Rev. Patrick McCollum arrived in New York City to attend the United Nations 60th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. This annual conference begins today, Mar. 14, and lasts through Mar. 24. The 2016 theme is “women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development […] ending violence against women and girls.” According to the commission, there are “8,100 NGO representatives registered” and “a record 208 events scheduled […] Alongside this, NGOs will organize 450 parallel events in the vicinity of the UN.”
One of the events happening alongside the conference is the presentation of the Ralph Johnson Bunche Medal for Peace. Rev. McCollum as well as Rev. Dean James Morton, former Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, will be receiving this honor for their work promoting international peace. The special public gala is being held Mar. 14, beginning at 7 p.m. in New York City at the InterChurch Center.
Rev. McCollum said that he was thankful to “the many friends and colleagues who have supported and encouraged [his] work for World Peace over the years.” Now he asks that people join him in raising “the status of women” and creating a world that “we can be proud of.”
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Musicians Sharon Knight and Winter have released the long-awaited Portals album. The music project was launched last year and described as an “otherworldly carnival, traveling in and out of mystery, magic, the unexplained. You feel the hair raise on the back of your neck as a motley band of skillful and possibly dangerous musicians brandish their bows, their voices, their tambourines, and open portals to the realms of the fantastical!”
In February 2015, Knight and Winter began a fundraising campaign that quickly raised a staggering $22,000 toward the completion of the project. One year later, Portals was released.
The album includes twelve songs “featuring guest performances by SJ Tucker, Betsy Tinney, Alexander James Adams (Tricky Pixie), Nathaniel Johnstone (Abney Park), Heather Dale, Wendy Rule, Sonja Drakulich ( Faun, Stellamara), and several more” It can be purchased through bandcamp in digital form or as a compact disc including a full-color lyric book.
Knight and Winter have also produced and released a video for the Portals song Porcelain Princess. The video is embedded below.
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The Sacred Space Conference 2016 is now over and attendees have been singing its praises. Featured presenter Ivo Dominguez Jr. told The Wild Hunt, “It was excellent and smoothly run.” And his comment was echoed over and over again on the public Sacred Space Facebook page.
After calling Sacred Space “one of the smoothest, more stimulating and drama-free gatherings around,” one attendee relayed this anecdote: “Many of us ran into a guy that just happened to be at the hotel, was Pagan, and was surprised to find a conference going on. He popped into several things as he could. He commented on how nonjudgmental, accepting and positive the vibe was – and he will be back next year – on purpose next time.”
Reviewing the weekend, Robert Schreiwer said, “I did one workshop on Braucherei in the Urglaawe Context and also one ritual to Ewicher Yeeger. There was a powerful discussion on death and funerals run by the Blue Star folks and that has already led to the creation of a network of people from several traditions.” He also noted that his own organization founded a new Urglaawe freehold, or kindred without a formal oath, this weekend during the Sacred Space event.
Organizer Gwendolyn Reece said, “I am really grateful to all of our teachers for sharing their talent, their ritual skills, and their inspiration with us, especially our featured teachers: Ian Corrigan, Ivo Dominguez Jr., and Ellen Lorenzi-Prince.”
Reece and the other Sacred Space organizers will be taking a short, much-needed break and, then, they begin plans for next year’s 2017 event. Reece said, “From my perspective [this year’s event] went really, really well. I think the best objective indication is that last year we had 11 people pre-register at the conference and this year we had 45.”
In Other News:
- As the winter conference season winds down, festival season begins. On Mar. 24, Equinox in the Oaks kicks off its second annual event, held on private campgrounds in Pierson, Florida. The four-day outdoor festival hosts workshops, rituals and vendors. Organizers call it a “magical immersion” experience. Registration is now open.
- Cherry Hill Seminary’s “The Greening of Religions” symposium and leadership training conference is also on the horizon. To be held the first weekend of April, the CHS conference “is a two and a half day event in Columbia, South Carolina, held at the University of South Carolina.” It brings people together to discuss the “the link between religion and climate change.” The keynote speaker is Bron Taylor, Ph.D., and the theme is “Hope in the Eye of the Storm.”
- Burning Brigid Media (BBM), a Pagan-run production company based in Chicago, has announced the launch of Synesthesia Theatre, an “Audio Drama Anthology Podcast.” The first serial will be “an adaption of the steampunk western novel Iron Horses Can’t Be Broken by Michael Coorlim.” BBM founders describe Synthesia Theatre as the “cinema of the mind, dedicated to telling engaging stories through well-crafted writing, performances, and sound effects to evoke a cinematic experience in the mind’s eye.” The new serial and future projects can be found through through iTunes, Libsyn RSS, and Burning Brigid Media’s website.
- Moon Books publishing has released a title called Whispers from the Earth by shamanic healer Taz Thornton. It is described as containing, “ancient teaching stories from the earth, together with meditations and step-by-step guides to sourcing your own tales from the spirits of the ancestors.” The Bad Witch’s Blog published a short review of the book and an interview with Thornton, who explains her story and how the book came into existence. She said, “Whispers from the Earth came about when I was sitting doing some admin work at my PC one day and a voice I recognised as one of my ancestor spirits came through. I was busy, so tried to dismiss it, but the voice was very insistent. ‘The stories you’ve been recording,’ it said, ‘send them to a publisher.’ “
- Paganicon is coming this week to Minneapolis! And, if you are going, don’t forget to stop by The Wild Hunt social on Mar. 18, and the Meet The Wild Hunt panel on Mar. 19.