Pagan Community Notes: Heathens Speak; Sacred Stone Camp; Phoenix Rising Austin and more!

The Wild Hunt —  August 29, 2016 — 16 Comments

logo trothTWHAs we reported last week, the Asatru Folk Assembly made public statements on its Facebook page that ignited an immediate backlash from users, which then spilled out across Heathen communities, the blogsophere and beyond. In reaction to those Facebook statements, a number of Heathen organizations and individuals publicly responded to the AFA posting.

On its website, The Troth published “An Official Statement from The Troth.” It reads, in part: “The Troth stands against the AFA’s vision of what Asatru should be, and we do not recognize their beliefs as representative of a majority of American Asatru (Heathenry). There are no arbiters of who can and cannot worship our deities, but the Gods themselves.”  The Troth, founded in 1987, is one of the biggest international, non-profit Heathen organizations.

Similarly, Heathens United Against Racism posted its own statement, saying “We wholeheartedly condemn the recent statements made by the Asatru Folk Assembly […] There are no words to express how strongly we are revolted by their clear, unquestionable embrace of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and pure bigotry.” Other groups and bloggers, Heathen and Pagan alike, published discussions on the topic throughout the week. We highlighted two different viewpoints, Jön Upsal’s Gardener and Josh at Heathen Talk, in yesterday’s edition of Pagan Voices.

To date, AFA’s only public reaction to any of these statements was to thank the general online community for bringing attention to the group’s Facebook page, and its own community for rallying behind its statements. Marc MacLeod ended the response by saying: “We will be clear and stand by our values, but we don’t need to change anyone’s minds, we just have to provide a place for our folk, that have the same world view, to go. That is our mission and that’s what we will continue to do.”

We will continue to watch this story and report as needed.

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logoCANNON BALL, N.D. — The elders of the Seven Council Fires, members of the Great Sioux Nation, have come together to protest the building of the $3.7 billion dollar Dakota pipeline near Standing Rock. As reported by Indian Country in May, private construction had already begun despite protests at the time. Since that point, there has been an outpouring of support for the local community and that support continues to grow daily. Not only has the Great Sioux Nation itself has come together, but other tribes from around the country have brought support as well.

Members of Pagan and Heathen communities have also been joining the protests to stop the pipeline and keep the local land and waterways clean. Some individuals went directly to the North Dakota sites to aide activists at Sacred Stone Camp and elsewhere. Others have been raising awareness locally or online, and shipping funds and supplies to the area.

Solar Cross founder T. Thorn Coyle said, in part, “Solar Cross supports native sovereignty. Genocide, cultural oppression, theft, and broken promises have been hallmarks of white occupation of this continent. The Sioux and other nations who gather in defense of their land and water, in defense of the sacred earth, and of their own autonomy, have called on us all to help.” Solar Cross has been raising funds to purchase supplies for the activists at Sacred Stone Camp, including tents, tables, canopies, tarps, blankets and more. The group is also involved in an effort to send a delegation to Washington DC.

The federal judge is due to rule on the case Sept. 9. We will have the complete story with interviews and more in the coming days. 

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AUSTIN, Tex. — Over the weekend, a Phoenix Rising event was held at the Elysium nightclub in Austin, Texas. It served as a benefit function for the non-profit Council of the Magickal Arts (CMA). Organized by Candyce Eskew and John Elysium, the evening event featured musical guests, Darwin Prophet, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and the Flametrick Subs. There was also a raffle, a number of vendors and readers. 

Why a benefit? Elysium and Eskew explained that, “Earlier this year, CMA suffered the misfortune of having several thousand dollars, about half our operating budget, embezzled by a former officer. This benefit is a fundraiser to recoup some of this loss; all proceeds will go directly to CMA’s operating fund.” As of Saturday’s report, Eskew said that the function was a success and they have already raised at least $1,600 toward rebuilding the organization. TWH has reached out to the organization to learn more.

CMA itself will be hosting an upcoming Samhain festival October 20-23. The featured guest speaker will be Aline O’Brien, also known as M. Macha Nightmare, and the musical guest is Goodnight Charlie. All CMA festivals are held on Spirit Haven, a 100+ acre private wooded property in Cistern, Texas.

In Other News:

  • Radio show host Michael Greywolf will be launching a new program on the Pagans Tonight Radio Network (PTRN) called Walking the Unnamed Path. He will be joined by co-host Matthew Sydney. Greywolf said, “Our show will be talking about and discussing topics and ideas pertaining to the Unnamed Path, an emerging shamanic tradition for men who love men. We will be featuring music, guests, and covering general topics pertaining to queer Pagan men.” The new show will first air Sept.10 at 3:00 pm CST, and air the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month.
  • Solar Cross Temple has just launched a new devotionals program. As the group explains, “Every month we will call upon different people to offer a meditation for us all to focus on together. […] We ask … that you follow up with one action-in-the-world to help bolster your connection to the month’s meditation. This can take many forms. Use your creativity, and share it with us on our Facebook page.” The program kicked off Aug. 21 with a prayer called, “To Our Ancestors of Spirit, Body, and Mind” written by founder T. Thorn Coyle. The next one will be Sept. 18 and every 3rd Sunday following. Additionally, the Temple will be continuing its popular “Solar Cross Presents” program with the next class being held Sept. 21.
  • Cherry Gilchrist has released a new book on the tarot. Published by Red Wheel/Weiser, Gilgrist’s new book Tarot Triumphs: Using the Tarot Trumps for Divination and Inspiration is said to “focus on the major arcana, or trumps, of the Marseilles Tarot” with the “aim of encouraging the reader to experience the tarot in a direct, fresh, and uncluttered way.” Gilchrist is a teacher, lecturer, and author or more than 30 fiction and non-fictions books.
  • Speaking of books, TWH’s own writer and assistant editor Terence P. Ward has released his own book Depth of Praise. In 2015, Ward was working to raise money in order to build and complete this devotional work to the god Poseidon. He finally finished the project, with the help of many donors, procuring work from artist Grace Palmer for the book’s cover, and contracting Richard Goulart for the interior illustrations. The completed devotional is now available through CreateSpace.
  • Andras Corban Arthen, co-founder of EarthSpirit Community, recently stated, “I have just learned, and am delighted to report, that I have been condemned yet again by another Christian extremist.” What is he talking about? In the book, World Empire and the return of Jesus Christ, Pastor Simon Downing included, “I find it deeply disturbing to read of Reverend Desmond Tutu’s involvement with [the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions], not to mention the Board of Trustees and its huge religious diversity.” (pp. 272) Downing lists a number of parliament board members including Corban Arthen and Rev. Angie Buchanan. Corban-Arthen has taken this in stride, saying “Back in the mid-1990s, Pat Robertson […] held up a photo of me wearing Pagan ceremonial garments and accused me of being ‘a bad role model for the youth of America.’ Though I could not sue Mr. Robertson […] I chose to do the next best thing, which was to use his indictment of me as a badge of honor.” He added that Robertson’s “very personal condemnation” ended up opening doors for him in the many years since.
  • Are you going to be attending DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia? The Wild Hunt will be there covering the event, talking to Pagans, Heathens and polytheists about their experience at the world’s largest pop culture convention. We’d like to hear from you, say hello, and see your costume.

Got a news tip or story? Reach out to us via our contact page with information, press releases, statements and other news tidbits. We want to hear from you.

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The Wild Hunt is a daily, nonprofit news journal serving the collective Pagan, Heathen and Polytheist communities worldwide. Follow us each day to stay up to date with the latest news and commentary.
  • Tauri1

    “Elysium and Eskew explained that, “Earlier this year, CMA suffered the misfortune of having several thousand dollars, about half our operating budget, embezzled by a former officer. ”
    Greed comes in all colors, all sizes, all genders and in all religions. We’ve had some local Christian churches have the same problem and a local business organization that produced a very well attended music festival also recently had the same thing happen to them and the ten-year-old music festival had to be shut down because of the embezzlement.
    It really behooves organizations to thoroughly vet whoever is going to be their treasurer/bookkeeper or financial officer to make sure this doesn’t happen. I also hope that CMA prosecutes, to the fullest extent of the law, the person behind this theft.
    As the proverb goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    • I think that the most important question CMA has to answer before putting out a call for more money is this: “You had thousands of dollars stolen from you in the past. What can you do to guarantee that the exact same thing won’t happen again?”

      • Tauri1

        Exactly! The local Buddhist meditation group requires all checks to be signed by two officers: the treasurer and the president. Otherwise, no go.

        • Tauri1

          The local Buddhist meditation group requires all checks to be signed by two officers: the treasurer and the president. Otherwise, no go.

  • Never been to DragonCon. Gotta make it there some day. Looks amazing.

  • I haven’t been to Dragon*Con in years! I miss it! I wish I could go and be there. Everyone have fun without me!

  • Rok

    The AFA is right. The masculine and feminine are sacred, and to destroy ones own essence and replace it with a bastardization of another spirit is an affront to not only the Gods, but nature itself.

    • Tauri1

      I think there’s a bigger issue here that no one is paying attention to. The question is really: WHY is there such a huge number of folks, including some very young children, suddenly deciding that they’re “in the wrong body?” How would a 3, 4, or 5-year-old child know that? They haven’t lived long enough to even figure out what it means to be whatever gender they were born with. Yes, society says if you’re gender xy then THIS is the role you must play, or if you’re gender xx, then THIS is the role you must play. Certainly by the time you’ve gone through puberty whether you identify with one gender or another will probably be made manifest, but certainly not before then, except under some very very rare cases where the child is born with both sets of genitals.

      I remember back in the 1980s reading about a study being done by some scientists who were concerned about the amount of chemicals being dumped into a certain lake (? it could’ve been a river, but I think it was a lake). They noticed that whereas when they first started the study there was an even match of males to females of fish, however, as the study continued over the years, the male fish actually turned into females and they were wondering what was going on. They concluded it had to to with chemicals being dumped in the water. (I wish I could find the study, but this was about 30 years ago, and I can’t even remember the name of the publication. I could’ve been in Scientific American, but it could’ve been in another publication entirely.)

      Notice that our drinking water supply, especially if you get your water from a town/city water system (I’m on a well, so it doesn’t apply to me, although it might.) they filter out all sorts of nasty critters, cysts, feces, urine, etc. BUT, they don’t have anything in place to filter out drugs, or *hormones* such as estrogen and testosterone. Could it be that all those products containing estrogen and testosterone, such as hair products and male “enhancement” drugs you can get over the counter, that have been/are being dumped into the water supply over the last 30 years are actually now starting to affect our children? What about fetuses in mother’s wombs? We know that what mother drinks/ingests affects the fetus and that the fetal brain is very sensitive to changes in chemistry. Is it possible that these chemicals are actually altering the brain chemistry of our unborn children? If that’s so, *shouldn’t we be concerned*?

      I don’t know the answer; I am merely raising the questions, because no one else seems to be and I think that’s something that needs to be investigated.

      • Rhoanna

        Why wouldn’t a child know enough to decide whether they identify with the gender they’ve been assigned? I mean, they’ve spent their entire life being exposed to societies ideas about gender, and being told they are their assigned gender.

        No one knows if it’s actually more children than before, or just more children feeling comfortable expressing thoughts that would have been met with ridicule or a beating before. There’s plenty of people now who transition well after being married and having children, which suggests that 40-60 years ago there were plenty of trans children.

        And, if you did any research, you’d see that there are people who care about sex hormones in water, where they come from, and what their affects on fetal development are. It’s not a novel concern, and it’s one there’s lots of misinformation about.

        • Franklin_Evans

          Writing from my personal point of view, three children now adults (and two grandchildren), the point of the recent “increase” is not whether we should trust our children. The point is whether we can trust our schools, medical professionals and the severely politicized socialization atmosphere.

          A valid and crucial point of failure has always been that a parent makes an assumption — be it out of intellectual lack or laziness, moral reaction, or knee-jerk judgment — about a child’s health without even asking a medical professional to examine and diagnose. In this light, the children who are exploring and experimenting without actually being transgendered will go from being ridiculed or bullied (or worse) in the past to being literally pushed into gender transition. The children who have an objective root cause to their gender confusion will be well served in that, but it’s just too arbitrary and random.

          There’s a world of difference and a canyon-wide gap of risk between blithely concluding what is best for a child just from their feelings, and making the due diligence effort to make as sure as one can be about them.

          I know exactly how difficult it is to be a parent, how easy it is to make mistakes. I also know that we are chin-deep in a societal attitude that smacks professional expertise claims with automatic suspicion. There are plenty of sincere medical professionals who take to heart the ethic of do no harm, have a better than anyone else understanding of the risks and potential mistakes, and still try to do their best to serve. If children must come first, as I assert, then finding and trusting others to have professional expertise in areas we cannot begin to know must be part of that duty. If one’s first reaction is that one cannot give that trust, one must be prepared to be the reason why one’s children sicken, become permanently disabled, and die.

          Harsh, but so too is the light of reality.

    • ChristopherBlackwell

      Who decides what the proper level of masculinity or femininity is. In some Native American tribes they recognized five sexes, not two.The Gods do not make us to conform, or be the same, event though society may try to force that conformity on us. Each of us is unique, even when we are similar to some. Even identical twins develop a bit differently.

      So who are you to claim what the gods require of us gender-wise? I don’t accept that from Christians, nor would I accept it from any other religion. Only the gods themselves can speak for the Gods , not human interpretaters. Ever notice among Fundamentalists, how often God always seems to agree with fundamentalist’s own opinion.

    • Dscarron

      Actually, you might wish to check in with a biologist since homosexuality and same-sex bonding occurs in animals. The whole “unnatural” thing is so only by ignorance. Further, the Norse were quite aware of homosexuality and were very ok with it and only having issue with the receivers as being “un-manly”.

      Most importantly, you should get with the times unless you are making excuses for slavery being ok…

      • kenofken

        As unimpressive as the AFA theological pronouncements are, the group’s credibility and credentials in the sciences are comically pathetic. I doubt whether a bare majority of its members could demonstrate the minimum proficiency on a high school science standardized test, and I would be extremely surprised if the had even one working research scientist in biology or medicine among them.

        The AFA’s sole tradition of “science” is in the pseudoscience of 19th and early 20th Century racial anthropology and eugenics. Their whole construct of the supposed superiority of the “Nordic race” came largely from “racial hygeine” proponents like Madison Grant, who wrote “The Passing of the Great Race” a century ago this year. He proposed immigration and public health policies to gradually “cleanse” the “lesser races” out of the gene pool.

        His ideas dovetailed quite nicely with the rising force of National Socialism in Germany, and his book became a key influence in the Nazi racial programs. His credentials as a scientist were…a law degree and a personal dislike of swarthy Europeans and people of color generally.

        The AFA’s ideological ancestors weren’t content to confine their crackpot science to biology. They made…unique forays into astrophysics. The official cosmology of the Nazi party was the “World Ice Theory”, which held that the moon and all of the luminous objects in the universe were in fact glaciers reflecting the sun’s light (and that the sun’s gravitational force just stopped abruptly at three times the distance to Neptune. He had no actual research to support this. He was an engineer, not an astronomer, but he had a really cool vision, and it just sounded hardy and Nordic to have an ice-filled universe, and besides, relativity was, you know, “too Jewish.”

        These asinine ideas took root in a country which had been the undisputed center of the scientific world previously. This is your brain on racism.

        The AFA’s babbling about the science of race and gender should be viewed in the same light as Flat Earth Theory, HIV denialism, creationism and geocentrism.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      It is possible to hold the masculine and feminine sacred without expecting humans to match their profile. The Gods are where we keep undiluted essences. We are by nature mixtures and dilutions.

    • g75401

      The “masculine” and “feminine” are largely xtian concepts superimposed on a world that is considered subject to being stewarded by humans at the behest of a singular deity. It is the antithesis of pagan thought and is not supported by the Lore in any way. Gender shifting is represented in the Lore and gender roles were not fixed in pre-xtian Europe. In any case, if you look at the entire biomass of the Earth scientifically, a vast majority of reproduction happens asexually. Most of life on this planet continues to be single celled organisms like bacteria or simple multicellular organisms like fungi. There is no “sacred masculine or feminine” there. I realize that many of the folkish “heathens” are still entrenched in xtian thinking when I read statements like this. It is certainly an over-riding thought process behind publications like Tyr. There is nothing noble about the term “white” in the Lore, it is used to describe cowards and is the source of terms like “lily livered”. And, most certainly, being proud of your skin color irrespective of your deeds or character is not supported by the Lore at all.

      • Franklin_Evans

        Jupiter/Zeus, Mithras, Lugh, Odin, Freya, how many goddesses lead the Wild Hunt, how many gods are worshipped in fertility and childbirth rites?

        In antiquity, there are two iconic figures that have been discussed, debated and argued over meaning and origin, and no one argues that the figure with a prominent phallus is not masculine or the figure with the distended belly and prominent breasts is not feminine.