Pagan Community Notes: Margot Adler’s Memorial, Time Magazine, Religion in Politics and more.

The Wild Hunt —  November 3, 2014 — 14 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. Our 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! 

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We’ll start off Pagan Community Notes with a big thank you to all those people and organizations who supported our 2014 Fall Fund Drive. You helped us meet and exceed our goal, and for that we are very grateful. Over the next month, we will be contacting those people who requested perks. Columnist Eric Scott is already hard at work on those Panda drawings.  Again thank you from all of us at The Wild Hunt.  Now on to the news….

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margot-adlerOn Oct 31, Margot Adler’s closet friends and family gathered in a private memorial service to honor her life. The event was held at the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in New York City. Andras Corban-Arthen was in attendance and has posted several photos on his public Facebook page. In her will, Margot had requested that EarthSpirit’s ritual singing group, Mother Tongue, perform at her service. Corban-Arthen said, “We were all very glad and honored to perform a few pieces in her memory.”

Starhawk has published the words she wrote for the memorial service on her blog. She ended the piece saying, “As [Margot] takes her place among the Mighty Dead of the Craft, she becomes even more fully what she has always been: an ally, a friend, a wise guide, a challenger and a refuge.”

On Oct 30, Rev. Selena Fox, another longtime friend of Margot’s, announced that Circle Sanctuary was “dedicating a memorial stone for Margot and placing it at [it’s] green cemetery, Circle Cemetery, a place that Margot visited and loved.” The stone includes the words, “Drawing Down the Moon, Inspiring Pagan Voice.”

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time-logo-ogOn Oct 28, TIme Magazine online published an article entitled, “Why Witches on TV Spell Trouble in Real Life.”  The article has generated a storm of controversy that has led to a petition on Change.org and numerous other mainstream articles outlining Pagan response. Blogger Jason Mankey wrote, “I don’t think Ms. Latson’s article was intentionally insulting. She was simply trying to rationalize the explosion of Witch-themed shows on cable television. Fair enough, that’s the kind of article we all expect this time of year, but her execution was exceedingly poor.” We will be following up on this story later in the week.

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Cara Schulz

Tomorrow is election day in the U.S. As we have already reported, Wild Hunt staff writer Cara Schulz is running for Burnsville City Council. In recent weeks, she ran into some conflict over her religion. Although Schulz hasn’t hidden her beliefs, a local resident only recently discovered that she was Pagan, and sent a concerned letter to the editor. After it was published, Schulz responded by saying “The letter wasn’t explicitly degrading towards Pagan religions, but it’s clear the motive was to induce fear and sensationalism about my religious beliefs and encourage people to vote for my opponents specifically because they aren’t Pagans.” She called the situation laughable, adding, “Religion is irrelevant to a person’s fitness for public office and is private.” Schulz has called on her opponents to denounce the letter’s intent. However, that has yet to happen.

In Other News:

  • The organizers of Paganicon have announced that Lupa will be the 2015 Guest of Honor. They wrote, “We at Twin Cities Pagan Pride are extremely excited and honored to have Lupa join us.” They added that she’s a “perfect fit” to help explore the conference’s theme: Primal Mysteries. Paganicon 2015 will be held March 13-15 at the Double Tree in Saint Louis Park.
  • As announced by the Polytheist Leadership Conference, the New York Regional Diviners Conference is coming up this month.  As written on the site, “For one day in November, diviners from a plethora of traditions will gather in Fishkill, NY to discuss their art, network, exchange knowledge, and learn new techniques.” The conference is held on Nov 29 at the Quality Inn in Fishkill.
  • Treadwell’s Bookshop owner and Wild Hunt UK Columnist Christina Oakley Harrington was interviewed for a short film called “Witches and Wicked Bodies: A ZCZ Films Halloween Special.” The 9 minute film focuses on the British Museum‘s current exhibition of “Witches and Wicked Bodies.” Toward the end of the program, the host visits Treadwell’s and talks to Christina about modern day Witchcraft and Pagan practice.
  • Cherry Hill Seminary announced the start of a new class called, “Indigenous Traditions of the Sacred.” The class is being taught by Leta Houle, who “is Plains Cree from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan.” The program’s goal is to introduce students to the “meaning of what is sacred to Indigenous peoples, including the issue of cultural appropriation.”
  • This October the Northern Illinois University Pagan Alliance decided to try something entirely new. They ran a Pagan Spirit Week from Oct 27-31. President Sara Barlow explains that the purpose was “to raise awareness of and celebrate the presence of Pagan students at Northern Illinois University. We invited others on campus to learn more about aspects of our culture through activities such as meditation, anti-stress charms, divination, runic magic, and our open Samhain ritual.”  Barlow said the response was excellent and that they even picked up a few new members. Now the group hopes to make Spirit Week a yearly tradition.

That is all for now.  Have a great day.

The Wild Hunt

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  • Franklin_Evans

    I have beloved friends who call themselves witches. I’ve had long and deep conversations about the label with them and others. In the end, a Time Magazine article about documented historical events and the license of appropriation used by creators of entertainment media having exactly zero connection to modern witches can be seen as offensive only by the use of tortuous logic.

    There are real-world concerns for witches and Pagans without fabricating a politically correct outrage over the article. One of those concerns is the fact that we are all in danger from wilfully ignorant people who will not hesitate to use us as scapegoats and will happily perform their own fabrications. We can have no control over them, and an article like this one is a drop in a sea of malicious intent.

    • Blake Kirk

      Well, except for the fact that the author of the Time article said explicitly in the piece that “witches aren’t real.” Given the issues that those of us who practice witchcraft in the present (whether religious witchcraft or some other form,) already have with public acceptance, publishing such a statement under Time’s imprimatur cannot be seen as a positive development.

      • Franklin_Evans

        Blake — and MadG and Damiana — I agree with Jason Mankey that the article was poorly written, certainly from our point of view. However, I also firmly believe that context is important, and while it may be seen as nitpicking by some — and I can respect that view — the author’s statement “witches aren’t real” in her specific context makes sense.

        My point about political correctness is that while words have power, they only have the power to which the users and listeners ascribe it. We, all of us, witches and Wiccans and every stripe of Pagan or Heathen, are subject to centuries of “bad press” against which we have only one response: live our lives, and hope that those around us see us as fellow humans first.

        • Crystal Hope Kendrick

          I have to agree with you here, Franklin. I think context is key. The type of witch that the author is speaking of here really does not exist and I can appreciate the point of her article.

          • Franklin_Evans

            Thank you.

    • MadGastronomer

      The simple fact that you use “politically correct” seriously tells me not to take you seriously.

      • Franklin_Evans

        My view of the article and the reactions of offense to it sees only a semantic jump between pop-media and entirely false representations of witches and the realities of modern witchcraft. I invite you to expand on your reaction to me, and I promise to give it a respectful reading.

        • MadGastronomer

          No one who uses the term “political correctness” in a serious way is one with whom I can converse intelligently about anyone. You’ve already proven to me that you believe that this is a real problem, which means you’re not worth talking to.

          • Franklin_Evans

            As you wish.

    • Damiana

      I’m not very PC at all, and I found the article troublesome in many ways. My chief concern is that it can be used against practitioners. While the points made in the article make sense for what they are, they leave out the very reality that there are thousands of people who identify as witches, and they deserve respect and protection.

  • Looking at the letters to the editor related to the election, this letter in support of Ms. Schulz appeared recently as well.

  • Ball Tip Sirloin

    Ya know, Alfred Adler was such a insightful pioneer in the field of psychology, and the other social sciences; its too bad that his granddaughter turned out to be such a loon.

    • If there is ever a reasonable place to refer to the respected journalist and writer Margot Adler as “a loon,” assuredly, a report on her memorial service isn’t it.

      It’s too bad that you, Sirloin, are incredibly offensive and rude.

      Happily, Margot herself had enough kindness and humor that I suspect she’d do no more than roll her eyes, should your comment not be deleted and her spirit be aware of it.

      • Franklin_Evans

        I was going to offer it a troll biscuit, but had other things to do first.