Pagan Community Notes: Dianne Daniels, Michael Crahart, INSEP, and more!

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17504291_10210669341747163_5965230327048180277_oHARTFORD, Conn. — Dianne Daniels was honored Friday as one of the top 100 women of color who have impacted communities in the Northeast. Daniels is a practicing Witch and Unitarian Universalist, who recently took over as president of her local NAACP branch. In a December interview with The Wild Hunt, Daniels said, “I feel very strongly that I must give back to my community. The principle of EOROTO – Each One Reach One and Teach One – is a great way to ensure that the wisdom that I’ve gained, that we all gain throughout our lives – does not disappear when we make our own transition out of this world.”

The honor was awarded by June Archer and Eleven28 Entertainment. Daniels and the 99 other honorees gathered with friends, family, and community at a black-tie gala held at the Bushnell Center in Hartford. The event was focused specifically on celebrating “the power of family, friends, and the community” and “recognizing the contributions that women in business, education, entrepreneurship, entertainment, government, and service have made to impact the lives of those throughout their communities from Stamford, CT to Springfield, MA.”

After the event, Daniels told TWH, “We honor each other, celebrate our efforts, and seek to increase our influence by participating in all levels of business, education, entrepreneurship, entertainment, athletics, government and public service. I was particularly honored to be chosen because two years ago, two of my most beloved community elders (and mentors of mine) were honored.” Those two mentors include the Jacqueline Owens, the former 30-year president of the Norwich NAACP,  and Lottie Scott, a lifelong civil-rights advocate and activist in the community. Congratulations to Daniels.

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cahartTWH – Michael Crahart, founder of Ecclesia Sol Invictus and Hellenismos Aionios, died Mar. 22 of cancer. In an interview with Hercules Invictus, Crahart recounted his spiritual journey with its roots in Celtic tradition. He was, for some time, a member of OBOD. However, that path did not satisfy his spiritual needs. After some time, he discovered Hellenismos. In the interview, he said that the Olympianism Yahoo group was his first online presence, and his work building his own tradition began from that point.

Over time, Crahart would become a leading voice for orthodox Mithraism, a religion reconstructed from what is known of the mysteries of the Mithraic cult, which was most active in the Roman Empire during the first through fourth centuries. In talking about the growth of Hellenic traditions in general, Crahart once said, “I hope it will raise people’s awareness of the gods, people who thought that they were no longer honoured. As well as raise people’s appreciation of the gods as cosmic deities, who are concerned with the spiritual development of all humanity.”

An online memorial was conducted by members of Hellenismos Aionios on Friday. What is remembered, lives.

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cropped-LargeINSEPBannerAfter several years of planning, the Irish Network for the Study of Esotericism and Paganism (INSEP) will be launching its first event Mar. 31. INSEP was founded in 2015 by Dr. Jenny Butler, a specialist on Irish contemporary Paganism, and Colin Duggan, a doctoral researcher at UCC’s department of the study of religions. Butler teaches “modules on Western Esotericism and New Religious Movements at the Department of Study of Religions at University College Cork.” Dugan’s work is focused on the “study of Theosophy and Chaos Magick.”

INSEP will function as forum for academics studying esotericism and contemporary Paganism that “relates to the Irish context.” Founders hope that the forum will encourage interdisciplinary studies and collaboration. The Mar. 31 program will be held at University College Cork in the O’Rahilly Building. Presenting will be Dr. Butler, as well as Vivianne Crowley, Dmitry Galtsin, Nadine Eckmann, John Boyle, Áine Warren, Anne Crossey, Christian Giudice, and Patrick Everitt.

In other news:

  • In January a new petition was launched requesting “that the [UK] government recognize how important it is for people to be able to be joined in matrimony in accordance with their religious beliefs and give Pagan handfasting legal recognition in England and Wales.” As we’ve previously reported, that recognition is already established in Scotland. Other UK Pagans would like to see the same available in their parts of the country. The petition is online through July.
  • The new book Pagan and Earth-centered Voices in Unitarian Universalism is now available for pre-order. It includes 22 “essays by prominent leaders in Unitarian Universalist Paganism” edited by Jerrie Kishpaugh Hildebrand and Shirley Ann Ranck. According to the publisher’s site, the book features “the writings of both clergy and laypeople” and “is a vibrant collection demonstrating the many expressions of nature-based spirituality and the ways they feed the souls of so many.”  The book will be released May 22, and is available for order at the UU bookstore InSpirit.
  • Publisher and author Taylor Ellwood has launched a funding campaign to support his podcast, Magical Experiments. In the blog post, Ellwood wrote, “If you’ve been listening to the show, you know we’ve covered a variety of topics including pop culture magic, social justice magic, working with spirits, space/time magic, and […] more.” He said that the money raised, in part, will pay for the site account levels needed to continue running the show during peak hours and run longer.
  • Tamara L. Suida will be following up her Ancient Egyptian Daybook with a corresponding blank daily planner. When Suida ran a 2012 funding campaign to publish the academic book, she successfully raised over $17,000. Since that point, she says, fans have been requesting a planner. In response, Suida launched a second campaign to complete that very project. Currently, the fund drive has already met and exceeded its goal. The planner will include the same art work courtesy of Megan Zane, and “will be printed in coilbound form.” Siuda noted that the planner is “already in production” and that she “started it as a side project during Daybook printing, and it’s already mostly put together.” The funds will be used to finish it off, except for 5%, which she is donating to other campaigns. Siuda plans to have the planner available by August.
  • The deadline is fast approaching for submitting to sixth edition of the journal Walking the Worlds, to be released at the summer solstice. The upcoming publication is themed “Divination and Oracles.” Walking the Worlds, first published in 2014, is “a print journal devoted to an exploration of spiritwork and polytheism from a variety of traditions, ancient and modern.” The submission deadline is May 1. More information about the journal, past issues, as well as details for the current call for submission can be found on the website.