Pagan Community Notes: Pagan Living TV, Idle No More, and More!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  January 8, 2013 — 13 Comments

Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing 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 let’s get started!

Pagan Living TV Launches: Pagan Living TV, a non-profit media organization that seeks to create a world “where Pagan spirituality and philosophy is an influential voice in mainstream culture,” has launched their weekly video news program “The Pagan Voice.”

“Pagan Living TV is a charitable non-profit organization that produces a weekly news program that discusses the issues of today from a Pagan perspective.  This is the first professionally produced broadcast program that is produced in a multi-camera television studio, and is distributed on both the internet and on local cable channels in some major cities.”

As you can tell from watching the video, the production values are considerably higher than previous Pagan video-news efforts (no insult to those worthy efforts, merely an observation) showcasing Pagan Living TV’s ambition in raising the bar. As Pagan scholar Chas Clifton notes: “Although it’s still just talking heads in the studio at this point. At least there is a studio, not a sheet tacked to the wall.” I’ll be watching the growth of Pagan Living TV, The Pagan Voice, and future shows with interest.

Pagan Involvement With ‘Idle No More': Last month I posed the question of whether modern Pagans should involve themselves with the growing indigenous/Native activist movement known as Idle No More. Since then, some high-profile figures within modern Paganism have visited the camp where where Chief Theresa Spence, of the Attawapiskat First Nation, is holding a hunger strike, or gotten involved with Idle No More actions. First, Pagan philosopher Brendan Myers, who lives near Victoria Island in Canada visits Chief Theresa Spence’s camp and share’s his observations.

Chief Theresa Spence's Camp

Chief Theresa Spence’s Camp

“Of all the many social groups which comprise Canada’s social fabric, the First Nations, the Metis and the Inuit have a special place in our identity.They gave to “us”, the visitors on this land and their descendants, a gift so precious and so valuable it’s likely that nothing we could give them in return could possibly compensate them. That gift was the land on which this country was built. Without one or two other ethnic groups in our history, we would have a different country, for better or worse; without the First Nations, we would have no country at all. Therefore, Canada has special responsibility, it seems to me, partly arising from the various treaties which the Crown signed with the First Nations, but also arising from the ‘economy of honour’ that surrounds gifts of that magnitude. Canada’s moral obligation, at minimum, to ensure that the living standards of First Nations people are at least as good as that of the average middle-class non-native Canadian person – and that’s not impossible, and that’s perhaps only the least of what Canada should do.”

In addition to Brendan Myer’s impressions, Shelley TSivia Rabinovitch, co-author of “An’ Ye Harm None: Magical Morality And Modern Ethics,” and co-editor of the “Encyclopedia Of Modern Witchcraft And Neo-Paganism,” has also been visiting Chief Spence’s camp and attending Idle No More actions urging Pagan solidarity with this movement: “I feel wonderful. And I will do it again. And again. AND UNTIL STEPHEN HARPER HEARS that he cannot sell out this country.” Also of note, author and teacher T. Thorn Coyle attended an Idle No More solidarity action in Oakland, California and shares her thoughts:

“On Saturday, I joined a couple hundred people in solidarity with Idle No More. Chief Theresa Spence has been on hunger strike for more than 25 days now, challenging the Prime Minister of Canada to a meeting regarding the sanctity of the earth and indigenous sovereignty. Idle No More is standing up – singing, drumming, dancing, and blockading – for the rights of free waterways, and land unpolluted by dangerous fracking. I want to support this challenge, this attempt to afflict the closely held privilege of the short sighted governments and corporations that are only seeing the immediate need for profit or even more insidious: an upholding of a level of comfort that we’ve come to think of as a need. We don’t need to use as much fossil fuel or natural gas as we currently do. We could instead adjust our lives to use less, or more wisely. But most often we don’t, because we – as a society – like our comforts. Idle No More has the ability to challenge, not only the governments and corporations, but to challenge our own assumptions about what it is we need. They are doing the job of comforting the afflicted of the land and the people and creatures on the land, and afflicting the comfortable – the prime minister and those of us who want to consume all the things we are used to.”

For the latest updates on Idle No More, check out their website. I will continue to monitor Pagan responses to, and solidarity actions with, this movement.

In Other Community News:

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

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Hecate_Demetersdatter

    Love the idea of the Pagan Voice. However, “with Brianna, Dr. Todd, and Michelle”? Women get first names and men get titles?

    • http://www.facebook.com/kargach Rob Henderson

      If he’s a doctor and they aren’t, it seems fair to me.

      • A. Nonymous

        What kind of doctor? Medical? Psychiatric? Ph.D? Do the women have any initials after their names? If so, shouldn’t that be noted?

        • Northern_Light_27

          Yeah, I’m wondering that too. Maybe I’ve been burned by all the “Dr.” Lauras of the world, but if someone’s representing themselves as a doctor, I want to know what kind, too. And if the Dr. isn’t talking about medical/psychological issues, why is his title relevant?

        • kenneth

          My own personal style guide says you should only call someone “doctor” routinely if they can legally help a celebrity commit suicide with pills….

  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    “…the First Nations…gave to “us”…the land on which this country was built.”

    Was the land given or taken? There is a very important distinction there.

    • Charles Cosimano

      Well, they aren’t getting it back, that’s for sure.

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        Shame.

    • Nyktipolos

      Gave a huge side-eye to that line in Myers’ post, since it buys directly into the settler/colonial myth that somehow this land was given to them out of the goodness of Native hearts. Because, y’know, there were no broken treaties, illegal land settling, murder, and forced removal from their lands.

  • Ashley

    Dr. Todd has his doctorate in chiropractic, and is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology. Also, on the website Briana and Michelle’s last names are used :]

  • Stephy

    OK, First of all. Native American/First Nations groups didn’t GIVE this land to white people. It was stolen and cheated and bullied away. Secondly. The idea that Idle No More is, at its core, an environmentalist group, is WHAT CULTURAL APPROPRIATION MEANS. It’s about First Nations people being allowed to decide what happens to land that has traditionally been theirs. To consider it otherwise is A. a deeply problematic form of whitewashing and B. clear evidence of the kind of white privilege that makes Pagan religions as a whole such an awkward place for PoC and for mongrels like me.

    • Northern_Light_27

      This. I respect both of them and acknowledge that I’m similarly privileged, but both those comments are bad. Also, it’s not the first time I’ve had that reaction to Coyle– it’s wonderful that doing community service work has given her insight into her own spirituality, but that’s not what people are in a shelter *for*, so I wish she’d please stop making it all about her and check her privilege.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rua.lupa Rua Lupa

    I really liked what I saw on ‘The Pagan Voice’ especially that beautiful poetic piece. One thing that came up in discussion on it was in the description of what Pagan is; yes, the gnostic approach is getting back to the out-of-body perfection that was view point, but that paganism is also about getting back. Not in the hierarchical fashion of the gnostic being vertical, but in a more horizontal kind of way like described in the video. It is about “Getting back to our roots” kind of view point which can take many forms depending on the meaning interpreted – from cultural to the earth itself and often both.