Pagan Community Notes: Burning Man troubles with BLM, Buckland Museum reopens, and more!

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Image credit: Steve Jurvetson

SAN FRANCISCO – The fate of the Burning Man event, a Pagan-adjacent event, may rest in the hands of the many people who travel to the middle of Black Rock Desert each year to be part of the temporary community that seemingly appears from the desert sands. This year, the non-profit Burning Man Project and the event organizers, have seen more than their usual share of challenges—some that are yet to be overcome.

On April 10, the ticketing process had a number of glitches, leaving some of those trying to buy tickets frustrated and angry, and ultimately without tickets. Patron Technology and ShowClix partnered together to manage the sale of tickets for Burning Man this year for the first time. According to reports on multiple sites and platforms, the ticket system was completely overwhelmed. Two weeks later the president of ShowClix, Brian Arnone, published a formal apology on the company’s blog.

The most serious challenge facing Burning Man is negotiating a deal with Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a division of the Department of the Interior, to renew their 10-year permit to use the space in the Black Rock Desert for the event. The BLM issued a draft of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on March 15, 2019 that the Burning Man Project cites as, “Many of the measures recommended by BLM are unreasonable, untenable, attempt to solve problems that don’t exist, and/or create new (and worse) problems.”

Some the requirements that the BLM wants met are:

  • a requirement that organizers install dumpsters and hire companies to haul out the trash
  • 10 miles of concrete barriers installed on the event’s perimeter for security
  • authorities in place to conduct vehicle searches at the gate

The Burning Man Journal site followed by breaking  down the reasons many of the requirements are problematic. “Altogether, these requirements would fundamentally change the operational integrity and cultural fabric of Black Rock City, and would spell the end of the event as we know it.” The public comment period for responses to the BLM concerning the EIS draft and the permitting, ends today, April 29, 2019.

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Crystal balls owned by Sybil Leek and Raymond Buckland, respectively [Courtesy]

CLEVELAND – The Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick reopened last Saturday in its new location in Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood. The museum’s previous location on West 14th Street in Tremont neighborhood had seen increases in rent that were unsustainable.

Museum director, Steven Intermill, and his wife Jillian have operated the museum since 2017 in partnership with Toni Rotonda, who purchased it from Buckland in 2015. They are excited about the new location. Intermill said of the new space, “It’s four times as big, we’ve been able to bring out so much more of our collection from storage.”

The collection has been dubbed one of the most significant magickal collections in American history and spans over 50 years of Buckland’s travels and acquiring various artifacts from a variety of sources. Some of the more notable pieces are a briefcase and horned pipe that once belonged to Gerald Gardner, Buckland’s own ritual wand and ceremonial robe, as well as thousands of books, and variety of newspaper clippings that featured Buckland numbering in the hundreds.

The museum has had quite a number of homes over the years. Buckland first started displaying the items he collected in his home on Long Island. By the mid-60s he had acquired so many pieces; he decided to open a museum in Bayshore, New York. From 1976 until 1980, the collection was on display in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire. Then it was in storage until 1999, and ended up in Louisiana. In 2009 Rev. Velvet Rieth of Covenant of the Pentacle Wiccan Church, was named curator and began the task of sorting and restoring the collection and placed some of it once again on display, this time in New Orleans. Sadly, Rieth was unable to complete the work as she was diagnosed with a rare form of dementia and crossed the Veil in early 2017. During Rieth’s tenure as  curator, she also transported some of the pieces to various festivals so the collection  might be shared with the larger community.

In other news:

  • The Correllian Nativist Church announced the celebration of the 40th anniversary of M. Rev. Don Lewis as First Priest to take place during the Lustration of the Ancestors weekend, hosted by Pure Sanctuary Temple in Danville, Ill., May 3 – 5, 2019.
  • Edain McCoy’s passing last month motivated a group of McCoy’s friends, in coordination with and sponsorship of Circle Sanctuary, to start a memorial fund to cover the cost of honoring her request to have her ashes interred with a memorial stone at Circle Cemetery. Donations can be made via Paypal.
  • The Satanic Temple (TST) announced last week that it has been approved by the IRS as a faith-based non-profit organization or church. TWH will have more on this story and their change in tax status will affect their various projects moving forward.
  • An open letter and petition regarding last year’s de-platforming of presenters has been circulated on social media and was delivered to Pantheacon organizers. According to the petition site on, the petition was delivered on April 3,  while it continues to seek signatures.
  • Earlier this month TWH reported on efforts to create a Pagan credit union. Two of the supporters of the project have withdrawn their participation. In a post in the public Facebook group, The Pagan (Proposed) Credit Union Project, Belladonna Laveau of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) said, “Due to recent developments, the Aquarian Tabernacle Church and the Correllian Nativst Church are unable to move forward with this project at this time.” Members of the steering committee are intent on moving forward with their plans for the credit union. TWH is following this story closely and will report any new developments as the project moves forward.
  • The Summer Solstice Faerie Festival announced the new location for its event. The festival had been held at Sproutwood Farm Center in Westminster, Maryland for the past 27 years. This year Sproutwood Farm in partnership with the Marshy Point Nature Center Council will hold the event at the Marshy Point Nature Center.
  • A new establishment open in Seattle may be of interest to Heathens and Pagans, Skål Beer Hall. Skål features aesthetics similar to that of a Viking meadhall serving a rotating variety of local and Scandinavian craft beer, cider, mead, wine, & aquavit cocktails. The menu reflects their own description, “inspired by the idea of a Viking butcher shop” and features a variety of sausages, roasted chicken, other Scandinavian-style items, including a variety of mustards.


Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

Deck: Vanessa Tarot by Lynard Narciso, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Card: Lovers VI (six) Major Arcana

This week may put the focus on relationships of all types. Trust, fulfillment, and commitment could all figure prominently in a myriad of the ties that connect us to others in our lives–personal, business, and spiritual.


Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone