Pagan Community Notes: BBC petition, Cherry Hill Seminary, Arnold Crowther, and more

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As we reported in the past, a U.K.-based petition has been making its way around the internet. Its mission is to urge the BBC to be more considerate of Pagan religious views. Created in January 2018 by Druid Stuart Jeffrey, the petition, which is titled BBC should make Pagan voices heard, has garnered closed to 2,000 signatures. Jeffrey believes that the station should contain occasional programming that explores Paganism and that “they should feature a Pagan voice on Thought for the Day at least once a year.” He writes, “The BBC recently published a review of its religious programming however despite getting the views from a range of religious leaders, no Pagans were consulted. Thought for the Day (T4tD) goes out on Radio 4 and despite it being multi-faith it has no Pagan voices on it.”

In a press release, Jeffrey announced that the petition will be delivered to the BBC Tuesday, July 17 at 11am. He said, “Almost 2,000 people have call [sic] on the BBC to make Pagan voices heard. The BBC should have an occasional programme looking at Paganism and they should feature a Pagan voice on Thought for the Day at least once a year.” He continued, “While they have recently said that they will now consult with us, there has been no change in broadcasting practice yet. Nature-based religions have never had more relevance than now with climate change hurting the world and plastic soup killing our oceans. Human animals are failing to honour nature despite us being part of her. Having voices in the media that have a different regard to the world of which we are part is more necessary now than ever.”

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Cherry Hill SeminaryATLANTA — Cherry Hill Seminary has another student who has graduated with a master of divinity degree. At the Mystic South conference, Holli Emore was conferred her master’s degree during a formal ceremony held Sunday.  Emore said, “I can’t begin to express how touched I’ve been by the beautiful graduation ceremony Sunday at Mystic South, by the remarks and gifts from those present, and by the beautiful messages from my interfaith family back home. Each of you have helped me reach this day, and continue to shape my life journey. Thank you hardly seems sufficient, but I say it from the deepest well of my happy heart.”  Emore not only is the executive director of the seminary, but she has also been working within local interfaith circle for more than a decade. Her studies are part of that journey, as she calls it.

The graduation was part of the seminary’s annual weekend-long intensive. Typically held privately, the Cherry Hill board of directors opted to hold the intensive during the Atlanta conference, and open up the content to all attendees. This year’s intensive was called “Earth, Sea, and Sky: the three cauldrons of ancient Celtic Irish spirituality.” It was hosted by master bard Robert Patrick, Ph.D.

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UNITED KINGDOM — A new book by Arnold Crowther, Witchcraft and the Scots, has just released through the Doreen Valiente Foundation. The book, as indicated on the foundation web site,  has never before been seen. Crowther “was initiated into the Craft of the Wise by his partner Patricia Dawson, whom he married in November [1960].” It’s explained that he was “initiated in the presence, and in the covenstead of his old friend Dr. Gerald Brosseau Gardner, in Castletown Isle of Man. Crowther became the high priest of the Sheffield Coven which he ran with Patricia from November 1961 until his death in 1974. His autobiography Hand in Glove was later produced and broadcast by BBC Radio Bristol and other radio stations and can now be viewed on YouTube.”

Crowther never published this particular manuscript, which includes his own drawings. Of the book, the DVF board writes, “Crowther takes us on a thought-provoking journey through centuries of Scottish witchcraft and witch belief. From Mary, Queen of Scots, who brought witchcraft to the fore in Scotland, right up to Aleister Crowley, notorious magician of the twentieth century, Crowther guides us through the most notable cases of Scottish witchcraft and magic.” The book will be released July 13 and can be pre-ordered on the organization’s website.

In other news

  • According to Patheos Pagan channel manager Jason Mankey, the Pagan writers were given a theme this month. He says, “[They] are trying to answer the question ‘What is Witchcraft?’ Between traditional Witchcraft, Wicca, kitchen witchcraft, Feri Witchcraft, and dozens of other traditions and pathways the answer is more complicated than ever. Are there things that united the various Witchcraft communities around the world?” The Pagan writers participating include Mary Kirby Capo, Ian Chambers, Morgan Daimler, Kelden, Misha Magdalene, Scarlet Magdalene and Mankey. They will attempt to answer that question on their own blogs Patheos-hosted blogs.
  • Those in the Pagan studies unit of the American Academy of Religion, have issued a new call for papers to be included in the 2019 western region meeting held in Phoenix, Arizona. The meeting’s theme is “Religion and Resistance,” and the Pagan studies unit organizers announced that they are looking for “proposals addressing many aspects of contemporary Paganism, especially relating to practitioners’ diverse or non-diverse political identities and political actions. Papers might address subjects such as Pagans’ involvement in political actions for social and ecological justice or Pagans’ pleas and actions for the protection of religious freedom, theirs and others. The Pagan studies unit is interested in receiving paper proposals that situate the Neo-Pagan movement within the context of global paganisms[sic] and discuss the politics of naming. Whom does “paganism” include? How do we decide? Who has the authority to make the call? . . . . The Pagan studies unit is also accepting papers on ecological activism for a cosponsored session with the religion and ecology unit.” More information will be available on the site soon.
  • Online Paganism writer Patti Wigington and Circle Sanctuary’s Rev. Selena Fox were recently interviewed for an article published on Urbo. The article is titled “The Truth and Fairly Fantastical Myths About Wiccans,” and was published to share the truths about modern Witchcraft and Wicca. Urbo appears to be getting a jump on the annual fall “Interview a Witch” season.
  • Despite any trouble with Facebook postings, WitchsFestUSA 2018 went on without a hitch. The New York City-based summer festival, which was held July 14-15, was successful, according to early reports. The organizers announced that they will be doing it again next year and have scheduled it July 13-14, 2019. The organizers also noted that two non-Pagan community board members attended WitchsFest at Astor Place this year and said that “WitchsFest should always be approved.”
  • Similarly, the Atlanta-based Mystic South conference, as noted above, was hosted this weekend without any reported major problems. The air-conditioning and water were working. Board members did announced that the indoor summer conference will be held again in 2019 from July 19-21 at the same hotel.

Tarot of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: Cat’s Eye Tarot by Debra M. Givin, DVM, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Card: five (5) of wands

This week may likely offer up a variety of opportunities for hassles, disagreements, and possible confrontations, ranging in intensity from minor to major. You may also experience a decidedly competitive vibe woven into interactions. Whatever challenges are served up this week, a thoughtful and reasoned response will serve you better than an impulsive one in most cases.

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.