Pagan Community Notes: Doug Hoffman, Cherry Hill Seminary, Samuel Wagar and more.

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Doug Hoffman [Facebook profile].

CHARLOTTE, N.C., –  It was announced May 6 that Doug Hoffman, a Druid, clairvoyant, tarot reader, teacher, and active member of the local Pagan community, died after suffering a sudden bilateral stroke. According to one bio, Hoffman was taught mysticism and symbolism by his mother and grandmother. “Over the years, Doug worked with many different teachers learning Celtic mythology, herbal healing, spiritualism and many [other] different types of divination.” Despite living in many places, Hoffman reportedly always found time to be involved with the local Pagan community. His most recent location, in Charlotte, made him a regular member of the Piedmont Pagan Pride Day event and organization.

When news came that Hoffman had suffered a stroke, an outpouring of support was expressed via social media. Friends and fellow Pagans held vigils, offered prayers, and lit candles. However, it was soon learned that he had been temporarily put on life support until his family could arrive. According to reports, Hoffman passed around 6 p.m. May 6. In a memoriam, Hoffman’s friend Joseph Mathis publicly posted a personal tribute. It began: “Summerlands sleepy haze, a tear shed for now lost days. A friend’s deserved rest after a long life’s fight. Rest now in your mother’s arms, and feel your father’s warm embrace. I do honor you and thank you for our days.” What is remembered, lives.

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Cherry Hill SeminaryCOLUMBIA, SC — Julie Olson and Danna Doerksen have become the first two students to receive Community Ministry Certificates at Cherry Hill Seminary. This non-degree program was started in 2017, offering a path to ministerial certification through the Sacred Well Congregation. It is available to any student who has completed the required 15-month mentored independent study. Doerksen said that “The journey through the Cherry Hill Seminary’s Community Ministry Certificate [program] has been productive and challenging.” The program helped fill gaps in her knowledge about ministry and the community, she added.

“I think one of the biggest personal changes that I have experienced throughout my time working on the certificate,” Doerksen continued, “is that I have a much better understanding of my strengths and abilities and also my weaknesses and failings. Now, I can look back on decisions and choices that I made in a spiritual leadership capacity and see where I could have made better choices or could have communicated more effectively. The program has revitalized my passion for serving the community and has inspired me to learn more, continue to teach, and further explore social and environmental justice issues and interfaith opportunities.”

Continuing her statement, Doerksen also said that there is a clear difference between learning to be a leader in one’s specific tradition and doing ministry work on a broader scale and for a wider community base. “I went looking for additional education because I realized that I was often forced to address issues that I did not feel adequately prepared for. In the past, I went about dealing with crises or group difficulties blindly and without guidance. Now, I have a number of approaches and resources from the program that I can work with.”

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Samuel Wagar [Ed Kaiser].

TWH – Wiccan chaplain Sam Wagar has joined the Patheos Pagan writing team. His new blog, called Translating Worlds, was launched April 27. He has since written four posts and will continue publishing weekly, according to his introductory post. “I became tired of having my writing only be read by a few dozen people, so, in mid-February, I applied to start a column here at Patheos. I’m hoping to interest a few thousand regular readers,” he writes.

Wager is best known in recent years for his chaplaincy work in Canada. He is the current Wiccan chaplain at the University of Alberta, and he also serves as chair for the Interfaith Chaplains Association at the school. In that role, he has reportedly developed and taught a “three-credit fourth year course in Wiccan theology jointly through University of Alberta and Saint Stephen’s College last fall.” Wager’s fourth blog post at his new Patheos blog focused specifically on chaplaincy, which is his current expertise. He says that his blog subjects will be more practical in nature and he lists the following subjects as examples: Wiccan temple-planting, organizing groups, mentorship, religious education, training public clergy, and building accountability. Patheos currently is hosting 49 blogs in the Pagan channel.

In other news

  • The world-renowned auction house Sotheyb’s will be auctioning off several original paintings by Frieda Harris which were presented to Aleister Crowley for his Thoth tarot deck. The drawings, never published, were additional and not used in the final deck. Crowley and Harris worked on the deck between 1938 and 1943.  The Book of Thoth was published the following year in 1944; however, neither Crowley or Harris lived to see the deck published in 1969 by Ordo Templi Orientis.
  • The Chicago-area trustees of the Parliament of the World’s Religions will be hosting an open house at their new offices. The purpose is to celebrate the new space as well discuss a number of topics including the upcoming Parliament in Toronto, a new Interfaith initiative in Chicago, a museum, and the organization’s future. The event, which will be held May 17, is open to any one interested. As we get closer to the November event, we will have more from the many Pagans who are planning to attend.
  • The University of Winchester is hosting a lecture series this year titled Exploring Aspects of the Feminine Divine.” The second event in the series, which will be hosted May 9, features speaker Kavita May, a doctoral student at the University of London. May’s lecture is titled “Arachne’s Voice: Race, Gender and the Goddess.”  She writes, “In the midst of new waves of antiracist activism and struggles to decolonise, it is an opportune moment to reexamine questions about race, gender and feminist politics in the western goddess movement.”
  • The Wild Hunt is in the final days of the spring funding and sustainer drive. Help us meet our goals. Don’t let the hunt end. Make a single donation to our YouCaring campaign or join the more than 120 others who are part of the TWH sustainers circle by committing to a monthly donation through PayPal. Either way, your support will keep this news agency independent and free from advertising, and keep Pagan news flowing daily. Donate today.

Card of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: Tarot of the Cat People by Karen KuyKendall, published by US Games Systems, Inc.

Card: two of swords

This week may offer up what at first glance appear to be conflicting ideologies or factors. Closer inspection may reveal that it is more in line with one factor offsetting the other, and actually can provide balance when viewed with a discerning eye. For me, this card always indicates some type of choice needing to made—not choosing just means someone else will choose for you if you demure doing so. Choose wisely.

The decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.