Pagan Community Notes: Kathryn Hinds, Society for Creative Anachronism, Michael Harner and more

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DAHLONEGA, Ga. — Author and teacher Kathryn Ann Fernquist Hinds died Jan. 30 from complications after a series of heart surgeries. Hinds was a well-known, beloved, and longtime member of the local Georgia Pagan community, as well as the national one. She was a regular attendee of large Pagan events, such as Pagan Spirit Gathering and Paganicon, as well as the local Atlanta Pagan Pride and similar festivals. In addition, Hinds was an accomplished author, writing both short stories and poetry. She taught English at the University of North Georgia, and lectured at a variety non-Pagan events on fantasy writing and similar topics.

Her husband, musician Arthur Hinds, has since posted that there will be a memorial in March and, in lieu of flowers, he asks that people send donations to his wife’s favorite charities, including Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. In his initial announcement of her passing, he wrote, “Despite all hopes and dreams, I have lost my wife, partner, and other half. She crossed into the arms of Rhiannon and Arawn, and stands in the presence of the mighty ones and ancestors. Say her name aloud – Kathryn Ann Fernquist Hinds. Say it! Let her name be a libation of spirit upon the earth. Say it! Remember! Say It!”  What is remembered, lives.  We will have more on Hinds’ story this week.

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CALIFORNIA — Over the past week, a controversy arose within the Society for Creative Anachronism, an international organization in which many Pagans are involved. The Kingdom of Caid, based in Southern California, was set to crown their new king and queen, who for their coronation wore robes that bore swastikas. The pattern was woven by hard and sewn into the robes’ trim. When the couple appeared at the coronation, there was immediate outrage.

The weaver, William Ulfsson, has since made a public statement, saying, “To anyone and everyone I have caused distress, anxiety, fear, hate, rage, distrust, or any negative feeling, I’m sorry. I made a mistake.” Ulfsson said that the pattern was correct for the Saxon-period iconography that he was asked to recreate, however he did not use his own “wisdom” in going forward with the weaving. The couple, Athanaric and Sigridr, made two separate statements on the Caid website apologizing for their oversight. They also stated that the band will be burned and the symbol with not be used again on the throne. They added, “Going forward, anyone who shows up at an event in Caid wearing any symbol that is, overtly or any clear derivation of a fylfot, will be asked to leave. A proper law change will be discussed with the Kingdom and Society Seneschal.”

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WASHINGTON — It was announced that Michael J. Harner, author of The Way of the Shaman, died Feb. 3 at the age of 88. Dr. Harner was born in Washington D.C. in 1929. He received his doctorate in anthropology in 1963 from the University of California, Berkeley, after which he taught “at various institutions, including UC Berkeley, Columbia University, Yale University, and the graduate faculty of the New School in New York.”

Harner’s greatest contribution is considered to be the role he played “in bridging the worlds of indigenous shamanism and the contemporary West through his fieldwork and research, experimentation, writings, and original development of the core methods of shamanism.” His work influenced the New Age movement and beyond. In 1979, Harner founded the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. Then, in 1987, he left academia completely to focus solely on his shamanic work, for which eventually earned numerous degrees and awards.  What is remembered, lives.

Stories we are working on for this week

  • Come As You Are (CAYA) Coven released a statement on Facebook saying that its council of elders “recently followed up on allegations of abuse by our former presiding high priestess, Jessica Matthews, aka Yeshe Rabbit.”  CAYA’s administrative board or council has not released more than that post regarding the situation, and we are currently following up to find out just what is going on.
  • North Carolina-based Pagan organization Light Haven will be closing down its physical space. The news came from high priestess Aepetha, who said that the 86 acres of land and its buildings will be sold, but their teachings and spiritual work will continue into the future. We will have more on that closing and the organization’s future.
  • Owners of Mountain Magic, a metaphysical store in Richlands, Virginia, has been gathering supporters, and will be heading to Richlands municipal building to attend a Feb. 13 public hearing. They will be arguing for the right to read tarot. We’ll be bring you this story and the reasons behind the ban.

In other news

  • The Buckland Gallery of Witchcraft and Magick has temporarily shut down for remodeling and expansion. Its owners said, “By doubling our size we will be able to actually fit the collection in a narrative focusing on the birth of American Wicca, then the birth of magic, fortune-telling, ceremonial magick, and then contemporary works. This will follow a bit closer to Buckland’s original vision.” They also have Buckland’s slide collection and are working to digitize it. The museum will reopen by Beltane, and they hope to have a “big party.”
  • The Hellenic Council YSEE of America has published a Facebook post stating: “YouTube decided Hellenism is unsuitable for minors.” The council’s YouTube channel has been reportedly restricted by age, which has been confirmed by TWH reporters. The statement goes on to say that the organization has received multiple complaints due to its videos of Hellenic rituals that include nude statues and imagery.
  • For our literature fans, author Taisia Kitaiskaia wrote a book titled Literary Witches: a Celebration of Magical Women Writers. Published in October 2017 by Seal Press, the book does not catalog the writing of modern Witches. Rather, the book looks the famous women in literature and their magical works, drawing “a connection between witches and visionary writers: both are figures of formidable creativity, empowerment, and general badassery.”
  • A call for papers has been published for a new conference titled, “Religious Perspectives and Alternative Futures in an Age of Humans,” which will be focused on new ways of envisioning what it means to be human in the Anthropocene, or the age of humans. While not specifically Pagan, the “Being Human” conference will explore the presented interdisciplinary subject from multiple religious perspectives. The overall project is funded by a Humanities Without Walls initiative on “The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate,” and the actual conference, set for May 2018, will be hosted at the Indiana Memorial Union in Bloomington. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 11.

Tarot of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: Wheel of the Year Tarot by Maria Caratti, artwork by Antonella Platano, translations by Studio RGE, and published by Lo Scarabeo.
Card: the emperor, major Arcana, IV (four)

This week’s card is the embodiment of masculine energy, and all the attributes that go along with it: strength, power, authority, stability, and reason. It also stresses caution in the proper use of power. Indications are that we each have the ability to utilize some or all of these qualities, and will likely need to for the week ahead.

Decks provided by Asheville Raven and Crone