Pagan Community Notes: Week of August 23, 2021

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TWH – Shortly after the news that the government of Afghanistan had collapsed and the Taliban had taken over control of the country, a subreddit in r/witchcraft titled “Max [sic] hexing of Taliban forces” drew notice from some more mainstream sources. The subreddit was supposed to read “Mass hexing” but the typo was not caught before it was posted.

The thread was eventually shut down to any more commenting by the moderators but not before over 128 people commented and 84% of the 438 people who viewed the post upvoted it.

Responses in the thread ranged from full support to those who suggested the Taliban itself was magically protected and of course comments from those who do not believe in performing hexes or curses.

However, the overwhelming majority were in support of either doing hex work directed at the Taliban or managing some type of protective work for both the people of Afghanistan as well as the many Americans and other allied nation members trapped within the country.

While the response to the thread was fairly small considering that over 255,000 Reddit members have joined the r/witchcraft community which identifies itself as, “A welcoming space in which to share knowledge, post resources, generate discussions, ask questions, and further the progression of witchcraft. Witchcraft is an amalgamation of all practices, performed in the preferred method of the individual practitioner. All are welcome, those who practice witchcraft and those who wish to learn.”

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Used with permission, courtesy of A Modern Traditional Witch blog.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – While some of the Witches on Reddit were debating ways to hex the Taliban, artist, and author Laura Tempest Zakroff published a sigil to help protect those seeking safe harbor and protection.

Her sigil titled, “The Refugee Safety Sigil,” was designed based on the principles outlined in her book Sigil Witchery and co-created during a virtual workshop she hosted last week that included more than two dozen people. The process used is highlighted in her diagram:

Zakroff explained, “The Refugee Safeguard Sigil is designed to help direct aid, resources, and positive attention to those in need of immediate assistance – as well as healing and resolution. It works well in tandem with other ways we can offer humanitarian aid to refugees.”

Used with permission, courtesy of A Modern Traditional Witch blog.

She also urges that the sigil is not designed to be the sole solution or a substitute for physical or mundane action but rather to be used in conjunction with such actions.

Zakroff also notes that while the creation of the sigil was inspired by the situation facing those in Afghanistan, and it can be used for any event where people are seeking safety from disasters, like for those in Haiti and those experiencing wildfires.

SALEM, Mass – Last week The Satanic Temple (TST) announced its four 2021 Devil’s
Advocate Scholarship winners. TST began offering the scholarship contest last year after a student wrote to TST for a letter of recommendation for a religious scholarship being offered at her school. When she did not manage to secure that scholarship, TST co-founder Malcolm Jarry felt inspired to offer a chance at a TST scholarship.

This year’s scholarships were in response to the reduction in creative programming like music, arts, and cultural offerings available to students.

Four students were each awarded a $666 scholarship based on their essay answers to a question. Ollie from a Texas elementary school who received a scholarship wrote about the aspects of school he dislikes, Julianna from Massachusetts wrote in the middle school/high school category and supplied a winning entry that broke down her dissatisfaction in percentages.

Two entries were awarded in the high school graduate/higher education category. Jacqueline from California was awarded a scholarship for her essay about how the “compulsory” school system made her feel and her deep disappointment in being forced onto an academic path and given little if any support by teachers.

And Cortney from Pennsylvania whose graphic art submission was titled, “You’ll Never Make Any Money Doing That” and featured a dark figure in a graduation cap and gown attempting to prevent the escape of the creative spirit of a student by sewing them into a mundane body.

In other news:

  • The Hudson County View reported last week that approximately twenty animals that included goats, pigeons, a rooster, a duck, and a box turtle were surrendered to Jersey City police in connection with an animal cruelty complaint. A neighbor had called police with a complaint of noise and offensive odors emanating from the property. Officers found both live and dead animals on the property of the residence. The animals were given over to be cared for by the Liberty Humane Society (LHS). Another article published by The Daily Voice alleges that there were also dead animals on the property and there was a connection to some form of Witchcraft. reported that “Authorities also found a number of dead animals in the small back yard. H. James Boor, of the Division of Environmental Health for Jersey City, said in an interview with NBC New York said they found ‘about four or five dead chicken carcasses, their throats slashed and they were left in a pile.'” It was also reported that one member of the household is alleged to have been in a video viewed online that discusses the Santeria religion and practices. While the sacrificing of animals is often a part of such practice and legally protected, the legality of keeping livestock and poultry within the city limits without permission and approval from the health department has brought greater scrutiny.

  • Last week, Ivan Cales, 56, set in motion his second appeal to overturn his first-degree murder conviction of Roxanne Houston a resident of Taos, New Mexico. Court records from the 2016 trial state that Cales murdered her because he believed she was a “witch,” and relied on testimony from a fellow inmate that Cales told him of cutting off the hands of a “witch.” Cales also possessed drawings and writings about “witch hunters” and “witch kills.” A writ of habeas corpus was filed with the Eighth Judicial District Court by Cales, but it is unlikely to succeed as it places a heavy burden of proof on the defendant and only a little over three percent of such filings are successful in overturning the original ruling. Cales is alleging that his counsel at the time negatively impacted his case by not allowing him to testify which resulted in a guilty verdict.

  • According to reporting by the BBC, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority issued a statement requesting visitors to “respect historical and archeological sites” and not take away chips of bluestones. Interest in sites like Stonehenge, Preseli Hills, Craig Rhosyfelin, and Carn Goedog have seen a marked increase in visitors and traffic since the BBC aired the program, Stonehenge: The Lost Circle Revealed. The program suggests that the bluestones present at Stonehenge may have originated in Preseli Hills in Pembroke and been part of a monument on that site before being moved to their current location. Dyfed-Powys Police rural crime team member, Kate Allen said, “A lot of people are coming from away in search of these sites, particularly Waun Mawn, because of the attention drawn by the programme. We just want to educate people and let them know the importance of these sites – they are thousands upon thousands of years old and we need to preserve them and not cause any damage. We’ve had people parking really irresponsibly. It’s not uncommon for them to light barbecues and recreational fires to keep warm.”

Positively Noteworthy

Last week a nest of baby loggerhead turtles on a beach in Italy hatched and made their journey to the sea. The nest of turtles, formally known by their scientific name as Caretta caretta, was previously unknown to researchers who track and study loggerhead populations.

According to James R. Spotila, author of  Sea Turtles: A Complete Guide to Their Biology, Behavior, and Conservation, loggerheads are important to the ecosystem and considered to be a “keystone species,” due to the fact that many other animals depend on them for survival.

The food sources for loggerhead turtles consist of a variety of invertebrates. A portion of the shells of the invertebrates they consume end up on the ocean floor, providing nutrition like calcium for other animals after passing through the turtles’ digestive systems.

While loggerhead hatchlings are often a food source for predators, full-grown turtles also provide a living habitat on their shells for over a hundred different species of animals that includes everything from algae to barnacles to crabs. They become, in essence, a living, swimming reef that supports a diverse ecology.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources lists the loggerhead turtle as “vulnerable” to possible extinction in the wild in the future, and within the U.S. the species is classified as “threatened” or likely to become endangered, in danger of extinction, within the foreseeable future. Only about 1 out of every 1,000 hatched loggerheads will survive to adulthood.

Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

Deck: Modern SPellCaSteR’s Tarot, by Melanie Marquis, Illustrations by Scott Murphy, published by Llewellyn Worldwide.

Card: Three (3) of Pentacles

This week may offer new opportunities in education, training, or employment with a focus on shared knowledge or achievement and accomplishment.

Conversely, all offers are not always equal. Failure to properly research an opportunity before accepting may result in a poor fit and dissatisfaction.

Decks generously provided by Asheville Pagan Supply.