Back in September, I helped facilitate a crowdfunding campaign for Pagan chaplain and activist Patrick McCollum so that he could attend Awakened World 2012 in Rome, Italy, a gathering of religious and spiritual leaders that seeks to “call attention to shifting paradigms in our world today- including concern for human rights and the environment – and help facilitate the religious and spiritual healing of the world.” That campaign was successful, and I was able to speak with McCollum by phone yesterday from Florence, Italy. He described amazing breakthroughs and opportunities for modern Pagans that were emerging from his time at Awakened World, and says that he looks forward to sharing them in-depth on his return to the United States. In the meantime, Patrick has posted some updates and photos to the Patrick McCollum Foundation’s Facebook page.
“As the meetings and dialogue here at the Awakened World gathering in Rome move forward, we are not only working on solutions toward peace and sustainability, we are getting to know one another and making friends. As many of you know, one of my main objectives in representing our community is to create concrete alliances around the world while at the same time putting a face on our traditions and the things we hold sacred and can contribute. As a result, several of those goals are quickly coming to fruition. I now have many new friends from other traditions who are gaining respect for our views and offering to stand together. And even more powerful, several of us have agreed to work together on important tangible projects that both contribute to solutions to our planet’s larger problems and allow our community to be seen in a positive light.”
McCollum also said that “many of our discussions here dovetail with those circling in our own communities, and it is clear that we have much to contribute.” Some of the high-profile guests at Awakened World 2012 include Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mohandas Gandhi, and Tenzin Tethong, former Prime Minister (Kalon Tripa) of the Central Tibetan Administration (both pictured above with Patrick McCollum).
We will be hearing more from Patrick at The Wild Hunt once he returns. In the meantime, you can follow his foundation’s Facebook page for updates. For those unfamiliar with McCollum’s work on behalf of modern Pagans, specifically in chaplaincy, here are a few links from The Wild Hunt archives that detail some of his exploits.
- Patrick McCollum Not Pursuing Supreme Court Appeal, Shepherding New Rights Cases
- Patrick McCollum’s Case Hits the Mainstream
- Guest Post: Patrick McCollum in India
- Guest Post: Patrick McCollum on his Thailand Trip
- McCollum: “Endemic” Religious Discrimination in Prisons