Pagan Community Notes: California fires, Raven’s Loft, Elaine Coleman, and more

CALIFORNIA – For a second time this year, massive and catastrophic fires are destroying parts of California. The Thomas fire, which is the biggest, is currently being called the “fifth-largest in the state’s history,” and it reportedly continues to force “new evacuations in towns as far north as Santa Barbara.” The state’s famous Santa Ana winds have only made the situation worse. The state boasts a large Pagan population from south to north. The last set of fires, which occurred in the fall, brought local Pagans and many distant friends together to perform water magic in order to help curb the damage and stop the flames. As columnist Crystal Blanton wrote, “Rain magic and other forms of weather related workings have a long history in many different cultures.

World Goddess Day: women speak out

TWH –World Goddess Day, the event started by Brazilian author Claudiney Prieto in 2014, will fall on Sept. 3 this year. “The goal of the World Goddess Day project is to grant to the Goddess one day of visibility to share her many myths, stories and worshiping diversity, so everyone will remember or will realize that the first religion of humanity was the worship of the Goddess,” according to the web site. Some of the goddess-focused events already planned for this day can be found on Facebook, and those interested are invited to volunteer as local coordinators. The inclusion of the sacred feminine in Pagan religions is why many women were drawn to them in the first place.

Mystic South participants rise to challenge when water fails

ATLANTA –The first Mystic South conference may be remembered as a time when Pagans, Heathens, and polytheists came together to put their collective best foot forward. It may be remembered as the year when the hotel lost all running water, and its staff had to go far beyond the normal call of duty to keep the environment safe and comfortable for guests. It may even be remembered as the conference with the free ice cream. The conference ran July 21-23, and attendance topped out at about 250 people. That was confirmed by Star Bustamonte, the self-described “chief bottle-washer and lightning bug herder” for the conference, which was her way of saying that she was in charge.

Pagan Community Notes: Astra Star Goddess, Four Quarters, Bayview Cross and more!

SANTA CRUZ, Calif — In a recent announcement, Oberon Zell has made the claim that the producers of the Hulu show Handmaid’s Tale (2017- ) stole his Star Goddess design to be used as “the symbol of the oppressive patriarchal theocracy.” In a recent Facebook post, Zell said:

“You can imagine my shock and outrage when I discovered that my iconic design of ‘Astra, the Star Goddess,’ which I created in 1987 as a quintessential symbol of women’s divinity and empowerment […] appears prominently and ubiquitously throughout the series as the symbol of the brutal oppression and subjugation of women in a totalitarian patriarchal theocratic regime.” Zell has since said that he is building his case and has engaged a copyright attorney. He invites anyone who has been using his image to share their story with him. TWH reached out to the producers of the show but have received no response date. We will update this story as it develops.

Pagan Community Notes: Richard Watson, Dawtas of the Moon, Iliff Graduation and more!

SALEM, Mass. — Wiccan Priest and Salem resident Richard Watson was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail for the “possession of heroin with intent to distribute.” Watson was arrested Aug. 7, 2015, after a sting operation led police to his home where they found, reportedly, a total of 40 grams (1.4 ounces) of heroin and “indications that the drugs were being distributed, including packaging materials, cash and cell phones.” Watson cooperated with police, and eventually pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking. When news of his arrest broke, Watson’s religious community was divided in its reactions.