Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were two of the most devastating hurricanes ever to hit the mainland United States. Each storm carried its own unique brand of destruction. Harvey smacked into southern Texas, then stopped moving, flooding the Houston area with 51.88 inches of rain before it finally dissipated. Irma, which some news stations reported as being over 300 miles wide, scaled up the west coast of the Florida peninsula, devastating the length of the state with winds that topped out at 185 mph. Both storms ravaged local infrastructure, flooded residents’ homes, and caused misery to all who had to endure them.
HOUSTON — “Texas has never seen an event like Harvey,” says FEMA Administrator Brock Long. The category 4 hurricane made landfall Friday 10 p.m., bringing sustained winds of 130 mph. It has since been downgraded to tropical storm, but that does not eliminate the dangers and threats to the region. “The storm is forecast to head southeast toward the Matagorda Bay and Gulf of Mexico where it will pick up additional moisture before sliding back over Galveston and Houston, cities it’s already hammered,” as reported by CNN. Due to the storm, Houston Pagan Pride Day (HPPD) was cancelled.
TempleFest, the annual summer festival of the Temple of Witchcraft, was held the weekend of July 29-31 in South Hampton, New Hampshire. The festival was hosted on a privately-owned farm deep in the hills of southern New Hampshire, and on a property guarded by red, white, and black masks of Hecate. Her guardianship seems completely appropriate in this place, which feels like a true crossroads between the everyday world and the world of all thing magickal. TempleFest’s theme is “Spirit, Community, Education,” and there was plenty of each on display throughout the weekend in the form of powerful rituals, mutual support for attendees of all experience levels, and an excellent array of classes and workshops. Approximately 370 attendees from the TempleFest community came together along with special guests to learn and grow, and to also have fun while challenging their minds and hearts.
NEW YORK — WitchsFestUSA, an annual Pagan festival held in the heart of New York City, was attended this year by Christian protesters. The noisy group, who stood all day on the corner of Astor Place, held up large signs calling for repentance and angrily yelling at the passing crowd. Despite the protesters’ presence, the Pagan festival kept to its program and ended on a high note. Now in its fifth year, WitchsFestUSA describes itself as an outdoor, Pagan street faire. Its mission is to “bring the community of witches or pagans together in general and enjoy who we are as such, while at the same time raising funds for The NYC Wiccan Family Temple acquire our own space of worship.”
[The Wild Hunt is pleased to welcome Tim Titus to our monthly team. Titus’ column will appear on the first Saturday of every month, beginning in August. He will be sharing his own perspective on life, community and religion. Check out his full bio for more on his work and interests.]
The notions of freedom and personal spiritual authority are driving factors that bring people into the practice of a Pagan religion. Many modern Pagan practitioners are fleeing the older, more dogmatic and hierarchical forms of religion offered by the mainstream in favor of seeking a spiritual practice that speaks to them and is controlled by them.