Pagan Community Notes: Mystic South, Selena Fox, Margot Adler, and more!

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ATLANTA — Attendees at the new Mystic South conference spent Saturday with no running water. A pipe leading from the water main had burst, leaving the hotel dry and without air conditioning. By midday, the interior temperatures were pushing 80 degrees and in some places well over. The hotel brought in portable toilets, bottled water, and ice cream to assist the guests.

Despite the problem, the conference, which was in its first run, continued on. Organizer Star Bustamonte said, “I was deeply inspired and impressed with our community when as a whole, our little conference was faced with a bit of adversity […]. Our attendees, presenters, and staff took it all in stride, went out of their way to help others, and didn’t even complain. The hotel staff stepped up and moved heaven and earth to correct the problem and were quite frankly, wonderful.”

The conference was able to continue through to the end, closing with a ritual on Sunday at 4 p.m. We will have a full account of what happened and reactions from attendees this week. 

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BARNEVELD, Wis. — Rev. Selena Fox is celebrating 50 years of being Pagan. Fox entered the fledgling Pagan world in 1967, just as it was emerging through the civil rights movement, second-wave feminism, and other related cultural trends.

Fox is most known as the founder of Circle Sanctuary, which opened its doors in 1974. Then, in 1980, Pagan Spirit Gathering was born out of that community. Five years later, the organization, under Fox’s direction, formed Lady Liberty League to help protect the rights of Pagans throughout the U.S. Since that time, Fox has nurtured an extensive local community, and a network of people, through her many projects from rituals to podcasts.

Fox is celebrating her personal milestone and sharing her experiences in a series of three autobiographic podcasts during her Nature Folk radio show on Pagans Tonight Radio Network. It is called My Pagan Life. It airs Tuesday at 7 p.m. Central time.

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TWH – Friday marks the anniversary of Margot Adler’s passing. Many Pagans, who looked to her for guidance along their own spiritual journey, will be remembering her through ritual and personal practice.

Adler was a celebrated NPR journalist and authored one of the most well-known books on modern Paganism, Drawing Down the Moon. Wild Hunt founder Jason Pitzl once said that The Wild Hunt itself would not exist if not for her support and her example.

More recently, Adler had been working on exploring vampire lore and our cultural fascination with that fantastic world.

Adler died in 2014 at the age of 68. In 2013, a year before her death, she wrote this:

We are all part of the life cycle. Like a seed we are born, we sprout, we grow, we mature and decay, making room for future generations who, like seedlings, are reborn through us. As for the persistence of consciousness, deep down, I thought, ‘How can we know?’ Perhaps we simply return to the elements; we become earth and air and fire and water. That seemed all right to me.

In other news

  • Wear Your Voice has published an article titled, “8 Witches and Healers of Color to Follow Online.” Some of the names on the list will be familiar to TWH readers and beyond. Journalist Donyae Coles writes, “For POC practitioners, the focus tends to be on healing and processing energy to increase protection and self-care. Witches and workers of color deal with the realities of existing in today’s world and speak from a place that uses healing practices as a way to combat oppression while reclaiming heritage.” See who made the list.
  • Starhawk will be joining Ahmed Salah and Joanna Macy in a public discussion and presentation titled  “Active Hope: What Must We Do Now?” The event, sponsored by Code Pink: Women for Peace and Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, will include live music and an organic vegetarian potluck dinner, wine and dessert reception. “Come and be inspired to move out of our silos and from inaction and despair over war, climate change, racial, economic and environmental injustice to active hope.”  The event will be happening at the Historic Fellowship Hall in Berkeley. Doors open at 6 p.m.
  • Many Gods West is being geared up for its third annual event. The polytheist conference is held in Olympia, Washington and kicks off Thursday night, Aug. 3 with Nathaniel Johnstone in concert. It then continues with a variety of programming throughout the weekend, ending Aug. 6.
  • As July comes to an end, many Pagans are planning first harvest celebrations. Circle Sanctuary will host its 42nd annual Lughnasadh event, called the Green Spirit Festival, beginning Friday, July 28 and running through Sunday. This year’s featured guest author is Max Dashu and the guest bard is Celia Farran.
  • Gaia Gathering, the national Canadian Pagan conference that is hosted annually in May, is seeking bids for the next event. Founded in 2004, the gathering travels from location to location each year in order to better allow people from all of the very large country the opportunity to easily attend as well as to feature different regions and local flavors.  The 2017 event was held in Calgary.