Pagan Community Notes: Brady’s “good witch” wife, Witches in media, and more!

[Image by Nyo  Source: Creative Commons Wikimedia]

BOSTON – Last week, the internet was filled with stories about quarterback, Tom Brady saying his wife, Gisele Bündchen was a “good witch” and that he attributed much of his success to her practices. The majority of these claims misrepresent what he said, and extrapolate intent from his comments that was not present. The comments made by Brady in a tongue-in-cheek tone during a Gillette sponsored charity event during which his beard was shaved off.  Nevertheless, the comments were pounced on by a variety of conservative Christian publications, claiming that Brady admitted his wife was controlling him and since she is a witch would be taking him to hell.

While Brady certainly talks about Bündchen and her advice, rituals, and even making him a small altar that includes pictures of his children, the video suggests he is joking about the matter. There was even a blog titled, Is Tom Brady A Pagan? on newbostonpost.com which doesn’t answer the question it poses, but does highlight some of Brady’s spiritual background and has a transcript of the comments. Brady was raised Catholic.  Brady also suggests that Bündchen is a “good witch”, recounting a conversation they had, not naming her as such himself.

 

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“Flight of the Transformed Witches’ [courtesy image]

NEW YORK – Witches and Witchcraft continue be featured daily in the mainstream media–everything from pop culture in movies, TV series, and literature—increasingly there are stories that attempt to align the practice of magic and Witchcraft as more of a political statement. An opinion piece published by Religion News Service recounts attending a ritual at Catland Books in Brooklyn, NY identified it as more of a gateway for social activism. Notably, Catland has been in the mainstream news a number of times in past year and all associated with political actions, like the public hexing of then Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Even the Washington Post has run opinion pieces on how more people identifying as Witches may be partly in response to the political climate.

 

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[Image supplied by Dr David Waldron.]

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, UK– Hundreds of “witches’ marks” were identified in a cave at Creswell Crags that had previously been considered Victorian graffiti. Hayley Clark and Ed Waters from Subterranea Britannica recognized that some of the marks were symbols for protection, and contacted the Creswell Heritage Trust. These types of marks, also known as apotropaic marks, are often found in the doors and windows of homes and churches to ward against anything that might be considered harmful, like witches, curses, or fairies. There are other caves where such markings have been discovered, but nothing comes close to the sheer volume of marks found at Creswell. Prior to this discovery, a cave in Somerset was believed to have the most marks in England, numbering 57.

Alison Fearn, of Leicester University, who studied her PHD on protective marks, said:

“I cannot emphasise how important this corpus of apotropaia is to graffiti research.

“I think off the top of my head, it is the largest number of examples found anywhere and in any context in the UK.”

The marks consist of letters and simple line designs, like boxes or mazes, to trap negative or bad energies. Hundreds of these marks cover the walls. Creswell also contains ice age art, the only known examples to ever be found in the UK.

Ronald Hutton, a professor and leading authority on folklore, said the find was hugely important and exciting. “It looks like the largest assemblage of protective marks ever found in British caves, and possibly anywhere in Britain.”

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LONDON – Author Stacey Halls writes about her early experiences with magical practices in a lifestyle piece for The Guardian that is more than just a promotion for her recent fictional release. It also highlights the prevalence of Witchcraft in mainstream media and asks a question that seems to be echoing around the globe—the need for magical and spiritual practices. Halls’ article tends to lump a great many things under the heading of modern Witchcraft, but still illustrates how Witches and Witchcraft are  increasingly popular topics.

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. – On Saturday, the Panama City News Herald ran the type of story more likely to be published in October. The Witches of St. Andrews, a 501(c)3 non-profit, began hosting a fundraiser in 2017 that featured them dressing up in witch costumes and riding bicycles to raise money for cancer research. The article goes on to detail another group, Witches of South Walton that has been doing a similar fundraiser since 2004, and last year raised over $15,000 for the Children’s Volunteer Health Network. They are affiliated with Sister Covens” that include Witches of Delray, Hamilton Witches Bike Brigade,  and Witch Ride LA.  While the fundraisers is a reflection of prevalence of Witches and Witchcraft in our current culture,  it is not clear that the groups are affiliated with and specific religious or spiritual practice, particularly Witchcraft.

In other news:

  • Jason Mankey, Gwion Raven, and John Beckett announced they are accepting submissions for a  devotional anthology titled The Book of Cernunnos. While Mankey, Raven, and Beckett will be the primary authors and editors of the book, they don’t want to overlook or leave out any meaningful devotions or writings others may have. The call for submissions includes but is not limited to poetry, artwork, rituals, and academic work. The deadline for submissions is May 3, 2019 and will be published by ADF publishing.
  • Spring Seed And Water Blessing, Music Peace summit is scheduled to take place at Soaring Eagle Retreat near Serpent Mound and Peebles, Ohio, March 22-24. “It’s a gathering of like-minded followers of old traditions from around the world,” said Thomas Johnson, one of the event organizers. “It’s a gathering we hold each year to honor the equinox and time of planting.”
  • Landowner, Jan Steel, who has acreage in Monikie which is just to the north of Dundee in Scotland, has filed a temporary use application with the Angus Council and plans to host small Pagan gatherings on her land for some of the eight recognized Pagan high holidays. In response to why she chose to file for the application Steel commented, “I wanted to make sure everything I was doing on a piece of ground I won was above board.”
  • The Salem-based Satanic Temple has filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination against the Boston City Council. TST alleges they were denied the opportunity to give the invocation offered at the beginning of council meetings. According to the compliant, when they asked to deliver the invocation at any available date, it alleges, the council denied the request, saying that invocation speakers are scheduled by invitation, and council members can choose whomever they see fit.
  • A fundraiser has been set up to help Terry Dobney, ArchDruid, and self-styled Keeper of the Stones at Avebury to purchase a vehicle. Dobney, 70, suffered a stroke, and since has been confined to a wheelchair. There is only one taxi that is wheelchair accessible in the area, and it is often booked up, making it difficult for Dobney to attend events.

 

Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

Deck: Celestial Tarot by Kay Steventon and Brian Clark, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Card: Seven (7) of cups, Serpens

There is great potential for unresolved issues or unaddressed emotional conflicts from the past to make a reappearance. The best advice for the week ahead: address issues as they arise, and resist the urge to bury or attempt to dismiss conflicts rather than deal with them. Unresolved matters will have the tendency to fester and become worse.

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.