ONTARIO – On the evening of Sunday, Oct. 16, Ontario’s Pagan community lost a much-loved and cherished friend. Carole Kitchenwitch, a force of nature and energetic volunteer at festivals, died peacefully at her home with her family and partner Mike by her side. Carole had served on the kitchen staff at Wic-Can Fest for about 25 years. She will be fondly remembered for heartily encouraging all those who attended the dining hall to bless the meals by shouting, “Thank the gods for food!” This custom has now become part of the fabric of the festival.
Carole arrived at Wic-Can Fest for the first time as a single parent with seven children in tow. She had numerous foster children, and was a fierce advocate for the rights of foster families. Carole was also proud to be the first “out” Pagan foster parent in her province of Ontario. Maryanne Pearce, one of the directors of Kaleidoscope Gathering, recalled: “Carol epitomized service to the community, personal love, sacrifice and commitment to vulnerable children and how work, volunteer, and personal life must be intertwined.”
Anne Marie Greymoon, Wic-CanFest’s organizer, said, “To me, [Carole] was family, a sister, a best friend, my initiate and grandma to my grand-kids. As I type these words, it still feels so unreal that this formidable powerhouse of a woman, who learned to bale hay, farm, chainsaw, who overcame critical illnesses at least twice, fought for her rights and lived through so many tragedies, so determined in her convictions and so full of life, is gone.”
Carole was renowned for having an exceptional passion for life. She will be forever remembered for her contagious habit of throwing her head back, arms outstretched and shouting, “I LOVE MY LIFE!” It was her delight to get others doing this as well. Carole will be lovingly remembered by her eight children, fourteen grandchildren, her partner, extended family, and by her multitudes of friends throughout the Pagan community. A memorial service will be held at the Coboconk Railway Station on Saturday, Dec.17, from 2 until 4 p.m. What is remembered, lives.
* * *
CANNONBALL, N.D. – Numerous media outlets and social media posts, including Facebook Live streams, reported that North Dakota state police were actively trying to break the protest occurring in support of the Standing Rock Sioux of which many Pagans were taking part. Reports and videos show riot police approaching and arresting numerous protesters, using militarized tactics including sound cannons for dispersing crowds, rubber bullets, batons, chemical weapons, percussion grenades, smoke bombs, armored tanks and Humvee-style vehicles. The Camp of the Sacred Stones blog has also reported that horses and riders were fired upon by police using rubber bullets, resulting in numerous injuries, including a horse that had to be put down.
David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, said in a statement that “North Dakota law enforcement have proceeded with a disproportionate response to (the) nonviolent exercise of their First Amendment rights, even going as far as labeling them rioters and calling their every action illegal.” Archambault has repeatedly called on the Department of Justice to intervene, so far without response. Meanwhile observers from Amnesty International are being dispatched out of concern that human rights violations are occurring. It has also been reported that the United Nations is getting involved by sending in experts to assess the situation for such violations.
Pagan and Heathen organizations and individuals have continued their vocal and active support of the Great Sioux Nation. Solar Cross Temple, based in California, just announced that it will be sending more supplies based on an updated needs list provided by Standing Rock Healing Council.
The Wild Hunt has reached out to several activists directly involved with the protests. Due to very poor mobile service in the region, we was unable to contact anyone at the camp in time for this publication. We will update this story when possible.
* * *
Doreen Valiente, who is known by the title “the mother of modern Witchcraft,” continues to intrigue and interest the public. On Oct. 21, BBC World Service published a BBC radio segment on Valiente, her work, and the museum collection, which has been on display at Brighton’s Preston Manor.
While the release of the BBC radio show ahead of Samhain is no accident, this worldwide publicity is also well-timed for launch of another related project. In late November, Normal People Productions will be producing the play, Doreen: An English Witch. This new play, based on Valiente’s story, will run for one week at the Marlborough Pub and Theatre in Brighton.
Conveniently, one of the largest Witchcraft festivals, Witchfest International is being hosted in Brighton during the same week as the play is being staged. Normal People Productions suggests, “If you’re going to Witchfest you can also see the play […] including a late night performance on the day of Witchfest itself.” All theater tickets sales will help benefit the Doreen Valiente Foundation in its efforts to preserve both Valiente’s legacy as well as modern Witchcraft history.
In Other News
- Salem Witch Laurie Cabot has recently participated in the design of a new jewelry line. The Laurie Cabot Collection is filled with silver and gold-plated items inspired by her magical teachings and practice. Cabot said, for example, some of the symbols used in the jewelry are ones she’s been using in her book of shadows for years. The line was released on Oct. 15.
- The Firefly House was live on Good Morning Washington to talk about modern Witchcraft practice. David Salibury and Caroline Carr appeared in the broadcast. Salisbury said, “We had a great time with ABC’s Good Morning Washington! I appreciate the straightforward questions from our anchor (Prince!) and having space to talk about the sacred feast of Samhain and how the witches of DC celebrate.” Here’s a clip:
- For Pagan writers and researchers, the next issue of the student journal Sacra is “ancient and modern Paganisms.” Sacra is a peer-reviewed academic journal for the study of religion. It was founded in 2003 and is based in the Czech Republic. According to one of the editors: “The main aim of the journal is to provide PhD., M.A. and B.A. students with a space in which to publish academic texts from the field of the Study of Religion.” The editors are currently seeking submissions.
- For tarot enthusiasts and dedicated readers, today is the last day to enter author and Witch Courtney Weber’s giveaway drawing. The lucky winner will receive a package that includes: a signed copy of Weber’s new book Tarot for One, a signed copy of Teresa Reed’s Tarot Coloring Book, a copy of the Tarot of the Boroughs deck, plus two 15 minute readings. More information is on Weber’s blog.
- The Wild Hunt is now in the final days of its Fall Funding Drive. We have reached 58% of our goal with five days to go. Thank you to everyone who has donated and shared our link. If you enjoy reading TWH each day, consider donating to the drive. Your support is what makes this nonprofit, community-based news agency possible. Listen to what other Pagans are saying. “I came across it by accident and spent hours going through the archives of articles. I was so impressed, I donated that night. It is so helpful and encouraging to just hear what other pagans are doing and seeing how the movement is growing,” writes Rachel Spence. “Crikey, but I wish more people would read The Wild Hunt!” states J. Sobchack. And, here is Ivo Dominguez Jr. sharing his thoughts: