CALIF. – As is being reported throughout mainstream media, the California fires still burn. The death toll is at 40 and multiple fires continue to rage with the worst ones in the north. Despite the devastation, officials are now saying that firefighters are beginning to get control of many of the fires, and promise of cooler temperatures is helping.
The California Pagan community has not be left untouched by the destruction. As we reported last week, Tracy McClendon and her family evacuated their home quickly, and just in time as the blazes consumed the structure. “It is scary to think that ten minutes is the difference between us being alive and us not being alive,” she said. The family lost everything and has a GoFundMe campaign running to help them rebuild.
According to the Sonoma Valley Pagan Network, Annwfn and all of Greenfield Ranch is safe. Firefighters reportedly “were able to halt the fires at Reeves Canyon, northeast of the ranch.”
The Isis-Oasis sanctuary in Geyersville is untouched, and is offering a place of rest to first responders. “We have beds and food … free of charge.” Covenant of the Goddess Northern California Local Council has been posting information, news stories, and resources on its Facebook page.
We will be following the situation and bringing you more on the situation over the next week, including eyewitness reports from our California-based writers.
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GERMANY – Reports are now coming in from Frith Forge 2017, a new international event sponsored by the Troth. Frith Forge was designed to be conference for inclusive Ásatrú and Heathen organizations, and individuals. As is advertised on the website, the event offers a space “to build alliances, understanding, and friendships among us instead of compartmentalizing further in an industrialized world. Let’s learn from each other with respect and fellowship to forge frith among us.”
Frith Forge was held Oct. 5-8 in Werder/Petzow, Germany, and included workshops, talks, and a sacred sites tour Oct. 6.
There were reportedly over 30 attendees from around the world, including TWH columnist Karl E. H. Seigfried, who was attending as goði of Chicago-based Thor’s Oak Kindred and as a member of the Troth Clergy Program. On his personal website, the Norse Mythology Blog, Seigfried has published the talk that he gave at the conference itself, which is called “A Better Burden: Towards a New Ásatrú Theology.”
In that talk, Seigfried offered his services as “editor for the first international anthology of the public theology of Heathenry,” and he has reportedly already received interest. Seigfried will be providing a full account later this month of what happened at Frith Forge 2017, and what the event means for global Heathenry.
In addition, many of the talks were reportedly recorded and will be made available online over the next few weeks by the Alliance for Inclusive Heathenry.
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TWH – The Doreen Valiente Foundation (DVF) will be publishing a new book titled A Witch Ball and other Short Stories. The book is a collection of previously unpublished material from Doreen Valiente, who died in Brighton in 1999. Valiente is considered by many the mother of modern Witchcraft, and her works have influenced Witches around the world.
When she died she left her legacy to John Pelham Payne, who created the Doreen Valiente Foundation. Its mission as stated is “to preserve, protect, research, and make accessible” Valiente’s work. Payne himself died in 2016, leaving the organization to a number of trustees who continue the efforts.
In that light, DVF has gathered these previously unpublished writings together in one book. According to the site: “This collection of short stories is not only of significance to fans of Doreen Valiente, but of import within the wider genre of gothic fiction and folk horror. . . . These enjoyable tales weave and layer magic and folklore into a notable contribution to the interesting genre of magical tales written by magical practitioners.”
Professor Ronald Hutton wrote, “The publication of these stories offers both real entertainment for readers and a valuable resource for those interested in the history of Paganism, witchcraft and magic. In them, Doreen reveals herself to be a proficient, engaging and immensely readable author of fiction, producing occult detective tales on the level of those by Dion Fortune.”
A Witch Ball and other Short Stories will be released in December 2017.
In other news
- The Gerald B. Gardner (GBG) Calendar 2018 is now available. Since 2011, Pagan and Gardnerian Witch Link publishes the calendar filled with quotes, photos, and historical data. The calendar includes many Pagan feast days, moon phases, and holiday information from around the world. This year the calendar also includes information on a lesser known member of the original Bricket Wood Coven, Monica English.
- Another popular annual publication is also now available. The Witches’ Almanac 2018 is on bookshelves. The Issue is #37, and is titled, “The Magic of Plants.” Its 194 pages include articles, poetry, art, and information, as well as astrological calendar that runs from spring 2018 to 2019. As we reported in 2016, the Witches’ Almanac has been a fixture in the Pagan community for 46 years.
- Circle Sanctuary joins the many other Pagan organizations that are offering online classes and workshops. Rev. Selena Fox will be offering instruction on the celebration of Samhain and Halloween. The online class, to be held Oct. 18, will teach students “ways to work with old and new customs, rites, and symbols in creating personal, household, and community celebrations of Samhain and Halloween.”
- Solar Cross Temple founder, activist, and author T. Thorn Coyle has published an October Manifesto on her website. In her typical tone that mixes gentle compassion with inspirational drive, Coyle begins, “Our societies don’t have to be this messed up. We can learn from past mistakes. We can stop operating out of sheer ego-protection and fear. We can choose to not preference the making of money over the well-being of community. We. Can. Do. This.” The Manifesto goes on to stir action and inspire hope toward a better future. This work, like much of her work, is reader funded through Patreon.
Tarot of the week with Star Bustamonte
Deck: Crow’s Magick Tarot by Londa Marks, U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Card: Five (5) of Swords
This card reflects circumstances that are destined to be frustrating. The key to moving forward is the ability to tweak one’s thinking. The week ahead is liable to be rife with aggravation, and the best way to address it is to step back and think outside of the box. A measured and thoughtful response is called for rather than knee-jerk reaction.