Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. Pagan Community Notes is just one of the many regular features The Wild Hunt brings you to help keep you informed about what’s going on in our interconnected communities. If you appreciate this reporting, please consider donating to our Fall Funding Drive (and thank you to the nearly 200 supporters who have already donated). Now, on to the news…
Journalist Beth Winegarner, who moderated a panel on Pagans and the press at the 2013 PantheaCon in San Jose, has a new book coming out in December that explores how different teen pastimes got “caught in the crossfire” after the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. Quote: “‘There are stories in The Columbine Effect from teens who got themselves through horrific incidents—including severe burns or parent who might die—by listening to heavy metal. Other teens told me about discovering themselves and finding a network of friends through Wicca or Satanism. And there’s research to back them up,’ Winegarner says.’The Columbine Effect’ highlights the voices of academics, authors, legislators and others whose work supports the idea that some of the most demonized pastimes are actually good for kids. From Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to pagan author and NPR reporter Margot Adler, the book is filled with experts who see no harm in letting teens explore these interests.” It should be a thought-provoking work, and I’ll be lining up an interview with Winegarner in the near future to talk about Paganism within the context of her book’s thesis. For now, you can see a promotional video and read a sample chapter of “The Columbine Effect” at Winegarner’s official web site.
Spiralheart, a community within the Reclaiming tradition, is launching Alchemeet, a once-a-month “Pagan meeting-of-minds that takes place online and is available to anyone who would like to join.” Quote: “The views presented in Alchemeet are designed to spark creative discussion in a safe environment and may be controversial by nature. These views do not represent the Spiralheart community as a whole and indeed may not even be the opinion of the host. Instead, the topics are meant to be edgy mental exercises in spirituality and to foster online community each month. Our hope is that you may feel infused or inspired to take these discussions and allow them to influence your daily practice—or not. It’s up to you.” The first talk will be held on November 5th, hosted by Boneweaver, on “The Necessity of Cutting Off One’s Legs In Spiritual Work.” Quote: ”I’ll explain my symbolic missing legs and what I’m willing to sacrifice for my deep work—and why!—and then I’d like to hear from you. Are you willing to be brave for the spiritual realizations you seek?” Details on how to join the Google Hangout-based discussion/symposium can be found, here.
Guatemalan Mayan elder Apolinario Chile Pixtun, who got quite a bit of press a couple years ago debunking the 2012 Mayan calendar “doomsday” hype, recently visited Oakland, California where he led a Mayan Fire Ritual for a gathering of the People of the Earth Community. M. Macha Nightmare published her impressions of the event back in September. Quote: “What appealed to me was the obvious care and reverence with which everything was brought together and performed, the sense of fellowship I felt, the beauty of the surroundings, both natural and human-made, the quiet filled with actions but not with talking, and the flames. I’m grateful to have had this opportunity.” Now, photographer Gregory Harder has posted his photoset from that event to Flickr. For those clued into the California Bay Area Pagan scene, you’ll see several notable folks, including Luisah Teish, Don Frew, Gus diZerega, and more. Below I’ve included one of the photos, from the ritual in progress.
In Other Pagan Community News:
- Ed Hubbard, known for his work with Witch School, has launched an ambitious fund drive to create a “Common Book of Wicca and Witchcraft” that, once created, would exist in the public domain for anyone to access. Quote: “In the legal world of Copyrights, Trademarks, and Digital Rights, we are facing a more restrictive future of written, audio and video based materials, and how they may be used. This bears directly on our freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of use. In order to avoid these restrictions, I see the Common Book of Wicca and Witchcraft as able to bypass most of the problems with copyright issues. This will give my fellow Wiccans, Witches, and Seekers the freedom to teach, with quality materials, the basics of our faith.”
- Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary will be conducting a free workshop on BlogTalkRadio, Tuesday night, October 15, 8-9pm central. You can listen live, or listen later when archived as a podcast. For more updates in the busy life of this very public priestess, check out her official Facebook page.
- Holli Emore, Executive Director of Cherry Hill Seminary, has some important things to say about sex, lies, and cults. Quote: “Wherever secrecy and opacity trump community values, whenever we think that it is more important to hide ourselves or our group from the rest of the world, dysfunction can then grow rampantly, like black mold in a damp basement.”
- Check out this San Francisco Informer interview with Pagan musician Sharon Knight. Quote: “Music is my spiritually; it’s how I make sense of our world. We as humans create order out of chaos. We create meaning where there isn’t any in accordance with what our ideals are. Architecture tells us how we order things. The distances between intervals in music can express a myriad of emotions. Those happen within us and then as we put music to it, it makes sense out of the chaos that is life.”
- The Occult Humanities Conference in New York that I announced back in August has officially sold out! Quote: “It’s true. The Occult Humanities Conference next week is officially sold out. We don’t have any additional tickets held back, so I’m afraid if you didn’t buy one, there’s very little chance of trying your luck at the door.” Phantasmaphile, one of my favorite blogs, lets you know about some other opportunities to hob-nob if you’re in town.
That’s all I have for now, please remember to support The Wild Hunt during our Fall Funding Drive so that we can continue to bring you reporting from our interconnected communities!