I’m going to start this by saying I’m not a conspiracy theorist. Yesterday I had a convo with a friend of mine who is a HUGE conspiracy theorist - interesting convo, and I’m genuinely happy to listen. Anyhow, my friend suggested I watch this video (Alex Jones’ Bohemian Grove film). Anyway, I watched the video, and I found it incredibly offensive from a Pagan perspective. Most of it is Jones being a bigot, but the relevant video of the actual ritual is from 0:59:30-1:16:00.
Here’s my breakdown of this ritual from the perspective of a Pagan witch (of 10 years, brap brap). It actually seemed to be, judging from the video footage alone, quite a beautiful ritual:
- Mother Earth is sweet, the Owl is sweet.
- Wisdom is sweet, we enjoy it and it is cool.
- Word up to fire and wind and the elements. They are neat also. We enjoy the earth and its neat elements.
- Check out our sweet flames. Are they not cool? We thought so too.
- We want to do well in business et al so we want to banish care from ourselves. Thus, we will burn a physical embodiment of care to banish that quality from ourselves. (‘Mock human sacrifice’ is not anything to write home about IMHO, Pagans do these things all the time. Many of us make and burn corn dollies, often symbolizing death and rebirth, out with the old and in with the new.) Peace out, care!
- Care is gone, and now we will be badass in business. Hell yeah.
- Hail wisdom, high-five yall.
A snippet of the spoken words from this - the writing throughout is actually quite lovely:
"Hail Bohemians! With the ripple of waters, the song of birds - such music inspires the sinking soul - do we invite you into Midsummer’s joy. The sky above is blue and sewn with stars. The forest floor is heaped with fragrant grit. The evening’s cool kiss is yours. The birth of rosy-fingered dawn Shake off your sorrows with the city’s dust, and cast the winds to the cares of life."
As I might think to, in a ritual setting, banish selfishness or shyness (perceived negative traits), they choose to banish care (a trait myself and many others perceive as positive). Fair enough. There’s still nothing epic or scary about this ritual, in all honesty (other than the supposed individuals in attendance). It’s pretty tame. I also like how they played Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy at the end of it, hahah. Amazing. (I love that song!)
Alex Jones’ Paganphobia (and homophobia) makes it almost impossible to take anything else he says seriously. I know he’s a pundit and a propagandist, so that’s to be expected. He smack-talks an apparently pseudopagan (I’m not saying it’s Pagan in nature, but what he filmed seems somewhat influenced by Pagan rituals) ritual and calling it “twisted behaviour” makes me sad because that is the reaction that us typical everyday Pagans get as well - that we, as Mr Jones says, “get off in a sick way.” To him it seems there is no difference between nature-lovers and Satanists (honestly, the Satanists always get smack-talked, but that’s for another day). Books on ancient Pagan religions (as well as modern ones) are readily available, and since Mr Jones has done his research so thoroughly in some areas and blatantly ignored others makes it seem a product of neglect rather than idiocy. Or maybe it is both?
I love how he keeps trying to tie this whole thing to Satan, and he even has the gall to suggest that Druids were Satanic. Please. I’m not even going to touch that, because we all know how much BS that is. They didn’t even say ‘Satan’ once in the video. Anyway, the idea of banishing care is an interesting one, and links in very much with a really neat BBC doc I watched recently called All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace (click for the amazing trailer - you can watch the whole thing on YouTube with a little searching), about how Ayn Rand’s philosophies of the self, individualism, and business have shaped America.
Anyway. If Mr Jones had just said, “Wow, they’re banishing care, that’s probably not very cool since they are supposed to care for and help lots of people. Hmm. Let’s talk more about that.” I would not have as much of an issue as I presently do. But instead he uses nature/owl worship, effigy burning, robe-wearing, and ritual nudity to be strikes against people. These things are all common in Paganism. He’s not saying, “World elites are dicks and so WTF,” he’s saying, “World elites are doing Pagan shit, WTF.” In one scene he picked a blackberry from a bush, ate it, and said: “Mmm. The fruits of natures [sic]. But I’ll tell you this, I don’t worship things and sacrifice things to it.” I wanted to dropkick him in the face.
I’m wondering if Mr Jones would prefer a giant statue of Jesus? Would this whole thing seem less sinister to him? Is Paganism really that much more silly than Christianity (giant man hanging out in the sky, ain’t no thang)? Using a pseudopagan ritual as part of the evidence for “obvious evilness” is misguided and harmful. He asks someone - “Do you think it’s good to have world leaders engaging in Pagan activities?” Paganphobia and complete ignorance? Yes. He spends literally 15 minutes of the video talking to locals and being like, “Woah, burning humans in effigy, so weird, right? Nudge nudge, right?” SIGH. If a bunch of world leaders went to a church to high-five Jesus, I’m pretty sure Alex Jones would not give a shit.
He also seems freaked out by robes and ritual nudity. These things are not scary, and a lot of Pagan and Wiccan groups still wear robes during ritual, and many do conduct ritual nude, even today. It’s not about sex, it’s about being free (in most cases, anyway) - not being tied down to your clothing, but about just being your true self sans masks before the deities and the earth. Also he is apparently homophobic? I don’t know why I’m surprised. You probably aren’t either.
Whoever read this - thanks for humouring me!