Pagan Community Notes: New “Witchual Workout” from Zakroff, Adocentyn Research Library announces new website, melted Canadian ice caps, and more!

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Sigil for our Times [Image Courtesy Laura Tempest Zakroff

PROVIDENCE – One of the side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for many Pagans is reduced physical activity. Some who live in urban areas often have less access to open, green spaces, and many workout centers and gyms remain closed or offer limited capacity and access.

Even for anyone who had been fairly active prior to the nationwide shutdown, and various regional restrictions, getting back in the swing of a routine and back into shape can feel daunting.

Laura Tempest Zakroff launched a new video series today, “Witchual Workout” which is focused on “a ritually-inspired movement experience designed to get us moving a bit more on a daily basis.”

When asked about what inspired her to begin her workout series, Zakroff said, “I realized that I wasn’t moving around as much as I used to – we’re not traveling to events where I would be performing and teaching workshops, I’m not teaching a regular weekly class anymore, and due to the hot weather/humidity, not even walking or hiking very often. Even though I recently received a glowing bill of health from my doctor, I’m out of shape.”

Zakroff acknowledged that less physical activity can have an impact on other aspects of well-being. “Not being as active not only has physical effects, but also mental and emotional. I recognized this not only in myself, but many of the folks I’m talking to all over,” she said.

She also explained another part of her motivation, “I’m terrible at following external stimuli – meaning other people’s programs – and I needed to be sure it would be something I could do regularly – ideally every day. By offering Witchual Workout on my Youtube channel, I’m bringing other people into the equation – which also helps hold me accountable to be on top of things.”

Zakroff’s goal is to offer a new workout every day, and she wants it to be accessible to everyone who is looking to add more movement into their daily lives. “I want to make sure this accessible to as many people as possible – not just folks who are dancers, but anyone interested in moving their bodies a little more.”

“I think the magical framing also helps keep them inspired and engaged. Every day we’ll have a different focus. I’m also going to try and keep it so that those with limited mobility can also utilize it – including some videos that will be seated,” Zakroff said.

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Adocentyn Research Library

Adocentyn Research Library

ALBANY, Calif. – The Adocentyn Research Library (ARL) announced in a press release last week the launch of their new website. The non-profit library was founded in 2011, and has amassed a collection that includes nearly 14,000 books, publications, and ephemera.

The Adocentyn Research Library lists its mission as:

“to collect, archive, preserve, and make available information related to Paganism—understood as all Indigenous, tribal, polytheistic, Nature-based, and Earth-centered religions, spiritualities, beliefs, practices, and cultures around the world and throughout human history. This includes a broad range of information on Pagan diversity, history, beliefs, adherents, organizations, and many related areas of study for use by researchers, scholars, and the general public.”

ARL is an hour or less away from three major cities – San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose – in the SF Bay Area’s East Bay. We are in a neighborhood full of restaurants & cafes, easily accessed by public transport, and near two major universities – UC Berkeley & the Graduate Theological Union.

Their full catalog is viewable online, but the contents of the library is viewable in-person only, and is located an hour or less away from three major cities – San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose – in the San Francisco Bay Area’s East Bay.

ARL accepts donations of books, periodicals, ephemera to their collection, and financial contributions in support of the library and its mission.

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2015 image of glacier ice melt in Greenland – Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NUNAVUT, Canada – Recent NASA satellite imagery shows the complete disappearance of the Canadian ice caps of St. Patrick Bay, which accounts for half of the ice caps on the Hazen Plateau of northeastern Ellesmere Island in Canada.

Lead author, Mark Serreze, director of National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), and Professor of Geography at the University of Colorado Boulder, published an academic paper in 2017 that cited the rapidly shrinking ice caps and predicted their loss completely within the next 5 years.

The Murray and Simmons ice caps which make up the other half of the ice caps on the Hazen Plateau are not melting as rapidly, but are also at a higher elevation. However, scientists and researchers believe that they too will disappear eventually due to a warming climate.

Imagery collected by NASA’s Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) in July of 2015 was compared to aerial photos taken in 1959 showed an approximate loss of about 95% with the ice caps only covering roughly 5% of the area they had once covered.

The summer of 2015 was one of the warmer on record, though on July 14, 2019, a new high of 21° C (69.8° F) broke all previous records. The average normal high for July is 7° C (44.6° F). Just one year after setting that exceedingly record high temperature, ASTER imagery shows no ice at all on the peaks of St. Patrick Bay.

Serreze who first visited the St. Patrick Bay ice caps as a graduate student in 1982 said in an article on, “When I first visited those ice caps, they seemed like such a permanent fixture of the landscape. To watch them die in less than 40 years just blows me away.”

“We’ve long known that as climate change takes hold, the effects would be especially pronounced in the Arctic.” Serreze went on to say, “But the death of those two little caps that I once knew so well has made climate change very personal. All that’s left are some photographs and a lot of memories.”


In other news:

  • The Esselen Tribe of Northern California recently finalized a deal that allowed them to purchase 1,200-acre ranch 5 miles inland from the north-central California coast, near Big Sur. The deal on behalf of the Esselen tribe was brokered by the Portland-based Oregon conservancy group, Western Rivers Conservancy, with the California Natural Resources Agency, and the U.S. Forest Service The California Natural Resources Agency was awarded $4 billion state park and water bond under Proposition 68 in 2018. $60 million of those funds were allocated for grants to acquire and preserve Native American natural, cultural and historic resources within the state. The conservancy hammered out a $4.5 million grant with the California Natural Resources Agency for the land, that will allow the Esselen to inhabit ancestral land for the first time in 250 years. The land itself has old-growth redwoods, steelhead trout in the Little Sur River which runs through the property and hardwood meadows. Tribal members intend to build a sweat lodge and traditional village where they can conduct ceremonies and educate the public on their history and culture, but do not intend to establish permanent residences on the property. They also intend to share the land with other Central Coast tribes who lost their lands and saw their numbers decimated by the Spanish like the Esselen.
  • The latest news about Stonehenge identifies the origin of the sarsen stones used to construct the megalithic circle. Last year, TWH reported on a core sample of one the stones that had been taken in 1958 during an archaeological study that was returned to the site by Robert Phillips, who had worked on the project. From that sample, archaeologists were able to match it to stone found just 15 miles (25km) away from Stonehenge, north near Marlborough. Tests using x-ray fluorescence showed that the sarsen stones were similar in chemistry and likely from the same source, but being able to test the core sample in ways that would’ve been damaging to the remaining standing stones has proved “decisive” in determining their origin in West Woods, just south of Marlborough.
  • Archaeological researchers Sarah C. Murray, Irum Chorghay, and Jennifer MacPherson, published in the American Journal of Archaeology noting that scholars have failed to recognize the role of female ceramicists in Ancient Greece. The researchers suggest that it was far more likely that women, not men, were in-charge of pottery during the Early Iron Age (1050 B.C.E. to 700 B.C.E.) since there would’ve been more land, fewer people, as well as the historical assignment of such tasks to the women in society. Murray and colleagues also cite as evidence the abrupt shift in painted designs which heavily utilize geometric patterns and have a resemblance to the patterning found in weaving. They further note that the funerary scenes depicted on vases and other vessels, in which women and their daily practices are far more evident. Their work highlights how gender bias of researchers has impacted how artifacts are viewed and studied, by projecting their own ideas of gender onto ancient cultures.


Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

Deck: Magical Dogs Tarot by Mickie & Daniel Mueller,  published by Llewellyn Publications.

Card: Two of Sea (Cups)

The energy in the week ahead offers the opportunity for new relationships that can include balance, honesty, and love with a commitment towards a stable future. Conversely, the expiration date on relationships that are out of balance or have become incompatible is past due. This week supports honest evaluation and examining whether recalibration or severing is called for.

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.