Pagan Community Notes: Academy of Arcana, John Beckett, Beltania and more

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Oberon Zell has announced that he will be closing the Academy of Arcana by the end of November. “After two years in Santa Cruz, it’s just not really working out here. There’s not enough money coming in to pay the rent and bills; plus we’ve had major thefts, and problems with street people and drugs,” Zell wrote. The lease runs out Nov.

A blessed first harvest

TWH — This weekend and next, many modern Pagans, Heathens and polytheists are observing the summer festival of Lughnasadh, also called Lammas, Lughnassa, and Harvest Home. Typically celebrated on Aug. 1, Lughnasadh is one of the yearly fire festivals and marks the first of three harvest celebrations. It traditionally honors Lugh, the Celtic god of light and many talents, and his foster-mother, Tailtiu. In addition, the weekend brings the Ásatrú festival of first fruits called Freyfaxi. Both celebrations are celebrated with feasting, songs, games, thanksgiving, and the reaping of the first fruits and grains of the season.

Texas House passes religion-based child care services bill

AUSTIN, Texas —  The Texas House of Representatives passed HB3859 Wednesday, moving the state one step closer to enacting a law that, as it reads, aims to protect the “rights of conscience for child welfare services providers.” The bill was authored by Rep. James Frank (R) from Wichita Falls and, as he stated in a recent comment, “One of our biggest challenges is a lack of adequate, quality foster homes. […] A substantial part of any answer to this problem will be found in the faith-based community.” Rep. Frank’s comment was made after the bill was passed and directed at mainstream media, who generally began calling the bill discriminatory. Frank responded, “At a time when we need all hands on deck, we face the real risk of seeing a large number of [faith-based] providers leave the field, as they are forced to make the choice between devoting a substantial amount of resources in fighting litigation and other adverse action, or using those resources on other services to fulfill the tenets of their faith.”

Pagan Community Notes: climate march, Margaret Alia Denny, Buckland Gallery, and more!

TWH – The 2017 People’s Climate March brought over 200,000 protesters to Washington D.C. and smaller venues around the world. Saturday’s event was planned prior to the election, although many protesters focused on recent decisions being made by the Trump administration. Paul Getsos, the National Coordinator for the People’s Climate Movement said:

“This march grew out of the relationship building among some of the country’s most important progressive organizations and movements. In 2014, the march was planned as a singular moment to pressure global leaders to act on climate change. There was a simple demand – act.”