Pagan Community Notes: Week of September 13, 2021

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Image credit: Dave Z – CC BY 2.0

TWH – On Saturday many remembered the attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon, and the crash of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania in 2001.

Memorial programs were held at the sites of the attacks and across the country, though to the rising number of cases of the covid Delta variant many of the annual events were restricted to small numbers of attendance.

Circle Sanctuary was one group that offered a variety of programming that focused on healing and acknowledging the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

Circle Sanctuary offered an encore broadcast with Selena Fox and Pagan Voices of 9/11 which first aired in September 2012. The program included a ritual of remembrance and healing followed by commentary from Pagans who had been impacted by 9/11.

Fox also reactivated the Pagans Healing Remembering 9/11 Facebook page, as well as conducting a remembrance at the start of Circle’s Community Day event, a ritual remembrance of Sgt. Patrick Stewart at Circle Cemetery, and a livestream from her own Facebook Page.

Each year, many individuals struggle to balance memorializing those who died. The mental health impact to survivors of the attacks in 2001 has been researched and tracked by a number of organizations which include the World Trade Center Health Registry which began tracking the 71,000 survivors of the disaster who enrolled in the registry between 2003 and 2004.

While the majority of survivors and witnesses to the events of 9/11 who experienced depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) recovered within six months, about 30% of those had ongoing mental health issues.

Researchers also found that those with closer ties to the disaster were at greater risk of experiencing depression or PTSD. The WTC Health Registry continues to do surveys of members enrolled and according to Robert Brackbill, director of research at the registry, “..between 8% and 10% report sufficient symptoms to indicate post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Among those who had a closer affiliation, such as working in the buildings, being a first responder, or someone who worked on rescue and recovery the percent was higher, between 17% and 18%.

The World Trade Center Health Program offers “no-cost medical monitoring and treatment for certified WTC-related health conditions to those directly affected by the 9/11 attacks in New York, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania,” as well as providing funding for “medical research into physical and mental health conditions related to 9/11 exposures.”

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Image credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

SALEM, Mass. – The City of Salem and the Salem Preservation Partners are hosting a two-day workshop titled, “Keeping History Above Water” that is focused on adapting to the impacts of climate change and preserving historic buildings, landmarks, and neighborhoods.

According to a report released last year by a major conservation group, the Trustees, as many as 600 buildings along Massachusetts’s north shore could experience daily tidal flooding by 2030, by 2070 that number could be as high as 3,100 structures being affected.

The workshop set for September 13 and 14 comes as both President Biden and a meeting of Christian leaders that included Pope Francis issued statements on the impacts of climate change and called for international action last week.

Biden’s statements came during his visit to New Jersey to survey the damage left by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. While Louisiana suffered major damage to power grids and widespread flooding and wind damage from Ida, New Jersey was heavily impacted.

“For decades, scientists have warned that extreme weather would be more extreme and climate change was here. And we’re living through it now,” Biden said.

“We don’t have any more time.”

The same day Pope Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby for the Anglican communion, and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of the Orthodox Church issued a rare joint statement that said, in part, “Today, we are paying the price [of the climate emergency] … Tomorrow could be worse.”

The statement was released ahead of the 2021 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, (COP26), scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland between November 1 – 12, 2021.

The joint statement also called on people around the world to pray for global leaders and individuals attending COP26 to consider “meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the planet, working together and taking responsibility for how we use our resources.”

The statement concluded with, “This is a critical moment. Our children’s future and the future of our common home depend on it.”

These statements also come on the heels of the United Nations releasing its most stark and dire statement on the environment last month.

In other news:

    • New research published in The Cambridge Classical Journal and reported by The Greek City Times examines the link between what is referred to as “stressed poetry” named for the emphasis placed on syllables, and modern poetry. Inscriptions examined on over 20 gemstones of some variety of chalcedonies like agate or onyx medallions that featured a popular and anonymous four-line poem that reads: Λέγουσιν; ἃ θέλουσιν; λεγέτωσαν; οὐ μέλι μοι which translates as “they say what they like; let them say it; I don’t care,” in some other versions the verse extended to include: σὺ φίλι με; συνφέρι σοι translated as, “Go on, love me; it does you good.” Professor Tim Whitmarsh, the author of the study, noted that the poem used a meter that differed from those usually found in ancient Greek poetry. Whitmarsh said, “You didn’t need specialist poets to create this kind of musicalized language, and the diction is very simple, so this was a clearly a democratising form of literature. We’re getting an exciting glimpse of a form of oral pop culture that lay under the surface of classical culture.” He continued, “We’ve known for a long time that there was popular poetry in ancient Greek, but a lot of what survives takes a similar form to traditional high poetics. This poem, on the other hand, points to a distinct and thriving culture, primarily oral, which fortunately for us in this case also found its way onto a number of gemstones.” Whitmarsh believes the reason the discovery was not made earlier because “These artefacts have been studied in isolation. Gemstones are studied by one set of scholars, the inscriptions on them by another. They haven’t been seriously studied before as literature. People looking at these pieces are not usually looking for changes in metrical patterns.” The findings could help provide an important link between the oral poetry and songs of ancient Mediterranean culture and today’s more modern forms.

    • A press release from FinanceBuzz said the company is seeking a horror movie fan for its “Halloween Horror Hustle.” The selected fan will help with research by watching 13 horror movies and record their heart rate during the process. The company is hoping to discover whether the budget of the movies has an impact on the overall thrills and chills a movie delivers to viewers. Some low-budget movies have become incredibly popular among viewers while also bringing huge box office receipts. They cite the 2007 Paranormal Activity as an example which was produced for around $15,000 but made over $190M at the box office. The Blair Witch Project is another independent film that initially cost under $60,000 to shoot with post-production costs rumored to be under $500,000 yet the revenue from the film was over $250M. FinanceBuzz is offering $1300, plus a $50 gift card to cover the cost of streaming. Whoever they select to be their “Horror Heart Rate Analyst” will also be equipped with a Fitbit so they can monitor reactions to the films viewed. Application submissions are being until midnight on September 26.

    • A new exhibit titled, “Toil & Trouble: Witchcraft in Scotland” features a variety of items from the collection at Aberdeen University that are used to tell the story of oppression, persecution, and gender violence that was prevalent during the “witch hunts” in Scotland between 1563 to 1736. In a statement to The Scotsman, Lisette Turner, a member of the curatorial team at Aberdeen University and was involved in the process of creating the exhibition, told the publication, “It was important to me to be able to convey the other sides of witchcraft through its history. People often have preconceived notions of haggard women on broomsticks or hexing their neighbours. There is so much more depth to the topic than that. We wanted to change that visual representation with this exhibition and focus more on the naturalistic side of the craft and how often it was that ‘common’ women found themselves in trouble when thought to have toiled in anything seen as unholy.” The exhibit is available for viewing online and includes a sandstone spindle whorl that is an example of everyday items used for defending against hexes or for causing them, as well as other holed stones, a prayer book owned by a man accused of being a wizard, iron collars, and historical written works.

      Positively Noteworthy

      A couple found a bee that could not fly and decided to save her. The video story of their adventures and friendship highlights the impact one small creature can have. Another video from a woman in Inverness, Scotland from several years ago shows a similar adventure.

      Bees and other pollinators are extremely important to the biosphere. 75% of the food crops from around the globe are dependent on pollination for sustained production. The World Bee Project is one of the groups conducting ongoing research and data to help improve the prospect of bee survival and their ability to thrive.

      Established in 2014, The World Bee Project incorporates artificial intelligence to help collect better data and information for hive management while also striving to improve the health and overall wellbeing of bees and other pollinators. The organization also partners with a variety of private and public institutions that range from computing technologies to agriculture and landscaping to research and bee management.

      Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

      Deck: Wizards Tarot, by Barbara Moore, illustrations by Mieke Janssens, published by Llewellyn Publications.

      Card: Major arcana (XIX), The Sun

      The week ahead may offer up a clear vision for what lies ahead and has the potential to be infused with optimism, confidence, and even joy. Memory banking some of the positive vibes for a future rainy day seems like a proactive plan to help offset a future disappointment.

      Conversely, feeling burned out, depressed, or being plagued with doubt can all be factors. Getting out in the sunshine and fresh air may serve to provide some relief.

      Decks generously provided by Asheville Pagan Supply.