FARGO, North Dakota – This morning a federal judge sided with the Sioux Nation and ordered the Dakota Access pipeline shut down within 30 days, and ordered it to stay shut down until additional environmental reviews are completed.
The proposed pipeline was opposed in 2016 by the tribes of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation over water and Indigenous rights where the months-long protests were supported by a number of Pagan groups. Reports of violence directed at protesters by state police and private security hired by Texas-based, Energy Transfer Partners, made national news.
The Dakota Access pipeline was allowed to be completed after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers scrapped plans to complete a full environmental review in 2017 to determine the full impact on the tribes’ hunting and fishing rights if the pipeline running under the Missouri river were to be compromised. This was despite a federal court decision in June of the same year finding that Corps’ decision violated federal laws and failed to consider the risks and impacts of oil spills.
According to the Corps, they completed a review of their original findings in August of 2018 that affirmed their original decision and filed a brief statement to the court.
Today’s ruling by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg included in the 24-page order, “Clear precedent favoring vacatur during such a remand coupled with the seriousness of the Corps’ deficiencies outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow for the thirteen months that the Corps believes the creation of an EIS will take.”
This ruling comes on the heels of the announcement yesterday by Dominion Energy in partnership with Duke Energy, that they were canceling their proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline which has been hotly contested by environmentalists, Pagans, and members of the various communities in the path of the project.
The Supreme Court handed down just two weeks ago a ruling that would allow the pipeline to pass within the boundaries of the George Washington National Forest and 0.1 mile is within 600 feet of the Appalachian Trail.
Dominion and Duke cited the increasing costs of the project as making it no longer economically viable.
* * *DENVER – Musician Veronique Van Pelt went viral in June after she posted a video to TikTok condemning police brutality.
Van Pelt was prompted to action after her boyfriend, Casey McCarthy, was shot in the foot with a grenade launcher by police at close range, breaking his foot. From there she has garnered appeal in rural communities as she speaks from a “redneck humanist” standpoint on these issues.
She also has recently written a song that honors George Floyd:
Van Pelt identifies as an eclectic Pagan and draws from a variety of traditions that include Buddhism, ancestor veneration, and even Christianity.
She has published a number of recordings, but her latest efforts are focused on engaging rural communities and conservative thinkers with her content that explicitly describes and supports Black Lives Matter.
By all appearances, Van Pelt’s tactics seem to be working as there seems to be a resonance being felt in these communities based on her delivery. She believes that the level of engagement her posts have been receiving demonstrates their capability of being able to reach these communities.
Van Pelt has a presence on a variety of online platforms, in addition to her website, and Patreon.
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TWH – Green Party vice-presidential candidate Angela Walker revealed she has viewed herself as an Earth Witch, and a Heathen in her interview with TWH columnist Karl E. H. Seigfried for his The Norse Mythology Blog.
In response to Seigfried’s question, “Have you interacted with members of Earth-centered religions such as the various modern forms of Paganism, Druidry, Wicca, and Heathenry?”
Walker responded, “Yes! I used to think of myself as an Earth Witch. I mean, I am a Capricorn, so there’s that. I do follow… if you were to ask me, I’m a Heathen.”
The in-depth discussion also includes her views on healthcare, labor unions, policing, prisons, the Black Lives Matter movement, the Democratic Party, and what it means to vote Green.
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WASHINGTON – Earlier this year, TWH featured an editorial supporting the respondents in Espinoza vs. Montana, a case before the Supreme Court of the United States that would determine whether states could be required to provide funding to religious schools if they provided any funding to private schools. Last Monday, the Supreme Court issued its ruling on Espinoza, siding with the petitioners in a 5-4 ruling.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority decision, but, unusually, there were four opinions written for the majority and three written for the dissent – a sign of just how contentious these issues continue to be. “A state need not subsidize private education, but once it decides to do so it cannot disqualify some private schools because they are religious,” wrote Roberts in his opinion.
The broader implication of the ruling would be to undermine the “no-aid” provisions written in 38 state constitutions that prohibit public funding of religious institutions and education.
Holly Hollman, general counsel for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, writes at SCOTUS Blog:
“The court’s opinion produces a clear rule with regard to some forms of government funding, which some will applaud in an area of law that is often criticized for being confusing. But by viewing the distinctive treatment of religion through the lens of “discrimination,” the court threatens to harm religious liberty. After all, our constitutional tradition was built on the principles of both no establishment and free exercise. As [Justice Stephen] Breyer warns in dissent, the court’s “rigidity could well defeat the basic purpose of these provisions, which is to insure that no religion be sponsored or favored, none commanded, and none inhibited.”
Crossings of the Veil
Sandra Cheryl Richardson crossed the Veil this morning, her physical body succumbing to cancer. She was the Grand Elder High Priestess of the Religious Order of the Circle of Isis Rising, a Wiccan coven in Miami, Florida.
Sandra was extensively involved in the south Florida community over many decades, advocating for Witchcraft and participating in various educational events on Witchcraft and occult phenomena including local television and radio broadcasters as well as Telemundo, and The Discovery Channel. She consulted with newspapers frequently and lectured at universities and groups about Witchcraft.
Sandra was an entrepreneur as well. She was co-owner of a store, The Mystical Amulet, that opened in Miami in the mid-1980s.
She authored two books. The first was “Magicka Formularia: A Study in Formulary Magick” in 2001, a magickal practitioner’s handbook that explores the formulas s well as philosophy and ethics of magickal practice. Her second book was “Journey of the Soul: Diary of a Witch” that “recounts the past life dreams and events of Sandra’s Wiccan teacher and mentor that brought her to the path of Wicca”.
Sandra had a YouTube channel called Metaphysics and Magick where she continued her work discussing Wicca and Witchcraft.
Sandra’s last public post on Facebook expressed her shock at the recent deaths. She wrote, “May the Earth heal that we may once again enjoy her bountiful harvest!!!”
What is remembered, lives!
In other news:
- Lilith Dorsey published a resource guide comprised of Black astrologers, tarot readers and psychics on her blog, Voodoo Universe. While the list is by no means exhaustive, it is certainly a good place to start, and a way to amplify Black voices and those within the community who offer divination and spiritual services.
- Several news outlets are reporting “pink ice” being found in the Alps. The ice appears pink due to the presence of algae that is found in other places like Greenland and on both poles of the earth. While the algae is not harmful, climate scientists are concerned that its presence will produce more melting and increase global climate change. Normally, the bright white of the snow and ice reflect the sun rays and radiation, but the coloration of the algae embedded in the ice helps more heat to be retained, so more melting occurs. A number of the glaciers in the Alps are already in danger, with close to half predicted to vanish by the beginning of the next century if nothing is done to curb climate change.
- National Geographic published an article about the recent facial reconstruction from the Swedish archaeological site at Kanaljorden which went on display at the museum, Charlottenborgs slott the end of June. The skull used for the reconstruction was one of several found at Kanaljorden and the site itself had some very unusual and distinctive aspects that separates it from other Scandinavian Mesolithic period burials. Researchers found wood fragments within several of the skulls excavated from the site, which dates to around 6,000 B.C.E. In total, the site contained the fragments of nine skulls that were possibly all placed on wooden stakes or poles and then mounted on a stone platform that was submerged in the lake. The skulls were also surrounded by the jawbones of a variety of animals that included bear, boar, deer, and badger. Most burials of this time period that have been excavated have been found buried within the earth. Researchers were able to extract DNA from six of the skulls to create a representation of what the people from that period might have looked like. The reconstruction of a man researchers have nicknamed “Ludvig,” has fair skin, light blue eyes, and a wiry beard. Researchers also contend that it is likely some Mesolithic Europeans had darker coloring than those seen in populations there today. As for the watery ritual burial, it is unique and its purpose not understood.
Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte
Deck: The Wonderland Tarot by Chris Abbey and Morgana Abbey published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Card: Major arcana, V (5), The Hierophant
Another potentially trying week is ahead, with words of wisdom that advise mercy and goodness being drowned out by those who cannot grasp any philosophy that appears to be in opposition from their own narrative. The potential to hold on to ideologies and practices that are no longer effective could play a key role.
Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.