Pagan Community Notes: the Troth, Baphomet in Arkansas, Solar Cross Temple and more

The Wild Hunt —  August 20, 2018 — Leave a comment

TWH – The Troth announced Tuesday that Freya Aswynn, a longtime member and elder, violated its inclusiveness policies  and was removed from the organization. In a public statement, the High Rede explains:  “Aswynn was observed making remarks on social media which belie the spirit of inclusiveness the Troth strives to foster.” The board said that it tried to intervene privately but Aswynn’s posts allegedly continued with “increased islamaphobic rhetoric,” as described in statement, which is available on the Troth site.

“The High Rede of the Troth must honor our oaths and condemn this behavior,” the board writes, “[We have] determined that our relationship with Freya as an elder is no longer appropriate, and we have rescinded her status as elder and have terminated her lifetime membership.”

The decision has led to intense social media debates. Aswynn has been labeled an oath breaker and the Troth board is being accused of spreading hate and judgment. Aswynn, who has not yet spoken out publicly, told The Wild Hunt that she does take issue with being called an oath-breaker, but that she is “pleased with the board’s decision. Freedom of mind.” She welcomes people to review her work and decide for themselves.

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LITTLE ROCK — The Satanic Temple  erected its Baphomet monument, if only for a short time, on the grounds of the Arkansas state capitol Thursday. The rally and public viewing of the statue were held in protest to the state legislature’s support of a Ten Commandments monument, which was originally approved in 2015. Sen. Jason Rapert (R), sponsor of the bill, told one news source that “the Ten Commandments are an important component to the foundation of the laws and the legal system of the United States of America and of the state of Arkansas.” Rapert heads the nonprofit American History & Heritage Foundation, Inc., which sponsored the project and has a mission to, as written on site, educate and inform the public about American history and heritage.

The original monument was destroyed in April, 2017 by the same man who destroyed a similar monument at the Oklahoma state capitol. The Heritage Foundation helped support the Arkansas monument’s rebuilding, and it was erected in June of this year. That is when the Satanic Temple decided to plan its August rally and transport its nine-foot-tall Baphomet statue to Arkansas from Michigan, where it has been in storage.

The Satanic Temple is not the only organization fighting this battle. The ACLU is also involved. Both see this act by legislators as violation of the first amendment implied separation of church and state. Unlike Oklahoma legislators who opted to remove the monument when TST came calling, Rapert is not backing down from his position. He told NPR that he respects freedom of speech, but “the people of Arkansas have the right to say that we disagree with your profane statements … and really a war on the Ten Commandments. It will be a very cold day in hell before an offensive statue will be forced upon us to be permanently erected on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol.”

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PORTLAND — Solar Cross Temple members continue their work to assist immigrants and refugees in that region. According to a news bulletin, “Solar Cross members have held vigils at the ICE building in that city, have joined interfaith actions, and shown up at city hall to speak with the mayor and city council about the situation.”

They are encouraging other Pagans to follow their lead. They offered their second devotional focused on supporting immigrants Aug. 19. That working is published online for anyone to use for inspiration.

In addition, Solar Cross members are actively working with “Oregon Sikh communities to supply needed goods for asylum seekers” who are currently being held at Sheridan Prison. Members are hoping for a release soon.

In other news

  • Dia del Paganisme, an annual free Pagan Conference in Catalonia, will take place for the first time in Barcelona’s center. Now in its sixth year, the pride event will be held Sept. 22, and will include lectures and various activities. Organizers will also be hosting a corresponding harvest ritual Sept. 23 in Puig Castellar, an authentic Iberian village not far from Barcelona.
  • Derby Cathedral in England is under fire from some of its members after showing The Wicker Man (1971) and Don’t Look Now (1973). Members felt the selections were inappropriate for the church, according to a BBC report, The same members are also unhappy with other films scheduled for its film series, which includes Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979). The church supports its series saying the films are classic British cinema.
  • Bibliotheca Alexandria has opened submissions for two new anthologies. “One is a devotional to the Titans, be it Cronus, Rhea, Helios, Selene, Atlas, and all. We will be accepting articles, hymns, short fiction, essays, and rites, ” editors say. “The second is a devotional to the forces of Hellenic nature, the dryads and satyrs. We are looking for rituals, hymns, essays, visual artwork, short stories, plays, recipes, and new translations of ancient and public domain works.”  The deadline for both is January 2019; details are available online.
  • In July, Playboy magazine published an article on sex magick, featuring interviews with some familiar names in Pagan circles, including authors Courtney Weber and Skye Alexander, Philip English and Kami. All spoke with writer M. Leona Godin candidly about the dos and don’ts of sex magick.

Card of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: The Sacred Circle Tarot by Anna Franklin, illustrations by Paul Mason, published Llewellyn Publications

Card: the underworld, major arcana 14

This week may offer up some opportunities to both recognize, and address, deep-seated fears that have been allowed to influence how we function. Proper use of power requires that we know and manage our fears, and keep our ambitions in check. To do otherwise sets the stage for an unending cycle of abuse.

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.

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