Pagan Community Notes: Facebook fake profiles, Willa Haynes Crossing of the Veil, TST releases new ritual for bodily autonomy, and more!

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TWH – Late last month several fake Facebook profiles were created using Selena Fox’s picture and name in what appeared to be attempts to acquire people’s personal data by friending them and offering “give-aways.”

The fake profiles prompted Fox to make a Facebook post on her pages warning her friends and followers:

SWEEP away Scams & Scammers from Facebook! Some on Facebook are stealing my photographs & identity, including photos…

Posted by Selena Fox on Thursday, July 30, 2020

While Facebook has removed the fake profiles soon after they reported, scammers have continued to created additional fake pages using Fox’s name and likeness. The most recent fake profile was created just yesterday and has since been removed by Facebook.

There have been other instances of similar activity in the last few weeks on social media platforms. Lisa Anderson, the owner of the Asheville Raven and Crone (ARC), was notified by friends and followers of the shop’s Facebook page that someone using the profile name, Ginger Baker, had listed their employer as ARC, and was making anti-semitic and racist posts on other pages.

Anderson said no one by that name had ever been employed, and reported the profile as containing false information. Facebook removed the profile within several hours of it being reported. Oddly, Ginger Baker is also the name of the drummer for the band Cream, and who died last October.

A recent blog article written by J. Allen Cross for the Agora of Patheos Pagan channel cites Instagram as another platform that is often exploited by scam artists who appropriate the witchy and ritual pictures of actual practitioners to create false accounts.

Cross’ article outlines how to identify and avoid potentially fake accounts.

As suspicious activity seems to be on the rise, carefully vetting new friend requests, especially if you are already “friends” or follow the person or group, as well as applying a little more scrutiny to posts that seem out of character for an established account, might be prudent. Fox said that a number of the fake profiles created using her picture had obvious misspellings of her name.

Social media users should also be wary of any requests for monetary donations or compensation that originate over messenger apps connected to various platforms.

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SALEM, Mass. – Last week The Satanic Temple (TST) released a new statement on bodily autonomy and abortion exemptions with their Satanic Abortion Ritual.

The statement explains that under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which was designed to prevent the government from interfering with religious practices, the new ritual incorporates a woman’s right to choose to have a first-trimester abortion as doctrine.

By offering a ritual that “sanctifies the abortion process by instilling confidence and protecting bodily rights when undergoing the safe and scientific procedure” and making it part of their doctrine, TST is attempting to ensure a woman’s right to choose and the abortion rights of its members.

TST also released a video that outlines the Satanic Abortion Ritual.

Under the RFRA in states that have adopted it the legislation, the creation of the Satanic Abortion Ritual would allow members of TST seeking a first-trimester abortion to be exempt from certain restrictions:

  • Mandatory waiting periods
  • Being forced to listen to the fetal heartbeat
  • Forced burial or cremation of fetal remains
  • Required reading materials
  • Compulsory counseling prior to an abortion
  • Medically unnecessary sonograms
  • Requirements that practitioners withhold certain medical information

As of today, TWH is unaware of anyone attempting to use the ritual and their membership with TST to exercise the exemptions while seeking an abortion. It will be interesting to see the first examples of this new doctrine being applied and if there will be legal challenges put forth attempting to prevent TST members from getting an abortion and utilizing the exemptions.

 

Crossings of the Veil

Willa Haynes, Lady Pleiades, born August 21, 1950 crossed the Veil on August 7, 2020 due to complications from COVID-19. Haynes was a  High Priestess of the Silver Oak coven and was active in the Bradenton and Sarasota communities in Florida.

Haynes was a second-degree Gardnerian as well as third-degree and elder within the Georgian Tradition of Wicca. She initiated at least three others to the level of third-degree.

Haynes crossing came just weeks before her 70th birthday. Her friends remember her as being a kind and loving with a talent for teaching those around her to find the beauty in life, despite whatever ongoing struggles were present. She has also been characterized as a “true treasure” and willingly shared her love and zest for life with everyone she encountered.

Her family has shared tender remembrances on her Facebook page that recognize her seemingly boundless optimism, her exuberance, and special gift for being larger-than-life.

A memorial remembrance has been scheduled for August 21, 2020, 8:00 pm (EDT) and posted by the family to her Facebook page:

In celebration of her life, at 6 p.m. Colorado time (8 p.m. Florida time) on August 21st, 2020, on what would have been her 70th birthday, we are inviting anyone who would like to honor her, to find a place that is special to you and light a candle in her memory. As we do this, despite not being physically together, we will know that her loved ones all over the country are together in spirit.
Our family is planning in-person remembrances in Colorado and Florida for the summer of 2021, after it is safer for groups to come together.

What is remembered, lives!

 

In other news:

  • The Troth announced last week it would be sponsoring the 2nd Frith Forge 2020, an international conference by and for inclusive Heathen (i.e. Germanic and Norse pagan traditions) organizations, kindreds, and individuals. Also welcome to participate are members of the broader inclusive pagan communities and interfaith allies. Due to restrictions from the COVID19 pandemic, the event will take place via Zoom. Programming is scheduled from August 15, at 11:00 a.m., and runs through August 16, 5:30 p.m. (EDT). Among the themes of this year’s event:  What is Frith Forge? Political Heathenry, International Heathenry, and Heathen Theology, and Interfaith.
  • Circle Sanctuary announced a special podcast series for August as part of Selena Fox’s regular Nature Spirituality broadcast on Blogtalk Radio to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote in the U.S. The scheduled topics for each week: This Wednesday, Celebrating Women’s Life Passages, the following week focuses on Transforming Women’s Aging with Croning Rites, and the series culminates with the Votes for Women Centennial Celebration.
  • The 2,000-year-old statue of Persephone was reinstalled in the courtyard of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The sculpture in marble weighs over 1,000 pounds and had previously been slowly sinking into the ground due to the unstable ground courtesy of the Boston Fens that Gardner had the house and grounds built on. While efforts were taken to shore up the house’s pilings during construction in 1903, no one gave much thought to the courtyard and grounds. Despite being made of a thousand pounds of marble, the Persephone sculpture is extremely fragile. In a plan that was four years in the making, the museum curator and staff recruited a special team to help with the process of moving the statue, stabilizing the ground, pouring a new concrete base, and installing a pedestal for her to reside on. Persephone is now back her original place of honor in the northwest section of the courtyard, a good two feet above the ground.
  • Last week the traditional priestess who was involved in, and led the lynching and murder of 90-year-old, Akua Denteh in the Ghana village of Kafaba was arrested and appeared in court. Hajia Sirina Mohammed, 40, was charged with murder, but appeared unrepentant, without remorse, and is reported as saying she was doing “God’s work” in exorcising the “witchcraft” from Dentah. She was remanded and is to appear again before the court on August, 20. One other person connected to the Dentah’s murder has also been arrested and charged.
  • The most recent victim of a “witch-hunt” was 55-year-old, Muka Madkami, who was attacked while he was sleeping by his neighbor in the Tumsapalli village of the Malkangiri district of the Odisha state in India. Rama Sodi, 60, allegedly forced his way into Madkami’s domicile and began striking him with a sharp instrument or blade, and killing him. Sodi was apprehended by police and confessed to the murder, stating he believed Madkami was practicing “black magic” and responsible for the death of her son six years prior, as well as Sodi’s own poor health issues.

Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

Deck: Crow’s Magick Tarot by Londa Marks,  published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Card: Page of Coins

This week there is a focus on the “precision of performance and excellence” that includes the allowance for expression and reflection of individual personality. Conversely, the potential of others to exploit and manipulate is also present, so it is important to pay attention and use accumulated skills and knowledge in ways that are beneficial and not harmful.

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.