New Orleans HexFest Forced to Change Ritual Location

NEW ORLEANS – In two weeks, HexFest 2015 is scheduled to kick off its magical event in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter. The event begins Friday, Aug. 21 with a Riverboat ride and ritual hosted by Priestess and Voodoo Queen Bloody Mary. Up until Friday, the opening ritual was to be held on the Steamboat Natchez. However, after a phone call early morning, HexFest organizers found themselves scrambling for a new location. The Natchez had canceled their contract due to what was initially described as “religious reasons.”

hexfestIn a conversation with The Wild Hunt, Ty Siddiqui, manager of HexFest, explained that she was awoken Friday morning by a call from Natchez sales director Deirdra Edwards and was told, “We are not going to be able to do your event on the Natchez.” According to Siddiqui, it was further explained that the owner had just “come back into town from being away” and hadn’t known about HexFest. After looking at the website, he said that he didn’t want anything to do with Witchcraft and Voodoo. “He didn’t want it on his boat.”

Siddiqui immediately called Hexfest co-owner Christian Day, who is on his Honeymoon in the U.K., and broke the news. Together they contacted Edwards again, and she reiterated the reason. According to Siddiqui, she and Day offered modifications, including eliminating the entire ritual and drumming. She said, “We were willing to work with them … [but] there was nothing we could do.”

Day added that “the whole thing is just incredibly disappointing.” He went on to explain that the Natchez knew right from the beginning what HexFest was and what they were planning on doing. On May 9, 2014, Day and co-owner Brian Cain officially announced the event dates on a newly launched Facebook page. By early June, they publicized a list of tentative presenters, a rough schedule, a new website and were selling tickets. Then, June 27, 2014, a day after signing the Natchez contract, organizers announced that the opening ritual would be held on the riverboat.

In a Friday letter sent to the boat’s owner, Day wrote, “We had explained everything that was going to be going on to Deidra on the phone and even referred to components such as drumming and voodoo in emails back and forth, none of which she expressed concern over…”

After the initial phone calls, the Natchez reportedly stopped communicating with Siddiqui. She said that she was informed that Edwards was in a meeting with the controller “and others” and could not talk. In the meantime, Siddiqui was able to secure a new riverboat, The Creole Queen, for the opening ritual event. The new boat’s port is farther form HexFest’s main location at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, but the Creole sales team has reportedly been helpful and accommodating.

Then, late on Friday, Siddiqui got another call from the Natchez. She was informed that the HexFest event was actually canceled due to breach of contract, specifically citing two points:

  • It is understood and agreed that the Charterer shall not participate in any ticket sales other than to members of its own organization, unless consent to do so is granted herein.
  • Charterer shall not stage any “exotic” dancing, entertainment or singing without Owner’s prior written approval.

Day told The Wild Hunt, “The sales director of the Steamboat Natchez knew from the beginning that we were a ticketed weekend event and she knew that we were having the Dragon Ritual Drummers onboard. … We explained what we were in the beginning and she said the membership didn’t apply to us because we were not a membership organization.” Day added that he has an email trail proving some of these points.

In addition, he noted that the company had accepted a contract for HexFest 2016. That contract is dated July 7, 2015. It was signed and submitted only one month ago. What changed over the past thirty days?

[Credit: © 2014 Robin Stevens]

[Credit: © 2014 Robin Stevens]

What puzzles organizers even more is that Bloody Mary has been a presenter on the boat in the past. Bloody Mary herself said that she was very “perplexed.” She told The Wild Hunt, “I suggested I do [the] river blessing voodoo ritual on that the boat … I have been called on to work for that company directly, sent many of my groups to them for years … and although I knew they were not necessarily believers in mysticism, they do tours and events on subjects of voodoo, paranormal, seance and such. It seemed they were open to the ideas.” Mary added that she would no longer be recommending the Natchez or any of its sister tourist companies, and is drafting a formal letter of complaint.

According to Day and Siddiqui, it was the owner, Gordon Stevens, who canceled the contract because he wanted “nothing to do with” HexFest, Witchcraft or Voodoo. Stevens is president, CEO and co-owner of the New Orleans Steamboat Company and Gray Line New Orleans. He is also part owner of “Café Beignet and Frostop Restaurants, and is President of the real-estate agency M.G. Stevens Corporation” In his bio, he describes himself as being “guided by the strong Catholic traditions he was raised with.” Along with donating to a number of Catholic charities, Stevens serves as president on the Board of the Catholic Foundation of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. As this suggests, he himself may not, in fact, be a “believer in mysticism.”

While New Orleans has always been somewhat of a progressive city in which Catholicism, magic, mysticism and other spiritual practices intertwine, Louisiana is currently considered one of the most conservative states in the country. Siddiqui said, “Ever since this wave of conservative religiousity hit Louisiana, it has opened the door to allow people to discriminate against each other.” She is referring specifically to Governor Jindal (R) who, in May, issued an executive RFRA order after the state Legislature did not approve a similar bill. In June, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana filed suit against Jindal for overstepping his authority as Governor.

In response to Jindal’s order, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu penned his own executive order that reads:

I am issuing a clarifying call to the nation that New Orleans is an accepting, inviting city that thrives on its diversity and welcomes people from all walks of life with open arms … In New Orleans, we believe religious liberty and freedoms should be protected and discrimination prohibited, and we have passed our own laws to reflect that principle. This executive order is an important, symbolic affirmation that discrimination in any form will not be tolerated in New Orleans – and it should not be tolerated anywhere in Louisiana.

And, religious discrimination is just what Day, Siddiqui and others now believe is behind the Natchez canceling their event. Presenter Sandra Mariah Wright told The Wild Hunt, “I am shocked. There is no precedent for this.This is New Orleans.” Wright, herself from Salem, Massachusetts, likened the situation to a similar case ten years ago. She was organizing an event in a local Knights of Columbus hall, a location that had hosted Witchcraft gatherings for years. She said, “Even Laurie Cabot had held events there.” Then someone contacted the state’s Knights of Columbus office, who turned around and threatened to pull the local group’s charter if the event was allowed to continue. With two weeks to go, Wright was left scrambling for a new location.

Like Bloody Mary, Wright said that she’ll never use the Gray Line touring company again. She also added that the “timing seems a bit suspect” considering the recent news out of Pensacola. Siddiqui agreed, saying that, while its probably not directly linked, “it’s too coincidental.”

At this point, the Natchez has refunded HexFest its initial deposit of $5768.75. However, Siddiqui said that they are still owed over $5,000 and have incurred a number of new expenses in the ritual’s rescheduling. Siddiqui also added that they are already speaking to lawyers.

Since the news was announced, various presenters and attendees have been weighing in on the situation. Raven Grimassi wrote, “One of the primary problems I see here is the setting of a precedent. If this matter goes unaddressed to the company, then we are allowing a momentum to build that can be a real problem for us all in the long run.” Grimassi, as well as Day and Cain, are calling on attendees and local Pagans to complain to the company and to the city’s tourism board. Siddiqui said that she has been in contact with both the Greater New Orleans Pagan Pride Day Project and the Louisiana Alliance of Wiccans.

The Wild Hunt reached out to The New Orleans Steamboat Company for a statement and further explanation, but has yet to receive a response.

While HexFest coordinators are still in shock and are confused by the Natchez decision, they still have an event to run. HexFest 2015 will continue on as planned with the Friday evening opening ritual on the Creole Queen. Details of all changes are listed on the event page and main website.

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122 thoughts on “New Orleans HexFest Forced to Change Ritual Location

  1. Like I commented on the Pensacola incident, it looks like the “Burning Times” are making a come back.

    • I know people may think you sound “drastic” but this is what is at stake with all these “religious freedom” bills conservative states are trying to push. Today they won’t marry gay folks; tomorrow they will be emboldened enough to try firing them or kicking them out of their houses; next they’ll want to shut down mosques; then they can go after anyone else they don’t like and pagans will surely be in the line of fire because they are perceived to be “devil worshippers”. The Hobby Lobby ruling was a very dangerous and slippery slope: SCOTUS has ruled that your boss’ religious leanings can dictate whether or not you can have sex without risking pregnancy! That’s only the beginning: next employers will want to only hire people “just like them” and people from minority racial groups, religions or political affiliations won’t be able to work.. Anyone here old enough to remember McCarthy will be able to see the correlation.

      • Only in that there may be no literal fire this time. But what the burning times stood for, yes, it would be all to easy to see a return to such discrimination has already started.

    • I had already faced this fact before hearing of the murders in Florida.

      Our county Sheriff took it upon himself to have all vehicles under his office detailed with “One Nation Under God” on the back. He proudly posted pictures on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. These are government owned vehicles, yet when taxpayers (Christian and non) protested he excused himself by saying he had paid for it out of his own pocket.

      I was heartened by the number of people who protested this, but greatly disheartened by the numbers who not only wholeheartedly agreed and praised this religious message on our law enforcement vehicles but we’re downright abusive in their language. When politely asked if they would feel they would feel assured of equal justice if the vehicle carried a religious message not of their own faith, such as “In Odin We Trust,” comments ranged from laughter to abusive instructions that those who don’t like it can get out if the country.

      Worse were those who thought they were being reasonable by saying that the majority would rule – as if this dismisses the 1st Amendment rights of anyone not holding the majority faith. One person expressed the thought that it should have been put to a County referendum (as if this should overrule 1st Amendment rights) and this too was derisively laughed at by the same people who are so certain their religion represents the wide majority.

      I have to tell you that while I did comment under my own name, I do hold some very real fear of reprisal. My area has in the past received national notoriety for religious fanaticism before, including a pastor leading his deacons nd other church members in beating up a young man of his church who tried to attend with his boyfriend one evening. Pagans here contact each other online, except for one small pagan church within 100 miles that has struggled to maintain its presence in the area and has been harassed by government nearly continually.

      It does happen, it is happening more frequently, and each time I think it will go no further I am soon disbursed of that notion.

      • I have heard the “majority rules” idea myself many times. After reading your story, it becomes more evident that my assumptions are correct.

  2. Before we even get to questions of contract language and email trails, let’s back this whole thing up a few squares. Why, in this day and age, are we even thinking of giving our business to groups like the Knights of Columbus and/or top allies of the RCC hierarchy? They’re anti-LGBT hate groups, and they don’t think much better of us. Would we book a Pagans of Color outing with a company owned by David Duke?

    We don’t seem to learn from these mistakes, ever. “I don’t know how this could have happened. The sales team was cool with it.” Imagine that. People who live on commission are agreeable to closing a sale, and the fact that they did so a couple years in a row must mean it was a good business decision and we’re safe from future trouble.

    Does anyone ever think to do even some cursory research on who the owners/ principals before selecting venues or tour operators? Apparently not, as the tour got booked with a bigot and then when that came to light, the attempted fix was to de-Paganize the event to make it more palatable to the bigot in question. Had the event slipped under the radar of the company owner, ticket buyers would very likely have been spending their money to indirectly subsidize things like RFRA.

    Has any of this research been done on the new operator of the Creole Queen? Again, all we see is that the “sales people are cool with it.” Are we going to be reading another story here the week of the event about how Pagans got skunked again?

    Gordon Stephens deserves to be called out for being a bad faith operator, but if the Pagan community ever wants to quit being taken for schmos, we need to develop some street smarts.

    • Then again the owner being Catholic didn’t necesarily mean the company was going to pull one of those develop-last-minute ‘religious objections’ to try and scotch some other faiths’ events. That company had given no indication of homophobia before, after all. Even when speaking in person about what the event was. Sure, maybe the Knights of Columbus are predictably bigoted, but you can’t always spot *all* the bigots out there.

      • If the guy is highly placed with the archdiocese, almost all of which are centers of culture war conservatism AND his bio suggest he is pious, it would have given someone the opportunity to do some further research before blindly committing to booking the tour. Whether or not the company has an explicitly homophobic bent, the fact that it’s owner is a major factor in that church’s money machine makes is a sure bet that one way or another, some of the money you spend with him is going to underwrite homophobic causes and an organization which regularly derides us as devil worshipers. I’m glad this deal fell through in that sense. The last thing we need to be doing these days is spending money to arm our enemies.

        At a bare minimum, some basic research would afford the opportunity to bypass the local sales office and put the question directly to top management. They could have said no much earlier on or a piece of paper from the top level of corporate agreeing to an explicitly Pagan event would have left the organizers with much better legal and PR leverage in the case of a last-minute objection.

        It is true that no program of due diligence will foresee or forestall all problems. It is also true that doing no due diligence will fail 100% of the time.

        • Well, only 100 percent of the time *when* uncalled for problems will be raised, of course. It makes sense to show care …still kind of hard to turn it around and make it the customers’ fault when if the owners were going to develop a last-minute objection, well, isn’t that the *managers* job to deal with?

          • If you don’t read your contract anything can happen per the contract. Oops I forgot to secure that won’t hold up in court.

  3. Maybe the Natchez canceled because they got wind of Day’s rep and they’re using RFRA as their reason to cancel.

      • It would be nice if the truth came out about this. If ticket sales were low why would the Natchez reps say it was cancelled due to religion?

        • We only have what was reported from the Hex folk. For all we know they could have said we don’t accept the specific type of act that is was too risqué for their establishment which IS stipulated in their rider. That could be easily spun into something over the top.

          • and never has Christian Day ever put over the top spin on anything! heavens forbid!

  4. What? They object to the religion of Mcwitchcraft and McPaganism mixing with McVoodoo?

  5. Let’s not take out our disappointment on each other. And 20/20 hindsight is cheap.

  6. Division is the theme of this age. But fear not. Other, more open minded people will always exist to accommodate those who are different than the mainstream. The lesson is karmic for those who close themselves from love, acceptance, tolerance, kindness and oneness. So it may not always seem fair. But don’t allow the negativity to change you.

  7. The owner has a right to decide who can and can’t use his boat. Yes, this was a lousy way to handle it and yes, he’s making excuses after the fact, but it’s still his right.

    Freedom of association also means freedom of non-association.

    Yes he should have been upfront about what he would allow. Yes, he should have told his staff about the “no-nos.”

    But it’s still his boat and his choice.

    Just as it is people’s choice to book his boat in the first place.

  8. Brian Gram, I mean Brain Cain!?? Pffffffffffffffffffffff! What stalking and cyberstalking creep! I’d classify him in the same category of creep, as Spokane’s Marty Greco. Hey, If some doesn’t want them, then Good. I can’t blame them.

    • Yes, I think the two (Cain and Day) have that unique sociopathic personality… both are money grubbing frauds… you can’t really blame the show boat for cancelling.

    • It is an unflattering part of human nature to celebrate the hardships of people we dislike. In doing so we cannot serve the bigger picture, which is about Community and our rightful place in Society. That is the real issue here. Religious discrimination should not be tolerated and there should not be any exceptions.

      • Especially if book sales and paid events are involved. We have no idea of any of that was really said. I’m sorry when you behave badly and hurt people it is hard to sympathize when more bad behavior and fishy circumstances are afoot.

        • I’d agree with you if this was about an individual, but it’s not. It’s about a Witchcraft event being cancelled under suspicious circumstances. This is a shot against the Community.

          The contract for this event was made a year earlier, and then cancelled two weeks before the date of the event. That is what is fishy.

          Hmmm…isn’t the fish a symbol of Christianity? 😉

          • We only have their word and their side. Say what you want it’s still a one sided report.

          • Maybe because people were too busy travelling, put someone else in charge rather than making sure they had all their paperwork in order.

          • Which is a poor excuse for a good businessperson if they cannot review a contract and cover their ass. Let’s hope there isn’t some prenup he didn’t scour that leaves him penniless one day. Then oh my what would he do?

          • Tadpoletudor, thank you for sharing the light of your spirit and your heart with me here. With the time that I have left on this earth, I want to devote to things that are healing, constructive, and beneficial. Therefore I will leave off now with our exchanges and wish you peace.

          • I’m not quite sure how trying to see the good in a man who’s been known to throw temper tantrums, destroy people’s careers and wish a woman would be raped. But hey, good one for you!

          • Discrimination against one of us, no matter what you feel about that person or how much you choose to lie about them, is discrimination against all of us.

          • Raven, you’ve tried. You always try. The true north of your compass never fails to impress me. Some of these folks, however, just aren’t worth trying for. You’re too good for all this.

  9. My daughter and her husband rode the Natchez a week or so ago. It died in the water and ran ashore and into some trees…..had to be towed back to port. Maybe a good thing they cancelled.

  10. They never got the owners written approval what’s the issue again? I can assert that I want to do something even if the rules say I can’t. If I continue to break the rules I suffer consequences. Next…it is disgusting he is using religious injustice to argue his point because he thought he was above the rules. Christian Day just needs to go…did the Wild Hunt get direct quote from the Natchez?

    • What you’ve written here is idiotic and a crock.

      Salespeople are empowered by their employer(s) to negotiate and sign contracts on their behalf. The owners are required to honor these contracts. If they weren’t, there’d be no reason to hire salespeople and pay them substantial salaries in the first place.

      • Day spins things. I would not be surprised if they are being harassed by him and his follower and refuse to comment at this point. Still it would be nice to have the other side before making assumptions. It’s nice to have one side but you know how that goes.

    • Franny Glass, you seem predisposed to think this is a lie even before you the other side of the story has been heard (something yet to be offered despite multiple requests). While Christian Day is a controversial figure, and some people may celebrate his situation because they dislike him, this is not about him. It’s about whether or not religious discrimination is afoot. There is no evidence of lies here at this point, and I urge caution in rushing to judgment in this important matter.

      On a side note, I think this whole thing begs the question as to whether we stand against injustice only for people we like and for organizations we support, or do we stand against injustice itself no matter what?

      • I think she has a point. Let’s see the emails. Let’s see where he got the written permission from the owner as per the contract. If the written permission didn’t happen he was in reach of contract end of story what ever way it is spun.

        • Thank you for sharing but I did not spin anything as you said in your other post. As you attempt to make this all about your opinion of me, I was not the only one to hear this discrimination. As the article above states, Ty Siddiqui, who is the co-coordinator of Greater New Orleans Pagan Pride Day, was the one who got the phone call from the sales director, Deidra Edwards, that the cancellation was for “religious reasons.” She then called me and informed me as Brian and I were traipsing through dolmens in Anglesey and I had Ty patch in the sales director and she repeated her assertion that the owner had found out a couple of weeks before and decided, for “religious reasons” that he wanted nothing to do with Witchcraft or Voodoo.

          Later that day, after meeting with the owner and their lawyer, Ms. Edwards told Ty (and again, not in writing) that they were using the loopholes of us having unapproved entertainment and that we were selling to non-members. When Ms. Edwards and I first spoke, she approved the drummers AND she said that the non-members rule didn’t apply to us because we were not a membership organization.

          Now, while I have no proof that she knew I was selling to non-members in writing (though I still have yet to comb through emails), HERE is the proof that she knew of and approved as non-ticketed entertainment, our drummers:

          Now, I’m sure you’ll probably move the goalpost here because you cannot admit that this is more about your opinion of me than it is your opinion of what happened, which is a shame, especially so because you’re impugning Ty Siddiqui’s honesty in order to make an attack at me.

          Not only did Ms. Edwards take our deposit for the 2015 event, in July she took our deposit and contract for our 2016 HexFest as well, clearly not having any issue with the drummers you can already see in those emails that she had no issues bringing on the boat.

          Should I have had the contract rewritten? Absolutely. You’ve got me there. But to know about those drummers in February and then wait to cancel the event two weeks in advance because the owner found out about it is disgusting even if we aren’t telling the truth about it being for religious reasons and we most definitely are telling the truth. And as our corporate lawyer has offered to take this on contingency, clearly she thinks we have a case.

          I do want to say that I appreciate that the Magical communities are standing up against the discrimination and injustic endured by our first annual HexFest in New Orleans. Articles like those on The Wild Hunt and statements by people like Dragon Ritual Drummers, Grimassi Raven, Lilith Dorsey, and others give me hope that we truly can be the community I’ve had trouble seeing over the years.

          And as for those who would brand Ty Siddiqui and me liars because they don’t like me personally or, worse, acknowledge the discrimination but then say it’s ok because it’s against us, you are everything that makes it hard for us to have a community. Principles should be independent of personality and not understanding that is a flaw in you, not us. I experienced the discrimination once on the phone Ty experienced it twice. That her honesty is now being impugned by associate in comments on the Wild Hunt that attempt to cast the whole thing as a lie is simply disgusting. That others would imply that the discrimination is real but ok because it’s us is outrageously reprehensible.

          • And let the record show that you moved the goalpost as I said you would. You’ve now seen emails proving that they knew about the drummers in February. If it was such an issue for them, why wait until August to address it?

            I am many things, some disagreeable I’m sure, but one thing I am not is a liar and, frankly, many, many people trust me at my word, even many of those who despise me.

            I would love to have Ty Siddiqui come here and speak about her experiences as she directly did to Heather Greene but you would simply call her a liar and find some way to impugn her honesty based upon how you feel about me or you would say that there is no such person as Ty Siddiqui, even though Heather Greene spoke to her, and that perhaps she must be a fake account. What is the point of any of us engaging with any of you haters because you won’t ever see the truth. We could provide you with video and you would say it was doctored.

            I don’t want to make this too much about me because this is so much bigger than that, but the haters wrote my epitaph in September for my own regrettable reactions to people who attacked me unjustly and I went on to have the most successful year ever.

            It disappoints me greatly that what you and the other naysayers fail to understand is that this is much bigger than how you feel about me and it is much, much bigger than me or Ty. When any of us is discriminated against for being Witches, all Witches are discriminated against. They absolutely said this was for religious reasons and I am confident that a jury will be convinced of this when they see the proof that any reasonable person who is not biased by hatred would accept. It saddens me that you are so blinded by your rage towards me that you would be willing to consider anyone and everyone, including Ty Siddiqui, who was told not once but twice that this was for religious reasons, collateral damage in your crusade against me.

          • No one moved the goal post Christian. I see the emails, it still does not have the permission in writing. Managing the new and picking and choosing what YOu choose to address has nothing to do with anything but trying to look right when you didn’t follow protocol. And now you throw in religious persecution in there because this guy publically is Catholic. And crusade against you? No just a reaction to the same whining that always seems to be coming out of your mouth.

          • I believe you Mr. Day.
            It’s been my experience from dealing that most Christians, especially Catholics, that when they’re dealing with someone not of their faith their word is worth nearly as much as a bucket of warm spit. My recommendation is if you’re negotiating with them you should always have a recording device running, if it’s legal to do so in your state and locality. Don’t think you’re the only one this has happened to either. As some of my Jewish friends succinctly say, when a gentile tells you it’s dark at midnight, stick you head out a window and check for yourself. I think Pagans would do well to take their lead in dealings with Christians. I think the only mistake you made was assuming you were dealing with someone who actually wanted the business and wanted to make a profit from their endeavors. Not an unreasonable assumption and an understandable mistake to make.
            The people saying you should have gotten everything is writing are giving you good advice. Christians are our enemy and it’s an unfortunate reality that we need to deal with them in order to get anything done in these times. Hopefully you’re remember in your future dealings to get things in writing and/or recorded. It makes your attorney’s job so much easier when you have to sic them on them later.

          • No one moved the goal post Christian. I see the emails, it still does not have the permission in writing. Managing the new and picking and choosing what YOu choose to address has nothing to do with anything but trying to look right when you didn’t follow protocol. And now you throw in religious persecution in there because this guy publically is Catholic.

          • It proves she knew we had drummers and didn’t care because she approved the drummers as being non-ticketed. You’re really splitting hairs but even video evidence wouldn’t convince you because you’re a hater and hate is what people like you live for, so we’re done here. All I can say at this point is, thank you for sharing. 🙂

          • Not splitting hairs if you had a contract you signed with their terms stated clearly you could have said hey, we need this document. Contractual terms can be enforced at any time. The onus is on you.

          • If you run venues, then you must know that even “oral contracts” can be considered binding, hell, I’ve seen contacts written on cocktail napkins be upheld in court.

            If those emails contain information stating that the Dragon Ritual Drummers will be on the ferry, and they are discussed without any indication of the ferry company not wanting them to perform, the email itself could, and most likely would be considered a part of the contract as an Addendum, even if not stated as such.

            The issue still remains whether or not this is a case of religious discrimination. The facts are that Ty was the person who spoke to the ferry company personally, so it is highly doubtful that she would put herself in the position to perjure herself in court if the need arises. I know I wouldn’t do that for anyone…

            When someone, whomever it is, is discriminated against for any reason, this being about religion…we as decent human beings should stand with them, especially if it is our belief that said discrimination could cause irreparable harm against the religion as whole.

            We as “Pagans”, (I am using the umbrella term here), need to stand together and not allow our beliefs to be torn down time and time again by anyone. I have been a practicing Witch for a very long time, I have been in the heart of Salem, MA and it’s Pagan Community and I still stay informed now, in my experience, Paganism is the most questioned religion for it’s many variations, and beliefs by others that we worship the devil! This needs to stop. Any person(s) and/or organization(s) that caters to the public, who would attempt to discriminate due to religious beliefs towards any other religion would be protested against, and called out for their discrimination.

            Why is it so different with Paganism?

            The comments I have been seeing based on personal reasons and feelings about Christian Day and Brian Cain have me convinced that this is exactly why Paganism is still pushed to the side as an invalid religion! Most of the Pagan Community can’t even get along, let alone abide by it’s own belief systems!!!

            Are we not a religion that is steeped in healing, helping animals and humans alike as well as creating peace? If we cannot put aside our differences and stand together when these things happen, how will anyone take us seriously?

            No matter what Christian and/or Brian has done in the past, is exactly that, in the past…no one can go back and change that, but why drag it forward with you when all has been said and done? Do we not wish to teach others that we practice what we preach? Is it not tolerance and peace that we wish to spread?

            Again…right now your religion, my religion…OUR RELIGION is being discriminated against…again…and you would rather fight against people in your religion than let bygones be bygones, move forward, ban together and wish for an easier time for the Witches who come after us? Our sons, daughters, grandchildren…do we wish to leave this fight or do we stand together and fight it for them so they don’t have to? This fight has gone on for a very long time…isn’t it time we put an end to it?

          • Are they keeping the 2016 contract in place, or have they cancelled that as well? No one seems to have talked about the contract, other than than it was signed by them.

          • A Marina, they also refunded the 2016 contract after we discovered that, contrary to what they said on the phone, they had actually charged our card for the deposit for next year as well. And I ask, if the drummers were not approved even though this email proves they clearly understood that they would be there and even said they didn’t have to be ticketed (, then why would they book the same event for 2016 as well. We are pursuing action against them and if we win, we win. If we lose, we lose. Ty and I are telling the truth, hate freaks be damned, and we’re not backing down on this.

      • Raven, you always speak eloquently. I do think, however, that these people are going to hate no matter what either you or I say to them because all they know is hatred. If they knew what you and I know and what others who were treated this way know, this is an issue bigger than any of us and I know you get that. I wish these critics could as well, but I don’t have high hopes.

        • The condition of the World itself these days is a testimony to what happens when we hold to hatreds, old and new.

          Christian, I have never been one to embrace the idea of eternal damnation and punishment, and I hate to see it in the Pagan Community. But clearly you have been condemned to a life sentence by some. And no, you can’t change such hearts, no one can.

          In the wise words of Gandalf, all we can do is to decide what to do with the time that is left us. I am by nature a peace-maker, and so that is where I put my time and energy. Others have to decide where their heart and spirit is, and then devote their time and energy to that. Hopefully constructive will win out over destructive. There is little evidence of that, but one must have a dream in life.

          • Raven, we really have to feel sorry such people in a way, because their hatred and condemnation is what defines them. I can say this the greatest of confidences that I wouldn’t trade whatever life sentence I’ve been “condemned” to for anyone else’s. I love my life, and my husband, and my career and my family and my friends and I consider you among those.

          • Christian Day, have you ever been diagnosed for sociopathy? I was wondering… you often sound very much like Donald Trump and then when you’ve dug yourself into a hole, you tend to throw temper tantrums like a sociopath… so I was just wondering… maybe psychopathy? I’ve seen you attempt to manipulate people and have been outright amazed, you’re darn good at it, it’s a wonder that people are willing to forgive you and your nasty temper tantrums.

        • Oh, just stop already. You have no idea what any of us has experienced or what we know about the world.

        • Fully informed opinions are the best ones to have. And as you say, there are things that are unknown at this time.

          Sadly there are people who will not let facts get in the way of their opinions, but hopefully they are a minority in our Community.

          • Fully informed means both sides from their own mouths not from the mouths of the opponent.

          • This is the rub, like it or not: a good many in the community don’t trust Day, based on bad past experiences. The Natchez reps wouldn’t comment for this article, so there’s much less info than is preferable.

            You’ve rushed in to judge his critics yet you don’t actually know all of the facts of this matter, either, and also importantly, you don’t know every critic’s particulars and why we doubt Day’s presentation of “facts”.

          • Yes, but hey, one can’t run one’s fellow plastic witch into the ground now can we? We have to make the well thought out responses into “negative” and other key words that the New Agers like to hear… So when the response is calm and well thought out, one must try even harder with the Key Words.

  11. This is all about religious freedom and the ability of bigots to use their religious freedom to suppress ours. Any other consideration is just wiggle room for the opposition. We are not a unity, but Hobby Lobby happened and we have to work together to not get pushed back into the closet. This is especially true in New Orleans that needs to stand strong against the deep red sea around it.

  12. It’s obvious that natchez wasn’t getting enough money from Hexfest and using the inexcusable excuse of religious reasons fitted as a valid excuse in their eyes .

    • Oh believe me, they definitely got enough money from us. The bill was over $15,000 because we sold out the event five months in advance. The silver lining of being forced onto another boat in town was that we’re able to sell another fifteen tickets and we had a waiting list of people.

  13. This is Ty Siddiqui, founder and local coordinator of the Greater New Orleans Pagan Pride Project, and founder of New Orleans Lamplight Circle, a Pagan spiritual, social, and educational network serving the New Orleans community. I think if you google me, check out the Pagan Pride website, find us on Facebook, or speak to the other amazing organizers for PPD or other leaders in the New Orleans community (like the organizer of the New Orleans Witches Ball, the HPS for Bee Hive Coven and any of their members, the leaders of LAAW or Highland Oak Nemeton, etc.), they will speak to my character… to my constant efforts to serve our local community. I will say this once, and will not waste my time with those who simply have a stick up their butt about Christian and want to bring personal issues into a situation that involved an injustice against over 200 people. I was the one who spoke to the Natchez. I was the one who heard them say that they were cancelling the event because they didn’t want Voodoo on their boat, and didn’t know it was an event for HexFest, and didn’t want to be connected a bunch of witches. Period. For those who are slow to trust and slow to accept the situation from a one-sided telling of it, bravo. You are absolutely right to do so; however, when two different parties who were slighted tell you the same thing, that religious intolerance is afoot in the situation, and the other side refuses to comment, what do you then? Reserving judgement until more facts come to light is wise… wait to see the contract, the emails, wait until we bring our grievances to the city. For those who will instead mud-sling, all I can say is… this isn’t about your personal feelings for the parties involved, this is about a wound inflicted against an entire community, and you need to grow up and get with the program. I’m done. Sling your petty barbs and accusations if you still feel you need to… I hope it provides some kind of catharsis for you, if you must.

    • I don’t need your resume, I’d like the whole story and not only out of one sides mouth. Like I said, I’ve run venues and events I know how these contracts go. I know how the money goes and I know the conditions in order to have an event run, yes in the last two weeks when final monies are to be exchanges and terms are checked to see if all parties have lived up to there side. I wait with bated breath to hear how your legal action goes and I’ll be happy to congratulate you.

      • Thank you tadpoletudor. I understand that position completely, and with your background, I know you have good insight into the process that occurs in the final weeks. I, too, wish that the Natchez would make some kind of comment. Unfortunately, I believe their lawyer has told them to keep silent for exactly this reason. But we will press on with the issue, in the hope that they’ll admit the prejudice that led to all this and (possibly) apologize to the Pagan community. That’s all I want for us… an apology (and maybe for them to take some literature and read about who we are).

    • This kind of steel resolve is why I have so much regard for you, Ty. I am glad you’re taking such a strong position on this. Whatever people might say to imply that somehow discrimination against me is ok because it’s me, or it’s ok against you because it’s you, it’s wrong no matter who it’s against. This issue is bigger than any one of us and it takes a particularly small-minded person not to see that.

      • hahahaah you are always so fun to watch CD…like an oily snake. I have to admit, you’re a propaganda KING!

        • You would think if I’m so good at what I’d do, you would see your petty attacks as pointless and move on to an easier target. 🙂

    • Why are you involved with Day given his horrible behavior less than a year ago?

      Why would Lilith Dorsey even be willing to present at this event, given Day’s hateful, puerile seemingly misogynist behavior last year?

      Why would Bloody Mary think it’s a good idea to be associated with Day?

      Maybe the Nathchez management got wind of Day’s more recent reputation and they didn’t want to deal with him.

      Why would Raven Grimassi stand up for such a nasty person when the facts of the situation are unknown? And finally, why would Grimassi try to get the community to check itself while he stands up for such a nasty character who said such hateful, disturbingly violent things to a woman in hiding? Perhaps Grimassi should rethink his stance lest his followers realize he’s backing someone who was gleeful about the idea of rape of a stalking victim.

      • I’m standing up against religious discrimination, which is what I believe the case to be. You insist upon making this about Christian Day. It is not. What I am backing is our Community in the midst of an assault against us. Please don’t try and make me a pawn in your agenda.

        My fans and supporters know my heart and what I stand for, and it is not what you would have me made out to be. They know me as clearly you do not.

        As to Christian Day’s past comments to which you refer, I personally addressed it with him, called him out on it, and I made public comments that his words were heinous, egregious, and indefensible. I do not defend what he said nor this type of behavior. But I do not condemn someone to eternal punishment for the words they have spoken.

        I stand against injustice, and I am not situational about it. The just thing here is to stand against religious discrimination no matter who is involved or at the center of it.

        • And you so happen to stand to make money via this event, so it’s convenient for you to believe it’s about discrimination.

          It’s about Day because the facts of the situation aren’t clear and he doesn’t deserve the trust it would require to take him at his word.

          Why did you agree too participate in the first place, given his disgusting behavior last year?

          • I was contracted for Hexfest over a year ago, and before the ill statements were made by Christian Day. I am not being paid for this event, but I can appreciate your ignorance. You assume much, too much in fact, and incorrectly so.

            I originally agreed to attend Hexfest because it was a great opportunity to visit New Orleans (I’ve not been and always wanted to go). That aside, I go to any event to be there for my readership who want to come to the workshops. That is where my loyalty is, that is who I support.

            I gave my word to attend the Hexfest event long ago, and I am contracted to do so. My word is not situational.

          • And you have never exhibited bad behavior ever in your life? Who are you to judge anyone?

          • This is who am I am to judge: I’m a member of the community asked to stand up against alleged religious discrimination. Before I decide to get involved, I want facts. I want to know who’s involved. I’m not a public figure, and my background isn’t relevant. I’m not asking for help standing against something that I’m alleging.

          • I don’t believe that anyone should judge another person. Everyone makes mistakes and people change…

          • He has, but you brought up the words about rape, and that is what I replied to. If bad behavior was the line to draw, then I would not be participating in this thread on the Wild Hunt or anywhere else.

          • Raven wrote: “If bad behavior was the line to draw, then I would not be participating in this thread on the Wild Hunt or anywhere else.”

            That is the best thing I’ve seen said all week.

          • And re his 2014 behavior, you didn’t think his misogynist behavior warranted canceling an event with him?

          • It’s a shame that your word isn’t situational, given the situation. After all, the presentation of this situation is being shaped and driven by someone of poor character and repeated disgusting behavior. I’d sure support a favorite author and/or teacher taking a stand against violent misogyny, even if it meant they cancelled an event with that person exhibiting those misogynist traits. But then, I’ve spent a lot of time in New Orleans and don’t need to sell out my principles in order to go there again.

            It’s disappointing that you’re trying to get people to take a stand against religious discrimination while criticizing those of us who want all of the facts and given the lack of those facts are questioning an untrustworthy main character in this kerfuffle.

            Maybe I should stop hoping that BNPs weren’t so self-serving.

          • As i stated, I spoke out against what Christian said in the matter to which you refer. I did not support him or it.

            I believe I have made my position clear here several times, but you seem insistent upon distorting it.

            You first chose to make the topic of this Wild Hunt article be about something it was not written to be about. It is about religious discrimination, and not about Christian Day.

            Now you want to make it about me. You’re grasping at straws here.

            I believe I have said all there is to say in this matter, and I will leave off and wish you peace.

          • Not a single person cancelled participating in that event. Not one. Perhaps this is because these people actually KNOW who I am and you know a caricature that you’ve formulated in your mind. It’s a shame that you have no idea what I’m really about beyond the people who have been ground into the dust for trying to destroy me. Yes, I deal with those who try to hurt me. Don’t like it? Don’t try to hurt me.

          • Interestingly enough, the event in question sold out five months in advance, and most of the sales happened after I was supposed to be cast into the void for all time.

          • Btw, not being paid for the event doesn’t mean that you won’t make money from it.

          • Why do you care so much if people are making money on this? That’s the point to make money by having an event, which is clearly why it sold out…there is a market for these things.

            Isn’t it the “American Dream” to do what you love and make a living at it?

            This is a local business in New Orleans that wanted to work with another local business in New Orleans, it isn’t some “big corporation” selling stuff that no one needs.

            Is it not ok to make money? Last time I checked, I couldn’t pay my electric bill by bartering…

            You really are derailing the issue here which is stated in the Constitution…”Freedom of Religion” and that’s what the fight is about. Whether or not you believe it is your own decision. If you do than get behind the issue, if you don’t, take your argument somewhere else because “we” who are staying on topic are trying to make a difference.

          • You seem to love to go off on tangents. Are you commenting here because Day asked for help from his followers in comments here?

            This is my point about money: It serves Raven’s interests to look the other way with regard to Day’s behavior last year, and in precious years.

          • Damiana wrote: “Are you commenting here because Day asked for help from his followers in comments here?”

            God, I’m really being Donald Trump today and slumming it in the gutter, but I apologize only in that I haven’t had my coffee yet and so I’m compelled by my pre-caffiene “sociopathy” to respond.

            Angela is hardly a “follower.” I’ve known her since I was 20 years old and we both worked in a supermarket and I’ve 45 now. She has never shied from disagreeing with me if she disagreed with me. We’ve had some battles in our day and have both made mistakes in our dealings but we are friends because we know one another’s heart in these matters. What you internet society biddies fail to understand is that people in the real world get to know one another in real world situations, through joys, through griefs, through trials and through successes.

            She isn’t defending what I’ve done wrong. She’s defending against discrimination. I was recently told by someone who has no issue with me that they weren’t comfortable speaking out about this because Ty was involved and I was just as confused by that. If the barometer of addressing discrimination is how you feel about the person involved, then we will never actually address discrimination because everyone has someone who hates them.

            Don’t you get that? Can you really not see through your own blind hate to understand that? If not, then I don’t know why I’m even communicating with you. Oh wait, I do know. I haven’t had my coffee yet.

          • “you who are staying on topic” are also backing someone who’s pissed off half the women of our community at the LEAST. I mean, some of us can’t really care if his ‘religion’ was being prejudiced against when he’s told a woman that she should go get raped. and the fact that Grimassi tolerates this goes to show how far he’s sold his soul to the pagan deity of $$.

          • Actually, I did not tolerate his words back then, and publicly spoke out against what he said. Money? I’m not being paid to attend Hexfest. There is nothing wrong with making money in ones career, it just so happens that money was not offered to me in being at Hexfest.

          • I have personal PM’s from Christian Day as he tried to maniuplate the situation where he wouldn’t have to apologize for telling a woman she should get raped… now, for that, I think I’m holding my temper quite well.
            I would be willing to share these pm’s too… it’s me telling him to apologize and him telling me he can’t.

          • He did apologize…and he did it as publicly as he made the comment.

            I don’t believe that Raven Grimassi tolerated any of Christian’s behavior, nor did I.

            To compact my answer to Damiana and you Robyn:

            Yes, I am a friend of Christian, I have been since we were teenagers.I love him like a brother, and love to me is unconditional. While I do not agree with everything that Christian has said and/or done, that does not mean that I will cast him aside. I have seen him do worlds of good in the Pagan Community, as well as I have seen him be more kind to people who have no one. For me, I would rather be there for someone than to cast them aside.

            Christian and I have been through a lot together as friends, not always seeing eye to eye on every situation, I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things with a lot of people, that does not mean I have to walk away from them, or not defend them and/or a situation that they may be in, especially when it is right to.

            On the other hand, if I see Christian or anyone doing something I do not necessarily approve of, I talk to him/them and have an adult conversation, I do not pass judgement on anyone, that is not my job.

            I practice “active listening” without creating a response in my head while the other persons is talking. Sometimes people need to get out what is in their heads, some people should learn to think before speaking (I know I had to learn that lesson myself), some people were not given the right tools to navigate through life, whatever the situation, is or was, I listen to all sides. I believe in being fair and I believe that the only way to teach tolerance and obtain peace is by setting an example.

            I especially do not have to attack someone based on their past behaviors when there is a much larger situation at hand and that at the moment is “Religious Discrimination”.

            You stated something about “well thought out answers”…I think everyone should think and give a well thought out answer, the world would be more peaceful and yes, that goes for “everyone”…you can be passionate about something and you can express your opinions more effectively when you think it out first and do not fall into the mob mentality.

            Lastly, the issue is and continues to be about religious discrimination. So this is the last I will respond to any personal attacks on anyone. The bottom line is, you do not have to agree with me, and I do not have to agree with you about Christian as a person, nor do I have to defend my position on it.

          • Share away. If you’re who I think you are, you’ve been attacking me since you learned I studied with Laurie Cabot. I actually did apologize so who knows, maybe you had an impact, but I doubt it. I don’t make my decisions based on the likes of you.

        • I am really sick and tired of people picking on Raven over this or threatening him with his followers. Let me state for the record that, yes I realize that he is more dependent on the Pagan community than I am, but don’t threaten him too much because he and Stephanie have always known that if the day comes when the sick members of this so-called community outweighs the healthy ones, I’ve got more than enough other ways to see them make their bread and onions.

      • I cannot believe I’m even allowing myself to address this. It must be because I haven’t had my coffee, but here goes.

        1) Yes, I reported a number of people’s Facebook accounts who were attacking my husband unfairly and without provocation. No, that does not force their real names out, but rather gives them the choice to do so themselves. This is not doxing. Period.

        2) NO, I did not report the account for the woman in “hiding”. A number of my friends, including Mulysa Mayhem, Hoodoo Sen Moise, Sta Muerto Steven, and others were reported as well, and I believe she was reported with that bunch. When she emailed me, notice I said nothing about reporting her, though, to be fair, she never shared the entire conversation. I thought she was mad because I blocked everyone on the group we were on, including her, because I felt people didn’t stick up for me when I was falsely accused of being the person who had reported people in that group a year earlier (I had only just learned that reporting names was even a thing). Later, after she went nuclear across the internet, and in a rage, I talked about my reason for reporting her and everyone else, but it wasn’t true on my part and only said in a state of confusion because she was among a handful of several other people on that group who we not reported. Kakabel Hawthorne was among the ones I didn’t report and her account never went down. Do we really think that’s HER name? So, basically, I wasn’t the only one doing the reporting.

        3) The woman in question emailed me a death curse. Curiously, this was completely ok with the “community” because she doesn’t have the personal brand I have. With over twenty years of marketing experience, I can say with all confidence that if she had mentioned rape, and I’d mentioned death, all anyone would have been talking about was me making a death curse. The hypocrisy in all of this was disgusting.

        4) I did regret what I said, not because of her, because I think she’s atrocious, but because what I said was wrong on its own. I donated $3,000 to The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network and didn’t even publicize it, because it wasn’t for that. My mother was raped and now that she’s in spirit, I didn’t want her pissed off at me. I also felt terrible that people in my life were sexually assaulted and so I realized that I had far overreached the mark in my response. I know what I said was wrong, but I also know that I am attacked without provocation more than any other figure in the Craft so yeah, I lose my temper once in awhile and I’m working on that. Heck, even our stalker said it in a video that I’m “creating a class system in Witchcraft.” This is and has always been about jealousy. When I wasn’t successful, I was never attacked and you never heard anything about me attacking anyone back. But ask yourself, why are there so many people willing to work with me and who have never had issues with me? It’s because they aren’t interesting in taking me down without any reason other than because they hate what I’ve achieved.

        5) I could be the most atrocious person on the planet and discrimination is still wrong because discrimination against one Witch, however much that Witch is disliked, is discrimination against all of us. Can my haters really not understand this?

        6) I am who I am and that’s why I’m where I am. Don’t ever forget that. Not even my mistake last year put so much as a ding in my career. In fact, I had the busiest October ever immediately thereafter and went on to have the most lucrative year of my career. This is the case because 80% of my income comes from non-Witches and there are just too many of those for the miscreants within the Pagan community to affect me and the magical people who like the work I do don’t care about your self-righteous tantrums. I’m not sorry for what I said because anyone hurt me. I’m sorry for what I said because it was wrong. But that being said, I don’t ever attack anyone unprovoked and never have. If you’re going to come into my world with the intent of bringing me down, it is you who will fail, not I. And if you fall coming against me, don’t ever expect me to feel sorry about it. If anyone has felt “destroyed” coming against me, it’s because they set about to destroy me first. Don’t like it? There are plenty of other folks you can associate with other than me. I neither desire nor require the presence of toxic people in my life. However, if your interest is the wonders of witchcraft and magic, the thrill of success, and all of the opportunity that my crazy world can bring to those who stand with me, then by all means, jump on the boat, no pun intended.

        – Christian

    • “they were cancelling the event because they didn’t want Voodoo on their boat, and didn’t know it was an event for HexFest, and didn’t want to be connected a bunch of witches.”

      One wonders how they could have missed these details…

      • They didn’t miss these details. We dealt with the sales manager for over a year and she knew them all. She claimed to Ty and me that the owner had just found out about it and didn’t want the event for “religious reasons,” not wanting anything to do Witchcraft and voodoo rituals. Yes, the boat has hired Bloody Mary in the past but that doesn’t mean the owner himself knew about it. I’m sure the facts will continue to reveal themselves.

  14. The growing debate about Christian Day is, for the vast majority of us who are not in his orbit, largely useless at this point. The only lasting value in the story, if there is to be any, lies in whether our community and organizers can learn anything from this incident. The facts, as we have them from sound reporting efforts, seem to show that a Pagan event was screwed by a business owner based on religious discrimination, with methods and circumstances very similar to the last hundred instances in which Pagans have been screwed by business owners and public officials. The tour company owner and management have elected not to give their side of the story. As such, they don’t deserve a benefit of doubt at this point. If this whole thing was a gross mischaracterization or fabrication by Ty/Christian, the boat owner could very easily have laid the issue to rest. It seems fairly unlikely that the owner, a Catholic bigwig, dedicated the time or effort to tap into the Pagan community’s inside baseball and controversies about Mr. Day and cancelled the deal for that reason. Even if we came to a solid consensus that Christian Day is Pagandom’s biggest putz, if he booked this tour in ordinary good faith and it fell victim to religious discrimination, that’s OUR problem if we let it go unanswered, not just his.

    It seems likely he did approach this deal using a level of consumer prudence that he thought was sufficient and would be sufficient for ordinary folks booking such an event. The problem of course is that as Pagans, we are not accepted as “most folks” in vast swaths of small town and/or Red State America, and we never account for that in our planning. We are always caught flat-footed and deer-in-the headlights when this happens, despite the fact that it is 100% predictable.

    If there ever was an excuse for getting caught in the position of Hexfest, there is none going forward. I would suggest the lessons going forward include:

    Be proactive. When you have your event scuttled the week before it’s scheduled, you are irretrievably, hopelessly screwed. You are not gonna get justice on the back end from a Facebook campaign, and your event is destroyed for that year, probably several more, and maybe forever. Any last minute salvage change of plans will be lucky to cover SOME of your costs. Vendors, sponsors and attendees are not going to commit to an event that has a track record of “sometimes” coming together.

    You are probably not going to get justice in court either. No lawyer is going to spend a year or more fighting a deep pocketed corporation on a “he said/she said” contract case which might someday yield them half of one month’s Audi payment.

    Hire the lawyer BEFORE you sign the contract. Commercial contracts these days are full of easy outs for the business and virtually no real protections for the buyer. What the hell is “any “exotic” dancing, entertainment or singing” in the Natchez contract? Anything the company says it is. Clarify everything in writing, real contract language. Verbal assurances are utterly worthless, and email chains of some low level employee’s personal interpretation are no better. Have your attorney write up an addendum to the contract which includes a detailed description and program of your event, and a signed understanding that the problematic clauses in question are not held by the company to include your dancing, drumming, ritual, whatever.

    Press for fair cancellation terms. If you look at virtually any event type contract, you see that you, the customer, usually gets a full refund for very advanced cancellation, partial for cancellations closer to the date, and no refund for cancelling after a certain date. Why shouldn’t the company face the same terms? Stipulate that if they cancel on you last minute without some truly unavoidable circumstance (ie the boat sank), they owe you not just what you put down, but the full cost of the tour and damages, payable the day of the cancellation notice? If they’re not willing to clarify any of your concerns in contract language, move on to another vendor.

    Finally, but not least, do some research on who you’re thinking of doing business with. Apply some Machiavellian reasoning. Without leaving your home or even making a phone call in many cases, you can figure out an awful lot about someone these days. You can learn the company principals’ church and political affiliations, what causes they donate money to, what they’ve been sued or investigated for. Even if they show no evidence of personal anti-Pagan or anti-LGBT discrimination, does the bulk of their business or political or civic standing rely upon people with those bigotries? If so, guess who’s getting thrown under the bus if push comes to shove?

    I’d rather spend my days picking other people’s toenail lint than sorting out Christian Day’s true legacy or character. To me, this story is about whether Pagans will learn from our mistakes or forever get played for chumps.

    • If their lawyers suggested to not make any comments, as I have seen before because anything said can be used against that person. Also there is nothing in the emails posted that suggest that anything was finalized at that point. In fact that looked like Christian was confused and trying to talk around the situation. Whatever this is, you make some of very good points about covering your ass when putting on an event. This is not the case of a verbal or cocktail napkin as someone said before.

      • The emails are talking about whether the drummers have to be ticketed or not if they weren’t going to eat dinner. The very nature of the emails assumed that the drummers themselves were already a non-issue. You must truly have to go through mental calisthenics to try to prove your warped logic.

    • I don’t frankly know why anyone cares who I am or why I do what I do. It’s beyond me. Anyone who knows me, and I mean KNOWS me, sees me in person, knows what I care about, knows what matters to me, knows that I am interested and focussed on my work.

      You definitely provide a lot of good advice here. In retrospect, I should have made them rewrite the contract rather taking them at their word. The absolutely wretchedness in them canceling two weeks before, when the sales director knew what this event was for over a year, is disheartening. Frankly, if the owner was always the type who would come in and cancel an event like this, then the sales director is particularly horrid for not bringing him up to speed at the beginning so he could make the decision when we had time to get another venue. Thankfully, we still did get another venue because my entire staff is used to dealing with the crazy crap we have to deal with and, to borrow a term from Witchdoctor Utu of the Dragon Ritual Drummers, our “war room capabilities” are second to none.

      There isn’t a person in our community who is discriminated against that someone won’t have an issue with. So if our issues with a person determine whether we fight discrimination, then we will never actually beat it.

  15. I’m going to put a very unpopular idea out there…don’t cry that your rights are being violated as you are trying to violate someone else’s. You have the right to your beliefs and they have the right to theirs, neither should try to force the other to do something that goes against those beliefs.
    Find businesses that are either in line with your beliefs or, at the least, accepting of them, to support with your money. Please do not ask the government or the courts to step in and force someone to go against their beliefs because you will be the next to be forced to go against yours.

    And yes, I have been a practicing pagan for over half my life (29 yrs) and I have had to deal with the closed minded trying to “set me on the right path” and “save my soul”!

    • This is shortsighted and sounds like an argument an evangelical said to me recently that “why didn’t the lesbians go to a bakery that wasn’t Christian?” My response was that, “if a bakery doesn’t have a sign saying ‘Christians causes only’, how in heck do we know that it isn’t just, well, a BAKERY?” LOL

      Bloody Mary had been hired to do numerous events and weddings on that boat without incident, probably because the sales director hired her and the owner didn’t know, or perhaps because she was a minor component. I remember the Salem Knights of Columbus years ago rented to Witches for years so we rented them in 2003 for an event. Our publicity was so big that the state office of the KofC cancelled the event, sent out a national press release that a “Satanic event cancelled at the Knights of Columbus” and poor Sandra Mariah Wright’s name ended up with the abortion doctors and the lines drawn through the names of the dead ones on the infamous Nuremberg Files website. And, don’t you know, they continued to rent to Witches on the down low after this, unbeknownst to the state office. I’m sure HexFest was the victim of its own publicity just like the KofC event ten years ago. With mary having been hired for the boat, we had every reason to believe this would be ok. I wanted to go with the other boat to begin with, but out of concern for the attendees, I chose the boat that was a quarter mile from the hotel rather than a mile. The boat we’re on now has better food, better customer service, and holds more people so we can now sell 15 more tickets, which we’ve already sold more than half of.

      I don’t entirely disagree with your sentiment here and I do think that we as a society must have respect for where strong beliefs intersect, but we had every reason to think this would be ok.