GASTON, N.C. – Druid Daniel Scott Holbrook, also known as Cú Meala, pleaded no contest last week to the charge of the “dissemination of obscenities.” Holbrook was arrested last fall after police allegedly found “nude photos of children” on his computer. After several dates were postponed due to schedule conflicts, Holbrook saw his day in court Apr. 4.
Since the arrest, Holbrook has always maintained his innocence publicly, saying that the photos were placed there by a downloaded BitTorrent. As he explains, he and his family were attempting to download a movie and the photos were hidden in that file. We will have more on the story, including an interview with Mr. Holbrook, and responses from the local Pagan community.
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PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Pagan Environmental Alliance, based in south Florida, is currently being harassed on Facebook. The group launched an event page for their upcoming public full moon gathering to be held at Bingham Island. Within a few days of the page being up, locals came with both a clear political and religious message. “Bingham Island is Trump street. Not some witch protest gathering place for some loonies. We are Christians and Jews and not some devil worshipers.”
Concerns have since been raised as to the safety of the event, but organizer Dayan Martinez said that it will be held and be safe. In a statement, Martinez told The Wild Hunt, “I want the Pagan community to understand there is support and community here for them. Nationally, there is Lady Liberty League and locally we have the South Florida Pagan Support Services. I remain undeterred and will continue to practice my religion openly and truthfully, without fear.”
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VICTORIA, Aus. — Robin Fletcher, convicted sex offender, has reportedly moved into a home only 100 metres from a primary school. As we reported, Fletcher was convicted in 1998 of multiple counts of sex crimes. He was recently released from his mandated supervision, and allowed back into the general community.
Local Pagans expressed their concern immediately upon hearing the news of his pending release. At the time, David Garland said, “It has been a constant battle over the almost 20 years that I have been dealing with the media over his claims, disputing them at every turn.” Local Pagans continue to watch because Fletcher has never disavowed his Pagan identity.
However, it is also being reported that Fletcher has joined the Alphington Backyard church, and the pastor reportedly told the local news, “He comes to our service every Sunday, and teaches theology once a month to the people interested. He’s a highly intellectual and intelligent man and he has certificates in every religion on earth.”
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SOUTH AFRICA – Pagans joined the People’s March held Apr. 7 throughout country to protest against the country’s president Jacob Zuma. According to Penton Independent Alternative Media, a group of organizations are calling for his resignation due to a “shameful legacy of unfettered corruption, illegality and ineptitude, and now confirmed allegations of attempts to capture undue state influence, aided and abetted by Zuma, by an identified family for personal profit.”
Pagans joined the protest in support. In its article Penton includes a number of personal reactions to this national action. Writer Damon Leff said, “The true value of Friday’s public protest lies in the free expression of the will of citizens emboldened to stand against a government that has demonstrated a lack of public accountability and good governance. The people’s march won’t unseat the president, but it will demonstrate that citizens do not approve of the way in which the African National Congress and its president is governing South Africa.”
In other News
- The Troth has announced that it will be hosting an event in Germany called Frith Forge. According to the site, Frith Forge will offer “the space and time on an international level to build alliances, understanding, and friendships among us instead of compartmentalizing further in an industrialized world.” It includes a sacred site tour, speakers, and other programming. Frith Forge will take place Oct. 5-8 in Werder/Petzow, outside of Potsdam.
- Assembly of the Sacred Wheel held a release party for the album Dreams Sung True. Ivo Dominguez, Jr. said that “it’s the third album of chants produced as a fundraiser for the New Alexandrian Library.” As noted on the site, “[The recorded chants] are mostly a cappella with some percussion and an occasional instrument to ease their use in covens, circles, groves, etc.” The release party was held at Finding Avalon in Camden, DE, and now the new album can now be purchased online or directly through the organization.
- Doreen Valiente trustee Ashley Moritmer was featured Sunday on BBC One’s new series The Big Questions. In each episode, Nicky Campbell hosts different “moral, ethical and religious debates.” Sunday’s discussion was on the meaning and origins of Easter. The show aired Sunday, but it is now available for streaming. However, the show, due to communication regulations, is currently only accessible from the U.K.
- Oberon Zell and the Academy of Arcana will be featured on the television show 1st Look with Ashley Roberts. Zell said in a post that the show was filmed last October. He added, “The focus was on the Academy of Arcana and the Grey School of Wizardry, and we all had a lot of fun. [We] showed Ashley how to make and use a magick wand.” The show will air Apr. 15, after Saturday Night Live. Zell said, “We’re very excited to see what they do with this.”
- The Hermetic Library periodically sends out calls for new writers and contributors to its projects, and recently did just that over social media. As stated on it site, it is the Hermetic Library’s mission to “archive, engage and encourage the living Western Esoteric Tradition, Hermeticism, and Aleister Crowley’s Thelema.” It has a submissions link on its homepage.
- In a follow-up to last week’s news that Pagan Dr. Murphy Pizza had been elected as president of AAR’s Upper Midwest region, Dr. Pizza said, “This has been a supportive conference all around for someone like me – no one even blinked when I presented my work on Paganistan […]; so it made sense to give back.” As president, she hopes to attract more Pagan and NRM scholars to the region. She said that, as of now, most go to Chicago. Dr. Pizza also added that, “UMAAR had been working diligently to engender more diversity in not only religions represented and presented on, but also in disciplinary approaches – we are tackling head-on the inference that the AAR meetings are too “Christ-centric” and too focused on theology. We making it so in our officership – now the President is in Pagan/NRM studies, our new VP is an Islam scholar, and our Grad Rep specializes in Japanese Buddhism. We want to get the word out that we are shaking things up, and welcome and are eager for all different kinds of disciplinary approaches, presentation styles, traditions presented on, and practitioners represented.”