SYDNEY, Australia – The wildfires in Australia are largely burning out of control and are literally everywhere across the continent. As of today, there were 136 separate fires burning, and of that number, a little over half, 69, remain uncontained. Officials say they expect the fires to continue to burn for months.
So far the number of human deaths number only around 25, but the numbers of livestock lost have yet to be calculated, and environmental experts are predicting 500 million wildlife deaths and possible extinction of some species.
While Pagans in the U.S., and around the world, may not be able to physically lend a hand due to distance, they are not sitting idle either.
I would like to ask everyone that feels drawn to do so to wear this sigil in solidarity with me to help manifest rain…
The Sacred Well made the above post on January 3 and conducted a livestream “Intentions and Prayers for Australia” event on January 5. Whether by coincidence or design, rain reportedly began to fall in some of the areas of Australia affected by fires on January 4.
On Twitter another virtual event is scheduled for January 11:
Hey everyone, I’m going to be doing a ritual for Australia on the 11th if you’d like to join me. You’ll need:
1) a red chime candle (small thin candle)
2) and a bowl of water
— 𝔻ana ℕewkirk (@Weird_Dana) January 4, 2020
Last month indigenous people from all over Australia traveled to Mount Gulaga in Yuin country to hold a Birriga Bunaan (a big ceremony) to heal the land, spirit, and people.
Even in areas like Melbourne, which is 100 miles from active fires, smoke is being reported as fairly thick and affecting air quality.
The fires also create their own weather patterns, known as Pyro-cumulonimbus clouds. These fire-generated storms while producing some rain, generally worsen conditions since lightning can cause more fires, and high winds shift the embers from existing fires causing them to spread. So far, over 12.5 million acres of land have burned.
If all the fires have not been enough of a crisis, the first named storm of the tropical storm season, Cyclone Blake, is due to make landfall sometime late on Tuesday and early morning Wednesday.
TWH will continue to follow this story.
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Last week, Cyndi Brannen, author, and blogger of Keeping Her Keys, was the most recent Witch to encounter problems online when she was first locked out of her Facebook account, and then discovered her post on Facebook sharing her most recent Patheos blog article had been flagged for violating community standards.
Brannen said that while she has had posts reported in the past, this was the first time in 15 years of being on social media that she had been reported in a way that disabled her account.
This recent episode started for Brannen when she noticed what appeared to be a conservative Christian Facebook page had shared her post of her article titled, “2020 is The Year of The Witch.”
Brannen went to the very conservative Christian page and observed a number of derogatory comments about her article, and about Witches. Since she was not a follower of the page, she could not post a response on the thread that disparaged her article. So she did the next best thing and re-posted the article on her own page with a comment.
Within the space of a couple of minutes of posting, Brannen found out her account had been reported as fictitious. She had to jump through the various hoops required by Facebook to verify that she was, indeed, an actual person.
Once she had access to her account and pages again, she noticed another shared post from a friend and fellow blogger had also been reported as violating community standards.
Incidents like this seem to be on the rise, and the algorithms of various social media platforms like Facebook appear vulnerable to inappropriate reporting of posts.
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In other news:
- In a follow-up to last week’s story about Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Hopper being granted a religious exemption for his beard, Hopper gave an interview to Las Vegas Sun he clarified that he was not affiliated with any Norse Pagan groups connected with white supremacy. “On official record, I am absolutely not a member of, nor have I been, part of any type of hate or extremist organization … Prejudice is in no way or form aligned with my values or ethos,” Hopper said.
- Chinese New Year for 2020 is just a few weeks away. On January 25, according to Chinese astrology, 2020 is the Year of the Rat and marks the first sign in the progression of a twelve-year cycle. The new year is predicted to be more focused on new energy and projects, as well as forecast to be good for businesses and entrepreneurs. Chinese astrology also falls into five elemental categories: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. 2020 is a metal year, which reflects people being “sharper and more detailed oriented” according to astrologer Cathryn Moe. If you want to find out what your Chinese Astrology sign is, Astrosofa.com has a free calculator and all of the attributes of the twelve signs and associated elements.
- The decision to move four ram-headed sphinx statues and an obelisk from the processional avenue in Luxor to Tahrir Square in Cairo has drawn criticism from archaeologists, and MP Ahmed Idris. Shaikha Mai bint Mohammad Al Khalifa, chair of the Arab Regional Center for World Heritage outright condemned the proposed move and said that “any amendment to a site of this importance must be preceded by consulting with the UNESCO World Heritage Center, submitting reports that evaluate the impact on the site itself, and other matters stipulated in the operational guidelines of the World Heritage Convention.” There is concern that moving the antiquities to such a public place and exposing them to the pollution and carbon dioxide of exhaust would cause them to deteriorate.
- The announcement of new findings connected to a tomb discovered in 2000, revealed that it contained four women who were buried with a number of battle weapons. The findings published by the Akson Russian Science Communication Association details the remains of the four women as being two young women of 20-29 years old and 25-35 years old, a teenage girl of 12-13 years old and a woman of 45-50 years old. The burial site is approximately 2,500-years-old and could provide legitimate proof of Scythian Amazon warriors.
In “witch-hunt” news:
- 66-year-old Samson Hlungwani of Tiyani village in Limpopo in the district of Hlanganani in South Africa was found murdered on New year’s Eve. A 62-year-old woman was arrested with two of her sons for allegedly strangling her husband because they accused him of witchcraft. “It is alleged that Samson Hlungwani was accused of witchcraft by the three and was … subsequently strangled inside one of the rooms. “This after one of the sons complained that his father had bewitched him, as every time he (the son) married a woman, she did not stay around long,” said police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo.
- Last week in Binga, Zimbabwe, Tutambulye Munkuli, 25, from the village of Lusula, was arrested and charged with murder in connection with the death of his aunt on November 5, 2019. Munkuli allegedly confronted his aunt on her return from collecting water at the river, accusing her of “bewitching” him and then beating her unconscious on the road. The attorney for the State opposed bail for Munkuli on the grounds that he had threatened more violence against the son of his aunt, as he believed his aunt and her son had both worked “bewitchments” against him.
- A pregnant woman and three other family members were brutally attacked and murdered in their homes by villagers wielding machetes in Western Tanzania. The attackers believed the family was involved with “witchcraft” and destroyed the victims’ personal property, houses, and farms. A local official is calling on the government to arrest and prosecute those responsible.
- The brutal murders of three elderly people in Karonga, Malawi on Thursday, December 26, 2019, by an angry mob that believed they were responsible for using “witchcraft” prompted Paramount Chief Kyungu XXIV to issue a strong statement on “witch-hunters” and “witch doctors.” Kyungu said: “This tragedy follows a sustained pattern of violence over the past four weeks that has emerged recently in Uliwa, Chilumba, previously, Chinsebe, Lupembe, Mwakisulu and Mayofya areas in the district where witchdoctors have performed exorcism on people suspected of witchcraft.” He went on to condemn the acts, and call for unity, “This disturbing turn of events is increasingly turning Karonga into a degraded and lawless district full of barbaric acts which make all upright thinking citizens of [the district] worried and ashamed. We must all unite and speak with one voice against acts of lawlessness, violence, and brutality in Karonga.”
- The Zambia Daily News reports that Muchinga Province Commissioner of Police Joel Njase said that out of the 90 murder cases reported in the province last year, 38 involved elderly people who murdered due to a belief they were practicing “witchcraft.
Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte
Deck: The Linestrider’s Tarot by Siolo Thompson, published by Llewellyn Worldwide
Card: Queen of Swords
This week may call for applying intellect and knowledge when it comes to assessing information and making decisions. Be mindful that the best decisions are tempered by our hearts and intuition.
Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.