A Merry May Day

May 1 and the surrounding days mark the traditional dates for many major spring festivals celebrated by modern Pagans in the northern hemisphere. Such holidays might include Beltane, Bealtaine, May Day, Floralia, Protomayia, and Walpurgis Night to name a few. These festivals herald the coming of summer or the apex of spring – a time of merriment, awakening and bounty; a liminal time when the barriers between our world and the other world are thinned. In many traditions and cultures, it is also a time of divine union and fertility. And, for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, the beginning of May marks another seasonal festival entirely, as winter is ushered in with the celebration of Samhain and the honoring of ancestors.

Pagan Community Notes: Patheos Pagan Channel, PantheaCon, Manannan mac Lir, Brian Golec and more!

On Feb. 20, it was announced the Christine Hoff Kraemer was stepping down from her position as Managing Editor of Patheos’ Pagan Channel. She wrote, “With a mix of excitement and sadness, I am writing to announce my resignation as Managing Editor of the Patheos.com Pagan channel. I will very much miss the way this job brought me into daily contact with such thoughtful, dedicated people—both Pagans and people of other religious traditions.”  She added that she plans to dedicate her new found free time to her family.

Pagan Community Notes: Solar Cross Expands, Mandragora, Pagan Values, A Wicker Tree Conversation, and More!

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. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So lets get started! Solar Cross Temple Announces New Growth: Solar Cross Temple, a Pagan service organization co-founded by author and teacher T. Thorn Coyle, has announced the addition of priestess and professional counselor  Crystal Blanton, author of “Bridging the Gap,” to its board.

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

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. First off, we have an update on the ongoing John Friend Anusara scandal, this time with Friend directly addressing his views on Wicca. It comes from a NY Magazine feature published this past Sunday, and in it he says that “I take Wicca really seriously,” and “I have taken Wiccan oaths over the years where death is actually the consequence of telling the truth.” I’m not sure what he’s implying exactly, that he withheld the truth about his coven due to oaths?

Filtering and Free Exercise: ACLU vs. Salem Public Library

In 2002 Nancy Willard, Executive Director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use, issued a report that warned of the troubling confluence between content-control software and conservative religious groups. Willard voiced concerns that the relationships between companies providing web-filtering software to public institutions may be “inappropriately preventing students from accessing certain materials based on religious or other inappropriate bias.” She went on to note that terms like “occult” or “cult” are “frequently applied to any non-traditional religions” and that it would be “unacceptable for schools to block access to non-traditional religious sites.” Five years earlier, the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association, issued a resolution affirming that “the use of filtering software by libraries to block access to constitutionally protected speech violates the Library Bill of Rights.” However, today, the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), passed in 2000 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2003, mandates Internet filtering software on any library or K-12 school that receives federal funding.