each other at the end, it’s not creepy, just kind of hot. Not many 50 year olds can pull that off!

“Mother Nature’s Herbal” is One Bad Mother!

Those of you who know me, know that nature and I do not get along.  I am allergic to just about anything that grows: trees, flowers, grass, and hair on all the cuddliest of pets.  This may cause you to ask, why in the world would I ask to review “Mother Nature’s Herbal” by Judith Griffin.  Easy, I never developed any food allergies and this girl loves to eat!  I was excited to learn what things I ate and drank that may already be beneficial and if there were any other yummy options out there to try.
Well “Mother Nature’s Herbal” met, and exceeded, my expectations.  After being out of print for nearly ten years, I can understand why it has been brought back.  Firstly, the book is a visual dream.  The cover has a beautiful aged Victorian appearance, and there are delightful vintage illustrations throughout.  Enough about the visuals though, because books are to be read!
This book is insanely thorough.  I’ve read my fair share of “herbals” before, and the amount of information here buries all of them combined.  Section one is entitled “A Cultural Herbal” and man she isn’t kidding around!  Native American, Mayan, colonial America, medieval era, Indian, Oriental, Mediterranean, and other cultures are all represented here.  Unlike other books, Griffin doesn’t just give you a list and move on.  Each chapter gives you a lesson in the culture and history of herbal use of the region, along with the author’s personal experiences of learning and working with the herbs.  In addition, the big pay off for me…recipes!  For instance, want to know how to make a colonial Thanksgiving turkey, pesto genovese, or paneer?  Then buy this book!  Now, not only can I justify my love of Indian food because of its herbal health benefits, I can try making some of my favorite dishes!
The second section of “Mother Nature’s Herbal” is “Grow and Use Your Own Herbs”.  Not being the hands in the earth kind of gal, this part wasn’t nearly as exciting.  That said, it was detailed, but written plainly enough, that even a indoors gal like myself could clearly understand how to grow a garden.  Griffin covers just about anything you may want to know: how to grow your herbs organically, landscape plans for themed herb gardens, using old roses, and so much more.
After that, she advises you on what to do with your herbal harvests, such as herb vinegars, no salt herbal blends, teas, and again, much more.  There is also a section devoted to the use of essential oils and flower essences that you may make out of your harvest.  There’s even a growing guide, nutrient guide, and purchasing guide in the appendices.
“Mother Nature’s Herbal” is a fabulous resource, whether you’re a gardener, or just someone who likes to learn more about the food you eat.

Konichiwa Bitches

One of my all time favorite things is a musician with nothing to lose. That’s when things get interesting. Are they going to fade into obscurity? Will they sell out, perhaps more than they already had? Or, when no one seems to give a crap about what they do, will they let loose? The first two appeal to my catty nature, but the third is my favorite. The third brought us the Rick Rubin produced Johnny Cash, LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out”, and the topic of this blog, the latest Robyn cd.

For those of you unfamiliar with Robyn, she’s the bleached out Swedish chick who had moderate success in the 90s with the song “Show Me Love”, and then, she was gone. Now I don’t know the details, but her new album is on an independent label, that she started, which says to me, no one would touch her. I hope this album has her laughing all the way to the bank. So, you’re a failed Swedish dance star, how to you open up your new album? Please view the video below, it’s only about a minute long and it is exactly how this album begins.

Oh yeah, Robyn brings it, as the kids say. What does the new album sound like? Imagine the very best of 80s synth pop, with the edge of hip hop, performed by a petite Swedish woman. It’s that messed up awesome and more! On the 80s edge, she takes all the 80s pop clichés and makes them classic. Complete with 80s style music videos, several songs have a very Cyndi Lauperish vibe to them, and yes, even a spoken word break down in the middle of the love song. It’s all there, but done with a sense of intelligence that doesn’t make them corny, just really good.

How does that get a hip hop edge, you ask? Well, first she’s got her patented 80s “white girl rap” called “Konichiwa Bitches”. This out JJ Fads JJ Fad! It buries “Fergilious”. You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you? Also, she takes techo pop and laces it with aggressive lyrics, my favorite example is the song “Handle Me”. Imagine a delicate female vocal in a pop song use the phrase “But you’re a selfish narcissistic psycho freaking bootlicking nazi creep.” Now you begin to understand the glory that is Robyn.

Here is one of my favorite songs “Be Mine”. It sounds a little like Cyndi Lauper, has the total 80s style video, and yes, the patented spoken word section. Enjoy!

Malaysia is Back Baby!

Yep, I’m sidelining the “me agreeing with Billy Graham” blog again!  That’s because there is some tentatively exciting news out of Malaysia!  Yes, it’s back to Malaysia!  Those of you who haven’t been reading my blog for very long may not realize that almost a year ago I wrote a lengthy blog, called “The Malaysian Conundrum”, which detailed how Lina Joy, a Malay Muslim wasn’t allowed to officially convert from Islam to Christianity.  Take a minute to read it and refresh yourself on the topic.  I’ll wait.
Back?  Good!  Hold onto your hats folks because on May 8, 2008 a Malaysian religious court granted a woman’s wish to formally renounce Islam!  So, how did Siti Fatimah get so lucky?  It might have helped that she wasn’t originally a Muslim.  She converted to Islam so she could marry her Muslim boyfriend, because in Malaysia non-Muslims must convert to Islam before they are allowed to legally marry a Muslim.  Their marriage ended in 2006, and she requested to have her conversion annulled saying that she had only converted for marriage and had never been an actual practicing Muslim.
And it worked!  “It’s a landmark case”, the attorney who represented Fatimah is quoted telling Reuters.UK.  Unfortunately, Reuters explains that Islamic affairs are governed at state level, so the ruling does not necessarily set a precedent for sharia courts in Malaysia’s other states.  The Penang religious council has already signaled that it is likely to appeal the ruling.
That’s why I had to write about this so quickly…the victory may be short lived.

The Not So Big News Out of Turkey

I was planning on posting a wonderful blog about me and Rev. Billy Graham actually agreeing on something, but that will have to wait because BIG NEWS is coming out of Turkey.  At least it seemed like big news when I got the under one minute sum up on BBC World News yesterday morning.  Then I made the mistake of looking into it a little more and I have to say…I’m unimpressed.
The big news is that Turkey’s parliament has approved a proposal to amend Article 301 of the Turkish penal code.  This was been lauded as a huge step to free speech reform, and that’s what Turkey wants us all to think.  Unfortunately for them, some of us will actually take the time to read about it on websites such as Aljazeera.Net.  Curse us pesky news readers.  Let’s break it down, shall we?
Article 301, according to the folks at Wikipedia.Org, covers:
A person who publicly denigrates Turkishness, the Republic or the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and three years.
A person who publicly denigrates the Government of the Republic of Turkey, the judicial institutions of the State, the military or security organizations shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and two years.
In cases where denigration of Turkishness is committed by a Turkish citizen in another country the punishment shall be increased by one third.
Expressions of thought intended to criticize shall not constitute a crime.
(For those of you like me that were going, what the heck does denigrates mean, it’s like defaming, bashing, bad mouthing, etc.)
Now it’s nice that “Expressions of thought intended to criticize shall not constitute a crime”, but who decides the difference between criticism and bashing?  Obviously many scholars and journalists have been hauled into court thanks to Article 301.  Many people have been critical of Article 301, including the folks at the European Union.
Yes, Turkey would love to reap the benefits of EU membership and has been doing the dance to become a full member since 2005.  One of the things that would prove a commitment to political reform would be easing restrictions on free speech.  So, the heavens opened up and an amendment was born.  This is sure to have a huge impact on things, right?  I mean, the EU isn’t going to be impressed by some half-assed gesture, are they?  Apparently Turkey thinks they will because the amendment changes very little.
After everything is said and done it will be a crime to insult the Turkish nation, rather than Turkishness (again, what’s an insult and what’s criticism, and for that matter, what is Turkishness verses the Turkish nation) and the maximum sentence will drop from three years to two.  And let’s not forget that the amendment has to be approved by the president before it can go into effect.
Suddenly the landmark amendment for free speech reform in Turkey seems pretty much like business as usual.

Snake on the Magazine: The Angont

Article by Rebecca
Image by Will Hobbs (www.sirwilliamwesley.com)

The Huron people of America tell the story of the angont. First, if you’re like me, let’s start with who are the Huron? According to my anonymous peeps at Wikipedia.Org, “The Wyandot and Huron are indigenous peoples of North America, known in their native language as the Wendat. Modern Wyandots and Hurons emerged in the 17th century from the remnants of two earlier groups, the Huron Confederacy and the Petun, who were located on the southeastern corner of Georgian Bay in what is now the Canadian province of Ontario before being dispersed by war. Wyandots and Hurons today live in various locations in Canada and the United States.” Now that we’ve taken care of that, what is an angont?

Glad you asked. An angont, or specifically THE Angont, is a huge venomous snake. Well, how big is it? It’s SO big that it can stretch forth from its hiding place, generally caves, lakes, rivers, and old growth forests, and overwhelm travelers, and inflict disease and death upon any that come within its gigantic radius. You’re saying, that’s pretty wicked. I bet people steered clear of any area they thought the Angont was in, didn’t they?

Yes and no. Like all giant death-dealing creatures, it is said that its skin is a potent component for shamanistic magics. Needless to say, ill luck befell anyone who encountered the creature. Even worse, it’s said that talismans made from the Angont’s skin brought the bearer bad luck. Yet, people still sought it out. It’s like an evil plague bearing Unicorn that could casually crush you, and instead of having only healing stories behind its coveted horn, it has terrible tales in regards to using its body parts. Between you and me, I don’t get it.

Magical Buffet Mythology: Chac

Article by Rebecca
Image by Will Hobbs (www.sirwilliamwesley.com)

This month’s Magical Buffet Mythology is chock full of Chacs…and Chac. Confused? Welcome to the religious practices of the Mayans.

Chacs are minor rain deities. Initially there were four Chacs, one for each of the directions, north, south, east and west. How many are there now? You tell me, I can’t find two sources that can agree. Chacs appear to look like old men and animal hearts were sacrificed to them during festivals.

The Chacs answer to Chac, the rulers of all the minor Chacs. That makes him THE rain god and patron of agriculture. He is often shown wearing a mask and holding an ax. During festivals humans, particularly children, were sacrificed to him to ask for rain and to receive prophecy.

Yes, unlike my Tanit article where the sacrifice was unconfirmed, humans were sacrificed to Chac. We all know that I’m not an expert. We all know that, don’t we? Well, I am not, so take this as the uninformed opinion that comprises 98% of what I write.

Is human sacrifice cruel? Yes. Should human sacrifice be practiced in modern times? No. Were the Mayans a bunch of barbarous evil doers? Absolutely not. Spiritual belief exists to provide people with answers. As the world grows smaller and science makes advances spirituality exists to provide answers to internal questions; questions of morality and a quest to understanding ourselves and the divine.

There was a time when the world was large, complex, and filled with mysteries. A few important questions like, why does it rain? How can I guarantee rain to sustain my people? That’s where Chac and his Chacs come in. How do we show Chac that our desire is strong? That we’re willing to put our trust in him? Perhaps by sacrificing the untapped potential of our young? Cruel, yes, but it does convey a strong message.

So let’s leave the sacrificing in the past, but cut Chac, Chacs, and the Mayans a little slack.

Ten Questions with Kerr Cuhulain

1. What drew you to Wicca?
When I was a child I was wild about Greek and Roman mythology. Back in the late sixties when I was a teenager, I was exploring various different religions, not really knowing what I was looking for, developing an interest in Celtic lore. Then I came across Diary of a Witch by Sybil Leek. And there it was. I’ve been a Witch ever since.

2. What made you decide to become a police officer?
There was a military history on my father’s side of the family (and for many generations on my mother’s side as well). My father had been a flight sergeant in the RAF during WWII and wanted me to become an officer, gentleman and pilot, something he hadn’t achieved. I went off to do that in the Canadian Armed Forces, then realized once I’d got there that it was his dream, not mine. I had a high school associate who had gone on to be a Vancouver cop and this interested me. I signed up with the VPD and spent nearly 29 years there.

3. Why was it important to you that people knew you were a Wiccan and a police officer?
When I first became a cop I didn’t realize until I’d told some people about my beliefs that I was the first Wiccan cop to “come out of the closet.” I found out pretty quickly and defending myself turned into two and a half decades of anti defamation work for the Pagan community. It was important for the police and the public to see that I didn’t resemble the stereotypical image that was being presented by our detractors. Officers of Avalon is an extension of that, showing the world what Pagans in the emergency services are doing for the public on a daily basis.

4. What was the biggest surprise when you started letting people know your religious preference?
The reaction outside of the court rooms was one that comes to mind. I recall the first occasion that I used an affirmation in court, rather than taking an oath on the Bible. Afterwards I was approached by one of our detectives outside of the courtroom and the following conversation took place:
“So, you’re an atheist?”
“But you took an affirmation. You aren’t religious.”
“I’m very religious. In fact, I’m a priest.”
Similar incidents occurred almost every time I made a court appearance for the first few years. It is interesting how many people in this culture equate Christianity with religion or religion with scripture. Many of those who challenged me over my practice of taking affirmations did not seem to grasp the fact that a person could be religious and not Christian.

5. Can you tell our readers a little bit about the Officers of Avalon?
On 15 December 1999 Corporal Tricia Mullensky of the University of Massachusetts (Dartmouth) Police Department created the Yahoo e-group Officers of Avalon as a “way for Pagan law enforcement and emergency personnel to talk, discuss, vent or ask questions to others of like mind. In its infancy Officers of Avalon was a small e-group where Pagans in the emergency services could chat. Its obscurity protected it from the predators and proponents of “spiritual warfare”.

That all changed on 12 May, 2002, when Tim Flanagan (Bogota (NJ) Police Reserves) posted the following on the Officers of Avalon e-group:

“The black officers have their organization, the Irish, the gays, etc. Why not us? They all started with just a few members. Don’t you think it’s about time we came out of the closet?… We are good people, and I know that there are many, many of us across the Us who don’t know who to turn to, … This small group can be the start of something big for every Wiccan police officer in the US…”

The initial burst of enthusiasm expanded the membership. Things looked promising: A person came forward to set up a web site. There was a lot of discussion about incorporation, conventions, and other exciting prospects. This all got us a lot of publicity in newsletters, web sites and Llewellyn’s 2003 Wicca Almanac. Suddenly Officers of Avalon wasn’t simply an obscure e-group any more.

Little else changed however, and that became a problem. I had joined Officers of Avalon in March of 2001. I was asked to be a spokesperson and accepted. I was content to sit back and let others run the show as I already had a very full schedule. Unfortunately, at that stage in the development of Officers of Avalon, things were being decided by the time consuming process of consensus. The result was that many of these marvelous ideas did not move forward.

Then things started to really go wrong. The webmistress suddenly disappeared. She dropped off the e-group, did not respond to any form of communication (e-mail, snail mail, phone). I won’t speculate as to why she did this: We really have no idea. The web site stopped working and no one could fix it as the webmistress was the only person with the passwords. There were concerns expressed about this on the e-group but little action was taken. The leadership at the time continued to send messages to the webmistress that went unanswered.

Ultimately the domain lapsed. The webmistress chosen by the leadership had obtained the domain name for our organization, and no effort had been made to turn it’s ownership over to the organization. So when the domain expired the former webmistress was the only one who could have renewed it. When she did not, a Russian entrepreneur snapped it up immediately and offered to sell it back to us for $1200 US.

Meanwhile, as columns by Christian journalist Michael Coren in the Toronto Sun proved, some radical elements within the evangelical Christian community had noticed the existence of Officers of Avalon. They weren’t happy about it. Some of them had been trying for years to defend their position by claiming that the followers of religions other than Christianity were all dysfunctional flakes. Officers of Avalon is living proof that they are wrong. Our members are professional emergency services personnel and an example of the possibilities open to the Pagan community. As a result we became a target for such fundamentalists. Radical Christian web lurkers began to pop up, post and run on our old e-group. A fundamentalist Christian used my name in an e-address for a hate literature site called the “Encyclopedia of Satanic Wicca”. This was brought to our attention by a Christian expert on the occult, Tony Kail. The world isn’t a simple place and it became painfully obvious to us that a simple e-group wouldn’t meet our needs any more.

As a result of all this quite a number of members were starting to write to me, both on and off the e-group, asking me what to do. I was not part of the leadership structure at that point, just a spokesperson and a very visible personality in the community. There obviously wasn’t an effective leadership. I contacted Mullensky and voiced my concerns. She had a lot going on in her life at the time and agreed to let me take the mess over and try to straighten things out.

I took over immediately. I set up a Preceptory system and appointed a Grand Preceptory (our board of directors). We got down to work. Our Chancellor General began to draw up our bylaws. We got the control of the original e-group turned over to the organization and secured all of the other domains available (officersofavalon.com and .net). The organization at this point had no funds at all, so it wasn’t possible to buy the original domain back. When the Russian entrepreneur that had grabbed our original domain name saw that we weren’t going to buy the original domain name back he handed it over to a Spanish porn site webmaster, likely as a means of pressuring us to cave in to his demands. We did not bow to this pressure. Our Inspector General, assisted by Tara Ravensong, a member of the High Tech Services Unit (HTSRU) of the Orange County Sheriff‘s Department Reserve, created a new web site at www.officersofavalon.com.

Our second objective was to build the organization that Tim Flanagan first proposed and turn it into an effective tool to further our interests. On 11 September, 2003, the Grand Preceptory of Officers of Avalon learned that we had succeeded in our efforts to incorporate our organization: We are now incorporated in the state of Nevada and have a mailing address in our Treasurer’s home town in Wisconsin. What had been talked about for two years we accomplished in a little over 2 months. Our Treasurer General set up a bank account and began to collect dues.

This is just a start. Together we’ve responded to people like Michael Coren. We’ve joined forces against fanatic “occult experts” disseminating misinformation to our non-Pagan colleagues in our work places. Our combined efforts shut down the objectionable “Encyclopedia of Satanic Wicca” web site. Yet there is a lot more problems to be solved and we are uniquely situated to deal with them.

Officers of Avalon isn’t just an e-group anymore. It has become a benevolent association for Pagan professionals in the emergency services. As always, we will continue to offer Pagan cops, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and rescue personnel a safe place to vent, to share ideas and to disseminate information that affects us. We will move beyond the electronic realm and provide opportunities for our members to interact in person, through gatherings and conventions. We are a network like the IPA that can offer members contacts and refuge in cities around the world. A newsletter is being planned and we are looking for organizations and individuals willing to sponsor us. At the time of writing a number of fund raising schemes are being set in motion to help us achieve these goals. Through our disaster relief project, Avalon Cares, we supply funds to people all over the world who are in need.

As Coren and the Toronto Sun discovered, we are spokespersons for the Pagan community. We are proof that many of the guardians of our society are Pagans. We are a shining symbol to the Pagan community of infinite possibilities.

At the time that I first went public about my Wiccan beliefs I didn’t know I was the first police officer to do so. I found out very quickly. It was a lonely feeling. Nearly 25 years later, in March of 2001, I discovered Officers of Avalon and said goodbye to that loneliness. It has become my second family. I’m very protective of it.

6. I’ve started asking many of our interviewees this question. What challenges do you see facing the Pagan community? How can the community resolve those issues?
This community is both growing and aging rapidly. It’s not just a few people meeting in isolated living rooms any more. We have to find large sites to celebrate the turning of the year, create services for people of all ages in the community, provide leadership, counseling and chaplaincy duties, legally marry people and legally bury them in Pagan grave sites. We need to put differences aside and embrace these responsibilities.

7. You’re a frequent contributor on The Witches Voice website. What do you find appealing about that community?
It’s an excellent venue to disseminate information. It’s creator, Fritz, has done an excellent job in creating and maintaining it.

8. TJ Hooker, Miami Vice, or The Shield?
I’m laughing as I read this. You’ve no idea how many people ask my opinion on police shows like these, assuming, I suppose, that if I spend all that time out there on the mean streets I must love police work so much that I’m going to go home and watch all of these shows. The very last thing that I want to do after a stressful shift is go home and watch programs that (a) remind me of the stresses I’ve been facing all day and (b) in no way resemble actual police work. I must confess that as a result, I’ve only a vague idea of what these shows you name are about or who the characters are. I was proud to have served and protected my communities (mundane and Pagan) as a patrol officer, an ERT team member, a hostage negotiator, a gang squad officer, a child abuse investigator and an officer in the mental health emergency services unit. I still do as a police dispatcher. I leave it up to you to decide.

9. You’re such an inspiration to so many people, who inspires you?
In no particular order: Sun Tzu, Miyamoto Musashi, Charles Dickens, Bruce Lee, Gerald Gardner, Amber K, Margot Adler, Selena Fox, Doreen Valiente, Ann Moura, Kristin Madden, Christopher Penczak, Edain McCoy and Fritz Muntean.

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question?
Ask you a question? OK. How am I doing?


Kerr retired from the Vancouver Police Department in November 2005 after serving with them for 29 years. He was awarded the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal. Kerr’s past job assignments within the VPD include the Emergency Response Team, Hostage Negotiator, Child Abuse Investigator, Gang Crime Unit, and the Mental Health Emergency Services Unit. Kerr is currently working as a police dispatcher for ECOMM for Southwestern BC . Kerr has been a Wiccan for 39 years and has been involved in anti-defamation activism and hate crimes investigation for the Pagan community since 1986. Kerr was awarded the Shield of Valor by the Witches League for Public Awareness. Kerr is the author of the Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca, Wiccan Warrior, Full Contact Magick, Witch Hunts, and Magickal Self Defense, with more on the way. Kerr has a column on anti-defamation issues and hate crimes on The Witches’ Voice web site called Witch Hunts (http://www.witchvox.com/_x.html?c=whs). Kerr is the current Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon (www.officersofavalon.com), an organization representing Neo-Pagans professionals in the emergency services (police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians).