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. If you enjoy this series and our other recurring entries, please consider donating to our 2014 Fall Fund Campaign. Your support and donations make it possible for us to keep sharing the news and these important stories with you. Now let’s get started!
The Interfaith Mission Council (IMS) of Huntsville, Alabama has announced that Wiccan Priest Blake Kirk is scheduled to offer an invocation before the Nov. 6 city council meeting. In June, Kirk was removed from the schedule due to complaints from local residents. After much discussion, the Huntsville city council opted to maintain its inclusive prayer policy prayer rather than removing invocations entirely. The executive director of IMS, the local organization charged with coordinating invocation speakers, Jeannie Robison told AL.com, “We [IMS and the city council] want to honor Huntsville’s commitment to being an Inclusive City and to meet Constitutional standards regarding freedom of religion.”
This past Thursday, the council demonstrated its commitment to diversity by inviting an Atheist to speak. Following that meeting, IMS announced that Kirk had been invited back. In response to the city’s actions, Kirk said, “I think it’s an extremely positive development for Huntsville, and it suggests that people have learned something from the unfortunate situation in June, and are really trying to do better.” You can watch Kirk’s invocation live on Nov. 6 through Huntsville’s live streaming site.
On Sept. 28, Oberon Zell-Ravenhart posted a call on Witchvox for information about “Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials.” He wrote, “Since Morning Glory’s death, I have been inspired (nay, “assigned!”) to co-author a handbook for Pagan Final Passages—including green burials.” In the spring, the Church of All Worlds’ sacred land of Annwfn was legally-secured as an “officially-recognized cemetery for full body burials.” Morning-Glory was the first to be buried on that land, and Oberon is thankful to those who helped make that possible. Now he wants to turn his experience into, what he describes as, a “how-to manual.”
To accomplish this work, Oberon is looking for input from anyone who maintains Pagan land, a green cemetery, or anyone who is planning to build a cemetery space. He adds, “Previously, virtually all members of the modern Pagan community who have died (at least in the United States) have been cremated, as this seemed to be the only option other than the impossibly expensive and distasteful mortuary practice of embalming and burial in a fancy coffin in a concrete vault. But for many of us, cremation is a repellent choice, as we remember the Burning Times, and have no wish to consign our flesh to the flames yet again!”
Pagan/Academic European Associates Network (PAEAN) will be holding its 2nd online conference on October 9, 2014. The event is held in coordination with the Pagan Federation International (PFI) and is focused on “a variety of topics around the subjects of Paganism and Witchcraft.” This October’s theme is “The changing of Magic: Modern and Ancient Witchcraft.” There will be two panels on the following subjects: “Ancient Witchcraft and its adaptation” and “Western Esotericism practices and the academy.”
The online PAEAN conference is held twice a year, in the spring and fall. Coordinators hope that the unique online platform, which allows a diversity of people to engage in dialogue and interaction, will “increase learning, understanding and developing from the combined discussions.”On Sept. 20, the CUUPS chapter of Fort Lauderdale, Florida presented local Pagan Spelcastor an award for “his long time service of 19 years as the gatekeeper and facilitator” of Pagan Pride Day held at the Unitarian Universalist Church. Spelcastor is now officially retired but, as CUUPS organizers said, “he will long be remembered for keeping the flame alive.” In response, Spelcastor remarked, “I am deeply honored by this outpouring of gratitude and reminded how persistent service to the Craft year after year pays off.”
In Other Pagan Community News:
- Cherry Hill Seminary has launched its own Fall Fund Drive. In the past week, the Board announced that “every donor will be entered in a free drawing for the Dream Shawl,” hand knit and beaded by Dean Wendy Griffin.
- “Witches and Wicked Bodies” is now on exhibit at The British Museum in London through January 2015. The exhibit, which was first displayed at the National Galleries of Scotland, “examines the portrayal of witches and witchcraft in art from the Renaissance to the end of the 19th century.” After viewing the popular exhibition, patrons can step across the street into the Atlantis Bookshop, which maintains its own place in Witchcraft history.
- The Temple of Witchcraft in Salem, New Hampshire will be hosting a lecture with author Philip Heselton on Oct. 28. Organizers say, “Mr. Heselton will share his considerable knowledge on [Gerald Gardner], answer questions, and be available to sign copies of his books.” Heselton, an authority on Gardner, has written the books Witchfather and Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration. He was present at the dedication of Gardner’s Blue Plaque last June. The Temple of Witchcraft says they are excited to be hosting the acclaimed author this coming month.
- Also in October, actor Mark Ryan is due to launch his autobiography entitled Hold Fast. Produced by independent publisher Mythwood Books, the autobiography will include a chapter called, “Living Magically,” in which he writes, “Magic is very real to me, and the real magic is in making the intangible idea, the elusive creative impulse, manifest and live in our reality. We’ll explore the scientific, philosophical and practical applications of this concept throughout the course of this story.” Ryan considers himself Pagan and has co-authored several popular Tarot decks include The Wildwood Tarot and the Greenwood Tarot.
- In the wake of current discussions on the meaning of leadership and elders, it seems appropriate that Circle Magazine has decided to focus its next edition on the topic. The issue is called, “Honoring Elders and Aging,” and the deadline for submissions was extended to Oct 14.
- Damien Echols has moved on with his life and, in July, told The Village Voice that he no longer wants to talk about the West Memphis 3. He and his wife have been teaching tarot in New York City. Now, Echols has announced that he will be in Salem, Massachusetts for a one-time only class in Tarot reading held at the Scarlet Letter Press and Gallery on Oct. 11. The press release says, “All who take the class will be awarded a certificate of completion in the Crimson Lotus tradition of ceremonial magick and will receive a gift of magickal oil, blended personally by Damien.”
- Finally, we’ve reached 52% in our own Fall Fund drive. We are thankful to everyone who has donated and supported our work. The drive will continue until Nov 2.
That is all for now. Have a great day!