Pagan Community Notes: West Virginia Water, Capital-P Paganism, Intellectual Culture, and More!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  January 23, 2014 — 3 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!

Elk_River_WV_mapSince I’ve started tracking Pagan responses to the West Virginia water contamination crisis, the fundraiser set up by Solar Cross Temple to aid locals has raised over $1100 dollars. Quote: “Since the 15th, Solar Cross has received $1165 in donations for this cause. We will be sending money to West Virginia tomorrow. We give thanks to everyone who spread the word, and to Crow, Ellen, Kristina, Shannon, Christine, Jenya, Samara, Marian, Laura, Helene, Mary, Fortuna, Jody, James, Tony, Sean, Joan, Lily, Karen, Denise, Rebecca, Rosalind, Kimberly, Elizabeth, Jason, Gerald, Lezlie, Kimberly, Justyna, Christine, Rhiannon, Jennifer and Misha.” In addition, organizers of the CUUPs ritual in West Virginia, which drew support from Pagan leaders like Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary, said that “the energy surge we felt came from folks all over the U.S., as well as Italy, France, & Australia.” Events and actions in West Virginia, and other affected areas is ongoing. Recent commentary highlighted here from Anne Johnson and Sara Amis give some much-needed perspective as this story progresses. We will keep you updated.

Oberon (Tim) Zell, an important figure in the early Pagan councils.

Oberon Zell.

Back in December, I spotlighted efforts by Oberon Zell and a coalition of Pagan scholars who are advocating capitalization of the word “Pagan” by journalists when referring to the religious movement. Now, Zell and his coalition have sent out a new press release, and are promoting a Change.org petition, which they hope will garner 500 signatures. Quote: “To address this issue, a coalition has been formed of academic scholars in the field of religious studies, who have done research into contemporary Paganism, and written books on the subject. Their purpose was to create a simple petition to the Associated Press and Chicago Stylebooks to capitalize “Pagan” and “Paganism” when speaking of the modern faiths and their adherents in future editions. The petitions were mailed off to the Stylebook editors on Monday, Dec. 2, with 60 extremely impressive signatures. Many people concerned with religious equality subsequently asked to sign the petition, so to facilitate further signatories, the coalition has created an online master version in Change.org.” You can see the original appeal and signatories, here.

Christine Hoff Kraemer

Christine Kraemer

Christine Kraemer, a scholar and Managing Editor of the Pagan Channel at Patheos.com, has launched a new initiative for, quote, “building Pagan intellectual culture face-to-face.” The concept is simple enough, an organized book club with a local face-to-face component. Quote: “Each month, we read a book: popular fiction (dystopian and utopian novels are a favorite genre); literary fiction, like Candide; modern social or historical commentary, like Neil Postman’s Technopoly; or classics of philosophy, like The Symposium (which we actually repeat once a year). Next, we gather in person with a set start and end time – no Pagan Standard Time here. Once gathered, we sit around a table so everyone can see each other, books in hand, pitchers of water in the center, and glasses for each of us. Alcohol consumption and snacks are put off until the formal discussion is finished. To open the seminar, a participant offers an opening question (usually a different person each meeting). And then we’re off!” You can read more about the initiative, and how to participate, here.

In Other Pagan Community News: 

 

PSG 2014 Logo White Small for Web

  • Hey Pagan Spirit Gathering fans, the popular Pagan festival has unveiled its official artwork for 2014. Quote: “While we have been holding Pagan Spirit Gatherings for over thirty years, each year’s gathering has its own unique character and energy,” said Selena Fox, Executive Director of Circle Sanctuary. “To help guide that energy we give each year has a theme that explores different aspects of the celebration and our community. This year’s theme is ‘Heart and Harmony’ and I’m thrilled our beautiful new logo that so perfectly captures the spirit of that idea.”
  • As mentioned in our latest Pagan Voices, Morning Glory Zell is currently in the hospital due to kidney problems, with doctors re-starting chemo treatments. A new update on her status (which seems to be improving) and a suggested visualization for those wanting to do healing work has been posted on Facebook. Quote: “Please visualize a huge IV bag, larger than the hospital, hanging above the hospital. It is filled with pulsating, rainbow, glittering, swirling vortices of energy. A silver tube runs from the bag to MG’s left arm, where it joins the IV. MG is using this visualization – and is feeling the energy coming from ALL OF YOUR PRAYERS, CANDLES AND RITUALS. MG has asked that I thank everyone who is working on her behalf. She knows you are there.” May her recovery be swift and complete.
  • Just a reminder that the Maetreum of Cybele is still trying to raise funds to fight an appeal of their win in the Appellate court. Quote: “The well pump for the Maetreum died last Sunday and we are still trying to raise the 3000 needed for the last legal fees of our battle. Please contribute if you can via paypal to centralhouse@gallae.com. The contributions stopped over the weekend.”
  • Phantasmaphile has news of an upcoming London exhibition of channelled artworks by Ethel le Rossignol. Quote: “Huge kudos to Mark Pilkington and his Strange Attractor for putting together an astounding-sounding show of Ethel le Rossignol’s channeled paintings.  A spirit medium in the early 20th century, she and her teeming, mystical visions fall into vibratory lockstep with the Hilma af Klints, Wassily Kandinskys, and Emma Kunzes of the era – though hers appear to be decidedly more figurative.”
  • Pagan chaplain and activist Patrick McCollum will be speaking at the “Life, Death, Near Death and Beyond: An Exploration” event in March. Quote: “Together we will look at the issues of life, death, near death and beyond. All at a gorgeous eco-retreat center and certified organic farm on Maui.” The event headliner is Ram Dass. You can see a promotional video, here.

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

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • T Thorn Coyle

    Jason, Solar Cross sent a check for $1273 to West Virginia. I’d like to add Brnjamin to that list of doners!

    Thanks again, everyone.

    • Crystal Hope Kendrick

      Thank you guys. It is super appreciated.

  • T Thorn Coyle

    I also just got this note from local organizer Paul Dalzell, who is with the Unitarian Congregation Solar Cross worked with on this campaign.

    Paul writes:

    Thorn, again I thank you and the members of your Temple from the bottom of my heart!

    This will truly help those food service workers who have been hurt so much by this travesty. These are minimum wage workers who live from payday to (almost) payday in the best of times, waitstaff who live often day to day on the tips they get, mostly on the weekends! I have been talking to many of them as I am out and about, and too many are facing utility cut-offs, rent not being paid, even doing without medicine or food, even diapers! How do you do without diapers without water to clean your baby?!? Normally West Virginia has fairly mild winters, but this January we have had several days of single digit and sub-zero temperatures and are looking at at least another week of the same! Add to the 5 to 9 days of no work (through no fault of their own!) only a few restaurants are cooking and using bottled water, and the public is rightly leery of “tap water”, 97% of us, myself included and rightly so, are refusing to drink it, even though we are told it is “safe” now. So, in addition to January being a traditionally slow month for restaurants, people are not eating out. Also, add in the fact this was a financial hardship on all of us; we all had to buy bottled water for everything except flushing our toilets, we also could not wash dishes or cloths in the water, so many families had to buy paper dinnerware and even more cloths; underwear, socks, etc. Those who could drove to areas with clean water for showers and laundry. furthering the financial burden, many people can’t afford to eat out now.

    And the “crisis” is not over yet! It seems to me “Aquapocalypse” is an apt name. Many are fleeing the area, moving away, and I certainly understand that, if I had small children I would also. Unfortunately, what most of this nation does not realize is that this is not a problem unique to West Virginia; it just happened here first, this could happen in Anytown USA. There is no Federal law to inspect chemical holding tanks near waterways. One friend fled to North Carolina, then heard of the radioactive plume near Charlotte, where do you flee too?

    I am staying though. This is my home, I am committed to working to fix this. The first weekend I helped deliver water to those in need, shut-ins, elderly, and many single mothers without transportation. That was the immediate need. The next week I focused on the service workers affected, and you have so generously helped with that! Now comes the hard part; fixing the system! I have met with 3 local legislators and called many more, I am joining with newly formed and existing environmental groups to make sure the laws are changed to prevent this from happening again, to ensure there are safeguards in place, and that those whose job it is to protect, us are doing so.