Pagan Community Notes: Restricted access to Stonehenge during Solstice, Waverly Fitzgerald crosses, 44,000-year-old cave painting, and more!

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Stonehenge

WILTSHIRE, England – Druid Stuart Hannington of Tottenham says that closing of Byway 12, a gravel road near the stones will deter Pagans from attending the annual event.

Hannington says that those who hoped to gather nearby and use Byway 12 for access cannot.

Bridget Wayman, Wiltshire Council’s highways chief, said: “We want people to enjoy the event and every year close Byway 12 for the safe, managed, open access so everyone can enjoy the solstice safely.” Both Byway 11 and 12 are closed from December 18 through December 23.

While The Mirror reports that 400 people who intended to camp in the field near the Byway are upset at the restricted access, it’s unclear whether camping has ever been allowed in the recent past. The English Heritage group which manages Stonehenge clearly states on its website that camping is not allowed on or near the site.

The exact local time of the Winter Solstice is 4:19 am but public access to the stones does not begin until 7:45 am, provided it is light enough to safely navigate the path and runs until 10:00 am.

Attendance is estimated to be around 5,000 people. Those who plan to visit the site for the observance are encouraged to use Stonehenge Solstice car sharing and bus services, as parking is very limited.

For those who opt to stay home, they can watch a live broadcast of Stonehenge on Periscope.

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[First State Satanists logo]

GEORGETOWN, Del. – The First State Satanists were granted a permit to hold a Winter Solstice observance in The Circle. The Circle sits in the center of town and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The First State Satanists identify as “non-theistic modern satanic group,” “reject supernaturalism and instead advocate for positive change in our corporeal world in the areas of religious plurality, bodily autonomy, and equal rights for all people. Members strive to educate themselves and others about modern Satanism, politics, and science and promote charitable works within their communities.” They also list themselves as “a Friends of The Satanic Temple group.”

Earlier this year, the town banned unattended displays on The Circle due to safety concerns, which affected the nativity scene normally put up by a local church.

In response to the town’s decision another group, the Good Ole Boy Foundation, coordinated with local churches and received a permit from the town to present a “live” nativity scene each night from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, beginning on December 11th and running through December 24. The event has been canceled for December 16th due to inclement weather.

The First State Satanists plan to hold a candlelight vigil to observe the Winter Solstice from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on The Circle on Sunday, December 22. On the group’s event page they “invite fellow faithless friends and all those who support our country’s religious freedoms to join them in celebrating pluralism, religious diversity, and equal rights during this holiday season.”

A spokesperson for the Good Ole Boy Foundation says they are aware of The First State Satanists’ vigil, and acknowledges that other groups with differing views have a right to express those views in a public space.

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Crossings of the Veil

Last Friday evening, December 13, Waverly Fitzgerald lost her battle with cancer.

Fitzgerald was based in Seattle and wrote both fiction and non-fiction, though many Pagans may remember her for her work on The Beltane Papers with Helen Farias. Fitzgerald became editor of the Beltane Papers in 1994 after Farias death and continued in that role until 1998 when she resigned to focus more on her writing and teaching.

Fitzgerald was a noted folklorist and published several books of interest to Pagans: Slow Time: Recovering the Natural Rhythm of Life, and several books that focused on the crafts and customs and rituals surrounding Pagan celebrations, most notably: Celebrating Spring Equinox and Celebrating Summer Solstice. Her writing also was featured in the publications Sagewoman and Gnosis. 

She taught classes online, and for Hugo House in Seattle, and also offered correspondence courses through her site, School of the Seasons. In 2014 she opened her own publishing company, Rat City Publishing.

She is noted by others for being kind, talented, and generous–especially in the aid she provided to many writers, both aspiring and well-established, with her wellspring of knowledge.

What is remembered, lives.

 

In other news:

  • Druid Arthur Pendragon lost his bid for a seat in parliament, garnering only 745 votes as the Independent candidate. John Glen, the Conservative party candidate won with 30,280 votes.  The others on the ballot were Tom Corbin, Labour party, 9,675 votes; Victoria Charleston, LIberal Democrats party, 10,544 votes; and  Rick Page, Green party, 2,486 votes.
  • Brú na Bóinne or the “Palace of the Boyne,” at Newgrange in Ireland announced the opening of its new visitor center just in time for Winter Solstice. The Neolithic passage tomb at Newgrange was constructed somewhere between 2,900 and 3,100 B.C.E., and aligns with the rising sun on the Winter Solstice. The new $5 million visitor center boasts “a state-of-the-art, immersive visitor experience” that “focuses on the monuments of the World Heritage Site during the Neolithic period.” New discoveries of 40 previously unknown monuments at Brú na Bóinne were announced earlier this year.
  • Paintings found in the cave, Leang Bulu’Sipong 4, in Sulawesi which is an Indonesian island east of Borneo, depicts an anoa, a type of buffalo, and wild pigs found in the region being hunted by figures that appear to be part-human, part-animal. The art was discovered over two years ago, but was recently presented in the findings of archaeologists from Brisbane, Australia as possibly being the oldest art telling a story. Mineral deposits found on the painting allowed researchers to date it as being anywhere from 40,000 to 44,000-years-old. While there may be cave paintings that are older, but this is the oldest to-date that actually depicts a story.
  • A temple discovered recently in Ostia, Italy is thought to have been dedicated to the God Mithras due to inscriptions and other artifacts found at the site. Within the remains of the temple, archaeologists found a room with a marble floor decorated with a variety of vibrant colors. The room also contained the remains of a bench, a ritual well, and a flower bed they believe was used to grow some sort of sacred plant. Due to the amount and variety of colors of marble used in the temple floor, archaeologists have dubbed it, “Mithraeum of Colored Marbles.”
  • Circle Sanctuary announced a change of location for its Longest Night celebration due to flooding to the Dance Life Studio, 6725 Seybold Rd, in Madison, Wisconsin.   The multicultural Winter Solstice event will be held Thursday, December 19 from 7-9 pm.  Pre-registration can be done via email to Circle Sanctuary

 

Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

Deck:  Tarot of the Celtic Fairies by Mark McElroy, artwork by Eldar Minibaev,  and published by Lo Scarabeo

Card: Two (2) of Cauldrons (cups)

The week ahead offers opportunities for new connections or partnerships. The ability to empathize may figure prominently. Conversely, relationships that do not serve or hold any real potential, may dissolve or fall away.

 

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.