Asheville, North Carolina – A Gardnerian coven recently posted a video of its 1996 public Samhain ritual that it claims was made by local police. The video is one of an estimated 100 surveillance videos that the Asheville Police Department recorded of various political rallies and religious gatherings since the early 1980’s.The High Priestess of Oldenwilde Coven says the lack of transparency and accountability, on the part of the local police department with regards to the tapes, combined with the chilling effect knowing that this was happening, is a cause for concern. http://youtu.be/ILBEGKlrhaU
Over the past 30 years the Asheville police department has regularly video taped tax rallies, environmental protests, and street preachers. The practice of video taping by police came to light when a local newspaper, The Citizen-Times, filed a Freedom of information Act lawsuit to make the tapes public. Oldenwilde Coven, however, has known about the tapes since sometime before 2008.
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 team behind getting Starhawk’s novel “The Fifth Sacred Thing” turned into a feature film have announced that they are seeking volunteers to become a part of their new guild production system (one that takes its inspiration from the book).
For over a year, Dixie Deerman (aka Lady Passion), a Wiccan from Asheville, North Carolina, has been a driving force in trying to save a century-old magnolia tree from being cut down by local developers. The tree has become a galvanizing issue in Asheville, gaining support from local environmentalists and community members, and being used as a political football in City Council elections. Recently, Lady Passion and others had been keeping a 24/7 vigil at the tree in order to protect it.Lady Passion under the magnolia tree.”The Magnolia Tree has become a modern-day Liberty Tree. Citizens of every description — wealthy and homeless, developers and Earth Firsters, seniors and teens, Christians and Pagans, liberals and conservatives, even the mayor, several councilpersons and the police chief — have stopped by to “sit a spell,” share their troubles caused by corrupt government and a collapsing economy, and give us their heartfelt thanks for what we are doing. Many leave offerings for the tree, which seems to exert a magically peaceful aura — partly because, as conservative councilman Carl Mumpower noted when he visited the tree, magnolia bark is known to have anti-depressant qualities.