A flu season to remember

UNITED STATES –A week ago, a Heathen woman by the name of Sarah Lyter, who lived in the northeastern part of this country, reportedly died of influenza. While no specific information about the circumstances of her death was able to be gathered directly, it appears that she was a healthy adult in the prime of her life. Such a death can send shock waves of fear and doubt through any community, and result in questions about the effectiveness of vaccines and other methods of treatment and prevention. Dr. Jennifer Hamilton is a board-certified family physician based in Philadelphia, as well as an initiate of the Blue Star tradition of Wicca. She confirmed that this has been a remarkably difficult year to come down with the flu.

NHS England proposes ban on alternative medicines; Pagans respond

UNITED KINGDOM — A petition has been circulating around UK-based Pagan websites calling on Parliament to act in the wake of a proposed plan by the National Health Service (NHSE) England to stop prescriptions for herbal, homeopathic and other alternative forms of medicine. Up until now, the NHSE has prescribed herbal and homeopathic remedies for patients. For example, it is used for those those patients who suffer from severe side effects caused by pharmaceutical medicines or for patients who have experienced no improvement in their health from those medicines. In the UK, treatment is free at the point of delivery, although patients have to pay a basic fee (£8.60 per item) for each prescription. This chosen route has not been without controversy historically speaking.

Column: the Others

There it was: the pointless question on the hospital admission questionnaire, “What religion are you?” It was followed by a sea of Christian denominations, four choices under Jewish, and a unitary category for Islam and three Eastern faiths thrown in. That’s it: no Pagan, no Witchcraft, no “Santeria” or “Lukumi” or “Ifá;” did I mention this was Miami? Summer 2017?  But they included “Jain.” Gotta give ‘em that – I’m impressed. OK, there is a Jain Center in Miami with about 150 families, so I’m glad they did include it. But no Lukumi, in Miami?

Paganism now an option on Irish hospital admittance forms

IRELAND — Pagans will no longer get listed as “other” or “no religion” when they are admitted to Irish hospitals. The change came thanks to an agreement worked out by officials of Health Services Executive (HSE), who administers 50 national acute care facilities. Leaders of the advocacy group Pagan Life Rites announced June 9 that it had successfully lobbied for the change, which is expected to be completely rolled out in the coming weeks. Pagan Life Rites co-founder Rev. Kristian Märkus told The Wild Hunt that the group started receiving reports from some of their nearly 500 members, noting an inability to record their religion as Pagan during the hospital admittance process. Märkus provided this quote, which recounts one individual’s experience.

Column: Confessions on Being Silent No More

[The following is a guest editorial by Lydia M N Crabtree. Lydia M N Crabtree, back from a medical sabbatical, confesses she is many things through her website and her blog (Confessions of Being…). She writes on social justice issues, incest survival, physical and mental trauma as it relates to spiritual development, and Family Coven – the idea that a family unit is the first and primary coven anyone is part of. “Family Coven: Birthing Hereditary Witchcraft” will be released in Spring of 2014 through Immanion Press.]

Obamacare! Government shutdown! Republicans, Democrats, class wars, racism!