U.K. — It is arguable that Doreen Valiente was one of the most influential women in British Wicca during the 20th century. A magical practitioner, writer, and recipient of a commemorative blue plaque on her home in the south coast city of Brighton – the only Witch in the world to be so honoured – Doreen’s legacy also lives on in the form of the Doreen Valiente Foundation. This foundation has now attained full recognition as a charity, providing an opportunity to look back at Valiente’s life, the work of the foundation, and its transition into charitable status. Valiente was born in 1922 in Surrey. She became interested in magic as a teenager, running around the household on a broomstick and being sent to convent school as a consequence.
TUCSON, Ariz. –In what could be the first gesture of its kind, members of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship’s (ADF) mother grove have committed to sponsoring American Forests in the name of the organization.The $1,000 donation comes personally from the board members, not the organization’s treasury, and Archdruid Jean Pagano has additionally committed to planting a tree for every new member that joins ADF in 2017. According to a statement released from the ADF offices: “American Forests was established over 140 years ago, and they have planted over 150 million trees since 1990 alone. In fulfilling our values as an organization to honor the Earth Mother and be of service to the land, ADF will be able to make a positive impact on our environment through this partnership.” The idea came from Rev. Jean “Drum” Pagano, who is now in his first year as archdruid.
UNITED STATES — Even as activists took to the streets to protest the results of the presidential election, others adopted a quieter approach that has been since dubbed “rage donating” or the giving money to organizations that support populations deemed at risk once Donald Trump takes office. A web site named RageDonate was quickly created to channel this very desire; each screen pairs a Trump quote with a donation button tied to a related cause. Reports from the offices of Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) indicate that those are perhaps the two most popular targets for post-election donations, although others also have benefited. On the season finale of Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver listed a number of other organizations that he believes could use extra assistance while Trump is in office. These include the National Resources Defense Council, International Refugee Assistance Project, the Project, and the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP.
TWH –This is the time of year when, in advance of the nearly-inevitable “real witch” stories that are written in October, many Pagans try to shape the public image of their religions by participating in local Pagan Pride Day events. While not all of these are affiliated with the Pagan Pride Project, that organization’s model is why the bulk of PPD celebrations take place in late summer or early autumn. Sanctioned events are expected to include press releases inviting media coverage, public rituals, and fund raising for a charitable cause. According to the Pagan Pride Project website, the rationale for a charitable component is:
A food drive or other charitable activity, to share our abundant harvest with others in need, and to make a clear statement to those who have misconceptions about Paganism. We know that our ethics, based on concern for ecology, personal responsibility, and individual freedom, mean that we feel strongly called to actions of social responsibility.
NOTTINGHAM, England –Members of the Nottingham Pagan Network organized an ongoing food drive to the feed refugees who have made it as far as England and any others in need in this storied city. The donations have been given to the food bank run by Himmah, described on its web site as “the first Muslim food bank in the U.K.” It’s interfaith cooperation which made the effort possible, according to Sarah Kay, spokesperson for the Nottingham Pagan Network. “NPN joined Nottingham Interfaith Council in 2014, and we were invited onto the committee to represent Pagans,” she explained. “We’re finding that many parts of mainstream society are becoming more aware of Paganism and want to see it represented properly and sensibly alongside the other faiths, especially in a city like Nottingham where Paganism’s profile has become more visible thanks to things like the Pagan Pride festival,” she said. “We think the basic concepts of interfaith are already active in the Pagan community since, as Pagans of diverse and sometimes contradictory religious faiths and practices, we are used to coming together with people of a different religious and spiritual outlook.”