Column: A New Hope

This year has been a strange one. Next year promises to be even stranger. Although it sometimes seems that the dark is rising and will overwhelm us all, there are steps we all can take to fight for the light. A Dark Time
We now find ourselves living in a time when fundamental rules and relationships in the social order have begun to break down, sometimes in spectacular fashion. The general public is finally being forced to face the fact that men in power are emboldened by that power to sexually harass, abuse, and assault women and young girls.

Addressing issues of sexual abuse in Pagan communities

TWH –In recent years, allegations of sexual misconduct within Pagan and polytheist communities have become increasingly visible. The arrest and conviction of Kenny Klein led to a number of public allegations of abuse levied against the musician, and the ensuing wider conversation around these issues tended first toward recrimination before focusing on the challenges of consent culture in a sex-positive community. Yesterday’s Wild Hunt article on abuse allegations in one Wiccan church is evidence that working through these issues can be difficult, particularly for leaders who lack professional training around abusive relationships. To that end, several experts were asked to provide guidance as to what mistakes amateurs are likely to make, and what resources should be tapped into for support and guidance. While this advice was solicited in the context of the decision reached by board members of the Wiccan Church of Minnesota, the challenges faced in that organization are not uncommon in Pagan groups, which tend to be small and tightly knit.

WiCoM priest under fire for ethical and sexual misconduct

MINNEAPOLIS – A Pagan minister has come under fire with allegations of ethical and sexual misconduct while teaching two students seeking their 2nd Degree with the Twin Cities-based Wiccan Church of Minnesota (WiCoM). The group’s board says that it investigated the five allegations against Rev. Keith Vorderbruggen and, while they found instances of ethical lapses, none rose to the level of misconduct. The decision by the WiCoM board is now being questioned by students and community members, as well as other alleged victims who have since stepped forward. The events
“It’s not right what we were asked to do,” said Alyssa Reber, one of the two students who lodged a formal complaint against Vorderbruggen.

According to Reber’s account and several corroborating documents, she and Daniel Bicknell were students in a larger class studying with Vorderbruggen and his wife to earn their 2nd Degree. After the March class, Vorderbruggen approached Reber and Bicknell and asked them if they would like to take part in more advanced classes in a Left Hand Path (LHP) tradition.