Sunday, December 16, 2007


Ahhh! The perfect winter-solstice stocking-stuffer for your sweet little pagan kiddies, who need to learn about the world's BogeyBaddies. It's Philip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials. HERE’S a new review of this winning bookset, by assistant prof of New Testament Studies Leslie Baynes:

Some snippets:

Although the series is a fantasy set in multiple worlds, there is no doubt that Mr. Pullman, a self-described atheist, targets Christianity--and particularly a rather thinly disguised Catholic Church--in these children's books.


The polemic against [YAJ's] religion starts … in the first book, which introduces … the personal daemon. A daemon is not a demon but … a sort of guardian spirit ... in animal form. Children's daemons change to match their mood or suit their purposes (say, from a moth to a wildcat), but they settle into a fixed form at puberty. This change is the crux of the entire series; that is, the series is about growing up.


In His Dark Materials, however, the church condemns growing up, particularly sexual awakening. "That's what the Church does, and every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling," claims a character in "The Amber Spyglass."… So strongly does this church want to "save" children from autonomy and the resultant possibility of choosing sin, that it literally cuts them away from their daemons, destroying their souls.


Anne Johnson said...

I don't know if you've read the book, but the most compelling part of the whole series is the description of the children after they've been severed from their daemons. It's much more chilling in the book than in the movie. My daughter The Heir said the movie scenes of the little boy without his daemon reminded her of what she'd been reading about concentration camps. Bingo!

Athana said...

Anne, I tried to order the first book in the series yesterday, but couldn't get the order to go through. Guess I need to try again. This series sounds just too important to bypass.

Nyarl said...

Athana, not to go off of topic, but have you ever heard of the Family? Its a religious group that operates in Washington that runs the National Prayer Breakfast. Officially, that's probably the only way you are going to hear about them. But they use the prayer breakfast to pull Democrats and Republicans into smaller prayer circles that are designed to lead the politician into a greater understanding of why Yahweh/Allah/Jehova wanted them in power. Lots of Republicans are involved, of course, but so are many Democrats, including Hillary Clinton. THe Family is connected around the world to some of the worst despots that this world has known. You can find information on this group at in the article Jesus Plus Nothing. The information of Hillary is at
What can be done by pagans to counter groups such as this when they have so much international influence?

Athana said...

Dear nyarl, I share your concerns. I think we need to keep plugging away, speaking truth to power, knowing we're in the right, refusing to become downhearted in the face of what looks like pure evil.

As you've done here, we all need to keep on keeping each other informed about conniving, secretive groups such as The Family.

And all of us need to do whatever we can to help insure that the majority of us are healthy enough to distinguish between truth and falsehood.