CALGARY, Alb. – The Canadian National Pagan Conference (CNPC) Gaia Gathering celebrated a successful event in Calgary, Alberta over the Victoria Day long weekend May 19-22. The theme for this year’s conference was “Rhythm and Flow” and featured speakers not only from the Calgary area, but also across Canada as well. The genesis of this event came as a comment, made by Richard James of the Wiccan Church of Canada. In a post made to an email list maintained by the Pagan Federation Païenne Canada (PFPC), James asked: “Could it be that Canada is ready for a national Pagan conference?”
His question inspired two community leaders, Gina Ellis and Kit Morrison, to put the wheels in motion for the first Gaia Gathering (GG), which took place in 2004 in Edmonton.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — After the rise in reported cases of vandalism and threats made against U.S. Jewish Community Centers and temples, the Interfaith Partners of South Carolina (IPSC) took immediate action and reached out to the area’s Jewish community. Pagan priestess Holli Emore is on the board of IPSC and attended a February meeting between the organization and a local JCC management team. “As it happens, they are very worried, as nearly all JCCs are, about enrollment for the summer children’s programs. Without that income, their budget becomes very challenging, and without being able to serve children, there goes their mission, too,” said Emore. The JCC representatives informed IPSC’s board that Jewish centers around the country have had “so many parents pull their children out of the preschool that they are facing closure.” In response, the IPSC will being help the local JCC with an April festival to show support to the local Jewish community.
CalderaFest will be returning in 2017. The festival was a landmark event bringing together Pagan musicians from around the globe for four days of fun. Organizer David Banach said, “I decided to do CalderaFest again mostly because the first one was simply pure magic.” The 2016 festival was held in Lafayette, Georgia over May’s long Memorial Day weekend. Most attendees agreed that, despite the problems, CalderaFest was a unique and powerful experience .
On Saturday, Ireland voted “yes” to legalize same sex marriage, making it the first country to do so by popular vote. Susan Large, moderator of the Irish Pagan Movement Facebook page, said, “As Pagans we are delighted as our small community welcomes many Gay couples and we view this vote as a wonderful vote for Love and for freedom. Ireland has shown the way for others to follow and this vote is a remarkable demonstration of how enlightened a nation can be. We hope and pray that other countries will help this small flame to burn even brighter.” Turnout was reportedly very high at 60% of the 3.2 million eligible to vote.
Festival season is now underway as the wheel turns and the weather continues to get warmer. Pagan and Heathen communities around the country are stepping outside for daylong, weekend long and even weeklong adventures and community-building. While the early festivals focus on a re-connection to the outdoors after months of cold weather; the midsummer events celebrate the high season of long days and hot sun; and the fall festivals welcome the harvest. Although festival season begins in earnest in May for most of the country, the state of Florida gets an early start due to its climate. Leading off in March are festivals such as the newly created Equinox in the Oaks, held near Ormond Beach, and Phoenix Phyre, held in Lakeland. Florida’s warm temperatures and sea breezes allow for comfortable camping in early Spring.