CALIFORNIA — A new proposal to cut California loose from the other 49 United States has been getting more traction than most similar past suggestions, prompting the question of what consequences of an independent California might be for Pagans. Under the banner of “Yes California,” proponents of the so-called “Calexit” have secured the right to collect petition signatures. If they succeed in obtaining 365,880 by October, there will be a vote in 2020 on whether or not to open a secession discussion. A second vote a year later would be to declare California an independent country. The Pagan residents of the state reached for comment have no expectation that the measure would ever pass, but some of them were willing to imagine what it might be like.
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — On May 19, Solar Cross Temple board member Elena Rose graduated from the Starr King School for the Ministry and, a few days later, was ordained by the historic Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples. During the graduation ceremony itself, all students were given two minutes to speak at the podium, and Rev. Rose used this opportunity to ask her school “to do better.” She explained, “I used my speaking time both to declare my love for the community and to speak about the various struggles I’ve faced there as a trans woman of color, and then asked the community to do better.” These struggles, which happened over five years, included everything from the continued use of wrong pronouns to physical threats.
For many Pagans, Heathens and polytheists around the world, this weekend is one to celebrate. The days surrounding the first of May mark many traditional spring festivals and religious holidays recognized around the world. Of these the most well known is Beltane or Bealtaine, which, in some traditions, honors the union of goddess and god or marks the beginning of a Celtic summer. In many secular and non-Pagan religious communities, the day is still celebrated as May Day, complete with the iconic Maypole. However, that is just one of the many holidays appearing at this time.
As we reported in February, the trial had begun in the Phoenix Goddess Temple prostitution case. At the time, temple leader Tracy Elise told The Wild Hunt that she believed that she would be found innocent because she was “confident that the jurors recognize that the Phoenix Goddess Temple was never the brothel that prosecutors claimed.” However, on Mar 2, the jury disagreed and handed down a guilty verdict on all 22 counts. Among those charges were the “conspiracy to commit illegal enterprise, illegal control of an enterprise, operating or maintaining a house of prostitution, multiple counts of money laundering and multiple counts of pandering.” During the trial, Elise maintained that the temple was not a house of prostitution but a space offering spiritual services.
This past weekend is when many modern Pagans celebrate the fire festival of Imbolc sacred to the goddess Brigid, patroness of poets, healers, and smiths. Yesterday was also the feast day of Saint Brigid of Ireland, the patron saint of poets, dairymaids, blacksmiths, healers, cattle, fugitives, Irish nuns, midwives, and new-born babies. In Kildare, Ireland’s town square, a perpetual flame is kept lit and housed in a statue that pays homage to Brigid. Festivities for La Feile Bride in Kildare started on Jan 31 and will continue through Feb 7. There are many other notable observances held during these first few days of February. For example, in some Celtic Recon traditions, this is a time to honor Cú Chulainn’s three-day combat with his foster-brother Fer Diad.