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. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started!
The Maetreum of Cybele Launches Crowdfunding Initiative: The Maetreum of Cybele, Magna Mater, has been in an ongoing tax battle with the Town of Catskill, New York, a battle centered on whether their building should be afforded a property tax exemption. The most recent round of this fight, before the New York State Supreme Court, did not go well for the Maetreum, though they feel their case for appeal is strong. However, to file that appeal, they need money, money they simply don’t have after years of legal challenges. So, the Maetreum has now launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise $5000 to continue their fight.
“We are now in the process of filing an appeal and this matter will need to go up to the higher levels of New York’s court system. Unfortunately, we have been unable to find a pro bono attorney to take the case and many of the legal advocacy organizations that we contacted were unable to help, either, thus forcing us to foot the legal bills ourselves. These have now exceeded $30,000 over the years (and, mind you, we have never even taken in $30,000 in a year!). According to our best estimates, the Town of Catskill has spent easily six figures of taxpayer money on our case: more than they could ever get from either taxes on the property or proceed from a foreclosure sale! The Town Supervisor even went on the record and told a reporter for the local paper, the Daily Mail, that the town considers us to be an “illegitimate religion”. They have not done this to any other local religious group or church.”
In an exchange with Rev. Mother Cathryn Platine of the Maetreum, she stressed that time and resources were running out, quote, “our attorney wants the entire fee by the filing date which is Feb 4. We have an excellent chance of winning and have raised half the needed fees ourselves but the winter expenses along with the balance is making it difficult. Viktoria and I are selling off our antiques acquired over a lifetime to raise additional money.” So, if this is a case you care about, if you’d like to see the Maetreum continue its work, or are worried about the precedents established if they cannot continue to fight this case, spread the word and donate to their campaign. The Wild Hunt will be keeping track of the Maetreum’s tax battle as things progress.
ADF Marks the Passing of Former Preceptor Rev. George Lee: Druid organization Ar nDraiocht Fein (ADF) announced on their official Facebook page yesterday that Rev. George Lee (aka Raven Mann) a liturgist, ritual leader, and former preceptor within the ADF, had passed away at the age of 49.
“Raven Mann was an effective priest and ritual leader, and also an accomplished liturgist. He served as the ADF Preceptor during the latter half of Rev. Skip Ellison’s term as Archdruid and made many contributions to the deliberations of the ADF Clergy Council. His passing will be a great loss to ADF.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Rev. Kelly Kingston (Carrion Mann) and their daughter Morrighan at this sad time. We also pray that he may pass quickly to the Otherworlds in the company of his Ancestors.”
For any that wish to make donations to Reverend Raven Mann’s family to help with funeral costs and things, 6th Night Grove, ADF has started a Raven Mann Memorial Fund. We here at The Wild Hunt offer our sincerest condolences, may Raven Mann rest with his gods and return to us again.
A History of New York Paganism: The New York Pagan podcast has posted audio of the first of four Pagan Way 40th Anniversary Lectures that took place in November. Presented by the New York Pagan Alliance, the First Unitarian Congregational Society of Brooklyn, New York, and the New York pagan community, the first lecture features Margot Adler, author of “Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America,” and Michael Lloyd, author of “Bull of Heaven: The Mythic Life of Eddie Buczynski and the Rise of the New York Pagan.”
“New York Pagan History: How We Got to Where We Are Today, the first in the series, featured author Michael Lloyd, whose painstaking efforts to chronicle the historic and cultural forces that influenced the establishment, rise, fall, and rebirth of the New York Pagan community have produced a treasure trove of well-documented insights into the earliest beginnings of the Pagan movement. [...] Margot, who provides the foreword to Bull of Heaven, shares in this talk how her earliest encounters with the Craft were deeply influenced by Eddie Buczynski and the emerging New York City Pagan community of the early 1970s.”
For more on this lecture series, see Zan Fraser’s write-up at The Juggler. To download the audio of the lecture, head over to the New York Pagan podcast site. I look forward to hearing the rest of this series, and I encourage my readers to subscribe to this podcast. For some more background on what The Pagan Way is, check out Aidan Kelly’s recent post on the subject.
In Other Community News:
- Speaking of fundraising efforts, the Temple of Witchcraft campaign to raise funds for the improvement of their new temple headquarters continues apace, and while the New Alexandrian Library’s latest fundraising campaign didn’t meet its goal, you can still donate to that worthy project as well. Remember, building Pagan infrastructure starts with us.
- The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel have posted audio from the two morning plenaries at the recent 2012 Between The Worlds conference. “The Turning Of The Ages: What To Keep, What To Throw Away, And How To Decide” featuring Aeptha, T. Thorn Coyle, Ivo Dominguez Jr, Katrina Messenger, Sam Webster, and moderated by Michael Smith, and “Operative Magick: Risks, Rewards, And Limitations” featuring Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, John Michael Greer, Jason Miller, Christopher Penczak, Jacki Smith, and moderated by Michael Smith.
- Cherry Hill Seminary are extending the deadline on their Call for Papers for the symposium on Sacred Lands and Spiritual Landscapes sponsored by Cherry Hill Seminary and the University of South Carolina, and featuring Ronald Hutton (author of “The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft”). The absolute deadline for proposals has been moved to February 1st. Guidelines can be found here.
- Mary K. Greer will be holding an upcoming a two-part webinar with Global Spiritual Studies on “Secrets and Sources of the Rider-Waite Smith Minor Arcana.” Considering my recent post on the legal limbo that the Rider-Waite Smith deck exists in, this is a timely event.
That’s all I have for now, have a great day!