Pagan Community Notes: Protests at Mauna Kea, Heathen Women United release statement on undocumented immigrants, and more!

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Mauna Kea [Thomas Tunsch CC BY-SA 4.0

MAUNA KEA, Hawai’i – Last Monday about 500 protesters assembled near the road at the base of the dormant volcano in an attempt to prevent construction equipment for the installation of of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

Mauna Kea is 4,207 meters (13,802 feet) above sea level making it the highest peak in Hawai’i, and considered sacred to many native Hawaiians.

All mountains on the islands of Hawai’i are considered sacred within the Hawaiian mythos, and are seen as the source of all life, as well as the home of many Hawaiian Gods.

By Saturday the number of protesters had grown to close to 2,000. Kaho’okahi Kanuha, a leader of the group protesting told CNN, “It is without a doubt one of our most sacred places in all of Hawaii.”

There are over a dozen other astronomical observation installations on the sacred mountain, but the proposed construction of the TMT has crossed a line for some.

“We are taking a stand not only to protect our mauna and aina, our land, who we have a genealogical connection to,” Kanuha said. “We are fighting to protect it because we know if we cannot stop this, there is not very much we can fight for or protect.”

“This is our last stand,” he said.

Scott Ishikawa, spokesperson for the TMT said in an interview with Hawaii News Now, said that “Mauna Kea continues to be the preferred site for TMT.”

“We have a lot of supporters in Hawaii asking us not to leave, and at the same time, we know that’s not going to sit well with some. There’s been a lot of people expressing strong emotions over this and we regret that.”

The second choice for the TMT installation is the Canary Islands, but Ishikawa stated there were no immediate plans to move the project there.

On Wednesday, Hawai’i Governor David Ige, issued a lengthy emergency proclamation at a press conference regarding the protests and the ability of law enforcement to manage the protests and clear the way for construction to proceed.

WHEREAS, pursuant to section 1 27A-1 3(a)(3), Hawaii Revised Statutes, the Governor is authorized to suspend any law which impedes or tends to impede or is detrimental to the expeditious and efficient execution of, or to conflict with, emergency functions, including laws specifically made applicable to emergency personnel;

The next day Big Island Video News reported that the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC), filed a lawsuit against the governor, seeking a temporary suspension and implementation of the proclamation.

From the NHLC:

Emergency proclamations are for exceptional situations involving imminent public danger and threat to Hawai‘i’s population and its critical infrastructure. During times of emergency and natural disasters, the Governor can suspend any and all state laws. When issuing the TMT Proclamation, Governor Ige made clear that his intent was to enable construction of the TMT. The TMT Proclamation’s dubious effect has been to prevent Kia’i from exercising constitutionally protected rights of free speech, free assembly, free association, and free exercise of religion on the mountain; block Kanaka (Native Hawaiians) from accessing the mountain for spiritual purposes; suspend laws enacted to maintain public lands; and criminalize legally protected traditional and customary practices.

NHLC vows to vigorously protect Kumu Neves’ constitutional rights. There is no emergency or imminent danger at Mauna Kea requiring suspension of state laws or violation of rights. The Kia’i at Mauna Kea are non-violent. Their occupation of the mountain, while demanding pono (righteous) stewardship of the ‘āina (land), does not pose a danger to public health or safety. Their traditional spiritual practices and exercise of constitutionally protected rights are not crimes. Their kuleana (responsibility) to honor, worship, and protect Mauna Kea is not criminal. By invoking emergency powers, Governor Ige abused the authority entrusted to him as our State’s highest executive officer to violate the rights of Kanaka for the benefit of the TMT.

The NHLC complaint was scheduled to be heard today before a three-judge panel of the Circuit Court of the First Circuit in Honolulu.

The Heathen organization, The Troth, released an open letter to Governor Ige stating their support at halting construction of the telescope at Mauna Kea. The statement notes “The honoring of ancestor as part of one’s faith is the cornerstone for many religions, and as Heathens, we honor our ancestors by standing for what is right. It is said in the Havamal, a book of wisdom, ‘…whenever you recognize evil, call it evil.’ The desecration of a sacred space is evil, and we stand with the Kanaka Maoli and their desire to preserve their sacred places.”

TWH will continue to follow this story.

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TWH – The non-profit, Heathen Women United issued a strong statement on the detention of undocumented immigrants last week.

Declaration from Heathen Women United Regarding Concentration Camps in the United States

We at Heathen Women United, the founders and core administrators, declare in no uncertain terms that we condemn the detention of undocumented immigrants in government-run, for-profit camps.

We believe that these camps meet the dictionary definition of concentration camps. They are overcrowded, lack adequate facilities, and reports of physical and sexual abuse of detainees are rife. It is our sincere belief that these camps constitute a crime against humanity.

To that end, we the founders and core administrators of Heathen Women United, declare in no uncertain terms our condemnation of the United States government’s actions in detaining these people in concentration camps, and especially the practices of family separation and child detention. Regardless of the views one may hold on immigration law and asylum seekers, the treatment of these people, and especially the children, is unacceptable.

There is a sickness here that is clear to all who are not indoctrinated into the cult of hatred that has taken hold in our land. This dishonors our country and all those who have served it in the name of freedom. When many of our ancestors came to this land, they came seeking the same safety, freedom, and chance for prosperity as the people currently trapped in our concentration camps. No longer are we a country that says “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”The lamp has gone out, and the golden door become a cage. Liberty turns her face away in shame.

Seventy-five years ago, some of our ancestors made their way through the death camps of Europe, liberating survivors of the Holocaust. Around the same time, other ancestors took part in the detainment of their fellow citizens because of their Japanese ethnicity.

Of which ancestors are we most proud today?

How do we wish to be remembered as ancestors?

As Heathens, we understand the weightiness of reputation, and especially for those who have fallen from this world. We would have our children remember us with pride and feast at our grave-sites out of gladness instead of misplaced duty.

With this statement, we at Heathen Women United condemn and speak out against the evil we see in our land. We also state unequivocally that we support the right of people to seek shelter and prosperity for their families as many of our ancestors once did. Finally, regardless of how their legal cases are decided, we affirm that undocumented persons have the right to be treated humanely and compassionately.


Heathen Women United Core Team

They held their 3rd annual online conference July 13-14, 2019.

In other news:

  • Ariadne’s Tribe: Modern Minoan Paganism group on Facebook endured an attempted infiltration by a white supremacist, who managed to gain access to the group and begin posting white nationalist, and white heritage rhetoric. The group moderator, Dana Corby, removed the offensive posts, and banned the member. One of the latest trends by white supremacists is their attempts to lay claim to traditions they feel were “original white cultures.” They erroneously believe that the Minoans white, when the reality is quite the opposite.
  • An update to an earlier story, Akmal Rashidovich Azizov, 21, who stabbed a woman he believed was a witch in Grand Forks, South Dakota will be transferred from the correctional facility where he has been held to Red River Behavioral Health Center for inpatient treatment. He is charged with a number of crimes, including stalking, and attempted murder and could receive as much as a 20 year sentence if convicted.
  • The South Lyon police department in Michigan is getting a newly designed sleeve patch that will feature the witch’s hat train depot. The witch’s hat is a symbol for the city since the train depot was re-built after a fire 1908 and its round design and roof give the semblance of a witch’s hat. The police department issued a request for people to submit designs, and chose the design submitted by 17-year-old Dominic Albanys.
  • Mystic South Conference wrapped up its 3rd year. According to coordinators, around 400 people attended. The conference featured a variety of topics in both workshops and academic paper presentations, as well live music featuring Tuatha Dea, Louis Garou, and Melanie Gruben. Next year, the conference is shifting to new hotel, the Doubletree on the Perimeter on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, where they say there will be more rooms and space for the conference’s 4th year.
  • Hills and Rivers local council of Covenant of the Goddess will be hosting their Third annual Lammas Fest on July 27th. Lammas Fest is a traveling festival throughout the local council, this year visiting Easton, Pa. The festival coincides with Hills and Rivers annual meeting. They have scheduled a varied line up of local speakers and entertainment scheduled for the event.


Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte


Deck: Everyday Witch Tarot, by Deborah Blake, illustrated by Elizabeth Alba, published by Llewellyn Publishing, a division of Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.

Card: Knight of Pentacles

This week calls for careful planning and sticking to well-established methodology. Whether things are moving too fast or not at all, taking a good inventory and making sure priorities are in the right order is warranted.


Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.