MELBOURNE — The Black Lives Matter movement has reached Australia. So far, there have been rallies in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Brisbane. The ABC, Australia’s state-owned and funded national public broadcaster, reported that 3,500 people attended the Melbourne rally on Sunday, July 17.
The movement, which began in the U.S., has a struck a chord with Australia’s aboriginal people. Although aboriginal people make up only about 3% of the Australian population, they reportedly make up 26% of the prison population. Blogger and Witch Cosette Paneque explains, “BLM is also embraced by [Australia’s] non-aboriginal black people and other people of colour who regularly experience institutionalised racism.”
Paneque lives in Melbourne and attended the recent local rally. She said, “I’ve been watching the BLM movement with great interest since the 2013 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. I’d been watching from a distance and feeling helpless. I had to go to the Melbourne rally to show solidarity with the movement and with my black friends who are perpetually grieving and terrified for their children. It’s moving to see BLM speak to Australians.”
Paneque called the rally “a powerful and peaceful display of solidarity.” She added that it was “incredible to walk to with aboriginal people and elders, Torres Straight Islanders, West Papuans, as well non-aboriginal black people, African-Australians, and other people of colour.”
“As a woman of colour and as a Pagan, for me, the personal is political; I had to be there.”
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UNITED STATES — The July Issue of The Interfaith Observer (TIO) featured Wiccan elder Rev. Donald H. Frew, who has been involved in religious freedom actions and interfaith work since the 1980s. Frew has attended the Parliament of the World’s Religions since its re-establishment in the 1990s, has acted as an interfaith representative for Covenant of the Goddess, and has traveled extensively abroad representing modern Pagan practice in various interfaith forums.
The July TIO issue includes ten of Frew’s articles, covering subjects such as, “When Wiccans and Evangelical Christians Become Friends,” originally published January 2012, and “When Nature Talks Back,” originally published February 2015. The issue also includes two articles by the journal’s editor focusing on Frew’s work, and it also includes a video interview.
TIO is a “monthly electronic journal created to explore interreligious relations and the interfaith movement as a whole.” The journal is “a member of the North American Interfaith Network, an affiliate of United Religions Initiative-North America, and a Cooperation Circle of United Religions-Multiregion.”
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LONDON — Pagan Dawn magazine, the official publication of the Pagan Federation, is celebrating its 200th issue. Along with work by the magazine’s regular staff writers, the issue includes “exclusive interviews with Prof. Ronald Hutton, Susan Cooper, Steve Rothery and Pat Mills.”
Pagan Dawn was founded in 1968 as The Wiccan. When the Pagan Federation was born in 1971, it was adopted as the organization’s official publication. In 1994, the magazine changed its name to reflect the growing number of non-Wiccan Pagans in the community.
Editor Kate Large said, “Reaching 200 issues is an incredible landmark for a magazine staffed and run by volunteers. And our journey from just a few sheets of paper to a glossy, full-colour magazine, also mirrors the larger journey of Paganism. Once, Pagans had to tread carefully; the community was smaller and much more divisive. Now, we can live more freely, often thanks to the work of the Pagan Federation. We’re now looking to a future of inclusivity and diversity, and are eager to engage with more international readers.”
Other contributors to the 200th celebratory issue include “Candia McKormack, Rachel Patterson, Rebecca Beattie, Joanna VanderHoeven, Andrew Pardy, Baba Studio, Nimue Brown, Valerie Thomas, Vix, Tony Furminger, Anna McKerrow, Daniel Bran Griffithand, Andy Stout, David Spofforth, Claire Dixon and Sam Proctor.” Pagan Dawn has been publishing quarterly since its inception. It is available through its website in both print form and, since 2014, in a paperless edition.
In Other News
- Tenders’ high priestess Karen Bruhin of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel will be participating in a four day interfaith prayer event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Titled “DNC Prayer Circle Hosts: Interfaith Prayer Circle for Peace, Unity, and Justice,” the event will host prayer circles offered by 15 different clergy and religious leaders over a four-day period, while the Democratic National Convention is taking place. Organizers Xelba and Vanette write, “Please join us as we pray, chant, and meditate to promote peace in the city and the world, unite our people and causes, and lend spiritual strength to those who lift up their voices for justice.” For interested locals, Ms. Bruhin is on the schedule for Tuesday’s session. More information is on the Facebook event page.
- The Edmonton Wiccan Seminary has received its incorporation as a federal non-profit, and will begin accepting its first students January 2017. Founder Samuel Wagar said, “Edmonton Wiccan Seminary is established to provide clergy training in the Wiccan religion to those called to a public clergy path and Wiccan religious education services to the general public.” Wagar went on to say that the group will have four paths, including “academic work, personal work, outer court group leadership, and starting new public groups.” He also added that the seminary is hoping to partner with temples and clergy to “mentor its students.”
- The Pagan/Academic European Associates Network (PAEAN) announced the time and date of its 4th online conference. PAEAN will held online Nov 7, from 6-9 p.m (+1 UTC). The theme will be “Pilgrimage in Europe: Ancient and Contemporary Pagan Pilgrimage Practices.” The keynote speaker will be Dr. Thomas Clough Daffern, philosopher, educator, and peace studies specialist. Organizers are currently looking for paper submissions on a number of related topics. Specifics are on their event page, and the deadline is Oct. 7. PAEAN is a conference sponsored in part by Pagan Federation International.
- For those readers who own the book Simply Runes by Kim Farnell, it has been re-released by publisher Hampton Roads as Runes Plain and Simple. Blogger Morgan Daimler reviews the new edition on her Patheos blog Irish-American Witchcraft. Daimler writes, “It’s a decent very basic introduction to the runes. I would still suggest supplementing it with another rune book as well though for a different point of view.”
- Many Gods West is only two weeks away. Polytheists from around the U.S. are preparing to meet in Olympia, Washington for three days of talks, lectures, rituals and other festivities. The schedule of event is now online. The opening remarks and ritual, hosted by Sean Donahue, will be held Aug. 5 at 12:30 p.m.
That’s if for now. Have a great day!