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! Earlier this year, I reported on an emergency Pagan conclave in California to discuss proposed regulations by the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) relating to religious items allowed by incarcerated Pagans.
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. The Hellenic Council YSEE of America has sent out a press release criticizing an exhibition at the Onassis Cultural Center of New York entitled “Transition to Christianity.” According to YSEE the exhibition’s use of the term “pagan” to describe Hellenic religion is demeaning, and blasts the “ridiculous propaganda” that “attempts to hide the crimes that the Christians committed when they got into a position of power.” Quote: “…the exhibition at the Onassis Center and its message is neither new, nor strange. It is something that we experience on a daily basis through the continuing efforts of the theocratic institutions of the Christian church to propagate the lies about the so-called transition as a natural social evolution.” I’ve posted the entire press release, here.
To a certain extent, writing about PantheaCon in San Jose can in no way capture the energy and scope of the event. Friday has been a blur of reunions, meetings, conversations, missed connections, and intense socializing. For me, aside from the enjoyable time I had connecting with my co-religionists, Friday was a day of meet-and-greets. First, the Covenant of the Goddess meet-and-greet, where founders and new members convened, shared stories, and went over the history of the organization. Then, I had the pleasure of attending the joint Solar Cross / New Alexandrian Library meet-and-greet, where discussions of building Pagan infrastructure was a key element in several interactions.
A few quick news notes and updates for you on this Tuesday. Doctor Gonzales Speaks Regarding Native Blessing: Following the wave of criticism from conservative pundits regarding a traditional Native blessing given at a memorial service for those killed and injured in the horrific shooting in Tuscon, Arizona last week, Dr. Carlos Gonzales, the Pascua Yaqui Indian who gave the blessing, talks to CNS News to give some context. “I was asked by the university to give a traditional Native American blessing,” Gonzales told CNSNews.com late Thursday. “This is the type of blessing that we give at memorial services to open up a ceremony. A medicine man will do a variation of it to open up a pow-wow. It’s basically a recognition of the powers of the seven directions and how they influence human beings–and how each direction has a certain characteristic; that when you pray to that direction, you ask for the inspiration that comes from that direction.”
Gonzales noted that the blessing should not be confused with religion, that is was “more of a way of appreciating spirituality,” and the Pascua Yaqui Indians have been predominately Catholic for generations now.
A few quick news notes for you today. Trademarking the Gods: Video game company Nintendo just received permission from the Japanese Patent Office to trademark the name “Amaterasu” in relation to video games. And you thought it was bad when Nintendo filed to trademark the phrase “It’s on like Donkey Kong.” The Japanese Patent Office recently revealed that Nintendo trademarked the kanji “Amaterasu” as well as the katakana form in relation to video games. “Amaterasu” certainly seems to refer to the Shinto goddess, but the full name for the deity is Amaterasu Omikami. This name was not trademarked, as it’s unlikely that the Japanese Patent Office would allow Nintendo to copyright an actual god or goddess. While this may seem like no big deal to some, it could set a troubling precedent.