The Parliament of World Religions hosted a larger amount of programming featuring Witches and Pagans than in the past. TWH spoke with four Pagans who planned to attend PoWR to get their perspective and what they hoped to accomplish by attending. After the conference, guest contributor, Karen Dales gave us aa bird’s eye view of some of the activities in her article.
As a lead up to PoWR, the Global Wicca Summit cyber conference was held in early September and centered around the theme “Wicca as a Global Faith” with the primary purpose of providing the community with open discussion and worldwide networking.
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Although somewhat symbolic in nature in terms of religious freedom, the removal of Witchcraft laws continues to reconcile freedom of spiritual and religious practice with legal outcomes. Unlike other faiths that also address spiritual needs, Witchcraft is historically confounded with both fakery and danger while most other non-minority faiths are presumed to be, at least, implicitly benign and likely helpful.
The elimination of Witchcraft laws also strengthens the serious and actual criminal activities Canadian legislators were intending to address such as fraud and intimidation. It also removes the burden of proof that someone choosing to call themselves a Witch must follow through with demonstrations of their belief. The removal of the Witchcraft laws uncouples the spiritual and religious practice with criminal behaviors and the presumptive assertions that Witches use their position to act with criminal intent.
The removal of Witchcraft laws in Canada also hopefully signals to other parts of the world, and specifically to Commonwealth nations with antiquated laws against Witchcraft that are discriminatory and, in many cases, deadly.
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The Satanic Temple in its continuing efforts to see constitutional rights upheld as they pertain to religious liberty hit the mainstream news several times in 2018. Arkansas saw legal challenges from the Satanic Temple over the installation of a Baphomet statue the Little Rock city council had approved, as well as a rally to garner support for religious liberty. The Satanic Temple has been on the front lines in many legal battles over religious liberty across the country like opposing bans on abortion rights in Ohio and Missouri.
In November 2018, they filed a lawsuit against Netflix and Warner brothers for copyright infringement, trademark violation, and injury to TST’s business reputation that centered around the use of a Baphomet statue in the Netflix series, “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”. Two weeks later, as we reported TST accepted a settlement in the case that included an undisclosed amount of cash.
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In May 2018, we reported on a decision by the U.S. military to allow a Heathen in the U.S. Army to retain his beard as form of religious expression. While on the surface it appeared as a win for religious liberty and expression, it also stirred debate within the Heathen, Pagan, and other religious communities.
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In addition to the stories above that mention Witches and Witchcraft were in the mainstream news more in 2018 than other in recent years. Whether it was the public hexing of Brett Kavanaugh in Brooklyn, the ill-fated rollout of Pinrose’s Witch Starter Kit, the Black Witches Convention in Baltimore, Frances F. Denny’s photo array of practicing Witches, Turner Entertainment’s heavy-handed approach towards anyone using the term “Wicked Witch”, or Beyoncé being accused of Witchcraft it seemed like anywhere we looked there was a story about Witches or Witchcraft. TWH editor-in-chief called it the Year of the Hex and with the word “justice” chosen by Merriam-Webster as the word of the year. However one chooses to define it, Witches were everywhere in the media in 2018.
In Current news:
- The Prutaneis of Hellenion announced the formation of new Proto-Demos: Pnèvma tis Olympìas Proto-Demos of Hellenion in Orlando, FL and can be reached via their Facebook page.
- Last week Teen Vogue published an article that described how tarot cards can be used as an aid to improving or strengthening mental health.
- The BBC published the obituary of Zura Karuhimbi, a traditional healer of the Musamo Village, about an hour east of Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, last Monday. Karuhinmbi relying on her reputation of wielding magical powers managed to save protect the residents of her village by facing off against armed men who feared her powers during the violence that tore through Rwanda in 1994.
- Finally, and of special note, Gods and Radicals announced editorial changes. Rhyd Wildermuth wrote that he would be stepping down as site editor to focus on publications. Mirna Wabi-Sabi who has been co-editor for the last year at will take on full editorial responsibilities of the site.
Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte
Deck: Tarot of the New Vision by Pietro Alligo, published by Lo Scarabeo
Card: Five (5) of Pentacles
There is liable to be a focus on financial and material resources this week. Often when this card shows up, it indicates loss or difficulty with finances. Conversely, money and resources not spent are still resources saved, even if they are not accruing additional value in interest.
Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.