Pagan Community Notes: Gerald Gardner, Journalism, HUAR, and More!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  June 3, 2014 — 6 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!

Publicity still from "Britain's Wicca Man".

Gerald Gardner

Last year a commemorative blue plaque was erected in England to honor the life and work of Doreen Valiente, considered by many to be the mother of modern religious Witchcraft. Now, this June, Gerald Gardner, who first introduced Wicca to the wider world, will receive the same honor. Quote: “Friday 13 might be considered unlucky for some, but Friday 13 June 2014 promises instead to be an especially auspicious day for Wiccans, because it is when the blue plaque for Gerald Gardner, the Father of Modern Wicca, is being unveiled at his former home in Highcliffe, Dorset. The day was picked because it is the anniversary of his birthday – Gerald Brosseau Gardner was born on June 13, 1884. The Doreen Valiente Foundation and the Centre for Pagan Studies, in collaboration with Children of Artemis, have organised the historic occasion when a commemorative blue plaque for Gerald Gardner will be unveiled at the house in which he lived.” You can find out more about the event, here. You can learn more about the UK’s blue heritage plaques, here.

GBGplaqueevent

10302236_4128042894802_6817282739509919849_nOn May 17th the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal published a fairly general “meet the Pagans” type puff piece. But then, the piece was pulled from their online edition after it came to light that Rev. Kim Cabot Consoli had an arrest record. The paper published a long Mea Culpa that not only listed that arrest record, but also that they “did not put witchcraft into a larger context of the faith and values of our community.” Enter Get Religion, who does a credible dissection of what we know, and what might have happened behind the scenes. Quote: “It’s such an ancient pitch: Step on stories that might offend some readers, and you’ll keep them happy. The trouble is that it ends up offending other readers who don’t like newspapers stepping on stories. In trying to avoid one controversy, you create another. Why not simply report the additional news?” So, lots of important questions are raised here in the realms where journalism and modern Paganism intersect. Does a criminal record mean you shouldn’t be written up for religion at some later point? Was her arrest merely a cover for the fact that they wanted to kill the story? Whatever the case, the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal hasn’t bathed itself in glory here (but good job giving Gawker something to write about).

18799_253556621440675_939061554_nHeathens United Against Racism has raised over $4000 dollars to benefit the victims of the April hate-motived shootings in Kansas City that claimed the lives of three people. The alleged shooter was tied to Norse Pagan beliefs, specifically Odinism, during the initial rush of news reports. The fundraiser was a way of HUAR underlining the fringe nature of the shooter’s racist ideology, and that Asatru, and related faiths, are not based on racial hate or prejudice. Quote: “We are not a religion of hatred and refuse to tolerate the perversion of our faith to justify senseless acts of bigotry. On behalf of the Heathen community, we vehemently denounce Cross and all his ilk. Accordingly, we also extend our deepest condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy. As Heathens we value deeds over words. Please help us to raise funds to give to the families affected and to the communities targeted. We can never undo what has been done or return those who have been lost, but together we can foster unity and denounce the hatred that catalyzed this atrocity.” You can read official announcements regarding this fundraiser at HUAR’s Facebook page.

In Other Pagan Community Notes:

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus takes leave of Patheos.com, and discusses the reasons why in a farewell column. Quote: “I would, thus, like to close my words at Patheos by thanking everyone who has made my presence here possible, and who has contributed to the conversations held here in diverse ways. I will end with an echo of how I began this column, as the shadow of where I stood here fades and moves elsewhere: Queer I Stood—by the gods, I can do no other. And by the gods, for I can do no other, I shall still Queerly Stand elsewhere in the future.” More here.
  • The 6th Annual Pagan Values Event, which takes place each June, has begun. Quote: “Each June Bloggers, Podcasters, and other content creators from across the many faiths and philosophies of Contemporary Paganism are encouraged to post, broadcast, tweet, or otherwise speak out on the concept of Pagan Values. By naming and exploring the values, virtues, and ethics, we have found on our many pagan paths we are not trying to claim that they are ours exclusively, we simply wish to let the world know that we have them. Our goal is to inspire, to stir conversation, and to explore what it is that the good man or woman will teach their children of body and spirit.”
  • Neo-Paganism.org is seeking help for its timeline of Neo-Pagan history. Quote: “The timeline runs more or less from through the late 19th century to the present. Your help is needed! Corrections as to dates or details are welcome. As are recommendations for additional entries. The 1990′s and 21st century are especially sparse on entries, I think, so your help there is especially welcome.”
  • Dear lovers of Glycon the snake-puppet-god, writer Alan Moore had heard your cries for more information! Quote: “As people become disillusioned by the returned gods, the noticeably unreturned god Glycon piques curiosity and hope in a few would-be-followers, drawing Moore into their desperate plea for a priest and an encounter with Glycon himself.”

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

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • John

    Patheos seems to be losing all its most talented writers. It’s a shame since the blogs they’re replacing them with are no where near the same quality.

    • Crystal Hope Kendrick

      Do you think that could be part of the reason for so many withdrawing, a deterioration in quality? I thought when Patheos invited that notorious Alaskan’s daughter to blog it was probably the beginning of the end.

    • http://quakerpagan.org Cat C-B

      For whatever it’s worth, my blog will be migrating there within a few weeks. I will probably serve a very different readership than P. Sufenas Virias Lupus did there, and I don’t suppose it’s my job to praise my own writing.

      But I will say that it was precisely the quality of Christine Hoff Kraemer’s leadership and of the other writers there that enticed me to make the move.

      • http://www.cernowain.com/ cernowain greenman

        I’ve noticed the quality at Patheos ebb and flow a number of times over the years. Or, perhaps it is my attention to Patheos that has ebbed and flowed, which is in part due to quality but also due to other things such as when some topics of interest being “hot”– like the Pentacle Quest or the West Memphis Three story.

        I will say that it seems that once Patheos gets someone that draws me in and gets me reading, that author then goes elsewhere. That’s life in the blogosphere.

      • John

        What sort of topics will your blog be covering Cat? It seems to me that Patheos is losing most of its writers who were writing about hard and devotional polytheism (the group I most identify with) and I’m somewhat loathe to lose the representation on a major pagan forum.

        • http://quakerpagan.org Cat C-B

          Sadly, as interesting as I find that point of view, it’s not my own.

          Quaker Pagan Reflections, my husband’s and my blog, explores the ways that our Paganism and our Quaker practice intersect. Over the years, it has touched on the strengths, shortcomings, and witness of both communities.

          http://quakerpagan.org/

          My strongest current interest is finding ways to transfer what I’ve learned about spiritual accountability–the process of rooting and supporting the service of elders, teachers, and leaders within our communities and in Spirit–from Quaker practice to Pagan contexts. (It has been said we eat our leaders, and I think there’s some truth to that, as well as our being pretty ineffective at either nurturing spiritual depth or challenging misconduct in our midst. I’d like to see that change!) I also try to find ways to describe the mystical experience that’s at the heart of both my Quaker and my Pagan life.

          My husband’s major interest right now is using Pagan spiritual tools as a regular practice to both deepen his relationship with the gods and his experience of Quaker worship.

          So it’s unlikely we can fill the gap that P. Sufenas Lupus is leaving… though I hope we’ll have some interesting things to say along other lines.