Pagan Community Notes: Florida Pagan Gathering, Cherry Hill Seminary, JaguarMoon coven, and more

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FLORIDA —  Florida Pagan Gathering has been rescheduled again and will be held during the original dates, Nov. 7-11. As previously reported, the Florida board of directors of the Temple of Earth Gatherings had moved the dates of their popular Samhain Florida Pagan Gathering to Oct. 31 through Nov. 4 due to an unexpected need to relocate the festival. According to a June 23 media statement, board members said, “The first week of June we were informed by the city of St. Petersburg that construction projects in the Boyd Hill ESA were going to start in October and that, for safety reasons, no overnight camping would be allowed during the construction period.”  The event was moved to Maddox Ranch on the nearest available dates.

This move set off a chain of reaction due to scheduling conflicts with other events, something that is forbidden by the “community not competition initiative” as maintained by the Florida Pagan Alliance, and board members of that organization sent out a public notice informing the community that FPG organizers had not complied and that ties were being severed. TEG board members followed suit, announcing that the ties were being severed at both ends.

Then, the next day, July 24, a second TEG announcement indicated that FPG was back to its original dates, Nov. 7-11. The media statement reads: “We have since found out through contact with Maddox Ranch that the event scheduled for our original date has been canceled, leaving that date open.” FPA president Michele Webster wrote, “We are very happy to hear that the community’s collective voice was heard and applaud the board of directors for TEG/FPG its work to benefit the entire Pagan community.”

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Cherry Hill SeminaryCOLUMBIA, S.C. — Christina Taylor Beard-Moose is the newly-appointed chair of the department of theology and religious history for Cherry Hill Seminary. Beard-Moose holds a doctorate in feminist anthropology from the University of Iowa. She is currently a professor of anthropology at Suffolk County Community College in New York.  She has been on the Cherry Hill Seminary faculty for five years. Beard-Moose said, “I will work toward greater student activity and recruitment, which also means building community within the current student body and to new students. ”

Cherry Hill Seminary’s newly-appointed academic dean Candace Kant said, “I am thrilled that Dr. Beard-Moose has accepted the position of chair of the theology and religious history department. She brings a wonderful depth of academic knowledge, experience and wisdom.” Executive director Holli Emore said, “We are fortunate to add Dr. Beard-Moose to this vital leadership team, particularly as we continue to work on our application for accreditation.” Beard-Moose begins Wed, Aug. 1.

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The organizers of the online JaguarMoon Coven have announced the addition of a statement of inclusion. High priestess Ma’at said, “It is no longer acceptable to presume that a magickal group is a safe place. We need standards we can point to, that our students can look at, and we all need to hold one another accountable.” The statement, which is now published on the website, begins: “JaguarMoon Coven is inclusive. We utterly reject racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, ableism, sizeism, jingoism, classism, and transphobia. We believe diversity strengthens us as individuals and as witches; we embrace all facets of the human condition.”

The action of JaguarMoon’s leaders follow a trend in Pagan communities, making their stance on membership inclusivity clear. JaguarMoon, which unlike other covens is based online only and is billed as a cyber coven, has also made it clear that violators will be banned from classes and rejected as a member.  Ma’at added, “We welcome feedback from the community, and sharing of this as far and wide as you can. We also welcome people borrowing from it or use it entirely for your own group.”

In other news

  • The Covenant of the Goddess‘ annual business meeting and conference is only two weeks away. The event, which is open to the public, is being sponsored by Everglades Moon Local Council and will be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Merry Meet is the name of the entire weekend long event, with the meeting being called grand council. It is held every summer in a different location around the country. The 2018 Merry Meet begins Thursday, Aug. 9 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 12.
  • The Satanic Temple has announced that it is taking its colossal Baphomet statue to Arkansas, where the legislature has erected a ten commandments statue on state grounds. TST’s Baphomet monument, which currently resides in Michigan, will travel to Arkansas Aug 16, along with spokesperson Lucien Greaves. The statue was originally built for the Oklahoma state house, which was home to a ten commandments monument. However, the state legislature backed down and removed it before Baphomet could be erected. Since that point, TST has been using a same tactic to force Arkansas to remove its biblically-based monument. However, the Arkansas state legislature has not complied, and therefore the Baphomet statue is being sent to the Little Rock. TST is raising money for the trip.
  • Ashmolean, the University of Oxford’s museum of art and archeology, is hosting a Witchcraft exhibit beginning Aug. 31. “Explore the history of magic over eight centuries in this immersive and thought-provoking exhibition. The intriguing objects on display show how our ancestors used magical thinking to cope with the unpredictable world around them . . . . The exhibition asks us to examine our own beliefs and rituals, and aims to show how, even in this sceptical age, we still use magical thinking and why we might need a bit of magic in our lives.” The exhibit is called Spellbound, and runs form Aug. 31 to Jan 6, 2019.
  • You may have noticed some recent team changes at The Wild Hunt. In July, Storm Faerywolf joined the columnist team; his column will focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and related news and commentary, and will appear monthly on the third Saturday. Longtime columnist Eric O. Scott has taken the position as columnist editor. Despite the new responsibilities, Scott’s monthly column, which appears on the second Friday of the month, will continue. Additionally, we are happy to announce that columnist Alan D.D. will be joining us from Venezuela to share Pagan news and stories out of his region. His column, like that of Jaime Girones, will be published in both Spanish and English, and is the latest addition to our international  team that publishes the first Saturday of every month. Remember the Wild Hunt is always looking for new voices to join us as a onetime guest, or to join the news or columns team when a position opens up. Contact us if you think are interested.

Tarot of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: Celestial Tarot by Kay Steventon and Brian Clark, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc
Card: ace of wands

This week could find one poised to jump off into a journey of creativity fueled and limited only by the depths of imagination. If we choose to embrace this new identity forged in fires of our own creative desires, we will need to maintain a certain level of humility and reverence. Otherwise, we run the risk of crossing over into arrogance and allow our shadow side to undermine whatever it is we are trying to create.

Decks provided by Asheville Raven & Crone