Pagan Community Notes: West Coast protests, Druid ritual in Ohio, Emperor Julian, and more.

UNITED STATES — This past weekend saw yet more rallies and protests in both Portland, Oregon and Berkeley, California, two cities that are targeted by right-wing groups due to their reputation for being the most liberal areas in the country. The Portland rally, held Aug. 4, was sponsored by Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys, and hosted by Joey Gibson. The Aug 5 rally in Berkeley was dubbed “No to Marxism in America 2 / Exposing Communism” and was organized by Amber Gwen Cummings. Sunday’s rally was relatively small with only minor skirmishes and reportedly 17 arrests for carrying banned weapons. Coru Cathudobua priest Brennos was on site as a medic along with five other members of that group; he said there were only about 20 rally supporters, and that the counter-protesters outnumbered the group.

Pagan Community Notes: Ma’at Temple, Maetreum of Cybele, Ken Laukant and more

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WICHITA, Kan. — The Ma’at’s Temple of Kansas has officially closed its doors.  The temple was a public facility for use by the local Wiccan and Pagan community since its establishment in 2013. It held a library, ritual space, “permanent circle,” and meditation facility.

Pagan Community Notes: Nottingham Witchcraft, Fellowship of the Phoenix, Ronald Hutton

ENGLAND — Members of the U.K.’s Pagan community made the mainstream media in an effort to dispel myths and misconceptions with regard to a recent rash of witchcraft reports in the region. According to reports, some parts of Nottinghamshire have had “125 [complaints] of witchcraft in two years.” Local paranormal experts allegedly claim that “some of the reports could be ghostly activity which relates to, or has been caused, by witchcraft carried out in the past.” The press turned to Ashley Mortimer, who director of Nottingham Pagan Network and also a trustee of the Doreen Valiente Foundation. Mortimer is quoted as saying that 38 “reports out of 44 [paranormal incidents in Ashfield North] says more to me about the level of reporting than necessarily does about the level of witchcraft activity.” He went on to explain that Witchcraft has had bad press for years and none of this is new.

Witch rings and the riddles at Mither Kirk

ABERDEEN, Scotland — A recent archaeological dig at a church in Scotland has helped bring the public perception of Witches and the history of their persecution into sharp focus. A team of scientists in Aberdeen uncovered up to 2,000 bodies and a cache of medieval archives showing that the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting was used in the 1500s as a “Witches’ prison.”

One relic that has gripped the imagination of the public is an iron ring mounted on one of the walls (pictured below). It is believed to be where the accused were kept before going to trial. This, along with the rest of the finds, are a result of a 10-year project at the church, known locally as Mither Kirk, which is Scottish dialect for Mother Church. St Nicholas Uniting is the name of the Mother Church and Administrative Head Church of the city. Through this find, on one level, a very vivid image of the persecution of Witches has emerged. The records that were unearthed demonstrate that details of the witch trials were painstakingly recorded by Church officials. Archivist Martin Hall said that those tried for witchcraft were “very frequently accused of healing diseases, usually using unusual methods”.