Pagan Community Notes: Covenant of the Goddess, Green Religions Symposium, YSEE and more!

The Wild Hunt —  August 17, 2015 — 7 Comments

Covenant of the GoddessOver the past weekend, Covenant of the Goddess held its 40 year anniversary MerryMeet event in Ontario, California. The weekend included its annual two-day Grand Council, during which the consensus-based organization conducted its internal business including the election of officers.

After a tumultuous and uncomfortable beginning to 2015, the organization did come back to internally address what had happened. A break-out group was asked to review and present the organization’s revised social justice statement and make further recommendations. The result of the meeting was the creation of a permanent internal Social Justice committee to address the problems of racial inequity and systemic racism. Of this news, incoming First Officer Yvonne Conway-Williams said, “I think CoG is taking earnest effort at looking towards the future and drawing a line in the sand about who we are and what we stand for.” Conway-Williams is also a member of the new committee and was instrumental in the revising of the statement. More information on these developments will eventually be posted on CoG’s media sites.

The 40 year old organization is one of the oldest Pagan organizations in the country, and that was the theme of this year’s event. Looking toward the future, long-time member Amber K said, “I am fairly hopeful because representatives here seem to embrace change. They are cautious and careful but not stuck in methods of the past which would allow us to evolve and stay relevant.” Covenant of the Goddess will begin its 41st year on Samhain with new officers:  Co First Officers Yvonne Conway-Williams and Jack Prewett, Second Officer Glenn Turner, Co-Publication Officers Stachia Ravensdottir and Zenah Smith, Public Information Officer Greg Harder, Membership Officer Rachael Watcher, Communications Officer Rev. Peter Hertzberg.

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Cherry Hill Seminary

In April 2016, Cherry Hill Seminary (CHS) will be hosting a new three day conference in conjunction with The University of South Carolina. The symposium and environmental leadership training will be centered around the theme and title, “Greening of Religions: Hope in the Eye of the Storms.” The keynote speaker is University of Florida Professor Bron Taylor.

CHS Academic Dean Wendy Griffin said, “Laurie Zoloth, bioethicist and president of the American Academy of Religion, has called climate change the greatest moral issue of our time.  Increasingly, voices from a variety of religious and spiritual traditions are bringing the link between religion and climate change to national and international notice, from the Green Seminary Movement, to the expected Papal encyclical, to conferences ranging from the purely academic to those like the World Parliament of Religions, and to the growing emphasis on environmental justice.”

CHS is now calling for “proposals from a broad understanding of religion, including the Abrahamic, the Dharmic, the contemporary Pagan and the Earth-based, as well as from diverse methodologies: theoretical and practical, qualitative and quantitative, normative and descriptive.” The due date for abstract submission is September 30, 2015. The three day event runs from April 1-4, 2016 and will be held on the University of South Carolina campus in Columbia.

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Rhodes-1-500x308The Supreme Council of the Greek National (YSEE), an umbrella group working to restore the traditional polytheistic religions of Greece. was dealt a blow in its quest to gain state recognition as a religious community. On Aug. 1, a spokesperson said, “Once again, the Greek State has shown that it has yet to get rid of its byzantine and medieval whims and, being unable to respect with dignity its own laws (in this case Act no. 4301/2014). It has rejected by the intermediation of its court of First Instance the motion signed by hundreds of Ethnikoi Hellenes to obtain recognition as a statutory corporation of religious character for their ancestral, indigenous and historically continuous to our day despite cruel persecutions by Christianity Hellenic Ethnic Religion.”

Founded in 1997, YSEE is currently registered as a non-profit organization and, as explained on its website, has been on the front lines in the on-going battle for religious community recognition. Such a recognition would allow them to do things like buy property for the community to use. Its work has included “14 years of activity in the (modern) Greek reality with more than 230 interventions (letters and press releases) and many protests for the protection of the Hellenic tradition, human rights and religious tolerance, 300 seminars, tactical celebration of the ancient festivals, public rituals and educational events.”

In Other News:

  • We are pleased to announced that Polytheist blogger Heathen Chinese will be joining The Wild Hunt as a monthly columnist starting this Saturday. His first work will be a review of the Many Gods West conference that wrapped up two weeks ago. In the meantime, he has posted a link list that includes a number of other reviews and discussions sparked by the new Polytheist conference. As for Heathen Chinese’s new Wild Hunt column, it is scheduled to be published regularly on the 3rd Saturday of each month.
  • The upcoming Haxan film festival has added another day to its roster. Organizers will be hosting a “ritual blessing of the birth of the HÄXÄN Festival” Thursday, Aug. 27 at E.M. Wolfman General Interest Small Bookstore. Along with film screenings, the festival also includes a Friday night costume dance party.  As noted on its site, “HÄXÄN Festival is a Bay Area film festival focusing on local filmmakers exploring psychic and mystic connections through experiments in video and film. Celebrating witchcraft and the Personal Occult.”
  • Pagan writer and blogger Laura LaVoie was just voted “Childfree Woman of the Year” and featured on the website “International Child Free Day.” As described on the site, LaVoie has been a leading advocate for a woman’s right to NOT have children. She is one of the organizers for The NotMom Summit, and blogs regularly at NotMom.com. The write-up offers more details on LaVoie’s work with the NotMom movement, as well as featuring her efforts advocating for Tiny Houses. Congratulations to Laura LaVoie!

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  • A new Heathen podcast is now fully off the ground. Beginning in July, “Heathen Talk” has been airing “live every Wednesday at 7pm Pacific/10 Eastern and post new podcasts every Sunday!” The hosts said, “Heathen Talk was launched by four diverse Heathens who met on Reddit’s /r/Asatru community. This live podcast hosts weekly discussions on topics that are important to modern heathenry, focusing on representing the diverse points of view in the community. [Hosts] Josh, Lauren and Thorin, and producer Marc have a combined fifty years of experience within heathenry.” You can catch the new show through Heathen Talk’s website or its Facebook page.
  • A recent article in Vice.com describes how Witchcraft is an empowering life choice for many “queer and trans people.” The article reads, “Witchcraft is seeing a resurgence among queer-identified young people seeking a powerful identity that celebrates the freedom to choose who you are.” Those witches interviewed include Colby Gaudet, Jared Russell, Dakota Hendrix, and Mey Rude. In the article, Rude was quoted as saying, “There is no one way to be a witch … It’s a really freeing identity.”
  • Nathalie Andrews, owner and operator of Girl and Cat Publishing, is looking for author submissions. As noted on the Bad Witch’s Blog, Andrews is a Pagan, whose “aim is to change the way authors look at non-traditional publishing.” She offers workshops and classes on the subject. Based in the U.K., Andrews describes Girl and Cat Publishing as “not a vanity press but more a self-publishing service.” She can be contacted through her website.

That’s it for now! Have a great day.

The Wild Hunt

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  • Laura M. LaVoie

    Thank you all very much for your kind words.

    • I got a lot of grief when I was younger when I stated that I didn’t want children. A young man who I was getting close to loving asked about adoption. I thought for a while, and the image that came to me as why I didn’t want kids was, me with three kids and no father in the picture, barely scraping by.

      I still didn’t want any kids, but I might consider it if I married a guy who wanted them much more than I did, and thus would have an incentive to stick around and to help with their care are rearing.

      The “biological clock” never went off, but I did chose to have a child. We’re both bipolar–ain’t that grand?

      I never tell anyone that they should have kids–when they give me the reasons why, it’s not necessary. They’re not “selfish”, or if they are, better they not have kids. Reluctant parents do their children a disservice, in my experience–and those who wanted some other kind of child than they bore–and let those kids be very aware of it…their children will be in charge of caring for them in old age, and may get their comeuppance.

      I had a friend in high school whose father made no secret of the matter than he’d wanted boys. He had three daughters, who did their best to be substitute sons. When they got in to good colleges, the parents cut off their path to scholarships by writing that they ware fully able to finance their daughters’ higher education. Of course they provided nothing for them, because the girls weren’t feminine enough. Searing blind anger goes through me every time I think of that couple.

      They are prime examples of people who should never have had charge of any child, their own, foster, or adopted.

      • Laura M. LaVoie

        Thank you for your story – and for being an ally of the childfree. Our mission is to share with people that we’re not selfish or shallow. That we are people who are committed to making the world a better place, just in a different way than parents. We’re not anti-child or anti-parent – except in certain social situations that annoy even other parents sometimes. We just want people to know that choosing *not* to have is as valid as choosing to have them. The upcoming NotMom Summit is for women without children whether by choice, chance, or circumstance because we believe that our strength lies in similarities and community – a value that is often reflected in the Pagan community as well.

    • Damiana

      I’m still as happy to be child free as I was when I made the decision not to have kids. I have worked professionally with children on and for years and value the youngsters in my family and my tribe, and I’ve seen firsthand that my lifestyle isn’t unique.

  • ChristopherBlackwell

    I am very happy to hear that Polytheist blogger Heathen Chinese will be joining The Wild Hunt as a monthly columnist starting this Saturday and that his first work will be a review of the Many Gods West conference that wrapped up two weeks ago.

    I reviewed him once in the last issue of ACTION and had hoped to be able to interview him about the Many Gods West Conference, because of his unique view from practicing an ongoing Chinese religion of several centuries, that has been practiced in the United States with a temple in San Francisco as far back as mid 1800s.

    Unfortunately, ACTION ended with the Litha issue because of health issues of one of the necessary people helping me with it. So for that reason, I am very happy that Heathen Chinese will be doing his own review, because I think it will be very much worth reading from his unique position. I will most certainly be reading it, and look forward to his monthly articles as well. He is an educated man with both a scholar’s interest, and a deep passion for his religion.

  • “The result of the meeting was the creation of a permanent internal Social Justice committee to address the problems of racial inequity and systemic racism.”

    So did any alteration of the wishy-washy (national) CoG statement from January IRT #Blacklivesmatter occur, and if so, what was it?

    • The CoG Board has indicated that the revisions and other announcements are forthcoming.