Pagan Community Notes: Protecting a Sacred Altar in Athens, Selena Fox in Madison, American Mystic, and More!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  February 23, 2011 — 9 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!

A Call for Solidarity to Save a Sacred Altar: Greek Hellenic group Thyrsos Hellenes Ethnikoi has issued a call for solidarity to stop what they consider a “cultural crime” underway in Athens. It seems that the famous Altar of the Twelve Gods was finally uncovered on February 17th during railway construction, however, turf battles over jurisdiction have endangered the site, and there’s a chance it could be buried once more by Athens Piraeus Electric Railways (ISAP)Protests have already broken out, and Thyrsos Hellenes Ethnikoi are asking for “all civilized people from all over the world” to call for the altar’s preservation.

“Very recently during constructions on the railway network of Athens, a magnificent Treasure of the Hellenic History was discovered, a masterpiece of the Hellenic Culture, the Sacred Altar of the 12 Gods. Now this Treasure is in immediate danger because of the lack of interest of the Hellenic State, because of the decision of the railway company to bury it as quick as possible. And also know that the Altar and its very site were the center of Athens in Ancient Years. The holiest spot of Athens. Where Hiketes (suppliants) would ask for Mercy! As archaeologists say, it is as important as the golden-elephantine statue of Goddess Athena! This Altar is not only an archaeological remain. It is also Sacred, especially to us, the followers of the Hellenic Ancient Religion. The total devastation of it, means that the Hellenic Culture has been mutilated by the ignorant and dangerous people who rule and they do not respect who they are, where they come from, and especially where they want to lead us, the Hellenes…”

If you’d like to make your voice heard in this matter, you can e-mail the railway, and the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, to make your concerns known. You can find out more here (in Greek), and here (also in Greek, though they say a translation is forthcoming). This call for solidarity is currently spreading through the Hellenic community, and it could be a wonderful opportunity for Pagans outside of Greece to stand with their brothers and sisters in Athens. Also, if you do decide to write in support of saving the altar, remember to be polite and to-the-point in your messages. I’ll update you on this issue as things develop and I learn more.

Selena Fox Joins Wisconsin Protesters: Fresh from her time at PantheaCon, Circle Sanctuary’s Selena Fox returned to her home in Wisconsin where she immediately joined the throngs of pro-union protesters currently congregating in Madison in a standoff centering on the issue of collective bargaining rights.

“Democracy in Action in Wisconsin! Joined the round the clock Public Workers’ Rights rally inside the Wisconsin State Capitol. Amazing energy! […] The energy inside was amazing! And multi-partisan – those protesting included Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and others. I went there to give support, but also to learn first hand for myself what the scene was like.”

Fox noted that part of the reason she’s there is “to carry the energy from workings I had led in California right to the center of the Wisconsin actions in support of workers rights.” In response to a query from The Wild Hunt, Fox spoke of the “exuberant energy” on display.

“I am continuing to hear from a variety of people concerned about upholding public workers’ rights, including from the interfaith community.  Today two dozen clergy of different traditions joined together with others in the Capitol rotunda and then were part of a press conference afterwards. […] In the center of the ground floor was the hub of the indoor rally.  Various demonstrators were taking turns leading chants and expressing perspectives in a microphone within a circle of drummers.  In addition to the ground floor, there were people circled around the rotunda on the second and third floors all joining in chanting.  As I walked around each floor, I talked with some of those who had gathered as well as some of the media covering the rally, which has been going round the clock for more than a week.  The energy inside the Capitol was exhuberant.  The passion to stand up for public workers and their collective bargaining rights there was and continues to be strong.”

Selena has promised further updates as she receives word. If there are any other Pagans on the ground at the protests, please feel free to contact me with your experiences and insights. For background on this protest and political standoff, the Wikipedia article is a good place to start. From there, it’s fairly easy to find various political takes on the issue.

Getting Hold of American Mystic: For those who’ve been unable to catch a screening of the documentary “American Mystic”, directed by Alex Mar, and featuring Morpheus Ravenna along with members of Stone City Pagan Sanctuary, you can now order a copy before the film goes into wide distribution this June. You can e-mail the academic distributor Kino Lorber to obtain copies for you or your store, or order online and use the special “PANTHEACON” offer code during check-out.

The DVD will be going “wide” this Summer, which will mean availability on Netflix and iTunes, among other outlets. But if you’d like to get it now, here’s your chance.

PantheaCon Reflections: There’s no doubt going to be plenty of stories from PantheaCon trickling out in the near future, including some from The Wild Hunt, but for now I wanted to quickly note some round-ups that have already appeared. There’s a report from Donald Michael Craig at Llewellyn, Robert from the Doing Magick blog has a round-up, Peter Dybing describes the experience of “divine exhaustion”, Staff of Asclepius has an interview with con organizaer Glenn Turner, and  Star Foster at Patheos talks about three rituals she attended while there.

“It was interesting to be in a building where there is almost always a ritual in progress. The energy resembled a thunderstorm and even though my room was quiet I found it hard to sleep. When I did sleep I dreamt of rituals, and once I dreamed I scrubbed Erynn Rowan Laurie’s bathtub. I don’t know what that means beyond that there was a bunch of weird energy bouncing around this hotel, but if she’s reading maybe it means something to her!”

While you’re there, you can also spy a picture from the Pagan Newswire Collective meet-and-greet, which features some familiar faces, and a whole host of PNC members.

Sabbat Classic Available for the Kindle: In a final note, Acorn Guild Press is proud to announce that Mike Nichols’ classic work “The Witches’ Sabbats” is finally available for the Amazon Kindle.

“From the award-winning author of The Witches’ Sabbats Web site, Nichols discusses the historical and mythological customs, lore, and traditions associated with the eight Pagan holidays. This illustrated volume includes: A new, never-before published essay, ‘Marking the Sabbats’; a new preface, ‘Counting the Days’; a new bibliography; plus six additional thought-provoking essays!”

I don’t normally plug books like this, but considering the history of this work, and the effort Acorn Guild went to in order to have an e-version made available on Amazon, I thought it worth a quick mention.  For more on the book and Mike Nichols, check out my interview with him.

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

Jason Pitzl-Waters

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