Pagan Community Notes: W.I.T.C.H, Iowa Pagan Pride, Circle Sanctuary and more

MEXICO CITY – An organization named W.I.T.C.H. CDMX is hosting a public action in Mexico City, March 17. The event’s reported purpose is to bring women together to toss off the strains of oppression, abuse, and harassment. As written on the Facebook event page, “WITCH summons all our sisters to a night of spells, to the contemplation of fire,” and “to free ourselves, strengthen us and altar, in a symbolic act, reality.”  The scheduled action has been named Icendario and is being a labeled a “revolution.” W.I.T.C.H. reports that it is a nonprofit organization that is interested in art, magic, feminism, disruption. It appears to be taking its cue from the 1969 organization of the same name, and the more recent incarnation in Chicago.

Pagan Community Notes: Deborah Maynard, Wisconsin Invocation Video, Margot Adler Day and more!

Wiccan Priestess Deborah Maynard successfully delivered an invocation before the Iowa State Legislature on Thursday, April 9. With reportedly two-thirds of the representatives present, Maynard stood before the government body and asked for the blessings of “God, Goddess, Universe, that which is greater than ourselves.” To benefit the day’s legislative work, her invocation called to each element, asking for support with things such as balance, compassion, reason, and strength. Then, she called to spirit and ended with “Blessed Be, A-Ho and Amen.” Her invocation was met with backlash from some visitors and lawmakers. Several conservative Christian organizations called for silent protests and prayers during her invocation.

Wiccan Priestess to Give Invocation Before Iowa Legislature

DES MOINES, Iowa. — Wiccan priestess Deborah Maynard has been invited to give the opening invocation to the Iowa House of Representatives on April 9. Priestess Maynard is a Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagan (CUUPs) leader at the People’s Church Unitarian Universalist in Cedar Rapids. This will be only the third time that a Pagan has been asked to give an invocation at a state legislature. The first time was when Cleda Dawson offered the opening prayer before the Oregon state senate on May 10, 1999. Text of the invocation can be found here.

Quick Notes: NAR on Fresh Air, Tribal Recognition, and an Iowa Daycare goes Christian

Just a few quick news notes for you on this Thursday. NAR on Fresh Air: I’ve written at some length on the Christian movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), a group that’s been getting increased media scrutiny lately due to their proximity to presidential candidates like Texas governor Rick Perry. However, as the recent blowback over the term “Dominionist” proves, there’s quite a bit people don’t know about this increasingly connected religio-political network of apostles and prophets. A key figure in studying the origins and activities of NAR is Rachel Tabachnick of Talk To Action, who was interviewed yesterday on NPR’s Fresh Air. “On Wednesday’s Fresh Air, Rachel Tabachnick, who researches the political impact of the religious right, joins Terry Gross for a discussion about the growing movement and its influence and connections in the political world. Tabachnick says the movement currently works with a variety of politicians and has a presence in all 50 states.

Quick Notes: Dale Halferty, Dan Halloran, and Watkins Books

No Wiccan Altars for Halferty: A few quick notes for you this Saturday, starting with an update on the Iowa industrial arts teacher, Dale Halferty, who was temporarily suspended for prohibiting a student from building a Wiccan altar in shop class. It seems that Halferty, who was supposed to return to work on Monday, isn’t backing down from his discriminatory views concerning a student’s right to religious expression, and is now on indefinite unpaid leave. “Guthrie Center Superintendent Steve Smith met with Industrial Arts teacher Dale Halferty Tuesday morning. At the end of the meeting, Halferty remained on unpaid leave from the high school for an indefinite period. Superintendent Smith told the Times that all parties are attempting to resolve the conflict.