Pagan Community Notes: Hank Knaepple, David Suhor, Darrin Barnett memorial and more

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Hank Knaepple [FB profile].

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — George H. Knaepple III, known as Hank to the community or Greemie Orge on Facebook, died Saturday after a medical procedure went wrong. Knaepple was an active and well-known member of the Pagan Spirit Gathering and Starwood communities. He was born July 5, 1961 in Berea, Kentucky. He and his partner and wife Penny Goody were friends for 40 years, marrying nine years ago and settled in Evansville, Indiana.

For more than two decades, Knaepple and Goody have been serving as performance artists and teachers at Pagan festivals and other similar events across the U.S., including Sacred Harvest, Starwood, and PSG. Also known as the “Merry Hankster,” Knaepple was a celebrated community coyote trickster as well as a musician, lighting designer, and drum maker. Pagans of all ages have delighted in his playful spirit, his large bubble-making, and other forms of creative entertainment, which sometimes included a shadow puppet show.

A memorial and other celebrations of Hank’s life and legacy are being planned. What is remembered, lives.

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Suhor [GoFundMe].

PENSACOLA, Fla. — Activist David Suhor was sentenced Aug. 6 for trespassing and resisting arrest during a February Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) meeting. Suhor is best known for his work in challenging local government meeting prayer practices. We first reported on his mission when he identified as Pagan and was allowed to offer a Pagan prayer before the September, 2014 meeting of the Escambia Board of County Commissioners. During that delivery he sang a prayer written by Starhawk with “accompanying magical gestures.” Since that point, Suhor has continued challenging local government bodies, from school boards to county commissioners, on the subject of prayer before meetings. He now now identifies as a Satanist and is a member of the Satanic Temple, which supports this type of religious freedom action throughout the country.

Suhor’s February arrest occurred after his refusal to stop reciting the Lord’s Prayer in order to permit the ECUA meeting to begin. ECUA allows its board members to offer prayer before the meeting is called to order. Chairwoman Lois Benson told the Pensacola News Journal, “That way anyone who does not want to hear a Christian prayer or any other prayer offered by the board does not miss any of our meeting.” Suhor believes that the board is doing it this way to “hide their invocations so that they can’t be sued for their [sic]content.” The arrest was caught on video and posted to YouTube. On Aug. 6 he was sentenced to three months of probation and 25 hours of community service. In addition, he is not permitted to use alcohol or drugs during probation, and he was ordered to stay away from ECUA headquarters. Suhor must also pay $273 in court costs and a $100 fine. Suhor is raising money for legal costs through GoFundMe.

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Barnett [FB profile]

OAKLAND, Calif. — Bay Area Pagans attended a memorial Saturday for beloved community member Darrin Barnett. The service took place at the Rail Picnic Area at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline in Oakland. It began at 3 p.m. and went until sundown. Friends gathered to drum, sing, share stories and other memories in tribute to Barnett. A local artist drew pictures of him, and there was a ribbon tree. This is a common way for spiritual communities to share wishes, dreams, prayers, and memories. Those attending were invited to write their name or memory on a ribbon and tie to the tree in honor of Barnett.

Those who attended have been posting to the Facebook event page with videos and photos of the memorial, including photos of art by Janie O’Brien and a video of Ember offering a song. Viki Savo posted a memorial video that she had created for the event and has said it was publicly available to share with those many people who knew Barnett but could not attend. What is remembered, lives. 

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In other news

  • A Covenant of the Goddess member had a bit of trouble Sunday with the TSA. According to CoG member Morgana RavenTree, she was traveling home from Merry Meet and, at the security check point, a TSA agent discovered and confiscated her small jar of Florida water. The jar was given to attendees by members of the host council. RavenTree, who didn’t check her luggage, said the bottle of water was around three ounces, and it did fit in the requisite gallon bag. However, the TSA agent took it, and she warned others to put their jars in their checked luggage.
  • HexFest 2018 saw protests this weekend from local Catholics. We are currently working on this story and will have more this week on what happened and why.
  • The CBC, or the Canada Broadcasting Corporation, reported that a “magic shop in Halifax has created a school that teaches how to cast spells and make potions.” The store is called Neighbourhood Witch and is owned by Pamela McInnis. She told CBC that she has seen a large growth in the number of people interested in alternative spiritualities  Classes began in May.
  • Pagan pride events continue to be held as we move closer to autumn. Southern Minnesota Pagan Pride is coming up Aug. 25. On the same day, Colorado Pagans will be able to attend Fort Collins Pagan Pride Day, and those in Ohio will be celebrating at Cleveland Pagan Pride.  Over the next two months, events will happen every weekend across the country; keep an eye out for festivals near you.

Card of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: Parrott Tarot Deck by Margaret Parrott, published by S.S. Adams Co.

Card: prince of cups
This week has the potential to offer up a bit of calm, though below the surface there is passion. This passion can be used to fuel creative endeavors, or if the darker side of emotion is tapped, violence, brutality, and cruelty. Those most likely to gravitate and express the negative aspects are those who can be seduced by, or drunk on, power.
Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.