Pagan Community Notes: the Binding, the Unnamed Path, Cherry Hill Seminary, and more

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TWH – The NRA Institute for Legislative Action published an article in reaction to a documentary film titled the Binding that depicts modern Witches performing a binding spell inspired by Michael Hughes‘ work. First reported on by The Wild Hunt, the film, which was produced and directed by Patrick Foust, features members of the Firefly House and includes author and activist David Salisbury. Foust told TWH that the inspiration for The Binding came when [he] saw news footage of Witches conducting a binding ritual on President Trump in February 2017.

The NRA ILA reaction to the film was published June 15, and has since triggered a number of other media articles, including one in Fortune magazine and another at Raw Story. After the NRA writer discusses the film’s content, he or she reports that the organization “has not experienced any uptick in paranormal activity or supernatural suppression of [their] affairs.” The Fortune and Raw Story stories take a different tone, acknowledging the presence of modern Witches and mocking the NRA. Raw Story‘s article, for example, is titled “NRA whines anti-gun witches are hurling curses at them and Donald Trump.”  The NRA article also triggered a number of social media posts both mocking the organization and also supporting it, including some religion-based warnings against the practice of Witchcraft. One tweet reads, “The occult is real and dangerous.The scriptures say specifically do not practice this evil art.”

Despite the growing number of media and blog reports on the subject, the film itself has not been released; TWH was offered a private showing for the interview in the original article. Foust says he will be entering the film in the upcoming fall festival circuit. As for Salisbury, he said that there have been some attacks but most of them are coming from other Witches and Pagans. “We all expected this. Pagans often enjoy being critical of each other rather than focusing on our own work,” he said, adding, “As for the gun people, I’m not worried. I have a great deal of privilege that enables me to do public work with relative safety. In any case, the conversation about protecting our youth from violence has a little more attention on it today and that’s what it’s all about in the end. The spell is achieving its goals in that way.”

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. — In other political news, the Brotherhood of the Unnamed Path issued a public statement on the separation of children of immigrants from their parents, which reads in part, “We stand against these policies as dictated and enforced by the attorney general and the current administration. We condemn in the strongest terms the justification of these actions by statement of religious scripture or by indicating a need to intimidate and provoke fear.” The statement goes on to say that the organization “includes some whose families have been here only a generation, some whose families have been here many generations, and some are descendants from the people who set foot on the North American continent almost 20,000 years ago.” It was released June 17 and includes a call for the immediate end of this practice.

The Unnamed Path is a “spiritual tradition revealed to [its members] from the ancestors of men-who-love-men. It is rooted in age-old techniques practiced around the world that foster relationships with the divine, the ancestors, the spirits in the land and with each other.” It was founded by Hyperion, who died in 2014. The brotherhood continues to thrive, hosting a annual fall festival called Stone and Stang. As demonstrated by the recent statement, its members also engage in community actions and political activism.

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Cherry Hill Seminary

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Cherry Hill Seminary and the University of South Carolina Institute of Archaeology & Anthropology will be sponsoring a conference in 2019. The event’s title is “Paganism and its Discontents: Enduring Problems of Racialized Identity.” The keynote speaker is Michael Strmiska, who is an associate professor in global studies at the State University of New York – Orange.

Cherry Hill Seminary is currently looking for conference papers. The call states, “We welcome papers that explore the following issues: ethnic vs. universal Paganism, attempted co-option of Pagan ideas and symbols by hate groups, addressing under-the-radar racism in Pagan groups, irredentist ideas in our mythologies, reconstructionism or racism and xenophobia?, the implications and consequences of Declaration 127, and the reemergence of ethno-nationalism and its impact on current events. “The deadline to submit is Dec. 3, 2018.  The conference, which will take place in March 16-18 2019, will be held on the USC campus in Columbia.

In other news:

  • Tomorrow marks the celebration of Juneteenth. In 2017, columnist Crystal Blanton reflected on the observance and its meaning today., writing, “What makes this particular holiday different than other culturally-based celebrations is the historical importance of this moment for all Americans. This specific day in time acknowledges a very important step in the shift of what was to become the next level of fight for freedom in this country.”
  • Freyja, the grandmother of Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, has created a digital book about her grandson and his life. The memorial book is titled Taliesin’s Rainbow: a Bard’s Story. It is available on this website, which was built after Meche’s death and in honor of his life and his heroism.
  • Pagans in Australia are raising money to bring Damh the Bard and Cerri to the country for an April 2019 concert. Led by the band Spiral Dance, the community is planning the concert for April 17, which is the evening before the Adelaide Druid Camp. The location will be announced sooner to the event.
  • Eye of the Telescope, the online journal of speculative poetry for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, will be publishing an issue focused on witches. “A witch is defined as someone who is said to possess usually malignant supernatural powers. Since speculative fiction covers fantasy and science fiction as well as horror, we’re going to focus on ‘usually’ in that definition. I want any take on witches with any gender,” writes editor Ashley Dioses. The deadline for submission is Sept. 15. The issue will be available Oct 15, just in time for Halloween.

Tarot of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: Wheel of the Year by Maria Caratti, artwork by Antonella Platano, published by Lo Scarabeo

Card: ace of swords

The week ahead will require a fair amount of focus, clear thinking and discernment. If you find yourself unsure of what is being asked of you or what you are being presented with, ask for clarification. This card almost always reflects decisive action.

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.