Pagan Community Notes: Kyrja Withers, Hexenfest, Pentacle Quest, and More!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  April 23, 2013 — 11 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!

Update on the Kyrja Withers Story: On March 30th I reported that Florida Pagan and children’s author Kyrja Withers had her home shot at, the latest in a string of escalating incidents seemingly connected to her Pagan faith. Now, PNC-Florida and the New Port Richey Patch are both reporting that the attacks have not stopped, and that her home was recently the subject of a chemical bomb attack, which required Withers’ daughter to seek medical care after inhaling fumes from the home-made bottle-bombs.

Kyrja Withers (Photo: Tampa Bay Times)

Kyrja Withers (Photo: Tampa Bay Times)

“She said there was a young man in the driver’s seat and another in the front passenger seat with his body sticking out of the window. She said the driver was also coming out of the window. There was also a young man in the backseat. She says two bottles with fluid inside were thrown at the house from within the vehicle on its return alongside the home. One landed near a bush in the front yard of the house. She saw the bottle expand and tried to get away before it exploded. “Every time I close my eyes, I see the bottle expanding,” she said. She said she did not escape the fumes when the bottle burst. She told the New Port Richey police that both bottles exploded. The second bottle exploded so hard that it went flying across the street and into a neighbor’s yard.”

Police are still investigating these incidents, and no arrests have been made. The Lady Liberty League is currently working on providing Kyrja Withers with support, and ask that those who are interested in contributing suggestions of resources, ideas for strategies, and volunteering security consulting and other help” to send them an e-mail, or comment at the organization’s Facebook page.  A focus image has also been provided for those who want to do magical/prayer work for Kyrja and her family. We will update you here with further developments. May Kyrja and her family remain safe, and may these perpetrators be brought to justice. 

Hexenfest Happens This Saturday: The second annual Hexenfest, a celebration of mythic music and dance, is happening this Saturday, April 27th, at the Rhythmix Cultural Works in Alameda, California. Featured performers are  Arcane DimensionPandemonaeon, Morpheus RavennaAnaar, a Tombo Studio fashion show, and DJing by Skellington.

“Welcome to Hexenfest, a music and arts festival dedicated to myth, magic, folklore, fairytale, and the numenous.   We feature artists who are exploring the wild archetypal through their art; musicians, dancers, visual artists, and crafters who look to the realms of myth and dream and reflect their visions into our world. Hexenfest has a flair for the darkly exotic. Gothic, Pagan, and Tribal belly dance themes are featured prominently, evoking the forbidden forest more than than the enchanted wood. If you feel at home in dark fairytales, join us in the realm!”

I was honored to be involved in the first Hexenfest, and I think the event could be replicated by local communities who want to grow and support Pagan-made music, dance, fashion, and other arts. So if you’re in the area, why not consider dropping by in a show of solidarity? I can guarantee that a lot of excellent people will be there. Here’s the official Facebook event page. 

6th Anniversary of Veteran Pentacle Quest Victory: On April 23rd, 2007, a settlement was reached with the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs concerning the inclusion of the Wiccan Pentacle to the official VA list of Emblems of Belief. Nine years of bureaucratic stalling over this issue were endured, very likely due to the personal beliefs of former Texas governor, then-president, George W. Bush. While some have tried to gloss over this struggle, litigation and public pressure was necessary to move this issue forward, and open the door for more minority religions to have their symbols included. Now, on this 6th anniversary of the victory, Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary, who was an instrumental part of the campaign, is hosting a special radio show this evening to share stories and remembrances.

2006 Pagan religious freedom rally at the September 11 memorial in Reno, Nevada. Pictured, left to right: Selena Fox, executive director of Lady Liberty League; Roberta Stewart, widow of Sgt. Patrick Stewart, first Wiccan killed in action in War on Terrorism in Afghanistan; and US Army Chaplain William Chrystal, Pastor Emeritus of First Congregational Church (UCC) of Reno, Nevada.

2006 Pagan religious freedom rally at the September 11 memorial in Reno, Nevada. Pictured, left to right: Selena Fox, executive director of Lady Liberty League; Roberta Stewart, widow of Sgt. Patrick Stewart, first Wiccan killed in action in War on Terrorism in Afghanistan; and US Army Chaplain William Chrystal, Pastor Emeritus of First Congregational Church (UCC) of Reno, Nevada.

“Celebrating 6th Anniversary of Veteran Pentacle Quest Victory Day with Roberta Stewart, others who helped make this happen. Tune in to special podcast tonight, 8-9pm CDT”

You can find the link to the show, here.  Roberta Stewart, widow of Sgt. Patrick Stewart, will be participating. You can read a history of this quest for inclusion, here. The Wild Hunt’s extensive coverage of the Veteran Pentacle Quest can be read, here. We give our thanks for those who fought to make sure individuals like Sgt. Patrick Stewart would be properly honored.

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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  • http://www.facebook.com/jillmedicineheart Jill Medicine Heart Combs

    Wow! The bombing incident at Kyria’s….. if the folks are caught they can be tried as domestic terrorists. I see Homeland Security getting involved in this because Kyria most likely isn’t the first person they have done this to.

    • Kenneth

      The feds should get involved from time to time because the local cops often view it as minor harassment or “boys will be boys.”

      We should be setting up one of these crowdfunding deals for this situation. I bet even if we put together a few thousand dollars, we could help her hire some security consultant to wire her property balls to the wall with cameras, including ones that would capture every license plate and car rolling by her place, as long as it was legal with whatever laws they have concerning that. Magical and prayer work is all well and good, but it’s no substitute for action. If the Pentacle Quest taught us anything, it is that people don’t respect your rights until you stand up for them.

      • Lori F MN

        I’d contribute to that!

        • Kenneth

          Me too. I’m going to forward the idea to LLL. If any of you happen to have an inside track to them or belong to it, feel free to kick the idea up the line.

          If there’s any serious interest, I would be willing to help a bit with some of the R&D of how to go about it. I’m no security expert, but I know folks in law enforcement and it seems there’s just so much powerful, cheap surveillance gear available these days, some of it just off the shelf stuff meant for dear hunters etc. that can pick up motion, store hundreds of images.

          It just needs an organizational core to launch and administer the crowd funding and a lawyer type to make sure it doesn’t run afoul of privacy or recording laws and to make sure that whatever was captured was admissible or useful to investigators. These guys aren’t trained terrorists or Mossad agents. They’re the lowest order of moron among an idiot criminal caste. They can be beat.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Thank you for continuing to inform about local/regional Pagan crowdfunding campaigns.

  • Ellen Evert Hopman

    Druids from Whiteoak, Keltria, ADF, RDNA and AODA voted on a symbol several years ago and the VA has yet to take action. They say that until there is a deceased Druid vet who has filled out the paperwork (or their family or clergy person filled it out) they will not move on this. Lady Liberty League and Selena Fox have also helped out with a lawyer. See the history here; http://www.skipellison.us/headstone/index.htm

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

    The moment any bombing occurs it should automatically involve the FBI. I would be shocked and infuriated with the police department if they neglect to do their duty to inform the Feds on this incident.

    • Ursyl

      IF the Feds got involved with every (probably) baking soda and whatever pop bottle bomb set off, they’d not have time to do anything else.

      This is the kind of thing kids put into mailboxes and the like, though the mailbox destruction will get the Postal Police involved.

      I see a difference here in that they threw them towards a person and are using them as part of an established campaign of hate, so agree that it’s time for them to be involved, but not just because of these bombs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AngelinaSatarose Angelina Satarose

    Why haven’t they caught the bastards! This needs to stop NOW!

  • http://www.facebook.com/AngelinaSatarose Angelina Satarose

    It’s time for an national good old fashioned reach-across-the-miles Pagan prayer circle. Who’s with me? You can do it from your own home. Let’s pray to (whichever gods you wish) the Gods that they find the suspects, and they go to jail!

    • Lēoht Sceadusawol

      It’s time for some direct action. Prayers are all well and good, but the gods do not help those who do not help themselves. Far better to do something like Kenneth’s suggestion of a crowd funded campaign to pay for security measures (I’d suggest sentry guns.)