Pagan Community Notes: KKK demonstration in N.C., Pagan music awards, passing of Zachary Cox, and more!

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KKK demonstrators in Hillsborough – Image credit: N.C. Rep. Jeff Jackson’s Facebook page.

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – White supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan held a rally outside of the courthouse in Hillsborough, N.C. on Saturday.

The demonstrators did not have a permit, and their display of white supremacy was roundly condemned by local, state, and national elected officials. Hillsborough mayor, Tom Stevens tweeted his thanks to the community for speaking out against the demonstration.



According to local chocolatier, Matthew Shepherd, of Matthew’s Chocolates, demonstrators waving Confederate flags is a frequent occurrence. Shepard had contacted local authorities to complain about the displays, and people blocking the sidewalk in front of his store, but police said the actions fell within the boundaries of free speech.

Shepherd frustrated with the regular occurrence wrote on his sidewalk sign, “Burn a rebel flag… Get a free chocolate!” While he said he only left the sign up for about an hour, and did it mostly as a joke, as a result, he received so much business he sold out of chocolates and had nothing left to sell on the next day.

Shepherd also began receiving death threats from all over the country that are currently being investigated.

TWH  has contacted Shepherd for an interview and we will continue to follow the story.

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IMPA logo

CLEVELAND – The International Pagan Music Association presented its 3rd annual music awards this past weekend.

Winning “Best Female Artist” was singer-songwriter Mama Gina LaMonte. LaMonte’s most recent release is “Nine Toes the Bard” and she has an upcoming release of “Firewood and Rust” but has not yet announced the date.

LaMonte told TWH, “I am so grateful for the recognition, and always thankful for the incredible folks in our community who support all our musicians, purchase and share our music, and allow us to make a life and a living doing what we love. And much love to the IPMA who is providing a broader platform for Pagan music.”

The award for “Best Male Artist” was given to guitarist and composer Brian Henke. Accompanied by Sue Balashak and Lin Sanders of Burning Sage, Henke recorded “Morrighan-Queen of the Ravens” from his last release, The Raven King CD. Henke’s upcoming album, “Dancing with Fireflies” is due to be released next month.

Burning Sage took home the award for “Best Band.” The band consists of Lin Sanders on guitar, Sue Balaschak on drums, and Dawn Fritz on percussion. Their most recent CD release is “True to Form”. The band has been performing at Pagan events since 2002.


Crossings of the Veil

Zachary Cox – Image credit: Ruth Bayer

Bricket Wood Coven has sadly reported that high priest  Zachary Cox crossed the Veil on August 19, 2019, peacefully after a massive stroke.

Born on October 8, 1930, Cox served as the high priest of the Bricket Wood Coven for over 50 years, and in partnership with Jean Williams, Cox was active in the Pagan community within Wicca, publicly and privately through his clerical work. The Bricket Wood Coven continues to flourish and is a living memorial to the values and magic of Cox and Williams, as well as the Gardnerian tradition.

Cox and Williams were active members of the Pagan Federation since 1988 and co-founded the Companions of the Rainbow Bridge, a ritualistic magical group, from 1977 – 1994. They also held regular Gnostic Masses in their North London home.

Learned and erudite, Cox was a very private person who did not suffer fools gladly and had little time for pointless small talk – but he was also warm, kind, and charming, with an earthy sense of humor. Cox was extremely knowledgeable about the Craft, and lived and played an active role throughout most of its formative years.

Cox is survived by his daughters Marilyn and Julie, and sons John and Adam – and Ruth Bayer, who has been a surrogate daughter to him and had taken care of Cox (with the help of her husband David) since his partner Jean’s passing.

Funeral arrangements are pending, and a memorial page has been created on Facebook.

What is remembered, Lives!


In other news:

  • The fires in the Brazilian rain forest have finally begun receiving major coverage by the mainstream news outlets. Since the beginning of the calendar year according to data compiled by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) over 74,000 fires have burned in the region. The Amazon rain forest is critical to the overall health of the planet and responsible for providing 20% of the oxygen in our atmosphere. TWH has been following this complicated story and will have full coverage later this week.
  • Ravens at the Crossroads announced their new weekly Podcast. Based out of Orange County, California, the concept for their podcast grew out of a desire to share stories from the Pagan community whose stories and experiences might be lost if not documented. The new podcast, hosted by MistressPrime and Tyler Matthews, highlights the stories of people, organizations, events, artists, and musicians in the Pagan community from a first-hand perspective.
  • A stone bearing carvings of mythical creatures that are attributed as the work of the Picts has been found near Dingwall, Scotland which is about 15 miles northwest of Inverness. The stone was discovered by Anne MacInnes of North of Scotland Archaeological Society who was performing a survey of church site and cleared some vegetation around the stone and noticed the carvings. She said “I was clearing vegetation when I spotted the carving. I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing.” The piece has been characterized as a “once-in-a-lifetime find.” The decorations on the stone include oxen, an animal-headed warrior bearing a shield and sword, and symbols called a double disc and a z rod that indicative of Pictish work. The stone has been removed for preservation and will likely be put on display for public viewing eventually at a Highlands museum.
  • Actor and director Matthew Gray Gruber has signed on to finance Richard Bates, Jr.’s latest film, a Pagan comedy after Bates reported being unable to find anyone to fund the project. “My new movie I cannot get financed for the life of me,” Bates said. “I’ll just say it’s a pagan comedy, a comedy about a coven. No one in their right mind I guess would finance this because it is a pagan comedy, right?” Gruber has been involved with a number of Bates film projects, and starred in Suburban Gothic. TWH will continue to follow the progress of this project and report on it once it is completed and released.
  • In other entertainment news, HBO Max announced that it is going to produce a series prequel to “Practical Magic” based on the books of “Rules of Magic” and “Practical Magic” by Alice Hoffman. “Rules of Magic” will focus on the lives of three siblings, detailing the early beginnings of the two sisters who ultimately go on to become the aunts in “Practical Magic.”
  • Archaeologists have discovered the remains of three buildings at Hofstaðir in North Iceland in the Mývatn area. The site contains both Medieval and Viking Age artifacts and researchers are finally doing a complete and thorough mapping of the entire area. Previous finds include a banquet hall and a cemetery, and in 2016, a new farmstead with a large longhouse was uncovered. It was during the process of a more complete site mapping that the remains of three additional structures was discovered. Professor of Archaeology Orri Vésteinsson of the University of Iceland cited the need for more on-site research and that it would require both additional planning and funding.
  • A memorial to a woman, Goody Knapp, who was executed in 1653 for practicing “witchcraft” was unveiled last week at the Burrough’s community center in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Black Rock Community Council of Bridgeport felt the memorial was important as a reminder of the state’s colonial past.
  • Drought has revealed an ancient circle of standing stones in Spain near the village of Peraleda de la Mata. The extreme heat and drought of the season has resulted in the water level of the Valdecañas swamp to recede enough to make the historic site of Guadalperal accessible.  It is being referred to as the “Spanish Stonehenge”. The site dates back to the 3rd century BCE and has not been fully viewed since the construction of a dam in 1963 resulted in the area being flooded. The standing stones, some measuring over six feet, as well as some having serpents carved into them,  were studied by German geologist Hugo Obermaier in 1925. There is said to be a total of 144 stones.



Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

Deck: Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Card:Ace of Pentacles

This week offers the opportunity for balancing the spiritual and the material. Be mindful that all the material wealth imaginable does not necessarily equal happiness nor will it buy spiritual satisfaction.



Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone