TWH – The Troth announced Tuesday that Freya Aswynn, a longtime member and elder, violated its inclusiveness policies and was removed from the organization. In a public statement, the High Rede explains: “Aswynn was observed making remarks on social media which belie the spirit of inclusiveness the Troth strives to foster.” The board said that it tried to intervene privately but Aswynn’s posts allegedly continued with “increased islamaphobic rhetoric,” as described in statement, which is available on the Troth site. “The High Rede of the Troth must honor our oaths and condemn this behavior,” the board writes, “[We have] determined that our relationship with Freya as an elder is no longer appropriate, and we have rescinded her status as elder and have terminated her lifetime membership.” The decision has led to intense social media debates.
TWH – Today marks Memorial Day in the United States. It is a day to honor the many men and women who have died in military service. The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs together reportedly state that over “1.2 million people have died fighting for America during its wars dating back 241 years.” The VA has a breakdown of the losses per conflict since the American Revolution. In a 2016 blog post, Druid John Beckett wrote, “Let us remember our warrior dead. Let us remember those who answered the call to do what had to be done and who sacrificed all they had. It is right and good to celebrate their courage and valor.”
Many Pagans, Heathens and polytheists have served or are serving in the U.S. military, and still others are members of military families.
BOSTON – In March, Senator Elizabeth Warren sent an email to her supports that was titled “Murder, drugs, and pagan rituals.” Warren begins, “If you believed everything you read on the internet, you’d know that I was a serial killer who participated in [P]agan rituals to honor the gods of wind and fire. . . . These stories that snake through the sewer of the internet have popped up all over Facebook, Twitter, and Google over the past year – and they’re getting worse.”
The Open Halls Project has announced that “the Department of Defense has requested, reviewed and accepted [its] Heathen Resource Guide for Chaplains.” For over seven years, the Open Halls Project, headed by Josh and Cat Heath, has been working diligently to have Asatru and Heathen added to the U.S. Army’s religious preference list. During that process, as Josh Heath explained, his working group was asked to “produce a document explaining the basics of Heathenry.” Heath said, “We produced a document for him modeled on the Army Chaplain’s Handbook excerpt for Wicca. This basic framework assisted us in developing information that was generally applicable to the largest amount of Heathens possible.”
Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started! Yesterday was the funeral for slain teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.