Archives For Wisteria

Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started!

A Breakthrough on the Issue of Trans Inclusion? In Friday’s Unleash the Hounds, I reported that questions over transgender inclusion at women-only rituals had become an issue at the then in-progress Pagan Spirit Gathering festival. A situation that echoed incidents at PantheaCon in the past two years. Yesterday, newly returned from the festival, Cara Schulz from PNC-Minnesota reports on what may be a historic press conference held on Saturday, featuring Rev. Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary, Dianic High Priestess Ruth Barrett, and festival presenter and transgendered activist Melissa Murry.

“Both women said the transgender community is trying to find their voice, similar to the feminist movement in the 60′s and 70′s.   Like the feminist movement, they speak of suffering, pain, and violence.  Murry and Barrett also spoke of the value in claiming mysteries and rituals specific to their sacred journey as women.  “Within my Tradition, which is about the female body and the journey of being born female and the journey through the bloods and birth and menopause,” said Barrett.  “That is a different journey for transgendered women who come to womanhood through a different path.”

Rev. Fox announced that at next year’s PSG they would offer a mystery ritual and rites of passage for transgendered persons if Ms. Murry would lead them.  After Murry agreed to do so, she asked Barrett if she would assist her.  Barrett was unsure if she would be able to attend PSG next year due to changes in her personal life, but said she would help Murry however she was able.”

In a release sent to various Pagan media outlets, Barrett said that she couldn’t “express enough how happy and hopeful I am from the work accomplished at PSG,” and that the work accomplished at this festival will be “a model for other pagan festivals that are dealing with female-born space and trans inclusion/exclusion issues.” While not all concerns about ritual inclusion were solved, there did seem to be some important shifts taking place at PSG, including the acknowledgment that trans women are women by a prominent Dianic leader. You can listen to, and download, audio of the entire press conference, here (note, the PNC is looking for volunteer transcriptionists so we can make the content more accessible) .

Pagan Pride at NY Pride: Earlier this month I reported on the involvement of Christopher Penczak‘s Temple of Witchcraft in the 2012 Boston Pride Parade, now we have a photo from another Pagan group in a LGBT Pride Month parade.

New York City Pagan Pride at Pride (photo: Gary Suto)

New York City Pagan Pride at Pride (photo: Gary Suto)

As you can see from the photo, that’s a contingent from the New York City Pagan Pride Project at the New York City Gay Pride Parade, showing their support for LGBTQ rites. This NYC Pride Parade marked the first anniversary of same-sex marriage becoming legal in New York. Also involved in the parade, carrying their own banner, was the NY Gay Men’s Open Pagan Circle. Zan Fraser, a contributor to The Juggler, was there, and plans to post about his experiences soon.

Songs of the Goddess: The blog Songs of the Goddess, where Draeden Wren diligently reviews Pagan and Pagan-friendly music, has released a free sampler of Pagan music entitled: “A Pagan Music Collection (Volume 1).”

“I am truly a fan of these artists, and I am so grateful they accepted my proposal for them to be a part of this project.  More important than that, I am so happy to be a soundboard for these artists.  They need people to know about them!  We are able to listen to brilliant Goddess/Nature-based/Tree-hugger music because of these creators.”

Artists on the compilation include Sharon Knight, Damh the Bard, Wendy RuleKenny Klein, Deborah “DJ” Hamouris, Amelia Hogan, and many more! It’s a nice round-up of the bigger names within Pagan music, and you certainly can’t beat the price. You can find the download link, here. You can also find Songs of the Goddess at Facebook.

In Other Community News:

That’s all I have for now! Are there blogs, podcasts, or other Pagan news sources you think I’m missing out on? Please leave links in the comments, and if there’s news in your community be sure to share it!

Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note, a series more focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. I want to reinforce the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So lets get started!

Patrick McCollum Travels to Thailand: Pagan chaplain and activist Patrick McCollum will be traveling to Thailand in February at the invitation of Dhammakaya temple in the Pathumtani Province, where he will be honored as a World Inner Peace Ambassador, and share Pagan rituals and practices with Buddhist Lamas. McCollum will then travel to the renowned temple at Borobudur on the Island of Java with Lama Gangchen Rinpoche, of the World Peace Foundation.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to represent my community in such a significant way.  Perhaps in working to create a better world, my efforts may help reduce the prejudice and discrimination many of our community and other minorities face in the mundane world.  In the end, I hope to show that all people, no matter what their beliefs, are both sacred and connected, and that all the people of the world should be honored as brothers and sisters of the Human race!”

Patrick will be sharing more information and insights about his trip with us when he returns. This is a major interfaith event for modern Pagan faiths, one that could have far-reaching effects on Buddhist-Pagan relations for years to come. Congratulations to Patrick on this great honor.

Wisteria Wants to Clear the Air: The Wisteria campground and nature retreat in Ohio, home to several Pagan festivals and events, is participating in the Pepsi Refresh Project in order to win $5000 dollars for the construction of composting toilets for the facility.

“This project will aid Wisteria in building composting toilets on site for the use of its patrons and guests.  It will also act as a demonstration, showing that the use of composting toilets is a legitimate alternative to the traditional Porta-Johns that are typically used in festival and event settings.  Finally, it will go to helping develop legislation that will be instrumental for state acceptance of the composting toilet scenario.”

As press release sent to my by Wisteria workshop coordinator Adam Hoyt says: “No more walk through camp with friends, timing your conversation with the pause required to avoid the early morning “crispness” of the “Od’air” of the blue box.” If this project gets into the top ten (currently at #91), they will receive the funding. Individuals can vote twice per day by a variety of different methods. So take some time out and support a less smelly Wisteria!

Pagan Perspectives on Marriage: Marriage and Family Therapist Charlton Hall, a member of the Universal Order of Druids, is researching Pagan perspectives on marriage, and is conducting a survey.

“I am a Marriage and Family Therapist, researching this topic. If you practice an Earth-centered spiritual path, would you take a few moments to participate in this ten-question survey? Thanks!”

Feel free to pass the survey link along. The more responses, the more accurate the results!

Penton Magazine Changes With the Times: South African Pagan magazine Penton has shifted gears and relaunched as Penton Independent Pagan Media.

“Penton has just launched our new site – a more user friendly option. I’ll be uploading archived articles and interviews published in Penton Magazine (dating back to 2004) over the next few weeks. Penton Magazine’s new release as Penton Independent Pagan Media offers a change in both visual format, functionality and publication frequency. Penton’s readers can now interact online with our contributing authors, regular columnists and new bloggers directly. Instead of quarterly publications, Penton will now publish new articles and blogs more frequently (weekly).”

This is an encouraging step, and I look forward to more perspectives and news from South African Pagans from this relaunched venture. You can contact Penton Independent Pagan Media, here.

Maetreum of Cybele Continues the Fight: The Daily Mail in Greene County, New York, checks in with the Maetreum of Cybele, Magna Mater’s ongoing tax battle with the Town of Catskill, and finds that the legal stalemate continues.

The Palenville pagan sect fighting for the town’s recognition as a religious entity says it will not stop, even if it needs to go federal. The Maetreum of Cybele, Magna Mater’s ongoing tax battle with the Town of Catskill has entered its fifth year, with the municipality continuing to deny a religious property tax exemption it once granted for 2006. […] “This isn’t just for us, this is for all minority religions,” [Cathryn] Platine said. “They took on the wrong people this time and I don’t understand why they don’t just cut their losses.” Platine said the Maetreum has spent about $10,000 in legal fees fighting to preserve their property in Palenville with a “very, very reasonably priced attorney.” The town, Platine estimated, has spent over $50,000 on attorney fees to remove an exemption that would net the town less than $750 annually at the current town tax rate.

You can read more about this ongoing battle in the Wild Hunt’s archives.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!