Pagan Community Notes: Scott Holbrook, Florida Pagans, Robin Fletcher, South Africa march and more!

GASTON, N.C. – Druid Daniel Scott Holbrook, also known as Cú Meala, pleaded no contest last week to the charge of the “dissemination of obscenities.” Holbrook was arrested last fall after police allegedly found “nude photos of children” on his computer. After several dates were postponed due to schedule conflicts, Holbrook saw his day in court Apr. 4. Since the arrest, Holbrook has always maintained his innocence publicly, saying that the photos were placed there by a downloaded BitTorrent. As he explains, he and his family were attempting to download a movie and the photos were hidden in that file.

South African Witches face obstacles in the public practice of magic

[The following article is a joint project between The Wild Hunt and Damon Leff, a human rights activist, Witch, and editor-in-chief of Penton Independent Alternative Media. Leff is also the director of the South African Pagan Rights Alliance, and owns his own pottery studio called Mnrva Pottery. He is currently studying Law at the University of South Africa, and lives in the Wilderness, Western Cape, South Africa.]

SOUTH AFRICA — Michael Hughes, the unofficial face of the recent February 24 mass binding ritual against the 45th President of the U.S. Donald Trump, described it as a tool for political resistance against “the Devil.” In the wake of the numerous international headlines around the world, South African Witches were left wondering whether such public magical resistance against a sitting head of state will in any way influence, or reinforce their own government’s existing negative perception of Witches. South African Witches live in a country that is still hostile to any notion of “witchcraft” as a valid spiritual pursuit. For most South Africans, including influential Traditional Healers and Traditional Leaders, Witchcraft is viewed as a wholly negative practice.

Column: The Building of a South African Vampyre Community

[The Wild Hunt welcomes guest writer Christina Engela. She is a author, witch, human rights activist, blogger and chief researcher for the Alternative Religious Forum. Engela lives in South Africa and writes regularly for Penton Alternative Media.]

Most members of the South African (SA) Vampyre community (VC) who have done a little research know that this community’s recorded history began May 2010 with the foundation of House Valur. Most will know that the community only started growing and taking form with the founding of the South African Vampyre Alliance (SAVA) in June 2011. But little if anything is known about the community in the years before that time.

South African Pagan Council reaches 10-year mark

SOUTH AFRICA — Members of the South African Pagan Council are celebrating the organization’s decennial this year with a variety of festivities. It is also an opportunity for Pagans worldwide to learn about the efforts of this one organization, and to gain a greater understanding of the nature of modern Paganism in South Africa. Leaders of the SAPC opted to answer questions from The Wild Hunt as a group because of their organizational structure, which they explain in their responses. The Wild Hunt:  How does SAPC fund its activities? South African Pagan Council:  Currently it is done through contributions and payments by individuals, regional events that fund successive events, and the SAPC 10 year Commemoration T-Shirt, the sales of which will go towards funding bigger things.

South Africa’s Witchcraft Suppression Act ruled unconstitutional

SOUTH AFRICA — After years of lobbying by Pagan groups in the country, the South African Law Reform Commission has determined that portions of that nation’s Witchcraft Suppression Act are unconstitutional. Witches should be able to identify themselves as such, the commission found, as well as practice divination. However, the proposed replacement law still has its problems, according to members of the South African Pagan Rights Alliance, because it singles out “harmful witchcraft practices” for regulation on the basis that they can cause “intimidation with the intent to cause psychological distress or terror.” SAPRA members are drafting a response to the bill and hope to see changes in it before it becomes law.The Witchcraft Suppression Act of 1957 is, like most similar laws in African nations, based on 1735 Witchcraft Act of the United Kingdom, which was itself repealed in 1951. SAPRA requested a review of this law in 2007, an effort which was joined by the South African Pagan Council and the Traditional Healers Association.