Pagan Community Notes: Mexico City, ADF, Fort Hood turns 20 and more

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MEXICO CITY – Nearly a week since a magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit Mexico City, there are still people missing amid rubble of the reported 3,848 damaged buildings, 38 collapsed. Rescue parties desperately search for anyone buried alive, as time and hope runs out. The death toll reportedly stands at 325.

Wild Hunt columnist Jaime Gironés lives in Mexico City and was home when the quake hit. He said, “I was in my kitchen when everything started shaking like a blender, seconds later I heard my husband entering the house and screaming my name, we left the house and joined the crowded and chaos in the street.”

He added, “Walking around my neighborhood, Roma, or around the close ones like Condesa or Del Valle you can see both dramatic and inspiring scenes: closed streets with quite a few buildings damaged and sidewalks covered by broken glass and stones, parks used as collection centers, exhausted brigade workers walking by, ambulances responding everywhere, cyclists delivering supplies to shelters and people giving water and food to workers and to people that are waiting their turn to help.”

[Spanish Translation: Estaba en mi cocina cuando todo empezó a sacudirse como una licuadora, segundos después escuché a mi esposo entrar a la casa y a gritar mi nombre, salimos de la casa y nos unimos a la caótica calle llena de gente. Caminando por mi colonia, Roma, o por las cercanas como Condesa o Del Valle se ven escenas tanto dramáticas como inspiradoras: calles cerradas con bastantes edificios dañados y banquetas cubiertas de vidrios y piedras, parques utilizados como centros de acopio, brigadistas agotados caminando, ambulancias respondiendo por todos lados, ciclistas llevando víveres a albergues y personas dando agua y comida a trabajadores y a la gente esperando su turno para ayudar.]

As he noted, Día del Orgullo Pagano 2017 (Mexico City Pagan Pride Day 2017), which was originally scheduled for Sept. 24, has been postponed to Oct. 1.

[Spanish Translation: El Día del Orgullo Pagano 2017 iba ser el domingo 24 de septiembre, fue cambiado al domingo 1 de octubre.]

Laura Gonzalez, blogger and radio show host for Pagans Tonight Radio Network, has helped launch a fundraising campaign to help the people of Mexico City in coordination with Pagan groups in the city. The organizers have created a video explaining their efforts to assist.

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Trout Lake, Wash. — Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF) has appointed member Stacey Matthews to the position of human service specialist. According to ADF archdruid Rev. Jean Pagano, this is “another piece that ADF is putting in place to ensure that our members are protected against sexual offenders.”

Pagano states, “The human service specialist will be charged with important duties in regard to ensuring that convicted sexual predators will hold no position of leadership within our organization. Their duties include creating, implementing, and enforcing limited access agreements, and they will report violations to the risk assessment committee. We are excited to bring Stacey on board with her wealth of training and experience.”

Matthews has worked as a service agent with the Canadian Department of Veteran Affairs, and as a counselor with both the Military Family Resource Centre and the Peel Children’s Centre. She has degrees in social work, with specialized training in behavior therapy for those with post-traumatic stress disorder, and family therapy.

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FORT HOOD, Texas –This weekend, current and former members of the Fort Hood Open Circle joined together to celebrate 20 years of Pagan worship at the military base. According to Distinctive Religious Group Leader Michele Morris, who’s been in charge since Feb., 2009, it’s the oldest military Pagan group in existence.

The autumnal equinox is traditionally when participants and guests come together for a weekend of camping and celebration, which Morris said requires patience and understanding on both sides. Members of the military have adapted to activities which are a bit unusual for the location, but Morris has had to put together a detailed list of what one cannot bring onto a base. For example, pet snakes are forbidden, and visitors are directed to make other arrangements for their care.

Morris believes that the relationship between base officials and Pagans is a positive one. “We did a sumbel last year, and you have to earn ‘street cred’ in the garrison to say we’re having a drinking ritual, and it’s actually church!” Due to the transient nature of the Pagan population, the types of rituals and classes offered are always being adapted to address the needs of participants.

Over 100 people were expected for this year’s anniversary celebration, among them Rev. Selena Fox, who represented Circle Sanctuary, the religious organization which sponsors the open circle on the base.

In other news

  • Author and Solar Cross Temple founder T. Thorne Coyle was in attendance at the 75th world science fiction convention in Helsinki, Finland. Coyle presented on several panels, including one concerning the intersections of religion and science fiction, where she was able to offer a unique religious voice and perspective. Coyle’s work can be followed through her Patreon account, website, and through social media.
  • Florida has a new festival group, the Trees of Avalon Gathering, which will be sponsoring two new festivals a year. Based in Hudson, the group will be hosting an upcoming Samhain festival Nov. 2-5 called the “Flames of the Ancestors Festival.” Organizers invite people to participate in a “Viking ritual hosted by Hrafnstong, to enjoy a true bardic circle around the fire with Mama Gina, and to watch the amazing fire performers, Lady Darjuxena /Mad Flames Fire team up with Fahrenheit 360.”
  • One of the biggest Pagan festivals in the U.K. will be held Oct.7: Witchfest International. The event is held in Brighton and is billed as the largest Witchcraft festival in the world. Sponsored by the Children of Artemis, Witchfest 2017 will begin with a “pre-event gig” Oct. 6 and then continue Oct. 7 with entertainment, lectures, and workshops.
  • Red Wheel/Weiser has re-released the book written by Lon Milo DuQuette titled Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot. Originally published in 2003, this popular book has been updated to include a “new introduction that provides information on the unicursal hexagram cards included with the deck but never explained.”