Pagan Community Notes: Asha Deliverance’s letter, Heathens respond, Gloucestor Witches and more

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PORTLAND, Ore. — In an update to our story, Asha Deliverance, mother of stabbing victim Taliesin Myrddin Nakai Meche, wrote an open letter to President Donald Trump regarding terror violence and hate speech. It read, in part:

“Two precious lives were lost this Memorial Day weekend in Portland and one more, nearly so. All three were strangers to each other, and to those they were defending. They fearlessly risked their lives for two young women who were threatened by an act of bigotry & terror. These brave men saw the immediate injustice and didn’t hesitate to act. They recognized the truth: we are more alike than we are different. To ride the train home without being assaulted because of the color of your skin or your religious beliefs, is an inalienable right.”

Deliverance ends by asking Trump to use his leadership to “encourage all Americans to protect and watch out for one another, and to “condemn any acts of violence” related to hate speech and hate groups.

Her letter has been published widely in the mainstream media and can be read in full here.

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Thor's Hammer Emblem.

Thor’s Hammer Emblem.

In response to last week’s violence in Oregon, a number of Heathen groups have made public statements after mainstream media outlets and bloggers linked the stabber to Norse religious practice. In a Facebook post, the attacker reportedly made references to the killing the president in the name of a number of different ancient deities, called himself a Viking, and wrote Hail Vinland! “This I swear to Odin, Kali, Bastet and all other Pagan Gods and Goddesses in my Aryan Theosophical Nucleus. This is my duty as a Viking and Patriot.”

The Troth condemned the attack and reflected on the need for in-prison military services. Heathens United Against Racism’s statement offered support to the family and added, “Portland Killer is our community’s responsibility, and we must do everything we can to prevent it from happening again.”

Whether or not the attacker was actually Heathen is still not clear. TWH columnist and writer of the Norse Mythology Blog Karl E. H. Seigfried spoke to several reporters, saying that the stabber’s Facebook statements invoke many gods and “to pick one thread out of this insane tapestry and declare it to be the religious determiner of […] hate would be nonsensical.” Seigfried’s statement is further supported by the fact that the attacker has on several occassions invoked his love for Jesus. Coming up this week, we’ll have more on this story, the continuing fight against hate in the Heathen community, and the determining of belief in the wake of violence.

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GLOUCESTER, England — According to local reports, the staff of the occult store Spellbound have been the target of what is being called a “hate campaign.” The shop, which is located close to the famous Gloucester cathedral, was opened in 2007. Along with selling an array of magical products and hosting events, Spellbound offers a wide range of occult services, such as psychic readings, spell work, healing, and witchcraft classes.

Store owner and psychic Toni Hunt and two members of her staff have reportedly received repeated death threats, been called devil worshipers, Satan-spawn, and terrorists. Hunt told a local journalist, “I have reported such incidents on numerous occasions but when the police arrive they tell me that people are just expressing opinions. If we were members any other religion or group it would be treated as hate crime and dealt with appropriately.”

Gloucester police have said, as noted in the local reports, that they are, in fact, working with the shop owners, and that they take hate crimes seriously.

TWH reached out to Hunt and the others involved in order to learn more about the situation. However, the staff denied to comment at this time due to legal actions that have been reportedly put in motion. We will continue to follow this story and update it as needed.

In other news:

  • The Warrior’s Call, based in the U.K., will be participating in a day of non-violent action training in Sussex to help “build the resistance.” As we have reported in the past, the Warrior’s Call is a Pagan organization that is actively part of the anti-fracking movement worldwide and regularly organizes events both locally in the U.K. and beyond. The June 10 training session will be held at a Quaker meeting house in Brighton.
  • Celebrated ritual drummers Morwen and Jimi Two Feathers have been coping with Morwen’s brain cancer for several years with the support of their friends in the drumming and EarthSpirit communities. In recent weeks, they were recently dealt another blow when Jimi suffered a stroke. While he has been Morwen’s primary caregiver, Morwen was able managed the voluminous medical paperwork until her most recent setback. Unfortunately, Jimi didn’t realize that, in the wake of caring for her, he’d let his own health insurance lapse, until he needed it.  A crowdfunding campaign has been started titled, “Let’s get Jimi drumming again.” It was organized by friends of the couple.
  • Tuatha Dea has released its latest CD, Kilts and Corsets. Saturday the Celtic folk band held a release party in Knoxville, Tennessee to celebrate the new album, which includes the song that the band wrote after they watched their hometown of Gatlinburg burn last fall.
  • The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall will be hosting its first-ever midsummer festival June 24. Beginning at 10:30 a.m., the full day event will include flowers, music, ritual, and dancing, and will end with a bonfire. The festival, which will take place outside the museum near the harbor, will be free and open to public.
  • The University of Pennsylvania Press produces a scholarly journal called Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft that draws from a broad spectrum of perspectives, methods, and disciplines, offering the widest possible geographical scope and chronological range, from prehistory to the modern era and from the Old World to the New.” The spring 2017 volume is now available. The editors are always looking for new material for future issues.