Pagan Community Notes: Iceland Asatru Temple, French Pagan Cafe, HUAR and much more!

The Wild Hunt —  March 23, 2015 — 6 Comments

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Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson [Photo Credit: Haukurth (Own work), CC lic. Wikimedia]

As the sun’s light was blocked by the moon’s travel, members of Iceland’s Ásatrúarfélagið broke ground for their new temple in Reykjavík. The ceremony was the next major step in a quest that began in 2006. Columnist Eric Scott detailed the history and plans for this temple in a January article “Temple on the HIll,” interviewing both the architect and organization’s leader, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson.

The Icelandic Review described the Friday event, saying: “The ceremony began at 08.38, at the start of the eclipse, whereby the boundaries were ceremonially marked out, candles lit in each corner, and local landmarks honored. When the darkness was at its height, at 09.37, a fire was lit in what will be the center of the chapel.”  The Norse Mythology Blog posted a photo from the actual ceremony on its Facebook page and on its Twitter account.

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A Pagan mother living in Paris has set herself a lofty goal of creating a new Pagan cafe in the city. Krynn Aïlhenya, a French Pagan and Parisan local, said that she’s very active in trying to develop and grow France’s Pagan community. On her new crowd sourcing campaign, she said, “Un espace convivial pour les païen(ne)s de toutes traditions, où discuter autour d’une pinte.” [“A welcoming space for all pagans of all traditions, where they come and talk over a pint.”]

Aïlhenya said that she and the other organizers hope that the space expands beyond that one simple description. Once in full operation, the Pagan cafe would also serve as a “a library, an esoteric shop and could host events like Pagan celebrations, exhibitions, and conferences.” Provided in both English and French, the IndieGoGo description notes that they hope to open by the end of 2015 in the very center of Paris.

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HUAR Logo

On March 18, a gunman opened fired in Mesa, Arizona killing one person and wounding five others. The suspect, Ryan Giroux, was quickly taken into custody. It was not long before the media discovered that Giroux’s was connected to the Hammerskins White Supremacist group. Unfortunately, this detail was made more pronounced by the very large tattoo on the man’s chin – the Hammer of Thor.

After learning of shooting, HUAR quickly offered a statement in reaction. It reads in part, “This individual and his associates are notorious for corrupting many aspects of Heathen practice for advancing their white nationalist agenda by grossly dishonorable means including, most shamefully, the hallowed Hammer of Thor … We, the members of Heathens United Against Racism, denounce Giroux, his associates, and any others who assisted him in perpetrating his terrible actions.” Several other Heathens and groups have issued similar statements, such as Alyxander Folmer. We will be continue to follow this story.

In Other News … Interviews and more Interviews

  • On March 8, The Goddess Diaries Radio interviewed Z. Budapest. In the 40 minute interview, “Z shared her story of being prosecuted/persecuted for practicing her craft in the“last witch trial” in America. Her courage to stand in her truth paved the way for woman to freely practice Goddess Spirituality in our country today.”
  • In conjunction with Paganicon, Lupa Greenwolf is interviewed by PNC-Minnesota writer Nels Linde. Greenwolf talks about her background, her practice and her work on the new Tarot deck. She said, “I have a very deep love of learning about nature, to include learning through books and documentaries.
  • Linde also published another interview done in conjunction with Paganicon. In this article, he speaks with Rev. Selena Fox about everything from her life passages workshop, to political activism, and to the future of Circle Sanctuary. When talking about transferring responsibility to younger people, Fox said, “We need to do more of this. We not only need to do education, but need to inspire and guide action. We need to find ways to take responsibility as individuals, as households, and as communities to work together for a healthier, sustainable world with equality, liberty, and justice for all.
  • ACTION’s 2015 Ostara edition is available. In its 54 pages, Christopher Blackwell includes interviews with Black Witch, Allison Leigh Lilly, Lee Davies, David Parry, Linda Sever, Lorna Smithers, and Stephen Cole.
  • Finally, the Atlantis Bookshop in London celebrated its 93rd Birthday. As they posted, the “beastly” celebration included tea, cakes and “cheeky cocktails.” Now owned by Geraldine Beskin, Atlantis was founded in 1922 by Michael Houghton. It has been one of the cornerstones in London’s Occult and Witchcraft community for nearly a century. Happy Birthday to Atlantis!

That is it for now. Have a great day.

Update 3/23/15 2:45pm: We originally stated that the Paris cafe was to be the first in the city. However, we recently were informed otherwise and have corrected the text. 

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  • WAH

    While the shooter has a hammer tattooed on his chin, the name “Hammerskins” does not refer to Mjolnir, it is a reference to Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammerskins

    Just putting it out there before people continue to *way* over-identify this news story with Heathenry.

  • dantes

    So this racist murderer had a Þórs Hammer tattooed in the style of…Maori indigenous art? How stupid is that?

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Honor to HUAR. When bad actors pops up who can be associated with any faith group, be it Heathen or Moslem, the cry goes out for voices in that community to denounce them. HUAR has done so, in honor.

  • Deborah Bender

    In marginally related news, the Spring issue of The Intelligence Report, the magazine of the Southern Poverty Law Center, contains their annual list of organizations active in the USA that SPLC considers to be hate groups. The current list contains 784 active groups (counting chapters of the same organization in different states or cities separately). This number is much lower than the 939 of the previous year. The SPLC attributes this not to a decline in hate overall, but to people shifting to lone wolf activity loosely coordinated through the Internet in order to avoid law enforcement heat and adverse media attention. Hate group numbers peaked in Obama’s first term.

    Since there has been past commenting on this blog about whether the SPLC unjustifiably characterizes heathen organizations as hate groups, I went through the entire list of 784. They are classified into categories: Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi, Racist Skinhead, Christian Identity, Neo-Confederate, Black Separatist, and General Hate. (Note that just because a group is Christian, Black Nationalist, skinhead, celebrates some aspect of the antebellum South etc., doesn’t necessarily put it on this list.) Over the past ten years, the relative percentages of Klan, neo-Nazi, neo-Confederate and Christian Identity groups on the list have dropped. Numbers of racist skinhead crews and General Hate, which includes anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT, have grown relative to the total.

    I found just a handful of groups with names that I recognized as containing possible Heathen religious references. The 142 group neo-Nazi list includes the Gallows Tree Wotanvolk Alliance (chapters in Indiana and Grand Rapids MI) and the Heathens Motorcycle Club (Rome, GA). Under General Hate are the Holy Nation of Odin (Kingsburg, CA) and the Sons of Aesir Motorcycle Club (Maricopa County, AZ). Nineteen skinhead groups have “Hammerskins” in their names. If you leave out the skinheads, that’s five organizations out of 784, so it is clear that the SPLC is not currently especially worried about Heathens.

    • dantes

      Thanks for the research !

  • Edward G. Rickey

    THAT is how one responds to clear racism! Congratulations to HUAR, and my deepest respect to you.