Pagan Community Notes: TDoR 2017, Interfaith Podcast, new Pagan survey, and more

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TWH – Today marks Transgender Day of Remembrance. People around the world are honoring those people that have been lost in 2017 due to transgender-related violence.  There services and rituals that are being held specifically within Pagan communities.

Trans woman Brianne Ravenwolf of Circle Sanctuary will be co-facilitating a ritual, which will live stream on Facebook at 1 p.m. central. We spoke with Ravenwolf in 2016 for our annual TDoR article. She said, “For me [TDoR is a] very solemn day and has been. It reminds me of all the violence worldwide against our trans* community, more so in other countries. When I hear about the violent murders, beatings, and especially the suicides when a lot of us get so depressed especially when family and friends choose to not love us, or accept us a human beings. That’s where more education will help.”

Also on Facebook, author and activist T. Thorn Coyle offered a prayer for the day.  It reads in part, “Avalokitesvara, read the names of the dead. Faro, remember the names of the dead. Ymir, look at the names of the dead. Indra, read the names of the dead. Ometeotl, remember the names of the dead. Asushunamir, carry our tears.” The prayer was co-written by Coyle and Tristissima.  What is remembered, lives.

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A podcast offered through Auburn Seminary, “Fortification,” is hosted by writer and activist Caitlin Breedlove. Breedlove is a member of the Pagan community, and is currently Auburn Seminary’s vice president of movement leadership. The podcast, which is now in its second season, features Breedlove interviewing a diversity of guests from faith leaders to filmmakers.

Through those discussions, Breedlove highlights the many various “perspectives and personal reflections from those on the front lines of movement-building and learn what drives their thinking and what role faith plays in their lives.”

This season now has two episodes completed. The first features community leader Robert Mckenzie and the second, speaker and activist Brian McClaren.  Her next guest will be Isa Noyola, a trans Latina activist and leader. All podcasts, including season one, are available for streaming.

Fortification is both a project of Auburn Seminary and Standing on the Side of Love, a campaign of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

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Holli Emore, who is a masters student at Cherry Hill Seminary as well as its executive director, has launched a Pagan-specific survey to assist her degree work. Emore writes, “The purpose of this study is to find out the reasons that people are in groups or are solitary practitioners, what are their personal needs for spiritual support, how they currently connect to such support, and how they would prefer to do so if they have no access at this time.”

She is hoping that the results of her study will assist “Pagan leaders, educators, and groups, and help social workers, mental health counselors, first responders and law enforcement provide more effective and sensitive services to Pagans they are assisting.”

The survey is completely anonymous and voluntary. It is the second survey recently launched to get a closer look at the workings and views of Pagan communities. The other is the study on views of death by Durham University student Jenny Uzzell.

In other news:

  • Rev. Don Frew has a new article out in the Interfaith Observer. The article is titled “A Pagan’s Adventures in Egypt.” It chronicles his experiences in Egypt over time from a Pagan religious perspective and student of history. He concludes, “We were pleased to find that in Egypt the old gods are still alive – not just in the vibrant wall paintings and in the spirituality of Pagan visitors from the West, but in the hearts of the local people as well.”
  • Staffers at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic maintain a biannual journal called The Enquiring Eye. It features articles on Witchcraft, folklore, magic, the landscape, Paganism, and “everything in between.” The next submission date, Dec. 31, is for its spring edition. All details are listed on the site.
  • Thanksgiving will be celebrated this week in the U.S., and with that comes the beginning of the holiday season, including preparation for Yuletide festivities. Everglades Moon Local Council in Florida is preparing for its annual Turning of the Tides event. The Grove of Gaia in Pittsburgh has invited the public to its Yule celebration.  Circle Sanctuary has started Operation Circle Care  to help active-duty military, and Philadelphia Pagan Pride will be hosting a sock drive beginning Dec. 17 during Krampaslauf.
  • Pagan band Spiral Dance has launched its newest album, called Land & Legend. On it are 11 new songs, including the one featured in this video:

Tarot card of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: Tarot, the Complete Kit
Illustrations by Julie Paschkis, Designed by Paul Kepple, published by Running Press Book Publishers

Card: major arcana #5, the Hierophant

This card speaks to inner knowing, the pursuit of wisdom, and not compromising your beliefs to attain status. Sometimes, the devil is in the details. For the week ahead you’ll need to pay attention to what is happening both inside and outside of your own sphere of existence. How others view you can have an impact and a more conventional and familiar may offer the best results.