Pagan Community Notes: Anne Lenzi, Patheos Pagan, Lady Sara Cunningham and more.

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[From Facebook Memorial Page]

[From Facebook Memorial Page]

PORTLAND, Ore. — It was announced on Feb. 1 that Druid Anne Lenzi (1974-2017) had died suddenly due to a heart defect. Born in 1974, Lenzi had become a pillar in ADF’s Druid community. She was a founding member of Abhainn Glas Grove, ADF, and she also served terms as Member’s Advocate and the ADF Northwest Regional Druid.  Along with her spiritual work, she was trained as a doula, loved children, and worked in various position as an advocate for people in need, even going so far as to speak in court sessions and hearings.

Longtime friend Amanda Giles had this to say in part: “Anne placed great value on each human soul. She was a safe haven for the downtrodden. She was a mother figure to many and friend to more. She was an excellent listener and a willing sharer. She was loyal and forgiving. She was fierce and maintained forward momentum. She nurtured growth: in herself, in her family, in her community. Thank you, incomparable Anne, for everything. You are still shining for us and ever will be.”

In Amanda Giles’ full memorial write-up, she shares the depth of Lenzi’s interests, and her spirit. That memorial piece is published in full on a crowdfunding campaign page, which has been set up to raise money to help cover Lenzi’s final medical expenses. In two days, the campaign has raised over $3,000, which is a testament to the number of people that Lenzi touched over her life.

Lenzi leaves behind a loving husband and two young children. As noted on the funding page, she never let her heart defect slow her down, despite living under a “mysterious deadline.” In the end, “Anne fought valiantly, but there was nothing to be done, not by the surgeons earlier in her life, and not by her husband Ron, [who] he fought right along-side her.” What is remembered, lives.

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TWH – In an update to the Patheos Pagan story, the bloggers involved in the contract negotiations did receive a response and an updated contract. The new agreement addressed several of the Pagan bloggers’ concerns. The updated contract states that posts may not disparage “Patheos and Beliefnet,” rather than “Patheos or any of its related companies.” In addition, the section on editing has been adjusted to remove the words “without limitation.” Patheos still “reserves the right to edit” posts, as the contract reads, “for the purpose of correction or clarity without altering the intent of the piece, as well as the right to take down any of your posts that it deems offensive.”  Most of the contract remained unchanged.

Reaction to the new contract, which went into affect Feb. 1, has remained mixed. Some writers refused to sign either contract and will be taking their work elsewhere, whether that be independent sites or to larger blogging venues like PaganSquare. Other writers will remain with Patheos until, and if ever, the time comes when the Patheos business model no longer fits with their goals and work. John Halstead, who posted the initial response to the new contract, was not impressed with the changes, and will not be returning to Patheos despite being given the opportunity. On the other side of the spectrum, John Beckett, who explained his reasons for staying on his Patheos blog, remarked that a new contract made no difference in his decision to sign.

In the meantime, a fundraising campaign is underway to potentially support a new Pagan-owned blogging site.

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10014968_10203640343193377_378059787_nTWH – In Dec 2016, Lady Sara Cunningham (1935-2016), elder priestess and pioneer in the early days of the Pagan movement, passed way at her home in Oregon. Originally from Tuscon, Arizona, Sara Cunningham Carter spent much of her early adult life in the Los Angeles area teaching and practicing her Craft. In 1970, she founded the the Church of the Eternal Source in Pasadena, and was a longtime teacher to many who then went on to form their own groups. Author and teacher Raven Grimassi, for example, lists Lady Sara as one of his early instructors.

Additionally, according to her biography, Cunningham wasn’t only running a church and teaching. She also owned a “Stonehenge Shop in Pasadena, CA and had a mail-order course.” Later in life, Cunningham joined Iona Miller and Libby Patterson in the hosting of the website Perfume Alchemy. As written there: “Hermetic Qabalistic Perfumer, Lady Sara [had] decades of experience in formulating exotic, traditional and personalized scents.” Through the site, she was sharing her decades of experience on the subject matter.

Cunningham moved to Colorado and then to Oregon where she remained until her death. Oberon Zell, a close friend and contemporary, has now placed her name on the memorial list of elders that he has been keeping up-to-date for years. What is remembered, lives.

In Other News

  • The Troth has released a new and updated organizational “inclusion affirmation” for all members. The inclusion affirmation reads, “I agree to keep frith with all Troth members regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, gender, or family structure.” The Troth board moved to have this newly-worded affirmation placed in many visible and public spaces, including the Troth website’s current member login screens and “the Join and Renew pages.” Steer Robert L. Schreiwer states that, “This presents prospective members and current members with an opportunity to affirm their understanding of The Troth’s inclusive policies and positions and to abide by the ‘law of the hall.'”
  • As we reported Thursday, Canadian Pagans continue to show solidarity with the nation’s Muslim community. In Winnipeg, a contingent of Pagans, Witches, and Heathens got together to join 1,500 other citizens in the March for Human Rights. Despite temperatures reaching a chilling minus 11 Celsius, folks were reportedly in good spirits, and people from all walks of life joined the action. TWH journalist Dodie Graham McKay, reporting from the event, said: “An event like this is important for our city, which was declared the most racist city in Canada by Macleans magazine in 2015. The event was organized by the mayor, Brian Bowman, who is working on having our city declared a ‘sanctuary city’ for undocumented workers.”
  • The American Academy of Religion (AAR) has placed out its submission call for its 2017 annual meeting. The Pagan studies theme is most specifically “Witch Hunts: Rhetorical, Historical and Contemporary.” As noted on the site, “the term witch hunt is used as a rhetorical strategy in contemporary political discourses, and yet there have been and are actual hunts for witches past and present. The Contemporary Pagan Studies Unit invites papers on a variety of topics, using various methodologies, exploring rhetorical, historical, and contemporary ‘witch hunts.'” More information on submitting to AAR is available on the website. This year’s meeting will be held in Boston, Mass., Nov. 18-21.
  • Assembly of the Sacred Wheel has launched a funding campaign for the New Alexandrian Library. The group has produced a new album called Dreams Sung True, and it features 25 Pagan chants and songs “for rituals and devotional ceremonies.” As noted on the CDBaby website, “The album runs the gamut from rousing to contemplative to passionate with the power to raise and move energy.”


  • Mat Auryn collected the opinions of a number of Pagans, Heathens, and polytheist on the subject of hexing. It is a controversial topic even within a specific religious practice. Auryn writes, “When we see injustice and oppression, which is more harmful, remaining silent and allowing the harm to continue or stopping it if we have the power to do so? I decided to seek out the opinions of other magickal practitioners of all kinds; witches of different types, root workers and conjurers, warlocks, sorcerers, druids and pagans. They say that if you ask three witches a question you’ll get at least ten different viewpoints.”