Pagan Community Notes: Marin Interfaith Climate Action, update from Caroline Kenner, Beltane is coming, and more.

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MARIN COUNTY, Calif. — A new interfaith initiative made its debut Sunday, April 22 — Earth Day — in northern California. The Marin Interfaith Climate Action (MICA) was founded by Pat Carlone in the fall of 2017 and has been building its foundation since that point. It is part of the larger Marin County Interfaith Council, which was originally founded in 1982. Working with Carlone on MICA’s steering committee is Aline O’Brien, also known as M. Macha Nightmare. O’Brien has been working with the interfaith council for years, and has also worked in other interfaith forums including prison ministry. Additionally, O’Brien helped draft the Covenant of the Goddess’ Statement on the Environment in 2014.

In a Facebook post, O’Brien wrote, “Our county as a whole and every municipality in it has gone deep green, meaning using renewable energy and producing zero CO2. Now we’re working on getting schools, businesses, stores, gyms, apartment complexes, individual homeowners, everyone to go deep green.” O’Brien says that Covenant of the Goddess, of which she is a longtime member, is considered a “founding member.” As explained on the site, MICA members aim to work with individuals and organizations. “We want to weave a strong network,” O’Brien said.  The goals of MICA are noted as “developing environmental education and adopting mitigating measures within our own religious communities; being advocates for climate legislation; collaborating in meaningful actions with other environmental organizations.”

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SILVER SPRING, Md. — As we reported, Pagan and Witch Caroline Kenner was recently terrorized by a well-documented kidnapping scam that typically, as reported by the FBI, is perpetrated by prisoners in Mexico. Since speaking out about the experience, Kenner and her friend, Sara Mastros, have published a tarot-based cursing spell. It is called clean hands cursing. Kenner says that the last time she cursed anyone was in 2011, and that was aimed at a group of Christian fundamentalists who claimed to be cursing the Pagan community state by state. This time, the curse is aimed at what she calls “a syndicate of Mexican extortionists.”

Kenner is a shamanic healer and the co-owner of the Fool’s Dog, a company that produces digital versions of tarot decks. She writes that she “learned about curses in the process of learning how to neutralize them.” She has since taught curse breaking for over 10 years. Mastros has also worked with cursing, and calls herself a Witch for hire. Their now-published clean hands curse instructions are not specific to Kenner’s experience, or those type of criminals. It is for general use, and Kenner adds as a warning, “Under no circumstances should anyone curse the president now or at any time: we have found there are layers of centuries-old protections around our elected officials, as well there should be. Curses against public officials tend to boomerang.”

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[Wikimedia Commons.]

TWH – Beltane, or May Day, is close at hand. Events around the country and world are now being advertised. Most May events are one-day outdoor festivals or picnics held around May 1. In Santa Cruz, California, members of Community Seed Earth Spirit Fellowship have been rehearsing for its public Beltane ritual to be held April 28. One of the biggest U.S.-based Beltane picnic events is Grove of Gaia Fest in Pittsburgh. It attracts over 400 people for rituals, vendors, entertainment, workshops, and a maypole. This year, it will be heldMay 5. Another long-running local event is the one at the Center for Symbolic Studies in New Paltz, New York; this year’s theme is “Phoenix Rising.” The family-friendly event is now in its 28th year, and will be hosted April 28. That is only tiny sample of May Day-inspired Pagan happenings.

Longer Beltane festivals are also popular. Circle Sanctuary is hosting its annual three-day Beltane Festival on May 4-6. Two weeks later, Colorado-based Beltania opens its doors for an entire weekend with its new family-friendly concept, workshops, and entertainment. That is followed by EarthSpirit’s Rites of Spring. These shorter May festivals help usher in the Pagan festival season in full. Another marker of Beltane festival season is the Beltane Fire Festival in the U.K. That famous event is hosted by members of the Beltane Fire Society, which was formed in 1988 and has been the platform for fire festivals at both Beltane and Samhain ever since. The Beltane event is always held on April 30, the evening before Beltane. As explained on the site, “Beltane Fire Festival marks the changing seasons by bringing the ancient Celtic festival to a modern audience. For one special night, a huge cast of otherworldly creatures lead thousands of spectators on an unforgettable procession around Calton Hill. Through spectacular fiery displays and immersive storytelling, we show the May Queen transforming the Green Man from his wintry guise so they can rule together over the warmer months.”

In other news

  • Witch and priestess Janus Blume will be launching a new one-woman show called Witchy: Wisdom Beyond Illusion. The performance is part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival and will be staged in the Kansas Room at Thymele Arts. According to the press release, Blume will “weave a magical web of entertainment and inspiration as she shares fantastical but true stories from her life woven together with tidbits of history and seasoned with dashes of song and poetry.” Her debut is scheduled for June 2, followed by several more performance dates. Blume said, “Witches of old really flew using their brooms, and I know how they did it!” she says. “We will travel through space
    and time and see behind the veil of illusion that keeps us from seeing the world as it is.”
  • While not necessarily being produced by practicing Witches, another show is being launched that contains a Witch theme. In Virginia, a new Broadway-style musical is being produced that focuses on seven women and their struggles in contemporary America. Produced by a theatrical group called the Creative Cauldron, the play is titled Witch and its themes borrow from the current trend that equates Witchcraft or a Witch identity with feminism and feminine power. As noted on the show’s site: “From the dawn of time, women have been demonized, feared and objectified whenever their power challenged the traditional order. Weaving a thread from the Salem Witch trials through modern-day politics, this world premiere musical examines the complex and compelling stories of women who’ve been labeled as witches throughout the centuries.” Witch made its debut April 21 in Falls Church, Virginia and runs through May 6.
  • Aquarian Tabernacle Church archpriestess Lady Belladonna Laveau and priest Dusty Dionne left on their World Love Tour, stopping at various locations throughout the country to perform ritual that came out of their Spring Mysteries Festival. They write, “The Aquarian Tabernacle Church is known best for their invocations and for bringing the gods to life, for others to speak directly with them. Bella is the vessel for the goddess Demeter at Spring Mysteries Festival this year and has worked closely with the all-mother and as received a special ritual to share with you.” The tour runs through July, currently with 16 stops.
  • This week is National Parks Week.

Tarot of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: Black Cats Tarot by Maria Kurara, published by Lo Scarabeo
Card: hierophant, major arcana V (five)

This week may call on upon one’s ability to both demonstrate our own decency and moral aptitude, as well as discern it in others. Spiritual authority that crosses the line into arrogance, and even fanaticism, has given in to the temptations of abuse of power. Maintaining a list of checks and balances when it comes to one’s motivations would be wise.

 [Decks provided by Asheville Raven and Crone.]