Pagan Community Notes: Dianne Daniels, Michael Crahart, INSEP, and more!

HARTFORD, Conn. — Dianne Daniels was honored Friday as one of the top 100 women of color who have impacted communities in the Northeast. Daniels is a practicing Witch and Unitarian Universalist, who recently took over as president of her local NAACP branch. In a December interview with The Wild Hunt, Daniels said, “I feel very strongly that I must give back to my community. The principle of EOROTO – Each One Reach One and Teach One – is a great way to ensure that the wisdom that I’ve gained, that we all gain throughout our lives – does not disappear when we make our own transition out of this world.” The honor was awarded by June Archer and Eleven28 Entertainment.

Pagan Community Reacts to McCollum Decision

Yesterday the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals published their ruling upholding a California district court’s decision to deny Pagan chaplain Patrick McCollum standing in his case against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. McCollum’s case centers on the State of California’s “five faiths” policy. This policy limits the hiring of paid chaplains to Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Native American adherents. While the state of California and the judge’s rulings made so far argue that McCollum doesn’t have standing to bring this case to court, that assertion is challenged by a number of legal advocacy groups and faith organizations. One of those groups, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, who filed a joint amicus brief in support of McCollum, sent me this statement regarding the Ninth Circuit’s decision.

Updates on Recent Stories

I’ve got quick updates on two recent stories. We’ll start off in Salem…Mainstream Acceptance in Salem: The panel discussion in Salem featuring Margot Adler and Jerrie Hildebrand is continuing to get coverage from the local papers. This time, Lisa Guerriero from the Salem Gazette reports back from the “No Place for Hate” panel, and pairs it with a recent satellite television appearance by two Salem Witches.”What is life like for a person who considers himself or herself a witch? How do Hollywood images of witches stack up to their real-life counterparts? These are some of the questions addressed by a No Place for Hate panel in Salem last Saturday [see story, Page 1].

Mainstream Acceptance in Salem

A few days ago I mentioned a panel discussion on Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism taking place in Salem that featured author/journalist Margot Adler and Pagan activist Jerrie Hildebrand. Today, The Salem News reports back on the event, and paints a portrait of increasing mainstream acceptance.”Witches get more respect than they used to here in the Witch City. That was a recurring theme among about 40 witches, pagans and Wiccans at a city-sponsored forum held Saturday night to educate the public and challenge stereotypes about their religion. Salem resident Mike Gleason said local witches are no longer shunned or feared. During Halloween, little kids ran up to him to ask questions.

Three From Salem

The Salem Gazette published three Wicca/Witchcraft related stories yesterday, each one revealing different aspects of the practice of Witchcraft in the “Witch City” of Salem, and the different ways that modern Paganism enters the mainstream. The first article concerns a panel discussion taking place tomorrow featuring author/journalist Margot Adler and Pagan activist Jerrie Hildebrand.”The city of Salem’s No Place for Hate Committee will host a panel discussion on April 12 that will focus on practices within the Wiccan faith and the everyday lifestyles of those practicing paganism. The objective of the event is to inform those in attendance about the religion, lifestyle and culture of those who practice Wicca while also touching on the history and its distinction within the Salem community.”The talk will be opened by Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, a politician who has enjoyed support from the local Pagan community since she first ran for the office. The event is free and open to the public, and will be held Saturday, April 12 at 7 p.m. on the second floor of Old Town Hall, Derby Square.The second story concerns the opening of a new Witch-themed shop called “Hex”. The store, co-run by Leanne Marrama and Salem impresario Christian Day, promises an “old-world folk magic” feel and approach.Christian Day and Leanne Marrama”A new witch shop in town aims to bring this form of old-world folk magic to Salem’s mostly modern pagan community.