Pagan Community Notes: Marc Pourner update, Hell’s Belles, Lost Chord Award and more

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas – David Brown, Jr. reached a plea agreement with the state for the murder of 2015 murder of Marc Pourner, who was known to the Wiccan community as Axel. Pourner, who was 28 at the time of his death, had disappeared for several days, after which authorities found his body and his burned truck in a field alongside a road. 24 hours later, Brown was arrested.

According to local reports, “In an agreement to a lesser charge of first-degree felony murder from the original indictment of capital murder in February 2016, Brown pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Brown will be eligible for parole in 30 years.” Pourner’s mother, Jolene, spoke words aloud as Brown walked out of the court. She concluded, “My son believed the best in people. I don’t know if there is a best in you but I’m willing try to see if it exists by you finally telling the truth of what happened on that horrible night.”  A second man, Daniel Kirksey, has also been arrested and is due back in court today.

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MANCHESTER, England — On March 24, the Manchester Evening News published a story on the all-women biker’s group called Hell’s Belles. The article reads, “As I head through the garage into their club house – otherwise known as The Cauldron – I feel like I’m entering an arcane realm, or a Buffy the Vampire Slayer set. On the wall, there’s a huge emblem of a witch riding a motorcycle, behind the outline of a pentagram star. Not only are they bikers, they’re Pagan witches too.”

Hell’s Belles was founded by Pagan Witches, as it states on the group’s web page, and its logo and the name of the clubhouse are tributes to that tradition. However, since publication of the news article, the organization has reportedly received some backlash, and leaders have since stopped talking to the media. A statement published to Facebook begins: “Hells Belles WMC officers would like to reiterate that the news article that is currently doing its rounds on Facebook was mainly not the words of the club and our members.”  The statement invites people to contact them directly if they have questions or concerns about the group or what was published in the article. TWH reached out to Hells Belles to learn more, and has not received a response by publication.

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BERKLEY, Calif. — The Society for Ritual Arts will be hosting its second gala event in June. The event is called the Lost Chord Awards and Gathering by and for the Ritual, Sacred and Folk Arts and the theme is “Encounters in the Realm of Spirit: a Confluence of Intellect, Culture, and Community.” Society members will present the award for interfaith spiritual music to Margaret Davis and Kristoph Klover, the EOS Promising Scholars award will be given to Karis Dulan and Pauline Stangl, and a lifetime achievement award will be bestowed by the Coreopsis Journal of Myth & Theatre to an unannounced guest.

The gala, to be held June 2-3 in Berkeley California, will also host keynote speaker Dr. Stanley Krippner, as well as a number of musical guests. The Society for Ritual Arts is a nonprofit membership organization that “support artists and scholars in the fields of spirituality, music, performance, consciousness studies and related fields as they pertain to ritual arts.”

In other news

  • Hellenion has announced the formation of another new proto-grove. The Kerykeion Proto-Demos is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. On its new Facebook page, the group members posted, “Whether you are brand new to Hellenic polytheism, have been practicing for a while, or are curious to learn more about it, you are welcome to come and participate in public events.”
  • This August, Pagans will be gathering at Moon Meet, a gathering for “Atheopagans, non-theist Pagans, and others interested in [their] paths.” The event is in its second year and will be held on private property in Sonoma County, California. Registration is now open.
  • Another summer event in its second year, Mystic South now has announced programming. This year’s headliners include Sangoma, John Beckett, Yaya Nsasi Vence Guerra, and Ivo Dominguez, Jr. Musical guests include Mama Gina and the Night Travelers. The schedule itself has not been posted but the website continues to be updated with the weekend’s workshops and lectures by the headliners and others. Mystic South is an indoor conference that is hosted in Atlanta, Georgia in July.
  • The founder of the U.K.-based Pagan Police Association will be speaking at Parliament of the World’s Religions Monday, April 16 on the subject of faith and police work. We have reached out to the association to learn more about this talk and how it was received. We will have more on this in the coming week.
  • Ever wonder where your TWH donations go? Here is a breakdown.

Tarot of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: Tarot of the Pirates by Bepi Vigna, artwork Michele Benevento, published by Lo Scarabeo
Card: hermit, major arcana IX (9)

This week may bring a new challenge that could possibly alter the path one is forging. Pausing to refocus, and redefine what the goal or journey entails would be pertinent. It is equally important to seek to realistically evaluate one’s current situation and environment.

[Decks provided by Asheville Raven and Crone.]