Pagan Community Notes: Interfaith Partners of SC, Pagans in the Park, Claire Hamilton and more!

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269241_415493488489950_1381333520_nCOLUMBIA, S.C. — After the rise in reported cases of vandalism and threats made against U.S. Jewish Community Centers and temples, the Interfaith Partners of South Carolina (IPSC) took immediate action and reached out to the area’s Jewish community. Pagan priestess Holli Emore is on the board of IPSC and attended a February meeting between the organization and a local JCC management team.

“As it happens, they are very worried, as nearly all JCCs are, about enrollment for the summer children’s programs. Without that income, their budget becomes very challenging, and without being able to serve children, there goes their mission, too,” said Emore. The JCC representatives informed IPSC’s board that Jewish centers around the country have had “so many parents pull their children out of the preschool that they are facing closure.”

In response, the IPSC will being help the local JCC with an April festival to show support to the local Jewish community. Emore said that IPSC is also planning to use the event to promote peace and to recommit to its statement “condemning all acts of hate speech, vandalism or violence.”

Emore is no stranger to interfaith work and has been active with IPSC for many years. In fact, it was her Pagan temple that led ritual events outside the South Carolina statehouse during Interfaith Harmony Month. Last year, she organized an event for IPSC called “Facing Fear in our Houses of Worship,” which was precipitated by the Charleston shootings. The event had special guests, including an FBI specialist, the local sheriff, and a Dept. of Homeland Security person from Washington. Emore said, “The FBI is talking to us about organizing more of these presentations.”

“While it sickens me that we must be putting our energy to such activities,” she went on to say, “I am so gratified to be in a position to organize meaningful dialogue, training and publicity that I hope will help mitigate the current wave of nationalistic hatred that is sweeping the U.S. in a way I’ve not seen in my 60+ years.”

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17021520_789577604535727_7333287073706792336_nVICTORIA, Aus. — Despite any concerns expressed by Australian Pagans after the release of Robin Fletcher, the local community is not letting the news get in the way of their own celebrations and spiritual work. This past weekend Victoria saw its very first Pagan Pride Day.The event was hosted by the Pagan Collective of Victoria (PCV). It included a picnic, an autumn equinox ritual, short presentations on various traditions, and time to socialize.

According to the website, PCV is “the only non-profit, incorporated association dedicated to providing state-wide community building and networking opportunities for Pagans.” It hosts a variety of events throughout the year, and Pagan Pride is now being added to that robust calendar. Held Mar. 18, the new daylong event was titled Pagans in the Park, a name that corresponds with other PCV events like Pagans in the Pub or Pagans in the Cafe. On the same day, PCV also hosted an evening concert featuring Spiral Dance and KC Guy at a local Melbourne bar.

Ryan McCleod, co-founder of PCV, said, “It was a great success.” Unfortunately, the board’s full report was not ready in time for publication.

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Claire-Hamilton-300x243LLANDOGO, Wales – Harpist, author and honorary OBOD Bard Claire Hamilton passed away in the latter part of 2016. In the final years of her life, Hamilton was writing a book titled, I, a Child. As described by her family, the unpublished novel is “a symbolic culmination of a lifetime of creative writing and philosophical thinking.” Since her death, they have been raising money to finish and publish I, a Child so it can finally be shared with Hamilton’s fans.

Claire Hamilton is perhaps best known for her musical legacy. Philip Carr-Gomm wrote, “For all those lucky enough to be present at one of Claire’s performances, she will be remembered for her gift of transporting the listener to other worlds, carried upon the beauty of her harp and the magic of her voice.”

Her bardic talents did not rest with music; she was a published writer and storyteller, specifically focusing on Celtic, Greek, and Arthurian mythology. Hamilton published more than seven books on these varied topics. The book I, a Child is a novel and, as noted on the crowdfunding page, Hamilton’s family intends to “send a copy of I, a Child to each contributor to this campaign once it is published.”  What is remembered, lives.

In other news

  • Pagan Spirit Gathering, the largest outdoor Pagan week-long festival, has announced its 2017 presenters. The featured authors include Jason Mankey, River Higginbotham, Laura Tempest Zakroff, and Kathryn Hinds; the featured musicians are Damh the Bard, Spiral Rhythm, Tempest and Nathanial Jonstone, S.J. Tucker, Arthur Hinds, and Sentinel Grove. “We are looking forward to celebrating summer solstice and Pagan community with this wonderful convergence of Pagan authors, musicians, and performers!” said PSG and Circle Sanctuary founder, Rev. Selena Fox. PSG will be held, once again, at Tall Tree Lake in southern Illinois, from June 18-25.
  • The presenters for the non-academic track of new indoor summer conference Mystic South have also been announced. The featured guests include Byron Ballard, Orion Foxwood, Katrina Messenger, Dorothy Morrison, and the band Tuatha Dea. Other presenters who will be on hand include John Beckett, Jason Mankey, Laura Tempest Zakroff, and Anomolous Thracian. As a side note, The Wild Hunt will be at the Atlanta-based event and is hosting a Thursday evening pre-conference meet and greet for all presenters and attendees. In addition, several TWH writers will be presenting, including managing editor Heather Greene, columnist Manny Tejeda-Moreno, and news writer Dodie Graham McKay.
  • Author Alex Bledsoe has just released the latest novel, titled Gather Her Round, in his popular Tufa series.The book’s write-up reads, “In Cloud County, where music and Tufa, the otherworldly fae community, intermix, a monster roams the forest, while another kind of evil lurks in the hearts of men.” Bledsoe tells another story infused with mountain magic. It is the 5th book in the series that began with the The Hum and the Shiver in 2011.
  • Organizers of Canada’s annual Pagan conference are getting ready for their May event. This year, Gaia Gathering will be held in Calgary and is sponsored by the Calgary Pagan Pride Society. National Board chair Jennifer Taylor wrote, “I want to encourage anyone that may be on the fence about attending to take the risk and just do it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anyone or up are super introverted. We are your tribe! We will smile, shake your hand and maybe even hug you as our way of welcoming you.” This year Gaia Gathering will be held at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Centre from May 19-22.
  • The Salt Lake Pagan Society is calling for submissions for its 2017 edition of Enheduanna, a Pagan international literary journal published annually each Samhain. The editors explain, “The journal is named in honor of the first poet of history, Enheduanna, who lived in ancient Sumer 4500 years ago.” Submissions are due by May 1. For those interested, more information is on the website.
  • Lastly, Happy Birthday to the Atlantis Bookshop. The London-based store is celebrating 95 years of serving the world’s occult community.

Geraldine at work in Atlantis Bookshop Photo: The Gentle Author/Spitalfields Life

Geraldine at work in Atlantis Bookshop [Photo: the Gentle Author/Spitalfields Life].