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.

  • Pagan couple arrested trying to gain property by adverse possession
    WAUZEKA, Wis. — Two Milwaukee area Pagans were charged with entering a locked building during a first court appearance Monday. Brandon Wantroba, known as Alabaster Dubois Degrandpre-Lysone Chiaramonti, and Elizabeth Percy Ryder, known as Fiona Dawn Feria, were discovered by Crawford county sheriff’s deputies at the Kickapoo Indian Caverns near the town of Wauzeka. They were living at the former tourist attraction in an attempt to gain the property by adverse possession. The pair wished to create a Pagan sanctuary. [Photo Credit: http://www.pamrotella.com] The 83-acre property, which was shut down in 2011, was known for its cave system. It contained an underground river, large chambers, and thriving bat population. That cave system, which had been attracting tourists since the 1940s, also caught the eye of Mr. Chiaramonti and Ms. Feria. “We were searching for a place with caves to make into a sanctuary and found this one abandoned,” said Feria. The couple said that they first tried to contact the owner of the property, the family of  Delores Gaidowski, who died in 2014. Gaidowski’s family had put the site up for sale in September 2015, which is currently listed at the reduced price of $499,000. However, Chiaramonti and Feria received no reply. They then contacted an attorney to find out if they could take the title to the property through adverse possession. Adverse possession is a process in which a person who is not the owner of the property lives on, and makes material improvements to, the property for 16 years and is then granted title. The attorney reportedly advised against using this tactic, but Chiaramonti and Feria say he did give them guidelines on the legal process. They say that they arrived at the caves on May 7 and set up camp in what was the gift shop at the front of the caverns. “The property was a mess. There was trash everywhere and we worked to clean it up,” says Feria. Chiaramonti agreed the land was being abused and wasn’t cared for. On May 10 the Sheriff’s office received a call from the property’s caretaker that someone appeared to be staying in the gift shop. A deputy responded to the call and talked with Chiaramonti and Feria. After noting the lock on the gift shop door had been forced, the pair were arrested. [Photo Courtesy Chiaramonti and Feria] Both Chiaramonti and Feria say they followed the guidelines for adverse possession and were looking to take care of the caves and surrounding property. Their dream was to create a Pagan sanctuary where all Pagans could feel welcome. They had renamed the property Silent Grove and posted a sign with the new name. Feria, a disabled veteran, is still looking forward to raising the money to buy the property. Chiaramonti, formerly of New Orleans, said he feels an obligation from his now deceased mother to create a Pagan sanctuary. The pair has competition for the property. The Mississippi Valley Conservatory (MVC), a non-profit environmental group, is also looking ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-24By Cara Schulz
  • Rise and fall of the “nones” and other religious landscape news
    TWH –The newest report on global trends in religion from the Pew Research Center, titled “The Changing Global Religious Landscape,” was released early last month. The data within that report suggests that the “rise of the nones” will be reversed by the disproportionately small number of children born to those who don’t identify with a religion, including atheists and agnostics. There are hints that the various Pagan and polytheist religions may increase in absolute number of adherents, but nevertheless result in a smaller percentage of world population. Overall, Muslim women currently have more children than those in any other category, which is a trend predicted to continue at least through 2060, at which time Islam is predicted to have more followers than any other religion on Earth. Data collected in 2010 led to the conclusion that people espousing no particular religious beliefs were more numerous than those of any religion, with the exception of Christianity and Islam. The report issued in April shows that birth and death rates should halt what was widely predicted to be a rise of non-religious “nones” over the next few decades. That fits into a wider trend that shows the fastest rates of population growth through 2060 are likely to be in sub-Saharan Africa, where the median age of people is low in general, and mortality rates are dropping. Both Islam and Christianity are strongly represented in that part of the world, with Muslims’ numbers edging out their Christian cousins by virtue of the highest number of live births per woman, at 2.9. The prediction is that there will be three billion Christians in 2060, but 3.1 billion Muslims. By contrast, 75% of atheists and other nones live in Asia, where the median age is much higher, suggesting that population growth will continue to decline. That’s also the reason that Buddhism, which is largely centered in that part of the world, is the only religion tracked separately in the survey and is expected to have fewer adherents by 2060. Nones, which were close to 1.2 billion strong in 2015, will finally surpass that number by 2060, but that will represent a drop from 16% to 13% of world population. The murky “other” category, which is where Wicca is included, is also expected to drop in absolute number of participants. Folk religions, which may be where some other Pagan-labeled relgions were categorized, are expected to have more followers by that time, but not enough to keep the percentage in the world population from shrinking. The categorization of Pagan and polytheist religions other than Wicca continues to be unclear. Wicca is specifically listed as an example of the groups listed as “other,” but Heathens and groups with still smaller numbers are not specifically mentioned. The definition of “folk religions,” as given in an appendix, indicates these faiths are “closely tied to a particular people, ethnicity, or tribe. In some cases, elements of other world religions are blended with local beliefs and customs. These faiths often have no formal creeds ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-23By Terence P Ward
  • Tending To Your Spiritual Cauldrons
    For Laura Tempest Zakroff, author of The Witch's Cauldron,, the concept of the chakras never seemed to resonate. That is, until she stumbled upon the Cauldron of Poesy, a Celtic work that likens our energy centers to cauldrons. Here, she details these three cauldrons and how we can use them to our advantage. ... read more
    Source: Llewellyn JournalPublished on 2017-05-22
  • Pagan Community Notes: Nathan Smith, AFA, Niagara Cannabis Club, and more
    The Temple of Witchcraft lost one of its members this weekend. Nathan Smith (1990-2017) died suddenly and unexpectedly of causes that have not yet been made public. Smith was originally from Raymond, New Hampshire, and attended Great Bay Community College. He was most recently working as the manager at a local retail store, Rue21. Nathan was Wiccan, and a regular member of templeevents and classes. According to reports, Nathan was “a third of the way through Witchcraft IV and making plans for earning a degree, completing the mystery school, and starting an exciting new job.” Temple teacher Alix Wright wrote, “I cannot find the words to describe what a beautiful person this man was, but I can attempt to show you a little of how I saw him. His humor, sassiness[sic], his intelligence and his drive were always present. In classes, his wit and his wisdom combined, showing a man of true compassion […] My mind hurts to think of the loss of his light in this world, my heart mourns the loss of an incredible student and friend, and my soul is filled with hope that he passed peacefully into the arms of his mother.” Those thoughts are being echoed by other temple members in social media and beyond. The Temple of Witchcraft is hosting a memorial ritual May 23 at 7 p.m. for anyone, regardless of location, who would like to honor Nathan’s memory. The organization will also host an informal in-person gathering in Salem, N.H. What is remembered, lives. *   *   * The original Ásatrú Folk Assembly (AFA) Facebook fan page was taken down, after the group posted a controversial Mother’s Day statement from Alsherjargothi Matt Flavel. The statement read, in part, “The Ásatrú Folk Assembly would like to wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to all our mothers. You ladies literally birth our future, with every Aryan child you secure our existence and you bring light and hope into the world.” Shortly after that posting, the page was taken down by Facebook. According to member Clifford Erickson, the organization did request reconsideration, however that request was denied. The page has been permanently removed. Undeterred, leaders of the group have since launched a new fan page, saying that they will “diversify [their] social media presence so that we can keep getting our message out. We didn’t do anything wrong and we’re just going to keep doing that.” *   *   * In a follow-up to a story we brought to you in December, the Niagara Cannabis Club has been permanently shut down, and its owners were arrested. The Canadian-based cannabis club was to host a Yuletide Dragon Ritual Drummers event, complete with ritual and music. When manager and owner Kelly Kush discovered Witchdoctor Utu’s private Voodoo practice, she shut the event down only hours before it was scheduled to start. Since that point, local police had reportedly received multiple complaints about the club, forcing them to launch an investigation. According to the official statements, the owners were “not licenced by Health ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-22By The Wild Hunt
  • Review: American Gods
    Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel American Gods is a popular read in Pagan circles, and the new Starz television series was greeted with excitement by many of the book’s Pagan fans. Debuting on April 30, the series has aired three episodes as of this writing. The story revolves around the riveting premise that the old gods, being immortal, still exist. However, due to a lack of worship in the modern world, they are old and haggard and blend into American society, having arrived there when their followers immigrated, sometimes involuntarily. At the same time, America’s new gods, or the gods that represent the targets of modern worship such as media, computers, and globalization, are strong, vibrant, and at war with their predecessors. In the middle of the two sits Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), an ex-convict who finds himself working for Odin (known as “Mr. Wednesday”) and unwittingly pitted against the new gods. Much like the novel, the series opens with Shadow’s release from prison and sudden thrust into Mr. Wednesday’s world. At least in the early episodes, the audience finds itself in a similar situation as Shadow: attempting to put together the pieces of who these gods are, what they represent, and what role the sudden death of Shadow’s wife plays in the story. Viewers are slowly introduced to both old and new gods as the narrative gradually pieces itself together. In the first episode, “The Bone Orchard,” we meet Mr. Wednesday, played by Ian McShane. McShane is faithful to the novel’s portrayal of Odin in disguise – a clearly wise and wily, yet aging and tired, con-man. Whittle’s Shadow Moon is not given much to do at this point except wonder at Wednesday’s strange behavior and the odd companions that seem to surround him. The audience is left in the same position. Pablo Schreiber rounds out episode one as the violent Mad Sweeney, a volatile leprechaun with pockets full of gold. Schreiber’s portrayal is appropriately simmering and mysterious. The first new god to be introduced is Technical Boy, who is the young and flashy god of modern technology played by Bruce Langley. There is not much to go on yet, but Langley succeeds in contrasting his vibrant, limousine-riding character with the almost sepia-toned old gods.  Although the first episode is a bit slow and a touch confusing for those who have not read the book, it clearly promises more and radiates the unmistakable feel that storm clouds are beginning to gather. That storm continues to gather in the second episode called “The Secret of Spoons.” Much like in the first installment, viewers are introduced to a small number of gods on each side. On the old gods side, the Zorya sisters played by Cloris Leachman, Martha Kelly, and Erika Kaar, effectively add more mystery and give Shadow something to quest for. But it is Peter Stormare’s dark and murder-obsessed Czernabog who steals the spotlight and brings the series its first true moment of fear over ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-21By Tim Titus
  • Column: Loki and Dionysos
    “Have I been understood? Dionysus against the Crucified!” —Nietzsche, final line of Ecce Homo Drawing by Hans Olde [public domain]. On Jan. 3, 1889, Nietzsche witnessed a horse being whipped in the streets of Turin, Italy. He embraced the horse and collapsed to the ground, and was subsequently accosted by two policemen. In the days immediately preceding and following this incident, he wrote a series of letters signed “Nietzsche Dionysus,” “Dionysus,” and even “The Crucified.” Some of these letters were addressed to Cosima Wagner as “Ariadne,” another declared his divinity and listed his various incarnations in human form (including Buddha, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Francis Bacon—whom he understood to have authored the works attributed to Shakespeare, Voltaire, Napoleon, perhaps Wagner, and Jesus), and several decreed that all anti-Semites should be shot. Nietzsche’s relationship with Dionysos far predated 1889, stretching back to The Birth of Tragedy, published in 1872. In “Does the Acéphale Dream of Headless Sheep?,” Jeremy Biles quotes Georges Bataille on the source and essence of Nietzsche’s philosophy: Writing in a 1937 issue of the short-lived journal Acéphale, under the double heading “Nietzsche Dionysus,” Georges Bataille proclaims, “The very first sentences of Nietzsche’s message come from ‘realms of dream and intoxication.’ The entire message is expressed by one name: Dionysus. In The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche wrote of the Apollonian sphere of influence as “this deep consciousness of nature, healing and helping in sleep and dreams,” and of the Dionysian as irrationality and intoxication: Schopenhauer has depicted for us the terrible awe which seizes upon man when he is suddenly unable to account for the cognitive forms of a phenomenon, when the principle of reason in some one of its manifestations seems to admit of an exception. If we add to this awe the blissful ecstasy which rises from the innermost depths of man, aye, of nature, at this very collapse of the principium individuationis, we shall gain an insight into the nature of the Dionysian, which is brought home to us most intimately perhaps by the analogy of drunkenness. It is either under the influence of the narcotic draught, which we hear of in the songs of all primitive men and peoples, or with the potent coming of spring penetrating all nature with joy, that these Dionysian emotions awake, which, as they intensify, cause the subjective to vanish into complete self-forgetfulness. Terracotta figurine of a mask of Dionysos [public domain]. As the Dionysian combines “terrible awe” with “blissful ecstasy,” it is closely related to the existential terror engendered by fate, which the Greeks coped with by means of art, whether Dionysian or Apollonian or both: “the Moira enthroned inexorably over all knowledge, the vulture of the great lover of mankind, Prometheus, the terrible fate of the wise Oedipus…all this was again and again overcome by the Greeks with the aid of the Olympian middle world of art.” Thus, in the preface to Birth of Tragedy, he wrote, “I am ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-20By Heathen Chinese
  • Column: Coping With Community
    The definition of community continues to be largely debated in many different circles. I am not here today to define that for anyone, but rather to look at related issues that are seldom debated, such as the challenges and ongoing tensions that appear to exist within the “umbrella” of the Pagan and polytheist communities, and within the interpersonal relationships found in groups, covens, groves, and organizations. The so-called “Witch Wars” are not a new thing, neither are the ongoing moments of intensity based on different views, approaches, and methods of engaging with our diverse practices. There are historic Witch wars of which we are all aware. Some were between individuals, and others were between different factions of this very diverse and nuanced community. [Courtesy Photo: Wikimedia] There often seems to be a lot of bandwidth, quite literally at times, expended on the latest conflicts, and there continues to be high levels of leadership burn out, strained relationships, and an undercurrent of anxiety that often finds it’s way into the fabric of our shared spaces. We read blogs, social media posts, and even podcasts that work to unpack some of a conflict’s dynamics or the issues surrounding an incident in the community. While much of these conflicts play out on the internet and social media, they are not limited to those forums, and many of us find ourselves carrying the discomfort and stress into our personal lives. Additionally, it appears that there is a surge in such things right before or after a Pagan convention or festival. While there is not any official empirical data to point to about the correlation between this ongoing phenomenon within modern Paganism and the level of discord that people begin to harness toward concepts of community, it would be irresponsible not to look at how one impacts the other. Irresponsible? With the mounting socio-political pressures in today’s culture and the complexities of life that people are already balancing, it seems vital to take a look at the role that our spiritual community plays in the wellness of its members in the efforts toward maintaining spiritual health. Community can be complicated and there is always talk about how to make the challenges and dynamics less stressful, and less harmful to the overall functioning of the group mind. But we also know that, while this is a noble and worthwhile thing to contemplate, there are certain tensions that are bound to create levels of conflict due to a power imbalance within society. Conflict Theory teaches about some of the more natural elements of conflict found within factions of society, and it demonstrates how the politics of power and social capital contribute to the way in which groups engage and struggle against each other. As the Pagan community expands and an overculture is formed, it makes sense that we are in a place of growth within this community. The friction of movement is more constant. Many different science disciplines have explored the impact of stress on our physical ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-19By Crystal Blanton
  • DruidCast – A Druid Podcast Episode 122
    Shownotes for DruidCast Episode 122 Kilts and Corsets - Tuatha Dea - http://www.tuathadea.net Voice of the Moor - Beth Rees crowdfunding campaign - www.indiegogo.com/projects/voice-of-the-moor-debut-album-music#/ Story - Vortigern’s Tower - Professor Roland Rotherham - https://www.facebook.com/roland.rotherham The Raven King - Brian Henke - http://www.brianhenkeguitarist.com Story - The Rise of Uther - Professor Roland Rotherham - https://www.facebook.com/roland.rotherham It’s Easier to Sleep if you don’t Believe in Ghosts - Bran Cerddorion - https://paganbran.com DruidCast theme - Hills they are Hollow - Damh the Bard - http://www.paganmusic.co.uk For more information on the Druid tradition - www.druidry.org ... read more
    Source: DruidcastPublished on 2017-05-19By Order of Bards Ovates and Druids
  • Texas House passes religion-based child care services bill
    AUSTIN, Texas —  The Texas House of Representatives passed HB3859 Wednesday, moving the state one step closer to enacting a law that, as it reads, aims to protect the “rights of conscience for child welfare services providers.” The bill was authored by Rep. James Frank (R) from Wichita Falls and, as he stated in a recent comment, “One of our biggest challenges is a lack of adequate, quality foster homes. […] A substantial part of any answer to this problem will be found in the faith-based community.” [Photo Credit: Jason Rosenberg / Flickr] Rep. Frank’s comment was made after the bill was passed and directed at mainstream media, who generally began calling the bill discriminatory. Frank responded, “At a time when we need all hands on deck, we face the real risk of seeing a large number of [faith-based] providers leave the field, as they are forced to make the choice between devoting a substantial amount of resources in fighting litigation and other adverse action, or using those resources on other services to fulfill the tenets of their faith.” Texas has come under fire recently for not adequately protecting or providing for children placed in foster care. In March 2011, Children’s Rights, Inc, a national child advocacy group, sued the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) on behalf of children in permanent foster care, alleging that policies and standard practices exposed children to “unreasonable harm.” In December 2015, a federal court ruled against Texas and concluded that Texas children “uniformly leave State custody more damaged than when they entered.” The court cited abuse, suicide, poor supervision in institutional care, and lack of home placement options. Since that 2015 ruling, Texas has attempted to address the situation by changing which outcomes are measured, and by increasing the number of participating private organizations providing foster care placement and adoption. The outcomes being measured include placing children in a safe, home environment; not splitting up siblings; establishing respect for the child’s culture, and keeping children in their own communities in order that they can maintain ties with family and friends. How does the new controversial bill fall into the state’s efforts to improve their child care services system? What does it say, and does it allow for discriminatory practices, as some claim? Supporters of the bill say faith-based organizations are willing to help with the foster care crisis, but they have concerns that the state would force them to act in ways that would violate their beliefs. The bill says the State of Texas will not take any punitive action against private child welfare organizations that: Place children under guardians that provide or refuse to provide children with a religious education, including private schools. Do not provide, facilitate, or refer a child for medical services they have a religious objection to such as immunizations, abortions, and contraceptives. Place or refuse to place a child under a guardian that the organization has a religious objection to. As it stands now, foster children in the state ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-18By Cara Schulz
  • Lessons Learned While Teaching “Wicca 101”
    Wicca has always provided its adherents with a great ritual structure, I can teach that, but it's up to each individual Witch to fill in whatever blank spaces they may find. ... read more
    Source: Patheos – Raise the HornsPublished on 2017-05-18By Jason Mankey
  • Canadian bill strengthening hate crime protections moves to Senate
    OTTAWA, Ont. – In May 2017, a private members bill was read for the third time and passed by the House of Commons in Canada’s capitol city, Ottawa. If it is successful in becoming law, Bill C-305 could greatly change the way hate crime mischief offences are addressed by the Canadian Criminal Code. The bill was proposed by Liberal Party member Chandra Arya, Member of Parliament (MP) for Nepean, Ontario. The purpose of the bill is to amend a sub-section of the criminal code which deals with damages to property due to crime motivated by hate based on religion, race, colour, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation or mental or physical disability. Canada’s Pagan, Heathen and Witchcraft groups are watching with interest to see if C-305 makes it to law, as the changes would provide enhanced protection from hate related mischief for these communities The Canadian House of Commons [via Wikimedia] At present, mischief relating to religious property only covers buildings, structures, or parts thereof primarily used for religious worship, including churches, mosques or synagogues. Hate-based mischief against such places can result in a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, compared to just two years for general mischief. With the new law, the stiffer penalties could be dealt out for hate-based mischief in a larger range of cases. The proposal seeks to expand the definition of what constitutes a property under the law. Bill C-305 would criminalize hate-based mischief aimed at schools, day care centres, colleges, universities, community centres, seniors residences and cultural centres in addition to the currently recognized places. For Toronto-based Gythia and activist Jade Pichette, the scope and potential of Bill C-305 to enhance protection for Canadian Pagans is timely. “In many cases Pagans and Heathens in Canada don’t have physical spaces, increasingly though we are starting to have these spaces,” Pichette says. “It is only a matter of time before there are attacks or mischief done upon them.” Mythwood Campground & Private Retreat (courtesy photo) Dedicated Pagan places of worship, ritual and gathering in Canada are still rare, but they do exist. Khaman and Alyx Mythwood are the owners and operators of Mythwood Campground. Located in Grey County, an hour and a half northwest of Toronto, this 61-acre facility offers private retreats, living history events, art, music and spirituality camps. Known as “Pagan Paradise” by regulars, Mythwood and also Raven’s Knoll, another Ontario-based Pagan camp, would be covered by this proposed law. Khaman and Alyx Mythwood told The Wild Hunt, “As a nature and art sanctuary, and polytheistic sacred space, Mythwood Campground supports processes that promote tolerance and inclusivity. “We are hopeful that Bill C-305 will help safeguard these basic human rights as a reminder of what brings us together as multicultural and multi-faith Canadians.” But one question still remains: would Pagan shops, which often serve as temples, teaching places, and community centres, be protected if they were confirmed to be objects of hate-related mischief? The bill as it ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-17By Dodie Graham McKay
  • No 142 Why witches should create beauty
    Source: Tylluan Penry – Youtube ChannelPublished on 2017-05-17By Tylluan Penry
  • Home-schooling help for Pagan parents
    KINGSTON, Ontario –Any Pagan or polytheist who opts to home-school children quickly discovers that much of the support material available is explicitly Christian in character. That can make an already difficult task all the more challenging. This is the struggle that inspired Terri Wilson to step up Little Pagan Acorns, a site with materials Pagan parents can use in their home schools. Wilson, who describes herself as “an Earth-centered, Goddess-worshiping eclectic Pagan,” home-schools her own 12-year-old daughter, and has created materials that she  uses herself. She spoke with us about how she got her own home school started, and why she has chosen to develop materials for others. The Wild Hunt: What’s your interest in home-schooling? Do you have an education background, or did you learn as you go, as many parents do? Terri Wilson: I first got interested in home-schooling when I saw the very weak curriculum that my daughter was dealing with at public school. A lot of fill-in-the-blank work, and no spelling or reading. Science was sporadic at best, and didn’t go too far beyond a handful of new vocabulary words each unit. I wanted her to have a more solid and engaging education. No specific training on my part, though I did go on to post-secondary education myself and consider myself to be somewhat “academic.” I am learning as I go, which is pretty normal in the home-schooling world. TWH: Why did you decide to put together home-school activities with a Pagan emphasis? Is it common for home-school resources to include a religious component? TW: The home-schooling world is predominantly Christian without a doubt, with many people specifically choosing to home-school because they want to teach a Bible-based format rather than the secular material you see in school. It’s the whole reason they home-school. And so, most of the big curriculum packages are Christian. Some just include references here and there, and some are truly Bible-centered (like science that literally teaches a seven-day creation as “fact”). Printable Pagan-themed “fortune-teller” toy [courtesy image]. Problem is that these are often weak on real science and facts, not to mention the moral conflicts a lot of non-Christians come across. History materials are also suspect because they use Bible tales as historical events, whether they happened or not. This is what I was finding as I looked for resources. It was a struggle enough just to find good secular material, but Pagan material was absolutely nonexistent. Part of me just wanted to thumb my nose to the Christian-heavy home-school world, but I genuinely saw a need for it. TWH: What are some of the most popular offerings you’ve got on your site? TW: The sabbat pages are always popular at their times of the year, but it’s hard to say that anything is more popular than anything else. The Norse crosswords and the Greek mythology lap books are my top pages right now, and as a category, the coloring pages do very well. TWH: What are some of ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-16By Terence P Ward
  • A Pagan Framework For Discernment
    In Paganism, as within any religion or spiritual framework, there is often the question of whether or not certain ideas and beliefs are true. Just because our ancestors believed one thing does not make it correct. So, how do we know if our ideas are right? John Beckett, author of the new Path of Paganism, presents a three-fold framework for discerning the truth from non-truth. ... read more
    Source: Llewellyn JournalPublished on 2017-05-15
  • Pagan Community Notes: ADF; Kenny Klein; Witchcraft Museum, and more!
    NEW ORLEANS —  Pagan musician Kenny Klein was sentenced to 20 years in prison after his request for a new trial was rejected. As previously reported, Klein, who was first arrested in 2014, was convicted in April on 20 counts of child pornography charges. According to local reports, the judge called the case difficult, saying “Any type of incidents involving juveniles, particularly as it relates to child pornography, are not good.” After his conviction, Klein’s attorney requested a new trial on the grounds that the court had made numerous errors in several of the pretrial rulings. Criminal District Judge Byron C. Williams rejected that request after receiving an flurry of letters from both his supporters and his opponents. Williams told local reporters that he did not find any credibility in the arguments requesting the new trial. Williams sentenced Klein to 20 years on one count and five years for each of the other counts, to be served concurrently. Klein will also pay a $2,500 fine and, after serving the sentence, be required to wear an ankle monitor for the remainder of his life. Neither Klein’s attorney nor anyone from the prosecutor’s office responded to requests for comment in time for this story. *   *   * GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF) responded to news of member Scott Holbrook’s hearing, which was held last month. Holbrook was arrested in November on charges of disseminating obscenities. He pleaded no contest to the charges, avoiding a lengthy jury trial. When the hearing had concluded, ADF said that it did not “automatically ban people with convictions from membership, as we believe everyone should have access to our church and public worship.” It also noted that, while the organization does have strict policies regarding leadership positions within its organization, Holbrook was no longer in a such position and that the didn’t “anticipate him holding one in the foreseeable future.” When the details of his hearing were made public last week, ADF issued a new response. Once again, they did not ban his membership, but they made a stronger statement regarding his ability to resume a leadership role in the organization. Discrepancies between public statements made by Mr. Holbrook and information contained in the publicly released court transcript from his conviction were cause for immediate concern. After careful consideration of the information available and with regard to our current policy concerning convicted and registered sex offenders, the ADF Mother Grove has unanimously voted to indefinitely ban Scott Holbrook from holding any position of responsibility in ADF locally or nationally. The ADF Mother Grove board added, “ADF leadership remains committed to protecting our members and the organization and considers actions resulting in the exploitation of children to present considerable risk.” We have reached out to DA’s office for more information on the court hearing, but have not yet heard back. We will continue to update you with any new developments on this story.  *   *   * BOSCASTLE, England — The Museum of Witchcraft ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-15By The Wild Hunt
  • Here’s What It’s Like To Be A Queer, Polyamorous Kink Witch
    Sex Heroes is an ongoing HuffPost Q&A series by Voices Editorial Director Noah Michelson that explores the lives and experiences of individuals who ar... Read more: Female Artists, Gay Life, Supernatural, Paganism, Witch, Wicca, Magic and Illusion, Bdsm, Sex Heroes, Queer Voices News ... read more
    Source: Huffington PostPublished on 2017-05-15By The Huffington Post News Team
  • Mother’s Day: the radical, the spiritual, and the secular
    TWH – Today is the second Sunday in May, which means its Mother’s Day for Americans as well as others around the world.  Writers often attribute this modern celebration to ancient festivals honoring the mother goddess, or to Christian tributes to the Virgin Mary. While most religious cultures did or do celebrate maternity in some way, the connections between any of these sacred celebrations and our modern secular holiday are tenuous at best. Some believe that the American holiday finds its earliest roots in an old English religious tradition called  Mothering Sunday.” On the fourth Sunday of Lent, Christians journeyed far and wide to a “mother” cathedral rather than worshiping in their local “daughter” parish. Over time the day evolved into a secular holiday during which children gave gifts to their mothers. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that there was a call for a uniquely American Mother’s Day celebration. After seeing the horrors of the Civil War, Julia Ward Howe, a suffragist, abolitionist, writer and poet, began an aggressive campaign for a national Mother’s Day. On the second Sunday in June of 1870, Howe made a passionate plea for peace and proclaimed the day Mother’s Peace Day. We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience….The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. Not only did Howe call for a national holiday, she also called for a women’s council that would “promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, [in] the great and general interests of peace.” The celebration of Mother’s Day, therefore, was first birthed in radical response to the horrors of war, then, propelled for ten years by female activists. To modern ears, Howe’s words almost has undercurrents of Twisted Sister’s rock anthem “We’re not gonna take it.” Unfortunately, Howe’s dream never came into being. For ten years, she personally funded most of the Mother’s Peace Day celebrations. When she died,† so did Mother’s Peace Day. Around the same time, in a small town in West Virginia, a similar idea was being cultivatedAnn Maria Reeves Jarvis, a Civil War nurse, had actively organized a series of “Mother’s Day work clubs.” Their mission was to teach women proper child care, provide war relief, curb infant mortality, and tend to the battle-wounded. Like Howe, Jarvis advocated for peace and neutrality. She insisted that her mothers’ clubs treat both the Union and Confederate soldiers. After the war, Jarvis and other women created a Mother Friendship Day when mothers and former soldiers, from both sides of the war, came together in reconciliation. After Jarvis died in 1905, her daughter Anna decided to honor her mother’s work. In 1907, on the second Sunday of May, the younger Jarvis held the first Mother’s Day celebration in her own ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-14By Heather Greene
  • The Anatomy of a Bro-Witch
    I was called a "Bro-Witch" the other day, and while it was most certainly meant as an insult, I found the idea absolutely hilarious. ... read more
    Source: Patheos – Raise the HornsPublished on 2017-05-13By Jason Mankey
  • Devotional street art: an interview with Markos Gage
    In the heart of Melbourne, Australia, Markos Gage works and lives creating public art inspired by mythology and his own personal spirituality. Gage identifies as an Hellenic polytheist, Dionysian artist, and Bacchic Orphic. He said, “I’m a devotee to Dionysos and claim some kind of initiation into his mysteries. I identify these mysteries as Dionysian Artist.” The Funeral of Medusa [© Pan Fine Art, used with permission] Gage grew up in Frankston, and was reared by his mother and grandmother. He said, “My memory is a blur in this period as a result of child abuse from my disabled and alcoholic stepfather.” His mother, who he described as a exceptionally kind, was the “sole bread-bringer of the family” and worked long, exhausting hours. He’d often hide away in his room and just play with his toys. Gage’s mother eventually left his abusive stepfather, which was a life-changer for him. “I felt free to explore what I wanted to do in life, including art.” He added, “My childhood has undoubtedly left emotional scars, ones that I am dealing with now, but it also shaped the person I am today.” He holds no grudges for what happened, and he uses his past to shape what he does today. His difficult early years were not the only challenge in his youth. Gage is also dyslexic. “I don’t like thinking that dyslexia is a disability or a hindrance,” he said, “but a different function of the brain, especially in regards to visuals.” This condition also led him down a creative and visual path. “I was inclined to art, attracted to it because I could understand it directly.” Today Gage and his partner are a fixed presence in Melbourne, creating devotional sidewalk art dedicated with direct connections to mythological stories, Renaissance paintings, and Pagan spirituality. For eight years, they have been creating sidewalk art downtown or on the Southbank promenade along Melbourne’s riverfront. They have also visited other cities along the east coast of Australia. Artist Markos Gage [courtesy photo]. We spoke with Gage about his work, both past and present, and how he integrates and manifests his beliefs into his life. TWH:  When did you first start creating as an artist?  Markos Gage:  My first serious attempts at art came about when I was 13 or so. My sister is interested in New Age and has some talent for herself, so we both attended drawing classes for what is called “intuitive drawing.” This was influenced by New Age artists like Carole Bourdo. This style of drawing was very popular at New Age festivals, and obvious cultural appropriation. The actual process of intuitive drawing is allowing your subconscious or spirit guides to control the art, which is usually planned out in abstract shapes then rendered over with pastels, eventually drawing animals or people. This was my introduction to spiritual art and pastel drawing. TWH: Did you eventually study art in school or professional institute?    MG: I studied art at Frankston TAFE (technical and ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-13By Heather Greene
  • Column: Isle of Glass
    The sky has begun to purple above Glastonbury. The water from the White Spring has mostly dried from my body by now, though I doubt this pair of socks will ever really be wearable again. My friend Claudia, her son, and I stand now at the bottom of a very tall hill, one that looms even larger in the Pagan imagination than it does in reality: Glastonbury Tor. Glastonbury Tor [photo by E. Scott]. I tell Claudia that it amazes me to see how well the tor hides itself: the path to the top begins at the cobbled street outside of the White Spring, but nothing advertises the hill except for a few small signs. It occurs to me that in America, something like the tor would have much more fanfare about it, or at least a dedicated parking lot, rather than the gravel lot down the block designated for the Draper Factory to which we trusted Claudia’s car, hoping that nobody would mind us parking there after hours. Our new friends from the White Spring, the lovely people who convinced me to jump naked into the chill January water, have gone on ahead of us. As we begin to make our way up the tor, I squint, searching for them, two dark shapes against the mass of the hill, but I cannot find them. They may have already made it to the top; we spent too much time dallying at the car, eating graham crackers and changing boots. This searching also gives me the chance to take in the size of the tor: about 500 feet, so I have read. 500 feet does not strike me as being so tall in absolute terms — barely a fourth of the height of an official U.K. mountain — but it seems huge by comparison to the landscape around it. Perhaps this comes from it being barren of trees; much like my beloved Icelandic landscapes, being able to see the shape of the tor with only the grass covering it emphasizes its character and weight, and makes it strange. I realize at this moment that although it should not be a hard climb, it will still be a climb, and I am dreadfully out of shape. A few moments after we start to climb the hill, Claudia’s son stops, pats himself down, and panics. “Where’s my phone?” he asks, and begins to look around with a mania reserved for teenagers. “Well where did you put it, dear?” asks Claudia, and they start their mental pilgrimage back to the parking lot, trying to remember where he might have dropped it. Claudia grimaces at me while her son takes off back down the hill. “You should go on ahead,” she says. “We might be a moment.” While my instincts tell me to help look, the gloaming continues to set in, and I worry that before long it will be too dark to enjoy the view from the top. I nod and ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-12By Eric O. Scott
  • Pagan Boots on the Ground
    When I read about Paganism being on the decline I wonder if the writers of such things actually have boots on the ground and are out and about in the greater Pagan world. ... read more
    Source: Patheos – Raise the HornsPublished on 2017-05-12By Jason Mankey
  • Graduate student teaches and studies Western Paganism in Japan
    KOBE, Japan —  Eriko Kawanishi first came to Glastonbury as a graduate student, working on Western paganism for her thesis. Impressing the locals with her understanding, her courage in coming alone to a small English town on the other side of the planet, and her good humour, Eriko soon became an integral part of the Glastonbury community and has taken her knowledge of the UK Pagan scene back to her home country of Japan. Eriko is a researcher at Kyoto University and will be teaching at Konan Women’s University in Kobe as a part-time lecturer beginning September 2017. She said that Western Paganism isn’t studied widely in Asia, and although Shinto, for instance, shares some common themes with Pagan paths such as Druidry, there is currently little formal exchange between the two. Shinto shrine inside a Japanese magic shop in Osaka, [Courtesy Photo] As the work of academics like Eriko expands, however, a more in-depth understanding of the spiritual analogies between the cultures is likely to develop. We asked Eriko a few questions about her cross-cultural endeavour: The Wild Hunt: How did you become involved in a study of Western paganism? Eriko Kawanishi: I first encountered contemporary Witches through the anthropology class by my supervisor when I started my masters course. He showed us a DVD about the contemporary Goddess Movement Full Circle (1993) and lent me the other two Goddess Remembered (1989) and The Burning Times (1990), all directed by Donna Read. TWH: How much awareness is there in Japan of Western paganism? EK: Almost nobody knows the word Paganism. But witch is a very famous word because we have a history of anime programs about witches. Also many Western novels are translated. But almost nobody knows there are people who practice Witchcraft and call themselves Witches in the West. So Witches are generally considered as figures in fantasy here.* TWH: Are there any connections between Japanese paganism or religion and the Western spiritualities? EK: Many people who are involved in Western spiritualities or Paganism are interested in traditional Japanese religion They usually prefer Shinto to Buddhism. They like to visit the shrines and like the divinities. But they don’t follow the traditional way of practicing. The form of current Shinto was organized after the Meiji restoration in the late 17th century. Of course Shinto was used to authorise the emperor, especially during WWII, so it always has a political side. TWH: Do you think there is potential interest in Japan for Western Paganism?  EK: As a culture, yes. But as a faith, I don’t think so. Because compared to Western countries, we don’t have enough chances to think about faith or religion. For example, the Japanese census doesn’t have a section of “religion.” Japanese schools don’t have classes on religion except the ones founded by Christians and Buddhists. I asked the same question of the students. They said they are interested in witches in anime or games, but not as a faith. But always a certain amount of people are interested ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-11By Liz Williams
  • Healing with the Moon
    Source: Llewellyn JournalPublished on 2017-05-10
  • From seed to compost: a conversation with Paul Beyerl
    KIRKLAND, Wash. –Not all Pagans have the opportunity to live closely attuned to the cycles of nature. Paul Beyerl and his partner Gerry were able to realize that dream 24 years ago when they purchased the land which became the Hermit’s Grove, a botanical garden of just over an acre in size that’s now surrounded by upscale homes in this small city adjacent to Seattle. The Rowan Tree Church, where Beyerl teaches the tradition called Lothloriën, is also rooted to this land. Hermit’s Grove Stone Circle [From website] Beyerl said, as a child, learning came a bit too easily for himl. “I coasted through the educational system,” without the lesson of hard work to guide him. “The Beatles told me to read books, meditate, and take acid; I did all of the above many times, and it changed my life quite radically.” He found himself as part of the “back to the land” movement working on a northern Minnesota farm, which is when his serious studies began. Working at a bank to support himself, he learned about herbalism and Wicca. Three years later, he quit his job and became a full-time priest and author, articulating transdisciplinary truths such as how astrology impacts the growth of certain herbs. “Modern physics, old religion; I was transcending worlds,” he said. Living according to the times of planting and reaping, Beyerl has written multiple books informed by his attunement to nature. “Those things are supposed to be part of being Wiccan,” he said. “I’m always a little amazed how many Pagans and Wiccans don’t really grasp these things as realities,” rather than intellectual concepts. This idea, that the natural world is very much the primary reality for the longtime Wiccan priest, is evident in his newest book, On Death and Dying, which is subtitled, “There’s nothing wrong with being compost.” Death in his mind is just one more thing which fits into those cycles about which he has intimate knowledge. The Hermit’s Grove “ties into my views of many things,” he explained; everything from herbalism to astrology to tarot “has to be relevant to your daily, practical life.” He helps clients make that connection by choosing his words with care. In astrology, he focuses on the querent’s day-to-day business rather than the jargon of that discipline. Beyerl also ministers to prisoners, who are limited in the tools they can possess; to them he explains that magic is only as effective as one’s word, but those words can be powerful indeed if it is how the individual lives. He considers his own life an example of that principle. “I’ve had cancer twice, and both times it was diagnosed at just the right time. My spleen ruptured, but the best surgeon for the job just happened to be at the hospital, and free at that time.” Paul Beyerl [Wikimedia Commons]. The good timing comes from living naturally and magically, he believes: “It means things just happen in my life.” One maxim that stems ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-10By Terence P Ward
  • Uncovering the Past: Funeral Garden, Hathor, the Kingdom of Sudan, and more!
    As some Pagans and Heathens attempt to revive ancient or indigenous religions they often rely on the work of historians, primary texts and archaeologists. For this reason, when something new pops up that challenges long held academic ideas on cultural or religious practice, we pay attention. Here are some of the new(er) finds making waves in archaeological circles. Egyptian Funeral Garden Finally Discovered A 4,000-year-old funerary garden, the first to be found, was uncovered on the Dra Abu el-Naga hill in Luxor, Egypt. Archaeologists had long suspected that funeral gardens existed in Egypt, since there were depictions of them on on tomb walls, but until now, one hadn’t been found. “Aerial view of the funerary garden discovered by CSIC’s research team. Credit: CSIC Communications” The garden has a small, rectangular section with 30 raised beds and two trees planted nearby. The plants in the garden are expected to have symbolic and religious meaning and could have played a role in funeral rites. The trees could possibly be palm, sycamore, or Persia trees as those three are associated with resurrection. A small offering bowl containing dates was also found in the garden. Archaeologists are working with botanists to identify the plants and trees in the garden rough their seeds. The information gathered could be of great use to modern Kemetics as they plan for their funeral rites. Who gets to claim Hathor? The goddess Hathor is one of the preeminent deities Egyptian pantheon, but is she Egyptian? New finds are strengthening the case that Hathor was a Semitic deity long before the Egyptians started to worship her. In addition to more well known aspects of Hathor, such as welcoming devotees to the afterlife, Hathor was worshiped by turquoise miners. The earliest evidence of turquoise mining in the Sinai starts in the 4th millennium BCE and was done by nomadic Semitic peoples. The main buyer of turquoise was the Egyptians, and around 2600 BCE, the Egyptians took over the turquoise mines, moved operations to to west-central Sinai, and built a shrine to Hathor. What has archaeologists wondering about Hathor’s origin, and even her name, are the inscriptions found at the shrine. Some of the inscriptions appear to be dedicated to Baalat, a female form of Ba’al, a Semitic God. On other temples, Baalat and Hathor were synonymous and were called Heavenly Matriarch. The combination of the early inscriptions at the shrine at the turquoise mine, along with the presence of Semitic miners who worked the mine, have Egyptologists theorizing the shrine was built by the miners, who then brought this Goddess into Egypt with them. Did the Sudan rival Egypt in scope? The Egyptian Kingdoms have long been thought the zenith of ancient African culture, but could the Kingdom of Sudan been equal or even surpassed it? Swiss archaeologist Charles Bonnet thinks that may be the case after his discovery of three temple in the Sudan. The round temples date back to 1500 to 2000 BCE and were found near ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-09By Cara Schulz
  • Breathing New Life into Tarot
    Tarot began not as a tool for divination, but rather as a game of storytelling. That notion prompted Bringing the Tarot to Life author Scott Martin to think of what tarot and theater have in common: They both tell stories; they have characters and conflict. And how can examining the tarot through the lens of the theater help with our understanding of the cards? Scott Martin explains. ... read more
    Source: Llewellyn JournalPublished on 2017-05-08
  • Pagan Community Notes: Scott Holbrook, Dr. Lucie Marie-Mai Du Fresne, and more.
    GASTON, N.C. — A transcript of Daniel Scott Holbrook’s plea deal in court last month doesn’t jibe with his version of events. Holbrook pleaded no contest to charges of disseminating obscenities after, by his account, an attempt to download a movie from a file-sharing site yielded hundreds of illegal images. However, the prosecutor asserted during the proceedings that Holbrook had admitted to the officers who arrived at his home to not only downloading the images in question, but using them for personal gratification. Wiccan Priest and Rev. Tony Brown, who is otherwise unaffiliated with Mr. Holbrook and his grove, was at the original hearing, and shared his account with The Wild Hunt at that time. He omitted the information because he wasn’t sure he heard it correctly, saying only, “Some of the details in [Holbrook’s and others’] accounts differ from what I heard in court.” Brown is also the person who originally obtained the hearing transcript as verification. He now says, “[I] can verify that it comports with my memory of the proceedings.” Brown added that he is urging caution in interpreting this information.”It is also worth considering that no evidence or testimony was presented in the case. He pled[sic] out. All the transcript provides is the DA’s summation of the case.” That’s a point brought up by Maria Fergus, who was part of Holbrook’s ADF protogrove and was also present in the courtroom that day. She said that “the accusation that he admitted to masturbating to the images was made as part of the DA’s statement after he had entered the plea of no contest and could not refute them. I was shocked.” Fergus added that she later confronted Holbrook on that point, saying that she “demanded he look [her] in the eye, and questioned him explicitly.” She said, “I am 100% confident he told the truth about the allegations.” Fergus, Brown, and Holbrook’s wife Amber all confirm that Holbrook vehemently shook his head in reaction to the prosecutor’s characterization. When asked about the transript, Holbrook told TWH that he was blindsided by the prosecutor’s comment, which was made during summation and therefore was not subject to an objection. “I can say that my lawyer informed me beforehand that while this prosecutor was generally fair, in cases that related to underage sexuality, no matter the context, she could be especially vicious—and again, she was by no means bound to tell the truth, and may have wanted simply to drill the point home just how seriously she takes cases like this, which she would ordinarily prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, provided she had evidence (e.g. a confession) to do so. I was not prepared, however, for any statements to be made like the ones she did.” While Holbrook did not include those hearing details in his written account, he said that he had told “numerous people in the local and broader Pagan community” what was said during the summation.  We will continue to follow this story and updated if needed. *   * ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-08By The Wild Hunt
  • Editorial: Religious Liberty or Religious Bigotry?
    UNITED STATES — President Donald J. Trump’s latest executive order is titled “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.” While some readers may be scratching their heads wondering why the current administration feels the need to promote the U.S. Constitution’s guaranteed First Amendment rights, others may feel that the little age-old document needed a good dusting off, and a signal boost. However, the executive is order is not aimed at simply lifting up what is already clearly written into national law, but rather it is aimed, theoretically, at defining it, directing it, and, as some believe, suffocating it. “President Donald J. Trump is applauded by gathered religious leaders, Thursday, May 4, 2017, as he displays his signature on the Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.” (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen). During the election process, Trump and running mate Mike Pence advocated for the dismantling of the now infamous Johnson Amendment. As we reported in the past, the Johnson Amendment was implemented in 1954 to prevent nonprofit organizations from influencing politics. All organizations with federal tax-exempt status are limited in their ability to engage in various election and lawmaking processes. This includes both secular and religious institutions. At the 2016 Republican National Convention, Trump said: At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical and religious community in general who have been so good to me and so supportive.You have much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits. An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans. Since that point, the Johnson Amendment has become one of the focal points of the administration’s work. It wasn’t until Thursday that Trump acted on his campaign promise, or at the very least, moved toward acting on that promise. Despite this recent push, the debate over the need for additional religious-freedom legislation did not begin with the 2016 election cycle. In fact, Vice President Mike Pence was embroiled in such a battle in 2015 when he was still governor of Indiana. During that state legislative session, Pence signed into law what was then considered the most controversial state religious freedom restoration act (RFRA). However, after signing, Pence was pressured by both state Republicans and Democrats, as well as national organizations and private corporations, to amend the act with language that would prevent discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. Since coming to the White House, Pence has reportedly been pushing for Trump to enact a religious-liberty executive order. Thursday’s signing is considered a “key win” for the Vice President’s own personal agenda. The RFRA debate itself is older than Pence’s state legislative efforts; it has been ongoing since the 1990s. While not all U.S. states have RFRAs in place, the federal government as a whole does (U.S. Code 42, chapter 21B § 2000bb). ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-07By Heather Greene
  • Column: Pagan Women Respond to Unbalanced Dress Codes
    As spring gets into full steam and the weather gets warmer, clothing often tends to become more revealing. Men begin to wear more shorts and t-shirts while women move their wardrobe toward sundresses, skirts, and tops that reveal both midriff and shoulders. It makes perfect sense given the warming weather, but different expectations for how men and women dress can often be disproportionate and inappropriately sexualized. Hollywood has weighed in on the problem.The 1992 film A League of Their Own touches on the very real and quite dangerous practice of requiring female professional baseball players to wear skirts. 2016’s Hidden Figuresstepped into questioning the requirement of skirts and high heels. But, while those movies covered historical topics, the issue is just as current today as it was in the past. The dangerous dress codes of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League [Wikimedia Commons]. In March, NPR reported that United Airlines prevented two young girls from boarding a flight because they were wearing leggings. Another, who appeared to be around 10, had to put on a dress to board. At the same time, a man wearing shorts was allowed on the plane. It turned out that these passengers were flying for free on employee “buddy passes,” but the appearance remained that the women in the situation were subject to a much stricter set of dress codes than the man. You also can often see this tension play out in high schools this time of year. Through the spring, stories start to pop up in news feeds about dress expectation for girls in both the classroom and at events such as school dances. A recent story told of a dehumanizing dress code poster aimed at keeping prom-going female students from being too revealing. A story last year told of graduates writing in their yearbooks’ “final message” thoughts to the effect of, “I’m sorry if my spaghetti straps distracted all the boys from their education.” Often, as in the spaghetti strap message, the problem is less about having a dress code and more about placing the responsibility for boys’ sexuality onto women. If boys are too distracted by bare shoulders to attend to their studies, people argue, why is that the girls’ fault? Why should girls have to change their wardrobes for the comfort of the boys? How is this learned? Since Paganism is often thought of as both a sex-positive and a nonconforming set of religions, The Wild Hunt spoke to a group of Pagan women to uncover their experiences with dress code standards, sexualization, and conformity. Some of these women work in the corporate world, others work for themselves. They represent both the cis- and transgender communities. Each of them has their own perspective on dress, gender, and the professional life. *    *    * TWH: Growing up, what were you taught about how to dress, and why were you supposed to meet those standards? Christine Hoff Kraemer:The only teaching I recall was that I was ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-06By Tim Titus
  • Column: Healing the body, mind, spirit during retrograde
    Release the past to rest as deeply as possible.” The last tweet from Charlie Murphy the night before he died. For many Pagans, Mercury Retrograde carries the reputation of being a time to expect communication, traffic snarls, computer problems, and overall worry about saying or doing the wrong thing. How many times do you wonder why everything seems to be going wrong, only to relax when someone says, “Mercury’s in retrograde”? [NASA / Pixabay] Pagans in general learn early about the stars, astrology, and the impact that times of delay can have in general. Venus in Retrograde asks us to think hard about who and what we value: who do we let into our lives, what or who do we treasure and how, what means the most to us overall? Old lovers – the source of emotional wounds – may stroll back into our lives. We may be tempted to take a dip into past familiar relationships. Yet both of these retrogrades are excellent times to stride forward with healing and repairing wounds of all types. Sometimes it seems that it is easier to stick a label on the period of time, like retrograde, than it is to dig deep and challenge the self to heal wounds that bubble to the surface during these times. For example, I recently had a sebaceous cyst suddenly appeared on my chest. It had remained dormant, until one evening it swelled, burned, and required medical treatment. During those initial three weeks, I reconsidered the spiritual significance of having a wound suddenly appear. Antibiotics would take care of the infection eventually, but it was the realization that this was happening during retrograde period that required a serious look at what I ate, what I drank, and what I stressed over. During Mercury Retrograde, finding where the stress appears in life is key to healing the wounds that are found. Mercury Retrograde, for example, demands that we stop and look at how we communicate with the self. In my situation, it was time to take a hard look at how I communicate with my own body. Was I honoring what it was trying to tell me? Or, like so many people, was stress blocking my ability to hear or to see due to working too many hours, drinking too much coffee, getting too little sleep, and saying “yes” to too many causes, committees, colleagues? Often, modern life seems to require the “go, go, go” mentality for fear of missing out on the latest trend before collapsing into furtive bits of sleep when the body is worn out and beyond insomnia. Sometimes an actual visible physical wound that requires care is the method of hitting a large “STOP” on the fast-paced road of everyday life. When caring for a wound, you have to focus on yourself and your own needs. For those who give constantly, this can be a slightly strange feeling. As a result, the devotion to caring for the self and wound healing ... read more
    Source: The Wild HuntPublished on 2017-05-05By Clio Ajana
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