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. Pagan Community Notes is just one of the many regular features The Wild Hunt brings you to help keep you informed about what’s going on in our interconnected communities. If you appreciate this reporting, please consider donating to our Fall Funding Drive (and thank you to the over 200 supporters who have already donated). Now, on to the news…
Pagan prison chaplain Patrick McCollum has penned an open reaction letter in response to a New York Times article about a Southern Baptist Bible college located inside the Louisiana State Penitentiary.
Yesterday, Pagan learning institution Cherry Hill Seminary announced the launch of a new program, Pagan Life Academy, a series of low-cost lessons designed to bring Pagan values, ethics, and ritual to incarcerated Pagans. In explaining the rationale behind this new initiative, Executive Director Holli Emore said that “the prison experience can be a cauldron of transformation for many” and that they “hope that the newly-launched Pagan Life Academy will inspire others to design additional lessons and contribute to the series.” “For years and years, incarcerated Pagans across the country have been writing CHS to ask, no plead, for instructional materials. About three years ago I was talking to Patrick McCollum about prison ministry and he suggested that one of the best things we could do as a learning institution was to create a set of lessons. He advised that they should be printed to mail and be very low cost (most inmates work, but make only cents per hour and must buy most of their own toiletries). Meanwhile, the letters continued to come.
Several of our faculty raised their hand when I inquired about interest in working on such a project. This would be a labor of love, and it would mean learning about culture and systems largely unfamiliar to most of us. Several times we thought we were close to releasing a series, then were advised by someone closer to the penal systems to make changes. We are greatly indebted to Selina Rifkin, who created the concept for eight written lessons and wrote each of them, and who formally transferred her copyright to CHS as a gift. We also owe deep gratitude to Candace Kant, who began the process initially, to Annie Finch, who contributed a number of ritual chants, and, especially, to Wendy Griffin, who spent many hours as editor and advisor. Thank you, all, for your caring, and for contributing your talent to this growing, though out of sight, need in our community.” Each lesson and ritual costs $5, and is structured around the 8-spoked Wiccan/Pagan “wheel of the year.” Though the lessons are written so that they can be adapted to as wide a range of Pagan traditions as possible.
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. Director Robin Hardy plans to move forward with the third installment in a thematic trilogy that includes 1973’s “The Wicker Man” and 2012’s “The Wicker Tree.” Quote: “Wicker Man director Robin Hardy has revealed that he is moving ahead with new feature Wrath Of The Gods, which will complete a trilogy of ‘Wicker’ films. […] ‘I am just at the opening stages of financing it (Wrath Of The Gods) and hope to make it next year,’ said Hardy, who will also produce. The writer-director added: “The first two films are all (about) offers to the Gods. The third film is about the Gods.” Considering how long it took The Wicker Tree to get made, Hardy better hurry, he isn’t getting any younger. Meanwhile, the “final cut” of The Wicker Man is indeed coming to American theaters, though no official word on the blu ray release.
In September of 2011 Wisconsin-based Pagan prison chaplain Jamyi J. Witch was accused of participating in, and masterminding, a bizarre hostage scheme with the alleged goal of winning a transfer for her and an inmate. “The charges stem from a police investigation of an Aug. 10 incident in which Witch, a chaplain at the prison, claimed to have been taken hostage by an inmate. […] The inmate told Witch about being jumped by three men while he was in his cell on Aug. 7 and said he needed to get out of Oshkosh.
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! The Association of Correctional Food Service Affiliates (ACFSA) international conference in Reno Nevada is this week, and Pagan chaplain Patrick McCollum will be addressing them to give guidance about requests for special diets from Pagan inmates.