Pagan Community Notes: Patrick McCollum, World of Witches Museum, Voices of Pagan Pacifism, SJ Tucker, and Joe Credit

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  July 2, 2010 — 2 Comments

As a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note, I’m starting a new series more focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. I want to reinforce the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So lets get started!

Patrick McCollum at the World Forum of Spiritual Culture: Cherry Hill Seminary has announced that Pagan chaplain, Circle minister, and CHS instructor Patrick McCollum will be presenting at the World Forum of Spiritual Culture in Kazakhstan this October. McCollum is the first Pagan invited to address the forum.

“The World Forum of Spiritual Culture is hosted by the Kazakh government, the International Association of Peace Through Culture, the Congress of Spiritual Concord, and other other Kazakhstan, European and Russian organizations. McCollum will become the first Pagan leader to address the World Forum of Spiritual Culture, his remarks becoming part of the international journal published following the event.

The World Forum hopes “to find a solution to the systemic crisis of the modern civilization by realizing the priority of spirituality and culture above all other public values.” The Kazakh President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, will address the group during the conference.”

McCollum will be joining luminaries like Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter to search for solutions that will “cure our modern civilization from the virus of greediness.” McCollum, whose star is rising across the globe as an ambassador for modern Pagan faiths, is still fighting to get equal treatment for Pagan prisoners in the state of California and across the US.

The World of Witches Museum Opens in Salem: The Witch School-backed World of Witches Museum in Salem is having its official opening today (Friday). Salem’s Mayor Kim Driscoll will be cutting the official ribbon to the museum.

“In celebrating this Independence Day weekend we are reminded that our founding fathers fought for our freedom. In honoring this American tradition, on Friday, July 2nd, The World of Witches Museum will officially be opened in Salem, Massachusetts. This will be a unique museum as the focus will be on the history of Witchcraft from a positive point of view. As part of the opening the Mayor of Salem, The Honorable Kim Driscoll will officially cut the ribbon at a noontime ceremony along with members of the Salem Chamber of Commerce, Staff of the Museum, Bewitched in Salem, and many other friends and supporters. This will be a major milestone for the Wiccan and Pagan community as this will be the first time that their history will be shared with mainstream society in such a public way. It is a showcase for the community that is fighting for the right to practice their religion in modern America.”

Among the displays will be one focusing on Witch School’s travails in Hoopeston, Illinois, which eventually drove them to the more welcoming arms of Salem, Massachusetts. Rev. Don Lewis, Curator of the Museum, says that this project represents “a coming of age for the Witch movement, which allows us to recognize that we do have a history worthy of sharing”.

Voices of Pagan Pacifism: A new initiative from Alison Shaffer, the Voices of Pagan Pacifism project, is working to spotlight voices of pacifism and peace-making from within the Pagan community.

“We hope this website will become an archive of helpful resources, inspiring stories and challenging essays available to the Pagan pacifist community, as well as the larger community of Pagans, Witches, Druids, Heathens and others interested in pre-Christian and earth-centered spirituality. It’s important to know that we are not alone, and to showcase the work and lives of our fellow peace-makers and social activists!

We conceive of this project as providing a showcase and permanent archive for the many voices of Pagan peace-making in the modern world. For this reason, we gladly accept submissions that have already been published elsewhere, provided they are submitted by (or with prior permission from) the original author and are accompanied by appropriate references and credit to the original publication source (including a link, if available). We also welcome new and original work never published before, by aspiring and previously-published writers alike!”

I’ve long thought that pacifism within modern Paganism needed a clearing-house so that conscientious objectors could use it as a resource should the need arise. Kudos to Alison Shaffer for getting this started. They are looking for writers and interviewers now, I recommend checking it out.

Making Mischief With SJ Tucker: Pagan singer-songwriter SJ Tucker’s new album “Mischief” is due to be released on July 16th and is now available for pre-order from her web site. On her personal journal, Tucker has been talking about the process and meanings behind the songs on the new album.

“Love changes us all, makes us broken, makes us brave, makes us deny ourselves and our very breath, makes us refuse to listen when our hearts tell us that the time has come to move on, to break the surface. “Neptune” is the story of what can happen after you’ve drowned yourself willingly in someone else’s hopes and dreams, and you find that saltwater and shadows no longer sustain you. “Neptune” is the story of what can happen when you’ve lived in sin with a god for long enough that the respective piles of dirty laundry and broken promises have started to really get on your nerves.”

Tucker is currently planning a big Fall tour, but you can catch her this Summer in Oregon as part of Tricky Pixie at Faerieworlds.

A Fundraiser for Joe Credit: Musician Joe Credit, a member of the Pagan band SONA, is trying to raise money to remove a a grapefruit sized hernia in his groin area.

“Joe Credit has a grapefruit sized hernia in an especially uncomfortable location on his body. Imagine getting kicked in the groin several times a day. This is his life. He is having trouble finding a way to get the operation because he is currently without insurance. He is slipping through a very unfortunate loophole. Unable to really work because of the hernia, yet unable to get disability or medicaid. He is expected to live with this hernia until it is “life-threatening” at which time he will be able to get an operation with no problem. Joe’s family does not want him to have to wait until his hernia is life-threatening. I wish we could somehow come up with the money ourselves but times are tough. Hence this fund-raiser. Joe has a lot of friends. If we could all pitch in maybe we could raise enough to get him the operation. Or at least get him enough money to be evaluated by a real doctor, not the emergency room. Thanks!”

Living without health insurance, living in pain until a problem is “life-threatening”, is no way to live at all. If you have a few bucks to spare, why not help out one of our own to have a better life.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Jason Pitzl-Waters