Pagan Community Notes: Week of June 20, 2022

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TWH – Today the sunrise at 5:13 am EDT marked the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere and the Solstice around the globe. As TWH noted yesterday, the sunrise from Stonehenge was livestreamed for viewers anywhere in the world. Thousands of people turned out for the first time in two years to celebrate the sunrise and Summer Solstice.



There was a much smaller and more sedate crowd at Glastonbury Tor this morning.

In honor of the beginning of the season enjoy this performance in praise of the oak trees and summer, Ozoliņi (Oaks) performed by Latvian artists: Auļi, Suitu sievas, Suitu vīri, Suitu dūdenieki, Ilža, Otto Trapāns, Tarkšķi, and Vilkači.

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Image credit: Kern8 – Public Domain

BELFAST, Northern Ireland – Art sculptures that depict mythological creatures or deities seem to be having all manner of difficulties in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Last year, a proposed art installation of a sculpture depicting a Púca by artist Aidan Harte received so many complaints County Clare Council in the Republic of Ireland chose not to install it.

Now a statue of Cernunnos placed in Royal Hillsborough Forest Park has recently drawn over a dozen complaints. Some of the complaints characterized the statue as “a huge green demonic figure” and “monstrous and grotesque,” as well as objecting to its Pagan origin and connection to Witchcraft.

According to statements by the City Council, “Extensive public consultation on the project has taken place both before and after the recent pandemic. Presentations were made to local church groups, schools and community groups. Public displays were in place at Hillsborough Forest in January 2020 and again in January 2022. Alterations were then made based on the feedback received from the public.”

While there have been calls to remove the statue but there is no clear indication that will happen. It is likely that much of the confusion over the Cernunnos figure, which was the first to be installed, will be resolved once the signs that will allow visitors to access information digital about each statue are in place.

The statue is one of ten that are scheduled to be installed throughout Forest Park’s trails and linked to a digital app that visitors can use to learn about the relevance of each statue. Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council received funding for the project from the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Tourism Scheme.

The City Council describes the project as, “This new trail is a welcome tourism opportunity for visitors from across the world as they enjoy the experience of visiting Royal Hillsborough with all it has to offer in terms of heritage and hospitality as well as local retail. The app is also anticipated to include discounts and incentives to visit other parts of Royal Hillsborough and promote other parts of the Northern Ireland tourism offer.”

It has been reported the cost of the project according to reports was over £700,000 and is slated to be completed by July 2022.

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Imaged credit: Txllxt TxllxT – CC BY-SA 4.0

LONDON – As the scrutiny over Indigenous art and cultural artifacts being held in the collections of museums around the world continues, the British Museum saw a protest this past weekend over the Parthenon Marbles. The advocacy group the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM) organized the protest.

Saturday’s protest coincided with the 13th anniversary of the opening of the Acropolis Museum in Athens. British museum authorities have previously stated part of the reasoning for their refusal to return or repatriate the marbles was because Greece did not have a proper place to display them.

There has been increasing pressure on various governments to return art and artifacts that are culturally important and that were obtained as a result of colonization or other equally unsavory means to their countries of origin. As TWH reported last week, Belgium’s King Phillipe recently returned a ceremonial mask to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Other countries, like the Netherlands, have created guidelines to determine which artifacts their museums and institutions might hold that were obtained via colonization, and the process for returning them to the Indigenous lands and people they were taken from.

While the issue of the marbles between Greece and Britain as yet remains unresolved, there does appear to be growing support for their return. According to a report by The Guardian, at least six United Kingdom lawmakers expressed to the Greek daily paper, Ta Nea, their support for reuniting the marbles in Athens. A majority of the British public also supports returning the marbles to Greece, as has been demonstrated in opinion polls going back to 2014.

George Osborne, the chairman of the British Museum has recently made statements that possibly reflect a shift in the attitude of the Trustees of the British Museum. Osborne said in an interview that a “deal is to be done where we can tell both stories in Athens and in London if we both approach this without a load of preconditions, without a load of red lines… Sensible people could arrange something that makes the most of the Parthenon marbles but if either side says there’s no give at all, then there won’t be a deal.”


In other news:

      • News editor, Star Bustamonte made an appearance on Witch Hat Chats this past Sunday to talk about the importance of community-supported news, and the upcoming Mystic South Conference in Atlanta next month. Bustamonte is also the director of the conference and serves alongside the six other board members who make the event possible. This will be the first time the conference has been held since the pandemic forced its cancellation in 2020 and 2021.

      • “Sesame Street” video footage from an episode in the 70s that featured Margaret Hamilton in her iconic role as the Wicked Witch of the West has been recovered and is now viewable online. The episode only aired once before and was deemed to be too scary and ultimately shelved. A small portion of the episode was previously released in 2019 at a Jim Henson exhibit, but now the entire segment is on YouTube.

    Positively Noteworthy

    Aidan Harte’s Púca sculpture is finally going to its new home, the Michael Cusack Centre in Carron. The statue was originally commissioned by Clare County Council for the village of Ennistymon in Ireland in 2021.

    However, images of the sculpture were leaked online to the public and it received a number of negative reactions. This resulted in the Clare County Council halting the project and initiating a “public engagement process,” as TWH reported last year.

    The installation of Harte’s Púca will be unveiled on Saturday, at noon local time at the Michael Cusack Centre. Harte recently spoke about the past trials and tribulations of the Púca, as well as its future on The Ray D’Arcy Show earlier this month.

    Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

    Deck: Houseplant Tarot, by Minerva Siegel, illustrated by Andrea Campos, published by Ulysses Press.

    Card: VIII (8) of Flowering Plants (Wands)

    The week ahead will very likely move at a rapid pace, requiring attention to detail and the ability to move with the flow. Success lies in the ability to use the forward momentum to one’s advantage.

    Conversely, attempts to slow down or resist the coming shifts and changes are unlikely to yield the hoped-for results.

    Decks generously provided by Asheville Pagan Supply.

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