DUXBURY, MASSACHUSETTS – The First Church of Wicca (FCoW) has reopened its doors, which has reopened questions about its past. The Wild Hunt talked to Rev. Dr. Kendra Vaughan Hovey, founding Elder High Priestess of the First Church of Wicca, and to some of her congregants about the church, its closing in 2009, and their goals for the future. To understand why the reopening has caused such controversy we have to look at the history. In early 2007, the First Church of Wicca and its High Priestess broke onto the national scene when they were featured on an hour long TLC reality tv show, My Unique Family. While the show didn’t portray the family or the religion as freaks, many Pagans were surprised and curious.
Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. Our hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started! Gaia Gathering, a Canadian national Pagan conference, launched a new website to announce the opening of registration for its annual event.
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. The Associate Press reports that Angel Valley retreat in Sedona, Arizona, where the now-infamous and deadly sweat lodge ceremony led by James Arthur Ray was held, has settled a civil lawsuit brought by victim’s families and participants. The sum is not disclosed in the report, and there is no admission of liability by the owners of Angel Valley. The trial of Ray, who is charged with three counts of manslaughter, continues.
Just a few quick news notes for you this Sunday. Altar of the Twelve Gods Update: Back in February I reported on how Greek Hellenic group Thyrsos Hellenes Ethnikoi has been protesting to preserve the famous Altar of the Twelve Gods, which was uncovered on February 17th during railway construction. Now Tropaion has an update, looking at how different Greek papers are covering the protests. “The Kathimerini story did not claim that Polytheists were the ‘troublemakers’ in contrast of what To Vima clearly states that “members of polytheistic organizations, which had occupied the site where archaeological reburying work was undergoing for the antiquities.” It is important to note the language used by the newspaper To Vima which is clearly biased.
An announcement has come forth that Rev. Kendra Vaughan Hovey, elder high priestess of Duxbury’s First Church of Wicca, and star (along with her family) of the reality television program “My Unique Family”, has converted to (some form of) Christianity and is opening a new church. In a letter sent to members of the church (thanks to Kat for forwarding it to me), Hovey takes time to explain her conversion from Wicca, pointing out her former faith’s (perceived) shortcomings. I have come to see the serious failings of the Wiccan faith. A major problem with the faith is that there is no unity among the followers of the faith which makes it very challenging to define exactly what Wiccans do and do not believe in. Wiccans have a very open “do what you will” or “live and let live” perspective in life which very easily can cause harm to oneself and others without one actually knowing it until it is much too late.