Pagan Community Notes: International Day of Peace, Parliament of the World’s Religions, Michael Hughes and more

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[Darolu Dove].

TWH – September 21 marks the International Day of Peace as declared by the United Nations in 1981. International Peace Day, as it is also called, has been celebrated for 36 years as a tribute to, recognition of, and call for peace worldwide. The 2018 theme is “The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70.”  U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres writes, “It is time all nations and all people live up to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human race.”

The U.N. is calling for the world’s citizens to take action, no matter how small, toward peaceful resolutions of conflict, ending injustices through non-violent solutions, and promoting human rights. On September 21, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., the Secretary-General will honor the day in the Peace Garden at United Nations Headquarters by ringing the Peace Bell and observing a minute of silence. In the past, Pagans have been part of the U.N. ceremonies leading up to the event, including youth ambassadors and clergy.

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TORONTO – The Parliament of the World Religions draws closer and the organizers are working tirelessly to get ready for this landmark event. Every time the Parliament is held, people from around the world, representing hundreds of different religions, come together in one location to discuss, learn, pray, and share. The cost to attend this event is often prohibitive for any one person or group. This year, Pagans from Greece and Lithuana have opted to raise money to finance their trip, after their original funding fell through.

The groups had two of their proposals accepted; these presentations include a talk on the survival and preservation of pre-Christian, indigenous spiritual traditions among European peoples and a ritual performance by a group of members of the Romuva religion. With only weeks before the Parliament opens, the two groups have decided to use crowd sourcing to get them to the Toronto. According to the site, “a total of $12,000 USD is needed to cover the costs for the 5 participants for the week-long conference.” They chose the site Crowdwise by GoFundMe because the donations go directly to the Parliament to cover all the basic expenses.

It is not uncommon for groups to look to crowdfunding to attend the Parliament of the World Religions. The organization itself also offers financial aid and scholarships. “We understand that location and prices are often prohibitive for individuals wishing to attend our events. In order to help mitigate some of the financial constraints, we have developed a Parliament registration financial assistance and scholarship application.”

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Michael Hughes, best known for creating and publicizing the spell to bind Donald Trump, has a new book on the shelves this month. It is is titled Magic for the Resistance: Rituals and Spells for Change, and its release has been hotly anticipated. According to the book’s entry at publisher Llewellyn Worldwide’s website, “The resistance is growing, and it needs your help. This book provides spells and rituals designed to help you put your magical will to work to create a more just and equitable world.” The book is part history lesson and part magical guide.

Hughes is an author and activist from Baltimore, Maryland. He has been practicing magic for nearly 25 years. According to his bio, Hughes regularly lectures on a number of topics including tarot, the paranormal, UFOs, pop culture, esotericism, psychedelics, and magic, and he appears on podcasts, radio shows, and at variety of events. Magic for the Resistance is his first non-fiction book. This week we will have a interview with Hughes to learn more about his background, the binding spell, and the new book in the coming weeks.

Other books are due to be released in the next year that dive into the subject of magical resistance. These titles include The New Aradia: a Witch’s handbook to magical resistance, edited by Laura Tempest Zakroff and to be published later in September 2018, and Witchcraft Activism: A Toolkit for Magical Resistance, authored by David Salisbury and to be published in spring 2019.

In other news

  • According to organizers, the 22nd annual Michigan Witches Ball is now sold out “for the 13th year in a row.” They have sold all 500 tickets. The popular ball will take place October 20 at the Royalty House Banquet Facility in Warren, Michigan. The purpose of the event is to “promote religious tolerance and celebrate Samhain (Halloween).” The community will also announce its chosen Michigan Pagan of the Year.
  • As she prepares to head to the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto, Rev. J.K. Hildebrand reflects on the event and its meaning in a recent blog post at Nature’s Sacred Journey. “For me, attending the Parliament of the World’s Religions makes transformation available for humanity,” she writes. “It lends a place for us to practice working together for the good of all. It is an opportunity to stretch, and not lock into dogmatic systems of thinking. We get to listen to our heart’s connection to the beat of the earth and walk our talk.”
  • With autumn just a few days away, many Pagans are preparing to celebrate Mabon, or Harvest Home, or the equinox in some form. Circle Sanctuary is hosting its own celebration at their nature preserve on Saturday, September 22. The feast and ritual, titled “Sharing the Bounty,” will be hosted by minister-in-training Dianne (Minerva) Duggan. “Our celebration features workshops and activities for adults and kids,” she says.
  • Starhawk is also hosting a seasonal event and asking people to “show gratitude.” In blog post, she writes, “Actions have consequences. What have we neglected? What plants have we forgotten to water? What beds are overrun with weeds? All of us are human—all of us make mistakes, get overwhelmed, and sometimes even hurt those we care about. This is the season to reflect on our actions, make amends where we can, let go of what we don’t need to carry with us, give thanks for all the guides and gifts that have helped us along the way, and honor what we have achieved.”  Her fall equinox ritual will be hosted Tuesday, September 18. It will be performed live in San Francisco and live-streamed to include participants all over the world.

Card of the Week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen, published by US Games Systems, Inc.
Card: Eight (8) of Cups

This week may require a shift in planning, abandoning a previous approach, or even the discontinuation of a project. On the upside, letting go of any ideology that no longer serves frees us to seek a more solid approach. So there may be a cause to celebrate.

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.