Pagan Community Notes: Indigenous Peoples Day, New Age beliefs, 1000 Goddesses and more.

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TWH – Throughout the U.S., more and more cities and regions are electing to forgo the celebration of Columbus Day for Indigenous People’s Day. In 1994, the United Nations declared Aug. 9 to be International Indigenous People’s Day. The holiday was first proposed in South Dakota in 1989, but its first official adoption did not occur until 1991 in Berkeley, California. The Berkeley city council adopted the holiday in time for the 500th anniversary of the Columbus sailing. The idea did not “go viral,” so to speak, immediately; only the city of Santa Cruz followed in Berkeley’s footstep.

That changed in 2014 when there was a sudden increase in the number of cities cancelling Columbus Day celebrations and honoring Indigenous People’s Day instead, including large urban centers like Los Angeles. South Dakota, Hawaii, Vermont, and Oregon do not recognize the federal holiday at all. The South Dakota calendar lists Native Americans Day, and Hawaii’s has Discoverer’s Day.  Despite this momentum, the Columbus Day holiday, which was originally made official in 1937, is still a recognized federal holiday, and some services and offices are closed.

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TWH – Pew Research Center has released a report on a 2017 study on New Age beliefs. According to the data, a person’s religious convictions do not necessarily bar them from believing in one of four New Age concepts. This concepts are “reincarnation, astrology, psychics and the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects like mountains or trees.” The center asked people from varying religious backgrounds whether the believed in any of those four ideas and, while the stats differ slightly according to the sampling of people, they don’t change drastically. Catholics are equally as likely as Protestants to believe in at least one New Age concept. Atheists have the lowest rates of belief.

Astrology and reincarnation have the lowest rates of belief across religious platforms. Those people who claim to be spiritual but not religious are most likely to believe in one or more of the four concepts, with nearly 60% believing in “the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects.” The terms Pagan, Wiccan, Heathen, or any other references to polytheist religions were not mentioned or parsed out from the data. If any such people were interviewed, it was not mentioned. Additionally, the study, or perhaps the reporting on the study, was limited to only responses given by Christians and the so called “unaffiliated,” leaving out all minority religious sectors.

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WASHINGTON D.C. — On Oct. 20, the Washington D.C. mall will see a gathering of people celebrating the divine feminine. The 1000 Goddess Gathering is billed asa Wisdom and Compassion Gathering based upon a Tibetan prophecy that states that when 1000 Goddesses or Buddhist Taras gather, the Divine Feminine will rebirth through their combined energies, and the tone of the planet will shift from one of fear to compassion.”

The first Goddess Gathering was held in 2016. Organizers said, “It was a powerful spiritual experience that brought significant healing energy into DC, as witnessed by several gifted Spiritual leaders.” They are doing it again. The event is not a march, but a gathering with ceremony, music, and fun.  Organizers say that there will be sister events in countries such as France, Mexico, Canada, and India. The U.S. event, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., is sponsored by a number of people and organizations, including the Pagan groups Circle Sanctuary and Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary. The gathering’s organizers are holding a fundraiser to help pay for expenses.

In other news

  • Accusations of abuse have been making their way through Canada’s Pagan community over the past two weeks. It began with a blog post written by Sarah Anne Lawless. published September 28. We will have the full report this week. Stay tuned.
  • The Alexi Era art gallery in Eugene, Oregon is sponsoring a exhibition titled “Summoning the Muse.” Through art, it explores the many definitions of witchcraft. Gallery director Aunia Kahn writes, “Witches are found across cultures in Spain, Africa, North America, India, etc. and share the practice of, and belief in, magical skills and abilities that can be exercised individually, by designated social groups, or by persons with the necessary, esoteric secret knowledge.”  The exhibition features paintings, ceramics, an altar installation, and more from artists around the world.
  • Citizens and visitors of Athens, Tennessee will have a chance to participate in or simply witness a Druidic Samhain ritual. Rev Mother Angela Wilson, new leader of the Wayist Druid tradition, will be performing this public holiday ritual and invites everyone to “pack a sandwich and bring a chair.”  Wilson’s public Samhain event will be held Oct. 27 from 3-6 p.m. in the middle of the downtown.
  • Fans of The Simpsons might have noticed a Pagan reference in the season opener. When citizens are protesting Bart’s claim to have seen Jesus in a near-death experience, Moe the bartender is holding up a sign that reads, “This is why I’m Wiccan.” The popular animated sitcom, which is now in its 30th season, has flirted with Wiccan and Pagan references in the past. These shows include “Rednecks and Broomsticks” (2005), in which sister Lisa initiates into a Wiccan coven.

Tarot of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: Dark Grimoire Tarot by Michele Penco, published by Lo Scarabeo
Card: Chariot (VII) Major Arcana

This week’s card suggests there is momentum and movement in the offering, both physically and spiritually. Careful consideration of the vehicles used to advance ourselves matters. How we move forward is as important as the destination.

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.