(Pagan) News of Note

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My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.

The Cambridge Evening News profiles poet and Pagan priestess Janis Oulfkih (aka Moonwillow), and discusses how she came to modern Paganism and her role as Pagan clergy.

“It wasn’t until I went rummaging in a bookshop, and found a copy of Prediction magazine, that I realised … There was an article in there about trees and tree magic which really appealed to me; when I flicked through, I found all this information about Pagans … Recently I did a hand-fasting – that’s a Pagan marriage ceremony – for a Pagan friend and her partner who’s an atheist. They’re academic people.”

Oulfkih is also a member of the UK-based Baphomet Lodge, a group with the stated purpose of guiding seekers “towards the light of truth”.

Think Euro-focused Goddess worshipers are the only ones who subscribe to the idea of ancient Goddess-based matriarchies? Think again. Press releases are circulating about a book written by Mama Zogbe (aka Vivian Hunter-Hindrew, a member of the Mami Wata tradition) that claims Africa was once ruled by an order of matriarchs, who are the originating point for all the famous oracles in Africa, the Middle-East, and Europe, and that their wisdom was used to formulate the writings of the Biblical New Testament.

“For 6,000 years, Africa was ruled by a powerful order of Sibyl matriarchs. They produced the world’s first oracles, prophetess and prophets. known as “Pythoness,” they worked the oracles in the Black Egyptian colonies in ancient Greece, Rome, Turkey, Israel, Syria and Babylon. Their holy temples were more numerous than the churches of today. In ancient Rome, they first established the “holy seat” of the Vatican advising the world’s heads of state. Centuries before Christ, they cured epileptics, the blind, lepers and “casted out demons.” It was a Sibyl who called-up the spirit of “Apostle” Samuel. Their “pagan” prophecies were used by the emerging Roman papals to create a “western theological” foundation and became the undisputed precursor for the Christian Bible. Previously published in “Mami Wata: Africa’s Ancient God/dess Unveiled,” and supported by solid evidence, African women’s religious history is finally being unearthed, exposing shocking revelations buried for more than 2000 years.”

Let the debates begin!

Pagan Pride Day activities continue to make the news, Madison, Wisconsin is holding their celebration today (official site) featuring Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary (which is located near Madison) and Don Lewis the “Paramount High Priest” of the Correllian Tradition. On Sunday the SouthCoast, Massachusetts Pagan community will be celebrating the Autumnal Equinox for their PPD celebration.

“The daylong festival will be held at the Ted Williams Camp in Lakeville and will include everything from information on Pagan spiritual practices to a drumming circle and Pagan religious ceremony, according to Lisa Butler, local coordinator for South Eastern Massachusetts Pagan Pride. “This is an opportunity for all of us to get together and celebrate the annual harvest season,” said Ms. Butler. “It’s also an opportunity for us to invite other people to come in and see what we do.” The day’s events begin at 10 a.m. and will run until 6 p.m.”

Previous write-ups of PPD events in the press include Dover’s (in Delaware), and Nanaimo’s (B.C. Canada). My home in Milwaukee is hosting their PPD next week (though I haven’t decided if I’m going yet).

The Telegraph reviews a new book entitled “Thames: Sacred River” by Peter Ackroyd. Ackroyd’s book looks at the long history of the river, including its significance to ancient British pagans.

“Ackroyd is especially good at evoking the old religion, from the cursus trenches (neolithic constructions) marking longbarrow burial grounds to be found by the banks in the countryside, to the images of Lud and of Father Thames. Like the Ganges and the Nile, the Thames has its own spiritual presence.”

Looks like a must-read for those interested in the spiritual landscape of Britain.

Finally, the Tonawanda News reports on Onyx Serpentfire, a Wiccan tarot reader from Kenmore, NY who was looking to find a place to do readings and ended up opening a coffee shop as well.

“Coffee & A Spell, a newly-opened coffee shop located at 3100 Delaware Avenue in Kenmore, offers a wide selection of coffee, tea and espresso in front and tarot readings in the back … Even though she’s a practicing Wiccan, Serpentfire doesn’t want the shop to be a place just for Wiccans. The back lounge, still a work in progress, houses a blend of pews salvaged prior to the demolition St. Mary on the Hill, comfy chairs and sofas. The bookshelves are filled with donated books and a volume entitled “How to Turn Your Ex-Boyfriend into a Toad” sit comfortably next to a copy of the Bible.”

I’m sure there is a joke about getting your morning cup of coffee while finding out how your day is going to go that the reporter missed out on. But in any case, congratulations to Serpentfire on the successful business venture.

That is all I have for now, have a good day!