Archives For cancer sucks

Yesterday, on Facebook, Holly Allender Kraig announced that her husband, author and magician Donald Michael Kraig, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. They are asking for prayers and magical assistance to help get rid of the cancer.

1013775_10203205352801758_277038508_n

I was able to contact Holly Kraig directly, and she sent this statement for Wild Hunt readers.

“Don was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in late 2013. It’s a diagnosis, not a death sentence. It is possible to put this into remission. That is the goal, remission. Don is a fighter and is adamant that beating this is already a done deal. I stand beside him as his wife and best friend to help ease him through the battle he’s facing. The community support is amazing. I know he will be healed through all the love, support and healing energies coming his way. This is a done deal!”

For those unfamiliar with Donald Michael Kraig, he is a very influential author and thinker in the realms of ritual magic(k), magical theory, and related practices. Kraig is perhaps best known for Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts, which was dubbed a “modern-day classic” by Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero. Other recent works include a remembrance of author Scott Cunningham, and an occult-themed thriller novelHe’s also an acquisitions editor at Llewellyn Worldwide.

Donald Michael Kraig

Donald Michael Kraig

Donald Michael Kraig is not only a noted author and thinker, he’s also a charming, funny, and supportive individual. When I was invited to my very first festival as a newly minted “Big Name Pagan” I was very nervous, and felt completely out of my depth. My first talk during that weekend was attended by, like, 4 people, and very few people there had heard of me. Luckily, Don was there, and was very supportive. He attended my second talk (which was better attended) and afterwards praised my performance, saying I was a natural at public speaking. Now, whether this was true is up to debate, but perhaps he helped make it true by saying it to me, reminding me that I had done the work to be invited there, and that I did have something to contribute (magick!).

Just as Don had helped me, so he has helped many other people in his life, which is as good an argument for extending his remarkable life as any (that, and the amazing stories of his rock-n-roll past). Also, to be frank, the Pagan community can’t bear to lose a wit of his caliber. So, whatever your practice, belief structure, or method, let’s get in gear to help beat this cancer. Because cancer sucks, and I want to buy Donald Michael Kraig a drink at PantheaCon.

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of them I may expand into longer posts as needed.

Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note, a new series more focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. I want to reinforce the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So lets get started!

ADF Military Fundraiser: Three ADF groves, CedarLight Grove of Maryland, Three Cranes Grove of Ohio, and Sassafras Grove of Pennsylvania, have banded together for a Lughnasadh charity event to send care packages to Pagan military personnel serving overseas.

“For our Lughnasadh Charity event (I know, we are preparing early), CedarLight Grove will be sending care packages to our overseas pagan military thanks to Operation Circle Care of the Circle Sanctuary. Three Cranes Grove of Ohio and Sassafras Grove of Pennsylvania have also joined in the effort to make this a multi-Grove of ADF charity event!”

The event page has a list of the type of items they will be collecting. The items collected will be charged at their Lughnasadh High Rite before being assembled into packages and shipped out. For those not near any of those groves, you can always donate directly to Operation Circle Care.

Rolling Coin Ritual for Isaac Bonewits: Pagan author and elder Isaac Bonewits, currently in hospice care due to cancer, is having trouble keeping up with the large medical bills associated with his treatment. So the folks who organized a massive healing ritual for Isaac in May are now putting together a “rolling coin” ritual for July 26th.

“Isaac felt the energy we generated in May. And he sends his thanks. That was aRolling Thunder Ritual. Now we’re looking for a Rolling Coin Ritual. Medical bills date back to the fall. Since then Isaac has been in and out of the hospital with numerous surgeries and procedures. All of this has cost money, and theirs is beyond used up. So we’re trying a new twist on an old theme.
The next full moon is July 26. Any time that day or night, please go to Isaac and Phaedra’s website and make a donation. This is a simple kind of magick, and it is something that will make a major difference in their lives. Any donation of any amount will be gratefully appreciated. It’s away of paying tribute to one of our most significant Pagan elders.”

Anyone who’s dealt with cancer, or with any serious illness, without the benefit of insurance, or with insurance that wouldn’t cover all the treatment, knows how stressful an issue money can be. Blessings to those organizing this fundraiser for Isaac and Phaedra. For updates on Isaac’s health, please check out his Facebook fan page.

Michigan Metaphysical Shop in Danger: The Triple Goddess Bookstore in Okemos, Michigan (near Lansing), in business for 17 years, is in danger of being closed down due to the property being in foreclosure.

“Triple Goddess bookstore’s and the Traveler’s Club property is in foreclosure. We are trying to convince the bank and the township to save the historic corner and it’s buildings. There are people who do not have the money to purchase the properties out-right but are interested in helping to turn the businesses into profitable ones. What we need is support, and lots of it! I will be at the bookstore this Saturday with a petition for people to sign. We are also hoping to have a HUGE turnout for the event on August 7th to show the bank and the community our support.”

An all-day rally in support of the shop is being held on August 7th. Whether that can convince the bank to hold off on selling the property, or spur local politicians into action, remains to be seen. One wonders how many other shops like this are in danger of going out of business due to their property going “underwater” or into foreclosure.

SJ Tucker on Making Mischief: As I mentioned in my last community notes post, Pagan musician SJ Tucker has released a new album, entitled “Mischief”, on July 16th. For those who wanted a little more background, she has shot a promotional video talking about the process of making the album.

Tucker is currently on tour, and you can find a schedule of upcoming dates, here.

Witches & Pagans Watch: The latest issue of Witches and Pagans magazine is now out.

This issue is chock full of spellwork, practical advice, and ideas for all things green, growing, and magickal. Headlines by “the Garden Witch” Ellen Dugan, this edition is our greenest ever; from Pagan permaculture to gardening with the Elements, plus hardcore money magick, Wandering Witch goes the New Orleans, a look a Pagan metal rockers Icarus Witch and much, much more!

For those who don’t subscribe to the magazine, you can purchase a PDF version of the magazine at the site. This issue sees the premier of fellow Pagan blogger Ruby Sara, who recently did a guest column for The Wild Hunt, as a regular columnist for the magazine ( along with author Deborah Blake). Congratulations to Ruby!  I’m sure she’ll be a welcome addition to their pages.

That’s all I have for now, and remember, if your group or organization is doing something noteworthy, why not pass that information along? Have a great day!

A few quick notes for you today.

Update in the Sherry Harlan Murder Trial: Local coverage of the ongoing trial that will decide if Eric Christensen premeditated the killing of his ex-girlfriend Sherry Harlan continues. On Wednesday, the jury in Snohomish County, Washington heard an hour-long taped interview with Christensen; where he discussed the now-infamous blood oath that prosecutors claim set the stage for his murderous rampage.

“Christensen told the cops he had tried to make things work with Harlan, but she had broken a promise. He wouldn’t tolerate her communicating with another man, not after she took a “blood oath.” “I’m not a Christian. I’m a Wiccan and that would be like asking me to become (a Christian). I’m 100 percent totally for Chevys. It would be like asking me to love Fords,” Christensen told the detectives. Christensen described the oath that he and Harlan took at her apartment in mid-December. He laughed at detectives as they tried to understand the different elements of the ceremony. Christensen said Harlan vowed to stop seeing and taking gifts from the man. He explained that he wanted to salvage the relationship and the oath meant Harlan did too, he said. Christensen recounted the morning he found out that Harlan continued to communicate with the other man. He told detectives he discovered the text messages on Harlan’s phone while she was in the shower.  He said he was “biting-nails mad, but I know how to control my anger. I know if it goes a little too far. I know exactly what my potentials are without even doing it.” He told police he and Harlan had sex and then he confronted her about the messages. They got into a shoving match. He called her names and then left. “So what are your feelings toward her now?” detectives asked Christensen. “I hope Karma gives her what she deserves,” Christensen said. “What do you mean by that?” sheriff’s detective Ted Betts asked. “Well, she broke an oath,” Christensen said.”

Just reading this excerpt is chilling, knowing that Christensen had indeed just murdered his ex-girlfriend, mutilated her corpse, and scattered the remains throughout town. Now that it’s clear that Christensen is identifying himself as Wiccan, and is putting the “blood oath” into the context of his Wiccan practice, local and national leaders need to address this situation and make clear that his actions are not representative of this faith. If the prosecution is really hinging premeditation on his Wiccan beliefs, specifically the blood oath, I can’t imagine they’ll call a local leader to debunk his views, or that the defense will do so, since they want to prove Christensen acted without premeditation in order to win a shorter sentence. I’ll keep you posted as this trial continues.

The Pagans of Long Island: I normally don’t cover “meet the Pagans” type news articles much anymore, since they usually don’t have much new to say, and often follow a pretty predictable script (seriously, I could make a drinking game out of it). However, Jaclyn Gallucci’s article about the Pagan/Wiccan community in Long Island is refreshingly in-depth and interviews several practitioners and shop-owners in the area.

“Shortly after becoming initiated himself as a Wiccan in England, Raymond Buckland moved to Brentwood, bringing Wicca to the United States, along with a direct lineage to British traditional witchcraft that has spread clear across the country; he later became a professor at Hofstra University, and created the First Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Bay Shore, which has since closed. It was the first of its kind on Long Island—and in the United States. Buckland today is widely considered the Father of American Wicca. “Long Island has a very, very strong witch and Wiccan presence because of Buckland,” says Rev. Mark Lyons, a high priest of “eclectic” witchcraft, a path that doesn’t strictly adhere to a Wiccan tradition as defined by Gardner or his contemporaries.”

Now granted, the article does peddle in many “meet the Pagans” article stereotypes (Harry Potter, Photoshopped “Pagan” stock photo, fastest growing religion in America, etc) but those venial sins are to be forgiven considering the obvious amount of effort and care that went into showcasing the voice and history of Pagans in Long Island. I can imagine someone actually coming away from this article learning something about modern Paganism.

Update on Isaac Bonewits’ Health: Pagan author and theologian Isaac Bonewits is back in the hospital after bleeding from an undetermined source was discovered. Bonewits has been battling a rare form of colon cancer since October of last year, and the recent prognosis after rounds of chemo and radiation hasn’t been good.

“Isaac is back in the hospital and is not doing well. He has bleeding from an undetermined source that may not be repairable. We are anxiously awaiting both test results and ritual results. From his hospital bed, Isaac can see the full moon through his window. Our thoughts will be will everyone during tomorrow night’s rites.”

Such bleeds can be a very serious matter, and potentially life-threatening if not stopped. A massive coordinated working is being scheduled for 9pm tonight throughout the various time-zones.

May 27 is the full moon. That should give us enough time to circulate this message and make preparations. You may wish to print a picture of Isaac and Phaedra from his website or Facebook, to be your focus. Beginning at 9:00 p.m. in your time zone, start the thunder rolling! Cast a circle, light a candle, do whatever works for you. Then chant repeatedly: “Isaac’s tumors fade away. Thirty more years with Phae.”

For those of you outside America who may have already missed the May 27th at 9pm call for workings, I’m sure your individual and group efforts would also be appreciated. In addition to your prayers and invocations, a donation towards their climbing medical costs wouldn’t hurt either. For up-to-date news and information, you can follow their Facebook fan-page.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Isaac Bonewits’ Battle With Cancer: There has been some not-so-encouraging news in the saga of Pagan author and theologian Isaac Bonewits’ battle with cancer. It seems the rare form of colon cancer he was diagnosed with has not been responding to the rounds of chemo he’s been undergoing, and the prognosis from doctors has been grim.


Isaac and Phaedra Bonewits

“A very stressful day for both of us. Isaac’s very weak from last week’s chemo, so he is back in the hospital for a few days. A very frank talk with his oncologist was not encouraging. In short, the best they can do is control his disease. He will not get well. If he cannot tolerate chemo at levels that control the tumors, there is nothing else they can do.”

At this point doctors say that nothing short of a miracle would help, so Phaedra Bonewits is calling for everyone to “kick the magic into gear” and make that miracle happen. As someone who has family living with cancer, I can understand the pain and heartbreak involved, and I wish healing and strength to Isaac and Phaedra in this trying time. I’m sure that in addition to your prayers and invocations, a donation towards their climbing medical costs wouldn’t hurt either. For up-to-date news and information, you can follow their Facebook fan-page.

The Case of the Missing (Secular) Cross: It seems that someone, or more likely a group of someones, unhappy with the recent Supreme Court decision regarding a Christian WWI memorial on public lands in the Mojave Desert, took the law into their own hands.

“Less than two weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the controversial 7-foot-high Mojave Desert cross could stay put, but on Sunday someone else decided it should go. Investigators who arrived at its former perch Monday found a few bits of rusty metal, 1.6 million acres of desert and a big mystery on their hands. “One day it was there, the next day it wasn’t,” said Linda Slater, spokeswoman for the Mojave National Preserve, where the cross stood for 76 years. “It was bolted directly to the rock, and the bolts were cut. Someone has that cross.” Whoever that someone is could have driven right up to it, knocked it down, loaded it up and been in Las Vegas, Barstow or dozens of other communities in a few hours, officials said.”

The Liberty Institute, who are representing the memorial caretakers, as well as several veteran groups in this case, are offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in this act. Currently there is some debate as to if the cross can be replaced before all litigation has been exhausted, since the issue of the congressional land transfer was sent back to the lower courts. Naturally, advocates on both sides of this legal case are condemning this act, but some, like the Alliance Defense Fund and American Thinker, are already framing this act of vandalism as a salvo in a great left-right war for America’s soul.

“Personal.  Sickening.  Disgraceful.  Vets symbolize what is good in America.  The thief who did this represents what is bad.  And there is no middle.  The war in America is an age-old war and must be fought with old tactics.  Truth and facts are weapons of the right.  They must be deployed with vigor against the Left.”

Whoever did this was truly stupid. They didn’t solve the issue, and have instead confirmed the worst suspicions of conservative activists, and tarnished the efforts of those fighting for a clear separation between church and state in this country. There will be another cross, and if the ACLU of Southern California should happen to ultimately win, we’ll no doubt see a truly national uproar and civil disobedience to go along with it. I don’t agree that the Christian cross can be a secular symbol of death, and I think it muddies the waters of religious establishment in this country, but this should not have happened. Anyone who is secretly (or not so secretly) cheering this, doesn’t understand the setbacks this will put into play.

More on the Maetreum of Cybele: The Watershed Post has an in-depth look at the ongoing legal struggles of the Maetreum of Cybele, a Pagan temple and convent located in upstate New York. It’s filled with all sorts of wonderful details, like how the Maetreum’s Reverend Mother, Cathryn Platine, has become something of a local anti-tax icon, and how they aren’t the first to run into this sort of local tax trouble in the area.

“Balking at giving tax exemptions to property owned by religious organizations is a local tradition. Desperate for revenue and besieged by the many sprawling, tax-free estates of churches, monasteries, ashrams, and yeshivas, the region’s town assessors tend to turn a jaundiced eye on exemption requests. Catskill Town Assessor Nancy McCoy is no exception.”

Ironically, Catskill recently gave Wal-Mart a big tax break, citing the high court costs of not doing so. History may repeat itself, as court hearings in this case so far haven’t been overly favorable to Catskill, and have allowed the Maetreum to re-serve their suit to include the School Board and the County, blocking any action on collection of taxes until the case is settled.

That’s all I have for now, but before I go, be sure to check out the newly posted two-part interview with author Erynn Rowan Laurie over at Patheos. In it she discusses Celtic Reconstructionism, poetry, and her involvement in the newly-launched Warriors & Kin group-blog project.

Well-known Pagan author and lecturer Isaac Bonewits, who was hospitalized on October 21st, has apparently been diagnosed with a rare form of colon cancer.


Isaac and Phaedra Bonewits

“Isaac is doing much better with his white cell count still going down. However, they have confirmed that one of the three tumors is cancerous; there will be more biopsies on Monday as they want to make sure all three have been biopsied individually. …Good news, it’s a rarer form of cancer that responds well to chemo and radiation. No surgery!”

In addition to sending healing energies and prayers, they will no doubt end up needing help with their medical bills (not to mention lost income). If you wish to make a contribution to the couple to help defray the costs of this hospitalization, there is donation information here. For up-to-date news and information, you can follow their Facebook fan-page. We here at The Wild Hunt wish Isaac a full and speedy recovery.

Just months after a team of neuroscientists found that frankincense biochemically relieves anxiety, a new team of researchers have come forward to say that there is a link between heavy incense use and respiratory cancers.


Frankincense resin.

“In a study of more than 61,000 ethnic Chinese living in Singapore who were followed for up to 12 years, the investigators found a link between heavy incense use and various respiratory cancers. The findings are published in the medical journal Cancer.”

So just how much incense burning constitutes “heavy” usage?

“Study participants who used incense in their homes all day or throughout the day and night were 80 percent more likely than non-users to develop squamous cell carcinoma of the entire respiratory tract. The link between incense use and increased cancer risk held when the researchers weighed other factors, including cigarette smoking, diet and drinking habits.”

In other words, the occasional stick of incense at home or at a ritual probably won’t give you cancer, but if you live in a constant haze of sweet smelling smoke, you might want to cut back a bit (especially if you have other increased risk factors). The study also said that incense posed no overall effect on lung cancer risk, but increased risks of upper respiratory cancers.

“This association is consistent with a large number of studies identifying carcinogens in incense smoke,” Friborg’s team writes, “and given the widespread and sometimes involuntary exposure to smoke from burning incense, these findings carry significant public health implications.”

So with incense, as with many other things, moderation is the key. Treated as a spiritual tool, and not as a daily air freshener, most people should be safe from increased cancer risk. You won’t be imperiling anyone’s life with cancer if you “light up” at your next ritual gathering.

News has come that Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, co-founder of the Church of All Worlds and the Grey School of Wizardry, has been diagnosed with colon cancer.


Oberon Zell-Ravenheart

“Oberon had a meeting yesterday (Thurs Aug 14) with his doctor, Stephen Denigris, to discuss the results of the biopsy they did on the golfball-sized tumor (lesion) they discovered during his recent colonoscopy. He says it is indeed cancerous, and colon cancer is aggressive and nasty. However, it is far enough up that it can be surgically removed along with about a foot of the descending colon (left side). He said that it appears to be less than a year old, so the chances of a complete removal of all cancerous tissue are excellent. There is concern that some of the cancer cells may have migrated into OZ’s lymph nodes, which would be a really serious problem, requiring radiation and chemotherapy.”

Zell-Ravenheart is currently undergoing further tests to see if the cancer has spread, and if radiation and chemotherapy will be needed. A group of practitioners who have been doing coordinated healing magic for Oberon’s wife Morning Glory (who was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2006) will be engaging in a “Rolling Thunder”* coordinated healing working tonight and tomorrow.

“So, tomorrow is the full moon, and I know that many of you will be doing ritual for OZ anyway, and I’d like to see us return to this tradition, so I’m calling a Rolling Thunder for Oberon to begin at 9 PM. That’s always local time, and that’s for Saturday, August 16th. For those across the international dateline, for whom it is already Saturday, or if it’s more convenient to pick it up when it rolls across to Sunday, August 17th, that’s fine as well. Generally we continue the roll for at least 48 hours, to accommodate people who hear about the roll late, and just to keep pushing the energy and accelerating the wave.”

We here at The Wild Hunt know just how horrible cancer can be, and wish Oberon a swift and easy recovery. Thanks to Michael and Lupa for bringing this to my attention.

* According to the healing list, a “Rolling Thunder” healing ritual is when “a date and time is set, and at that time (the local time for each member), each member does a ritual (alone or with others in their own way) for what the ritual is about. Because we have members all over the globe, the energies raise over quite a period of time. It’s known to be quite effective.” For more specific information, you can join the Morning Glory Healing Update list.