Archives For Rev. Kendra Vaughan Hovey

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 these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

Just a few quick news notes for you this Sunday.

Altar of the Twelve Gods Update: Back in February I reported on how Greek Hellenic group Thyrsos Hellenes Ethnikoi has been protesting to preserve the famous Altar of the Twelve Gods, which was uncovered on February 17th during railway construction. Now Tropaion has an update, looking at how different Greek papers are covering the protests.

“The Kathimerini story did not claim that Polytheists were the ‘troublemakers’ in contrast of what To Vima clearly states that “members of polytheistic organizations, which had occupied the site where archaeological reburying work was undergoing for the antiquities.” It is important to note the language used by the newspaper To Vima which is clearly biased. It is also important to underline what Kathimerini notes that the reburying has been called “emerging” -  Central Archaeological Council has approved the reburial of the altar, faithful to the notion that the monuments are better protected hidden - as part of a renovation of the Metro line exactly were the altar exists which is one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of recent years.According to reports, citizens formed a cordon around the monument, which was split violently by the riot police who up to now patrol the site. The work had continued.”

You can read an April 13th update (in Greek) from Thyrsos Hellenes Ethnikoi, here. More on this situation (in English) here, here, here, and here. Petition, here. It looks like things are becoming heavy-handed in Greece, and reburial is moving forward. I’ll update when I have more information.

Vodou Flags, Vodou Culture: Gina Athena Ulysse, Assoc. Prof. of Anthropology, Wesleyan University, writes about Haitian Vodou flag-maker Myrlande Constant, who is part of a current exhibit entitled Re-Framing Haiti: Art, History and Performativity at Brown University.

Erzulie LaFlambeau by Myrlande Constant

“Born in 1970, Constant is a self-taught flagmaker whose artistry is rooted in her skills as a seamstress and the beading techniques that she learned from her mother as a child. While in her teens, both of them had worked in a wedding dress factory. Her foray into the world of flag making coincides with a story of self-emancipation from exploitative factory labor. In a public dialogue in Kreyol that I had with her at Brown last Wednesday, Constant recalls quitting her job at the factory over a compensation dispute. When her mother who still worked at the factory asked her what she would do, she responded, she didn’t know. She then found herself tracing the outline of what would eventually become her first flag, an homage toDanbala that was purchased by singer and bandleader, Richard Morse, also owner of the Hotel Oloffson, where the flag still hangs.”

The exhibition runs through April 21st, and will feature a talk by Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat at its closing. I also wanted to mention that Ulysse linked to a very interesting-looking new book in her article, “The Spirits and the Law: Vodou and Power in Haiti” by Kate Ramsey. The work looks at “the long genealogy of anti-Vodou rhetoric” in Haiti, and might be a must-read for those interested in gaining a deeper understanding of struggles Vodou currently faces.

Former Pagan on Easter’s Pagan Influences: Here’s a slightly unique take on the “pagan roots of Easter” story, the Patriot Ledger interviews Kendra Vaughan Hovey, a former reality-television star who converted from Wicca to Christianity, about bunnies, eggs, and Eostre.

“…as they follow those rituals, they will be evoking age-old, pre-Christian practices so familiar that few people give them a second thought. No one knows this better than Kendra Vaughan Hovey of Duxbury, a former Wiccan priestess who is now Christian. She sees reminders of her former religion at every turn this time of year, and she still embraces much of it. “It’s a holiday of new life,” she says of Easter. “There’s a beauty in that.” Hovey notes that even the name Easter has a pagan source – most likely from Ostara, the ancient Norse goddess of spring. Ostara’s festival was always around the spring equinox, which is still used to calculate Easter Sunday dates.”

I have to say, kudos to Lane Lambert at the Patriot Ledger for finding a new angle to this old chestnut of space-filling holiday-themed content. One wonders if this was accidental serendipity due to out-of-date source lists, or if it was planned. In any case, it was novel enough to gain my attention.

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

An announcement has come forth that Rev. Kendra Vaughan Hovey, elder high priestess of Duxbury’s First Church of Wicca, and star (along with her family) of the reality television program “My Unique Family”, has converted to (some form of) Christianity and is opening a new church. In a letter sent to members of the church (thanks to Kat for forwarding it to me), Hovey takes time to explain her conversion from Wicca, pointing out her former faith’s (perceived) shortcomings.

I have come to see the serious failings of the Wiccan faith. A major problem with the faith is that there is no unity among the followers of the faith which makes it very challenging to define exactly what Wiccans do and do not believe in. Wiccans have a very open “do what you will” or “live and let live” perspective in life which very easily can cause harm to oneself and others without one actually knowing it until it is much too late. Additionally, there is no unified moral code of ethics. This puts up huge red flags for society-at-large because no one can really be quite sure of what any group’s intentions are. Society would have no way of knowing, for example, if you are a Wiccan that practices the Great Rite or polyamory, to name only two examples. Also, they would have no way of knowing just what “Do what ye will and harm none” means, and quite frankly, neither does each individual Wiccan. We are left to make moral and ethical decisions for ourselves rather than realizing that by human nature we are going to do anything that feels good to us, not what is best for us, and also not necessarily what is best for society as a whole. This makes for a very dangerous and faulty moral code of ethics. In addition, Wicca teaches primarily about how we can change the world and have all that we want. Spells, magick, etc. all prove to cause us to think selfishly instead of putting others before ourselves and more importantly instead of putting God before anyone else, including ourselves. It is very understandable that one would be close to nature and the earth, as well as, feel a need to call “God” the “God and Goddess;” however, the actual rote and complicated spells involved in Wicca can prove to be a huge distraction in one’s spiritual growth. We do not need all of the “ritual things” in order to have a relationship with God – all we need is a sincere and thankful heart.

While I respect the decision of any Pagan to leave for a faith or philosophy that better suits them, Hovey’s little rant to her followers seems to point to someone who wanted Wicca to be something other than it was, and didn’t really understand (or want to understand) the theology, morality, and practice of modern Paganism as it is. Perhaps her desire to shoehorn Wiccan practice into a congregationalist model, complete with sermons on Sunday and clerical collars, bespoke a long-standing desire to fully embrace Christianity. Now that she’s moved on, her new church is aiming to heal the wounds of “inequity from past religions”.

…helping people heal from their experiences of inequity from past religions and religious institutions, using Jesus Christ and his teachings in the Bible as the foundation of how to have a meaningful relationship with God, as well as, holistic health of mind, body, and soul.

Again, I wish Ms. Hovey well in her conversion and ministry, too bad her healing journey towards Christ had to begin by misrepresenting and bad-mouthing her former faith. She’ll no doubt be far happier in her new role, though I doubt it will get her the attention she sought while running a Wiccan church.

The history of Wiccans in reality television isn’t exactly stellar. You had Fiona Horne’s starring role in “Mad Mad House”, “scary” Mary O’Leary from the UK version of “Big Brother”, the Eckhart family on the never-aired show “Welcome to the Neighborhood”, the vaguely Pagan-ish New Age D’Amico-Flisher family on “Trading Spouses” (which caused the now-famous freak-out by Christian mom Marguerite Perrin) and the infamous Wiccan priestess Donna Thompson on “Wife Swap”. So I’m always a little leery when I read about yet another Wiccan family signing up for the reality television merry-go-round.


The Hovey Family: Kendra, Tim, Alana, and Alec

“Television viewers, prepare to be shocked when you see what one Wiccan family on the South Shore does virtually undetected. They go out for ice cream. Among the reasons people willingly partake in reality TV shows, promoting religious tolerance isn’t high on the list. But for the Rev. Kendra Vaughan Hovey, elder high priestess of Duxbury’s First Church of Wicca, and her husband, Tim, it’s the sole reason they agreed to star in an episode of a new series on The Learning Channel called “My Unique Family.” For the entire month of October, the Hoveys and their children Alec, 11, and Alana, 8, were filmed, followed and interviewed – at home, at church, going to work and, yes, even going out for ice cream. More than 200 hours of footage was compressed into the one-hour program scheduled to air at 10 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19.”

Will The Learning Channel be more sympathetic and fair than previous reality programs? Even the family has its concerns over their imminent television portrayal.

“They haven’t yet decided if they’ll do anything special when the show airs. One member of the congregation suggested watching together on a big-screen TV, but, the Hoveys said they’re still a little worried about whether they’ll be left smiling or doing damage control that night.”

As I have said before, reality programs (for the most part) aren’t looking to normalize outsider views and faiths, just to put them on (highly edited) display. A sanitized freak-show for our modern era. No matter how positive or good-intentioned there is always a touch of outlandishness inherent in these programs, and while I always hope for the best I’m sure there was a reason the show picked a priestess who insists on wearing a Christian clerical collar.

Then again, you’ll also note they picked a Wiccan tradition that is following a congregational model (200-strong according to Rev. Hovey) instead of the more traditional coven structure. So perhaps this might be a rare normalizing effort on the part of TLC. I guess we will just have to wait and see what the show’s editors decided to portray.