TWH – Saturday’s historic Women’s March on Washington has reportedly set records for attendance around the world. The estimated numbers are still being tallied for both the main march and the reported 673 sister marches. News media is currently reporting that the organization’s original prediction of 200,000 marchers in Washington D.C. alone was more than exceeded with numbers now estimated to be around 500,000. Similarly, other cities are also reporting larger crowds than predicted.
Pagans, Heathens, and polytheists were in attendance across the country, reporting in throughout the day over social media. Due to the unexpected size of the crowds, some of the organized events did not happen as planned. The Washington D.C. Witches Contingent, for example, had difficulty coming together. Firefly House organizers said, “Most of us couldn’t get anywhere near each other in time. But that’s ok – we were unified by intention and collective presence! It was an honor to have you all, seen and unseen, marching with us.”
Peg Aloi, who was also in Washington, reported the same problem. Due to transportation holdups, Aloi was unable to get to the park to host her Pagan Circle for Protection. However, her event was held by another witch, who was able to make it to the location by the specified time.
We have gathered photographs taken by Pagans, Heathens, and polytheists during the marches. We will be posting a gallery in the coming days.
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SAN JOSE — The Coru Cathubodua Priesthood announced that it will be sponsoring another blood drive at PantheaCon 2017. Coru is reportedly “joining forces with Solar Cross Temple, Blood Centers of the Pacific, and the Red Cross [to] once again” hold a blood drive at the biggest Pagan-themed indoor winter conference in the U.S. Organizers wrote, “Let’s make this year another successful drive for life.”
The drive is typically located outside the hotel. The organizers are asking that all interested attendees register to donate blood prior to coming to PantheaCon so that the Red Cross and the Blood Centers of the Pacific know how many staff members will be needed for the weekend.
Coru organizers see this annual service as part of their devotional religious practice. As they explain: “We are holding this blood drive as an act of devotion in honor of the Morrígan, the matron goddess of the Coru Cathubodua Priesthood. We’re encouraging folks to donate blood in the Morrígan’s name as an offering to her and an act of kinship with our fellow human beings. But the blood drive is for all, and if you happen not to want to give in her name, feel free to give in the name of your own deities, or just give without devotional intent, in honor of humanity.” Directions for participating and other criteria are located on a Facebook event page.
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LONDON — Musician and Witch Nigel Bourne has launched a crowdfunding campaign to replace stolen musical equipment. Among that gear was his beloved Fender Stratocaster and his Gibson J200 acoustic. On his new campaign page, Bourne wrote, “I am left with only a classical guitar to play, which is totally unsuitable for my style of music. I am hoping that my friends and colleagues will be able and willing to help out. The loss of these beloved instruments is almost unbearable.”
Bourne worked as a session musician in the 1970s, toured folks clubs around England, and has also recorded four albums of Pagan music. Most recently, he recorded a solo album entitled Path of the Magician – a musical journey on the Tree of Life. The goal of the crowdfunding campaign is to raise £2,000 in order to replace the guitars, so that he can resume playing his style of music once again.
In other news
- It was reported last week that the Awen symbol, commonly used in Druid practice, has been added to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ list of emblems of belief. The symbol can now be requested for gravestones and other memorial markers. Th Awen is number 65 on that list, joining the many other emblems of significance for people of minority religions or no religion at all. The first gravestone with an Awen is reportedly already in production. It will honor the life of Air Force Captain Wayne Laliberte of Texas (1954-2013). We will have the full story this week.
- Pagans will soon be descending on Claremont, Calif. for the 14th annual Conference for Current Pagan Studies. For 2017, the academic-based indoor conference is themed: “Visions of our Future.” Author Ivo Dominguez Jr. and anthropologist Amy Hale are this year’s featured speakers.The conference is held over two days, Jan 28-29, at Claremont Graduate University.
- As we move into February, Pagan conference season begins in earnest. Many people are making their plans to go to PantheaCon, one of the most well-known and certainly the biggest such conference available. Held each year in San Jose California, PantheaCon is a four-day indoor conference offering workshops and events from “varied Pagan, Heathen, Wiccan, reconstructionist, indigenous, spiritual and magical groups.” This year’s PantheaCon will be held Feb. 17-20.
- Photographer Allan Spiers has launched his “Esbat” project. Born in Peru, Spiers is a self-taught graphic-designer and professional photographer. In his spare time, he creates evocative projects that merge art and photography in a way that reflect his occult and spiritual beliefs. In our interview with Spiers, he spoke about these projects and, specifically, about “The Sabbat,” which focuses on representations of the male body. As we noted at the time, he was preparing to launch a new project, “The Esbat,” which would focus on women and women’s bodies. The beginnings of that portfolio are now available.
- Circle Sanctuary’s Rev. Selena Fox will be facilitating a live, call-in forum, Pagan Voices on the Women’s March on her weekly podcast, Nature Folk. The special two-hour podcast, which will held Tuesday Jan. 24 beginning at 7 p.m. CST. Rev. Fox said, “Pagans will share their experiences and perspectives on the Women’s March held on January 21, 2017 in Washington, D.C., and other places across the USA and around the world.”