Pagan Community Notes: Week of July 25, 2022

MASKWACIS, Alberta, Canada – Today Pope Francis participated in the first event of what he has termed as the beginning of his weeklong “penitential pilgrimage” to tribal lands in the country to visit tribal elders and offer an apology for the actions of the Catholic church. Pope Francis used language in the address he gave today that far outstripped previous statements of apology he has made.

Francis began today by first visiting the Ermineskin Cree Nation Cemetery where he took time for a moment of silence, prayer, and reflection. He then attended a gathering of tribal members of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Indigenous peoples near the grounds of the former residential school. Five teepees have been erected in the space the residential school had occupied with one positioned where the entrance to the school stood.

Tribal singers and drummers shared their music as tribal leaders, wearing traditional dress, entered the event grounds before Francis addressed the crowd.

He began his comments with, “Today I am here in this land that along with its ancient memories, preserves the scars of still open wounds. I am here because the first step of my penitential pilgrimage among you is that, of again, asking forgiveness. Of telling you once more, that I am deeply sorry.”

He went on to repeatedly apologize for “the ways in which, regrettably, many Christians supported the colonizing mentality of the powers that oppressed the Indigenous peoples. I ask forgiveness in particular for the ways in which many members of the church and of the religious communities cooperated not least through their indifference in projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation.”

Chief Wilton Littlechild, a former commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, presented Francis with a traditional Indigenous headdress which he placed on the pontiff’s head after he had delivered his apology to those assembled.

While Francis called for “a serious investigation into the facts of what took place in the past and to assist the survivors of the residential schools to experience healing from the traumas they suffered,” tribal members want more than just an apology.

Survivors and leaders of Indigenous communities say they also want financial compensation, the return of artifacts sent to the Vatican by missionaries, support in bringing an alleged abuser now living in France to justice, and the release of records held by the religious orders that ran the schools.

There have also been calls for the Catholic Church to renounce 15th-century papal bulls, or edicts, that justified colonial powers taking away indigenous land.

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Cherry Hill Logo

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Dr. Graham Harvey, PhD. was featured in an hour-long program on Sunday presented by Cherry Hill Seminary (CHS) and sponsored by the CHS Votaries Alumni Group.

Professor Harvey is a noted U.K. scholar specializing in modern Paganism, Indigenous religions, and animism, and has authored several books on various topics that relate to Paganism.

Harvey spoke on a variety of topics on Sunday, which included addressing the differences in how animism practices are expressed in various Indigenous cultures, as well as how offerings and respect for living things vary depending on cultures.

He also discussed the intersection of earth-centric practices and the urban landscape, the perceived separation of nature, and a variety of his other experiences of his studies of Indigenous religions and practices.

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  • Circle Sanctuary will host its 2022 Green Spirit Festival, July 29-31 in person at Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve near Barneveld, Wisconsin. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Rejuvenation, Restoration & Rest” and the event will offer workshops, rituals, nature walks, Lammas Faire, a bonfire, and other activities. Advanced registration is required to attend and must be received by July 28. Rev. Selena Fox will also be livestreaming a workshop, “Into the Green: Renewal with Nature,” on July 30, at 1:30-2:30 pm CDT via Zoom.
  • The 2022 Australian Wiccan Conference announced its annual event will be taking place in person this year on September 16-18, and feature a variety of workshops, talks, and AWC’s Spring Ritual. The AWC has been an annual event for Witches of all paths since 1984. AWC was last held in person in 2019, prior to the pandemic.

In other news:

    • A new study published last week in the journal Antiquity outlined why researchers believe they may have identified the lost Parthian city of Natounia in the Zagros Mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. The mountain fortress of Rabana-Merquly matches much of the criteria for it being the ancient city of the Parthians. One of the features of the site is a sanctuary complex that would have contained a waterfall after heavy rainfall utilizing stone monuments to channel the water’s flow. Researchers also surmised that “with the prominence of water suggests a cultic link to the Iranian goddess Anahita.” Anāhitā is said to be a Goddess that nurtured crops and herds and was considered both as a divinity and the personification of the mythical river. She is also considered to be a syncretic goddess, one that combined separate beliefs or representations into one being. Her cult spread widely before being suppressed by the  Sassanid Empire.

    • A restaurant patron in southwest China noticed a set of footprints in the stone floor of the outdoor courtyard area. Paleontologist Dr. Lida Xing was among the experts called in to examine the footprints which were determined to be those of two dinosaurs known as sauropods that existed roughly 100 million years ago. Dr. Xing said that a 3D scanner was used to confirm the identification of the footprints. Sauropods were plant-eating dinosaurs that had small heads and long necks and tails, hatching out of eggs in size similar to that of grapefruit. The discovery of footprints allows researchers to gain a better understanding of how dinosaurs lived.

  • Positively Noteworthy

    The American Meteor Society (AMS) confirmed that a loud boom heard in south central Indiana on Friday was the result of a meteor entering the earth’s atmosphere. Meteors that can range in size from a softball to the size of a car and are traveling at a considerable velocity are referred to as “fireballs” due to the amount of light they produce.

    The AMS noted that we are in “Fireball Season” and the number of meteors entering the planet’s atmosphere is heightened this time of year. While fireball-classed meteors happen at a rate in the thousands each day, most escape notice due to their occurrence during daylight hours or in remote areas like over the ocean.

    According to the AMS, Friday’s fireball was reported by over 150 people, and reports spanned eight states. On Sunday night, more than 200 people reported seeing a fireball in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

    The opportunity to view meteors is likely to increase during late July and early August as both the Delta Aquariid and Perseid annual meteor showers are occurring. The peak of the Perseid meteor shower is on the evening of August 12 and into the morning of August 13, but the full moon on August 11 will make viewing more challenging.

    Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

    Deck: Joie de Vivre Tarot, by Paulina Cassidy, published by U.S. Games Systems.

    Card: Five (5) of Swords

    This week holds the potential for conflict and shines a spotlight on forces that are diametrically opposed. Choosing not to engage and examining motivations can provide insight into moving in a new direction and away from conflict.

    Conversely, those intent on promoting strife are likely to implement tactics of intimidation, malice, and falsely playing the victim.

    Decks generously provided by Asheville Pagan Supply.

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