Pagan Community Notes: The Harm of “Witch Hunt”, PantheaCon, and More!

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This morning The Daily Beast published an article about the reactions from the Witch and Pagan community regarding president Trump’s repeated use of the term “witch hunt” to describe the Mueller investigation. While many in the Pagan community have been having this conversation since Trump began shrieking out “witch hunt” across social media starting in 2017 and often in all caps,  the use of the term remains a concern for many.

Author David Salisbury, who is based in DC, and one of the organizers for Firefly House, was interviewed and said, in part, “It is particularly horrifying because many modern practitioners of witchcraft devote their lives to seeking compassion and justice.” Salisbury has a new book, “Witchcraft Activism: A Toolkit for Magical Resistance” due to be released the beginning of March 2019, and was reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly last week.

The Daily Beast also spoke with author Kitty Randall [aka Amber K]. “To have him compare his situation to the worst period in our history is just infuriating,” Randall said. She also made a point to clearly delineate the difference between a modern, legal investigation and an actual “witch hunt.”

“If Mueller’s investigation were truly a ‘witch hunt,’ then Donald Trump would be hanging naked from chains in a cold barn somewhere, being tortured into admitting his pact with Satan, before being burned at the stake,” Randall said. “Instead he’s golfing at Mar-a-Lago.”

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SAN JOSE –  Jaime Morgan announced that she was stepping down from Pantheacon’s programming and event staff in a Facebook post on Saturday. Morgan detailed some of the challenges of managing the programming and attempting to address issues on inclusivity. She underscored that she was not being coerced into stepping down, and that organizers had asked her to reconsider her decision to resign.

Glenn Turner also released a new statement on Saturday regarding PantheaCon’s recent policy shift, and clarified that the original Pantheacon statement was to explain why two presenters had been de-platformed, but that it was “not intended to provoke speculation regarding individual people or their work.”

In the most recent statement, Turner notes that “PantheaCon staff are not in the position to make decisions about the authenticity of people’s paths or their views. We do not have the resources to do in depth investigations to confirm or deny all the information brought to us.” She discusses the harm caused by past decisions and addresses future practices, “Moving forward, it is my goal to work towards more supportive systems that avoid the potential for similar situations in the future, and that keep the door open for inquiry and restorative practices. My aim is to cultivate systems and resources that support community voice in the process and give us checks and balances when looking to verify information.”

The current statements follow the de-platforming of Max Dashu and Witchdoctor Utu and the controversy that followed.

In other news:

  • Rev. S. “Gitana” Watkins, Epistates of the Prutaneis of Hellenion, announced last week the newly formed Proto-Demos of The Halfmoon Rivers Hellenion, located in Albany, NY.
  • Last week an historic house that was once home to Sarah Clayes, who was accused of witchcraft in 1692, was placed on the market for sale in Framingham, Massachusetts. Clayes, unlike her sisters, Rebecca Nurse and Mary Easty, escaped execution and was released from jail 1693. The house itself has retained little of the original home- the bulk of the structure dates to 1776. Recently renovated, the house features over 4000 square-feet, a brook, an American elm that is over 150 years old, and the ruins of an old mill. The asking price is $975,000.
  • Merriam-Webster has selected “justice” as the word of the year for 2018. It was presented with an image of the Roman goddess Iustitia.
  • For a few nights this week the Comet 46P/Wirtanen that is a regular visitor through our solar system may be visible to naked eye. Sunday night was said to be the best viewing, but it should be visible for a few more nights. Using binoculars or a telescope offers the clearest view and should be aimed towards the constellation Taurus and the Pleiades star cluster
  • In a twitter post on Friday,  urban fantasy writer Diana Rowland tweeted a picture of the inflatable dragons she had on display in her front yard, as well a letter she had received from one of her judge-y neighbors voicing their disapproval. The tweet has gone viral, and she is gotten all manner of support, including starting a fundraiser so she can add more dragons. On Saturday, she added more dragons.

Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

Deck: Morgan’s Tarot by Morgan Robbins, illustrated by Darshan Chorpash, published by US Games Systems, Inc.

Card: There is Nothing You Can Do

This week offers up the opportunity to get out of our own way, and possibly the realization that our preconceived ideas of how we plan to fulfill goals may need to be more flexible. And sometimes, the best action to be taken is none.


Editor’s Note: An earlier version of the story of the historic house for sale incorrectly listed it as being in Framington, Massachusetts. It has been corrected to reflect the correct location of Framingham.