Pagan Community Notes: Vlassis Rassias, U.K. Morris Dancers protest, NZ AFA and more!

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Vlassis Rassias – Image from the Hellenic Council YSEE of America’s Facebook post

ASTORIA, New York – The Hellenic Council YSEE of America announced on Facebook the passing of co-founder and General Secretary of the Supreme Council of ethnic Hellenes (YSEE) Vlassis Rassias.

Rassias was also one of the founders of the European Council of Ethnic Religions (ECER), and was part of the panel, “Reclaiming the Indigenous Ethnic Religions of Europe,” with Inija Trinkūnienė of Lithuania, and Andras Corban-Arthen, at last year’s Parliament of the World’s Religion. A number of remembrances appear on the ECER website.

Rassias led the movement of re-Hellenization in Greece for the past 30 years. He authored over 20 books, numerous articles, and gave hundreds of presentations and interviews. He was championed the restoration of the Hellenic ancestral religion, as well as advocated for other indigenous, ethnic religions throughout Europe.

Rassias’ contributions to the Pagan community throughout Europe and beyond were impactful and have lead to more recognition of not just Hellenic groups, but others like the Romuva in Lithuania. Hellienismos characterized him in their memorial as being “a person of outstanding intellectual qualities” and “a generous, virtuous man and great member of ethnic Hellenism.”

In a statement, YSEE announced “The pain is even greater though because Vlassis was above all a great person and a great friend to those of us that had the honor of meeting him and stood next to him in this effort of raising our Ethnic Religions back up from the ashes. Dear Vlassis we your friends promise that we will carry your fight and keep your memory alive. Honor and Glory to Gods and Ancestors.”

What is remembered, lives.

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Morris Dancer [photo credit: Kylie Moroney Photography

LONDON – A proposed plan by U.K. Parliament to move the traditional May Bank Holiday from the first weekend in May (Whit Monday) to the Friday the following week has drawn the ire of May Day festivals organizers and participants around the country.

May Day celebrations bring in millions of pounds for local economies all over the U.K. Rochester in Kent hosts one of the largest events, Sweeps Festival, which attracts around 150,000 people and brings in £60 million ($75 million USD). And while it may be one of the largest, it is just one of many celebrations that take place all over.

In protest of the proposal, and in the hopes of convincing Parliament to abandon the switch, Morris dancers in full regalia will descend on Westminster later this month.

“It will be a very colourful protest, with bells, Morris dancers and green men, a lot of them,” Gordon Newton told The Telegraph. Newton founded the Sweeps Festival 40 years ago, and has planned the protest of Parliament for July, 23.

The idea to change the date of the May Bank Holiday was based on a desire to honor the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII. Unfortunately, making such a date change has thrown festivals into a state of confusion. Newton feels it would catastrophic for the various events, and the local economies that host them.

Newton said, “It is not just our event, it is one of the most popular times for all types of festivals across the country. The impact on them will be massive. This was done without consultation. Of course we want to commemorate VE Day and we can still do that if we have an extra Bank Holiday on Monday.”

While Newton’s event may be one of the largest, Morris troupes from the Hastings, Jack in the Green festival, also plan to attend the protest. Whether members of Parliament will be swayed to either add another Bank Holiday or drop their plan to switch the date remains to be seen.

TWH will continue to follow this story and report on developments.

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand – The New Zealand Media Council in response to six complaints filed against the media site Stuff over the article, “How a strange Thor-worshipping religion is linked to the Christchurch mosque shootings” published on March 30, 2019, issued its ruling last week. The Media Council has upheld only one element of the complaint, unfairness, in particular to complainant Cameron Mottus who established the first Asatru Faith Assembly (AFA) group, Fensalir Kindred in Christchurch.

The ruling found that while the Stuff article, “accurately identified some philosophies and symbols that the local group shared with the AFA internationally, but it was not satisfied that these were sufficient to support the claim that Mr Mottus and his organisation are ‘linked to the Christchurch mosque shootings.”‘ Under Principle 1 which concerns accuracy, fairness, and balance, the Media council felt that Mottus’ group being linked to the shooting was unfair, in that there was not any evidence supporting that aspect of the story. Under the Media Council rules, Stuff was required to publish a summary of the opinion, with a link to the full ruling, an to annotate the existing article, which they have done.

In other news:

  • The murder trial of Aubrey Trail in Nebraska has encompassed a number of bizarre details. Trail is accused of the murder and dismemberment of Sydney Loofe. He created a cult-like group, recruited members to help him steal antiques for his business, and participate in sexual fantasies that involved group sex. According to one of the women who testified, Trail referred to himself as the “vampire” and the women of his group as “witches.” She also told the jury that Trail, “told her that to become one of his ‘witches,’ she needed to kill someone ‘and take their last breath.’ Trail added that she would gain even more “powers” if the victim was tortured for two to three hours beforehand. At one point during the investigation, Trail told investigators that the dismemberment, “was a ritual in line with his religious beliefs.” Trail says they had to dismember the body and drain her blood to release her soul to the gods in a sacred spot. “I said if she had died intentionally on the 15th, I said she was laid out in 6 parts that helps her reincarnate faster.” There is no evidence that Trail has any ties or links to any actual Pagan or Wiccan groups.On June 24, a week into the trial, Trail shouted, “Bailey is innocent and I curse you all” and slashed his own throat. Trail has not appeared in court since then. Bailey Boswell is also charged in Loofe’s death and is awaiting a separate trial. The prosecution is expected to finish presenting its case today.
  • Kitzman-Optimist Park in Pensacola was vandalized over the weekend. The Adopt-A-Spot signs, pavement, and railings of the park were spray painted with ” Jesus” and “Jesus God will crush your hidden temple county owes answers” and completely covered the part of the sign that listed The Satanic Temple (TST) as the sponsor.  TST West Florida chapter had reached a deal with Keep Pensacola Beautiful back in May to adopt the park since they use it for events several times a year.Today, Mayor Grover Robinson told channel 3, WEAR, that Hitzman-Optimist Park is not one that can be adopted. Robinson said it’s a simple mistake on the part of Keep Pensacola Beautiful and it is not one of the 53 parks that can be adopted through the program.Robinson went on to say he didn’t even know about the park adoption until it was brought to his attention on Friday. This despite the fact that the city had printed and placed the signs just a little over a week ago.
  • Sunday, a sighting of a “Black Witch” moth was recorded in Chicago. The moth is one the largest species found in North America, with wing spans up to seven inches. The Black Witch moth is not usually found as far north as Chicago. It’s normal range is South, and Central America, and some of the southern-most states in the U.S. The last time one was recorded being seen in Chicago was 15 years ago. The moth is so large, it is often mistaken for a bat when seen flying at night.
  • A collaboration between a Manchester brewer, Green Times Brewing, and Northern Monk Brewing Company based in Leeds, has released a new IPA beer, called “Green Heathen” which incorporates CBD oil into the beverage. Green Times also produces an IPA called “Flying High.”

Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

Deck: The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Card: Princess of Pentacles

Look for opportunities to create growth, beauty, and prosperity for those willing to work for it. Conversely, resting on one’s laurels creates nothing.





Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone

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