Pagan Community Notes: Hurricane Irma, Earrach of Pittsburgh, Rosaleen Norton and more

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UNITED STATES – Hurricane Irma, one of the biggest recorded Atlantic storms in recent history, is making its way up the Florida coast and into the Southeastern states. In its wake, Irma has left a trail of damage to homes and structures and flooding across the Caribbean and southern Florida. According to the latest reports, the death told now stands at 24.

When news of the storm broke, Florida Pagans, Heathens, and polytheists began preparations, as did the entire state. Some stayed, some boarded up and left. Covenant of the Goddess’ local Florida-based local council Everglades Moon, sent out a survey to gather information to help keep the members in touch. The board has been posting safety information and check-ins on their page.

Vör Forn Siðr, a Heathen-owned camping and sacred site in Atlanta, offered its facilities to anyone fleeing the storm. The owners wrote, “We have several acres of wooded area where people can camp, several large fields where people can camp or stay in RVs and also a very large building we’re renovating into our hall where people can sleep or it can be used as a temporary community center.” They added, “We can build a temporary town.”

The storm still rages into Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and North Carolina; the end is not yet at hand. In the meantime, Pagans, Heathens, and polytheists continue to offer prayers and other forms of assistance to those affected.

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PITTSBURGH — Eric G. Canali, known as Earrach of Pittsburgh, died Aug. 31 after he was unable to fight off an infection due to a depleted immune system. Born in 1953, Earrach was a beloved ADF Druid priest who was well-known in his local community. In a public Facebook post on Earrach’s page, friend and fellow Druid wrote, “Earrach was, simply put, one of the kindest and most intriguing people I have ever met. Different in a joyful way, his own person and true to himself and his friends.”

Outside of religious circles, Canali worked for 25 years in technical support, and was an avid backyard astronomer. According to a memorial post, he “worked as the Floor Operations Manager of Buhl Planetarium for 17 years,” and was a “member of Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh (AAAP) and the founder of South Hills Backyard Astronomy (SHBA).”

Earrach had been fighting leukemia over the past five years, which took a toll on his immune system. In July he was admitted to the hospital due to a fungal infection. After treatments and surgery, he did recover for a period. However, the condition proved to much and he passed on Aug. 31. His wife, Diana Paar wrote, “Thank you all for your patience and understanding during this process. As the days since his passing go on, I feel him closer to me every day.”

There will be a public memorial service Sept. 22. His cremains “will be interred at Penn Forest Natural Cemetery, where an oak tree will be planted there in his name.”  What is remembered, lives.

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SYDNEY, Australia – Filmmaker Sonia Bible has reported that she wrapped on her documentary exploring the life and times of Rosaleen Nortan, also known as “the Witch of Kings Cross.” In spring 2015, TWH interviewed Bible about her desire to make the film. At the time, she was in the research and funding phase. Bible said, “In 2010, I made a film called Recipe for Murder about women poisoning their husbands and family members with rat poison in Sydney in the early ’50s. During the research for that film, I came across Rosaleen Norton in various pulp publications. I started collecting articles about her and put them in the drawer.”

Seven years later, Bible began filming. On Sept. 11, she announced: “It’s a wrap,” and that the film would be moving into post-production. However, it is unknown at this point when the feature length documentary will be released and how. The project’s progress can be followed on Facebook or Bible’s website.

In other news

  • Today is the anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks. Monday, Circle Sanctuary’s Rev. Selena Fox wrote, “On this anniversary of [the] September 11th attacks on the United States in 2001, remembering those killed on that day and those who died of injuries later. Healing, strength, renewal, peace to their loved ones, to the living injured, to the USA & the world.” The Wild Hunt has published a number of articles reflecting on the event. Here are two: Fear of a Blue Sky and Visiting the Sacred Void

  • A new website has emerged featuring interviews with Pagan leaders from around the world. Pagan Portraits, as it is called, is an English language site based on a French site that was originally launched in 2015. “The goal of this project is to present interviews of modern and inspiring Pagans/Heathens/Polytheists from all over the world and from various Polytheistic religions (traditional as well as neo-pagan). We want to show, by this way, the incredible wealth of this Pagan way of life, giving inspiration to all the members of the worldwide Pagan community.”
  • In June TWH’s Australian columnist Josephine Winter reported on the growth of Druidry in her home country. This month, Moon Books is releasing a new book titled Australian Druidry written by Julia Brett. “Australian Druidry is a spiritual path of connecting with the Australian landscape as a sacred place. It is a method of listening to the messages the land has for us, and coming into communication with its unique voice.”
  • Mystic South organizers have announced that the event will return. Held in Atlanta, Mystic South held its inaugural conference this summer. Despite a loss of water and air conditioning for nearly one day, the event was reportedly a success. Mystic South 2018 has been scheduled for July 12 -15 at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia. No other details have been released.
  • Tickets for Reclaiming’s popular Samhain Spiral Dance are now on sale. According to reports, the event sold out last year. The annual spiral dance has been organized and performed for 38 consecutive years, with the first one being held in 1979.