Latest News and Relevant information on Wicca,Witchcraft, Druidry, Paganism and more

Latest News and Relevant information on Wicca,Witchcraft, Druidry, Paganism and more

Latest Witchcraft, Wicca and Pagan News

All the latest witchy news from around the world. On this page you can find the latest news and relevant information for Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, Druids, Heathens and all walks of the Pagan Community.

  • Witchcraft Before Wicca: Three Important Magickal Books
    There have been many influential books when it comes to magick and Witchcraft over the centuries. These are three of my favorites, and among the most influential.The post Witchcraft Before Wicca: Three Important Magickal Books appeared first on Raise the Horns. ... read more
    Source: Patheos – Raise the HornsPublished on 2017-01-13By Jason Mankey
  • Column: Solstice at Stonehenge
    My first impression of England came in a solstice ritual put on by the Cotswold Order of Druids at Stonehenge several weeks ago. This struck me at the time as the single most clichéd way for a Pagan pilgrim to begin his visit to the country, but then things become clichés often because they are so perfect that they can’t help but become obvious. Stonehenge [Photo Credit: garethwiscombe/Flickr] During my stay in England, I had the good fortune of having many wonderful magickal experiences, but the ceremony at Stonehenge stands out. For one thing, the sheer size of it: dozens and dozens of people in cloaks and robes, circling the stones, our steps in time with drums from the Morris players toward the back of our line. I felt the same sense that I felt at Thingvellir when I visited Iceland: that mixture of wonder, curiosity, smallness, transience that we call the sublime. Then our ceremony’s leaders opened the gateway into the center of the henge. I passed under one of the archways, aware of the threshold between the worlds outside and in. This is the circle, this is the space between the worlds… I’ve said those words many hundreds of times in my life, but never with that kind of potency. The ritual itself, which included a Morris dance, a naming ceremony for an infant, and several initiations into the Druid order, was lovely and welcoming, but we were all aware that the unique power of the ritual came from the setting. Though I have often struggled with my own understanding that our Paganism of today bears little resemblance to the paganism of the past, the sense of timeless connection between what the Druids do at Stonehenge today and what the long-lost henge-builders did in the Neolithic era pervaded my senses at the ritual. I really did have the sense of being part of something millennia old. Standing beneath those ancient arches, it’s hard to feel any other way. (I wondered, as well, how different my experience was from that of my British fellows, who after all have a cultural and national relationship with Stonehenge that I, an American who had come off the plane only a few hours before, simply could not match.) Stonehenge is often described as timeless; indeed, it is that sense of eternity which draws us to things from our deep human past. It seemed like a thing that would never change. Therefore it was shocking to read that, in fact, serious changes are afoot at Stonehenge: the British government has given the go-ahead for a tunnel to be built beneath the complex, replacing the A303 highway that currently passes close to Stonehenge. The tunnel will not pass directly under the Stonehenge circle itself, rather passing a bit farther out than the current highway is; however, it will pass through the roughly 10-square-mile area that is considered part of the Stonehenge complex. The reasoning, says the UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, is ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-01-13By Eric O. Scott
  • Robin Hood rises to oppose fracking in Sherwood Forest
    And if Robin should be cast Sudden from his turfed grave, And if Marian should have Once again her forest days, She would weep, and he would craze: He would swear, for all his oaks, Fall’n beneath the dockyard strokes, Have rotted on the briny seas … NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, U.K. — The poem above, by John Keats, reveals three things about English folklore: the power of the figure of Robin Hood, the sacred nature of the oak tree, and the indelible link between the two of them. [Photo Credit: Marcin Floryan / Wikimedia] Writing in 1818, Keats was invoking these powerful images as he railed against the Royal Navy’s plundering of the nation’s forests to take oak for shipbuilding. Today, the figure of Robin Hood is again being invoked as his very heartland of Sherwood Forest, and the great ancient oak, fabled to be his hideout, are now facing a very contemporary threat. Anti-fracking campaigners in the UK recently learned that chemical multinational INEOS has been in discussions with the UK’s Forestry Commission to carry out seismic surveys in Sherwood. If agreed, the survey will allow INEOS to spend up to two years burying charges and using other seismic equipment to search for shale gas in the forest, which is designated as a National Nature Reserve. Additionally, Friends of the Earth have obtained documents under the Freedom of Information laws that reveal INEOS could be active within 200 metres of the Major Oak. Sherwood Forest, as many know, is at the heart of the Robin Hood legend and a huge part of English mythical lore. The 1,000 year old Major Oak is a pivotal part of that legend as it is reputed to be where Robin and his Merry Men took shelter from the Sheriff of Nottingham. As recently as 2014, the oak came top of a Woodland Trust poll for ‘England’s Tree of the Year.’ Major Oak [Wikimedia Commons] The recent facking move has angered and incensed the anti-fracking community. Friends of the Earth campaigner Guy Shrubsole, speaking to FrackFree Nottinghamshire, said: “I can’t think of anything more iconic in the English mindset to go for. You’d have thought they’d have learnt from the mistakes of some of the other fracking companies to avoid it, but they’ve gone straight for it.” His comments suggest there is a belief that this latest step may touch broader public sentiment as well as galvanising existing anti-fracking movements. Beyond the Robin Hood mythos, oaks are very synonymous with England and even in mainstream culture are given special reverence. It is still common for people to use such terms as “stout as an oak” or “hearts of oak/oak-hearted” as an epithet for bravery or courage. Of course, oaks have a special relevance for Druids too. Some scholars speculate that the word Druid is a derivative of the Gaelic word/s for Oak (Welsh: Dar, Darwen Irish: Dair, Scottish: Darach). The Roman historian Pliny speaks of how Gaulish Druids worshipped in oak groves and cut ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-01-12By Claire Dixon
  • ADF Druids donate to plant more trees
    TUCSON, Ariz. –In what could be the first gesture of its kind, members of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship’s (ADF) mother grove have committed to sponsoring American Forests in the name of the organization.The $1,000 donation comes personally from the board members, not the organization’s treasury, and Archdruid Jean Pagano has additionally committed to planting a tree for every new member that joins ADF in 2017. According to a statement released from the ADF offices: “American Forests was established over 140 years ago, and they have planted over 150 million trees since 1990 alone. In fulfilling our values as an organization to honor the Earth Mother and be of service to the land, ADF will be able to make a positive impact on our environment through this partnership.” The idea came from Rev. Jean “Drum” Pagano, who is now in his first year as archdruid. Pagano chipped in $250 himself, and intends on matching that gift each year he is in office. Archdruids can serve three three-year terms, meaning Pagano could be in office for up to eight more years, provided his members choose to re-elect him. According to Pagano, American Forests was selected for a track record of fiscal management, “and quite frankly were not afraid of a Neopagan Druidic church.” Also, he added, “We can plant trees through them.” Planting trees is exactly why this appears to be an ideal match. Druids are known for holding trees to be sacred, and the mission of American Forests is to protect them. From its web site: “We can’t live without forests. They are the source of the air we breathe and water we drink. Forests provide a home for most wildlife and are critical to our planet’s biodiversity. And they provide one of our primary defenses against climate change.” Angel Oak, Charleston [Photo Credit: H. Greene] ADF Druids incorporate trees into their rituals as a matter of course, and there is much writing on trees to be found on ADF’s own site. For example, in one article, Judith Anderson-Morris writes of her experiences with “The Angel Oak,” and the “tiny affirmations” she receives during visits with that tree in Charleston: Sometimes it comes in the form of a visiting hawk; sometimes a horde of butterflies; sometimes I find unique feathers at its base. It provides acorns, moss, and ferns for my spellwork and, of course, a deep sense of peace. I always leave three shiny copper pennies in its hollows in return. Rev. Sean Harbaugh, public relations director for ADF, laid out exactly what this support entails. The sponsorship allows ADF to use [American Forest]’s logo on our website and vice versa. The $1,000 pays for 1,000 trees to be planted on ADF’s behalf. It’s a way for us to show that we are serious about the environment and putting our money to good use. Neither Pagano nor Harbaugh are familiar with any similar effort by a religious organization, Pagan or not. “It’s kind of groundbreaking,” observed Harbaugh. ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-01-11By Terence P Ward
  • Sidewalk shrine by homeless family sends a powerful message
    PORTLAND, Ore. – Stumbling across a spontaneous shrine is a common experience in the United States. It may be a cross on the side of the road marking the place where a loved one died in a car accident, or a photos, card, and flowers stuck in the links of a fence where a recently passed celebrity lived. Throughout history, humans have created these shrines to remember and reconnect with the dead. On Sunday, Alley Valkyrie passed a sidewalk shrine that was very similar, yet very different, than most spontaneously created shrines. This one, created by persons currently homeless, was to honor and thank the living, not the dead. [Courtesy A. Valkyrie] The shrine was created by three men who live together as a group and refer to each other as family. The shrine is on a sidewalk, a block away from a Safeway in a wealthy neighborhood. It is a secular shrine but, as some experts might say, it has a wealth of spiritual meaning built into it. One of the men, named ZKAH, told Ms. Valkyrie that they built the shrine to reflect and acknowledge how much people in the neighborhood are caring for them and helping them. ZKAH said, “We can’t survive without our brothers helping us out and we want to show that.” Universality of Shrines At first glance, the items left as an offering have some superficial elements in common with African diaspora spiritual systems such as what are commonly called Santeria and Voodoo. There is tobacco, alcohol, and food. Yet Carlos Munoz, an initiate in Olorisha in La Regla de Ocha, says there is a glaring difference. In Santeria, there would be a statue of the Orichás being honored and the statue is the materially present divine spirit, not a representation. “When we make an offering, will there be food? Yes. Will there be alcohol? Sure. In this [shrine], some elements are there, but context is everything. The context is not Santeria.” Mr. Munoz did see a common ethic behind the offerings in this secular shrine to living benefactors and a traditional offering to the Orichás or ancestors, “It’s similar in that it’s a thank you for help and sustenance.” He says that he gives to deities because they give back to him. He sees a similar impulse in the secular shrine created by ZKAH and his family. Rev. Kevin Marquardt Bradley, an interfaith counselor, hospice Chaplain, and Daoist says even though American culture separates the physical and the spiritual, we continue to find ways to bring them together through rituals such as building spontaneous shrines. “This creates community and a common identity,” Rev. Bradley says. This is why humans, as he explains, have engaged in shrine building through every era in every culture and religion. Bradley said that this particular shrine isn’t trivial, but rather complex and full of meaning. “This is a celebration of life. They are parting with things that are very valuable to them. Look at how the fresh ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-01-10By Cara Schulz
  • Show Your Work: Silence & Skepticism in Modern Witchcraft
    Magickal ideas are remarkably resilient, and while they may not be Witchcraft, they most certainly have value. Let's just not turn them into something they aren't.The post Show Your Work: Silence & Skepticism in Modern Witchcraft appeared first on Raise the Horns. ... read more
    Source: Patheos – Raise the HornsPublished on 2017-01-09By Jason Mankey
  • Pagan Community Notes: Women’s March, Chaplain Conference, Jerry Fandel, HUAR, and more
    WASHINGTON D.C. — Beginning 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, women will unite and march on Washington to, as organizers say, “stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.” Although it is called the “Women’s March on Washington,” organizers say that everyone who supports their purpose is welcome. They wrote: “In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new administration, Congress, Senate, state and local governments on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights.” Many of those in the Pagan, Heathen, and polytheist communities have already been outspoken about attending the upcoming march. Members of the Washington-based Firefly House will be on hand and are also organizing a “Witches Contingent” for the event. Those that can’t make it to Washington D.C. are reportedly joining the many worldwide sister marches that are now being organized in conjunction. We will bring you the full story next week. *     *     * ALEXANDRIA, Va.– Circle Sanctuary and Sacred Well Congregation are currently participating in the 2017 Annual Forum of the COMISS Network, an interfaith chaplaincy organization involved in national and international initiatives. Also now known as the Network on Ministry in Special Settings, the organization holds an annual forum each year to discuss and promote multi-faith chaplaincy programs. We caught up with Circle Sanctuary’s Rev. Selena Fox between workshops. She said, “Although as part of my work with Circle Sanctuary, I have collaborated with chaplain endorsers and others connected with COMISS Network in a variety of settings over the years, this was my first time attending the conference. I enjoyed being with old friends and meeting new colleagues, and being part of sharing experiences, perspectives, and ideas about educating and supporting chaplains with others of many religions and beliefs.” Since its inception, Circle Sanctuary has been working with interfaith organizations toward growing Pagan chaplaincy in a variety of service industries. As we reported in spring 2016, Sacred Well Congregation had the distinction of earning EEO status with the Department of Veterans Affairs, marking “the first time that any Pagan group has been approved as an Ecclesiastical Endorsing Organization for the VA.” The designation not only opened the door for more Pagan and Heathen acceptance within organizations like COMISS. The annual January forum wraps up in Alexandria, Monday, Jan. 9. *    *    * The Las Vegas Pagan community and the Officers of Avalon lost one of their members Sunday. Paramedic Jerry Fandel was reportedly admitted to the hospital Jan. 1 after suffering a heart attack. According to his partner’s daughter Bekah Lynn, the doctors were unable to remove two clots that had already hardened. ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-01-09By The Wild Hunt
  • The Witch’s Crown: Sovereignty, Power, and the Faery Tradition
    Among the kaleidoscope of practices and philosophies that shape the diverse form of witchcraft known as Faery, a popular saying arises again and again that describes what very well may be the singular heart of the tradition: "A witch bows to no one." It is offered as both advice and meditative device, the sentiment being one of claiming and protecting one's personal power and fully embracing one's own divine authority. Storm Faerywolf, author of Betwixt and Between, provides insight into the Faery tradition as well as the Witch's Crown exercise for embracing your personal power. ... read more
    Source: Llewellyn JournalPublished on 2017-01-09
  • Religious accommodation or discrimination in health care services
    PATERSON, N.J. – It was announced Jan. 5 that Lambda Legal had filed a federal lawsuit against New Jersey-based St. Joseph’s health care system, after “the hospital refused to allow Jionni Conforti’s surgeon to perform a routine hysterectomy because he is transgender.” St. Joseph’s maintains four top-ranked teaching facilities in northern New Jersey, but it also is “a Catholic faith-based institution” founded in 1867 by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth. It is the medical center’s religious affiliation that has now come between Conforti and his medical procedures. “No hospital should be allowed to decide who their patients are, particularly when they receive government funds. Denying care to someone at their time of need because of their sex or gender identity is not only dangerous and humiliating, it’s against the law,” said Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan in a press release. Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal is one of the top nonprofit organizations the mission of which “is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV.” According to Lambda Legal, in June 2015, Conofti received a letter from hospital representative Father Martin D. Rooney stating that the request to “remove all female parts” for the purposes of “gender reassignment” would not be permitted at its facilities due to St. Joseph’s being a Catholic hospital. In its 2017 lawsuit, Lambda makes the argument that the denial of services is illegal on multiple counts. It argues that not only is Conforti’s procedure medically necessary, but also that it is contractually obligatory. The hospital allegedly violated expectations previously set, as well as ignoring the language in its own patient bill of rights, stating that patients have the right: To treatment and medical services without discrimination based on race, age, religion, national origin, sex, sexual preferences, gender identity or expression, marital, domestic partnership, or civil union status, handicap, diagnosis, ability to pay, or source of payment. Furthermore, the Lambda lawsuit goes on to state that the denial of services also violates both federal and state laws. Attorney Gonzalez-Pagan said, “In the United States, one in six hospital beds are in Catholic hospitals. These health-care providers must comply with federal and state anti-discrimination laws so that the health of LGBT people who walk through their doors is not endangered.” The New Jersey lawsuit comes on the heels of a recent case heard in the U.S. district court in Wichita Falls, Texas. In that hearing, eight states and three private health-care providers challenged a rule change made to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Prior to July, section 1557 of the ACA’s nondiscrimination rules did not include language regarding gender identity or expression. The original provisions only included “race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.” In a July 2016 memorandum, HHS expanded that language to include “a new prohibition of discrimination on the basis on sex in health programs and activities outside of educational institutions, which includes discrimination on the basis of sex stereotyping or gender ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-01-08By Heather Greene
  • Column: Toward a More Sustainable Paganism
    Respect for the Earth, however that may be interpreted by a practitioner, is one of the common hallmarks of Paganism. The concept of following an “Earth-based” religious path is a common attractor for seekers, and — perhaps in an effort to make Paganism palatable to monotheists — interfaith communities often refer to the Pagan representatives as “Earth-based.” While there are a large number of Pagan paths, and not all would describe themselves in this way, most would at least acknowledge that respect for the Earth, its changing climate, and its long-term health is a value to them. [Pixabay / Public Domain] Pagans have played a prominent role in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline, allying with the local native community to defend sacred land from being desecrated by oil interests. Pagans of multiple traditions have fought against other pipelines, fracking, strip mining, clear-cutting forests, and pioneered sustainable living practices. Support for the Earth can be interpreted in many ways, but Pagans, regardless of tradition, tend to lean toward a love for the planet and advocacy for its preservation. Yet there is a contradiction here. Pagan practice can be very consumerist and environmentally damaging. It often contains a large arsenal of accouterments: statues, candles, cauldrons, blades, herbs, matches, lighters, oils, even plastic utensils for festivals. Practice often involves fires and the burning of spells, incense, or offerings which, despite their sacredness, contribute to the carbon in the atmosphere. Objects are often buried, released into rivers, or scattered to the winds; practices that, if done on a larger scale, would be environmentally unsustainable. As practitioners of religions that often claim to respect the Earth, it seems vital to be aware of our own damaging practices and modify them into more environmentally friendly versions wherever possible. “I think much of Paganism runs the risk of becoming materialistic,” says Katrina Ray-Saulis, self-described kitchen Witch, writer, and artist from Maine. She gives the example of spell books instructing the purchase of certain candles, knives, and other objects for a spell. “And then,” she adds, “the spell says ‘let the candle burn down completely to make this spell complete.’ But do you know where that candle came from?” Are we aware of how these items are produced? “And when you’re done with it, adds Ray-Saulis, “what happens to the cup? A lot of waste goes into spell craft…If we’re going to be Earth-worshipers we need to truly be worshiping the Earth and caring for her, right?” Sparrow Anderson, the co-host of the Wigglian Way Pagan podcast who also been on the front lines of the fight against Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain oil pipeline through Burnaby Mountain in Vancouver, Canada, tries to compensate for this by utilizing natural objects in her spell craft. “I find myself using natural objects more often, or none,” says Anderson. She still struggles with candles, though. “Paraffin wax is a problem. It’s made from fossil fuels. We try to purchase mostly beeswax and plant-based waxes, but again cost becomes ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-01-07By Tim Titus
  • There are Fucking Witches in North Carolina
    Too many of us buy into this nonsense about the “Bible Belt” and then don’t even bother looking because we’ve already defeated ourselves.The post There are Fucking Witches in North Carolina appeared first on Oathbound. ... read more
    Source: Patheos – OathboundPublished on 2017-01-06By Thorn Mooney
  • Velvet Rieth 1954-2017
    Velvet Rieth [Courtesy Photo] It was announced Thursday that Wiccan priestess Velvet Rieth had died in her home Jan. 4 at 12:30 am. For years, Rieth was an outspoken member of the Louisiana Pagan community. However, in 2008, she developed a rare condition called Pick’s disease. She was forced to retire from the spotlight, but not before she made a significant mark on the world and people around her. Velvet was born on Nov.15,1954 in New Orleans to parents John and Dorothy West. Like many in Louisiana, she had a Catholic upbringing but, growing up in New Orleans, she was also exposed to magic and various forms of Witchcraft. Her father was also reportedly a very spiritual man, who did not turn away non-conventional or non-Catholic ideas. She began practicing Wicca in high school. In 1968, she enrolled in the newly-established public Grace King all girls high school in Metairie, where she met a group of friends who were all interested in Witchcraft and Wicca. In a 2008 interview for The Times-Picayune, Rieth spoke candidly about her first Pagan group, explaining that the girls all shared the common experience of being victims of child abuse and pedophilia. As a result of their traumas, as she told the reporter, they formed the Crescent City Swamp Witches. This group of women stayed lifelong friends and practicing Pagan colleagues. Although her introduction to Witchcraft came at an early age, it would be another 20 years before she took her place as a leader in the Louisiana Pagan community. After leaving high school, Velvet attended the Charity School of Nursing at Delgado Community College. She owned a bar for some time with her mother, Dorothy. After several marriages and the birth of her four children, she eventually moved into a successful career as the director of counseling at Causeway Medical Suite, an abortion clinic in Metairie. In that work Rieth became an outspoken local activist in support of a woman’s right to choose. She was even interviewed for and quoted in a 1997 Simon and Schuster’s publication: The Abortion Resource Handbook. It is also around this time that she met and married Gilbert Rieth, which would begin marriage that would last 25 years. Velvet praying at Marie Laveau’s tomb in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 [Courtesy D. Morrison] As her work in community service was taking off, Rieth also began to step out as a leader in the Pagan community. She was fondly known as the Swamp Witch. In 1994, she co-founded the Covenant of the Pentacle Wiccan Church (CPWC), which became affiliated with the Aquarian Tabernacle Church based in Washington state. CPWC performed both public and private rituals, legal weddings, hospital chaplaincy, and interfaith services. The group eventually operated teaching circles in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Shreveport, and hosted a a food bank. CPWC members followed Velvet’s lead in being very active and public in community support. In 1996, through CPWC, Rieth began a successful Pagan prison ministry service, through which ordained members of her group could enter the state prison system to help ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-01-06By Heather Greene
  • UU Pagans respond to American political shift
    TWH — Following the highly-divisive election cycle in the United States, leaders in the Unitarian Universalist religion have been speaking out about what should come next. For one leader of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPs), the call to “provide sanctuary and resist” can be couched in terms of the time of the winter king, who brings hope in times of cold, dark, and despair. Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, laid out what he believed to be necessary in a letter to UU ministers last month. I believe we are entering dangerous times. I expect that the new administration will unleash human rights abuses aimed at migrants and Muslims shortly after it takes office. In the longer term, other marginalized groups . . . will be in danger. We are already seeing an increase in violent acts by people who see the election as validation of their hate. Among the dangers we face is the temptation to “normalize” the situation. I pray that the incoming administration will prove to be more humane than its rhetoric and many of its most ardent supporters. I see no evidence that this is the case. None. It is irresponsible folly to act as though we are in a normal transition between administrations. We must prepare to provide sanctuary and resist. Sanctuary, in Morales’ view, is broadly defined to include not only safe harbors for spiritual reflection, but active protection for members of those groups likely to be targeted, including Muslims and illegal aliens. He frames resistance as a shift from playing “offense” by advocating for such issues as marriage equality and immigration reform to “defense” to oppose new human-rights abuses that he fully expects will occur under President Trump. Amy Beltaine, presently the president of CUUPs, is in agreement with Morales. In a lengthy winter solstice video that she transcribed to the blog Nature’s Path,Beltaine placed these concerns into a Pagan context: The short daylight and the fear and pain among my loved ones are adding layers of weight on my mind. So many of my friends have realistic fears about being able to survive, much less prosper, during the next four years. One must have food, shelter, and health before one can contribute your unique self to the world. I need them to survive. I’m keenly aware of the responsibilities that come with my layers of relative privilege. I have responsibilities to the marginalized and historically oppressed. Not just responsibilities to interrupt bullying, to resist injustice and agitate for compassion, but responsibility to build bridges and to make connections with those who I have trouble feeling connected to. For Beltaine, building bridges is every bit as important as building sanctuaries. “Some might argue that many who voted in frustration have little to complain about,” she wrote. “But human beings usually don’t make decisions based on dispassionate fact. We decide based on our story, our emotions, our experience. Whether this perception of helplessness and lost ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-01-04By Terence P Ward
  • Resolving to write a book in 2017? Publishers share advice
    TWH – The new year has been rung in and resolutions have been made and, for many, high on the list of resolutions is to finish writing a book and have it published. This is, would be their first attempt at becoming a professional author. While there are many resources devoted to the budding writer, there isn’t much specific to publishers who work with Pagan, Heathen, and other occult topics. [Pixabay / Public Domain] The Wild Hunt spoke with several publishers about the kinds of books that they are looking for this year and what common mistakes prevent a book from being accepted. They offer some helpful and direct advice for budding authors. We spoke to four publishers, including: Taylor Ellwood, managing non-fiction editor at Immanion Press. Ellwood is also the author of fifteen different esoteric books. Elysia Gallo, senior acquisitions editor at Llewellyn Worldwide. Mitch Horowitz, VP/Executive Director at TarcherPerigee (Penguin Random House). Horowitz is also a PEN award-winning author of Occult America and One Simple Idea, and is an occult historian. Finally, Erin Lale acquisitions editor at Caliburn Press. Caliburn Press includes the owner’s original company, Spero Publishing, in addition to a number of imprints that previously had different owners. The Wild Hunt: Are there any areas of topics your publishing house is looking for in 2017?Taylor Ellwood: Intermediate to advanced topics on magic, and paganism, basically books that take a new approach to magic or advance an existing tradition or practice. Elysia Gallo: I am not looking for anything in particular. People need to write about what they are passionate about because it’s a long process. They need to be the expert/authority in the topic, I’m not going to tell them what to do. If someone has a handful of ideas that they are interested in writing about, they can always ask me (or another editor at another house) before they start writing, to see if any of the ideas are higher in priority/interest level for us than the others. Mitch Horowitz: I’m always interested in “beginners books”–really well-done portals of entry to bedrock topics in spellwork or divination. I am interested in scholarly translations of classic or ancient writings, such as Agrippa, Marcus Manilius, or the Hermetic writings. In 2017 I’m publishing a new translation of Eliphas Levi, which I’m excited about. I’m also interested in works that bring an ethical dimension to magick or any kind of esoteric practice. Erin Lale: In addition to coloring books, we’d love to have something for the games imprint on the intersection of stage magic and witch magick. On the nonfiction side, we’re open to any pagan or magic related topic for the imprint Spero. On the fiction side, Eternal Press publishes all genres except mainstream. We’re hoping to publish more pagan related novels, especially about ordinary pagans who don’t have fantastical powers, but EP is not specifically a pagan imprint. EP’s biggest genres are romance and erotica (including both straight and QUILTBAG), and horror. TWH: What’s the number ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-01-03By Cara Schulz
  • The 7 Habits You Must Adopt in 2017
    Each year, thousands of people set New Year's resolutionsandmdash;to exercise, eat better, lose weight, save more money, enjoy their life more, etc.andmdash;but most will fail. Miserably and repeatedly. So how can we live better lives, if our resolutions to do so are likely to fail? Sharon Lipinski, author of the new 365 Ways to Live Generously: Simple Habits for a Life That's Good for You and for Others, provides the seven foundational generosity habits that, once a part of your life, will allow your life to naturally unfold as a life that is good for you and good for others. ... read more
    Source: Llewellyn JournalPublished on 2017-01-02
  • Pagan Community Notes: Robin Fletcher, Appalachian Pagan Ministry, Wigglian Way, and more!
    VICTORIA, Aus. — Robin Fletcher, convicted sex offender, is once again seeking more relaxed supervision. In 1998, Fletcher was jailed for the rape and prostitution of two 15-year-old girls. He reportedly told the girls that the acts were part of their Witchcraft initiations, and he maintained that premise throughout his court hearings. Fletcher has been quoted as saying that his arrest was based on “a huge cultural misunderstanding” and that “his practices had a symbolic religious meaning and were not sexually motivated.” However, the courts were unconvinced, and Fletcher served an eight-year sentence that ended in 2006. He was then released under strict supervision. Since that time, Fletcher has been working to either remove or lessen the court’s order. In late 2015, that supervisory order was extended to at least June 2016. Once again, the case has come up for discussion, and the courts will reportedly decide in Feb. 2017 whether or not his status should change. Fletcher’s lawyer is quoted as saying, “[His] blindness, disability and notoriety mean he is unlikely to re-offend if released into the community.” However, lawyers for the province have argued that “even a low risk [is] still too great.” Blogger and Wild Hunt social media director Cosette Paneque has been following this case and its effects on the Australia Pagan community, as a whole. In a blog post, Paneque wrote, “Fletcher’s crimes have had a devastating and long-lasting effect on the Pagan community in Victoria, if not all of Australia. It’s a wound to the Pagan community that hasn’t fully healed and Fletcher has become a cautionary tale, a bogeyman that keeps Pagans suspicious of each other.”   *    *    * HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Appalachian Pagan Ministry (APM) recently announced that its work to directly assist Pagan and Heathen inmates has continued to expand. Founded in 2015 by Donna Donovan, the APM is reportedly the first and only Pagan ministry program allowed into both West Virginia and Ohio prisons. Donovan explains, “Up till (sic) now, Pagan inmates were allowed to meet once a week and to celebrate two holidays a year, but were not allowed to have any sort of religious ceremony or ritual without outside Pagan clergy present.” The West Virginia Department of Corrections has approved APM to facilitate meetings, rituals, and ceremonies. The situation is similar in Ohio, and the ministry is working to grow its presence in both states. Donovan has said that their ministry are currently serving monthly at five facilities in West Virginia: St Mary’s, Salem, Lakin, Pruntytown, and Huttonsville correctional facilities, and four in Ohio: Allen-Oakwood, Southern Ohio, Warren and Chillicothe correctional facilities, including death row. Donovan adds, “These inmates, male and female alike, know the mistakes they have made in their lives. They are paying for those mistakes. Yet instead of wallowing in self pity or continuing to blame outside sources for their current situation, they are holding themselves accountable and doing what they can to grow in body, mind and spirit to ensure they do not make those same mistakes ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-01-02By The Wild Hunt
  • Pagan Voices New Year’s Edition!
    Pagan Voices is a spotlight on recent quotations from figures within the Pagan community. These voices may appear in the burgeoning Pagan media or a mainstream outlet, but all showcase our wisdom, thought processes, and evolution in the public eye. Is there a Pagan voice or artist you’d like to see highlighted? Contact us with a link to the story, post, audio, or image. To begin 2017, polyanimist Aldrin shares a prayer to Janus in Tagalog: Pagbati sa Iyo ng may galak at tuwa, O Haring Tarangkahan na may dalawang mukha; isang pakanan at isang pakaliwa, Poon ng mga pintuan, mula langit hanggang lupa. O Haring Tarangkahan, buksan Mo ang daan: sa Taong ito’y nawa’y walang humadlang sa pagtupad sa mga tungkulin na sa ami’y nakalaan; biyaya’t pagpapala nawa’y maging katuparan. O Poong nagbabantay sa bawat simulain, nawa’y sa unang pag-awit at panimulang panalangin ay buksan Mo ang daan sa lahat ng kariwasaan; kasaganahan, kagandahan at kasiyahan. At sa pagsilang ng bagong umaga ito, isilang nawa sa aming mga diwa at puso ang isang bagong pag-asa at bagong ngiti isang bagong lakas na hindi mapapawi. Nawa’y sa Taong ito at sa mga darating pa ay maging matagumpay at maligaya ang pagkamit sa aming mabubuting mithiin, malaya sa balakid at suliranin. O Haring Tarangkahang tagapagbukas ng Daan: nawa’y sa susunod na Ika’y aming awitan ay mas higit pa ang aming tuwa’t kasiyahan sa pag-awit sa Iyong matamis na pangalan. Galina Krasskova has decided that 2017 will for her be the year of the agon, or contest, with a different deity featured each month: “I very much hope that 2017 brings health, joy, and wealth to us all. Let it be a year of happiness and success. I pray that the good, immortal Gods block misfortune and malintent from entering our homes and our lives this year. May They bless us with all good things throughout the year, even in the midst of our challenges. […] I want to start this year with something creative, fun, and that emphasizes the love and devotion we have for our Gods. […] January’s deity of choice for me is Hermes. He’s awesome and I think it fitting to start the year with a Hermes agon. So those of you who are interested, submit your art (photos of), prayers/poems to krasskova at gmail.com.” Wyrd Dottir writes about how Heathen Yule tends to end with the conventional year: “It’s the last big party to celebrate a new year, celebrate the passing of the darkest (and in theory coldest of times) and to look forward to the lengthening days and warming temperatures. Of all the nights of Yule, this night seems to be the one most closely associated with the custom of wassailing, which embodies in part the customs around caroling as well. Wassail, Hail, Heilsa, are all different versions of the same root word across a few different languages, which essentially relates to health, prosperity and luck, and was used prominently as a type of salutation. Not only would you ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-01-01By The Wild Hunt
  • Column: Reflections from the Edge
    [Today, the final day of 2016, we welcome guest contributor Tamilia Reed. Reed is a devotional polytheist, spirit-worker, mystic, rune reader, Witch, and traveler of the Otherworlds. Her spiritual work centers on building strong relationships with the denizens of this and other worlds, while seeking an intimate understanding of the magical ties that join all beings. You can find Reed’s writing on her personal blog at Wandering Woman Wondering, at Wayfaring Woman via Agora, or at Daughters of Eve: Pagan Women of Color Speak.] Story is beautiful in that it grows, transforms, and evolves with us and through us, and there is great power in telling our own story on our own terms. The story of my spiritual path began in northeast Florida on a cool morning as the light of dawn rushed over my grandmother’s brown skin. I was about 8 years old. [Public Domain / Pixabay] When I managed to wake up before the sun, I had the privilege of watching my grandmother raise her hands to the unfolding day and pray for the health, wealth, and wellness of her eight children and her many more grandchildren. She also prayed for safety and justice for her family in a world that had pushed our Black lives to the margins. In the early morning light, my grandmother muttered prayers from her heart, from the depths of her hope. The Christian God was the one she addressed in her prayers, night and day without cease. My mother followed in my grandmother’s way, praying regularly. It was my grandmother and then my mother who taught me that spirituality is about connection and relationship. Both my mother and my grandmother had a meaningful relationship with the God of Christianity and I remember wanting that too. For many years I tried to feel the way that they felt about him. I attended church, read the Bible, and prayed. But none of what I felt while trying to build a relationship with the Christian God matched the wonder and magic that I felt when I was 12 years old, conjuring a summer storm with a fist full of fallen leaves and a soggy branch of pine on the very same porch where my grandmother had prayed. It was with branch and leaf in hand literally dancing and singing up a storm that I felt plugged into the force that connects us all. While calling in the storm, not only did the numinous world unfold, but for a second or two life on the margins fell away. Needless to say, that was a tremendous feeling as a Black girl growing up within arm’s reach of the American south. After that storm, knowledge of my inalienability dwelled within me. I knew that no matter how society tried to situate me based on my Blackness or my Womaness or my Queerness, from the perspective of the Earth and Sky, the deities and spirits, I was and would always be wholly and thoroughly integral, never marginal. Through decades of American (mis)education, I took that ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2016-12-31By Guest Contributor
  • Book Review: The Tao of Craft
    The Tao of Craft: Fu Talismans and Casting Sigils in the Eastern Esoteric Tradition by Benebell Wen. Published by North Atlantic Books (600 pages) The Tao of Craft, by Benebell Wen (also author of Holistic Tarot), is an English-language practitioner’s guide to Chinese 符 (fú). 符 is usually translated as “talisman,” but Wen chooses to use the word “sigil,” which more specifically captures the use of written texts and glyphs and symbols, the ritual charging of such designs, and their relationship to both spirit-work and directly achieving desired practical results. Wen also chooses to use the term “craft” rather than “magic.” The lines between “magic” and “religion” have always been blurry, and while she acknowledges that the vast web of traditions comprising Daoism is often religious, Wen argues that the metaphysical principles underlying the Fú techniques themselves can work from a variety of religious frameworks. Since “magic” has acquired a more diffuse meaning in phrases such as “magical thinking,” “craft” more precisely emphasizes the importance of technique and practice. Wen herself chooses to retain the religious language of Buddhism and Daoism in her personal practice, while also seeking to understand the underlying principles. I have not had the time to craft and use any Fú sigils with the guidance of this book, which naturally limits the utility of this review for practitioners, though Wen primarily intends the book to teach theory rather than specific methodologies (instructions for crafting sigils are indeed included, however). Nonetheless, the question of cultural context and interchangeability of techniques is an important one to consider even before using the techniques themselves. Wen is of Taiwanese descent and devotes an entire chapter to “A Historic and Cultural Context,” but her familiarity with Chinese culture suffuses the entire book. Within the broad array of Chinese ontological perspectives, Wen subscribes to the framework of 阴 (yīn) and 阳 (yáng) rather than that of benevolent and malevolent spirits, though the two are interrelated: for example, the “Classics of the Esoteric Talisman,” dating from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 C.E.) though speculated to have originated much earlier, states that benevolent and celestial spirits are summoned through “triggering mechanisms” utilizing yáng energy, while ghosts and demons are summoned through yīn energy. While I certainly agree with Wen that certain magical techniques work across cultures, I also hold that many techniques are empowered through personal relationships to spirits or deities or other powers that assist with the work. The first thing I did when I got the book was go to the index and find and copy the Fú sigil invoking the Guan Dao, the weapon of the god Guan Di, to whom I am oathed first and foremost. A Daoist Fú Sigil. [Public Domain] However, both perspectives are rooted within the shared cultural continuum of a living tradition, and when discussing working with spirits and gods, Wen provides instructions regarding the proper offerings to give and ritual actions to perform, including setting up home altars, binary divination with spirits, and the consecration ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2016-12-30By Heathen Chinese
  • Mistletoe Festival in England grows, honoring ancient tradition
    UNITED KINGDOM — Every year, the sleepy little market town of Tenbury Wells, near the border of England and Wales in the county of Worcestershire, hosts an annual Mistletoe Festival. Mistletoe is an important product in this corner of England, due to its numerous apple orchards. Worcestershire and neighbouring Herefordshire mark the start of cider and perry country, which covers most of South West England). Tenbury Wells “My little town in the Orchard,” as said by Queen Victoria [Photo credit Philip Pankhurst] As Suzanne Thomas of the Mistletoe Foundation states: “Viscum album, the English mistletoe is such an amazing plant. It has a wonderful energy and to see it growing in the trees locally is just so lovely. I love autumn, when the leaves fall and the mistletoe is revealed again.” The festival is a remnant of the old holly and mistletoe markets, which took place for years at the local livestock market. However, that market was disbanded in 2004 and much of the mistletoe sold in UK was now imported. Not wanting to see their own local traditions die out completely, locals birthed the Mistletoe Festival. The event is a celebration of the mistletoe plant – and of viscum album, the white berried plant, in particular. Viscum cruciatum, the red berried variety, is only found in Southern Europe. Viscum Album [Photo Credit: Alexbrn / Public domain] The annual mistletoe festival begins with a blessing ritual hosted by local Druids, and also features plays, music, ceremonies, and parades. A crowning of the Mistletoe Queen provides the climax. Thomas says, “(The festival) honours the harvests of the Teme Valley [a colloquialism for the wider region around Tenbury Wells], the hops, the apples, and the mistletoe. When the mistletoe has been ‘Awened’ and the beer and apple juice poured over it, the mistletoe (both male and female plants brought together) were given to the River Teme, to send the magic around the world.” The festival is hosted in the beginning of December to coincide with National Mistletoe Day, Dec. 1. Mistletoe has a long and fascinating history in Europe. It was regarded as a sacred plant not only by Druids, but also by the ancient Greeks. The Druids had a special ceremony to gather the plant whereby the mistletoe would be harvested on the sixth night after the New Moon following the winter solstice. The mistletoe was then caught in a broad piece of cloth as it was regarded as sacrilege to let it fall to the ground. Most people today are aware of its history as the Kissing Bough, under which people kiss during Midwinter or Yule celebrations. This tradition goes back beyond modern times to when mistletoe was regarded as a peace plant. The Anglo-Saxons, for instance, believed that mistletoe came from the Goddess Freya, and it was a popular custom to get married under the plant. In addition, married couples experiencing difficulties were expected to “kiss and make up” beneath it. This tradition can be traced to the story ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2016-12-29By Claire Dixon
  • The 2016 Hornie Awards
    Celebrating the best (and sometimes worst) in Paganism from 2016 with the least coveted awards ever!The post The 2016 Hornie Awards appeared first on Raise the Horns. ... read more
    Source: Patheos – Raise the HornsPublished on 2016-12-28By Jason Mankey
  • Indigenous voices to grace Paganicon stage
    ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn.. — When the doors to Paganicon open next March, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from two important representatives of native peoples, Sharon Day and Arvol Looking Horse. What makes their attendance particularly unusual is that the cost of bringing in these speakers was raised directly by members of the community, and in relatively short order. Headliners at Paganicon are usually selected a year in advance and have their expenses paid for by the convention budget, but Looking Horse and Day were only confirmed within the last few weeks. Becky Munson, who oversees programming and entertainment for the convention, was kind enough to answer some questions about how it all came about. The Wild Hunt: What makes these two guests, in particular, exciting enough to rally funding? Becky Munson: Paganicon received two separate pledges for restricted giving related to bringing in these specific guests. This is a first for our organization, but clearly members of the community really wanted to have these folks at the event, and we do everything we can to meet those requests. TWH: How much money did you raise to bring them? BM: Collectively we raised about $1,200 to bring in both guests. More than half of that was the initial commitments, the rest was money raised during my call to the community for support. Sharon M. Day [courtesy photo] TWH: Who did you rally to raise the funds, and how did you do so? BM: The long story is that we got the request for Sharon [Day] with a pledge for her full honorarium. The request for Chief Arvol [Looking Horse] came with a pledge for half his regular fees. Paganicon books our guests for each convention close to a year in advance, and this came up late in the fall. We had already committed all the funds available for guests from our normal budget; so the only way to come up with the second half of the cost for Chief Arvol was to ask the greater community to pitch in. I put a personal request on behalf of Paganicon out to all the Pagan leaders I know in our local community. I asked if they could request support from their respective groups in the area. Every single person stepped up, and we raised the needed funds in a couple of days. It was so great to see the broader community join us in bringing such a special guest to the event. I was blown away at the response, and truly grateful for the support we have in our community. TWH: Paying for headline guests is standard at some Pagan events, but not all. What expenses are being paid for these two, and how exactly does that differ from the support usually offered for your headline speakers? Paganicon has paid our guests of honor since the beginning of the con. We work every year to balance compensation of guests and ticket pricing. We also have generous sponsors who ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2016-12-28By Terence P Ward
  • Review of Queer Paganism by Jo Green
    This book would definitely be of interest to queer Pagans and open-minded heterosexuals, as it is not only about queer Paganism, but is about an inclusive practice.The post Review of Queer Paganism by Jo Green appeared first on Dowsing for Divinity. ... read more
    Source: Patheos – Dowsing for DivinityPublished on 2016-12-28By Yvonne Aburrow
  • 2016 Wild Hunt Retrospective
    TWH – Now that the season has turned and we are nearing the end of the 2016, we look back, one last time, to review this extraordinary year. What happened? What didn’t happen? What events shaped our thoughts and guided our actions? In our collective worlds, both big and small, what were the major discussions? How did Pagans, Heathens, and polytheists face world issues and local crises? What were the high points and the low? Join us on this reflective journey…. As the light began to return and the daze from holiday celebrations faded into the past, the new year promised to be an interesting one, as the U.S. presidential election drew closer. However, before American politics took center stage, there were much going on in the collective communities that make up the Pagan, Heathen, and polytheist worlds. In the beginning….  The early months saw the tying up loose ends from 2015, demonstrating both hope and positive momentum. A new Hellenic temple was established in Washington D.C., the Doreen Valiente Foundation published the long-awaited book Doreen Valiente: Witch, the U.S. Department of Defense accepted a newly created “Heathen Resource Guide for Chaplains,” Denver-based Isis bookstore restored its damage sign, the popular Toronto pub moot celebrated 20 years, and one Mexican Heathen community launched a magazine. In addition, Pagan Ryan Reyes, the boyfriend of San Bernardino shooting victim and hero L. Daniel Kaufman, was invited to attend the 2015 State of the Union address. He also spoke out publicly on television about the ordeal, saying “I know [Daniel] would approve of what I am doing. He would not want people suffering or being treated differently just because they share the same religion as extremists/radical groups do.” Those early months of 2016 also saw the continuation of much Pagan activism. In January, a group of San Jose Pagans held a memorial service for those people who had “died homeless” in 2015. Pagans in Ontario stepped up to assist elders as the wells ran dry, allegedly caused by a local bottling company. In Chicago, an art collective called WITCH staged a ritual to protest local housing inequality. Then, after a Boko Haram attack in Cameroon, two American women called for the global Witchcraft community to unite in order to help stomp out terrorism. As always, religious freedom issues wove in and out of our news stream, as well as questions surrounding the legality of practice and the truth in claims of sincerely-held religious beliefs. This issue was raised in two mainstream Pagan-based stories: the Phoenix Goddess Temple case and the New Orleans #bonegazi story. Where does religion stop and crime begin? Religious freedom was also the center of concern when Texas-based Fort Hood Open Circle found itself the victim of a hate crime. However, outside of the U.S., Pagans were celebrating  major victories. For example, the South African Witchcraft Supression Act was ruled unconstitutional, allowing breathing room for South African Pagans to practice their craft. There was also tragedy in those early months, as we learned that the historic and beloved New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple was destroyed by an electrical fire. Priestess Miriam salvaged what ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2016-12-27By Heather Greene
  • Trance Dance Your Way to Happiness
    Sad? Depressed? Anxious? Stressed? Not feeling good enoughandmdash;not the right height, the right shape, the right whatever? Wish you could click your ruby red slippers and forever banish self doubt? If so, Trance Dancing with the Jinn author Yasmin Henkesh suggests the healing power of dance. ... read more
    Source: Llewellyn JournalPublished on 2016-12-26
  • Pagan Community Notes: Norse Art Competition; Berlin Attacks; Wreaths Across American and more!
    TWH – In November, the Norse Mythology Blog launched its annual art contest. Now in its seventh year, the competition is an opportunity for artists of all ages to show off their talent and their knowledge of Norse mythology. The 2016 contest theme was Midwinter Spirit. “During the winter solstice on December 21, those of us in the northern hemisphere will experience the shortest day and longest night of the year. This may seem early in the season, but it’s really the middle. […]Throughout Northern Europe, there are local traditions that celebrate midwinter. Some of these practices preserve very old rituals.” As part of the challenge, the artists also had to somehow relate their piece “to the character and legends of the goddess Freyja.” The winners of the 2016 competition were announced last week in all categories, including child, teen, and adult. This year’s judges included Norse Mythology Blog owner Karl E. H. Seigfried, artist Rufus Dayglo (Judge Dredd; Tank Girl) and author Diana Paxson (Taking Up the Runes; Essential Ásatrú). The first place winner in the child category was nine-year-old Rune Hatrak of Belleville, New Jersey. The first place winner in the teen category was eighteen-year-old Caitlin E. Terwedow of Ashton, Illinois. And, the adult first-place finalist was forty-five-year-old Chad Nelson of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The winning selections and descriptions are all posted on the Norse Mythology Blog, along with the works from the second and third winners, the runners-up and other contestants. *     *     * BERLIN – On Thursday, Dec. 22,  a lorry drove through the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market killing 12 people and injuring 48. The attack was yet another in a string of terror that seemingly continues to plaque our world. Days after the attack, the Berlin market was reopened, and the media has since reported that the local feeling is one of defiance, and not fear. TWH spoke with German Pagan and Witch Konrad Reinhold about the incident and the reaction of his spiritual community. Reinhold said that he isn’t sure if any of the victims were Pagan, but for him “this question simply doesn’t matter; people have died.” Reinhold is the editor of the German Pagan magazine Damhain Alla. “We will not do a special ritual for the victims, although we are shocked, and our thoughts are with them, their friends and relatives,” Reinhold added. “You have to know, that we are confronted with news about violence almost every day here. Right wing terror, Islamist terror, terror against the innocent and the weak ones – not only physical violence, but also a lot of hate speech and harassment. Almost every sabbat or esbat, that we had during the last year was about reconciliation and peace […] Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, about the environment, weapons and massacre […] The social climate in Germany has changed. Many people are full of hate and project it on everything that is other.” For over a year, Reinhold has been volunteering in refugee camps, and he himself seen violence. One camp, he said, was hit with a ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2016-12-26By The Wild Hunt
  • Column: A Fruitful Darkness
    Beloved American poet, Mary Oliver once wrote, “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”[1] Darkness has prevailed in the Western hemisphere; autumn mourns the loss the sun whom no doubt returns triumphant in spring. Where once temples illumined, now there may only enough oil for one night of eight. Others too have readied themselves for a long journey at the mid hour of night. That story goes: wise men saw a star in the east and followed. Just as it was likely a long journey into night for those men – a journey toward deliverance from yet again another battle – and a long journey for even the sun, it was also a journey for a woman who would move in the night fearing persecution as she traversed the darkness seeking shelter. [Photo Credit: Philip Male / Flickr] Like it or not, darkness is here, delivered with “good tidings” and, yes, even “comfort and joy.” This is because darkness can be a fertile place, a healing place from which we can go forth to reengage the world. Spiritual teacher Joan Halifax enumerates the gifts of darkness: “inquiry and listening, nonviolence and non-duality, patience and concentration, connectedness and intimacy, authenticity and stillness, understanding and compassion, and seeing beyond language and intuition. In the fruitful darkness there is silent medicine.”[2] Darkness provides a silence away from the discursive mind and away from the actions that prevent us from knowing the womb of experience and the exploration of sacred connection. What might it be like to give permission toward the silence and to deepen into the fruitful darkness and allow other gifts to open? Here is what is said in the intimate Simple Gifts reminiscent of Shaker hymns: ‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free, ‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be, And when we find ourselves in the place just right, ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight. When true simplicity is gained, To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed, To turn, turn will be our delight, Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.[3] No longer ashamed? To love and delight? In a circle, with justice and freedom for all people? In the book of Isaiah, g*d says, “I will give you the treasures of darkness, and riches hidden in secret places.”[4]  When we have received those treasures, those hidden riches, it is time to begin the journey back to the light, back … to joy. Before we can step into the miracle of joy, we have to embrace the darkness to know the joy. It is here in the refuge of darkness that we are allowed to accept all of the uncertainty that exists in our world. This shadow has always been with us and is the tipping point toward grace and abundance. It is through its power ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2016-12-25By Erick DuPree
  • Column: Gold, Bread, and Donald Trump
    2016 has been a rough year of violence and loss. Every year brings such happenings, but this one felt particularly dark. Yet there remains some small twinkle of light. As of this writing, Keith Richards is still here to give us all hope that immortality is indeed possible. In 2017, there will be a new president of the United States of America. Despite the sometimes-comical efforts to prevent his ascension to the highest office in the land, he will be sworn in Jan. 20. His leadership will have lasting consequences not just for this nation, but also for the world. But what is a leader? What does it mean to rule over others? The lore of Ásatrú and Heathenry provide some possible answers. Hater of Gold With his famous poem Höfuðlausn (“Head Ransom”), the tenth-century Icelander Egill Skallagrímsson won his freedom from Eiríkr blóðøx (Eric Bloodaxe) by singing the praises of the Norwegian ruler. As he flatters the king, Egill notably calls him baugskati: “one who breaks, throws, hates gold.” Silver penny with the mark of Eiríkr blóðøx [Courtesy The British Museum] The idea of a leader being a “hater of gold” is common throughout Old Norse poetry. The 11th-century Icelandic poet Þjóðólfr Arnórsson calls the Norwegian king Haraldr harðráði “hater of the fire-bed of the serpent.” As always, this sort of poetic circumlocution has to be solved from back to front. The serpent is the dragon; his bed is the gold that shines like fire as he coils upon it; the hater of gold is the ruler. In a poem praising the military commander Arinbjörn, Egill writes: The man in Fjordane shows money no love: he banishes rings that drip like fruit, defies the ring-clad verse-brew’s thief, hacks treasures in half, imperils brooches. The thief of the verse-brew is Odin, who steals the mead of poetry; his ring Draupnir (“Dripper”) drips out eight gold rings on every ninth night. In this verse, Egill says that Arinbjörn defies any collecting of wealth and instead destroys treasure. How the treasure is destroyed is the important element here. To banish rings is to give them to one’s followers. To hack treasures in half is to cut gold objects apart and hand out the bits of precious metal. To imperil brooches is to break off the gems, cut apart the metal, and divide all among the leader’s people. A vast number of examples of this sort of imagery can be found in Old Norse poetry and saga. In Ólafs saga Tryggvasonar (“Saga of Olaf Tryggvason”), the same Eiríkr blóðøx praised by Egill is referred to as “mover of treasure” (because he gives it away) and “gladdener with fire of hands” (because he makes men happy by giving them gold, that thing that shines on one’s hand as a ring). What is more difficult to find is any example that praises a leader for piling up wealth for himself, for collecting treasure and amassing a stockpile for his own personal benefit. ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2016-12-24By Karl E. H. Seigfried
  • Column: the Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
    23.439281 degrees – that’s the reason for the season. Or rather, it is because of it that we started to promote symbolic and ultimately religious meaning to the path of the sun across the sky. It is an astronomical event co-opted by just about every religion that emerged north of the 23rd parallel, if not worldwide. The returning of the sun was marked in Rome as Sol Invictus with the co-occurring festivals of Brumalia and Saturnalia. The Christians would later fold those holidays together to mark the Nativity as the birth of light in the world. Even Hanukkah, a decidedly more recent Jewish holiday entered as the 25th of Kislev likely because of the popularity of the winter solstice festivals among Hellenized Jews. While Islam overlooks the solstice because of its use of a lunar calendar; Yalda night is still marked by Persians with feasting, gatherings, and poetry readings. The solstice is celebrated as the Dōngzhì festival (冬至) in China, as the Korochun among Slavic peoples, and Sanghamitta Day in Theravada Buddhism. The Kagura dance in Shinto revives Amaterasu, the sun goddess at this time of year. And, the longest night and returning sun was and is marked by the first nations and native peoples of North America. Francisco Goya c. 1799 [Public Domain Image] We call it Yule: a holiday when Pagans use social media to remind the world that the path of the sun predates Christianity. And with that comes the flood of evidence-proclaiming memes about inconsistencies around the Nativity from the unlikely presence of shepherds tending their sheep in pasture in midwinter (Luke 2:8), to whether Jesus was born in a house (Matthew 2:11) or a manger (Luke 2:7). It’s also true that nowhere in the Bible is there a mention of three wise men. The remaining memes point out the difference between Christmas and Yule. I’m sure you’ve seen them: reindeer, Santa and a lit-up tree equals Yule; midnight mass, communion and giving to the poor, that would be Christmas. I think there is a twofold objective behind these memes, and both are important. The first is a desire for truth and the second is a desire for legitimacy. They fold together at Yule, when we collectively attempt to proclaim a status as a minority faith, reminding everyone of the interconnected nature of all faiths and calling out historical revisionism to favor one religious perspective over another. But the returning sun also informs the world that we have turned an astronomical corner, and the growing swell of darkness will now begin receding. It legitimates through a solar display that we live on a planet with a natural world offering continuing revelation around us. It also legitimates the (apparently) uniquely human capacity to understand and predict our world through science and the search for truth, while informing the spirit that the balance between forces is renewed and reasserted. This year, the conjoining of spirit and reason exposes an imbalance. This season is particularly poignant because we ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2016-12-23By Manny Tejeda-Moreno
  • Wigglian Way host joins actions planned against Canadian Pipelines
    CANADA – On Nov. 29, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an announcement that the Canadian federal government was going ahead and approving two highly controversial pipeline projects. Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline project and Enbridge’s Line 3 project, could see as much as a million barrels more per day of various petroleum products from Alberta’s oilsands traveling through Canada, to the West Coast, and also over the border, into the United States. A third project, the Northern Gateway pipeline was rejected. This was a victory for protesters, as this pipeline would have crossed an environmentally sensitive area known as The Great Bear Rainforest. This 21 million acre forest is part of the largest coastal temperate rainforest on Earth. It is home to wolves, salmon, whales and the most elusive resident, the Spirit Bear. These are black bears with a recessive gene that makes them as white as a polar bear. They are sacred to the Tsimshian First Nations people, who live in the area. ‘Spirit Bear’ of Canada [Courtesy Wikimedia] Local lore about the Spirit Bear says that they were made by Raven to remind people of a time when glaciers covered the land, and how that we should be thankful for the lush bounty that the land gives us today. In his statement rejecting this particular pipeline, Trudeau said, “It has become clear that this project is not in the best interest of the local affected communities, including Indigenous Peoples.” He added, “The Great Bear Rainforest is no place for a pipeline.” The two approved pipelines will still face challenges before they can be built. In a press release, Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema stated “If Prime Minister Trudeau wanted to bring Standing Rock-like protests to Canada, he succeeded.” One activist willing to do whatever it takes to stop these projects is Sparrow, co-host of popular pagan podcast, The Wigglian Way. Her particular focus is the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. Currently, the plan for the project is to twin an already existing pipeline that runs from Edmonton AB, through the Rocky Mountains to a terminal in Burnaby, BC. This will nearly triple its capacity to 890,000 barrels a day. Sparrow (front row, left) leading march as a peace bearer [Courtesy Photo] The Wild Hunt spoke with Sparrow, from her home on Burnaby Mountain. “Right now we have the pipeline 50 metres from the house, that’s a jet fuel line, and then it leads to the tank farm, which is just under a kilometer away,” she explains. “They will also expand that tank farm. Not only will they expand how many tanks will be on there, but they are expanding the size of the tanks. If there is a spill over, or if fumes are released or a fire, this neighbourhood and Simon Fraser University, at the top of the mountain, are in grave danger. There is only one road in, and one road out.” The Trudeau government has been making some strides in improving Canada’s ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2016-12-22By Dodie Graham McKay
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