Pagan Community Notes: McCollum in Thailand, Temple of the River, and More!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  February 17, 2011 — 10 Comments

Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note, a 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’s Visit to Thailand: As I mentioned back in January, Pagan chaplain and activist Patrick McCollum will be traveling to Thailand in February at the invitation of Dhammakaya temple in the Pathumtani Province, where he will be honored as a World Inner Peace Ambassador, and share Pagan rituals and practices with Buddhist Lamas. McCollum will then travel to the renowned temple at Borobudur on the Island of Java with Lama Gangchen Rinpoche, of the World Peace Foundation. At the Patrick McCollum Foundation web site, Patrick shares his thoughts as he embarks on this historic journey.

“My journey continues to get increasingly more interesting as more and more opportunities present themselves, and I feel much like I am in an adventure story just waiting to find out what will happen next.  On this trip to Thailand, I will not only be meeting with venerable Buddhist lamas and monks, I will now also be meeting with several distinguished spiritual leaders from other traditions to forge sacred bonds and find common ground.  So far, I will be meeting with Cheif Kapiteotak Dominique Rankin, also known as T8aminik in the Algonquin language, former Grand Chief of the Algonquin nation and Elder in the Circle Of Medicine Men of the Canadian tribes. I will also be meeting with Master Li Hechun, Master of the Longmen (Dragon Gate) branch of the Ch’uan-chen (Complete Perfection) School of Taoism in China and with Guru Chintamani  Yogi of the Hindu VidyaPeethmovement from Nepal, founder of the Shanti Sewa Ashram and Peace Service Center. I will also have the honor to spend part of my journey with Patrick Kuaimoku, Kahuna Lokahi from Hawaii, Keeper of the Ancient Hawaiian wisdom tradition.   In such company, it is hard to imagine any part of my journey being anything less than extraordinary.”

Patrick will be sharing more information and insights about his trip with us when he returns. This is a major interfaith event for modern Pagan faiths, one that could have far-reaching effects on Buddhist-Pagan relations for years to come. Congratulations to Patrick on this great honor. To keep track of Patrick’s journey be sure to follow the Patrick McCollum Foundation’s blog, and the Foundation’s Facebook page.

Sacred Spaces Series: Cara Schulz of PNC Minnesota has started a new video series (Part 1, Part 2) on the creation of modern Pagan sacred spaces, speaking with Priest Drew Jacob from Temple of the River.

Many Pagan groups share the dream of building some type of sacred space.  A temple, a community center, a permanent altar.  It remains a dream because they lack the information, skills, and experience to bring it into reality.  Yet other groups have accomplished what can seem, at times, impossible.  They have learned how to raise funds, deal with city inspectors, and overcome challenges that stymie most groups who attempt these ambitious projects.   In this series, PNC talks with groups who have successfully created their own Sacred Spaces.

You can see part one of this video series, here. Part three will most likely happen after this year’s PantheaCon, as Cara and several other PNC bureau members will be attending that event this weekend. This is an excellent video series, and shows the potential and scope of locally-focused Pagan news bureaus.

The Green Heart of England is Not For Sale: Controversy has raged recently in England over the proposed plans to conduct a massive sell-off of state-owned woodland. A move that sparked almost universal condemnation, and a rare public climb-down from the environment secretary. British Druid Philip Carr-Gomm, leader of The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids, had this to say on the issue.

“David Bellamy articulated the feelings of most people when they first heard the news of the government’s proposed disposal of all of England’s public forest: “The green heart of England is not for sale.” It looks as if the message is getting through. Over half a million have signed the ‘Save Our Forests’ petition organised by grass-roots movement 38 degrees and today David Cameron signalled that the plan may be ditched […] The irony of a party with a tree as its logo behaving in this way has occurred to many. Our Druid group has been working with the idea since it began. Melanie Philips, of the Daily Mail telepathically picked up our thoughts (ha!) and voiced them on TV on the BBC’s Question Time, suggesting a felled oak and a dead stag as the Conservative logo…”

Carr-Gomm promises that efforts to “apply pressure and voice our concerns” will resume should the Tory/Lib Dem coalition government decide once more to sell off large swathes of its green heart, but for now, there is a celebratory mood of victory.

Pagan Newswire News: I’ve got some Pagan Newswire Collective-related announcements to make. First off, a warm welcome to the PNC’s newest bureau, PNC-Bay Area!

“Welcome to the Bay Area Bureau of the Pagan Newswire Collective. We are an all volunteer group (of currently 10 people), reporting on news and events of interest to the pagan communities here in the Bay Area of California. We have bios of our volunteers posted on its own page of the site here. If you would like to join our collective and write for us, email our Bureau Coordinator at bayarea (at) paganewswirecollective (dot) com.”

I am very excited to finally have coverage from the San Francisco Bay Area of California, long a hot-spot of modern Paganism, and look forward to their contributions! Several members of the new bureau will be at this year’s PantheaCon, and I’ve created a special page listing all official PNC-related events for those attending. You may also notice that we’ve quietly debuted the new site design, and you’ll hear more about that as things progress. I think 2011 will be a great year for the PNC, one that will greatly benefit all Pagan media outlets.

Cooking for a Pagan Seminary: In a quick final note, a number of Austin-based Pagan groups are organizing a cook-off and potluck benefit for Cherry Hill Seminary.

“One thing everyone in the Austin Pagan community shares is the love of a good potluck. Diverse organizations and individuals in the Austin area are coming together to co-sponsor a cook-off and silent auction to benefit Cherry Hill Seminary. Cherry Hill Seminary serves all our communities by providing quality higher education and practical training in Pagan Ministry. They offer several master’s degrees, certificate programs, and community education primarily available through distance learning. Many of us have received outstanding training in our chosen tradition, but there are some individuals who feel compelled to go above and beyond with their service to others. While many resources exist to train and assist students as they pursue their chosen Pagan tradition or path, there is an acute need for specific training in areas such as counseling, ethics, marriage and family issues, religion and the law, interfaith work, Pagan scholarship, media and public relations, ritual arts, leadership development, and nonprofit management.”

As a former CHS board member, and occasional teacher, I fully support the idea of communities rallying together to support this venture. One that will ultimately benefit all modern Pagans. Kudos to the Austin, Texas Pagans for putting this together!

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

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Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Daniel

    "…the green heart of England…" Very well put! :) May the Emerald Way bless the Green Heart of England!

  • Chelsea Rose

    "…and share Pagan rituals and practices with Buddhist Lamas."

    Which "pagan" rituals and practices, exactly? There are a lot, and they are varied, and I tend to cringe a bit when people use "pagan" as if it implies one particular set or path or something. I'll be interested to hear what he shares. And, on that note, what the new TV series shares too.

    Great set of notes today, thanks for posting. :)

  • WarriorPrincessDanu

    I like the new PNC site! I think it would be cool if you could add a section with links to affiliated sites (such as Patheos and the PPP).

  • David Dashifen Kees

    It's on the to-do list — one we get past PantheaCon and have all hands on deck, we'll probably move pretty quickly to address things like this and more.

  • WarriorPrincessDanu

    Cool! This is so exciting!

  • Lori Dake

    Thanks for your hard work David. I like the new layout :)

  • Apuleius

    It is no more problematic to speak broadly of "Pagan rituals and practices" than it is to speak of "Christian prayer and worship". It is quite obvious that different Pagans might perform different rituals, just as different Christians do not all pray/worship in the same manner (some speak in tongues and roll around on the floor, others like to light candles dedicated to different saints, others recite the "jesus prayer" as a mantra while keeping count on a mala, etc).

    But it is unlikely that McCollum will be meeting with Buddhist "lamas" in Thailand. If he does, then these lamas will be just as much guests in Thailand as he is.

    Also, Buddhist Temples in Thailand tend to double as Pagan temples, as well. They inevitably sport statues, shrines, and altars dedicated to various Gods and other spirits who were revered in Thailand before Hinduism and then Buddhism came there. So Patrick should feel right at home!!

  • caraschulz

    Burn the wood and cook the stag. So…..conservative = tasty hospitality? I'm down with that.

  • Tearlach

    The Conservative Party are not "conservative",except to the degree that it conserves the money in their wallets…

    As a Brit and a Pagan this is some of the best news I have heard in months, and is a clear example of broad base people power.

    As an aside, if you are in the UK I can thoroughly recommend the series"A History of Ancient Britain" that has been on for the last couple of weeks on BBC2. The sight of the first representative art discovered in the UK, a horse's head engraved onto bone from the Paleolithic, made the hairs on the back of my neck tingle. The episode I saw tonight on the early Neolithic was truly awesome, with description of what we know of religious practices of that era that resonated with me to the very marrow.

  • Norse Alchemist

    And the Liberal Party is only "liberal" in that it liberates the money in other people's pockets and puts it in their own…