During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, members of Solar Cross Temple took some time out to offer assistance and comfort to others within the Portland community. Hosted by Direct Action Alliance and Rose City Black Guards, the event brought people together to support “those most in need.”
The two groups invited people “to come out to [Battleship Memorial Park] and support each other in the best way we know how, by helping.” They offered hot meals, and were collecting living essentials and clothing to give to the houseless. The gathering was held between 12-3pm, which happened to be the scheduled time of another event: Patriot Prayer rally.
In the Facebook event invitation, DAA and RCBG said, “They are trying to hide their hate fueled fascist ideology behind a banner of Jesus and religiousness. Our community is made up of people that represent all kinds of different beliefs and ideologies, and we stand side by side to make sure that everyone is free to express them.” The groups opted to hold their own event collecting goods and handing out meals to counter what they labeled as “terror.”
Solar Cross Temple members made up 30 personal hygiene packets and brought them to park. According to sources, only a few Patriot Prayer members attended. A few even offered to make donations. The event was considered a success.
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ICELAND — According to the Iceland Monitor, high chieftain Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson lead a winter solstice service at the future site of Ásatrú temple on Öskjuhlíð hill in Reykjavik. The now-famous project has capture the attention of media around the world, and is often reported to be the first such temple to be actively used in Iceland for centuries.
While the temple itself is not due to be finished until the fall, the group, Ásatrúarfélagið, reportedly held the ceremony Dec 21 and then continued the party at a local restaurant. One member told the local news, “We’re celebrating the rebirth of the sun. Our ceremony is a small, beautiful one where we recite poetry, including from Skírnismál. There are plenty of children carrying candles, lots of people and even lots of people that are not part of our society but feel that this is a part of their Christmas tradition.” He also made clear that it was a “family friendly” even with no blood sacrifices, a concern expressed by the reporter.
According to TWH sources, the Iceland temple is not the only modern structure being built or used to honor the old Norse gods in Northern Europe contemporarily; however, it reportedly is the first in Iceland, and it still garners the most media attention to date.
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In the final days of 2017, we inch ever closer to the main Pagan conference season. The daylong Paths and Traditions Fair begins the season Jan. 13. Although not full conference, the Colorado-based fair, offers “Pagans and Polytheists [an opportunity] to come and meet representatives of various traditions or groups local to the air. It is hosted by Cró Dreoilín and the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans at Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, Colorado.
The first two big conferences are held on opposite sides of the U.S. On the east coast, EarthSpirit Community hosts its annual Feast of Lights celebration in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. This year’s theme is “Finding Light and Hope in the Midst of Darkness,” and the event will be held February 2-4, 2018 at Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center. On the west coast, Pagans will be gathering for the Conference on Current Pagan Studies. This annual event, now in its 14th year, is hosted at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. During its two days, event organizers seek to bring to together academic-focused works and papers. This year’s theme is “Integrity, Action, and Identity.” It will be held Jan. 27 and 28.
A few weeks later, PantheaCon opens it doors. This annual event, hosted in San Jose, remains the largest indoor Pagan-themed conference. This year it will be held Feb. 16-19 at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose. The theme is “Sustainable, Caring Community.” Then, only one week later, ConVocation welcomes its guests. In its 23rd year, this annual Detroit-based conference will be held at the Dearborn Doubletree, and its 2018 theme focuses on “the Sephiroth of Binah and on the feminine aspect of strength, empathy, intuition and the structure that gives birth to form.” Like PantheaCon, ConVocation is a four-day indoor event, and it will run Feb. 22-25.
Moving into March, there are two more large annual Pagan oriented regional conferences, which are both happening the same weekend in 2018. Paganicon, which is a fundraiser for Twin Cities Pagan Pride, opens its doors Friday March 16 and runs for three days through Sunday. Paganicon is held at the Doubletree Park Place in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Sacred Space Conference, which begins one day earlier Thursday March 15, runs for four days also through Sunday. Sacred Space will be hosted at the Delta Baltimore Hotel in Hunt Valley, Maryland.
After Paganicon, Sacred Space, and the spring equinox, people begin to move outdoors as the collective Pagan, Heathen, and polytheist communities host picnics and rituals at parks, and eventually week long festivals at camp grounds. Although April sees the end of conference season, there are two other indoor conference held in the summer: Mystic South in Atlanta , which is now taking submissions and reservations, and Many Gods West in Washington state, which will be taking a “hiatus in 2018.”
In other news
- The Aquarian Tabernacle Church has been raising money for a “grant administration fee that will give [the church] $100,000 in household goods over the year that can be shared with needy families in the community.” ATC, which is based in Washington state, calls this charitable project “Pillows for Everyone.” ATC high priestess Belladonna Laveau explains why they are focusing on this action: “It really lights up someone’s face to get new pillows and bedding. A good nights sleep and a happy resting place makes for a more successful life.” The fundraiser ends Jan. 9.
- Do you have what it takes to write for The Wild Hunt? We are currently seeking new writers with professional media experience to join our weekly team. Ideal candidates will have a background in news writing or similar. If you are interested, contact editor at wildhunt.org.
- As we have noted in the past, the British Museum, Cornell University, and several others are digitizing old manuscripts, including some related to Witchcraft, folklore, and medicinal herbal uses. Here is one composite manuscript available from the British museum that details medicinal uses of herbs as compiled by a physician in the 17th century. It includes his own notes and translations of the older herbal lore and traditions. This is only one of many that are now available or will be as a result of digital library projects.
- If you are in New York City, you might want to check out an event being held Jan 10 at the Alchemists’ Kitchen called “The Magic of the Kybalion.” The evening event features writer and historian Mitch Horowitz discussing the Kybalion, which “is one of the most intriguing and widely read occult books of the twentieth century. Published in 1908 under the mysterious byline ‘Three Initiates’—and the subject of rumors for more than a century—the book codifies the most thrilling ideas of Greek-Egyptian Hermeticism into a spiritual philosophy for modern people.”
Tarot of the week with Star Bustamonte
Deck: Tarot: the Complete Deck by Dennis Fairchild, Illustrated by Julie Paschkis. Published by Running Press
Card: nine (9) of pentacles
This week’s card suggests that energy is present to support the rewards from hard work. Year-end bonuses, or unexpected perks, may abound. I associate this card with someone who is a master at their craft. The bottom line is that those who are diligent, apply themselves fully, and plan for navigating any obstacles, will persevere. A great energy to carry us out of 2017 and into 2018!