The Celebration of World Goddess Day

Today has been declared World Goddess Day. As described by the organizers, it is a day for all Goddess-worshiping people worldwide to come together and openly celebrate or pay tribute to the Goddess in all her forms. The website says, “The purpose of the Project is [to] grant to the Goddess one day of visibility to share Her many myths, stories and worship diversity.” The World Goddess Day project was founded by Brazilian author Claudiney Prieto, who has written a number of popular books on Wicca and Witchcraft. Prieto is a priest of the Dianic Nemorensis tradition in Brazil and was recently acknowledged by Z. Budapest for his spiritual work within that tradition. As he writes on the project’s website:
Nowdays, in a staggered society impaired by centuries of patriarchy, heteronormativity and sexism, the Goddess is considered by many people the only way to reunite ourselves with the true Self, with our most inner Self.

Pagan Community Notes: Cara Schulz, Z. Budapest, COG’s Grand Council, and More!

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! Earlier this month I gave an overview of Cara Schulz’s candidacy for a city council seat in Burnsville, Minnesota.

A Brazil federal ruling states Candomblé and Umbanda are not religions

[Note: This article was updated to reflect changes in the case that were made public after publication. See below.]

BRAZIL — On April 28 a federal judge in Brazil stated as part of an official court ruling that “African-Brazilian cults are not religions” because their “religious events do not contain [the] necessary traits of a religion.” The ruling continues on to define these necessary traits as “a basic text (Quran, Bible, etc.), a hierarchical structure and a God to be worshiped.” (O Globo, 5-20-2014). In the opinion of Federal Judge Eugenio Rosa de Araujo, Candomblé and Umbanda do not meet that definition. The ruling was the outcome of a case filed by the Federal Public Ministry or Ministério Público Federa (MPF) in Rio Janiero. The MPF is the public prosecution office whose mission is “to promote … justice for the good of society and in defense of the democratic rule of law.”

The Unique New Year’s Festivals of Brazil and Cuba

Welcome, 2014! The calendar New Year may be the only holiday celebration that nearly the entire world experiences or collectively recognizes. Despite this universality, our New Year’s traditions are as diverse as our world cultures. Therefore this unique period of time offers the opportunity to witness and compare foreign practices that have a similar meaning and purpose to our own. This includes cultural traditions that are not normally in the global spotlight.

Humanizing The Religious Other: Pope Francis Takes A Step Forward

During his recent visit to Brazil, Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, did something unprecedented. The Pontiff met with a representative of the Candomblé faith, the first time a Catholic Pope has ever done so. “At odds since colonial times, Catholicism and Afro-Brazilian religions have embarked on a process of mutual acceptance. Pope Francis added words and gestures to this reconciliation of two groups that share a common interest: confronting the growth of evangelical and neo-Pentecostal churches. The photo of Francis wearing a “cocar” headdress given to him by Ubiraí, a Pataxó Indian, went around the world. Ivanir dos Santos, a “babalawo” or priest of the Afro-Brazilian candomblé religion, was also received by the pope in the Municipal Theatre of Rio de Janeiro as part of the rapprochement between the Catholic Church and other creeds and cultures during his Jul. 22-28 visit to Brazil.