Pagan Community Notes: Donna Darkwolf Vos, Detroit Conjure, Aeclectic Tarot Forum and more

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SOUTH AFRICA — It was announced that priestess and Witch Donna Darkwolf Vos has died. Vos was active member of the growing Pagan community in South Africa, a teacher, mentor, and author.

In 1996, Vos helped found the Pagan Federation of South Africa and acted as its president through 2002. She founded the Circle of the African Moon and was its high priestess. In 2003, she published the book Dancing Under an African Moon, in which she “explains Pagan practice in the context of southern Africa and the Southern Hemisphere.”

In 2008, Vos sued the Air Force for “unfair dismissal.” As we reported at the time, Vos made the claim that “the air force had hired her as a chaplain and then fired her shortly after finding out about her religious beliefs.”  She stated that the colonel who interviewed her called Paganism a cult and said he could not ‘unleash’ Vos on people.” The case settled and the Air Force agreed to consultations on Pagan matters. Vos continued to be outspoken about her beliefs and her rights to practice.

Vos was well known in and out of the Pagan community, and touched the lives of many people around the world. Pagan Damon Leff posted publicly on Facebook, “May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may the Goddess hold you in the palm of Her hand.”  What is remembered, lives.

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DETROIT — A new festival is being held to celebrate and honor folk magic traditions of the Detroit area. The event, titled Detroit Conjure, is the brainchild of local Witch Kenya Coviak. In a recent blog post, she writes, “Detroit is not like any other city in the world, and its magical residents can surely attest to this. We do things differently here. We do not keep our practices insulated and encapsulated like so many jars on an apothecary’s shelf.”

Coviak shared the details of growing up in this unique community in a guest article in 2016. “I grew up thinking that everyone’s daddy let them play with their extra lodestones. Everyone kept their brooms turned upside down, and the root store was always in the address book, along with the “street numbers” policy dream books and two-dollar bills.”

The reason for creating this event was personal, Coviak explained. Her goal is to  “feature practitioners who are really part of the culture and family’ of the traditions and magics they are teaching.” She hopes to provide a positive forum for dialogue, and for celebration of the Detroit area’s unique culture. She notes, for example, the event will feature a performance of a local dance style called Jit Street.

Detroit Conjure will be held Aug. 12 at Green Acres Park, in Hazel Park, Michigan.

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TWH – The Aecletic Tarot Forum will be closing its doors Friday. The site, which has been open for seventeen years, caters to a diverse range of tarot interests.

Site owner and administrator Solandia reported, “Due to changes in my own personal life, it’s now time for me to move on to other projects.” The forum itself will remain online in a read-only format so that the seemingly endless amount of information can continue to be of use.

Solandia added that the main site, which has been in operation since 1996, will not be shutting down.

In other news

  • Arizona’s evening BaelFire Gathering is coming up this weekend. This event is one of the area’s annually held Phoenix Fire Gatherings. BaelFire’s 2017 theme is “Night of the Living Dead.”  Organizers say, “Join ghouls and zombies, vampires and necromancers. . . kid-friendly by day, but after dusk the dead come out to dance!”  Held at the Hilton/Phoenix, the evening event includes vendors, entertainment, food, and a DJ.
  • The long-awaited book Pagan and Earth-Centered Voices in Unitarian Universalism was published in June. It includes 22 essays “by some of the most prominent leaders in Unitarian Universalist Paganism.” The book’s editors included essays that discuss the intersections of nature-based theology and practice within a Unitarian Universalist context, including the “organization of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, the addition of the sixth Source to the UUA bylaws recognizing Earth-centered spirituality, and the integration of Pagan practices into congregational life.”
  • Witch School International will be holding a Global Wicca Summit in September. This is a free online event open to public. As organizers state, the goal is to “to reach Wiccans worldwide, to have a discussion of the state of the Wicca in the world,” with the central question being, “Is Wicca a global faith?” The leaders at Witch School are hosting this online wvent ahead of the the Parliament of the World’s Religions 2018 conference in hopes “to better understand the community” so they can be positive representatives at the world interfaith gathering. Organizers currently looking for presenters and speakers.  
  • Ever wonder what it looks like at Trout Abbey? Cascadia Druids have shared photos of both the labyrinth and the land’s Buddhist temple. The photos were taken during this year’s summer solstice festival. In that post, the grove also reports on the progress of its efforts to erect a Cernunnos shrine.
  • Speaking of Druids, Ellen Evert Hopman is still working on building funds to sponsor a film based on her books. She said, “Written from the Pagan perspective and with strong female lead characters, these books explore the initial encounters between the indigenous Druids and the incoming Christian missionaries in Ireland and Scotland.”