Pagan Community Notes: Dr. Wendy Griffin, Feri Tradition, Temple of Witchcraft, and more

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Cherry Hill Seminary

COLUMBIA, S.C. – It was announced Friday that Dr. Wendy Griffin would be stepping down as Academic Dean of Cherry Hill Seminary as of Feb. 1, 2018.  She wrote, “I have had the privilege and pleasure of serving as Academic Dean of Cherry Hill Seminary and working with a group of extraordinarily committed and caring individuals. During that time, we have shaped the program academically to be ready for accreditation, and I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished together.”

Dr. Griffin took the position in 2010 with the commitment of five years. That ran over to seven years. She wrote, “I am now 76 years old and there are a few things in my life I want to attend to while I still have time, a 3rd novel to finish, climate change workshops to present, and traveling to do.”

The Cherry Hill Seminary board expressed their appreciation for her time and her dedication to the school, wishing her success in retirement. The school is now looking for a new academic dean and has a public call out for candidates.

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Members of the Feri tradition became concerned earlier this month Francesca Gentille announced publicly that she was considering publishing or making publicly available Gwydion Pendderwen’s book of shadows. In a public Facebook post, Gentille stated that she did not “align with secrecy” and that the writings in the book were “meant to create more enlightenment, compassion, and peace on the planet.” Gentille reportedly received the book from Oberon Zell, as Gwydion was also a member of Church of All Worlds.

Gentille’s intention created intense debate across the Feri community nationwide both on- and off-line, as well as triggering conversations outside of the tradition. While some people did support her intention, it appears that most initiates wanted the book kept private. Teachers, elders, and students alike pleaded with Gentille not to publish any of that material. Additionally, a conversation arose on the history and care for such a book and what it means to be oath-bound.

The confusion and, consequently, tensions, were finally put to an end Oct. 23 when Gentille announced that she had decided to not publish the work. After a meeting with initiates Eldri Littlewolf, Morpheus Ravenna, and Feri Grandmaster Anaar, Gentille took back to Facebook announcing publicly that she had changed her mind and that she had given Gwydion’s book to them. In her final message, Gentille said, “I sincerely apologize for any and all emotional strife, or cultural upset that I have caused in the Feri community …  I do promise to you that I choose to hold your privacy and secrecy as sacred.”

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The Temple of Witchcraft‘s main website was hacked Oct. 26. When opening the temple’s site on that day, users saw an unfamiliar splash page with the image a black flag containing Arabic writing.

The hacker page read “hacked by IQ-GST” and offered greetings to everyone. It included an email address and referred to the “Ghosts of Iraq,” which is a phrase typically used when criticizing U.S. foreign policy in the middle east. According to TWH web experts, the most likely scenario was that the hackers got hold of the site’s password, and replaced its index page with its own. This act made the rest of the site inaccessible.

Temple of Witchcraft administrators told TWH that they do not know who the hackers are or why they chose the site. According to our experts, it was mostly likely a random act, and this does happen frequently on the internet. Regardless, the site was quickly restored by the temple’s webmaster, and there was no permanent damage done.

In other news:

  • James Myers’ narrative film Awen took home the “Excellenct Narrative Film Award” at this year’s San Francisco International New Concept Film Festival. Awen is described on IMDB as “an inspirational short film. It follows the Celtic goddess Brigit as she spreads inspiration to others. Meeting some resistance from other spiritual beings.” The ceremony was held in San Francisco’s Herbst Theater Oct. 29.
  • Author Lou Florez will be hosting a seminar Nov. 11 titled “Radicalizing Rootwork for Communities of Color & Conscious.” he explains, “Hoodoo and rootworking traditions of the South have experienced a reawakening in our cultural landscape. This reemergence stems from the power of these traditions to resist systemic oppressions and reimagine new possibilities and futures.” The seminar will contain six modules that explore this topic using both “historical workings and practices, as well as, a visioning for their employment in our world today.” The entire event is online.
  • For those Pagans who are unable to attend a ritual in person, Circle Sanctuary will once again be providing an online “audio ritual” Oct. 31 through Nature Folk and Circle Talk podcasts:
  • A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to help fund a new Utah-based conference called SpiritCon. Organizer Jessi  Lucero writes, “What is Utah missing? A spiritual convention centered on enriching our connection with nature, deities, ourselves, and, of course, each other.” Lucero continues on to detail the concept, including the intention to hold the event at the Davis Convention Center in Layton. The funding goal is $4,000.
  • Halloween is coming! Modern Witches and other Pagans continue to be interviewed regularly by mainstream media. Author David Salisbury turned up Friday in the headlines at the D.C.- based Washington Post. In the article titled, “For this witch, Wicca is about personal responsibility and growth,” Salisbury discusses his path and the Craft. He adds, “”I always tell people I’ve never seen the inside of a closet — broomstick or otherwise.” What other familiar faces are turning up in mainstream headlines this week? Let us know.

Card of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: Cat’s Eye Tarot by Debra M. Givin, DVM
Published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Card: major arcana, 0 the Fool

Perhaps the most common saying associated with the Fool card is, “The fool travels where angels fear to tread.”

It can often reflect being willing to take a leap of faith. In order to succeed, often there is a risk that must be undertaken. This card tells us to examine what it is we desire and whether we are willing to take whatever the risk might be to obtain it.