Pagan Community Notes: Petition for national St. Brigid holiday in Ireland, “witch bottle” found in Va., Machu Picchu vandalized and more!

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Brigid: Saint and Goddess.

DUBLIN, Ireland – The organization Herstory has started a petition to make February 1 a national Irish holiday celebrating Brigid.

Herstory states their mission as “to give the public authentic female role models and a game-changing egalitarian education program, inspiring countries around the world to start their own Herstory movements.”

The opening statement from the petition:

In light of the many astounding achievements of women in Irish society and in our nation’s history, we believe it is time to honour Brigid, Ireland’s triple goddess and matron Saint, by making February 1st a national holiday.

The petition goes on to highlight the connection that Brigid provides between Paganism and Christianity, “Brigid embodies the ancient triple goddess archetype: goddess of healing, fire and the Arts. Our matron Saint also represents true Christianity, renowned for her compassionate care for the poor and animals.”

It also cites the many cities around the world that celebrate and quotes CEO of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons as saying, “The eagerness of cities and countries everywhere to take part underlines the strength of the deep connection that people all over the world feel to Ireland.”

The proposed Irish “bank holiday” would be the first to be enacted since 1993 when May Day was added. Most European countries recognize anywhere from 11 to 13 public holidays, while Ireland only has nine further making the case for the addition of national St. Brigid’s Day.

The international Herstory Light Festival begins on Friday, January 31 and runs through February 3 this year and listed as “an annual global event celebrating women and equality.” There is a theme for each day.

Friday, Ancients Rising will feature “iconic goddesses, mythological heroines and lost ancient feminine wisdom,” potentially providing opportunities to illuminate ancient monuments. Saturday, Every Woman celebrates all women from “the voiceless to the legendary, with a special focus on peace heroines from Northern Ireland and around the World.” Sunday, World of Equals will focus on equality throughout history, and Monday, Voices of the Future invites educators and students to share their heroines and visions for equality.

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Witch bottles – image credit: Malcolm Lidbury (aka Pinkpasty)

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Last week news of a “witch” bottle was reported as being found during the archaeological dig at the Civil War-era site of Redoubt 9 in 2016. William & Mary Center for Archaeological Research (WMCAR) and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) partnered to excavate the area under the supervision of Chris Shepherd, former WMCAR project archaeologist.

Redoubt 9 was part of a four-mile stretch of a defensive line of earthworks built between the James and York rivers to prevent Union troops from marching up the Virginia Peninsula and potentially taking the Confederate capital of Richmond.

While little remains of Redoubt 9, motorists who travel on I-64 between Williamsburg and Newport News pass directly over where it was constructed. The excavation of Redoubt 9 was conducted ahead of the VDOT’s widening project of the interstate.

When the “witch bottle” was found during the excavation, director of WMCAR, Joe Jones said, “They were building up a fortification, so we just assumed they needed a place to keep their nails and used a bottle.”

Staff member, Oliver Mueller-Heubach, and WMCAR founder, Robert Hunter were the first to suggest that the bottle of nails might actually be a “witch bottle.”

While hundreds of “witch bottles” have been found in Great Britain, only less than a dozen have been found in the U.S., making this find even more important.

Unfortunately, it may be impossible to determine whether the bottle was actually a “witch bottle” or just a receptacle for spare nails. The top of the bottle was broken but the excavation team managed to recover all of the pieces and contents.

The bottle was found buried, near a brick-lined hearth in the encampment. Researchers traced the bottle to a maker in Pennsylvania, which lines up with what historians already know. Records show that the 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry periodically occupied  Redoubt 9 between May 1862 and August 1863.

“Pennsylvania Cavalry would have occupied the outlying redoubts, including Redoubt 9, in the days and months following that raid [Confederate cavalry attack on Union forces at William & Mary in September 1862] in an attempt to keep Confederates from retaking them,” Jones said. “There were a lot of casualties and fear during this period. The Union troops were an occupying force in enemy territory throughout most of the war, so there were plenty of bad spirits and energy to ward off.”

In other news:

  • Earlier this month, Peruvian authorities announced it was deporting five tourists to Bolivia for causing damage to the cultural site, Machu Picchu. Police arrested a total of six people, a Chilean, two Argentines, two Brazilians, and a French woman. They were charged with damaging Peru’s “cultural heritage” after they were discovered in a section of the Temple of the Sun that is restricted and not open to visitors. The group managed to gain access to the sanctuary and hid so they could spend the night in the chamber. The sixth tourist, 28-year-old Nahuel Gomez admitted to causing damage by leaning against a wall and dislodging one of the stones, which chipped and cracked the floor when it fell. Gomez was released from jail after paying a bail of $910 and is required to sign in with the court every 10 days until his trial. He could be sentenced to up to four years in prison if convicted. Police also suspect the group of defecating within the confines of the sanctuary.
  • In an update to a story we reported on it December of sheep slaughtered in New Forest and being marked with occult symbols, police have made an arrest after three more sheep were found slaughtered on January 16, and again on January 20. The authorities have only identified the man they took into custody on Saturday as being 41-years-old and from Winchester. TWH will continue to follow this story.
  • On January 18, Noosa Temple of Satan posted a public statement in response to the Australian Government’s Religious Freedom bill. The statement highlights the fact that while the organization feels the legislation is completely unnecessary, they state they will certainly exercise their rights under the bill if parliament votes to enact it as law. They list a number of possible future activities hosted by Noosa that include street evangelism, school breakfast programs, school chaplaincy, school weekend camp programs, and taking advantage of Federal, State, and Local grant programs just to name a few.
  • Scientists using data amassed by scholars at Royal Holloway, University of London, the University of York and Leeds Museum have given the 3,000-year-old priest, Nesyamun, a voice, sort of. The team used a CT scan on the mummified remains of Nesyamun to capture detailed images of his well-preserved larynx and then used 3D-printing to replicate it. For now, utilizing a process like those in modern speech synthesis systems, the artificial larynx can only produce vowel-like sounds, but researchers hope to use computer models and eventually “generate words and string those words together to make sentences,” according to University of York archaeology professor John Schofield. Professor Schofield also said that Nesyamun wanted his voice to be heard in the afterlife. “It’s actually written on his coffin – it was what he wanted,” Prof Schofield said. “In a way, we’ve managed to make that wish come true.” Nesyamun was a priest of high status (waab priest) who served in the temple of Amun and would have been allowed to approach the statue of Amun, as well as enter the inner sanctum. The temple of Amun is in the Karnak complex at Thebes (modern-day Luxor).
  • The “Witches of TikTok” are building quite a following. Apparently, the hashtag #witch has garnered over 52 million views on TikTok just since the beginning of January, and the hashtag #witchesoftiktok has received over 84 million views. According to an article by Screen Shot Magazine that the popularity of all things occult and witchy has helped to create a “mystical resurgence that many young people (typically, women in their mid-teens to early twenties) have created the image of the new witch—savvy, semi-gothic yet colorful in style, and reasonably engaging and entertaining.” The TikTok platform of inclusiveness and social structure, as well as its algorithms, seem particularly geared to be used to create and share content and build larger hubs of followers.

 

Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

Deck: Ukiyoe Tarot by Koji Furuta, instructions by Stuart Kaplan, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Card: Ace of Wands

The week ahead potentially holds opportunities for new beginnings and fulfilling experiences. Conversely, attention to detail and following through with plans are both required to avoid false starts, aggravations, and goals unmet.

 

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.

 


The Wild Hunt joins in remembrance of the liberation of Auschwitz. For more information please visit auschwitz.org.