Pagan Community Notes: Mountain Magic, Raleigh Pagan Pride Day, Vanessa Goldman, and more

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RICHLANDS, Vir. —  Mountain Magic and Tarot Shop will not be offering tarot readings within the store any time soon. The shop owners, Jerome VanDyke and Mark Mullins, challenged a local zoning regulation that prohibits “fortune telling” in the store. They asked the city council to consider changing the code so that divination would be permitted. At a standing-room-only meeting Feb. 13, Mullins said, ““I’m not the first person to ever tell fortunes in town. I’m just the first person wanting to do it legally, I guess.”

According to reports, there were both proponents and opponents of the change at the heated meeting; however, the majority of those present were not in favor of a change, citing religious reasons. One local news outlet reports that “some said they feared for their family’s safety …. Others argued the practice would open up ‘demonic realms’ which young children would be subjected to.” Proponents, including members of the local Pagan community, argued that this was a religious liberty issue, and the law had no business restricting such practice  In the end, the council decided it was a business issue and not a religious one. They declined to vote, leaving the code as it stands. Mullins, who has been reading on the street in front of the store, told the local news that he has contacted the ACLU.

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RALEIGH, N.C. —  After 17 successful years, the popular Pagan Pride Raleigh, also known as Central North Carolina Pagan Pride Day, will not be happening in 2018. Co-local coordinator Johnson said in a statement that the organizing team had been looking for replacements for six years, and have not been successful. He also added that the 2017 last-minute change of location “burned through [the] financial reserves” and put additional stress on the team.

Johnson did add that the event could continue if someone steps in to take it over. “A call has been put out to those that have participated over the years, to our volunteers, vendors and local groups, looking for folks willing to start a new organization for this area.” He says the event can be radically different in size and shape. “As long as it is within about a half hour, includes a press release, a public ritual and a food drive, it can continue the legacy of Central NC Pagan Pride Day.”  Until that point, Central NC Pagan Pride Day will not be held this coming fall.  Johnson said, “It’s been an amazing 17 years.”

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FLINT, Mich. — Vanessa Goldman, also known as Vaness Prygoski, died Feb. 13. Goldman was born Nov. 14, 1964 in Wynadotte, Michigan. She was a professional librarian, having earned her MLIS degree from the University of Michigan – Flint in 1990. A decade later, in 2000, she was hired by the school to work at its Thompson Library, where she remained for the next 17 years. Vanessa also taught information literacy classes for many of the university’s departments.

Her work wasn’t limited to the halls of a library. Goldman was an active member and student with Coven of the Raven Moon. She performed annually in local productions of the Vagina Monologues and The Coming Out Monologues. She worked with the Ellen Bommarito LGBTQ Center, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Women’s Commission. At a recent gathering of the Michigan Library Association, Goldman presented Queering the Academic Library. She was librarian, activist, teacher, student, friend, aunt, and more.

Goldman also reportedly suffered from bouts of depression and, as has been reported, took her own life. Since the news spread, every organization that she was a part of has had, or will be having, a memorial service or has offered public words. Coven of the Raven Moon held a ritual Feb. 17. High priestess Morgana Moonwater tearfully told The Wild Hunt, “Vanessa was a lovely woman and sweet sister.” Moonwater said that her kids and grandkids affectionately called Goldman as Aunt Vanni. “She was really incredible,” Moonwater added. “She struggled with autism and depression her whole life, but she lived and valued others so completely.”  What is remembered, lives.

In other news

  • Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) organizers have just announced that their annual convention Convocation has been cancelled for 2018 due to “low registration.” The announcement states that organizers are still hoping “to hold a Convocation event in the fall of 2019” and that they are in talks with people in Ft. Myers. We will bring you more on this story as it comes in. 
  • PantheaCon has ended for 2017, and many convention goers set their sights on the next big meetup. ConVocation opens its doors Thurs, Feb. 22 and runs through Feb. 25. The four-day indoor event has been running since 1995, and is described as serving the “many mystical spiritual paths and faiths and the people that follow them” and who desire promoting “fellowship among all esoteric traditions.” ConVocation takes place at the Dearborn Doubletree in Dearborn, Michigan. Other upcoming indoor conventions include Paganicon and Sacred Space.
  • As we have previously reported, Solar Cross Temple, based in Oregon, hosts a monthly devotional series. This month, the ritual and prayers were written by author, priestess, and TWH columnist Crystal Blanton. Similar to her recent column, the Solar Cross February devotional was devoted to Black History Month and called “In Remembrance.” While the event itself took place Feb. 18, the ritual instructions and words are still available for use at any point during the month.
  • Author and priestess Starhawk and priestess BrightFlame will be back in New York City co-hosting a workshop and ritual. This one is called “Feeding the Sacred Spark” and will be held Feb. 24. “In these troubled times, our bright hopes can easily get buried under the sleet of outrage, fatigue and despair. Yet we desperately need to keep alive the spark of resistance–and more: of vision for a better world and determination to create it.” More information is listed on their Facebook event page.
  • A note from the TWH editorial team: Wild Hunt writers work on a number of stories continually in the background at any given point. If you have a question about a single story that we may be working on, have a news tip or suggestion for a story, or have a guest submission, please contact the editors directly at editor at We welcome reader communication and feedback.

Tarot card of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: The Dreampower Tarot by R.J. Stewart, illustrated by Stuart Littlejohn, published by Aquarian Press—HarperCollinsPublishers

Card: the void

This is week has all the makings for a very mixed bag, everything and nothing. Amazing potential and truth so bold it rocks us to our foundation. Best advice for the week: ground and center, be flexible, and try to keep an open mind until all the facts are in. Otherwise, buckle up!
Decks provided by Asheville Raven and Crone