Pagan Community Notes: Awen-inscribed gravestone at Circle; Starhawk calls for action; Caroline Tully and more.

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BARNEVELD, Wis. — Circle Cemetery, a national Pagan cemetery located at Circle Sanctuary, will dedicate its first Awen-inscribed veteran gravestone. In January 2017, the Awen was added to the official list of approved symbols by the U.S. Veterans Administration, joining the pentacle and Thor’s Hammer.  The upcoming memorial will be for Druid Dan Moeller, who was known as Oakbear in the Pagan community. While Moeller has the distinction of being the first to be honored with the inscribed Awen gravestone at a Pagan cemetery, he is not the first in the nation. That distinction goes to Wayne Laliberte of Texas (1954-2013), who is honored at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery in Texas in 2017. Either way, there are still only a few such veterans with Awens, but the number grows each year. After ten years of being on the official list. the pentacle can now be found on over 200 veteran grave sites nationwide.

According to Circle Sanctuary officials, “Oakbear was an OBOD Druid, Wiccan priest, and Pagan teacher. He and his wife Morgan were part of several Pagan communities over the years, including Circle Sanctuary and Deeply Rooted.”  Oakbear’s memorial ceremony will include both Wiccan and Druid components, and will be facilitated by Rev. Selena Fox and others. It will be held from 1-3 pm Saturday Oct. 6.  The ceremony is open to the public.

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Starhawk at Harvard Divinity School.

Starhawk [courtesy]

SAN FRANCISCO – It is difficult to look at the mainstream media today without hearing the latest news, discussion, or commentary on the Kavanaugh hearings. Author and activist Starhawk published a long statement and call to action in response. She begins the post, “I thought I was handling the Kavanaugh thing on a calm, spiritual level, doing magic, yes—calling in qualities like truth and justice and integrity—working for protection. Then I found myself driving to teach this morning, listening to one of those Republicans on the radio and screaming at it, ‘Harpies, come and rip out his lying guts!’ ”

Starhawk is not the only Pagan who has been outspoken about the hearing, however, she is one of most well-known as an elder in the community. She says, “I am personally really, really tired of entitled, abusive men painting themselves as victims and whining when they are held accountable for their behavior.” Starhawk continues on to a call for action saying, “For every woman or gender-nonconforming person who finds the memories of every assault we’ve suffered surfacing now, for every good man who is disgusted by the depth and breadth and ubiquity of misogyny—remember, rage can be healing and cleansing, holy and sacred. Let it flow—and turn it to action. Take to the streets, the phones, and above all, the ballot box!” The entire statement can be read on Facebook. Her website is currently under construction.

Outside of current politics, Starhawk has been a advocate for gender equality for decades. She is scheduled to attend the first bi-annual Women Rising event to be held in San Francisco Oct 12-15. The event is hosted by the California Institute for Integral Studies Women’s Spirituality Program. The subtitle for the new event is “New Visions for a Post-Patriarchal World.” It is open to the public.

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TWH – A new book from Peeters publishing examines a unique subject: Minoan religion and culture. It is written by Pagan priestess and Witch Caroline Tully who will be ” the guest editor for an upcoming issue of The Pomegranate: the International Journal of Pagan Studies.  Tully said that her fascination with ancient Pagan religions began in the form of personal practice and evolved into wanting more through academic study.  She now seeks to relay that information back to the Pagan community.

Her book, which is titled The Cultic Life of Trees in the Prehistoric Aegean, Levant, Egypt and Cyprus, dives into the mysteries of Minoan culture. She said, “Pagans who study the Minoans tend to rely on old fashioned and outdated scholarship and are often unaware of the most recent discoveries and approaches to Minoan Religion.” Through the book, she hopes to change that. Her study “examines 44 images of Minoan tree cult as depicted in sphragistic jewellery, portable objects and wall paintings from Late Bronze Age Crete, mainland Greece and the Cyclades.” She also compared the images with  “evidence for sacred trees in the Middle and Late Bronze Age Levant, Egypt and Cyprus.”

Tully hopes to bring new interpretations of the images and of the religious culture. She also said that her research demonstrates the “prominence of women and Nature Religion, and provides models of direct interaction with the natural world.” Peeters is an academic publisher based in Belgium. The book’s full table of contents is available through the site.

In other news

  • The Gerald B. Gardner calendar 2019 is now available for orders. Every year the calendar is produced and contains photos, news clippings, and facts about the famed author and Witch. The new GBG calendar also contains photos of Doreen Valiente’s tools and other Craft artefacts. According to the publisher, the photos were provided by the Doreen Valiente Foundation, which is based in the U.K. As in previous years, “a portion of the proceeds will be donated to organizations that help to preserve Craft history.
  • Also for 2019, the Witches’ Almanac has been released. The popular almanac is distributed by Red Wheel/Weiser has been in publication since 1971. It contains a calendar, spells, articles, and an abundance of information. The 2019-2020 theme is “Animals: Friends and Familiars” and the cover is decorated with a black cat, frog, hummingbird and bee. New authors include Sorita D’Este, Lon Milo DuQuette, David Rankine, and Mat Auryn.
  • For Pagans in the Northwest, this month brings Hekate’s Sickle Festival, hosted by The Aquarian Tabernacle Church. This four day event begins with a seance on Thursday night and continues on from there. As written on the website, “Hekate’s Sickle is an annual exploration of the mysteries of the Goddess Hekate in all her forms. Overcoming the boundaries of death and change, we offer a sacred space for transcendent experience, the growth of ecstatic community, the perfection of love and trust.”  The festival begins Oct 18 and runs through Sunday Oct 21. This year’s theme is the Norse pantheon.
  • Just in time for the fall, polytheist author Lorna Smithers has released her book Gatherer of Souls. Smither’s writes, “Gwyn ap Nudd is a Brythonic god of the dead and ruler of Annwn. In medieval Welsh literature he is depicted gathering the souls of slaughtered warriors from the battlefield, and is said to contain the fury of the spirits of Annwn to prevent their destruction of the world.” He and his spirits were demonised, she explains, by the coming of Christianity. “After centuries of soul-loss Gwyn re-opened those doors and challenged me to ride with him through the war-torn centuries to recover his forgotten mythos. This book is a record of my journey.”
  • Witchmaste posted a video of their recent performance at New York City Pagan Pride 2018. To start off October with some fun, here is Witchmaste as they dance and coax audience members to join them in dance:


Tarot of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: Dark Angels Tarot by Luca Russo, published by Lo Scarabeo

Card: King of Discs (Pentacles) This week’s card suggests that attention be paid to material possessions and creations. Be wary of authority figures and institutions that feel they have the right to take what they want, regardless of the consequences.

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.

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