Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Werewolf Cathedral

As you'll recall back in July I got into a bit of a feud with Mercury that resulted in fewer posts than I had originally planned. Among the stories that I intended to to cover was this remarkable bit of silliness from Salon. It seems that somebody has taken it upon themselves to create a werewolf religion, with a website called "The Werewolf Cathedral."

No, I'm not making this up - see for yourself!

Really, I suppose it was inevitable. After all, there's a Jedi church, a Twilight church, a Flying Spaghetti Monster church, and there even used to be a Tiger Woods church. So that a wererewolf church would come along seems almost pedestrian in the overall scheme of things. The Salon article spells it out pretty well:

Being a werewolf means that you can throw out all those boring societal notions of "good," "evil," "right" and "wrong," since the members "do not concern ourselves with labels meant to control or limit our behavior." You also get to discard all of your "egalitarianism and judeo-christian values," though by joining the Cathedral you have to promise not to engage in any criminal activity and "behave in a responsible and adult manner within society." So being a werewolf means living in strict accordance to a civic structure that goes against your own religious beliefs? Sounds ... not fun.

Of course not! That's why all the folklore calls lycanthropy a curse. Seriously, though, it kind of makes one wonder what the point of declaring yourself a fictional character really is if you have to act all adult and responsible anyway.

That's not even the biggest drawback to joining the Werewolf Cathedral, though. According to the website's home page, true werewolves can't actually turn into wolves. Like, at all:

"The Werewolf Cathedral considers anyone that believes in transformation of a man into a Long Chaney Jr style wolfman, with hairy face and fangs, to be a pseudo Werewolf. Being a Werewolf is a mentality and an ideology. Lycanthropic Transformation is about union of intellect with instinct."

Thanks, but I'll just be sticking with my religion of "Team Jacob" for now.

So here's the super-confusing thing. If you're in touch with your human instincts it means you're a wolf? How does that make any sense? I suppose in the end making sense is too much to ask for from people who claim to be werewolves because they can't transform in wolves. Critical thinking is clearly not these folks' strong suit. I can't turn into a wolf - does that make me a werewolf? I don't drink blood - does that make me a vampire? You can see where I'm going here.

But then, just when I was getting ready to go off on how moronic anyone would have to be to believe this, let alone assemble an organization around it, I get to the bottom of the page and see "Founded by a Member of the Church of Satan." That raises the possibility that whole thing is a big joke, Anton LaVey-style. Whether or not it's intentional, there's no denying that the whole concept is pretty damn funny.

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Anonymous said...

Perhaps you would do well to read this article.
*It seems to be a very realistic philosophy and religion, based on nature as it really is. To put it bluntly they have taken the fluff out of Paganism. And don’t we all owe them just a little for that. Like it or not The Werewolf Cathedral is the type of group that creates real change and progress for the occult community. Why? Because they are original. Yes, that’s right, they are doing something that no one else in the world is doing. So for all those people who have written these negative articles about The Werewolf Cathedral, I say take a good hard look at yourself first. I believe The Werewolf Cathedral is going to be a guiding force in the occult community for many years to come. So whether you like it or not you should show them respect for what they have done, otherwise you just show your own character flaw, JEALOUSY!*

Scott Stenwick said...

I don't have any problem with the group's basic philosophy in terms of their conception of their relationship to nature. I'm a Thelemite and my philosophy is based on accepting my essential nature as it really is too, so there's not a lot for me to disagree with on that front.

I just think it's silly that they refer to themselves as "werewolves." In regular English usage the word means a person who can physically transform into a wolf, not somebody who "embraces their animal nature" or somesuch. That's a completely different meaning, and it seems to me like the group is trying to reclaim "werewolf" merely on the grounds that it aligns them with a pop culture trend.

Maybe that sort of cynical marketing strategy will work for them and they will in fact become a force in the occult community. I would warn them, though, to be careful that their adoption of pop culture ideas does not lead them to inadvertantly support the idea that Paganism is some sort of fashion accessory instead of a real spiritual practice. There's too much of that out there already.

Dallan said...

Master, if lycanthropy is a curse, how should it be treated?

Scott Stenwick said...

I assume that you are joking, right? I have never known anybody who could cast a curse that would turn a person into a wolf. Have you?

There is a mental illness that psychologists called "lycanthropy" - people who are delusional can develop the belief that they are a wolf or some other animal. Usually you need to treat it like any other delusion, with a combination of anti-psychotic drugs and therapy.

You would treat a delusion like that with healing magick, just like you would any other illness. Also, magick should complement regular medical care, not replace it.

Dallan said...

thank you very much!!!