Updates: Florida Freemasonry, Papua New Guinea, and India’s Wiccan Brigade

Here are some updates on previously reported stories here at The Wild Hunt. Florida Freemasons Reverse Anti-Pagan Edict: On November 28th, 2012, Jorge L. Aladro, Grand Master of Florida’s Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, issued a ruling stating that Paganism, Wicca, Odinism, and Gnosticism were not compatible with Freemasonry. Further, any Freemason who “professes to be a member of one of the groups mentioned above shall tender his resignation or suffer himself to a Trial Commission whose final outcome will be expulsion since there is no provision to allow anything contrary to the Ancient Landmarks.” This ruling caused quite a bit of consternation among both Pagans and Freemasons, two communities that have long and interlocking histories. Now, Christopher L. Hodapp at the Freemasons For Dummies blog reports that the edict has been overturned. “The passed resolution reverses the Ruling in its entirety, and concludes by affirming ‘that Florida Masonry hereby declares its eternal devotion to the religious toleration that is one of the immovable and Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry, never to be changed by any man or group of men.’ The Jurisprudence Committee had recommended rejection.” As one commenter aptly put it: “I am very proud of my brethren in Florida for defending religious tolerance and having the courage to undo a mistake that did damage to our fraternity.”

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. I’d like to begin by sending out my thoughts to all those who were affected by yesterday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon. There have been many Pagan responses to this still-unresolved tragedy, but I think Ár nDraíocht Féin Archdruid Rev. Kirk Thomas’ statement may be the best:
“We in ADF participate in a public religion. The gatherings of the folk are important for our communal worship of the Kindreds.

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. More women in Papua New Guinea have been murdered for the crime of “witchcraft” despite the international outcry that resulted from the death of Kepari Leniata earlier this year. Quote: “Two elderly women in Papua New Guinea were tortured for three days receiving deep knife and axe wounds before being beheaded in front of police after being accused of sorcery.” In addition, another six women were reportedly tortured, though authorities are uncertain if they were killed. Journalist Barbara Dreaver noted that “a lot of it is just finding someone to blame.

Witch-Hunts, Moral Panics, and Modern Pagans

In North America and the UK the “Satanic” moral panics of the 1980s and 1990s are seen as an unfortunate rement of the recent past. A time when fear of secret “occult” and “Satanic” forces led innocent men and women to be accused of, and sometimes imprisoned for, imagined ghastly crimes against children. Sadly, these panics are not a remnant of the past, they continue to flare up across the world, and now that modern Pagan religions are truly global in scope, we are increasingly involved in, or endangered by, these panics. In South Africa, a country with a small but thriving Pagan community, religious organizations and government education officials are teaming up to combat “the growing problem of Satanism and occult practices.” Quote: “The MEC also said that Satanism and occultism were being dealt with “when they arise and get reported.” The department said the MoU will also help in tackling issues such as school discipline, teenage pregnancy and spiritual disturbances including Satanism at schools.” This comes after the death of Keamogetswe Sefularo, who allegedly was killed in a “Satanist” attack. 
Witch-hunts and witch-killings have been an ongoing issue in parts of India, and Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, India’s most famous Wiccan adherent, believes the religion can be a beneficial influence in these cases. Chakraverti also believes that Wicca can have an affect on the treatment of women in India, especially after a violent gang-rape that gained international attention. Quote: “The Delhi gang-rape was a turning point.

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. In response to the burning of Kepari Leniata in Papua New Guinea, covered here at The Wild Hunt yesterday, Amnesty International and the United Nation’s human rights office have both urged the government to take “concrete” actions to stop witch-killings in the Commonwealth nation. Quote: “We urge the Government to put an end to these crimes and to bring perpetrators of attacks and killings to justice through thorough, prompt and impartial investigations in accordance with international law […] We note with great concern that this case adds to the growing pattern of vigilante attacks and killings of persons accused of sorcery in Papua New Guinea […] We urge the Government to take urgent action to prevent further cases through education, to provide protection to persons accused of sorcery and witnesses of sorcery-related killings, and to provide medical and psychosocial treatment for victims.” Let us hope that the death of Kepari Leniata was not in vain, and this will trigger safeguards against this horror happening again in Papua New Guinea. 
The Pagan Newswire Collective bureau in Minnesota reports on the 6th anniversary of the Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance, and debates whether there will be a 7th as membership has dwindled in recent years. Quote: “The organization notes that while over 300 people have been involved with UMPA over the past six years, membership has dwindled and that is prompting leadership to ask members and the community, ‘… does this mean UMPA is no longer needed?