Pagan Community Notes: Wendy Griffin, Allegations in Canada, Athens Pagan Pride, and more

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Wendy Griffin

Wendy Griffin

LONG BEACH, Calif. — It was recently made public that author and teacher Wendy Griffin suffered a major stroke. After the announcement was made public, friends began lighting candles and offering prayers. While her condition is designated as critical, Cherry Hill Seminary administrators reported yesterday that she is showing signs of awareness.  In a post, they said, “Wendy seems to have rallied slightly the last few hours … Her first smile since the stroke was when told about requests for healing going out to lists like this one.” Specific details on her condition are still not available to the public.

Griffin was the academic dean at Cherry Hill Seminary for seven years from 2011 to 2018. During her tenure at the seminary, a number of new programs were introduced and behind-the-scenes infrastructure changes were made, and important steps taken on the difficult path to accreditation. Griffin worked for over thirty years in higher education within the California State University system. She retired from both teaching and her work at Cherry Hill Seminary in 2018.  She told The Wild Hunt that she was looking forward to returning to one of her other passions: being a novelist.

We will update this story as it information is made available.

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CANADA – At the end of September, Pagan blogger and teacher Sarah Anne Lawless published a post that has since lit fire, so to speak, within the Pagan community. The post titled, “So Long and Thanks for All the Abuse: A History of Sexual Trauma in the Pagan Community,” begins with remarks about American politics, is followed by a section detailing what she labels as her “true stories” of abuse, and ends with analysis, recommendations, and resources. Lawless originally did not name anyone in the post; however, she did later edit the post to identify one name: Mr. Sam Wagar. According to the site, she did so because, he commented on the post itself, and that conversation is still published on her site. Mr. Wagar has since responded with a public statement denying allegations, and adding that he would be stepping away from Pagan public life.

Not long after her blog article went public, Lawless published on Facebook the names of other people who she labeled as predators or similar. The Wild Hunt did seek comment from some of those people. However, TWH has since learned that lawyers are now involved in the situation, and TWH itself has been threatened with a libel lawsuit.  While there has been much discussion about the situation over social media, The Wiccan Church of Canada is the only known organization, to date, that has made any statement concerning Lawless’ allegations and the general subject of abuse.

Lawless told The Wild Hunt in part “After years of people from the pagan community telling me to be quiet and not rock the boat, I couldn’t be silent anymore. This whole mess has been like ripping open a wound …Truth does not bring harmony, it brings chaos. It doesn’t feel good to have spoken out. It feels gut-wrenchingly awful and though I feel shame and guilt and am overwhelmed with depression at this time, I do not feel remorse.”

TWH will monitor this story as it develops and report back.

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ATHENS, Ga. — Every year, we report on Pagan Pride events being visited by street preachers or protesters. This year, Athens Pagan Pride Day had a visitor. According to organizers, this particular street preacher is a regular feature in Athens, and speaks to passers by. However, he did reportedly change his words to fit the Pagan event.

Athens is the home to the University of Georgia, one of the biggest campus’ in the state. The street preacher stands just off-campus on the the corner of College and Clayton streets. While he uses an voice amplifier which does bother some people, he reportedly does not do anything that could be considered illegal. The police leave him alone. Organizer Angela Warren told The Wild Hunt, “We generally try to ignore him. He wants a scene. There are plenty who gathered to yell back at him.” But most attendees reportedly just “observed the mayhem.”  Warren said, “Many just found it funny. Those with drums drowned him out and sang for a bit. I don’t think he was there for more than a couple of hours.”

She added, “A couple of years ago there was a small band playing covers of pop songs on the other corner. They were a big hit. Too bad they weren’t there this time.”

In other news

  • Catland in Brooklyn has announced a new Hex event to be held Saturday, Oct 20. They are planning to hex, now Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh. The event’s announcement has been made public, and generated some publicity across the mainstream media. We will have more on this event in the coming week.
  • Heathens Against Hate will be presenting the “Striving to Save a Religious Identity from Extremists” panel at the 2018 Parliament of World Religions in Toronto. HAH leaders and the Heathen community will discuss the challenges that the community faces and what initiatives HAH is undertaking to combat bigotry and racism in Heathenry. Speakers will be Troth Steer Robert Schreiwer, Heathen Interfaith minister Brian Weiss, HAH Administrator Eric Thorpe-Moscon, and HAH Public Relations Officer Ethan Stark.  Heathens Against Hate is a division of The Troth and was founded in 2008.
  • The Pagan Federation of England and Wales will host an online Samhain festival Nov. 10. Organizers explain, “The Pagan Federation Online Festivals have been created by the Community Support Team to reach out to those within the Pagan community who struggle to make it to physical events. What began as a way to reach out to the lonely and isolated by the PF Disabilities Team has now become a … tradition.”  They welcome people to wear their pajamas and join them for videos, rituals, discussions and more.
  • The Christian Post speculates that Wiccans outnumber Presbyterians in the U.S.

Tarot of the week with Star Bustamonte

Deck: Zombie Tarot, instructions by Stacey Graham, illustrations by Paul Kepple & Ralph Geroni of Headcase Designs, published by Quirk Books
Card: The Lovers, major arcana six (6)

This week may require making some tough choices. Before trying to decide between leading with your heart or your head, you might first consider the duality involved and how they can work together. The intellect and the emotions can balance each other out, and where they intersect or agree will be the best choice.

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.