The International Left Hand Path Consortium (LHP) recently found itself at the center of controversy only weeks before its scheduled event in Atlanta Apr 8-10. Organizers had invited Augustus Sol Invictus to be one of the many guest speakers. When the anti-fascist watchdog group Antifa found out, it began to pressure LHP to dismiss Invictus from the program. However, the organizers remained steadfast in their decision, citing their support of free speech. Organizers wrote, “The left hand path is full of controversial figures; which is why it is called The Left Hand Path and not your grandmother’s sewing circle.”
However, pressure continued to build. By mid March, several guest speakers, including Immanion Press publisher Taylor Ellwood, canceled their own appearances due to Invictus’ inclusion. In response, Invictus published a Facebook post directly on the LHP event page, calling the protestors “cowards, fools & hypocrites.” Additionally, he invited them to “come to the consortium” to put a “knife in his heart.”
That single post changed the situation considerably for LHP, as it reportedly placed the organization in legal jeopardy. According to one notice, the Atlanta Police had even taken noticed and voiced concerns over possible violence. As a result, LHP canceled Invictus’ engagement and posted the following, “We don’t regret our attempts at featuring a controversial person at our event, however, it would not have been very LHP of us to martyr ourselves for him. We made a decision with the safety of our presenters and guests when he baited the protesters.” Most of the original posts have been deleted from Facebook.
The decision drew both applause and more protests. Lucien Greaves of The Satanic Temple withdrew as a guest speaker, saying that, while he was unfamiliar with Invictus’ work, he felt “that the dis-invitation sends a harmful message in support of censorship.” Despite the controversy, the event will continue on as planned with 19 speakers, musical guests, ritualists, artists and more. In a public statement, organizer Laurie Pneumatikos added that this will be her last year organizing LHP, and she hopes it is successful.
* * *Humanistic Paganism has a new managing editor. On Ostara, Jon Cleland Host took over the reins from John Halstead. Cleland had already been managing many aspects of the site for quite some time and, as Halstead said, “doing a great job.” In the announcement, Halstead added, “Jon is uniquely qualified to take over as Managing Editor of HP. He is the founder of the Naturalistic Paganism Yahoo discussion group, which was the first online resource for our community.”
Cleland has a Ph.D. in materials science from Northwestern University, and has been conducting “research at Hemlock Semiconductor and Dow Corning since 1997.” He is also a writer and teacher. Halstead wrote, “I recently invited Jon to present at my Unitarian Universalist congregation, and my fellow congregants were enthralled. I have met some wonderful people while serving as the Managing Editor here, and Jon is one of my favorites.”
Halstead will remain with Humanistic Paganism as “editor-at-large,” and has started a new column called The Naturalistic Pagan Toolbox: Beyond the Wheel of the Year. He will also continue his work at Patheos, Huffington Post, Gods & Radicals and in other online writing forums.
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Solar Cross Temple has announced the lineup for this year’s online seminar series, which will begin in May and run through the end of the year. Each class is taught by a different instructor and runs two hours, beginning at noon (pacific time).
The first class will be held on May 14 and is titled “Introduction to Restorative Justice Process for Communities.” It will be taught by Wild Hunt columnist Crystal Blanton. Other topics include: “Questions for Cultivating Community Leadership,” “Anticolonial and Intersectional Trans Topics, “Guidelines for Giving and Receiving Critique.” Teachers include T. Thorn Coyle, Elena Rose, Courtney Weber and Ankhira.
The seminars are “designed to foster stronger temples, covens, groves, and individuals.” Solar Cross is asking for a donation of $10-$30, but also added “pay what you can, no one is turned away for lack of funds.” All registration instructions are on the Solar Cross website.
In Other News
- After 13 years in operation, the site Lilith’s Lantern has shut its doors. Lilith’s Lantern served those people following the Anderson Craft Tradition, or Vicia. This includes the direct initiates and coveners of Victor and Cora Anderson. KS Taber, one of its operators said: “The high-content site was noted for its beauty, lucid writing, and depth of information, including exercises for the neophyte and some rare articles by the Andersons.” The announcement reads, “The wisdom and power of the Andersons’ teachings live on in their published works, in the hearts of their initiates, and in the secrets of creation. Amene Sila.”
- Bloggers Lilith Dorsey and Sable Aradia have launched an internet show called “Witchcraft & Voodoo.” Using Google Hangouts on Air, the show will broadcast the second Monday night of each month. Listeners can ask questions through the live chat feature. Dorsey and Aradia will take turns hosting the show on their own Google+ profiles and, upon completion, each program will be uploaded to YouTube. The first episode, called “The Good, Some of the Bad, and the Not So Ugly,” aired on Mar. 16 and can be watched on YouTube. Episode 2 will air March 28. The topic will be “Syncretic Religions.”
- Pagan Spirit Gathering has announced its featured guests for its upcoming annual summer festival. These include authors Lupa, Byron Ballard, Kathryn Hinds, and Nels Linde & Judy Olson-Linde. PSG 2016 musical guests include: Tuatha Dea, Arthur Hinds, Spiral Rhythm, Celia Farran and Sentinel Grove. PSG is one of the longest-running and biggest annual Pagan festivals in the United States. Last year for the first time, the event was closed early due to extreme weather and flooding. PSG organizers and loyal attendees are looking forward to this year’s event, which will be held at a new site. This year’s theme is “Our Spirit – The Key to Our Roots.”
- Many Gods West (MGW) announced its programming for the 2016 summer Polytheist conference held in Olympia, Washington. MGW aims at “bring[ing] together polytheists of all stripes for discussion, learning, sharing, and community building.” This year will mark the second annual event and it will take place from August 5-7 at the Red Lion Hotel.