Archives For Wren Walker

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!

Morpheus Ravenna

Morpheus Ravenna

Morpheus Ravenna, co-founder of Coru Cathubodua, and one of the subjects of the documentary American Mystic, launched an IndieGoGo crowdfunding venture this week to fund a book project focused on the Celtic goddess Morrigan. In the span of just a few days, it has already managed to reach 70% of its $7,500 goal. Quote: My name is Morpheus Ravenna. I write the Shieldmaiden Blog and I’m known in my community for my service as a priest of the Morrigan, the Celtic Goddess of battle, prophecy, and Otherworld power. I’ve been studying these traditions for almost 20 years – my entire adult life. I’ve combed the volumes of Irish lore, ancient history and archaeology, and modern scholarly study for insights to help modern practitioners understand and connect with the Great Queen. My research notes encompass hundreds of pages of material, some of it never presented outside academic publications. And now I’m ready to share my years of study with you.” Here’s the Google Hangout video from the launch night event. Below, I’ve embedded the official pitch video

10378157_10202241520539235_4465347862056082361_nThe Wild Hunt’s own Cara Schulz, a member of Hellenismos, is running for a seat on the Burnsville City Council in Minnesota. In a recent post on her candidacy page’s blog, Schulz explains to voters about her faith. Quote: “Hellenismos is very family focused and primarily practiced in the home. It mainly consists of praying and burning incense. I find it spiritually fulfilling and beneficial to my life. It’s a comfort to me when I need comfort and a kick in the pants when I need that. What residents may want to know, and they have a right to know, is how will my religious views affect me as City Council member? Probably no more, or no less, than any other candidate. I have no intention of pushing my religion on anyone or allowing its tenets to dictate law. Our government is a secular government and I firmly support that.” Schulz added that “Burnsville residents have always been welcoming of cultures, faiths, and ideas, as long as you are open and honest with them. It’s one of the things I love most about Burnsville.” The Wild Hunt, as a rule, does not endorse candidates from any party in elections, Pagan or not, but we will wish our friend and colleague good luck in the race ahead. Find out more about Cara and her candidacy at the official candidate’s page. You can also find her on Facebook.

Cherry Hill SeminaryPagan learning institution Cherry Hill Seminary has released a free media presentation called “Don’t Look Away” to help non-professionals recognize and respond to abuse within their community. Quote: “In response to growing concern about accountability in our communities, Cherry Hill Seminary has released a free media presentation called Don’t Look Away: Recognizing & Responding to Abuse for non-professionals. Don’t Look Away was created to help individuals and small groups better understand the nature of sexual abuse and appropriate ways to respond, as well as what to do if you have been abused, yourself. Numerous resources are given, such as the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, National Domestic Violence Hotline, and others. The presentation also references a new Emergency Resources page on the Cherry Hill Seminary web site. The page is a quick reference, not only on sexual abuse, but on domestic violence, addictions, child and elder abuse and neglect, mental health, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” You can find the CHS Emergency Resources page here. CHS Executive Director Holli Emore added in the official press release that “for far too long, we have either not recognized the signs of abuse among us, or we have looked away, assuming, hoping, that someone else will take care of the problem. But those problems don’t go away by themselves.”

In Other  Pagan Community News: 

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

Pagan voices is a spotlight on recent quotations from figures within the Pagan community. These voices may appear in the burgeoning Pagan media, or from a mainstream outlet, but all showcase our wisdom, thought processes, and evolution in the public eye. Is there a Pagan voice you’d like to see highlighted? Drop me a line with a link to the story, post, or audio.

Rev. Ava Park (Photo by John Gilhooley, OC Weekly)

Rev. Ava Park (Photo by John Gilhooley, OC Weekly)

 “Over the years we have had a bit of controversy over our definition of ‘woman’ and our ‘women only’ policy for many events. The human reality is that there are many more genders than just ‘male’ and ‘female.’ These other genders are not recognized or honored in our society, and this refusal to see reality has caused untold harm to countless numbers. Beginning this year, it is our intention to identify, name, formally recognize and honor these as-yet unacknowledged genders, creating a sacred place for each in our community.Those (of any gender) who are interested in being part of this unfolding and groundbreaking work, please contact us. You will be invited to join a committee, the intent of which will be to guide The Goddess Center’s gender policies for the greatest good for all.” – Rev. Ava Park of the Goddess Temple of Orange County, explaining her temple’s shift on gender, and the adoption of a new name: “The Goddess Center of Southern California.” [Reported by Medusa Coils, one of the best informational blogs on Goddess Spirituality.]

P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

“When the question of “belief” comes up in modern Pagan and polytheist contexts, I get very annoyed that the definition being used comes from the creedal religious majority in the U.S., and not from a more experiential understanding as developed by Weil, Doohan, Krall, and others. When belief is understood in creedal terms within modern polytheism and Paganism, I have to say over and over again, “I don’t believe in Antinous, I know him, and thus there’s no need for belief any longer.” Or, as Joseph Campbell said to Bill Moyers in The Power of Myth interviews, “I don’t have to have faith—I have experience.” But in an experiential understanding of “belief,” built upon an experiential “faith” as advocated by Doohan, I have no end of beliefs in Antinous!” – P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, discussing belief within the context of non-creedal religions, and responding to an essay by John Halstead on the role of faith and creed in modern Paganism. Lupus’ latest book is “All-Soul, All-Body, All-Love, All-Power: A Transmythology.”

Ivo Dominguez Jr.

Ivo Dominguez Jr.

“Before I share a new piece of magickal technology, I make sure that I have tested it thoroughly. It is too easy to be caught up in the enthusiasm of a new creation and to inflict it upon others. If it is magickally effective, then it has consequences, side effects, and outcomes that may not be apparent immediately. As a part of my ethic of innovation, I test things on myself for months or in some cases years before sharing them. This is not about secrecy, it is about responsibility and accountability. I love to leap into action, and must often remind myself to use the power of silence.”Ivo Dominguez Jr. on the power of silence, and the importance of testing new magickal technology. You can find out more about Ivo and his projects, here.

T. Thorn Coyle

T. Thorn Coyle

“Clear direction comes from risking both decisive movement supported by strength, and by opening, relaxing our edges, and listening for what is present and what may come. Irritation may still be there, but it is not the only thing. The closed door has an opening as well. The details are important but they are not the whole story.  Something is waiting. Are we ready?”T. Thorn Coyle on the importance of opening to life. Thorn will be teaching and speaking at Pantheacon in San Jose, and FaerieCon West in Seattle, this February.

Wren Walker

Wren Walker (self-portrait)

“This is a time when protection is necessary and diligence is required. If you tune in to the seasonal tides, you may indeed feel vulnerable during this part of the cycle. (See? You weren’t just being paranoid!) Now you can take measures to protect yourself. Fill your string jar. Set some wards. Work protection magic. Hold your loved ones close. Do not be embarrassed to ask for some extra help or reassurance. Watch over little ones. Reach out to those who are ill or frail or alone. Resources can still be a bit scarce before we reach the full lushness of spring or the plenty of the harvest.” – Wren Walker, co-founder of the legendary Witches’ Voice, on being “In the Thicket With Things.”

Alley Valkyrie holds up the front-page story of her arrest.

Alley Valkyrie holds up the front-page story of her arrest.

“When you stand up to the County Administrator and County Counsel right before they’re up for huge raises, their response is to violate your constitutional rights by banning you from the County building…”  – Feri Witch and Eugene activist Alley Valkyrie responding to her ban from County buildings after practicing free speech in Eugene, Oregon’s Free Speech Plaza.

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

Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note, a new 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!

Wren’s Nest Closes Down: Yesterday, on the Witches’ Voice Facebook page, site co-founder Wren Walker announced that she was closing down the long-running and popular Pagan news service Wren’s Nest.

“Greetings! As many of you already know – or have discovered via a TWV link – Wren’s Nest is closed. There are new ways by which media and people exchange information. This page is one of them. We would like to thank everyone who supported, shared, commented and otherwise made Wren’s Nest News the resource that it was. It was my heart-felt pleasure and deepest honor to serve you.”

This is truly the end of any era. Wren’s Nest paved the way for sites like mine, and there’s strong evidence that it may have been the very first Pagan blog, certainly the first to deal with Pagan news. Here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote for Llewellyn’s 2007 Wicca Almanac concerning Wren’s Nest.

“The real revolution regarding Pagans and blogging began in 1997, with the launch of what would become the most popular Web site for Wiccans, Witches, and modern Pagans … While Wren’s Nest never identified itself [as a blog]. It is updated regularly (daily, in fact); it is organized chronologically, with individual posts one can link to, and it allows readers to comment on each post. While Wren rarely opines on the news links and essays she shares with her readership (aside from the occasional “Chirp”), this site proved that blogging is something that could work for Pagans as a mass audience. In the years that followed, many other bloggers have been inspired by (or have simply imitated) Wren’s approach. This paved the way for the blogging community we have now.”

While Wren’s Nest is closed, Wren herself is (along with other Witchvox staffers) still “chirping” news items at The Witches’ Voice Facebook page, so you can still get a selection of daily news items that way. Thank you Wren for your years of service, your contributions will be remembered and honored.

Pagan Health Survey: The American Public Health Association (APHA) has issued a call for papers concerning public health among religious minorities in the United States for their annual conference, and Kimberly Hedrick of the TriWinds Institute is conducting a survey of modern Pagan communities to relate our views concerning health at this event.

“As both a Pagan and cultural anthropologist, I felt it was vitally important that we help policy-makers and service providers understand our needs and beliefs. This will help us to meet the health care needs of our community and build public understanding of our religious and spiritual traditions. I designed the Pagan Health Survey to help people better understand us and our views on health. The results will be combined with what I have gained by being within the Pagan community and sitting in on healing panel discussions, workshops, and so forth, as well as interviews with Pagan clergy and health care practitioners. This research is being funded through my grassroots nonprofit, TriWinds Institute through donations.”

You can access the survey, here. Kimberly Hedrick, who holds a PhD in cultural anthropology, welcomes questions and inquiries into the project, its goals, and her own background. You can either e-mail her, or visit the survey’s Facebook group. To get a statistically significant sample it needs thousands of respondents, and she only has a couple of months to collect the data in time, so she’s asking the Pagan community to help distribute the survey far and wide.

Memorials for Isaac Bonewits: Many special memorial services are being planned for Pagan leader Isaac Bonewits, who passed away on August 12th. The family will be holding a memorial and remembrance of Isaac on August 21st at the First Unitarian Society of Rockland County (FUSRC) in Pomona, NY.

“I lost the love of my life last Thursday, but his life goes on in the influence he’s had on everyone. We will be celebrating his life next Saturday, August 21, in Pomona, NY” – Phaedra Bonewits

Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) is also holding a memorial service for Isaac on August 19th at the Summerland Festival.

“ADF will be holding a Memorial this coming Thursday (Aug. 19) at the Summerland Festival near Yellow Springs, OH at 9pm. We will call on Isaac as our newest Ancestor and also call on the Ancient Wise to welcome him into their midst. Afterwards we will hold a Wake in the dining hall.”

Word is that the ADF memorial ritual will be recorded, and pieces of it made available on the Internet. Other memorials are also being planned as well, check this Facebook thread for updated information to see if there’s one in your area. You may also want to listen to a special memorial episode of Pagans Tonight, which features Phaedra Bonewits, Selena Fox, Ian Corrigan, and Oberon and Morning Glory Zell Ravenheart sharing stories. You can download that show, here.

Covering the Sacred Harvest Festival: PNC-Minnesota is back from Sacred Harvest Festival and they are planning a special series of audio interviews and articles from the event.

“Over the next few weeks, as part of a special series, you’ll have the opportunity to listen to audio interviews with one of the founders of the Sacred Harvest Festival, a young man who arrived at the festival as a practicing Lutheran and left as a newly awakened Pagan, and musical guests such as Murphy’s Midnight Rounders – just to name a few. You’ll read about (and see) a broom that was created on Friday the 13th by at the festival by an artisan for a newly formed coven, the experiences of a man who started attending the festival when he was a young teen and how it has impacted his life, and the honoring of a respected community elder by over 100 people in his teaching lineage. This is just a small sample of was experienced.”

I’m very much looking forward to the coverage, and commend PNC-Minnesota for doing this work. If you haven’t already, subscribe to their site via RSS so you don’t miss a thing!

If You Couldn’t Make it To One of My Appearances: I’ve been giving talks at several festivals and events this past year, but I realize that many of you can’t make it out to see me in person (Bummer!). Luckily, some kind folks at MerryMeet got some excellent audio recordings of the two main talks I’ve been giving: Emerging Trends & The Pagan Movement, and Pagans & the New Media. You can click those links and stream or download my talks! Now you can find out what you have (or haven’t) been missing. Every “um”, “ah”, and awkward pause has been preserved!

Thanks again to the MerryMeet folks for hosting me and treating me so well!

That’s all I have for now, expect a Pagan News of Note soon to catch up on the mainstream news from the last few days.

Have a great day!

Over at The Witches’ Voice, Fritz Jung has posted a special tribute to his wife and site co-founder Wren Walker for hitting a milestone 20,000 posts on Wren’s Nest News since the news service’s founding in 1996.

“This morning I noticed that Wren has just passed the 20,000 articles posted mark – I claim this space to personally thank her for her dedication to posting ‘Spirit and community related news’ for all these years. Thanks honey! … Wren’s Nest has seen some 47,882,049 page requests over the past 12 years and has been called up in cell phones and on personal computers via RSS readers thousands of times daily since we introduced that option in 2003. As her husband, lover and friend, I can personally attest to her noting ‘Gotta post the news’, on a near daily basis, over all these years – Thank YOU honey for this gift to the Pagan communities. – I also take this space to thank our good friend Christina Aubin for guest hosting the ‘Nest during some of the darker times in Wren’s life.”

In my article on Pagan blogging for the 2007 Wicca Almanac, I pay tribute to Wren’s Nest as a vital precursor to the now-thriving Pagan blogosphere.

“The real revolution regarding Pagans and blogging would begin in 1997, with the launch of what would become the most popular web site for Wiccans, Witches, and modern Pagans. In that year, two Witches left the Witchcraft advocacy organization WLPA (Witches’ League for Public Awareness) to start their own website dedicated to fostering communication and unity within the Witchcraft (and later Pagan and Heathen) communities. Their website became The Witches’ Voice (www.witchvox.com). This site was radically different from most sites dedicated to Paganism at that time; it featured regularly updated content and essays, and it featured the first widely-read Pagan blog, “Wren’s Nest Spirit News”, by cofounder Wren Walker.

While Wren’s Nest never identified itself as one, it carries many of the identifying features of a blog. It is updated regularly (daily, in fact); it is organized chronologically, with individual posts one can link to, and it allows readers to comment on each post. While Wren rarely opines on the news links and essays she shares with her readership (aside from the occasional “Chirp”) this site proved that blogging is something that could work for Pagans as a mass audience. In the years that followed, many other bloggers have been inspired by (or have simply imitated) Wren’s approach. This paved the way for the blogging community that was to come.”

It isn’t hyperbole to say that without Wren’s Nest there may not have been The Wild Hunt. Her dedication and commitment to providing the Pagan community with news involving, or of interest to, modern Pagans cleared the way for those of us wanting a more robust and serious Pagan-centered look at the world around us. So thank you Wren, may you continue for another 20,000 articles!