Last week, I reported on the Atlanta Pagan community’s wreath project. As explained, the wreath’s purpose is to build a sense of solidarity for that Pagan community. Following the post, several readers launched into a discussion that probed the very nature and meaning of Pagan solidarity. As one reader asked, “What is the purpose?”
Additionally, readers explored the concept of solitary solidarity. Can such a thing exist? Or, as one reader put it, is the concept of the solitary group “oxymoronic?”
These are serious sociological questions that, in exploring, could help to define modern Pagan practice as it expands and diversifies.
In this modern, transient, and digitally-driven world, we find ourselves frequently discussing the meaning, development, make-up or even the apparent death of “community.” For Pagans, this can be a particularly profound discussion due to the incredible diversity in our faith and practice. How do we develop and nurture a positive and lasting Pagan solidarity across differences in belief and tradition? In Atlanta, the answer has come in the form of a wreath. In the spring of 2012, Lady Charissa, senior priestess of North Georgia Solitaries (NGS), began a community wreath project that has now been going for over nine months. She explains:
The idea behind [the wreath] is for people, groups, or covens to add a ribbon to the wreath symbolizing how connected we all are. We are connected to the people we like and work with; connected to the people we’ve never met, connected to the people that we don’t care for.
Yesterday, just hours after I posted an update on the difficulties faced by the Turner family of Bowden, Georgia, whose son, Christopher (11), was facing religiously-motivated harassment by his school, another press release was sent out that seems to point to an agreement between Carroll County School District, the Turner family, and coalition of Pagan advocacy groups. Here’s the full press release:
Statement from Bowdon Elementary School, Carroll County School District, and members of the Turner Family Support Task Force as represented by Lady Liberty League, North Georgia Solitaries, Covenant of the Goddess, Dogwood Local Council, and Circle Sanctuary:
The Turner Family, Task Force, and School District want Bowdon School to be a positive, supportive environment which fosters the emotional and educational growth of all students. With education, cooperation, and open dialogue, all things are possible. At times, a lack of life experience and/or other circumstances can make it difficult to perceive how words and actions might cause offense or upset. The parties involved acknowledge that words and deeds can be hurtful even without the intent of making them so.
Today I have some updates and new developments in stories previously covered here at The Wild Hunt. Georgia School Harassment Case: Last week I reported on an official joint statement sent out by the North Georgia Solitaries, Dogwood Local Council of the Covenant of the Goddess, Lady Liberty League, and its parent organization, Circle Sanctuary, on the difficulties faced by the Turner family of Bowden, Georgia, whose son, Christopher (11), was facing religiously-motivated harassment by his school (as originally reported by the Atlanta IMC). Now, that coalition, The Turner Family Support Task Force, has sent out an update calling for ongoing spiritual and fiscal support. “Please send your prayers, your energy, and your personal messages through the Facebook page. They are being read by the Turners throughout each day.
In my news roundup on December 5th, I noted an Atlanta Independent Media Center story on difficulties faced by the Turner family of Bowden, Georgia, whose son, Christopher (11), was facing religiously-motivated harassment by his school. “Christopher’s teacher, Mrs. Ross, pulled him out of class and proceeded to drill him about Paganism, ending the conversation with “Paganism is not a religion.” Remember, this is an 11 year old student, with no parent present while being harassed about his religion by someone who is suppose to be an educator.”
Since that report word has quickly spread through social media networks, with many contacting school officials to complain. Now, an official joint statement has been sent out by the North Georgia Solitaries, Dogwood Local Council of the Covenant of the Goddess, Lady Liberty League, and its parent organization, Circle Sanctuary. Turner Family Support
Statement from NGS, CoG, DLC, LLL, Circle Sanctuary:
After concerns spread about some problems with accommodating Pagan students needs at Bowdon Elementary School (BES), there was an overwhelming show of community support for the Turner family of Carroll County in western Georgia, USA. Many local Pagans and associated organizations reached out to assist the Turners by providing emotional support and offering practical advice.