A Spate of Pagan Articles, Plus: Bunky’s Big Party

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Sometimes I go weeks without seeing any direct coverage of Pagans in the mainstream media. Then, as if they can hold back no longer, a sudden torrent of stories spring forth all at once. As a result, you get the Sacramento News and Review covering a Thelemic Gnostic Mass, The Post in Ohio reporting on the growing population of Wiccans in Athens, the Marshall Parthenon (a student paper) looking at a Pagan organization on campus, and a Killeen Daily Herald story concerning local Pagans getting ready to celebrate Ostara.

“When the leaves start turning green, weather warms up and spring finally rolls around, it feels like magic is in the air; this Saturday’s Ostara Fest is ready to make things feel a whole lot more magical. A celebration of spring, the event at Club Rodeo in Harker Heights will be hosted by new-age gift shop Sisters of the Earth and Sea and will bring vendors and participants from all over the country. “You’ve heard of ‘Keep Austin Weird,'” said Laurie Roach, co-owner of Sisters of the Earth and Sea. ‘Well, we’re trying to keep Central Texas eclectic.'”

But wait! There’s still more! The University of Washington’s student newspaper explores the “highly controversial religious pathway” of Wicca, Gay Wired interviews astrologer, musician, tarot creator, out lesbian, and Goddess-worshiper Flash Silvermoon, while the Amherst Bulletin interviews Ellen Evert Hopman about Druids and her new novel “Priestess of the Forest: A Druid Journey”.

“My original intention was to write a training manual for people who wanted to follow the Druid path,” Hopman said. But, as she began to explain the first ritual, “All of a sudden, there’s this full- blown ritual,” spooling out like a movie in her mind. “The characters just took over,” she said. “I had very little control over what happened after that.”

Plus, if you act now, you can read an interesting profile of Orisa priestess Chief Fama in the California Press-Enterprise.

You would think that heady rush of journalistic exercise would drain the well for a few months (or at least until the Spring Equinox hits), but it looks like Wiccan multi-millionaire Ellwood “Bunky” Bartlett just might grace the local headlines again. The newly expanded Mystickal Voyage shop celebrates its Bunky-funded grand re-opening in a impressively large 6500 square foot space this weekend.

“Our Grand Opening is set for the weekend of March 14th. The festivities will begin Friday at 1:00 with opening speeches and a ribbon cutting ceremony with special guests including Rev. Bunky Bartlett, Ginny Robertson from the On Purpose Women’s Network, Steve Rouse [a local radio personality], and more! During the weekend, we will have guest workshops with Amber K, Azrael Arynn K, and Ann Moura.”

In addition, the shop will be featuring a (sold out) acoustic performance from Rockstar: Supernova finalist Dilana Robichaux. I can’t imagine an event like this not drawing reporters like moths to a flame.

All this media attention is just further proof that modern Paganism is becoming the “designated Other” in American (and British, and Australian) religious life. So we better get used to the increasing amount of press (and scholarly) attention.