Archives For Starhawk

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SAN FRANCISCO – It has been nearly a quarter of a century since Starhawk’s seminal novel The Fifth Sacred Thing was released by Bantam Books. It was 1993 when the world was first introduced to this dystopian story, set in the not-so-distant future of 2048, where our heroes must protect their northern California ecotopia from ruthless invaders. The book went on to become an inspiration for a new generation of pagans, feminists, goddess-worshippers, activists and environmental advocates.

Never going out of print, The Fifth Sacred Thing has sold over 100,000 copies, been translated into four languages and is now being developed into a television series. And, as of August this year, The Fifth Sacred Thing has been re-released for the first time in audiobook format.

Starhawk (courtesy photo)

Starhawk [Courtesy Photo]

“We had been trying to do an audiobook for years” said Starhawk, from her home in California recently. “So many people just don’t have time to read now, but people do listen to audiobooks – I know I do. They are a great way to pass the time on a long drive, or keep your mind occupied when you are trying to hook up your drip irrigation system” she added with a chuckle.

Working with her production partner, Maya Lilly, Starhawk entered the studio to turn the 496 pages of the story into a recording. After the original publisher declined to take on this project, Starhawk was able to regain the rights to do the project herself. Fortunately, Lilly is a experienced voice actor, and her life partner is a sound engineer. This gave them a team capable of proceeding with the project, under their own terms.

After a month of planning, the team got to work in the studio, finding time between their many other projects. The finished audiobook is 22 hours of talking, which equals 44 hours of voice work, plus 168 hours of editing. In the end, Starhawk is very pleased with the result, and Lilly’s voicing of the story.

“I think she did a great job, getting those subtle differences in the voices, so you feel like different people are talking.”

And if Maya Lilly’s name sounds familiar to fans of the book, it can be chalked up to serendipity, said Starhawk: “She happens have the names of two characters in the book. It was a pure coincidence. Plus, she happens to look exactly like my picture of Madrone. Something is at work here!”

In addition to launching the audiobook, Starhawk also recently traveled to Spain to co-teach the Earth Activist Training permaculture course with Alfred Decker. The two-week course was held at a camp near the village of Arbizu, Navarra, in the north of Spain. This area is part of the Basque Country, famous for its association with the Spanish Inquisition and the Witch Hunts that took place there in the 17th century. More than 7,000 individual cases of witchcraft were tried during this time, and this is commemorated in the local Zurgaramurdi Witch Museum, which Starhawk visited and was astounded by.

Starhawk recalled: “The bottom floor had a powerful memorial to all the witches who were accused, and burned and tortured. It went through the history of the witch persecutions. The second floor was all about the ancient religion of the Basques, which is a religion of the Goddess. I can’t even really describe how I felt there, it was this whole history that we have been talking about, and advocating for, and arguing about, in my case – for decades.”

Permaculture students in the garden, in Arbizu, Spain (courtesy photo)

Permaculture students in the garden, in Arbizu, Spain [Courtesy Photo]

Starhawk went on to add, “People were saying that there never were goddesses, Marija Gimbutas was making it all up…..and then here it was, it’s still a living memory, ingrained in the Basque culture, and which I think for them, is very much a part of their sense of having a culture that is very distinctive. It was an amazing sense of coming home, in a very powerful way, even though I do not have any direct Basque ancestors. It was a sense of coming home to a place of spiritual ancestry.”

Almost 25 years later, The Fifth Sacred Thing almost seems prophetic, and this is not lost on Starhawk. While the streets of San Francisco have not been completely dug up to plant gardens, and we have not suffered an apocalypse, some of the books themes, both good and bad, echo in our world today.

“The whole movement toward urban gardening and food growing and urban farming is enormous. Twenty-five years ago it didn’t even really quite exist in the same way” she noted, “and we also see the forces of brutality and this upsurge in racism, in the murder of people of color by police, we see an upsurge, with Donald Trump in outright, outspoken misogyny and hatred of women and making that somehow acceptable.”

Starhawk is quick to note how our climate is changing and our environment is in danger. However, she is also sure that there is much hope, explaining that she sees many people newly embracing the practices of permaculture and how using it can effect positive change for the planet.

She said, “One of the exciting things now, is what permaculture can bring to the discussions around climate change. This isn’t just about carbon numbers. This is about ecosystem degradation on a large scale. The answer to it, is about ecosystem regeneration on a massive scale, and that is something permaculturalists know how to do. The good news is it can be done, and often doesn’t even take as long as you think it would.”

Permaculture courses will keep Starhawk on the road throughout October, with appearances in Nevada City on Oct. 14 and San Rafael on October 22 – 23. She is also preparing to lead the 37th Annual Reclaiming Spiral Dance in San Francisco on Oct. 30, celebrating Samhain.

Starhawk added that she highly recommends that anyone interested in attending the annual Reclaiming event make sure that they secure tickets in advance, as the venue has a limited capacity, and looks like it will be sold out by the actual date.

Once enough copies of The Fifth Sacred Thing audiobook have been sold to pay back the cost of production, Starhawk’s plan is to record a reading of City of Refuge, the sequel to The Fifth Sacred Thing, for an audiobook. There are no plans at present to make audiobooks for any of her non-fiction works, such as Spiral Dance.

The Fifth Sacred Thing audiobook is widely available for purchase online at Amazon, iTunes and Audible.

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coruSAN FRANCISCO – Members of the Priesthood of Coru Cathubodua and its allies attended the city’s pride event to offer assistance with medical aid, safety escorting, and spiritual protection. Wearing their distinctive red priesthood shirts, the members were stationed throughout the event with first aid kits and other “parade-related accessories.”

Communications chief Scott H. Rowe said, “In a time when the currents of hatred and intolerance have been permeating our national and cultural consciousness, events like Pride, which uplift and celebrate diversity, are more important than ever. In order that the LGBTQ community are free to celebrate safely, it is particularly important for community members who are able to do so to offer protection and support.”

Coru Cathubodua is often found assisting at similar events around the Bay Area. Along with Solar Cross Temple, the group also sponsors an annual blood drive at PantheaCon. The front page of their website displays the priesthood’s continued commitment to hospitality, safety, equality and justice. With regards to the weekend’s pride events, Rowe said, “The Coru Cathubodua Priesthood remains dedicated to supporting their LGBTQ friends, allies, and members with both spiritual and practical needs.”

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13435330_994220324031940_2673996563045981439_nTWH – After the tragedy struck in Orlando, many Pagans and Heathens throughout the world asked, “What can we do to help?” A group consisting of Pagans from both Italy and the U.K. came up with an idea. They call it “Wands up for Orlando.” As noted on the site, “[The project] aims are to support the LGBTQIA community and celebrate our connection as the answer to hate by sharing ceremonies, artistic contributions, poetry, photos, songs, etc.”

For their first task, the group is currently encouraging people to join with them in a ritual to honor those who died in the Orlando attack. A ritual was jointly written and translated into six languages for use by any groups or individuals. It is also not tradition- or practice-specific. The organizers explain, “We want to emphasise that, as many of the dead may have been Catholics or have had an ambivalent relationship with religion, we are being respectful of that. We performed divinations to check that the ritual would be welcome and needed.”

Where did the name come from? Fans of the Harry Potter franchise might recognize the gesture. Group co-founder Salvatore Caci explained, just as Hogwarts students raised their wands to sweep away an evil curse, “we want to sweep away the curses of intolerance and violence with the light that shines from our hearts and hands joined together and in support of one another.” Caci and the other founders hope that this ritual is only a beginning.

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imagesUK – In a vote that shocked much of the world, the United Kingdom opted to exit the European Union. The vote was close, and the subsequent reactions have been mixed. But the story does not end there, as this historic vote has left many uncertainties it its wake. Our UK news correspondent Claire Dixon has spent the weekend talking with U.K. Pagans about the vote, their concerns, and their predictions for the future. Tomorrow, she will bring us that report, along with a broader look at the situation from an insider perspective.

In Other News

  • The Bay Area Pagan Alliance was another Pagan group in attendance at this past weekend’s San Francisco pride events. Along with enjoying the festivities and supporting the LGBTQ community, the alliance also setup a donation booth through which volunteers helped bring in funds that would ultimately support their own popular annual May festival. The Alliance’s Facebook page shows photos of volunteers working at the booth and also enjoying the day. The alliance did say that, in the end, the money raised will take care of a good portion of the festival budget, but they will still need more fundraising before spring 2017.
  • New York Pagans are getting ready for their annual summer event. The 5th Annual WitchsFest USA is a popular “street faire” held in the heart of Manhattan’s West Village on Astor Place between Broadway and Lafayette. The faire includes presenters, performers, vendors and more. Last year’s WitchsFest was attended by Vice reporter Farah Al Qasimi, who shared colorful and dazzling photos of many of the attendees.
  • T. Thorn Coyle continues sharing her voice successfully through her fiction writing. One of her short stories, titled Salt, was recently selected to be included in an urban fantasy book bundle along with nineteen other books that explore the “hidden magic in everyday life.” Coyle’s story, about “a ghost-talking, magic-wielding, leather daddye,” was originally part of her “free fiction” series supported by her readers through Patreon. Coyle is also the author of the novel Like Water as well as several non-fiction book on Witchcraft, spirituality and daily practice.

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  • The Many Gods West conference is coming up in just over one month. It is in its second year and one of the few annual indoor conferences held over the summer. It bills itself as a “gathering for polytheists.” This year’s event features Marcella “Allec” McGuire, Sean Donahue, and L. Phaedrus. There will be no keynote speaker, as the organizers explain, “We have forgone the keynote speaker model in order to encourage the event to grow as a gathering of peers.” Many Gods West is held in Olympia, Washington from Aug 5-7.
  • Starhawk announced that she will be giving away two special edition autographed copies of her new book City of Refuge. To enter the drawing, fans only need to “like” the post and post a quote from any of her books into the comments section. The two winners will be drawn and announced on July 1. Starhawk has also listed all the rules and regulations on her website.
  • Speaking of summer reading, Lewellyn Publishing will be releasing two new books in July, both of which may be of interest to many of our readers. First, Witch and priestess Lasara Firefox Allen shares “a new system that embraces the powerful, diverse, and fluid nature of the lived experience of women today” in her book Jailbreaking the Goddess: A Radical Revisioning of Feminist Spirituality. Second, Devin Hunter’s The Witch’s Book of Power explores “the secrets to unlocking the Witch power within you.” He includes exercises, meditations and practices.
  • If that is not enough to fill your days, Weiser published Judith Illes how-to guide called The Big Book of Practical Spells: Everyday Magic that Works.  And, Moon Books has just released Morgan Daimler’s Fairycraft: Following the Path of Fairy Witchcraft, and Rachel Patterson and Tracy Roberts’ book titled, Arc of the Goddess. 
  • Lastly, Treadwell’s conference exploring the 1980s Satanic Abuse panic is coming up Tuesday, July 5. With the help of six speakers, attendees will explore the history and psychology behind the moral panic that gripped the UK and many other parts of the world.  Discussions will also include “what it was like for Pagans, and then how it ended after researchers and investigative journalism got involved.”

bcaa26b7f8aca9110e5f183331315fcb_400x400FLORIDA – While putting the final touches on its upcoming festival, Temple of Earth Gatherings (TEG) has found itself, once again, at the center of community controversy. TEG’s Florida Pagan Gathering (FPG) is a popular festival and has been one of the most well-attended Pagan events in that state since its inception in 1995. But, in 2014, the TEG board hit a snag, when it invited Yvonne and Gavin Frost, two teachers considered controversial, to present at that year’s spring event.

Since that point, FPG has be staged biannually without incident until recent months. In January, the Frosts announced that they would be returning to the festival circuit and attending FPG 2016, but the couple made no mention of offering any workshops. Their blog post went largely unnoticed. Then, two weeks ago, an anonymous person emailed an unpublished FPG 2016 festival booklet to a large group of people. The booklet listed the Frosts as workshop presenters, which immediately launched a public conversation, raising old concerns. Rumors and stories began quickly circulating.

When TEG became aware that the booklet was out, it announced that this circulating booklet had not been approved, nor was it official. Within one week, TEG published a new one that did not list the Frosts as presenters. The TEG Board would not confirm or deny any of the rumors and declined any further comment.

Sage. a former FPG staff member, told The Wild Hunt that he and several others resigned over this very issue. Until recently, Sage was the FPG workshop coordinator and he said, “I resigned largely because I was instructed that it was my job to keep secret certain workshops that the Board of Directors was aware would upset some portion of the community. This deceit came in direct conflict with my moral and ethical codes of conduct.” There are also reportedly some copyright issues involving the printing and publication of the two versions of the festival booklets, which have nothing directly to do with the workshop issue itself. Sage did add that he personally will not be attending the event.

At this point, FPG is still moving forward. Several of the scheduled presenters have confirmed that they will be attending after speaking privately with the board about raised concerns, and no protests against TEG are currently in the works. As for the Frosts, they typically communicate via “snail mail” and could not respond for comment in time for publication. But we will update this story as needed.

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AdflogoTUCSON, Ariz. – Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF) announced the election of its new Archdruid Rev. Jean Pagano. Effective May 1, Rev. Pagano will “take the reins” from Rev. Kirk Thomas, who has been serving as ADF’s spiritual and administrative leader since 2010. Pagano said, “I am touched and honoured that people have chosen me to be their Arch Druid – it is not a challenge that I take lightly and I promise to be Archdruid to all members.”

This past Saturday, Rev. Thomas led his final ritual as Archdruid at Trillium. He said, “I think that it’s been a good six years, and it has always been my intent to serve ADF well, but it’s time for me to move on. I shall, of course, remain highly involved in ADF, and perhaps even hold some minor leadership roles in the future, but I shall also be taking more time for myself. I want to thank everyone in ADF who has supported me in my journey as ADF Archdruid, and I know that ADF shall continue to grow and thrive in the future.”

Rev. Pagano will served as Archdruid for the next three years. He was thankful to be chosen and said, “He added, I want to thank the Earth Mother, the Kindreds, and all of the people who have made ADF what it is today. May the Gods always provide.”

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Priestess Miriam with Aiyda [Courtesy Photo]

Priestess Miriam with Aiyda [Courtesy Photo]

NEW ORLEANS – Priestess Miriam of the Voodoo Spiritual Temple has announced the new location for her famous New Orleans temple. As we previously reported, on Feb 1, the historic building, which had been the temple’s home for twenty-four years, was destroyed by an electrical fire. At first Priestess Miriam had hoped that renovations would allow her to move back into the classic Creole cottage. However, that was not the case. Damage was too severe.

She began searching for a new location, which was reportedly “not an easy task in one of America’s most fastly gentrifying and expensive cities.” However, she was finally able to locate a space at 1428 North Rampart near its intersection with Esplanade. Witchdoctor Utu reports, “The New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple will begin a brand new era.” He also said that the temple is “not out of the woods yet.” Most of the renovations and moving tasks are complete but the setup and “sense of normalcy” has yet to return.

On behalf of Priestess Miriam, Utu added, “We cannot thank everyone enough who have contributed to the still existing GoFundMe campaign, this would simply not have been possible with out the beautiful people who continue to support, promote and contribute to the various fund raising efforts, much of it from around the entire North American Continent. Lots of work ahead but we continue to count our blessings and gratitude abounds. Soon enough we will be able to share some photos of the new building as it begins to settle into its new home.”

In Other News

  • Earth Day is coming up Friday, Apr. 22 and people around the world are planning their events. In dedication to that day, several Pagans in London are reviving a yearly tradition formerly run by Wiccan High Priestess Jean Willams (1928-2015). On Apr. 23, organizers and attendees will gather at 1 pm at the Highgate Tube Station, Priory Gardens exit. They will then walk from the “tube to the wood.” The group will collect “rubbish in Queens Wood till about 3:30 pm.”  After that, the group will picnic and a have an “attunement in the clearing.” Organizers look forward to seeing everyone come out for this London Earth Day tradition.
  • Similarly, Tuesday Apr. 19, Starhawk will join Rev. Selena Fox on her weekly podcast to discuss current environmental issues, climate change and ways to incorporate eco-activism in daily life. Additionally, Starhawk will talk about her “Earth Activist trainings, her permaculture work, and her visionary novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing and its long-awaited sequel, City of Refuge.” The podcast, titled “EcoPagan EcoMagic,” will air Tuesday night at 7 pm CT. 
  • The Troth is preparing to host its annual event called Trothmoot. This year’s four day camping festival will be held in Port Townsend, Washington at Ft. Flagler State Park. The organization writes, “Heathens from all over the world are invited to gather in the Pacific Northwest for a celebration of Heathen diversity and spirituality. Hosted by Hrafnar and Heathen Freehold Troth KAP Kindreds, and our Washinton and Pacific Northwest Troth members, come for fellowship, ritual, workshop, skaldship, and of course Northwest hospitality.” Trothmoot begins June 9 and runs through June 12. Registration is open on the Troth’s site.
  • On May 1, Heathens United Against Racism will be hosting Light the Beaconsa worldwide action calling “on all Heathens around the world who stand for inclusive, tolerant, and diverse practice to light a beacon in solidarity with all other Heathens who stand for these values in our spirituality.” HUAR asks participating individuals to light a candle, or some other form of light, at any point during that day. They also ask for photos of that light to be posted on the event Facebook event site. Organizers write, “Together we will ignite a fire in our hearts and homes that will push back the shadows of fear & ignorance, shine light on our honor, and rally the hopes of Heathens everywhere.
  • Athena: Sharing Current Research is still looking for presenters for its June conference in London. The site explains, “This conference will share current research on a deity that has been a topic of interest since the dawn of classical scholarship and through its various ‘turns.’ The event will appraise various ways to approach the goddess by drawing together current researchers from the UK, France, Italy, and, we hope, elsewhere.” Submissions are due by Apr. 30. The conference will take place on June 3 at the “Adam Room, Grove House, University of Roehampton, London.”

That’s it for now. Have a great day!

This weekend marks the celebration of the vernal (spring) equinox and the astronomical beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. The actual equinox occurred Mar. 19 at 11:30 p.m. CT (4:30 UTC).

Many Pagans, Heathens, Polytheists celebrate the day as Ostara, Lady Day, Shubun-sai, or simply the spring equinox. Within their own varied and diverse traditions, they find ways to honor or recognize the coming of warmer weather and renewed growth, as winter makes its slow departure.

And, it is the autumnal equinox for our friends in the southern hemisphere.

Other similar festivals and holidays celebrated at this time include Holi or the Hindu festival of color, Higan in Japan, Nowruz or New Year on the Persian calendar, the Christian Easter and Jewish Passover, and others.

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Here are some quotes celebrating the seasonal holiday….

“Perhaps the most misunderstood holiday of the Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year is Ostara. Many Pagans would be surprised to learn that the popular notions of its history and imagery are based upon Nineteenth Century conjecture and the scantest of historical evidence. This shouldn’t matter in terms of actual spiritual practice; just because something isn’t historical doesn’t preclude it from being the basis for meaningful spirituality. But understanding the development of the holiday should matter, if only to dispel commonly-held misconceptions about its’ history.” – D.C. McBride, “A Brief History of Ostara”

“The Spring Equinox is a time for people to reflect on personal growth and purpose. This is a time to remove something from your life, or call something to you. Everything is growing, everything is blooming, so it’s a time to see what we can grow in our own lives.” – Melissa Foster, as quoted in the Shreveport Times “The Spring Equinox gives local pagans a chance at rebirth”

“By seeking to walk in balance with the earth, we acknowledge her rhythms and cycles as sacred and our relationship with her must be sacred too. Try to honour the earth and tread lightly, considering your environmental impact as an integral part of your spiritual practice. Let the beauty of the spring fill you with inspiration and vitality,  reflect upon the joy you see in every opening flower, every green leaf glittering with rain, share in Her endless love of creation and remember that we each are a part of that great beauty.” – Danu Forest “The Magic of Spring Equinox.”

“The days grow longer—now day and night are in perfect balance. I understand why eggs are such a part of this holiday—not just that they symbolize new life, but now with the longer days the chickens are laying abundantly. I have eggs for breakfast with the deep golden yolks that only come from chickens who scratch in real dirt and eat real bugs. Fertility is all around us.  Baby lambs and baby goats frolic in the grass, and it all looks like an animated Easter card!” – Starhawk, “Equinox Blessings!”

“The Spring Equinox – called Ostara by many neopagans – is not a major holiday for me but it is one I celebrate. In my form of witchcraft we acknowledge the equinoxes as balancing points which come right before the major shifts from light to dark or dark to light. In the case of the spring equinox it falls just before Bealtaine which is the start of the light half of the year. Even though it is one of the lesser holidays it is still important, and it has its place in the proper cycle of things.” – Morgan Daimler, “The Spring Equinox – Moving Towards the Light

[Editor’s Note: This review contains a few spoilers.]

Review: City of Refuge by Starhawk.
Published by Califia Press (pp. 711) 

City of Refuge is the sequel to Starhawk’s novel The Fifth Sacred Thing. Both books are works of post-apocalyptic fiction.The series differs from most books in this genre. Instead of being survivalist porn centered around bullets and beans, the two books are written from an eco-feminist point of view. That is exactly what you’d expect from the author of The Spiral Dance and this may be appealing to Goddess worshippers based on that fact alone. 

In the first book called The Fifth Sacred Thing, there is a cataclysmic event that breaks the U.S. up into small surviving city-states. The story focuses on two of these city-states in what was formerly California. Califia appears to be a utopia. It is filled with gardens, and its citizens never go hungry. They share everything and are guided by a council of older wise women who dream the future. Califia’s citizens become poets, healers, and artists, making their city as beautiful as possible.

The other city is where the Stewards live. They are oppressive Christians who support their elite through slavery and military conquest. They don’t grow food – only soldiers and weapons. Women are chattel and bound to men through marriage or sexual slavery. Male toddlers are tortured into becoming soldiers without names or the ability to do anything but follow orders.

The two groups are destined for war, but how can the peaceful Califia defend themselves against the Steward’s Army? They do so by inviting the rampaging army to join them and live with them. After destroying much of the city, a fair portion of the army accepts. Love and beauty overcome a lifetime of torture, mental conditioning, and bloodlust.

This brings us to the second book: City of Refuge. The city survives, but it needs to be rebuilt. The soldiers, sex slaves, and rescued Califia citizens are having a hard time adjusting to the open and entirely voluntary society Califia provides. The soldiers have no orders or sense of self identity. The former sex slaves simmer with rage and hopelessness. And the citizens who spent years as prisoners of the Stewards are emotionally damaged and unsure if they will ever fit back into Califia society, or if Califia society is even still right for them. While they may have won a battle against the Stewards, they haven’t won the war. Another battle is quickly approaching.

The City of Refuge has numerous problems. There is an underlying current that feminine is good and masculine is bad. While the individual characters are very well done and well developed, the plot and how the mass of the societies behave are not.

But, the most surprising and disappointing is how religion is treated. Religion is bad. Period.The Christians are the villians. Even the Califia people, who nominally appear to be Pagans and the heroes, follow this rule. They may have temples. They may be eco-feminists, living those ethics. But, they do not practice any sort of Pagan religion. Religion is simply absent from them.

With that said, the book does have some strengths. As mentioned, the main characters are extremely well done. You care about them. You want to know what happens to them. You want them to heal and succeed. The style of writing is rich and flowing without being ornate or pretentious.

But the book’s greatest strength is its central question. “If our choices make us who we are,” Bird wondered, “what do we say about those bitter times when we have no choice? Does helplessness destroy?”

The main characters are all trying to answer that question.

Bird was born a free citizen of Califia, but spent years as a prisoner and soldier in the Steward’s Army. His hands ruined, his heart and mind torn, he knows he’s no longer a gentle musician. Is he a soldier? Should he go back to Steward territory to help the budding resistance hiding in the hills? And how do you “liberate a bunch of people who have no idea what liberation means?”

Smokee is a liberated sex slave who not only saw her family killed when she was a young child, but recently had her own two year old daughter ripped away from her to be turned into a sex slave. Smokee flows back and forth between rage and deep depression. She feels stifled by the seemingly open but very conformist Califia society. Even when taunted by the very soldiers who raped her for years, the Califia citizens can’t understand her attempt to stab them. After all, you can’t meet mere words with violence.

Should she be exiled? Or will a couple of female sailors, who are also escapees from the Stewards, take her in and teach her to fight back? Will she find her daughter?

River is a former Sargeant in the Steward’s Army, now living in Califia. He’s the only one, so far, to claim a name instead of a number. How can he become a someone, a somebody, when he doesn’t even realize making a choice is an option? He sees the difference between himself and the free citizens, but he has no idea how to bridge the gap. Yet River tries, and he also tries to be a leader for the other soldiers. He knows war is coming, and he wants to be ready to fight, but as a whole being, not a machine.

The bottom lineCity of Refuge has engaging characters, deep questions, but also some problematic themes,plot elements, and non-Pagan Pagans. Starhawk’s writing is excellent and the book’s flow makes for smooth reading. If you’re looking for a story that celebrates the feminine and shows an idealized eco-utopia, you are going to enjoy this series.

The Fifth Sacred Thing and City of Refuge are available in paperback and digital formats through Amazon and other online resellers.

Over the weekend, the east coast was hit with record snow falls, blizzard conditions, white-outs, thunder snow and more as a Winter Storm “Jonas” came in for a visit. According to The Weather Channel, who began naming these winter storms in 2011, Jonas is the “largest snowstorm on record for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Baltimore; and JFK Airport in New York City, with all of those locations receiving over 2 feet of snow.” As far south as Georgia through New York, the snow fell in varying degrees, and Pagans and Heathens took to social media to report the conditions at their locations. We reached out to a number of them to get a better idea of the conditions.

Tweeted from Space Station [Courtesy NASA]

Winter Storm 2016 as seen from the Space Station [Courtesy NASA] www.nasa.gov

Hardest hit was the New Jersey, Washington D.C. and New York City metro regions. Author David Salisbury reported going out to stores in preparation for the storm event and seeing goods lying on the floor and empty shelves. He said, “It looked liked a Walking Dead supply run.” Salisbury lives in the D.C. area and reported that he hadn’t seen a blizzard warning like this for six years. After making his own preparations to be stuck inside for several days, he posted the following public announcement on Facebook:

I’ll be stuck inside until at least Sunday so we might as well make the best of it! I’m offering deeply discounted rune and tarot readings until ‪#‎Blizzard2016 is over.

On Saturday, he did venture outside and took the following photo of adults and children enjoying the snow:

[Photo Credit: David Salisbury]

[Photo Credit: David Salisbury]

Not far away in Delaware, author Ivo Dominguez Jr. was watching the snow come down near his home. Dominguez is one of the founders of the New Alexandrian Library, located in Georgetown, Delaware.  He said that the library was safe, adding, “This was nothing. Hurricane Sandy went over it with zero damage.”  He shared this photo of his home at Seelie Court:

[Courtesy Ivo Dominquez Jr.]

[Courtesy Ivo Dominquez Jr.]

Farther north in central New Jersey, Elder Priestess Lady Pythia was watching the snow fall from the comfort of her home. She said poetically, “Noreaster sweeps. Cats eyes widen at ephemeral windy prey just out of reach, and we Witches toss herbs into the small cauldronfire, sip cinnamon creamed coffee, joke about animating shovels to tackle hip-high arctic drifts rendered in A Whiter Shade of Pale.” Pythia shared these photos as the snow piled up on her back deck:

[Photo Credit: Lady Pythia]

[Photo Credit: Lady Pythia]

Lady Pythia added, “A Witch sends out safe vibes for all in the storm’s path, with awe at the Mother’s wild Full Moon brushstrokes.”  As she and many other Pagans have pointed out, January 23 at 8:46 pm ET marked the full moon. NASA satellites captured the beauty of the moon’s light on the storm in this photo:

[Courtesy NASA]

[Courtesy NASA]

Over in Pennsylvania, Robert Schreiwer of the Urglaawe Kindred was also watching as the storm dumped more than 30″ of snow in his yard with sustained winds of 40 mph and gusts of up to 50 mph. Taking a spiritual look at winter’s process, Schreiwer said, “Many of us hail those associated strongly with snow: Skadhi and Holle. Being an Urglaawer with Holle as my patroness, I look at the snow blowing in the whirlwinds as a reflection of Her power. She has shaken her featherbed for over a day here, and the land is covered in the down. Although small, the first hail of the new year has fallen.” He shared this photo taken from his window:

[Photo Credit: Robert Schreiwer]

[Photo Credit: Robert Schreiwer]

Not missing an opportunity for some traditional religious work, Schreiwer added, “Per Deitsch tradition, I have collected some of it. One little stone I added to my drink; another I have retained for luck. The hail represents luck and opportunity for transformation and change. In the Deitsch healing and magical practice of Braucherei, the focus during this early time of the new year is on fixing that which needs repair, conserving the resources we have for last year, and planning and organizing the changes we need in order to make our lives better throughout the year. While we hail the snow, we also honor those who put their lives at risk to ensure the safety of others in this weather. Hail!”

Also in Pennsylvania, Priestess BrightFlame said that she was “snowed in” with  about 30″ of snow on the ground. But the resultant downtime caused by the weather has allowed BrightFlame to rest her sprained wrist and “reread The Fifth Sacred Thing ahead of allowing [herself] to indulge in Starhawk’s sequel, City of Refuge : the sequel to The Fifth Sacred Thing.”  This quiet time has also offered her the opportunity to prepare for an upcoming workshop that she is hosting in New York City with Starhawk,on February 20. BrightFlame shared this woodland photo from her home:

[Courtesy Bright Flame]

[Courtesy Bright Flame]

In New York City, Priestess and author Courtney Weber reported having a “perfect snowday.” She said that she also spent Saturday, “catching up on reading, writing the next book, and doing it all in pajamas because real Witches know how to multi-task. And do things better in pajamas.”  She shared this photo taken from her apartment window as the snow fell:

[Courtesy: Courtney Weber]

[Courtesy: Courtney Weber]

The storm’s reach stretched down the east coast forcing a number of governors to declare states of emergency and warning against travel. New York City shut all bridges and tunnels down through Sunday morning. Even as far south as Georgia, offices and schools closed early on Friday in preparation for the worst. And this wasn’t an unnecessary act. As the news has reported, at least 18 people have died in the wake of the storm with most of the deaths caused by slick roadways.

Star Bustomonte, who lives in Asheville, North Carolina, has been stuck inside due to the weather. Although her area was not hit as hard as the coastal mid-Atlantic region, Bustamonte did report that she had over a foot of snow. She also said, “I’ll be several hours digging out once it starts to warm up. But I’m not even starting until it gets about 30 degrees.” She’s spent the weekend, like many, watching television and hanging out with her cats.

[Photo Credit: Star Bustamonte]

[Photo Credit: Star Bustamonte]

Due to this reportedly historic storm, there have been many store closures and event cancellations. For example, Asheville’s Raven and Crone was closed yesterday and has canceled today’s workshops. Brooklyn’s Catland Books was also closed yesterday with plans to open today. However, Sunday morning owners posted on Facebook, “BROOKLYN! Take another day to build snow altars and leave offerings for blizzard spirits – we’ll see you on Monday, and back again next month for Black Mirror Salon!”

We contacted EarthSpirit, the organizers of Feast of Lights to see if they were at all concerned that this mega storm would damper attendance at next week’s conference. EarthSpirit co-founder Andras Corban-Arthen said, “No.”  The event takes place in Amherst, Massachusetts which was not in the storm’s path. However, he did say that they are watching weather, adding “Living in New England, we have to do that every year. So far, things look pretty good for next weekend, and in the 18 years we’ve been putting on Feast of Lights, we’ve never had to cancel once.”

Back in Washington D.C., Salisbury looked out of his window on Sunday morning. The storm had passed and the skies were clear. He shared this photo of his courtyard:

[Courtesy David Salisbury]

[Courtesy David Salisbury]

Over the next few days, as the weather warms above freezing and the snow begins to melt, the east coast will get back to its normal activity with schools back in session, businesses open and travel schedules on track. Until then, much of the east coast will be gathering by fires, digging out and finding ways to enjoy the quiet of a winter’s storm.

mlk

[Photo Credit: 22860 / Flickr]

Today, the U.S. honors Martin Luther King Jr. Public schools, government offices and many businesses are closed in order to recognize his work and sacrifice, as well as the staggering influence that his message has had on American society. Many Pagans, Polytheists and Heathens across the country are participating in local activities, both small and large, to recognize Dr. King and his influence.

Some choose to honor his work within the privacy of their practice. For example, T. Thorn Coyle noted that “Solar Cross Devotional will honor the legacy of Dr. King, focusing on economic and racial justice.” However, many others are attending larger public community events such as the second annual #96Hours action held this weekend in California’s Bay Area.

Organized by the Anti Police-Terror Organization, the #96Hours event consists of a weekend of scheduled actions, including protests, interfaith vigils, rallies and other activities, culminating in a march through the city of Oakland. Groups and individuals participating in the various activities include members of Coru Cathubodua, Solar Cross Temple, Golden Gate Kindred and more. Brennos Agrocunos, Vice Chief, Coru Cathubodua Priesthood said, “As Coru priests committed to core values of sovereignty, kinship, warriorship, and service, one of the ways we enact these values is in the streets standing shoulder to shoulder with members of all faiths in our communities, calling for justice and an end to oppression, and providing medical and logistical support to other activists.” We will have more details, including photos, tomorrow.

While King’s words and his life had a very specific purpose during a very tumultuous period in U.S. history, over time his message has been distilled down and come to permeate U.S. culture with a meaning that far exceeds the focused goals of that particular decade. In the wake of this past year’s events, King’s message appears to be returning with such a force, in many ways, to its very origins, regaining a new vitality and forward momentum. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds. – Dr. Martin Luther King, a Letter from Birmingham Jail

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sharon knightOn Jan. 23, musicians Sharon Knight and Winter will be awarded the Lost Chord Award by the Society for Ritual Arts (SRA) in Berkeley, California. They are being honored for production of The Portals Project. As explained on the website, “Our honorees combine a love of antiquity and romance with an affinity for the haunting and melancholy, adding a hearty dash of feistiness, and reminding us that we can all see the world through the eyes of enchantment.”

Organizers go on to say, “The Lost Chord Award is given annually […] to a musician or musical group for work that embodies the mission of the Society – to inspire a spiritual sense of wonder, awe or connectedness.” Knight and Winter will be the organization’s first honorees.

The ceremony will be held at the Northbrae Community Church in Berkeley, California. It will begin with a meet-and-greet at 6pm, which will be followed by performances by harpist Diana Rowan, fiddle player Michael Mullen, indie band Imager, singer Margaret Davis, and Hungarian shaman Ivan Szendro. The convocation will be given by Chief Luisah Teish and keynote by author Diana Paxson.

Tickets are available on the event site, and all proceeds got to Knight and Winter’s Portals project and to the SRA. For those not in the area, SRA also plans on streaming the event.

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2000px-Pentacle_on_white.svgIn October 2015, Elder High Priestess and founder of the Gaia Group Crystal Tier died, after a long life of dedication to spiritual exploration and leadership in the New Jersey Pagan community. Crystal was born into a New Jersey musical family as Christine Gittler. She loved animals and reading and, due to a transient lifestyle, was often the caretaker of her younger siblings.

In her teens, Christine began her spiritual journeying, moving to Italy to join a rigorous Benedictine order of Catholic nuns called the Disciples of the Divine Master. When the order didn’t appeal to her, she returned to the U.S. to study with another group called the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Although she didn’t take her final vows, she was able to teach in schools across the country.

However, by the 1970s, Christine’s spiritual life took a turn. She began studying with Raymond Buckland’s group on Long Island and, while there, she met her life partner Roger Tier. Together, the two eventually founded their own magical tradition called The Gaia Group, and grew to become vocal environmental and political activists, which led to the creation of The World Peace Network. Christine and Roger continued this public work over the following two decades.

In her later years, Christina suffered from Multiple Sclerosis and spent much of her time studying yoga, knitting and writing letters. Her husband Roger died suddenly on Samhain 2011, and her own disease only worsened, leaving her crippled with pain. On Oct. 9, 2015, Christine died peacefully in a New Jersey nursing home. High Priestess and friend Francesca Ciancimino Howell said, “Crystal was an enlightened, truly awake soul. We of The Gaia Group and The Temple of Gaia were privileged to have known her as Initiator.” What is remembered, lives.

In Other News:

  • Immanion Press has released the long-awaited book: The Pagan Leadership Anthology: An Exploration of Leadership and Community in Paganism and Polytheism. Within its 340 pages, this new anthology, edited by Taylor Ellwood and Shauna Aura Knight, includes 30 essays by 30 different authors, who share “their failures and successes as leaders as well as [show] you how you can become a better Pagan leader.” The book is available directly through the Immanion Press website.
  • In February, Starhawk will be in New York City to facilitate a workshop and ritual with BrightFlameThe event, called Stories for the Future, will “explore our ancestral and personal stories,” culminating “in a powerful ritual of collective myth creation.” Organizers explain, “Stories shape our imagination and our ideas of the possible. How can we use the power of story to help us envision a positive future, and inspire people to want to work towards it? Stir in a little magic–the art of shaping and shifting consciousness, of connecting with the deep creative energies of nature, bending time and opening awareness.” Starhawk will also be available to sign copies of her new book. Stories for the Future will take place on Saturday, February 20th in the Westbeth Community Center.  Tickets are on sale now.
  • Green Egg Magazine has announced that it is currently seeking submissions of “original works, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, politics, art, photography, and music,” for the 2016 Spring issue. Editors are also asking any authors who would like their books reviewed to contact them via email. The announcement reads, “We’re looking for writers with knowledge and experience in any issue that is of interest to Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, etc.”  Green Egg Magazine was founded by Oberon Zell in 1969.
  • Two conferences are quickly approaching. In Claremont, California, the Conference of Current Pagan Studies will open its doors on Jan. 23. “This academic conference welcomes the community to be part” of the effort to demonstrate that Pagan Studies is “a legitimate field of study.” Then, on the following weekend on Jan 29, EarthSpirit’s Feast of Lights will welcome its guests to Amherst, Massachusetts. “A Feast of Lights is weekend of warmth at the coldest time of the year – a festival of Earth spirituality and the arts, of community and hope, of tradition and creativity.”
  • For our readers in Australia, the Tasmanian Pagan Alliance is preparing for its upcoming annual Harvest Festival. The event includes “Workshops, Bread Making, Craft Activities, Bardic Circle, Communal Harvest Altar, Ritual, Feasting, Dancing and Trade Table/Market Stalls.” This year’s theme “Celebrating the sweetness of the Wild Harvest.” Harvest Festival 2016 will be held Jan 29 – 31 in Forth, Tasmania.
  • And, lastly, we say goodbye to British actor Alan Rickman. What is remembered, lives.

10296216_10153167430591104_642259405498786551_oIsis Books & Gifts, a metaphysical store located in Englewood, Colorado, erected its new sign after the original was destroyed by vandals. As we reported in November, the bookstore’s sign was destroyed shortly after the terrorist attacks on Paris and Lebanon. At the time, bookstore owner Karen Charboneau-Harrison told local news, “I don’t know if somebody walking down the street just saw our name on the sign and kind of lost it for a moment and threw a rock through it … or if it was an ignorant person who actually thought this was a bookstore for terrorists, I don’t know.”

The vandals were never caught, but Charboneau-Harrison immediately had a new sign created. However, this sign is slightly different. On a blue background, it reads “Goddess Books & Gifts” with an image of Isis to the left. And, the website graphic now reads the same. However, the store has not changed its name; only the sign and graphic have been altered. Charboneau-Harrison wrote on Facebook, “We are deflecting the attention of folks who flunked their 6th grade basic mythology class (and have anger issues) away from us and our signage.”

After the initial vandalism, the store received an outpouring of support in messages and donations. Currently, they are selling bumper stickers that read, “Isis is the Goddess of Healing, Family & Wisdom. Support Isis Books & Gifts.” Charboneau-Harrison added that that they feel strongly about keeping the name Isis, but also do not want to draw more violence to the business.

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Norse MythologyOn Dec 23, Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried’s work was featured on the BBC Radio series “Religion in the North.” Last July, he was contacted by Senior Producer Phil Pegum, who was interested in developing a series of programs that celebrated “the life and culture of the countries of the north.” Pegum asked Dr. Seigfried to write and record an essay “on the continuing popularity of Norse mythology, its broader cultural significance, and the resurgence of Heathen religion in recent decades.”

Dr. Seigfried’s recording aired third in a series of five episodes on the subject as part of Radio 3’s program “The Essay.” The other four include, “Forests and Faith under the Northern Lights,” Christmas Father: Lars Petter Sveen,”  “A Swedish Christmas: Andrew Brown,” and “Winter Solstice: Hanne Orstavik.” This series corresponds to Radio 3’s larger seasonal programming focusing on the world’s “northernmost territories.”

Dr. Seigfried’s essay runs fifteen minutes. The full text is published on his Norse Mythology blog, along with an embedded recording. Or you can listen to the full piece, as well as the others, directly through BBC Radio 3.

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269241_415493488489950_1381333520_nOn Dec. 29, the Interfaith Partners of South Carolina gathered at the State House for its annual meeting to discuss interfaith awareness in the state. Although not in attendance for the meeting this year, Gov. Nikki Haley did, once again for the fourth year in a row, make the declaration that January would be Interfaith Harmony Month.

In addition to discussing interfaith awareness, the organization was also there to address concerns over the rise in Islamaphobia both in the South Carolina region and the country. In a recent media release, the organization clearly stated its concerns saying that “Muslims have lived in South Carolina for three centuries.” And they added:

Our Interfaith Partners members include many religions and spiritual paths, including Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Baha’i, Buddhist, Pagan, Native American, Unitarian Universalist, Jewish, and more.  We work for harmonious communities through our interfaith activities because we understand the fragile bonds upon which our democracy is built. Peace in America depends upon the ability of diverse peoples to value diversity without perceiving those differences to be a threat.

Cherry Hill Seminary Director Holli Emore is a vocal and organizing partner in this interfaith group and spoke at the state house gathering. After the meeting, she was interviewed by a local CBS affiliate, saying “I want people to remember that you need to take time to listen to other people.”

With the official declaration of Interfaith Harmony Month, the interfaith organization is planning a number of activities to educate the population and advocate for peace. All upcoming January events are listed on the organization’s site.

In Other News:

  • Beginning today, the long-awaited novel City of Refuge is available to the public. In 2015, Starhawk opted to self-publish her new book, which is a sequel to her popular novel The Fifth Sacred Thing. Previously, the book was only available for special pre-orders through Starhawk’s successful kickstarter campaign. Now the book can be found on Amazon and other similar sites.
  • For fans of blogger Sara Amis’ writing, she will be featured in an upcoming edition of Cicada, a literary magazine for young people. According to Amis, the March/April issue will focus on witches. While her own piece, titled “The Witch’s Egg,” was not written specifically as a children’s story, she said that it is “fairy-tale-esque and they went with it.” Amis added, “It’s actually kind of a fairy tale about a middle-aged woman finding her own power. What a tween girl will make of it I don’t know, but I think it’s good for them to see an older adult female protagonist who isn’t stereotypical.” The issue will be available February.
  • The Norse Mythology Blog announced its art winners for midwinter 2015. In the adult category, first place went to Maria Bogdanova of Finland with her painting depicting the “Lady of the Winter, the goddess of heaven.” Second place went to Ida M. Kozłowski of Poland, and third place was award to Jorge Alves de Lima Júnior of Brazil. In the teen category, the first place winner was Heather Mathis of the U.S., age 16, with her depiction of “Frau Holle.” Second place went to Marquellius Nunn,of the U.S., age 19, and third to Stefano J. of the U.S., age 15. Lastly, in the kids category, the first place winner was Katie U. of the U.S., age 11, with her painting depicting “Frau Holle.” The second place winner was Rowan Chiment-Scimeca of the U.S., age 8, and the third place winner was Paul Jules Butler of Germany, age 7.
  • Now that the first issue of A Beautiful Resistance has been published and distributed, the editors are looking toward the next issue. They have posted a call for submissions. Issue #2 will be edited and curated by poet Lorna Smithers and published in May, around Beltane. The deadline for all submissions is March 1.
  • Although Pagan festival season is still several months away, registration has opened for one of the earliest such gatherings. The second annual Equinox in the Oaks is now open for business. The event, which will be held once again in Pierson, Florida, is a weekend long “earth-centered, ethically-focused, family-affirming festival.” It debuted last year on the weekend of the Spring Equinox. This year, it will be held from March 24-27, 2016.

wild hunt buttonToday we are starting off with a big thank you to everyone who supported the 2015 Wild Hunt Fall Fundraiser. Whether you donated, shared our link, told people about the service or any other effort, the Wild Hunt team is grateful to each of you.

It came down to the last few hours but we managed not only to reach the goal but to exceed it. While we do not have the final figures at this point, the total raised is pushing $20,000. That number is higher than previous years.Thank you deeply to everyone for making it possible for The Wild Hunt to continue its service with room for new growth.

What can you expect in the coming year? First…more of what you have come to expect. Our columnists will be returning on their regular days to explore and discuss the issues of the day. We currently have a full lineup of weekend writers including, Rhyd Wildermuth, Manny Tejeda-Moreno, Eric Scott, Lisa Roling, Dodie Graham-McKay, Cosette Paneque, Christina Oakley-Harrington, Crystal Blanton, Alley Valkyrie and our newest columnist Heathen Chinese. Both Valkyrie’s and Wildermuth’s columns will continue to be sponsored by Hecate Demeter, who has been supporting their work for over a year. And, new this year, Blanton’s column will be sponsored by CAYA Coven, whose organizers wrote, “In celebration of the wisdom and achievements of Pagan Women of Color, CAYA Coven is proud to sponsor Crystal Blanton’s Wild Hunt column this year.”

Also returning will be our two hard-working weekly journalists: Cara Schulz and Terence P. Ward. They will continue to cover the news as it happens, as well as broader news topics. Additionally, we welcome Yeshe Matthews as our Strategic Planning Director. We are thankful to her for running our 2015 Funding Drive and look forward to her continued work as a member of the Wild Hunt team.

But what about the growth? As always, we welcome news voices and interesting stories for our guest columns. We will continue that tradition and invite writers to submit pitches and stories. We also welcome press releases, letters to the editor and news tips. Outside of that, we will undoubtedly continue to evolve over the year and will announce any exciting changes in that process as they happen.

For now, we are taking a moment to pause hold this space and simply say thank you.

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1272196_1504315986498225_3499266264717747598_o-e1417450132408-500x447In Sept, Niki Whiting announced that Many Gods West (MGW), the Polytheist conference held in Washington State, would be returning. This week Whiting announced the event dates would officially be August 5-7. Additionally, the key address will be delivered by Sarah Anne Lawless, a professional artist, writer, folk herbalist and sole owner of the new shop Fern and Fungi. Whiting said, “[Lawless] approaches polytheism through animism, herbalism, and witchcraft. It will be an interesting contrast to last year’s excellent keynote.” The well-received 2015 address was given by Morpheus Ravenna.

It was also clarified that the MGW conference will be held at a different hotel than last year. Organizers say that it is “bigger and better.” But the location will still be Olympia, Washington, which is located approximately 60 miles south of Seattle. As reported earlier, the opening and closing rituals will be hosted by Rynn Fox of Coru Cathubodua. Registration and tickets go on sale Tuesday of this week. Whiting also added that further details are coming soon. For those interested, follow the Many Gods West Facebook page.

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As reported in several mainstream news sources, psychic witch Lori Sforza, also known as Lori Bruno, was in court this week to request a “protective order” against Christian Day. According to the reports, Sforza has accused Day of repeatedly harassing her via the phone and in social media. Day denies these allegations calling the conflict a “business dispute” gone wrong. Outside of the courtroom, he told reporters that Sforza is lying and has repeatedly called him names in public spaces.

The judge, who was reportedly was “dismayed by the volume of late night calls,” granted Sforza the protective order. But Day has vowed to appeal the decision. And, as stated after the hearing, he offered $10,000 to anyone who could prove that he had made all of those calls. The local television news was at the hearing and posted a short clip. We are currently working on this story and will have more details in the coming week.

In Other News…

  • Starhawk will be doing a book tour February and March 2016. She will be working through a speakers’ agency called Aid and AbetThe tour will happen just a few weeks after the official release of her new novel City of Refuge. Starhawk said, “If you have connections with an institution that might want me to come, or if you think you might want to organize something in your area, please contact Jen Angel: jen@aidandabet.org.” Starhawk added that she prefers small bookstores and university settings.
  • The Luna Press has released its 2016 Lunar Calendar “dedicated to the Goddessin her many guises.” This year marks the 40th anniversary of the calendar’s publication. The first one was produced in 1975 and has continued ever since. Today’s edition includes 23 artists, poets, and writers. Publisher Nancy Passmore said, “The art for this year’s 40th cover is about keeping ones’ moon boat afloat …” and was created by Jamie Hogan. Older covers and ordering information are on the publisher’s website.
1989 Cover Art of the Lunar Calendar

1989 Cover Art of the Lunar Calendar

  • Many people within our communities were interviewed by mainstream media during the October month. In article for Broadly Magazine, Ashley Mortimer, who is a Doreen Valiente Foundation Trustee and Director of the Centre for Pagan Studies was asked to comment on the work of Margaret Murray. The article, titled “The Forgotten Egyptologist and First Wave Feminist who Invented Wicca,” discusses Murray’s life, her influence on Gardner and the problematic place her work in Wicca’s history. Mortimer concludes, “It actually does not matter whether, or to what extent, Murray was right or wrong or that Gerald Gardner made it up or not … The system that was developed works for its purpose, which is religious and spiritual development. And that, in itself, is enough.”
  • Wild Hunt columnist Eric O. Scott authored an article for the religion news forum On Faith. This article, titled “10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Wicca,” was published on Oct 30. Scott is a second generation Pagan, who was raised in a Wiccan family. He writes, “The Halloween season invites many questions from people outside of Wicca about the nature of our religion. Some of those questions are things that even I didn’t have a good answer for, despite having been involved with Wicca since the day I was born.” Scott goes on to detail ten points about Wicca and its religious culture. The piece is unique in that it not only presents an un-sensationalized view point on Wicca within a mainstream media forum, but it was written by someone who has practiced the religion, as he said, “since the day he was born.”
  • Are you having Halloween withdrawl already? Go to Timeout‘s website and look over the dramatic photography from “Edinburgh’s Celtic Halloween ritual Samhuinn.” The twenty images show the Beltane Fire Society’s re-enactment of traditional rituals. As the report says, “Samhuinn is a riot of tribal drumming, pyrotechnics, body paint and symbolic, often violent street theatre.” The Beltane Fire Society is a “a community arts performance charity that hosts the Beltane Fire Festival and Samhuinn Fire Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.” In 2012, writer Rynn Fox looked at the society and how they create these community rituals.
  • Finally, Pagan singer Misha Penton published her most recent music video, titled “The Captured Goddess.” Penton’s voice is classically trained and, in this video, she is accompanied by a solo piano, a viola, and the music of Dominick DiOrio. The song is inspired by the 1914 Amy Lowell poem of the same name.

That’s it for now! Have a great day!

[Pagan Community Notes is a weekly feature that highlights short stories and notes originating from within our collective communities. If you like reading this dedicated news every Monday, please donate to our Wild Hunt Fall Fund Drive today. We are now 40% funded. Help us raise that number! All of our articles take time, research and money to produce. It is you that makes it all possible! Share our IndieGoGo link. Donate today and help keep The Wild Hunt going for another year. Thank You.]
The Druid NetworkThe Druid Network (TDN), based in the United Kingdom, will be attending the Inter Faith Network’s Annual General Meeting for the first time. TDN was admitted into the government-funded IFN UK in the fall of 2014 along with the Pagan Federation.

TDN trustee and treasurer Neil Pitchford said, “I have the honour of being the first Druid to attend after I was chosen to be TDN’s first representative.”

The Inter Faith Network was founded in 1987 and serves to “to advance public knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, traditions and practices of the different faith communities in Britain and to promote good relations between people of different faiths in this country.” Originally, the IFN rejected both Pagan organizations but at last year’s annual meeting, the decision was reversed. This year’s meeting, taking place on Oct. 14, will be the first one since the groups were admitted.

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Starhawk announced that fans can still pre-order a limited edition copy of her upcoming book City of Refuge: The Sequel to The Fifth Sacred Thing. Originally the limited edition copies were only available as a perk though her Kickstarter campaign. However, Starhawk has opened that offer up to pre-orders. Readers can also order signed copies.

City of Refuge picks up where The Fifth Sacred Thing left off. As noted on her site, the book “answers the timely question: how do we build a new world when people are broken by the old?” Starhawk is self-publishing the book supported by her Kickstarter campaign, which raised over $80,000. The book’s cover art, created by Jessica Perlstein, is now complete along with editing and other final details. Starhawk said that she expects the first group of books to be shipped in Dec. 2015.

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uri_logo_star1-250_250The Parliament of the World Religions (PWR) is now only three days away. Many of our organizations, as well as individual Pagans, Heathens and Polytheists, are currently packing up and beginning the trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. Already on the ground and in the city is Wiccan Priest and longtime Covenant of the Goddess member Don Frew, who is attending a lesser known interfaith function – the United Religions Initiative’s Global Council meeting.

The United Religions Initiative (URI) is a completely separate organization from PWR. URI’s purpose is to “promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.” This year, the organization decided to hold its annual Council meeting over the five days leading up to the Parliament, as many of their own members were already scheduled to be in Salt Lake City.

Frew, who is serving on the Council for a fourth term, has said that the meeting is moving along well and has been productive. Frew said that he will publish a full report on both CoG’s Interfaith blog. However, you may have to wait a bit for that report, because just as the URI meeting wraps up, the Parliament gets underway.

*    *    *

IPD

Today, in some parts of the U.S., locals are celebrating Indigenous People’s Day. Long heralded as Columbus Day, this second Monday in October is now slowly transitioning to something entirely new. Columbus Day, as a national recognized holiday, has been a source of deep contention and intense debate for a very long time. As outlined in the linked Washington Post article, “Activists described the change as the first step in a larger effort to reclaim a more accurate telling of history.” The celebration of Columbus day “ignores a violent past that led to hundreds of years of disease, colonial rule and genocidal extermination.”

The push to change the holiday began to gain ground in 1990 and momentum is now quickly gaining. The Columbus holiday is slowly being abandoned throughout various regions of the country with the hopes of its eventual elimination entirely at the national level. The Associated Press reported that this year at least 9 different cities are now officially marking this second Monday as Indigenous People’s Day and others are looking to follow that trend. Current cities listed include St. Paul, Seattle, Portland, Albuquerque; Olympia, Washington, and Minneapolis.

In Other News:

  • The deadline is fast approaching on the Pagan Women of Color Media Project. This project, launched in August by Michigan resident Mistress Belladonna, seeks to celebrate Pagan women of color. She is collecting “images of real women of Pagan faiths so that other women who find themselves on these paths can look and say, ‘Hey, there is someone like me.’ ” The images will eventually be published in a book form. The deadline is Nov. 7. More information is available on the site.
  • Storm Faerywolf has announced the publication of his first book through Llewellyn. In a blog post, he said, “I’m pleased to be able to share with you all the beginnings of the manifestations of one of my long-term goals. I have wanted to publish a book about my take on Faery tradition for many years and that is finally about to happen.” The book is temporarily titled “Betwixt and Between: Exploring the Faery Tradition of Witchcraft” and will explore the BlueRose tradition. Storm did not provide a release date but said that he’d post updates on the blog.
  • And, in other publishing news, Foremothers’ of the of the Women’s Spirituality Movement: Elders and Visionaries will be released on Nov. 1. It is an anthology edited by Miriam Robbins Dexter and Vicki Noble.
  • It’s that time of the year again: Witches Balls, public Samhain rituals and, of course, the Spiral Dance. This year marks the 36th annual Reclaiming Spiral Dance. The traditional event is a ritual to “to honor [the] beloved dead and to dance the spiral of rebirth.” It is also Reclaiming’s biggest fundraiser. Organizers write, “We support our community by coming together as a community in this dance.” They welcome everyone to the Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco Oct. 31 at 6 pm. Tickets can be purchased on line.
  • Don’t forget! The Wild Hunt will be live tweeting from the Parliament throughout the weekend, Thursday Oct 15 to Monday, Oct 19. We will be using the hashtag #PagansPWR. Follow us @thewildhunt

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That’s it for now. Have a great day! And, don’t forget to support the Wild Hunt.