Pagan Community Notes: Academy of Arcana, John Beckett, Beltania and more

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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Oberon Zell has announced that he will be closing the Academy of Arcana by the end of November. “After two years in Santa Cruz, it’s just not really working out here. There’s not enough money coming in to pay the rent and bills; plus we’ve had major thefts, and problems with street people and drugs,” Zell wrote.

The lease runs out Nov. 30. Over the next month, Zell and his colleagues will be packing up the museum and having a moving sale. Then, he says they will begin looking for a new home. Zell adds that Nov. 30 is also his 75th birthday. “Maybe we’ll throw a final big birthday bash,” he says.

Zell appears to be upbeat, ending his announcement: “We can turn this around; with a little help from my friends, the tower can be rebuilt—stronger than before. A new adventure looms on the horizon, awaiting to manifest.”

For more about Oberon Zell and his long history in the craft, read our recent interview.

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DENTON, Texas — Blogger and Druid John Beckett announced that his retirement from the position of Coordinating Officer of Denton CUUPS. “Late last year I finally realized that it was time for me to step aside,” he said. Beckett has reportedly held the position for 12 years, and has been an officer for longer.

Beckett writes, “The practice of being front and center for the past 12 years has done wonders for my confidence and my ability to write and speak.” He adds that it is now time for “someone else to take over.”

In his announcement, he muses on the periodic and essential need for new leaders in Pagan organizations. Going forward, Denton CUUPS, which is based in Texas, will now be lead by Hannah Nutt, who Beckett fully endorses. In his announcement, he describes his own leadership as becoming less effective over the years, adding that “Denton CUUPS doesn’t just need a new leader, it needs a different kind of leader. And now it has one.”

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DENVER, Colo. — The Colorado-based festival Beltania is undergoing a transformation. Organizers have announced that the annual event will be changing from a “large festival to a mid-size retreat.” They write, “In a shift to bring a greater focus on spirituality and provide a less hurried and more nourishing environment, we will be slowing things down and decreasing the size of the event to just 250 people.”

Not only will the event have a guest limit, it will also have fewer scheduled activities for more down-time, and more family-friendly workshops to better include younger generations. Beltania will also be drug and alcohol free. “A drug and alcohol free event allows us to seek a cleaner, higher vibration to the energy and a reduction in chaos.”

In the effort to make the event more relaxing, the organizers have also included meals and lodging in the ticket price. The newly-transformed Beltania will make its maiden voyage May 17-20, 2018.

In other news

  • Rev. Selena Fox attended a recent celebration honoring Rev. Barry W. Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Lynn is retiring, and the organization is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Fox, who helped to establish Lady Liberty League as part of Circle Sanctuary’s mission, has been working with AU for decades. The most well-known case was the “Pentacle Quest,” during which AU represented Circle Sanctuary. Fox was honored and thankful to be at the event in Washington D.C. Nov. 2 as a member of the honoree committee.
  • Pagan and Witch Tara Denison once again walked to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). This year she and her team alone raised over $1,000. Last year, TWH interviewed Deniso about her own battle with depression, how her spirituality helps keep her going, and how she is now working to help others. AFSP sponsors walks throughout the year around the country, all dedicated to raising awareness and helping prevent suicide.
  • What happened to Raymond Buckland’s Facebook page? His wife Tara has announced that she will be deleting his page. She wrote, “I want to thank everyone for sharing their lives with us. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to interact with you on Ray’s Facebook page. However, the time has come for me to delete his pages.” Tara did add that she may put up a memorial tribute page at some point, but for now she will be taking the current one down. She ended her note with, “May the blessing of the gods be with you – hail and farewell!”
  • Authors John and Caitlin Matthews have released a new book, titled Arthurian Magic: A Practical Guide to the Wisdom of Camelot. It is described, “Discover a complete system of magical work based on the myths of Arthur and his knights. With meditations, rituals, visualizations, and pioneering shamanic techniques, Arthurian Magic leads you on a profound soul journey designed to raise consciousness and offer deep levels of wisdom.” The Atlantis Bookshop is holding a launch party Nov. 9. and both Matthews will reportedly be in attendance.
  • As always, October brings conversations and many articles concerning the depiction of witches in pop culture. TWH managing editor Heather Greene has announced that her own book, Witches on Screen: a critical history of American film and television portrayals, will be released in spring 2018. Greene, who is also a film historian, explores 120 years of witches as depicted in American pop culture through both the film and television industries, De Mille’s Joan the Woman to American Horror Story: Coven.

Tarot card of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: The Archeon Tarot by Timothy Lantz
Published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Card: ace of swords

The ace of swords can reflect a triumph that is tempered by utilizing one’s mental ability, discipline, and strength of character. It is important to remember that most swords are double-edged, and thus can cut both ways. Lacking focus or any of the other positive qualities this card can embody might leave you defeated. You can come out on top this week if you keep a clear mental focus, and heed your inner wisdom.