Pagan Community Notes: Peter Dybing, Solar Cross, New Alexandrian Library, and more!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  November 25, 2011 — 15 Comments

Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note 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!

Peter Dybing at Occupy Fort Lauderdale: Pagan activist, leader, and first responder Peter Dybing was with Occupy Fort Lauderdale in Florida on Wednesday, giving training in non-violent resistance as those gathered prepared for a forced eviction. Dybing, current president of Officers of Avalon, and former First Officer of the Covenant of the Goddess, has been a vocal supporter of the right of people to peaceably assemble, and was prepared to be arrested for that principle. Here’s a short excerpt from a statement Dybing sent to members of the Pagan media.

Peter Dybing at Occupy Fort Lauderdale

Peter Dybing at Occupy Fort Lauderdale

“Arrived about 2 p.m. and discussed the city having posted a “New” set of rules that would ban tents ( safety issue, direct sun no shade) and ban protesters in the late night hours. Engaged organizers in discussions about the consensus process. Identified a need for training in non violent resistance civil vs. criminal resistance, Ethical considerations and strategy considerations. Conducted training. My self and one other protester invited to “negotiate” with City manager. Did this while another organizer was working on a court order with a  attorney. Word came at about 6 p.m. that the court had ordered the city to take no action until Dec 2 or the next court hearing [...] I was ready to go to jail tonight, glad I did not have to.”

As Dybing mentioned, a judge granted a temporary injunction on the new rules until a court hearing can happen on the issue. Dybing is just the most recent high-profile Pagan leader to engage and participate in the Occupy movement, joining figures like Starhawk and T. Thorn Coyle. In addition, Officers of Avalon, the Pagan police and first responders organization that Dybing currently serves as president, recently spoke out on police violence in regards to the Occupy movement. Religion scholar Lee Gilmore recently noted that the Occupy movement contains “an invitation to mindfulness and participation in ways that are simultaneously spiritual and earthly: Occupy the Earth, Occupy your Life, Occupy Everything.” With that mixture of the spiritual and the earthly, it seems natural that modern Pagans are drawn to become a part of it. We’ll keep you updated on the intersections of modern Paganism and the Occupy movement as things progress.

Solar Cross Raises Money for Native Elders This Winter: Bay Area religious organization Solar Cross Temple has started a new initiative to raise money for Native American elders at Pine Ridge, Rosebud, and other reservations who have a hard time keeping their homes heated in the winter due to a lack of money for heating fuel. Solar Cross Temple co-founder T. Thorn Coyle says that “gratitude is the seed of great magic, I want to use this Thanksgiving holiday to pass on some good fortune.”

Solar Cross Temple founders: Jonathan Korman, T. Thorn Coyle, and Robert Russell

Solar Cross Temple founders: Jonathan Korman, T. Thorn Coyle, and Robert Russell

“Each year, the elders at Pine Ridge, Rosebud, and other reservations have trouble heating their homes. 61% of the population lives below the poverty line. I won’t detail the years of injustice and neglect that have contributed to this situation, and right now, I don’t have the time, energy, and funds to rebuild every inadequate home on the reservation. What I do have the time and energy for is to collect money to help these families  – particularly the elders, some number of whom freeze to death each year – heat their homes. There is great injustice reflected in the way these people are living, and we can tip the balance slightly toward the good.

Solar Cross Temple is collecting donations and will send money directly to the heating companies who maintain a list of families who need propane fuel. 100% of the money after the paypal fees will go to this cause. The more money we collect, the longer into winter these families will have heat. We suggest donations of anywhere between $10-100 (or more for those of you who are truly blessed). Please put “Donation for Winter Fuel Drive” in the subject line so we know where to send the donation. And please pass this information along via any networks you are part of. There is a “donate” button in the left hand column of this page, if you scroll down.”

Solar Cross is a temple, so all donations are tax deductible. Send donations via paypal to solarcrosstemple@gmail.com, please note: “Donation for Winter Fuel Drive” with your contribution. There is also a Facebook event page for this initiative if you want to spread the word there. We will check back with Solar Cross Temple in the weeks to come to keep track on the progress of this initiative.

New Alexandrian Library (Really) Ready to Break Ground: Back in March of this year I reported that the New Alexandrian Library in Delaware, a project that hopes to create “a library worthy of its namesake” focused on esoteric knowledge, mystical and the spiritual writings from many traditions, and the history of our magickal communities,” was ready to break ground on their physical structure. However, that impending ground-breaking ended up being delayed for months due to what NAL call a “sea of red tape.” Now, that sea has been traversed and the necessary permits are now in hand for construction to begin.

Plans for the New Alexandrian Library

Plans for the New Alexandrian Library

“After working through unexpected delays, the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel (ASW) has obtained the building permit to begin construction of the New Alexandrian Library (NAL) and the contractor is preparing to lay the foundation. “We are very excited to finally be able to break ground,” said Jim Dickinson, the NAL Project Manager, “It is ‘a dream whose time has come’!”“This project is about preserving our past and building our future. It is a dream becoming manifest that will inspire scholarship and a deepening of magickal culture. It is proof that our community is maturing,” said Ivo Dominguez, Jr., founding member of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel and one of the driving forces behind the NAL.

The New Alexandrian Library will be primarily a research and reference library. It will provide onsite workstations and other facilities, and is examining housing options for people engaging in long-term research. The NAL resources will act as a magnet that will draw together teachers, authors, and scholars from many paths. Like the original Great Library of Alexandria, the schools of Qabala in medieval Spain, and the flourishing of magick that occurred in renaissance Italy, the diverse confluence of minds and resources would result in great leaps forward in theory and practice. The NAL will be one of the cornerstones of a new magickal renaissance. The benefits for future generations are incalculable.”

Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Elder Helena Domenic notes that much will be needed in the way of donations to make this project successful, NAL needs to raise $125,000 dollars more in the next six months to complete the construction phase. A Ground Breaking Ceremony will be held on Saturday, December 17th, 2011, and will include a brief presentation and speakers, and a ritual for the laying of the foundation (more info here). While the construction project is underway NAL is already in the process of building its collection, including the recent acquisition of rare Dion Fortune paintings gifted by Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki. We will be sure to bring coverage of the ground breaking ceremony in December, congratulations to NAL and ASW!

Other Community Notes:

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

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Kilmrnock

    I will have to visit the Alexandrian Library when completed. Ivo is an aquantance of mine , he is a good guy . He owns the best pagan shop in Delaware , in Dover the capitol . I don’t know him real well , just an aquaintence from PPD , and Bell, Book and Candle the afore mentioned pagan shop . But i have donated to the library , tis a worthy cause , as stated it will be a general Pagan resourse , not just Wiccan . For those who don’t know Ivo is a founding member of the largest Wiccan group in the midatlantic, east coast …..Sacred Wheel.As a Druid/Sinnsreachd the fact it is general pagan means a fair amount to me.Would be a shame to narrow the focus of such a worthy cause. Kilm

    • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

      I think I too, shall visit it. That said, did they have to make it look like a Bucky ball? Seriously, if it’s supposed to be based off the Library of Alexandria, why can’t they make it look more Greek or Roman in style? Heck, I’d go for Gothic even. But a bucky ball? XP

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        The geodesic dome is one of the great architectural innovations of the 20th century. I consider it wholly appropriate.

        • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

          Eh, true, but I still don’t think it has the majesty. :/

          • kenneth

            It doesn’t, but that’s because it doesn’t have any financial backers with the juice of Alexander the Great.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            When it’s the central library of an empire, majesty is appropriate.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    It’ll be interesting if PantheaCon 2012 includes any kind of report on results of the dustup at PC11.

  • Mia

    Thank you for making the paypal link known for the donations. It’s a lot easier to send money that way and I don’t have to worry about it getting lost.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cprsource Peter Dybing

    I Have given to the Solar Cross effort, will you?

    • kenneth

      I believe I will. Your action in this and the Occupy movement is a reminder that we need to treat both the immediate symptoms AND the disease of poverty. Those folks on the reservations need help here and now. At the same time, the actions of the parasite class in our economy and political system need to be addressed, or sure as hell most of us will find ourselves living like the Pine Ridge elders sooner or later, and there will be very few people left willing and able to answer appeals for help.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636701735 JoHanna M. White

    What an excellent project Solar Cross is doing! I’m going to forward it widely!

  • Cara Schulz

    While the Officers of Avalon did speak out about police violence towards the Occupy movement, what their press release spent much more time on (and seemed to be the point of the Press Release) was “we are highly concerned that much of the discourse within the Pagan community has become “Anti Police””

    In fact, if the entire PR were to be summed up with one sentence, it would be, “We call on the community to continue to support your Pagan first responders and not participate in the unnecessary and wrongful vilification of an entire profession based on the actions of a few.”

    That’s a good thing to keep in mind.

  • kenneth

    Calling something the New Alexandrian Library strikes me as a wee bit pretentious. The original Library of Alexandria was much, much more than a collection of magick and esoteric works. In its day, it was THE center of gravity in the intellectual world of classical Greek civilization.

    In today’s terms, the Library of Alexandria was every bit the equivalent of the Library of Congress, The British Museum, or Google Books, along with one or two of any Ivy League or world class research universities you can think of thrown into the mix. Geographically and economically, it was also in a cosmopolitan hub on the order of London or New York or Beijing today.

    I’m a little torn over what to think about this. On the one hand, I admire the ambition and the drive to establish some centers of scholarship as pagans become a real presence in the West once again. Alexandria as a namesake is both widely recognizable and not too much tied to one or another neo-pagan trad. I hope it succeeds and I will try to throw a little something their way toward that end. At the same time, Alexandria is one hell of a big legacy to lay claim to with a prefab dome in the woods of Delaware.

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    So much of the news is bad or sparks outrage, it’s always a pleasure to read good news of positive events and great people here.

  • http://twitter.com/ThornCoyle T. Thorn Coyle

    Solar Cross has raised $782 so far for the Winter Fuel Drive – pretty good for two days! We hope people will continue to spread the word. Again, donations can be sent via paypal to solarcrosstemple@gmail.com with “Donation for Winter Fuel Drive” in the subject line.

    Thanks and blessings, everyone!