DARREN, Lancashire, England – The Faith Communities Forum (FCF) of the Inter Faith Network for the United Kingdom (IFN-UK) has appointed Neil Pitchford of The Druid Network (TDN) as a moderator. TDN is a non-profit organization established a decade ago, and designed “to provide information on the principles and practice of Druidry for the benefit of all, and to inspire and facilitate that practice for those who have committed themselves to this spiritual path.”
The IFN established in 1987 functions as an independent charity to foster knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, traditions, and practices of the different faith communities in Britain with the general public. The organization also seeks to bring awareness of the various faith’s distinctive features as well as the common ground they share and to promote good relations between individuals of different faiths.
The Board of the IFN created the FCF to better enable members of various religions to be able to share practices and work together to understand common issues of concern. The FCF is also utilized by the government and other organizations for multi-faith consultations on a variety of issues that may be affecting communities.
Pitchford is the first Druid ever to be appointed as a moderator and is one of a total of nine moderators who serve. Moderators serve for a three-year term and are selected by one of seven nominating groups. The first six groups each reflect the larger faith communities: Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, and Buddhist. The seventh group is made up of six smaller minority religions or faiths, one of which is TDN.
A Druid being appointed as a moderator could help further legitimize smaller and lesser-known belief systems within both the faith and secular communities.
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TWH – No matter where you look, it seems there are a variety of news articles about Witches this season. The New York Times has run a number of stories about real Witches, dubbing it as having reached “peak Witch” and Publishers Weekly has declared it “Season of the Witch” due to the volume of books being released this fall that feature Witches and Witchcraft.
This time of year always brings a bevy of “witchy” articles and stories to the forefront, whether it is interviews with a prominent Witch who has written a new book, “witch-themed” happenings like Witches paddling along on the river, or another “Meet-the-Witches/Pagans” type article.
Then there are the “historical” articles that often go into great detail about “witch” persecutions and “witch” history like this NYT article or those that feel the need to correct everyone’s perception of history. Or the pieces that spell out how the archetype of “witches” have impacted and even melded with popular culture. And no Witch season would be complete with a story on Instagram Witches or a play (or ten) featuring “witches.”
If you can’t find a news article about Witches in the mainstream that you like or find interesting, you may not be looking hard enough.
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SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. – The fire season on the West Coast is raging with winds over 50 mph, and gusts recorded as high as 102 mph, fanning the flames to consume more area. The Kincaid fire in Sonoma county had consumed more than 66,000 acres and was only 5% contained as of 11:45 a.m. pacific time today.
While the Kinkaid fire is the largest, there are dozens of other fires burning, and with the gusting winds burning embers can be carried as far as eight to ten miles, starting other fires. Just to the north of the Kinkaid Fire and near Ukiah is the Burris fire that has consumed only about 450 acres, but is only 20% contained.
The Los Angeles area has several fires burning. The Saddle fire burned close to 8,800 acres but is currently 97% contained, the Palisades (78% contained), Getty fires (0% contained), and the Tick fire (70% contained) are still active.
The state is experiencing fires in many other regions, which has resulted in road and highway closures as well as large areas being deemed evacuation zones. The power company, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has also cut power to many areas experiencing high winds in an attempt to reduce the chances of fire started by downed lines.
No rain amounts of any consequence are forecast or expected until at least November.
TWH will continue to follow this story and report on any new developments.
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Crossings of the Veil
Colin M. Meager, known to much of the community as Vengix Forestwalker, crossed the veil on October 19. Meager was born on August 30, 1984. While not formally affiliated with any particular group, he regularly attended the monthly gathering of Heathens and friends in Philadelphia-area Heathen Pubmoot and was an active supporter of Heathens Against Hate. Meager also had an interest in the Urglaawe path and received the Urglaawe Last Rites during his final hospital stay.
Meager’s memory was honored last week at the Pubmoot. His friends remember him as a kind, thoughtful, and supportive person, with a quick wit, and a great love for animals. Meager was said to always able to see the positive side of any situation, and failing that would rely on his humor to lighten the mood. He was always looking for ways to help and contribute, offering gifts like the statue of Berchta he gave to Distelfink Sippschaft.
A memorial service is scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, November 2 and will be conducted by Distelfink Sippschaft. Those interested in attending should contact Robert L. Schreiwer for details.
What is remembered, lives!
In other news:
- The comments of City Commissioner, Patti Buggs, in Henderson, Kentucky regarding a Day of the Dead event to be held in the town’s central park illustrates the level of ignorance and lack of understanding of other cultures. “I’d say 99 percent of the day of the dead is probably innocent. I think that’s fine,” says Commissioner Bugg. “I think if you want to honor your loved ones. I think the only challenge is if they actually try to summons somebody else, you know, a loved one from the grave, then I think they’re asking for some serious stuff. As a Christian, I don’t think they can do that.” The Henderson area has seen a large increase in the Latino population recently. Abraham Brown is the organizer for the event which he hopes to use as an opportunity to help educate those in the community who may not be familiar with Latin American culture. “It’s meant to be a celebration to remember our loved ones,” explains Brown. “As I was saying before, whenever someone passes away, we wouldn’t hide their pictures. We honor them and we make sure we remember them. It’s just a remembrance celebration.”
- Fife, Scotland author and “witch” historian, Lenny Low, revealed new information that was not known to him when he published his book, The Weem Witch that detailed many of the gruesome and infamous “witch” trials held in Scotland. One of the people accused of practicing “witchcraft,” Thomas Brown died while awaiting trial. He and another woman, Janet Cornfoot, (who had been beaten to death by an angry mob), were buried in a shallow grave to be retrieved when seven others who stood accused were convicted and presumably burnt at the stake. Yet the parliament never granted permission for the execution and the seven others accused were freed. Low now believes at some point, Brown’s son collected his remains and gave him a more proper burial in the Abercrombie Church cemetery near the property Balcaskie Estate. A retired forester for the estate, Johnny Proven, reached out to Low after reading his book and revealed that a storm in 1967 that toppled a large ash tree in the cemetery and onto the state held the full remains of an older man within its roots. Proven, and now Low, are the only ones who know exactly where the remains are currently buried.
- A new research paper published by Vanessa Hayes a geneticist with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research puts forth the theory that modern humans originated in the Makgadikgadi wetlands about 200,000 years ago until changes in climate pushed them to move to other parts of the world some 130,000 years ago. Hayes is basing her study on the DNA of 1,217 people from southern Africa that her team analyzed. Since her research is based on such a narrow group of people and does not take into account the variety of other DNA samples taken from other ancient human remains, she is receiving a good deal of criticism and pushback on theory. A number of other scientists are quick to point out that her research ignores many other factors like fossils and tools that have been found that clearly place humans in the world far earlier than Hayes’ 200,000-year mark. They also cite her sole focus on and use of a limited DNA pool.
- Circle Sanctuary announced it has a new location for Pagan Spirit Gathering 2020. PSG will be held June 14-21 at Pulaski County/ Ft. Leonard Wood Shrine camp near Waynesville, Missouri.
- If you love IKEA and have always wished there was an IKEA Tarot deck, you are in luck! For a modest price, you can have your very own deck that will accent your IKEA furniture from a seller and creator named HundredArmedSweater on Etsy.
Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte
Deck: The Halloween Tarot, by Karin Lee, art by Kipling West, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Card: Justice, Major arcana, XI (eleven)
This week look for a restoration of balance and fairness via the removal of ideology, actions, and even physical items that no longer serve a positive role or promote equality.
Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.