Pagan Community Notes: Buckland Museum, Newgrange and Stonehenge to livestream solstice sunrise, more monoliths and other news

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CLEVELAND – The Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magic announced last week that it is now offering memberships.

Museum director, Steven Intermill said of the decision, “It’s just something guests have been asking for since we opened. It’s a nice way to raise some funds while also having our guests feel like they are part of what we are doing here. The membership card is very fun, designed by our friend Cat Celebreeze, a master of the laminated arts.”

The cost for membership is $50.00 and includes unlimited free admission for cardholders, as well as 10% off all online purchases; store purchases; and admission to events hosted by the Buckland Museum, both online and when they can be held in person. Membership is limited to U.S. residents.

Members will also get a year’s worth (4 issues) of the Circlet, the Museum’s official magazine which is published on the equinoxes and solstices.

Intermill said that response to offering memberships so far had gone, “Surprisingly well! Hard to gauge interest in things these days, but it has taken off.”

He added, “I’ve had people sign up saying that it’s just a great way to support the museum, and others saying that they are going to take advantage of the free admission aspect and come visit all the time.”

One of the upcoming events the Museum is co-hosting with the Stephen Romano Gallery that has drawn considerable interest is an online, virtual artists’ talk with contemporary artists Josh Stebbins, Alexis Karl, Barry William Hale and Daniel Gonçalves discussing their participation in the exhibition “APPARITIONS.. specters, conjures and the paranormal …”

Intermill told TWH, “The latest show in our rotating exhibit space is fantastic, on loan from the Stephen Romano Gallery in NYC. The theme being ‘Apparitions’ it explores what’s just across the veil and features art from the 1600s to 2020. We can’t really chat with the artists from the far past short of a seance, but I’m thrilled to speak with the creators of the more recent pieces.”

Back in late August the Buckland Museum held a fundraiser for the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic (MWM) in Boscastle, Cornwall, and ended up raising a total of $1,767.63. Intermill was very enthusiastic about the response and expressed his appreciation for those who had supported the fundraiser. The Boscastle museum has been unable to re-open due to ongoing pandemic and COVID-19 restrictions.

In an interview with Nettle’s Craft – The Old Craft, MWM owner and curator, Simon Costin, said the museum hopes to be able to open on April 1 of 2021, and talked about the need to be creative in dealing with some of the difficulties facing the MWM.

One of the things the MWM has done was to create a new, limited edition magazine titled, Conjuration which they plan to publish new issues four times a year. The first issue sold out all 500 copies within 15 minutes. The MWM has also updated their website, introducing new items for sale, and begin using Instagram as way to connect with people interested in purchasing items to help support the museum.

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Image credit: Jimmy Harris – Flickr, CC BY 2.0

NEWGRANGE, County Meath, Ireland – In a statement released to the media last week, the Office of Public Works in Ireland confirmed the restrictions at the site for Solstice:

“The Office of Public Works’ annual Winter Solstice gathering at the Neolithic Passage Tomb of Newgrange on 21 December has been cancelled this year, due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

“The hugely significant Solstice Sunrise event is to be live-streamed from within the Chamber.”

Each year the rising of the sun on Winter Solstice draws hundreds of people to the site, though only a few who are selected by lottery, are allowed inside the chamber to witness it being illuminated with sunlight. This will be the first year in some time that chamber has been closed for viewing on the Winter Solstice.

Details on where to watch the live stream have not yet been released.

The visitor center for Brú na Bóinne which serves both Newgrange and Knowth re-opened last week after being closed to comply with restrictions due to the pandemic. The outside of Newgrange will remain open for visitors, but the chamber within will continue to be closed to the public.

According to reporting by the Irish Times, those who were entered in the lottery to be present in the chamber for 2020 will be added to the drawing for 2021 since a lottery drawing was not done.

Another UNESCO World heritage site to live stream the Winter Solstice sunset and sunrise is Stonehenge. Most years Stonehenge attracts a large number of people to watch the sunrise and sunset, but this year officials are urging the public to stay away due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

One advantage to the live streaming at both sites is that many people from all over the world, rather than just a few able to attend and fit within the space requirements, will be able to watch the sunrise over these historic sites.

 

In other news:

  • Angry readers responded to an article published by Witches & Pagans Magazine in Issue #37 covering Michael M. Hughes about his “Bind Trump” group and the work they have been doing which has been ongoing since February 2017. Hughes posted a picture of the first page of angry letters in the Bind Trump Facebook group and urged members of the group to support Witches & Pagans and subscribe if they could. Some vehemently expressed their opposition to magic being used for political purposes, while others intimidated the magazine with subscription cancellations.  Editor Anne Newkirk Niven responded in the current issue (#38), “Dearest Readers, We received quite a bit of mail about our interview of Michael Hughes The Binding of Donald Trump in issue #37. We stand by our interview but felt that fairness required that we share the objections of people who wrote to castigate us. What follows is a representative sample of those letters.(We really don’t have space for them all.)”
  • New paintings on cliff faces dated to the beginning of the neolithic era have been discovered in the Amazonian Rainforest. The discovery is so new it does not even have a name yet. The cliffs have tens of thousands of paintings that depict all kinds of animals including such prehistoric beasts as mastodons, giant sloths, ice age horses, and palaeolama, an extinct member of the biological family of Camelidae which includes llamas and alpacas. Archaeologists used the types of animals drawn to determine the age of paintings. Mastodons were known to exist roughly 12,000 years ago. The paintings cover over eight miles of the cliff sides and show more than just animals. They also feature depictions of people dancing, holding hands, and even include images of a person wearing a bird-like mask. A British-Colombian team, led by José Iriarte, professor of archaeology at Exeter University and a leading expert on the Amazon and pre-Columbian history, and was funded by the European Research Council. They made the discovery last year, but it has been kept secret due to a documentary due to be released in December: Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon. Iriarte said of the site, “When you’re there, your emotions flow … We’re talking about several tens of thousands of paintings. It’s going to take generations to record them … Every turn you do, it’s a new wall of paintings. We started seeing animals that are now extinct. The pictures are so natural and so well made that we have few doubts that you’re looking at a horse, for example. The ice-age horse had a wild, heavy face. It’s so detailed, we can even see the horsehair. It’s fascinating.”
  • In the latest chapter of the ongoing mystery of “monoliths” that appear, disappear, and then reappear on the other side of the globe, there have been two new appearances since last week. Shortly after a monolith that appeared in Utah vanished, and then a new one was reportedly sighted in Romania, yet another was found on the top of the Pine Mountain trail in an Atascadero park, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, California. Unfortunately, according to a report by the Associated Press, a group of young men seen in a video posted online drove five hours to pull the monolith down while chanting “Christ is king” and “America First.” One man also is heard saying to the camera: “We don’t want illegal aliens from Mexico or outer space.” Just today yet another monolith was reported on Wight Beach off the southern coast of England. According to a report by the BBC, “an anonymous collective called The Most Famous Artist has taken credit for the monoliths in Utah and California. It posted an image of the Utah monolith on Instagram, with a 45,000 US dollar (£34,000) price tag. However, when asked about the Isle of Wight structure, it said: ‘The monolith is out of my control at this point. Godspeed to all the aliens working hard around the globe to propagate the myth.'”

 

Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

Deck: Modern Witch Tarot, by Lisa Sterle, published by Sterling Ethos, and imprint of Sterling Publishing, Inc.

Card: Two (2) Swords

The week ahead offers opportunities for honest evaluation of how issues are perceived. The potential for refusing to see the truth of a situation, not thinking logically, or being “stuck in analysis paralysis” could be underlying themes. Clear vision and thinking will be required in decision-making in order to move forward and effectively address any pending issues.

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.