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HANCOCK, N.H. – TempleFest 2017, the annual summer festival of the Temple of Witchcraft, was held last weekend. Attendees and presenters traveled from all over the country to partake in workshops, panels, and rituals. Did these witches find what they were looking for? Folklorist and anthropologist Dr. Sabina Magliocco says Pagans attend festivals for a range of reasons, “Everything from seeking to immerse themselves completely in Pagan culture, to reconnecting with old friends, experiencing nature in the company of other Pagans, and participating in large group ritual. Some go just to party with friends.”
The definition of community continues to be largely debated in many different circles. I am not here today to define that for anyone, but rather to look at related issues that are seldom debated, such as the challenges and ongoing tensions that appear to exist within the “umbrella” of the Pagan and polytheist communities, and within the interpersonal relationships found in groups, covens, groves, and organizations. The so-called “Witch Wars” are not a new thing, neither are the ongoing moments of intensity based on different views, approaches, and methods of engaging with our diverse practices. There are historic Witch wars of which we are all aware. Some were between individuals, and others were between different factions of this very diverse and nuanced community.
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.
UNITED STATES — President Donald Trump continues to raise hackles among progressives — as well as some conservatives — during these first hundred days of his term in office. Some of his opponents in the Pagan and polytheist communities are working magic against the 45th president, and in the tradition of hexing Brock Turner, some of that work is being done very publicly. Gala Darling broadcast a “bind Trump” ritual on President’s Day, capitalizing on the holiday to focus energy on the effort. Based on the participant locations she rattled off, the effort was an international one. Binding is a form of magic that is less ethically problematic for practitioners who subscribe to the threefold law or similar injunctions against manipulative magic.