It was announced last week that blues musician and activist JD Taylor has died. Taylor was known to the Bay Area Pagan community, performing at the Berkeley Pagan Festival, PantheaCon, and Elderflower. Although she wasn’t Pagan herself, Taylor was heavily involved in regional “women’s and LGBT activist communities.” As noted by the Bay Area Reporter, “some would remember Ms. Taylor as the small woman who was the subject of a photo showing her being beaten by a very large SFPD officer during the Castro Sweep police retaliation in the Castro on October 6, 1989.” Taylor was born in New Jersey in 1946, moving to San Francisco in 1975.
This past Saturday the 1st Annual Conference on Earth-Based, Nature-Centered, Polytheistic & Indigenous Faiths was held in California at the Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco. Organized by the Pagan Alliance, and co-sponsored the Circle of Dionysos, Solar Cross Temple,Institute for Transpersonal Psychology, CAYA coven and the Earth Medicine Alliance, the theme for the one-day conference was “Gender & Earth-Based Spiritualities” and featured Vicki Noble as keynote speaker. While sparked by issues arising from an incident of transgender exclusion at a public women-only ritual during the 2011 PantheaCon in San Jose, the conference itself opened itself up to a much wider-ranging discussion concerning gender within modern Paganism. Here are some reflections shared with me by conference chair and Pagan Alliance president JoHanna White. “The Conference went remarkably well. It was well attended for a first year Conference on a cold day in SF.
This past Saturday in Berkeley, California was the one-day conference TheurgiCon, an intensive that focuses on the practice of theurgy, the use of magic and ritual to invoke (or evoke) the gods. This year’s line-up included Tony Mierzwicki, Brandy Williams, Don Frew, Diana Young, and Sam Webster. COG (now on Facebook) members Rachael Watcher and Greg Harder were there on behalf of the Pagan Newswire Collective to cover the event. First, here’s an interview with TheurgiCon founder and organizer Glenn Turner (who also founded PantheaCon).
Here’s their report on TheurgiCon.
I’m sure many of you have already read about this on Boing Boing yesterday, but in case you haven’t, West Marin Witch the Rev. Joey Talley (who can apparently help you with your alien and shark problems) made the news after being booted from a local farmers market. “After spending the past six summers giving free tarot readings beneath the redwood trees of Bolinas Park, the Rev. Joey Talley, the “Good Witch of West Marin,” has come to think of herself as a part of the Fairfax Farmers Market. Managers at the Marin Farmers Market see things differently. The organization, which operates eight farmers markets throughout the Bay Area, says Talley has never applied to work as a vendor or entertainer at the Wednesday night market, and they’ve asked her to leave.” Kicked out!
Four recent news reports tie into two larger stories, the first is the issue of Pagan burial space, a matter that will become more prominent as the Baby Boomers travel further into their retirement years. There are already dedicated spaces in Wisconsin and Washington in America, and an Asatru-dedicated space in Denmark. Now we can add at least two more, an Asatru space in Norway, and a Pagan-inclusive interfaith woodland burial park in the UK. “Leaders of 11 faiths travelled to Beaconsfield to dedicate the largest woodland burial park in the country yesterday. Set in ancient woodlands off the A40, the £3.2 million Chilterns Woodland Burial Park at Potkiln Lane opened in October and so far around 40 people are buried there.