Pagan Community Notes: Staying connected – Pagan festival, events and rituals move online, mass ritual meditation for health, and more!

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TWH – As much of the U.S. and most of the countries around the globe settle into practicing physical social distancing, quarantine, self-isolation, many Pagans have moved to holding rituals, workshops, and social interaction online.

The Pagan Federation holding its Spring Equinox 2020 moot online via Facebook Live was just one example.

Mother Grove Goddess Temple founder, Byron Ballard held an Ostara meditation ritual using the same platform on Saturday. As did Circle Sanctuary for their Welcome Spring event. Today at noon Cyndi Brannen held a Ritual for Resilience viewable via YouTube and interactive using the conference app Zoom.

The Troth has announced that Trothmoot 2020 will move to a virtual conference this year to help combat the spread of COVID-19. The four-day event will include workshops on a variety of Heathen related topics as well as the general business meetings of the Troth that take place at every Trothmoot. Please check the Troth’s social media, as well as their website for further information about the virtual conference. Full refunds will be issued for those who have already registered for the physical event.  Trothmoot 2021 is tentatively scheduled to take place in June 2021 at Meeman-Shelby Forrest State Park just outside Memphis, Tennessee.

Druid Camp released a statement regarding their event from August 5 – August 9, 2020, in the UK.  They write:

The Coronavirus pandemic has thrown the entire world into confusion. Here at the Druid Camp association we are paying close attention to information from the UK government and from the NHS. It is hard to predict how the virus will spread over the coming months, but you will be aware that major festivals, including Glastonbury, have been cancelled. However, our camp is not on the same scale as these festivals, and we do not have the same extended build up periods. This allows us to respond with more agility much nearer the event.

Druid Camp is scheduled to take place after the peak infection rate is currently projected to occur, but we cannot know what the Government advice will be nearer the festival. It is possible that there may be speakers, workshop facilitators and performers who will be unwell, be self-isolating or face travel restrictions.

We have not yet made a final decision on whether Druid Camp 2020 should go ahead. Despite the current confusion we are selling memberships, and the optimism this shows is really gratifying. We know how important Druid Camp is to our community.

If it turns out that we are forced to cancel we will of course refund camp memberships, and a strategy for managing this is in place. We are also considering what changes we will need to make to help keep people safe assuming Druid Camp goes ahead, such as more handwashing facilities and increased cleaning regimes. We will be reviewing the situation constantly and will update you with information as it becomes available.

Meanwhile please be assured that everyone connected with Druid Camp has your very best interests at heart. It would help us with planning if, accepting this refund reassurance, you bought early rather than later.

We will review and update this Press Release on May 1st 2020

Rhythm Healer Drums owners, Eric and Mary Olson held a virtual drum circle via Zoom on Sunday which experienced some glitches but was viewable Facebook. Olsen said in a post on the Rhythm Healer Drums page this morning, “We had a good time drumming with you all yesterday. We apologize for the glitches we experienced with Zoom and we will address those for the next time. Or we try a different format.”

The festival Otherworlds announced last week their intent to make the event, originally scheduled for the weekend of April 17-19, to be held online over two weekends using Zoom. The dates for the online conference are now April 18 and 19, and April 25 and 26.

As more events are canceled or postponed, there will likely be more organizers and performers looking to take their events online.

The Australian band, Spiral Dance indicated in a post on Facebook last week that they intend to offer some online concerts, “…members of Spiral Dance are making cunning plans to host some concerts via live streaming so you can watch us from the comfort (and safely) of your own home, anywhere in the World! We’ll keep you posted once we have things in place.”

Duo Ginger Doss and Lynda Millard, along with S.J. Tucker were scheduled to perform at the Goddess Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas this weekend. When the festival was canceled, their performances were moved to an online platform, The Online Concert Thing. In addition to watching performances live for a small fee, previous performances are archived and can be purchased for viewing or download.

While keeping a physical distance from friends and family has become paramount to staying healthy and protecting those in our communities most at risk, there are a variety of online tools for staying connected like Facebook, Snapchat, Facetime, and Portal by Facebook.

An app similar to Skype, and Zoom called Houseparty has been getting a lot of mentions online, too. Houseparty is a little more casual and allows users to connect with up to eight people at a time and video chat. It also allows users to have more than one “room” open at a time, so it creates a virtual house that users can hop from room to room and engage the people in the “rooms,” just like you would at, well, a house party.

And then there is the Google Chrome plug-in, Netflix Party which allows Netflix subscribers to share their feed with friends. It has a chat window so you can talk during the movie or show, and all watch it together.

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Pentacle on a Wiccan altar [Malloym, CC 4.0, Wikimedia Commons]

TWH – For those looking for spiritual support or some magical action they can take where COVID-19 is concerned, there are two events this week that offer a little of both.

Circle Sanctuary’s New Moon Caring Circle on Tuesday, March 24 at 7 pm CDT will be aired on Circle Talk on BlogTalk radio. The podcast will bring together Circle Sanctuary chaplain and ministers with community members in a special podcast of spiritual support to all those impacted by COVID-19.

Michael M. Hughes, author of  Magic for the Resistance: Rituals and Spells for Change, and creator of the Bind Trump group on Facebook announced on Friday that he created another event, Magic in the Time of Coronavirus: Mass Meditation for Healing and Compassion.

Hughes has been orchestrating a mass “bind Trump” ritual each dark moon since late February of 2017. The Bind Trump Facebook group has over 5100 members. Each month some members post the pictures from their dark moon rituals focused on limiting the harm and damage the current president might cause. This dark moon ritual was scheduled for last night.

On Tuesday, March 24, at 10:00 pm (EDT) members of the group and anyone else who is interested, are invited to participate in the mass ritual meditation.

As described by Hughes, “This ritual meditation serves a critical purpose: to alleviate the suffering of sentient beings while empowering each of us to be healers and peacemakers. We’re facing an unimaginable level of uncertainty and fear. Mistrust. Anger. Anxiety. Exhaustion. Despair. We need to learn to process those emotions and mental states, so we can help those around us.”

Hughes designed the meditation so that it can be done often, even every day, for those who wish to include it as part of their daily practice.

Other Cancellations and event changes:

  • The May Day celebration in Padstow, Cornwall “Obby Oss” has been canceled to due concerns over COVID-19. Some years around 30,000 people normally attend May Day celebrations in Cornwall and it is one of the biggest events for the town. It’s rumored that Padstonians return each year from wherever they are in the world to attend the festivities.
  • Last Friday for the first time in a number of years, Stonehenge did not host the usual gathering of Druids for the Vernal Equinox. Officials closed the site due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19 on March 18. Stonehenge and a number of other heritage sites will remain closed until May 1. The English Heritage group which manages Stonehenge and a number of other sites posted the announcement of their website and social media advising that all of their staffed sites would be closed in order to comply with the government’s guidelines for slowing the spread of the virus. They do note that a number of their sites that are free access and have wide-open spaces are still open. The National Trust also closed all of its historical sites that require paid entry.
  • Renaissance festivals in the U.S. are being affected by the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Many have been canceled or postponed. The site Mystorical is tracking those renaissance festivals that have been closed or delayed and those that have been rescheduled. The page is updated daily.

In other news:

  • Next week, the South African Pagan Rights Alliance (SAPRA) will begin their annual 30 days of Advocacy AGAINST witch-hunts, which runs March 29 through April 27 and seeks to raise awareness. Last week they published REMEMBER THEIR NAMES – Victims of witch-hunts in South Africa 2000 to 2020 an updated list of victims of witch-hunting.
  • Concerns over COVID-19 fanning the flames of “witch-hunts” in African countries have prompted a number of articles from Leo Igwe and The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AFAW) in the publication Modern Ghana. Illnesses are frequently blamed on being caused by “witches” and the victims of such “witch-hunts” are often brutally murdered. In reality, virtually none of the often elderly people killed in “witch-hunts” are practicing any kind of magical tradition.
  • Historic sites in Wales are soon to get more protection from vandalism. Two years ago, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park launched a heritage watch plan. Dyfed Archaeological Trust and Dyfed-Powys Police have also joined in, and now there are 10 officers trained in dealing with reports of crimes at monuments. In recent years sites have been vandalized in a number of ways–everything from a neolithic burial chamber being dabbed with blood, to chips of bluestones (from the site where some of the Stonehenge stones were quarried) being sold on eBay, to fires being built-in restricted areas.

 

Deck: Crow Tarot, by MJ Cullinane, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Card: Three of Pentacles (3)

This week calls teamwork and a focus on developing new skills in order to achieve a common goal. Conversely, there is the potential for conflicting egos to create an atmosphere of dysfunction.

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.