SAO PAOLO, Brazil – Researcher for the Federal University of São Paulo, Dr. Sofia Mendonça is concerned the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in Brazil could have the same devastating impact as previous respiratory infections on indigenous peoples.
9% of members of the Yanomami community who became infected with measles during an outbreak in the 1960s died from the disease. They lived near the Venezuela border.
She is also a co-coordinator of a health project that is focused on the indigenous peoples in the Xingu river basin inside the Amazon Rainforest.
While COVID-19 cases were initially centered around the industrialized state of São Paulo, Brazil was reporting 12,056 cases and 553 deaths at the time of publication as the virus continues to spread across the country. On case has been reported among the indigenous populations.
Mendonça said that some within the indigenous communities plan to separate into smaller groups and take refuge in the forest, which is how they avoided being wiped out by past epidemics.
Many within these communities have very close contact with one another, as well as sharing food utensils, and have little access to hand washing or sanitizer. There are also a few medical resources, like hospitals.
There has also been concern that President Jair Bolsonaro might not have taken precautions to protect the indigenous communities. Bolsonaro has clashed in the past with both environmentalists and indigenous leaders over his expressed desire to develop more of the Amazon Rainforest.
* * *
SAG HARBOR, N.Y. – Yesterday, Forbes Magazine under its topic heading of “Leadership,” published A Prayer For The World From A Pagan written by contributor, Laurel Donnellan.
An excerpt from her prayer:
Help us to heal each other.
Help us to feed each other.
Help us to shelter each other.
Help us to employ each other.
Help us to love each other.
AND, help us to remember these lessons once this crisis passes so we can build a more compassionate world together for future generations.
Donnellan writes on the topics of compassionate leadership and in her introduction and explanation of the prayer, speaks of her broad experience in a variety of spiritual paths and that she identifies as a Pagan. She goes on to highlight how her experience with individuals of diverse and varied backgrounds and practice has helped her to recognize and honor people, no matter what they believe.
* * *
BARNEVELD, Wis. – Circle Sanctuary continues to expand its support and outreach amid the current COVID-19 crisis.
Circle Sanctuary has also been making short inspirational videos at different sacred spaces within Circle Sanctuary’s Nature Preserve that are viewable via both her Instagram Television (IGTV) and Youtube channel.
Fox has been participating in a series of national chaplains town halls and webinars that are geared toward focusing on perspectives and best practices in caregiving and self-care during the pandemic.
She is also engaging, along with several hundred other spiritual leaders from a variety of practices throughout the state of Wisconsin, in weekly conference calls with state officials to help provide support and to have a better understanding of the needs in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In addition to continuing to update the resources available on their Spiritual Support during the COVID-19 Pandemic page, they have added two new events for April that can be accessed online.
On Monday, April 6, Laura Gonzales will interview Ness Bosch with the focus on the Spanish-speaking Pagan community’s response to COVID-19 in a special edition of the podcast Lunatic Mondays/Lunes Lunaticos. The episode will air on Blogtalk radio at 7:00 pm and will be in Spanish.
Also on Monday, April 6, Circle Sanctuary will utilize Zoom to host its first, live and completely online Full Moon ritual. In addition to the ritual, Selena Fox will conduct her Magical Eggs workshop. The Zoom platform allows for participants of the event to have real-time interaction.
The Full Moon ritual requires that those interested in participating to pre-register.
Crossings of the Veil
Rev. Ser Olivia McKay, Melbourne, Australia has died. McKay was a Correllian High Priestess and Knight of the Meritorious Order of the Round Table (2014), Ser Oliva was a Member of the Witan Council as Head of Aurora Australis Temple (2010).
Mckay championed many causes and was extremely accomplished. She was instrumental in the efforts of Pagans to freely and legally practice their religion in Australia by winning Pagan civil rights legal case in Australia in 2003. McKay was also a trans activist, and very active in her community.
She also had a distinguished career in law enforcement and been presented to two Queens in her lifetime.
In recent years, McKay had suffered from health issues. She was diagnosed with COVID-19 and passed away less than a week later.
Dwayne Arthur Sortor was born on September 24, 1968, and crossed the Veil on April 1, 2020. Sortor had been active within the Lansing Pagan Community for decades. In 1996 Sortor collaborated with Jason Mankey and they began publishing a magazine, The Wiccan Read, which had a run of about five years.
He was an artist with a passion for WWII history, and an active member of the Fiction 440 group, contributing regularly. He also was involved in events like the REO Town Reading Series, and on the Artist’s Umbrella stage, a Lansing organization that sponsors open mic events and entertainment.
Sortor was also a former steward and an active member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSME), and worked as a building supervisor for Michigan State University.
He is survived by his wife, Marie, their three children, and two grandchildren.
(Note: Mankey wrote a heartfelt and thoughtful in memoriam to Sortor on his Patheos blog, Raise the Horns.)
Tomie dePaola, author and illustrator of children’s books died last Monday at the age of 85. Many Pagans may remember him best for his Strega Nona tales which featured a grandmotherly, kind and helpful “witch” in Italy.
dePaola was indeed prolific in his art, contributing to more than 270 books in his 50+-year career in publishing. Close to 25 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide, and have been translated into more than 20 languages.
Many of his books focused on folktales, spirituality, and legends and brought to life various traditions and beliefs.
What is remembered, lives.
In other news:
- In Finland, there is a traditional practice of Easter “witches” who are children and dress up in costumes, going house to house offering good wishes and decorated willow branches in exchange for candy on Palm Sunday. This year due to concerns and restrictions because of COVID-19, these small “witches” have had to be more creative. In one case, the children distributed notes with the chanting rhyme of blessing through mail slots and left their decorated branches at entrances. Another performed the chant of blessing so onlookers could watch from their balconies. Some tossed candy down to the children, and one man used climbing gear to lower a basket of treats.
- Two new Harry Potter-themed events are available for fans. The British Library has made Harry Potter: A History of Magic available via Google Arts and Culture for online viewing for free. The exhibition, “features an exploration of the history of magic from across the United Kingdom which includes a witch’s scrying mirror from The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Harry Potter illustrations from Jim Kay, and the story of how Harry Potter came to be.” The Hogwarts is Here fansite is now offering online wizarding classes that encompass: Astronomy, Charms, Herbology, History of Magic, Potions, Transfiguration and Defense Against the Dark Arts. Sadly, there is no sorting hat program.
- A four-year-old female Malayan tiger, named Nadia, has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Bronx Zoo. Six other big cats, three other tigers, and three lions at the same zoo are also reportedly showing similar symptoms. Nadia presented with a dry cough and a lack of appetite. Her positive test ignited new concerns over whether the virus can be passed to or from felines. Karen A. Terio, head of the Zoological Pathology Program at the University of Illinois veterinary school, where tests for the tiger were done, said, “Given the number of people in this country that have been infected with the virus and have become ill, and the number of people in this country that own domestic cats, it seems fairly improbable that cats are an important source of the virus for people if the first case we’re diagnosing it in is a tiger.” Most experts agree that it is unlikely there is a large risk of feline-to-human or human-to-feline virus transfer but to be safe suggest if you have tested positive or suspect you have COVID-19, you should limit exposure to your pets, as you would with any other family member.
Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte
Deck: Rackham Tarot, artwork by Arthur Rackham, instructions by Lunaea Weatherstone, published by Lo Scarabeo.
Card: Two of Wands (2)
This week look for a major shift or “a transformation of circumstances.” Time and circumstances are very fluid. Make sure all the facts are present before rendering a decision and taking action.
Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.