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!
On Monday in California a resolution introduced by Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett was unanimously adopted by the State Senate. SCR-32 designates October as Hindu American Awareness and Appreciation Month, and was backed by the Hindu American Foundation. Pagan chaplain and activist Patrick McCollum, who was honored by HAF in 2009 due to his work on behalf of minority religions, was invited to be a part of this moment, one that he called “historic.” McCollum added that “Pagans and Hindus have supported one another for equal rights and recognition and we stand together for a better world.” This is the first such resolution to honor American Hindus, and one of very few resolutions to honor a non-Christian minority faith in the United States. As State Senator Corbett says in her official statement, quote, “I am honored to represent constituents from many diverse backgrounds, including a significant number of Hindu Americans, California is home to a thriving community of over 370,000 Hindu Americans that enrich our state’s diversity and professional assets in fields as diverse as academia, science, technology, business, arts and literature.” You can see a picture of Rev. Patrick McCollum with Senate Majority Leader Corbett, here. Congratulations to our Hindu cousins!
The International New Age Trade Show (INATS) was held this past weekend, and the annual COVR (Coalition of Visionary Retailers) awards were handed out. Pagan and metaphysical publisher Llewellyn Worldwide took home four COVR awards, including a First Runner Up award (Wicca/Paganism category) for Rev. Mark Townsend’s “Jesus Through Pagan Eyes” (reviewed here). The big Pagan winner of the weekend was author Christopher Penczak, who took home First Place awards for “Buddha, Christ, Merlin: Three Wise Men for Our Age” and “The Gates of Witchcraft,” a Runner Up prize for “Feast of the Morrighan,” and two awards for his spell coins. Penczak said he was “humbled and grateful” for the recognition he received. You can read more about this year’s COVR nominees and winners here, here, and here. For an insiders perspective of INATS, and the future of the occult/metaphysical market, I found this blog post very interesting. Congratulations to all the winners!
The Adocentyn Research Library in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, in the process of building what they hope will be “the premier Pagan research center in the Western US,” have reached a new milestone. According to Adocentyn board member and co-founder Donald H. Frew, their online catalogue has surpassed 4,500 volumes, with far more volumes on-site and in the process of being catalogued. Quote: “There are over 6000 volumes currently on-site (plus hundreds of periodicals) with another 5000+ coming (plus ephemera such as correspondence, notebooks, etc.). Cataloguing takes time, but we have 19 volunteers helping us move things along. We will be opening soon.” This is exciting progress for the library, and you can keep up with the latest announcements at their official Facebook page. As I’ve reported previously, Adocentyn is in preliminary talks with the New Alexandrian Library Project (currently under construction) and other institutions in forming a Pagan Libraries Organization so that they can share information, and offer inter-library loans.
Last week’s Summer Solstice saw the dedication of a commemorative blue plaque at the Brighton, UK home of Dorren Valiente, called by many the mother of modern religious Witchcraft (you can read my previous coverage of the plaque here). Druid leader Philip Carr-Gomm, who attended the ceremony, said that this was a historic moment for more than one reason. Quote: “This is a first for Wicca and Paganism but this was also a historic moment for another reason – it is apparently the first blue plaque to appear on a council block.” The Centre for Pagan Studies has posted a video of the unveiling which I’ve embedded below. You can see additional coverage of the event at The Argus, which has also posted a video from the ceremony. John Belham-Payne, who inherited the bulk of Valiente’s Pagan-oriented estate, says he plans to open a museum in Brighton. Quote: “I’ve been contacted by museum owners in Salem but Brighton is the only place for the collection.”
In Other Pagan Community News:
- Despite some initial, rather unwelcoming, sentiments from the locals, the Lake Okeechobee Summer Solstice Festival seemed to do very well. It seems like the outreach by Peter Dybing and the Lady Liberty League was effective, with festival-goers receiving little trouble. Quote: “The rally cry for a coalition of protesters settled into a very small number of local Christians who came for a short prayer session during which they were offered water because of our Community’s concerns about dehydration and our basic principle of extending hospitality to locals whenever possible.” More coverage from Mead Muse, here. Pagan musician Mama Gina even wrote a song about the whole experience!
- PNC-Minnesota reports on how a series of severe storms have affected the Minneapolis area, causing blackouts and flooding, and how various Pagan members of the community are faring. Quote: “Lisa Spiral Besnett, a resident of Plymouth and hostess of the Priestess Show on Blogtalk radio had a tree split in half blocking her driveway and a near miss in front of her house. She counts herself as more fortunate than other area locals who face significant property loss from fallen trees.”
- While I’m on the subject of PNC-Minnesota, they will be rolling out several Pagan Spirit Gathering-related stories this week, so stay tuned! Meanwhile, Caroline Kenner has posted her experiences at Free Spirit Gathering in Maryland at Witchvox. Quote: “Free Spirit Alliance’s 28th annual summer gathering took place Tuesday, June 11th through Sunday, June 16th, at Camp Ramblewood in Darlington, Maryland. FSG has tremendous resonance in the Pagan communities throughout the mid-Atlantic states, north to New England, west through Ohio, and south past the Carolinas. FSG has been an important gathering of the Pagan tribes for so long that we are working on raising our third generation now.”
- The UK Pagan magazine Greenmantle recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Originally a photocopied newsletter, the publication is now associated with the Centre for Pagan Studies and is including an exclusive CD of music with their latest issue.
- Curious about that whole “Pagan” Anglican Churches business I recently discussed here? Reverend Steve Hollinghurst, who was the figure quoted, expands and clarifies at his blog. Quote: “I am more worried about what Pagans may think , and indeed some are thinking, that I and others are creating some deceptive fake church in order to target Pagans and recruit them. I have a number of Pagan friends and I value being part of groups in which Pagans are included. So I was rather disturbed by a story growing up that I was simply deceiving these people in order to recruit them. and for this reason felt I needed to set the record straight.”
That’s all I have for now, have a great day!