LANSING, Mich. – William Null, one of the men arrested in connection to the plot to kidnap Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer, is being reported as possibly having a connection to either Odinism or some form of Heathenry. Null and the others arrested were members of the Wolverine Watchmen, a militia group based in Michigan that was formed fairly recently–within the past year.
While articles published by the Lansing City Pulse, and The Conversation gently suggest a possible connection to Odinism, the Facebook page of Phil Robinson, leader of the Michigan Liberty Militia, makes it quite clear that he is devoted to Odin, and he lists himself as Phil Robinson (The Heathen). Robinson has possible ties to Null.
Multiple posts on Robinson’s Facebook page mention a spiritual connection to Odin, in addition to numerous posts that reflect his ideology regarding governance, and sharing a post by a member of the Null family to raise funding.
William Null is reported to have used the name “Ragnar Bill Null” on his Facebook page before it was deleted. A photo of Null with Robinson and other militia members shows they knew each other. They also appear side by side in a video interview with MLive regarding a protest centered around a civil war monument in Allendale township in Michigan.
It is unclear exactly what ties the Wolverine Watchmen, may have or had to Robinson’s Michigan Liberty Militia.
* * *
MURDOCK, Minn. – In an update to an ongoing story regarding the Asatru Folk Assembly (AFA) and its intention to turn a defunct Lutheran church in a small rural Minnesota town into their Midwestern regional center, close to 50 residents spoke out against the plan at a town hall meeting last week.
The town of Murdock has a population of roughly 300 and those who spoke at the town hall are concerned that allowing AFA to move forward with its plan will encourage other hate groups to see the town as a favorable place for those who adhere to a similar ideology.
Pete Kennedy, who has lived his entire life in Murdock said, “These kinds of things get a life of their own. ‘Hey this group was allowed into Murdock’ and then everyone else piles on. We want to nip this in the bud.”
Other residents agreed with Kennedy’s opinion. Laura Thomas, of nearby Benson, Minnesota also urged council members to consider the “long-term trajectory” of allowing the group to become established in the community, saying it would put Murdock on the map for hate groups, and attract more.
“It’s important to think about the safety of the community going forward,” Thomas said.
She also pointed out that many of the local dairies employ a number of people from Central American countries and Mexico who are concerned about what the AFA’s presence will mean for their personal safety and livelihood.
Christian Duruji, who is Black and lives with his family just west of Murdock also expressed concern to the Grand Forks Herald over the AFA’s white-only policies. He is quoted as saying, “I fail to see how a group that will disqualify me on sight as well as view my daughter as somewhat of an aberration or something that is not to be celebrated, I fail to see how that would promote the general public safety.”
Despite the Southern Poverty Law Center listing AFA as a hate-group that endorses and promotes racism, Allen Turnage the Florida attorney who spoke for AFA at the meeting said that just because they are a whites-only church, it doesn’t constitute racism. Turnage also insists that anyone who has met members of the AFA has no problem with them being there.
The AFA needs a conditional permit and approval from the city council to operate as a church since the neighborhood is zoned as strictly residential. The Lutheran church that was previously housed in the building that the AFA now owns, was grandfathered in and able to operate as a church without going through the permitting process since it had existed prior to the town having zoning laws.
Another community member, retired elementary school teacher Karen Falk expressed concern that if the AFA is granted a permit that others from outside of the Murdock community might perceive the town as less welcoming. Falk also said she hoped the permit would be denied.
The Murdock city council meets again on November 4 to vote on the matter.
* * *NEW BERN, N.C. – Douglas Helvie, who identifies himself as the High Priest of Witchcraft with the Eternal Harvest Academy Church, alleges he was singled out and discriminated against due to his religious beliefs by the clerk working at the Fisher Fuel Mart in Bridgeton.
In a statement to local media, Helvie said he used a pentagram that he wears on a necklace, waving it over the [lottery] tickets, “to determine what ticket I would buy.” The clerk initially refused to sell him a ticket, but eventually allowed him to buy a ticket but told Helvie he had to leave the store after the purchase and not to do Witchcraft in the store.
Helvie contacted the North Carolina Lottery Commission and filed a complaint about the behavior of the clerk. Lottery Commission director of communications, Van Denton said the complaint had been investigated and the store management had been contacted to remind them and all employees must be compliant with the state’s anti-discrimination laws in order to keep their license to sell lottery tickets.
Helvie has also contacted Lady Liberty League (LLL) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over the matter. While the owner of Fisher Fuel Markets, Wendy Fisher said that the director of operations had met with the employee involved, and management teams for other locations to reinforce policies on nondiscrimination, Helvie is not satisfied and wants a public apology, monetary compensation, and the employee to be fired.
In other news:
- A new children’s book, titled Old Mother Frost is just three days away from completing its IndieGoGo campaign, and less than a month away from its limited release to supporters of the project. Response to the project has far exceeded its goal by garnering 430% of its funding. Jennifer Hartman originally decided to write the book for her son when she could find no books for children based on the Norse Pagan holidays and that taught their origins. Hartman created a story that “leads its readers through the Scandinavian origins of the holidays, and is based on an ancient German goddess who checks to make sure children are happy, healthy, and festive during the twelve days of Yuletide.” When Hartman started the project it was just to teach her son, but the project has grown and attracted international attention. She now intends to not only publish it and make it available through Amazon but also has negotiated with several retail stores to carry it. Additionally, she is looking to make it the first in a series of children’s books that explore the various Pagan holidays and celebrations. Hartman also has the site Pagan Kids: A Norse Pagan Resource.
- A new, unofficial association of Pagans, Witches, and other magical and spiritual people have formed the Cenla Association of Witches in Alexandria, Louisiana. Their unofficial mission is to let others of like know they are not alone and “to bring magic and beauty into the world.” The group held their first event over the weekend, a magical market that was so well attended a number of the participants sold out of the various items they had for sale. They plan to hold quarterly magical market events moving forward.
- Lilith Dorsey, M.A. in collaboration with Jason Winslade, Ph.D. launched the first episode of their new show, Pop Occulture, which is focused on the presence of the occult in popular media and culture. Dorsey and Winslade will be exploring how occult practices and themes end up manifesting in popular culture and media, but also will examine “the tropes, tragedies and transformations of the mysterious, weird and occult world.” Their first episode introduces listeners to their combined backgrounds, both academically and magically, as well as outlining some of the examples of “Occulture” they will be delving into in future issues. They plan to air new episodes twice a month.
- Peru recently reopened many of its archaeological sites like the pre-Incan ruin of Pachacamac that had been shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of their most recent finds is the 120-foot-long image of a cat etched into a slope in the UNESCO heritage site, Nazca Lines. The site is made up of hundreds of gigantic geoglyphs that are found all over the 250-square-mile area. This latest find displays a cat, with a long body, striped tail, and pointed ears. Many new geoglyphs have been discovered by employing the use of drones since the geoglyphs can only be seen from above. The Nazca Lines have been closed to visitors since March, but are scheduled to be reopened on November 10.
Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte
Deck: Ghosts & Spirits Tarot, by Lisa Hunt, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Card: Major arcana, 11, Justice (Snow Ghost)
Energetically, this week holds the potential for the proverbial chickens coming home to roost. Be mindful of the expanse, or “rippling effect,” actions can have. The best path forward is to be “just and fair” in decisions being considered, as well as the impact those choices may have on others.
Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.