Paganism and activism at the gun show

CROWN POINT, Ind. — Pagan blogger John Halstead helped to organize a two-day protest at a gun show here on March 3-4. People protested against the sale of military-style assault weapons like the AR-15 at the Lake County Fairgrounds. Pagan practice and political activism
Rabbi Abraham Heschel described the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march as, “Praying with your feet.” Halstead took that phrase as the title for one of his blogs, “Pray with Your Feet.” Halstead said, “My activism has helped me to grow spiritually in ways in which I don’t think I ever could have with more inwardly-focused practices.” For Halstead, Pagan practice and political activism reflect the same underlying change process. Halstead noted similarities between activism and spirituality.

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.

Column: Empirical Meets Spiritual: the Intersection of Science and Paganism

In April, scientists and supporters in cities across the United States marched in a unified protest. “In the face of an alarming trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery,” states the March for Science website, “can we afford not to speak out in its defense?” Pagans across the country joined scientists, whether in spirit or in the flesh, and supported the march. This demonstrates a general support for scientific work in the Pagan community, yet that support can take different forms depending on one’s particular spiritual practice. The Pagan umbrella is large, and the practices that claim space beneath it are diverse; each practitioner has a different relationship with the scientific community. This can vary based on your beliefs, your professional life, and your understanding of scientific inquiry.

Pagan Voices: Special Earth Day edition

Pagan Voices is a spotlight on recent quotations from figures within the Pagan community. Today’s edition focuses on Earth Day, which has been celebrated annually since 1970 and has attracted Pagans since that first one. 

The first Earth Day celebration took place in New York City in 1970, which (perhaps not coincidentally) was around the time that a recognizable community was coalescing around this thing we today call “contemporary Paganism.” Pagans today have legal rights and cultural recognition which were denied to Pagans in 1970. At the same time, our relationship with Mother Earth has become even more precarious than it was in 1970. We have a responsibility, to those who have gone before us, as well as those who will come after us, to use our hard-won freedoms to fight for a healthy home.

Pagan Community Notes: Hindsley and Leffert, Lady Siobhan, Raven Grimassi, and more

In an update to a past report, David Hindsley and Nicole Leffert have both been sentenced to 42 years in prison with a two-year probation for three felony counts of sexual crimes, including the conspiracy to commit child molesting and child molesting. Leffert received her sentence Jan. 10, and Hindsley was sentenced last week. Before their arrest in May 2016, Hindsley and Leffert were active members of Indiana’s Heathen community. They both worked as artisans, making kilts and jewelry.