Column: The View from Pagan Meet and Greet at PWR

Pagan Perspectives
Guest columnist Karen Dales attended the Parliament of World Religions and shares her view from the Pagan Meet and Greet Booth. * * *
The Promise of Inclusion, the Power of Love, was the theme of the Parliament of World’s Religions (PWR), held in Toronto, Canada from November 1st – 7th, 2018. This theme thread its way through the Pagan community doubly so. Its eye found in the Meet and Greet Space, given to the Pagans by the PWR after local High Priestess and Toronto Steering Committee Member, Catherine Starr, fought tooth and nail to secure the Pagans four spaces: a Pagan Faith Booth; a Pagan Faith space, which was for morning meditations and evening rituals, facilitated by many Pagans and Pagan organisations; the Pagan Family Festival Booth, and the Pagan Meet and Greet Space. The Pagan Meet and Greet Space could not have been better placed, as an estimated ten thousand people at the PWR had to walk past the very distinct chalkboard declaring the space and listing daily Pagan events.

Pagan Community Notes: Parliament of World Religions, Satanic Temple threatens Netflix with lawsuit, Statement from CoG, and more

TORONTO — The Parliament of World Religions kicked off its 2018 conference in Toronto last week. The theme for this year is “The Promise of Inclusion & the Power of Love: Pursuing Global Understanding, Reconciliation, and Change.” In a statement on its website, the Parliament states that theme was partly inspired by this year’s host city and its focus on inclusiveness and how the programs it endorses reflect the values of the Parliament’s practices and ideology. Among the notable keynote presenters are Alisa Starkweather, founder of the Red Tent Temple Movement, and Priestess Path Apprenticeship, and Phylis Currott author, Wiccan Priestess, and founder of The Temple of Ara. This year marks the 125th anniversary of the conference. TWH will have a full story on the conference next week.

Pagan Community Notes: Florida Pagan Alliance, Ásatrú Ibérica, Global Wicca Conference and more

FLORIDA — The Florida Pagan Alliance president has removed Florida Pagan Gathering and its host organization the Temple of Earth Gatherings from its community initiative roster. Alliance president Michele Webster wrote, “It is our determination, based solely upon facts, that Temple of Earth Gathering/Florida Pagan Gathering is in direct violation of the community not competition initiative,” created by the alliance members in 2017 unify “the community, both Pagan and non-Pagan,” and foster ways to “to work together towards common goals.” Organizational leaders sign on and agree to certain terms.

The alliance board reportedly discovered that, while the FPG organizers had signed the initiative, they had not complied. One reason cited was the changing of the dates of the organization’s big Samhain event, which now conflicts with other local events. The location of the Samhain celebration was recently changed, according to the TEG board, due to construction at the old site; this shift required a date change as the new location was booked up.

Pagan Community Notes: Doug Hoffman, Cherry Hill Seminary, Samuel Wagar and more.

CHARLOTTE, N.C., –  It was announced May 6 that Doug Hoffman, a Druid, clairvoyant, tarot reader, teacher, and active member of the local Pagan community, died after suffering a sudden bilateral stroke. According to one bio, Hoffman was taught mysticism and symbolism by his mother and grandmother. “Over the years, Doug worked with many different teachers learning Celtic mythology, herbal healing, spiritualism and many [other] different types of divination.” Despite living in many places, Hoffman reportedly always found time to be involved with the local Pagan community. His most recent location, in Charlotte, made him a regular member of the Piedmont Pagan Pride Day event and organization.