Pagan Community Notes: HUAR, Lily and Deirdre, Black Witch, and more!

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HUAR LogoLast week, Heathens United Against Racism (HUAR) issued a statement concerning a public Facebook comment made by the Asatru Folk Assembly director Steven A. McNallen. On Jan. 10, McNallen wrote, “Germany – that is the German people, not sellout traitors like Merkel – deserve our full support…Where are the Freikorps when we need them?” The Freikorps were “private paramilitary groups” created after Germany’s defeat in World War I. They were used to stop uprisings and were consider to be largely nationalistic and conservative.

McNallen’s comment was made in reaction to recent reports of violence in Germany. It triggered a wave of reactions and controversy to which he eventually responded that he would not apologize for making that statement. In one response he wrote that he “stands with Germany.” Since those initial comments, there has been a host of blog posts on a variety of Pagan and Heathen sites that either speak directly to his statements or revolve around the related issues.

HUAR’s own statement was released late Monday, Jan. 18. It read, in part: “Calling for the revival of groups of armed, bloodthirsty reactionary killers as a solution to ongoing tensions in Germany related to the Syrian refugee crisis is inexcusable and unconscionable.” The HUAR statement goes on to include a number of calls-to-action for Heathens to stand up against McNallen’s words and includes several links to background material. McNallen has not directly responded to HUAR.

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For those following the Deirdre and Lily story, Druid and licensed wildlife rehabilitator Cindy McGinley announced the following, “We have been in negotiation with the DEC through the Attorney General’s office to find a reasonable settlement on the matter of saving Deirdre & Lily.” In Nov, we reported that the Judge ruled in favor of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). McGinley would have to release or euthanize the two deer. It seemed to be the end but she vowed to not give up the fight. And that may have paid off.

McGinley recently reported the following: “In exchange for being allowed to soft-release the girls together right here on Rivendell Farm (where I believe they will both be able to make it), I have agreed to withdraw my appeal and to forfeit my rehabilitator’s license. I have also had to agree to several other conditions, including carte blanche invasion of my privacy for a short period of time.” She added that she only agreed to these conditions in order save the two deers’ lives, especially Lily, who has been blind from birth.

McGinley has begun the soft release and said everything is going well, adding, “Lily is really amazing in the way that she maneuvers around obstacles even better than most sighted deer. Is it possible that, with the court proceedings, I gave her enough time to actually heal?” McGinley is content with the deal and thanks everyone for their support. She also promised to continue to “shine a light on the wildlife issue in NY and elsewhere.”

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Black Witch

Black Witch

Blogger Olivia Haynes, also known as Black Witch, has openly accused John Hopkins University of discriminatory practices. On Jan 15, she wrote, “I usually don’t like to intermix my personal life with Black Witch because this is not a personal blog but this is pretty outstanding…and in a bad way.” Haynes then went on to describe the situation in detail. According to that account, on Dec 15, she was fired from John Hopkins after only working at one of its libraries for 3 months. Haynes published the termination letter online which discloses the reasons, including “suspicions regarding [her] involvement in the theft of the lunches of other staff.”

In her initial blog post, Haynes wrote, “The whole firing is being investigated by the Office of Intuitional [sic] Equity.” And, she also noted that she has called a lawyer, the ACLU, the EEOC, and the NAACP with little to no results to date. However, in her most recent update Haynes said that there is now a third party lawyer, not representing her or the school, looking over the situation. Additionally, the school’s initial investigation is still ongoing. She also said that she will escalate the case, if necessary, stating that the issues present at the school are more than just the firing.

In the meantime, Haynes is trying to make due and opened a crowdfunding campaign to help bridge the gap until her new job begins in February. She is posting updates to the situation on her Twitter and Tumblr accounts as well as her blog.

In Other News:

  • Gavin Bone and Janet Farrar have announced the preliminary dates of their U.S.tour. They will be traveling in April and May, attending a number of festivals and running workshops in various locations around the eastern portion of the country. According to the preliminary schedule, Bone and Farrar will be attending both Florida Pagan Gathering in Florida and Beltania in Colorado. The workshop cities include Cornwall, NY, Miami, Atlanta, and Denver. They said that more locations will be added over the next few months.
  • Pagan Pride Detroit announced today the date for its annual spring event. It will hold its Community Earth Day April 23 at the Madison Heights Senior Center. It is currently taking applications for vendors.The free day-long spring festival is one of two events the group sponsors. Its fall event, Pagan Pride Day, will be held Aug 9. And, for those readers who are in the Detroit area, don’t forget that ConVocation is just around the corner.
  • T. Thorn Coyle has released a reader-sponsored free fiction short story called Salt. It begins, “Once the random itching settled down, the water soothed him,” and tells the story of 52-year-old Jasper, who spends his life in and out of magical experience. Coyle, as well as other Pagan writers and artists, have taken to the site Patreon to help sponsor their work. In her blog, Coyle thanks some of her sponsors including a link to her Patreon site, which explains how the process works.
  • Mercury went direct.
  • The Labrys Community in Greece has posted a video of its annual Lenaia ritual, which was held Jan. 24. As explained on the Temenos site, “The Lenaia was a three-day festival in honor of Dionysos and the maenads, perhaps the origin of the City Dionysia in the Classical Era. Like many festivals, there was a procession carrying a representation of Dionysos, dancing by Athenian girls with castenets and carrying the thyrsus and dramatic competitions. It may have included a midnight revel by women.” The video, as posted below, only shows the ritual portion of a bigger festival.