Pagan Community Notes: Astra Star Goddess, Four Quarters, Bayview Cross and more!

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SANTA CRUZ, Calif — In a recent announcement, Oberon Zell has made the claim that the producers of the Hulu show Handmaid’s Tale (2017- ) stole his Star Goddess design to be used as “the symbol of the oppressive patriarchal theocracy.” In a recent Facebook post, Zell said:

“You can imagine my shock and outrage when I discovered that my iconic design of ‘Astra, the Star Goddess,’ which I created in 1987 as a quintessential symbol of women’s divinity and empowerment […] appears prominently and ubiquitously throughout the series as the symbol of the brutal oppression and subjugation of women in a totalitarian patriarchal theocratic regime.”

Zell has since said that he is building his case and has engaged a copyright attorney. He invites anyone who has been using his image to share their story with him. TWH reached out to the producers of the show but have received no response date. We will update this story as it develops.

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ARTEMAS, Penn — In response to health concerns at Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary, Orren Whiddon released a statement indicating that over a dozen Pennsylvania state representatives from the departments of Environmental Protection, Sewage Enforcement, Food Service Licensing, Township Authorities and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Epidemiology have completed a day-long round of inspections and testing of the facilities. Whiddon’s statement goes on to detail both the positive reports and the citations, stating that any known problems have either been corrected or will be soon with new inspections already scheduled.

However, the investigators are still analyzing data and their conclusions on the site’s overall safety has not yet been published. Whiddon said, “Pending confirmation, the general consensus is that we have suffered outbreaks of norovirus. It may possibly be a fast-moving variant taking advantage of surface, to hand, to mouth transmission; and traveling the transportation corridors.” As a result, site owners are taking situation seriously and making changes to ensure better health while on property.

Whiddon continued, “Moving forward the following recommendations have been made: our registration process will include affirmations of present good health and prompt notification to our EMS of any emerging symptoms. We will temporarily quarantine two suspected entry-point epicenters as a precaution to preserve those campsites as test results are analyzed. We will provide even more hand-wash stations and we will aggressively educate in the critical importance of their regular use. We will continue and expand our policies of education and awareness, including detailed workshops at both Drum and Splash, and BigDub.”

“We wish to again express our sympathy and concern to those people who have experienced this contagion, and our appreciation to those who have shared with us their medical histories.”

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Bayview cross

PENSACOLA, Fla. — The American Humanist Association (AHA) has successfully sued the city of Pensacola after it refused to remove a cross from state grounds. The AHA is led by David Suhor, who is best known in the Pagan community as the head of the local chapter of the Satanic Temple and the man who delivered a Pagan blessing at local government meeting. Suhor is well known locally for his work championing religious freedom.

In this particular case, he is listed as one of the plaintiffs on the complaint filed April 21. Their conclusions reads, “The undisputed material facts lead to the inescapable conclusion that the city’s massive Christian cross violates the Establishment Clause. Plaintiffs therefore respectfully request that the court grant their Motion for Summary Judgment in its entirety.” Federal U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson agreed, ruling June 19 that the 48-year-old cross in Bayview park must be removed within 30 days. In a statement, AHA senior counsel Monica Miller said, “We are pleased that the court struck down this cross as violative [sic] of the First Amendment […] The cross was totally unavoidable to park patrons, and to have citizens foot the bill for such a religious symbol is both unfair and unconstitutional.”

Since the decision was announced, locals have rallied to force the government to reconsider and “save the Bayview cross. Miller has reportedly been harassed, and a rally is scheduled for Tuesday night. Suhor, who can’t be at the event for a counter-protest, has since said, “Feel free to show up, take the stage and counter dominionist [sic] arguments, right along side the pro-cross speakers. I suggest a sound system or megaphone. […] There needs to be a counterpoint.”

In Other News

  • Hellenion has announced the forming of a new proto-demos. It is called Dodona Mouseion Hyperboreoi, and is located in Tennessee. Hellion is a “Hellenic-based religious organization dedicated to the worship of certain Hellenic deities and the advancement of Hellenism.” The organization is led by founder Hekataios Pindaros Amerikos.
  • New York City’s WitchsFest USA will now include a Witch Pride Parade for the first time. Organizers say, “Come join us at 9 a.m. Union Sq. dressed in your Witchiest outfits or the Spirits of the Solstice Sprites, Pixes, Fairies, Wood Nymphs etc and Walk down on Broadway to Astor Place.” The parade will be led by Lady Rhea and Dragon Ritual Drummers. The WitchsFest USA parade will take place the morning of July 15.
  • The Mystic South conference has listed its three-day program, which includes rituals, workshops, academic presentations, and two evenings’ worth of entertainment. Conference organizer Star Bustamonte has said that the goal was to get as diverse a group of offerings as possible, and that she was pleased with the response considering this was the maiden voyage of the event. Mystic South kicks off in less than one month, running from July 21-23 at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Oberon Zell was the subject of a new video short produced by Danny Yourd and Animal Studios.The film is called The Wizard Oz and features Zell’s life story and his in the magical community since the 1960s. It includes old footage as well as recent interviews filmed as the Academy of Arcana. The film, 22 minutes long, is embedded below and available to stream via Vimeo.

The Wizard Oz from Animal on Vimeo.