Pagan Community Notes: Wendy Griffin, Allegations in Canada, Athens Pagan Pride, and more

LONG BEACH, Calif. — It was recently made public that author and teacher Wendy Griffin suffered a major stroke. After the announcement was made public, friends began lighting candles and offering prayers. While her condition is designated as critical, Cherry Hill Seminary administrators reported yesterday that she is showing signs of awareness.  In a post, they said, “Wendy seems to have rallied slightly the last few hours … Her first smile since the stroke was when told about requests for healing going out to lists like this one.” Specific details on her condition are still not available to the public.

CAYA’s public statement leaves more questions than answers

SAN FRANCISCO –When leaders of Come As You Are coven (CAYA) released a statement last month announcing that presiding high priestess Yeshe Rabbit had resigned her membership during an investigation into allegations of abuse at her hands, a storm of online discussion ensued. Several former members of CAYA affirmed their experiences, while other individuals staunchly defended Rabbit’s character. This week, members of four other Pagan groups in the Bay Area (Solar Cross Temple, Strong Roots and Wide Branches, Coru Cathubodua, and Black Rose Witchcraft) released a joint statement of solidarity with the alleged victims. The statement reads in part, “We have watched with concern as word of this misconduct has spread.” They go on to call the handling of the situation and the reported lack of public clarity or of accountability by “spiritual leaders” and Matthews as “dismissive” and “unacceptable.” The entire statement is available on Facebook. The group ends the statement:
We, the undersigned, believe and support those survivors who have come forward.

Kenny Klein convicted on child pornography charges

NEW ORLEANS — An Orleans Parish jury found musician and Blue Star priest Kenny Klein guilty of child pornography charges yesterday. The verdict was for possessing one count of pornography involving a juvenile under the age of 13, and 19 counts of possession with intent to distribute pornography involving juveniles under the age 17. When he is sentenced Apr. 20, the penalty could be from 105 to 420 years in prison if imposed successively. When news broke of Klein’s arrest in 2014, it rocked the Pagan world.

Marion Zimmer Bradley, Abuse, and Cautionary Tales

[Trigger Warning: This post discusses the sexual abuse of children.]
When I first embraced modern Paganism I read “The Mists of Avalon” by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and it was considered essential reading by many Pagans I met at that time. Plus, in the pre-Internet age this revisionist Arthurian drama that introduced feminist and Pagan themes was widely rumored to be written by someone who was, if not Pagan herself, deeply enmeshed with individuals from the Pagan community (and this turned out to be true). So, as a consequence, Pagans widely considered Bradley to be “one of us.” This was further reinforced more recently when I started interacting with the West Coast Pagan scene, and various individuals would privately tell me about their own interactions with the author. When Bradley died in 1999, few could deny the huge impact she had, down to the individuals who tattooed themselves as the priestesses and priests did in “Mists.”