Column: An Interview With Dianne Daniels

There are many Pagans doing amazing things throughout the world. Dianne Daniels happens to be one of them. Daniels has currently taken on the intricate balance of holding the work of service within differing communities. This week 53 year old Daniels stepped into the highly public position of branch president within an historic civil rights organization, and she is also a practitioner of modern Paganism. Daniels, a Detroit born native now living in Connecticut, was just elected to the position of the NAACP branch president for its Norwich chapter. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a organization that was founded in 1909, and is considered to be the oldest civil rights organization in the United States.

Harvest Gathering offers New England bounty

ORANGE, Conn. — Harvest Gathering is not the only Pagan festival to welcome participants home upon arrival, but its staff put a lot of energy into the idea. The theme came up again and again over the course of the four-day event, and it was evident in the increasing spring in the step of many an attendee. How many harvest events open the first feast to all comers, whether or not they paid for the meal plan? This one does, and it not only helped this first-timer feel welcome, it set the tone of “harvest event” from the outset. Perhaps Harvest Gathering had exactly the right number of people in attendance, at 163, which is right around Dunbar’s number.

Prayers in the Face of Unspeakable Tragedy

Yesterday, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, after killing his mother, forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and opened fire killing 20 students, six staff members, and then himself. In the wake of this monstrous moment is a trail of emotional devastation, tragedy, anxiety, and anger. A wave of fear and sadness that now resonates through this country, on the eve of our collective Winter festivals, where family and community are prized.
It is moments like this that test our faith, that test our bonds of community, that test our ability to trust and function normally. It is a moment that shrivels metaphor, withers expansive hopes, that brings bluntness to poetry, as Pablo Neruda once evinced in his “I’m Explaining A Few Things.”

Discrimination? Poor Planning? Both?

A Cabot Witch* (The Rev. Rapid Cabot Freeman) is claiming religious discrimination in Connecticut after his local library canceled a planned Samhain ritual/presentation in their public community room.”Freeman, who said he reserved the room four months ago with librarian Barbaranne Warner, and who has been advertising the party on his public access television show – “The Witching Hour” – for the past six weeks, said he believes it is a matter of religious discrimination. He said he’d been planning the appearance since he spoke at the library about witchcraft last year and members of the audience asked him to give a demonstration. While the town has allowed everything there from Christmas parties to christenings, he said, they are banning him because he’s a pagan.”The event, while approved by the president of the Friends of Sprague Public Library, was nixed by the library’s First Selectman, Catherine Osten (after complaints by board of trustees members), on the grounds that Freeman didn’t follow proper procedure to reserve the space.”…Osten said, because the event was to be held not in the library proper but in the town community room upstairs, those planning it had to get a permit from her office to use the room. Since no one had sought a permit, or paid the $50 rental fee and the $50 cleaning deposit, she said, there would be no witchcraft there on Halloween. ‘This is about someone that doesn’t want to follow process,” Osten said.