There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans and Heathens out there, more than our team can write about in depth in any given week. Therefore, the Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.
- Today marks the birthday of Doreen Valiente, who is largely considered to be the mother of modern Witchcraft and Wicca. Valiente was born in London in 1922, and eventually found her way into Witchcraft. Much of the written work used today in Gardnerian practice was written by Valiente. Upon her death in 1999, Valiente left her legacy to the care of John Belham Payne. Payne then established the Doreen Valiente Foundation, which has been instrumental in preserving her memory. The foundation was behind, in part, the production of the biography Doreen Valiente – Witch and a play of the same name, as well as various Witchcraft museum exhibitions and more.
- There are many ways to celebrate the coming of the new year. Every year in Brazil, hundreds of people head to Rio de Janeiro to honor the sea goddess, Yemaya. The ritual and celebrations are respected traditions from the religions Candomble and Umbanda. According to an Associated Press report, “A large statue of the goddess in flowing white and blue robes was carried by truck to the beach” Friday for the traditional festivities.
- Looking ahead is part of many early January traditions worldwide. In a recent blog post, writer Austin Coppock explains in detail the movement of Saturn into Capricorn and what it means for the future. He writes, “The ingress of Saturn into a new sign is always important, but there is no ingress into any of the 12 signs as inherently meaningful as the entrance into Capricorn. This is because Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, meaning that the sign receives the planet as its rightful lord and master.” Coppock uses convincing historical evidence to demonstrate his theory.
- While the wheel has turned, some things never do, such as the fight for religious liberty in public schools. In Louisiana, a family is suing the local school system for first amendment violations. As noted by the ACLU, the Webster Parish school district has been supporting the reading of Bible versus or the Lord’s Prayer over the loud speaker each day. Prayers are read at all school events, and allowed in the classroom. The ACLU reports that, in response to the lawsuit, the school system’s superintendent said, “I’ll stop when someone makes me stop.”
- As shown in a recent article published in the Baltimore Sun, progress has been made in accommodating religious practice in prisons in Maryland. The article reads: “Besides the widely celebrated Christmas and Hanukkah holidays, the prison system also makes accommodations for inmates who practice one of about 30 other religions, including nine branches of Islam and two dozen Christian denominations. The busy season for prison chaplains also includes the Yule celebration for Odinists and the Native American winter solstice ceremony this month. January observances include the Moorish Science Temple prophet’s birthday, the Moorish New Year, and the Rastafarian Ethiopian Christmas.”
- Moving to art and culture, the Burning Man festival organizers announced the center temple for the 2018 event. It is called “Galaxia,” and celebrates “hope in the unknown, stars, planets, black holes, the movement uniting us in swirling galaxies of dreams. A superior form of Gaia in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, Galaxia is the ultimate network, the fabric of the universe connecting living beings into one entity.” The coming 2018 Burning Man festival, which will happen in August, is themed “I, Robot.”
- In Syracuse, a special publication project has reached its silver anniversary. The Women Artists Datebook, created by a committee of people that make up the Syracuse Cultural Workers, has been in publication for 25 years. It features poetry and art by female artists from around the world, and notes special holidays from a variety of religions, including Pagan ones, as well as dates for secular events and even human tights historical markers. “Kerney notes that the datebook is hardly a mass-consumption item. With its content and publication by an independent cultural group, it falls into a small-market niche. Yet from year to year, the Cultural Workers continue to work with a press run of 4,000, selling almost all the copies of a particular edition.” The group also produces a peace calendar, which is in its 47th year.
- Remember when Carlton Gebbia was making headlines in 2014 for being a Witch and starring in the reality television show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills during season four? In 2017, a new reality television show has a Witch making entertainment news. MTV’s show Floribama Shore has Kayla Jo, reportedly not an official cast member, but part of the show who, on camera, announced that she is a Witch, saying “I’m Wiccan, which means that I practice the white light…It means that you believe in a higher spirit besides God.”
- Lastly, did you know that Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris-Michael Jackson, is Wiccan? In an exclusive interview with Vogue, Jackson said, “I studied Buddhism for about two years before finding Wicca. The main reason I stuck with that is because it all comes down to worshiping nature. Right now I consider myself on the healer’s path as I study to hopefully become a shaman one day.”