The Coru Cathubodua Priesthood was founded in 2012 in service to the Goddess The Morrigan and to support those who felt called to her service. The Coru has maintained a hospitality suite for the past seven years at Pantheacon.
The statement cited concerns regarding safety and inclusion, and stated that the event had “become a net drain on our community.”
People come to the Con from around the world to attend presentations and rituals, to meet people, and to explore the hospitality suites. Presenters and suite hosts at Pantheacon are providing nearly all of the Con’s content, hospitality space, and spiritual services, while paying a hefty price to do this. The Con provides only a minimal discount for some presenters, and no support at all for suite hosts. The staff are nearly all volunteers, and in truth, very few people benefit from the massive amount of money that the Con brings in. This is simply not a healthy or sustainable model of community engagement. Going forward, we intend to invest in events that are built on a more community-focused model, and that acknowledge the value and effort of content providers by easing the financial burden of participation.
excerpt from the Coru Cathubodua Priesthood statement
Last year, PantheaCon was under scrutiny over its policies of inclusion, and the de-platforming of two presenters. PantheaCon revised and attempted to clarify its policies prior to the annual event taking place.
Just before this year’s PantheaCon, the Coru published an open letter concerning their participation in the Con for 2019 and beyond.
Circle of Cerridwen also released a statement last week that they would not be attending PantheCon 2020. The Circle wrote,
We are a coven that accepts, and loves, practitioners of all different backgrounds, particularly transgender and gender expansive practitioners. Over the years that we have attended Pantheacon, we have noticed a significant lack of attention and care from staff and leadership regarding cissexism and racism. PantheaCon leadership and attendees have not only historically been hostile to trans/gender-expansive persons — it’s getting worse. We have seen continued excuses for exclusionary actions and behavior on the part of con staff and leadership, including hexing some of our own coven members.
excerpt from “Circle of Cerridwen will not be attending PantheaCon”
TWH reached out to PantheaCon organizer, Glenn Turner, originator, producer and coordinator of PantheaCon, who shared the following statement:
I am disappointed that direct discussion about supporting various or marginalized groups didn’t happen.If more intimate pagan gatherings grow out of this that would be welcome and supported.
The PantheaCon website and FB page will have a somewhat more detailed description of what we are doing to prevent exclusionary or bigoted presentations at the con.
‘An expanded programming team is reviewing new and past presenters for their self-described bios, online presence, and body of work. We are also looking at and for endorsements of presenters from well-regarded community members with strong stances on social justice, LGBTQ rights/issues, and cultural appropriateness. In addition, we have another team who are Programming Advisors for Diversity. We will be sending them a preview of the tentative list of events to be sure we have not missed anything. These teams are in place to avoid bigoted or cultural appropriation workshops. We welcome and have accepted diversity events.’
I, personally, strive to be open and sensitive, when so many of my friends are fluid and transgender, and people of color.
Turner expressed her deep support of the LBGTQ community. She noted her prior work organizing the Queer Spirit conference but that the changing needs of her younger disabled daughter limited her continued involvement. Turner said she seeks continued healing and added: “May the Gods bless us and support us as we learn to support each other more fully.”
TWH continues to follow this story and will report any new developments.
* * *
On September 12, 2019, CCL Earth-based Spirituality Action Team held its inaugural conference call with M. Macha NightMare.
The team will officially launch just after the southward equinox on 24 September 2019, with an interactive call featuring guest speaker M. Macha NightMare.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.
“CCL has over 50 action teams in a wide range of areas, including a dozen faith-based teams,” said T. Todd Elvins, CCL Action Coordinator. “The Earth-based Spirituality team will give greater visibility to an often-overlooked religious orientation.”
“The Earth-based Spirituality Team is for Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, Occultists, Druids, Gaians, Goddess-worshippers, Earth-worshippers, Animists, Deep Ecologists, Scientific Pantheists, Creation-centered Christians, Secular Humanists, and Religious Naturalists,” said Bart Everson, CCL volunteer and founding team leader.
“We enthusiastically welcome indigenous people, followers of African Diasporic Traditions, shamanic practitioners, and anyone who shares our reverence for Mother Earth.”
On the inaugural call, prominent ritualist M. Macha NightMare shared her perspective on interfaith cooperation. “We are stronger together,” she said, speaking from her home in Marin County, California. “We needn’t sacrifice any of our uniqueness to work with others.”
M. Macha NightMare, is a ritualist, both solo and collaborative, internationally published author, and activist, serves on the Advisory Boards of Cherry Hill Seminary, the Sacred Dying Foundation, and Poetry Witch Magazine. She also represents the Covenant of the Goddess, and CHS in the American Academy of Religion, Marin Interfaith Council, Marin Interfaith Climate Action (founding member), and United Religions Initiative, and at interfaith symposia throughout the U.S.
Macha currently serves the inmates of the Wiccan circle at San Quentin State Prison, in addition to blogging at Broomstick Chronicles and Witch at Large: Ruminations from a Grey Perspective.
Everson, who is based in New Orleans, expressed gratitude for Macha’s involvement, citing her depth of experience as an asset to the team. He is hopeful that Earth-based practitioners will answer the call to action.
“We strive to keep the sacred Earth at the center of our practice,” Everson said. “As a result, we see action on climate change as an urgent moral imperative. We aim to reach out to our global communities and recruit volunteers for Citizens’ Climate Lobby. We recognize and honor the spiritual nature of climate work.”
* * *
PAWTUCKET, R.I. – The Witches Night Out Market (WNOM)- New England, debuted on Friday, September 13th to a stunning level of participation with over 1700 people visiting the market.
“We are amazed and ecstatic by the local response to our event. Our initial plan was to bring the WNOM concept (which originated when I was in Seattle) to New England to help connect with the local community and promote the non-profit Society of the Evening Star and their upcoming Witches’ Almanac Magickal Masquerade Ball. We figured that maybe we’d get a turnout along the scale of our Seattle events – 400-600 people – if we were lucky,” said Laura Tempest Zakroff, founder and event organizer.
Two weeks prior to the scheduled event, due to the continued amount of response from potential vendors, and attendees, the organizers shifted the event to a much larger venue.
“Then shortly after announcing the event in mid-June, we watched the numbers soar, and it was all happening by pure organic growth – no paid advertising, no boosts, etc. As we got to the end of August and the interest was still steadily increasing, we were worried that our initial venue was not going to be able to safely handle the attendance, even if just 5% of those marked “interested” on Facebook showed up,” Zakroff said.
Zakroff went on to say, “Through nothing short of a miracle, we managed to find a larger venue that was available on the same night, just 2 miles from our initial venue, increasing our capacity by threefold. We had a line around the building and down the block – which moved steadily all night, but it’s very clear that we need a much larger venue still! The community is clearly hungry and ready for what the event has to offer – so we’re definitely expanding to at least 4 events a year – and we’re working hard right now to find a large venue to best accommodate the needs of the Rhode Island area Witchcraft community.”
Zakroff had produced the Witches’ Night Out Market in Seattle last year as a quarterly event prior to moving to New England. She designed that WNOM to benefit The Cabiri, a nonprofit organization, founded in 1999 that preserves the mythologies of extinct and endangered cultures through theatrical performance, lectures, and publications.
The tremendous support and response to this past weekend’s WNOM already has Zakroff considering other venue options, and planning for the next one, which she plans to host quarterly.
In other news:
- Covenant of the Goddess released their report on their annual Grand Council held at the Ardartane Retreat and Learning Center in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico. The report details the proposals discussed, policy and by-law changes, as well as the selection of new officers. Current First Officer, Canu Nodiad announced the following new postings: First Officer: Lord Verderius, Second Officer: Morgana RavenTree, (serves one year), Membership Officer: Dee Proctor, Pursewarden: Qabal, Recorder: Faelind, Communications Officer: David Legare, Publications Officer: Lord Soec, Membership Outreach Officer: Brandon Proctor, Public Information Officer: J. Nelson.
- Selena Fox will speak at one of the four Interfaith Global Climate Strike events on Friday, September 20, 2019 in Madison, Wisconsin. The events will take place from simultaneously from 10:30 to 11:30 am at four locations: Bethel Lutheran, 312 Wisconsin Ave., Grace Episcopal, 116 W. Washington Ave., First United Methodist, 203 Wisconsin Ave., St. John’s Lutheran, and 322 E. Washington Ave. Fox will be speaking at the First United Methodist church. Coordinators for the event said the locations were chosen due to their proximity to the capitol, and enabling attendees to gather for Concert for the Climate at noon at the State St. corner, after which they will parade to the Global Youth Climate Strike at the Madison Children’s Museum. Additional members of Circle Sanctuary will be attendance in Madison, as well as other members who will be participating in events in other locations.
- Actress Jennifer Aniston revealed in an interview with The New York Times about her new Apple TV series, “The Morning Show” that she has been a member of what she called a “Goddess Circle” for three decades. The “circle” consists of women she has had an ongoing friendship with well before she became a celebrity and starred in the popular TV show “Friends” and a variety of movies, and conducts “rituals” when any of them have any major life events. However, nowhere in the interview does Aniston identify as a Pagan or Witch.
- Last week, a Florida woman, Sherry Tina Uwanawich, 28, who posed as a “fortune teller” was sentenced to 40 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Rodolfo A. Ruiz, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Southern District of Florida for defrauding a woman of over one million dollars. Uwanawich convinced the woman to continue to give her money for candles and other charms by claiming she was cursed and that was the only way to remove the curse. Uwanawich was also ordered to repay $1.6 million to her victim.
- A Santa Ana woman, Lacey Conine, and her coven have created an event called the Witch Walk that features a Witch-themed art and in addition to a marketplace that offers a variety of spiritually oriented goods. Conine has her own business called Hype Priestess, where she sells crystals and other products. Her goal in creating the Witch Walk was to bring like-minded individuals together and to provide a unique space to sell her wares. She launched event in June, which routinely has 33 vendors, as well as an opening ceremony, a raffle, and even live acoustic music. The Witch Walk occurs of the third Saturday of every month in downtown Santa Ana.
- Florida Pagan Gathering announced today they are currently accepting workshop admissions for Samhain 2019, which takes place November 6 – 10 at Maddox Ranch in Lakeland, Florida.
Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte
Deck: Tarot of the Cat People by Karen Kuykendall, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Card: Page of Swords, Minor arcana
The week ahead calls for vigilance, and the ability to look beyond the obvious and read between the lines. Conversely, failure to do so may result in feeling unprepared, powerless, or even ill.
Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.