Pagan Community Notes: Dana Eilers, Oroville Dam, Holli Emore and more!

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Dana Eilers [courtesy photo]

Dana Eilers [courtesy photo]

CAPE COD, Mass. — Word spread quickly this weekend that Pagan and Witch Dana Eilers had died unexpectedly. Born Sept. 15, 1956 in North Chatham, Mass, Eilers spent much of her adult life using her knowledge and skills to assist the growing Pagan community in its quest for religious freedom.

Eilers held a law degree from the New England School of Law and spent more than 17 years practicing in the states of Missouri and Illinois. Over the past three decades, she also applied her extensive knowledge of constitutional law and her passion for religious freedom to help Pagans facing religious discrimination. Included in that work was the writing of the essential guide book, Pagans and the Law.

“Dana was a cherished and dear colleague at The Wild Hunt. Whenever I personally needed assistance working through court documents for an article, Dana would drop everything to help. No matter how long it took or how arduous it was, she did it. Her influence and support knows no bounds in our communities. She will be missed.” said Heather Greene, managing editor of The Wild Hunt.

At this point, the exact details of her death have not been made public. We will have more on that in the coming week, as well as more details on her life and her work. What is remembered, lives.

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[Public Domain from State of California]

[Courtesy state of California]

GEYSERVILLE, Calif. — After a devastating drought, the rains are now coming in California and have led to a very different set of consequences. The dams now need to hold back water again. The Oroville Dam, in particular, was in such dire straits that evacuations were ordered last week, affecting many thousands of people including local some Pagans.Covenant of the Goddess (CoG) member Rachael Watcher shared some recollections about her experience, which began with an evacuation notice. “The only spillway for the entire Oroville Lake Reservoir, the second largest reservoir in California, had suddenly begun to spew chunks of cement, and they immediately closed it down to view the damage.”

Closing the spillway led to the lake filling too fast, leading the Feather River to flood quickly. “We had just enough time to grab the cat, the dog, the computers and our meds and beat feet out of town. … By Sunday evening the highway patrol had closed all of the roads both north and south of Oroville.” The spillway ultimately did not fail, and while they were able to return home, concerns about more heavy rain this week hang over her and her family.

As concerns over the Oroville Dam’s condition mounted, leaders of the Temple of Isis offered sanctuary to anyone evacuated from the dam’s vicinity. “With 180,000 evacuees potentially overwhelming existing resources, I thought we had an obligation to open up if we could possibly be of help,” said temple director deTraci Regula, particularly since the temple grounds have room for evacuees’ pets and larger animals. The temple is three hours’ drive from the dam, and the crisis was handled in relatively short order, meaning that this show of hospitality was not needed this time around.

However, this is not the first time the temple’s doors were opened to those fleeing a potential or manifest disaster.  When the Valley Fire scorched over 76,000 acres in 2015, including the Harbin Hot Springs retreat center, those services were needed. “For that incident, we provided food and shelter and other support for about 35 people and some animals for up to three weeks here at Isis Oasis Sanctuary,” according to Regula.

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Holli squareCOLUMBIA, S.C. — An interfaith healing ceremony at the state capitol brought out many people from different paths in honor of South Carolina Interfaith Harmony Month.The event was hosted by members of Temple Osireion, based in the area. Head Priestess Holli Emore told a reporter at the event that there were many tragedies that still require healing. “Orlando, the pulse night club, Bataclan in Paris, San Bernadino, the Charleston shootings, it was just one thing after another,” she said.

“We all need food, shelter, love, support, safety,” said Melissa Miranda Allgrim, another temple member.

While this was an interfaith event, Temple of Osireion was the only organization named in the WLTX news coverage, with more than half the quotes provided coming from members.Others who were interviewed were identified simply as “attendees.”  The video segment is available to stream directly from the WLTX news site.

In other news:

  • Wyldwood Radio is set for a relaunch on Feb. 27 by original creators Herne and Lottie, after a hiatus that began last September. The internet station, which will broadcast Pagan, Gothic, and dark folk music, is supported by listener donations through PayPal and Patreon. Future plans include “live shows, band promotions, band contact, playlists and website updates, all managed by the core team of Herne and Lottie.” The founders said, “We hope to find our many listeners once again, as it was over 21,000 per month near the end of the old incarnation of Wyldwood Radio.”
  • Sable Aradia is inviting her fellow Pagan fiction authors to take over the internet. A series of writers are scheduled to post on the aforementioned Facebook event page for an hour apiece. According to Aradia, “this includes introductions, FAQs, personal info, social media and website links, and most importantly, teasers, trailers, and giveaways or contests for ongoing prizes.” Authors scheduled thus far are Jocelyn Babcock, Aradia herself, Frances Pauli, Sarah Burhman, Treeson, Brendan Myers, Shauna Aura Knight, Roxanne Rhoads, Shannon Barnsley, T.A. Moorman, Samantha Nocera, Sarah Avery, and Graeme A. Barber.
  • A doctoral student at Loyola University Maryland is conducting research into the role of spirituality in resilience. David Christy is “especially interested in reaching out to the Pagan community since we are so underrepresented in the research literature (despite the fact that we’re the second fasted growing religious group in the U.S). Christy wrote, “Please consider taking this survey and boosting the signal by sharing it with others in your communities.” The survey, found here, should take 30-40 minutes to complete.
  • Registration for this year’s Equinox in the Oaks is now open, signaling the beginning of festival season. In addition, the indoor conference ConVocation is coming up this weekend in Detroit.
  • Word comes from the Adocentyn Research Library that over 10,000 books have now been cataloged in that project. The library was started with the private collections of seven elders in the Bay Area of California, and organizers are in the process of putting the entire catalog online. They added that, right now, they “are very interested in preserving runs of Pagan and Wiccan newsletters in our collection.”
  • T Thorn Coyle is among several authors who contributed to the anthology The Resistance, United in Love, which is being released today for President’s Day. Proceeds will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union. Pre-release this book has already hit #1 slots on Amazon under several categories. Here’s a brief video blurb:


Correction 2-21-17 8:34am: The interfaith story originally said that Temple Osireion were event attendees. However, the temple actually organized the event as part of South Carolina Interfaith Harmony Month. We have corrected that as well as the spelling of Holli Emore’s first name.