WASHINGTON – Last Thursday during the United We Stand Summit at the White House, President Biden announced both new and renewed measures to combat hate that included those attacks aimed at people of faith.
While a variety of faith groups and religions were represented at the summit, there was one glaring omission–no Pagan or Pagan-adjacent representatives were in invited to speak or were even recognized as a part of the larger faith-based communities. Among the faiths represented were Catholic, Evangelical, Hindu, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism.
There were a several interfaith organizations, but again, none that specifically recognize or included Pagan and Pagan-adjacent faiths with the exception of Jordan Dresser, Chairman of the Northern Arapaho Tribe.
This is nothing new as it were. Actual Pagans, despite appearing to be greater in number than even Unitarians, Sikhs, or even Wiccans in samplings from the most recent Pew Research survey, are rarely if ever included in official government faith events.
Granted the above graphic notes a much higher percentage of error for smaller faith groups, but the numbers of Pagans overall has grown in the past decade and shows no signs of slowing down as more and more people seem to be moving away from other mainstream faiths.
Perhaps this is the result of many Witches and Pagans opting to fly beneath the radar, but whatever the reason, decisions that involve faith communities rarely, if ever, provide a seat at the table for Pagans.
Nearly five hours of the United We Stand Summit is available online via The White House’s YouTube channel.
ASTANA, Kazakhstan – The 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions took place in the capital city of Astana, formerly named Nur-Sultan. Among the things that the roughly 100 delegations representing majority faith communities from 60 countries agreed to in their declaration at the close of the two-day event was to work towards a better world.
The declaration they adopted will be presented to the 77th session of the U.N. General Assembly which began on September 13, and with the High-Level Week taking place on September 19-23 in New York City.
One of the most relevant takeaways of the declaration for Pagans and those who are Pagan-adjacent was the adoption of religious pluralism and tolerance:
10. We note that pluralism in terms of differences in skin color, gender, race, language and culture are expressions of the wisdom of God in creation. Religious diversity is permitted by God and, therefore, any coercion to a particular religion and religious doctrine is unacceptable.
In theory, this is a good sign. Whether or not it is adopted in actual practice remains to be seen, as well as whether or not it is applied evenly to minority beliefs and practices.
Another takeaway was item fourteen which at the very least recognizes the importance of science, medicine, and technology even if the statement is tempered with a desire to interject religion.
14. We welcome the progress made by the global community in the fields of science, technology, medicine, industry and other areas yet note the importance of their harmonization with spiritual, social and human values.
Among the other 35 points in the declaration are several references to equality as it pertains to women’s rights, the wealth gap, and respecting the rights of others as well as their spiritual beliefs and practices.
There were also numerous points that called for peace and taking steps to avoid or end aggressions, wars, and other violent conflicts around the world.
A Halloween-themed 5-k run in Tequesta Florida publicized its event recently with a problematic backstory. The backstory states that Justin, a 9-year-old camper at the event site, Camp Tanah Keeta, had been found “mangled, near the shoreline of the camp’s main lake.” As part of the fictional story, “One of the camp counselors attempted to track down Justin shortly after he left, but his foot prints disappeared into the brush. It wasn’t until the following morning that Justin was located. While many people suggest that Justin must’ve been attacked by a wild animal, Wiccan markings on his body make that hard to believe.”
The Wild Hunt contacted the event organizer Chirs Harris: “The backstory offered by the website appears to suggest that the victim “Justin”, was the subject of human sacrifice by Wiccans. Does the Reservation endorse this backstory?”
Mr. Harris explained that “We were using Wiccan in a way synonymous to Witch. Basically, we were imagining a Hocus Pocus type of story, where the witches sacrificed the kids as a way to regain their youth.”
TWH noted that “Wicca is a faith, and the statement is not unlike writing ‘Jewish markings on his body make that hard to believe.’”
Mr. Harris later responded “Thanks for explaining, Manny. We don’t want to contribute to a misunderstanding of Wicca, and will do our part by changing that description.”
The new backstory removes Wicca and any reference to Wiccans.
For those wishing to patronize a new ally, The Haunted 5K will take place on October 1, 2022.
- Circle Sanctuary will host the Welcome Fall Festival on Saturday, September 24 beginning at 9:30 am and running until 5:00 pm (CDT). The theme for this year’s celebration is “Gratitude: Reaping Your Inner Harvest” and will include workshops, nature walks, and ritual. There will also be a Dark Moon special workshop at 1:00 pm presented by Selena Fox that will be focused on release, healing, renewal, and gratitude. Pre-registration is required and more information can be found on their website.
Upcoming Pagan Pride Day Events:
- Fort Wayne Pagan Pride Day will be held this Saturday, September 24, and runs from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm (EDT) at the Conklin Pavilion in Shoaff Park, 6401 St. Joe Rd in Fort Wayne. The event will have a variety of vendors and workshops, three rituals, and a musical performance by Louis Garou and Krista Chapman Green. Admission to the event is free.
- Western Mass Pagan Pride Day will take place from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm (EDT) on Saturday, September 24 at Kirkland Plaza, 1 Kirkland Ave in Northampton Massachusetts. There will be a variety of vendors, live music, and workshops, and the event will culminate in a harvest ritual. Cash donations for Northampton Survival Center are requested in lieu of an entry fee.
- York Pagan Pride Day Festival sponsored by Keystone Pagan Alliance and Everlasting Myst, LLC will be held at Samuel S Lewis State Park, 6000 Mt. Pisgah Road in York, Pennsylvania on Saturday, September 24 from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm (EDT). Among the featured speakers are local author, Leandra Witchwood, and author, Michael R. Collins. Workshops topics include Jewish Witchcraft, Men in Witchcraft, Manifestation, and a drum circle. There is no entry fee but organizers request attendees bring a non-perishable food item to be donated by those that are able to do so, which will go to benefit H.O.P.E (Help for Oncology Patients and Emotional Support).
- Greater Chicagoland Pagan Pride will be held on Saturday, September 24 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm at Garfield Park, Picnic Groves at the corner of Hamlin and Madison in Chicago. The event will feature a number of speakers that include Raven Digitalis, Rev. Laura Gonzalez, Mambo Jae Marie, Robert Schwreiwer, and many more. The event also features live music and a number of vendors. The admission fee is a non-perishable food donation going to a local food pantry.
In other news:
- Cave art was discovered by archaeologists from the Decentralized Culture Directorate in Cusco (DDC Cusco) in a section of the Qhapaq Ñan or Great Inca Trail that crosses the Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu in Peru. The art discovered consisted of a set of images, that included abstract graphics with geometric shapes painted on different parts of a huge rock and believed to represent figures of camelids, and also the sun which was considered the most important deity for the Inca civilization. Other images could not be fully identified due to deterioration due to exposure to the elements. Researchers believe the find is part of a funerary shrine due to its proximity to the mountain and the Huilcamayo River both considered sacred, and the additional find of a skull, and femur bone.
- Evidence of human occupation has been discovered by archaeologist Janine Ochoa of the University of the Philippines Diliman and her colleagues, including members of the Indigenous Pala’wan community on the island of Palawan. Researchers have radiocarbon-dated remains of tools, mollusk shells, and the remains of other mammals to between 20,000 and 25,000 years ago. ““In fact, it has the best preserved Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) archaeological record from any site in the Philippine archipelago. There are not many LGM sites in the Philippines because many are likely submerged underwater when the coastlines and the sea levels were much lower during the LGM,” Ochoa said.
With Mabon and the Fall Equinox occurring in just a few days for those in the northern hemisphere, there is often interest in what areas the tapestry of color created by the changing fall foliage will be best. Many factors contribute to whether any given area sees vibrant colors as deciduous trees begin the shift to shedding their leaves.
The science of how leaves change color is a result of cooler temperatures resulting in trees and other foliage producing a reduced amount of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the substance that gives leaves their green color and allows for photosynthesis, the process that plants use to turn sunlight into glucose and meet their nutritional needs.
As chlorophyll production slows and is converted into other compounds, the presence of other chemical constituents in the leaves like, anthocyanins, carotenoids, and flavonoids become visible, recognizable by their colors, respectively, red, orange, and yellow. While the carotenoid beta-carotene and flavonoid flavonols are always present, the production of anthocyanin is increased and this helps both protect leaves and prolongs their presence on branches.
Seasonal displays with the best color are generally found in areas that received adequate rainfall throughout the year, and then see reduced temperatures through the fall that include sunny but not overly warm days and cool nights.
The Smoky Mountains website has produced a map that incorporates thousands of data points to produce a reasonably reliable leaf color change for the U.S.
It’s that time of the year again 🍁 This map can help you track when peak fall foliage will take place across the U.S.
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 19, 2022
Deck: Tarot of Pagan Cats, by Magdelina Messina, and artwork by Lola Airaghi, published by Lo Scarabeo.
Card: Ten (10) of Cups
The incoming week is likely to have a focus on emotional fulfillment in relationships of all varieties, and particularly those that are centered on the home. Spotlighted are those relationships that provide an equal amount of challenges balanced by rewards.
Conversely, what may appear to be a happy home or congenial arrangement from the outside could easily be a façade and not at all representative of the actual situation.
Decks generously provided by Asheville Pagan Supply.