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.

It is with great regret that we announce the passing of Raymond Buckland, an elder of the craft who will be sorely missed. His importance to the growth of both Wicca and Paganism cannot be overstated as he introduced Wicca into America in 1964, ultimately leading to the massive growth in the community there and elsewhere. He went on to write around sixty books that have been translated into seventeen languages, further extending his influence around the world. He has been a spokesperson for the craft in America for over five decades. Our sympathy and best wishes go to his family and friends at this difficult time.

Blessings from everyone at Children of Artemis,
may his spirit find it’s way into the Summerlands

    The Wild Hunt

  • Activities for minors at Pagan Spirit Gathering

    VIENNA, Ill. — Circle Sanctuary’s 38th annual Pagan Spirit Gathering will be held June 17 – 24 at Tall Tree Lake campground. Volunteer Florence Edwards-Miller is organizing youth activities for the event, and provided details about what to expect.

    PSG Logo

    Edwards-Miller said, “Bringing a child of any age on a week-long camping trip to a primitive camping ground is not easy. Keeping your kids fed, hydrated, dry, protected from heat, bug-bite free, and entertained is a parenting challenge.” She added that “many parents, like me, come from interfaith households, and come solo with their kids. My husband doesn’t come to PSG, and I really needed the help I received from many of my friends last year.” This will be the third year that Edwards-Miller’s daughter has attended this gathering. Her attendance began at seven weeks of age.

    “The idea is to create a sacred environment where we can explore the spiritual aspects of parenting,” said Edwards-Miller. In this environment, PSG organizers want to explore the divine as parent. This will include parenting focused workshops and rituals in the family center. These planned workshops and rituals include a workshop on spiritual parenting, a birth café discussion, and blessingway ritual for new mothers, adoptive and biological.

    A family camp area will continue to be available at PSG for people with children, forming a “community within a community.” The family camp has made it easy for children to connect with peers and for parents to connect with other Pagan parents who can then share parenting duties.

    Services are provided for three categories of minors at the festival: teens ranging from 13 to 18, tweens from six to 12, and children from two to five. No direct services are planned for infants and toddlers age two and under, although their parents will be able to use the family center. Edwards-Miller said that the family center would be a welcoming space for nursing mothers and other caregivers, with rocking chairs and other resources.

    Many workshops and rituals will be open to teens, and there will be two rituals and one workshop focused specifically on teen needs. The rituals are rites of passage, and the workshop is titled, “You’re the Boss of You: Consent for Pagan Teens.”

    The childcare and tween centers will be incorporated into the new family center. Parents will be able to drop off children older than two at the childcare center during workshops and major rituals. The tween center will offer a social space as well as areas for specialized workshops and crafts. The family center will offer storybook reading and small acoustic concerts.

    Spiritual events with youth can teeter between religious indoctrination and spiritual self-determination. The diversity of Pagan practices and belief complicates this even further. Edwards-Miller rejected a Pagan equivalent of a Bible school. “I want to help them socially integrate into the broader PSG community.” This goal can include inviting people in the community, like the guardians who oversee safety at the event, to come in, read a story, and talk about what they do. Such a discussion could help children understand how to deal with potential problems and dangers.

    Edwards-Miller wants to introduce children to the general concepts and vocabulary of the Pagan community to familiarize them with PSG activities. She stressed the importance of discussing nature spirituality in particular.

    Children with special needs

    Last year about 90 children and youth attended PSG. Given current estimates of autism prevalence, one of those child attendees could have been somewhere on the autistic spectrum. Edwards-Miller knows several attendees whose children have autism or sensory processing challenges. These parents told Edwards-Miller that their children had found PSG meaningful.

    Edwards-Miller knows of parents with transgender or gender non-conforming children. She said that according to PSG’s policies a ritual, workshop, or group is open to all who identify with the target audience. She did not know if any transgender youth had yet taken part in the rites of passage for young men or young women, but she expects that to happen soon.

    Changes have been made at PSG to accommodate people who reject the idea that gender is binary. Last year, the organizers of PSG added an all-genders ritual at the same time as the ritual for men and the ritual for women. They also added a gender-neutral rite of passage for seniors as well as the rites of passage for crones and sages. Edwards-Miller also stressed the need to have gender-inclusive storybooks.

    Edwards-Miller hopes to see more programming and rituals for children and their caregivers. She along with others saw a need to make some changes in this direction. She said she’s “incredibly grateful for Moonfeather, PSG’s coordinator, who came up with the idea to combine all these concepts into the family center. [Moonfeather], Selena [Fox], and the rest of the PSG leadership have been marvelously supportive of all of these ideas.” She added that “I’m grateful for my fellow coordinators, Marty and Calypso, who’ve been enthusiastically bringing their experience to this project. It is going to take a great deal of work, but I think the result should be something magical. “

    Early registration is available until May 14. This year’s gathering has the theme of “soul shine.” In recent years, the number of attendees has ranged between 600 and 1,000 people.

    Read more »
  • Pagan Community Notes: Marin Interfaith Climate Action, update from Caroline Kenner, Beltane is coming, and more.

    Earth

    [NASA.]

    MARIN COUNTY, Calif. — A new interfaith initiative made its debut Sunday, April 22 — Earth Day — in northern California. The Marin Interfaith Climate Action (MICA) was founded by Pat Carlone in the fall of 2017 and has been building its foundation since that point. It is part of the larger Marin County Interfaith Council, which was originally founded in 1982. Working with Carlone on MICA’s steering committee is Aline O’Brien, also known as M. Macha Nightmare. O’Brien has been working with the interfaith council for years, and has also worked in other interfaith forums including prison ministry. Additionally, O’Brien helped draft the Covenant of the Goddess’ Statement on the Environment in 2014.

    In a Facebook post, O’Brien wrote, “Our county as a whole and every municipality in it has gone deep green, meaning using renewable energy and producing zero CO2. Now we’re working on getting schools, businesses, stores, gyms, apartment complexes, individual homeowners, everyone to go deep green.” O’Brien says that Covenant of the Goddess, of which she is a longtime member, is considered a “founding member.” As explained on the site, MICA members aim to work with individuals and organizations. “We want to weave a strong network,” O’Brien said.  The goals of MICA are noted as “developing environmental education and adopting mitigating measures within our own religious communities; being advocates for climate legislation; collaborating in meaningful actions with other environmental organizations.”

    *   *   *

    SILVER SPRING, Md. — As we reported, Pagan and Witch Caroline Kenner was recently terrorized by a well-documented kidnapping scam that typically, as reported by the FBI, is perpetrated by prisoners in Mexico. Since speaking out about the experience, Kenner and her friend, Sara Mastros, have published a tarot-based cursing spell. It is called clean hands cursing. Kenner says that the last time she cursed anyone was in 2011, and that was aimed at a group of Christian fundamentalists who claimed to be cursing the Pagan community state by state. This time, the curse is aimed at what she calls “a syndicate of Mexican extortionists.”

    Kenner is a shamanic healer and the co-owner of the Fool’s Dog, a company that produces digital versions of tarot decks. She writes that she “learned about curses in the process of learning how to neutralize them.” She has since taught curse breaking for over 10 years. Mastros has also worked with cursing, and calls herself a Witch for hire. Their now-published clean hands curse instructions are not specific to Kenner’s experience, or those type of criminals. It is for general use, and Kenner adds as a warning, “Under no circumstances should anyone curse the president now or at any time: we have found there are layers of centuries-old protections around our elected officials, as well there should be. Curses against public officials tend to boomerang.”

    *   *   *

    [Wikimedia Commons.]

    TWH – Beltane, or May Day, is close at hand. Events around the country and world are now being advertised. Most May events are one-day outdoor festivals or picnics held around May 1. In Santa Cruz, California, members of Community Seed Earth Spirit Fellowship have been rehearsing for its public Beltane ritual to be held April 28. One of the biggest U.S.-based Beltane picnic events is Grove of Gaia Fest in Pittsburgh. It attracts over 400 people for rituals, vendors, entertainment, workshops, and a maypole. This year, it will be heldMay 5. Another long-running local event is the one at the Center for Symbolic Studies in New Paltz, New York; this year’s theme is “Phoenix Rising.” The family-friendly event is now in its 28th year, and will be hosted April 28. That is only tiny sample of May Day-inspired Pagan happenings.

    Longer Beltane festivals are also popular. Circle Sanctuary is hosting its annual three-day Beltane Festival on May 4-6. Two weeks later, Colorado-based Beltania opens its doors for an entire weekend with its new family-friendly concept, workshops, and entertainment. That is followed by EarthSpirit’s Rites of Spring. These shorter May festivals help usher in the Pagan festival season in full. Another marker of Beltane festival season is the Beltane Fire Festival in the U.K. That famous event is hosted by members of the Beltane Fire Society, which was formed in 1988 and has been the platform for fire festivals at both Beltane and Samhain ever since. The Beltane event is always held on April 30, the evening before Beltane. As explained on the site, “Beltane Fire Festival marks the changing seasons by bringing the ancient Celtic festival to a modern audience. For one special night, a huge cast of otherworldly creatures lead thousands of spectators on an unforgettable procession around Calton Hill. Through spectacular fiery displays and immersive storytelling, we show the May Queen transforming the Green Man from his wintry guise so they can rule together over the warmer months.”

    In other news

    • Witch and priestess Janus Blume will be launching a new one-woman show called Witchy: Wisdom Beyond Illusion. The performance is part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival and will be staged in the Kansas Room at Thymele Arts. According to the press release, Blume will “weave a magical web of entertainment and inspiration as she shares fantastical but true stories from her life woven together with tidbits of history and seasoned with dashes of song and poetry.” Her debut is scheduled for June 2, followed by several more performance dates. Blume said, “Witches of old really flew using their brooms, and I know how they did it!” she says. “We will travel through space
      and time and see behind the veil of illusion that keeps us from seeing the world as it is.”
    • While not necessarily being produced by practicing Witches, another show is being launched that contains a Witch theme. In Virginia, a new Broadway-style musical is being produced that focuses on seven women and their struggles in contemporary America. Produced by a theatrical group called the Creative Cauldron, the play is titled Witch and its themes borrow from the current trend that equates Witchcraft or a Witch identity with feminism and feminine power. As noted on the show’s site: “From the dawn of time, women have been demonized, feared and objectified whenever their power challenged the traditional order. Weaving a thread from the Salem Witch trials through modern-day politics, this world premiere musical examines the complex and compelling stories of women who’ve been labeled as witches throughout the centuries.” Witch made its debut April 21 in Falls Church, Virginia and runs through May 6.
    • Aquarian Tabernacle Church archpriestess Lady Belladonna Laveau and priest Dusty Dionne left on their World Love Tour, stopping at various locations throughout the country to perform ritual that came out of their Spring Mysteries Festival. They write, “The Aquarian Tabernacle Church is known best for their invocations and for bringing the gods to life, for others to speak directly with them. Bella is the vessel for the goddess Demeter at Spring Mysteries Festival this year and has worked closely with the all-mother and as received a special ritual to share with you.” The tour runs through July, currently with 16 stops.
    • This week is National Parks Week.

    Tarot of the week with Star Bustamonte

    Deck: Black Cats Tarot by Maria Kurara, published by Lo Scarabeo
    Card: hierophant, major arcana V (five)

    This week may call on upon one’s ability to both demonstrate our own decency and moral aptitude, as well as discern it in others. Spiritual authority that crosses the line into arrogance, and even fanaticism, has given in to the temptations of abuse of power. Maintaining a list of checks and balances when it comes to one’s motivations would be wise.

     [Decks provided by Asheville Raven and Crone.]
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  • Witch recasts Barbies as goddesses and Pagans

    RIVERVIEW, Mich. — Oberon Osiris walked into a Detroit CVS pharmacy in 2001 and found himself spellbound by the witchy female vision before him.

    Osiris himself had been a witch ever since, as a 12-year-old in the late 1960s, he checked out Sybil Leek’s Diary of a Witch from a library. “I read it voraciously and said, ‘That’s what I am – I’m a Witch, I’m Wiccan, I believe in nature and I believe in the other gods,’ ” he recalled.

    Osiris consecrated his path as a 15-year-old when he lit a candle in his small upstairs bedroom and “did the whole scary initiation thing” detailed by Paul Huson in his book Mastering Witchcraft – which required an initiate to recite the Christian Lord’s Prayer backwards phonetically three nights in a row. “I didn’t really find it to be scary, but just sort of enlightening, which I think is what Mr. Huson intended,” he said.

    In all his 30-plus years as a Witch, however, Osiris had never seen anything like the vision that enchanted him in that drug store a week after 9/11. She wore a clingy black dress with orange sparkles. Orange streaks weaved impishly through her blonde hair. She was wearing a classic pointy witch’s hat.

    She was Enchanted Halloween Barbie.

    Oberon Osiris poses beside a display of Barbies from his collection [courtesy].

    “I just had to have it,” Osiris said during a phone interview. “I think of it as a 9/11 story. I don’t know if it is exactly. When I look back, I feel that maybe I was looking for something to take my mind off of stuff that was happening at that time. It was like a light bulb went off.”

    Osiris had a “kind of sickly and indoors childhood” and as a youngster “gravitated toward playing with dolls,” he said. “I got into this idea of miniature things. I liked playing with dollhouses and looking at dollhouses. It was kind if a cool thing that even in the early ’60s, I didn’t really get teased a lot by my family for playing with dolls at age four or five.”

    That attraction was reborn that day in 2001. He soon discovered the Mattel toy company was creating all sorts of holiday and specialty Barbie dolls, and he began collecting them – mostly the Halloween Barbies but others as well.

    Having grown up in integrated neighborhoods throughout Detroit, and having an African-American daughter-in-law, Osiris (who is caucasian) naturally collected black Barbies, too.

    Osiris also began collecting action figures from vintage Universal and Hammer horror films: Dracula (Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee lookalikes), the Wolf Man, the Phantom of the Opera and others. Vampirella figures, too. He ascribes his monster fascination to being “a Scorpio son of a Scorpio mother” who littered their home with astrology and palmistry books, and invited him as a child to play with her ouija board.

    Osiris stopped counting his collection of Barbies and figures at 350, but estimates he now has more than 400.

    In 2009 he began designing his own Pagan outfits for Barbies, recruiting Doll Fashions by Alana, a California doll clothier (yes, there is such a thing) he found online to sew dresses to his specifications — with, say, the Covenant of the Goddess emblem (Osiris was a member of CoG until just last year). He enlisted doll clothier Linda Taylor in Las Vegas to craft miniature magical wands and various goddess accoutrements.

    His daughter-in-law Tiffany, an artist, occasionally “redraws Barbie faces to look like what I want – a little more witchy or esoteric,” Osiris said. “She knows how to braid hair, so she does beautiful braiding of the Barbie hair.”

    Ken is getting in on the action, too.

    Osiris’ next project is to recreate Ken and Barbie “as the god and goddess,” he said. “My mission is to find a Ken doll with a beard. That’s not impossible. I would like my Ken god figure to be a bearded type just because I think it’s seemingly more normal in the Pagan community for men to have beards.”

    A number of Barbie dolls remade by Oberon Osiris feature the Covenant of the Goddess emblem [courtesy].

    Osiris was inspired to leap into designing his own Pagan Barbies when he encountered the Tempest Smith Foundation, an organization founded in 2003 to advocate for diversity tolerance and anti-bullying campaigns. Tempest Smith was a 12-year-old girl who committed suicide after years of bullying spurred by her interests in Pagan/goddess beliefs and goth culture.

    When Osiris discovered that at ConVocation, an annual Detroit-area gathering of followers of esoteric spiritual paths, a fundraiser would be held for the foundation, he decided to help out. He enlisted some helpers and created a goth-y Barbie, inspired by Smith, that was “a big hit” at the raffle. “All Hallows Tempest” and “Forever Tempest” Barbies were raffled at various events in later years.

    Osiris combines his Barbie passion with public service in other ways. Through his work as a technical assistant in Detroit-area public libraries, he often curates displays of his dolls at various library branches. The displays’ themes – Halloween, Black History Month, women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony, Egyptian gods and goddesses – can be educational as well as fun for viewers.

    “I remember two young black girls walking up to the case with my Halloween display at the Southfield library,” Osiris said. “I was somewhere in the background, and they pointed and said, ‘I want to be that for Halloween! I want to be that for Halloween!’ and I thought, ‘I’m inspiring dreams here.’ It was such a good feeling.

    “I was putting up a display of mermaids, fairies and storybook characters at the Roseville Public Library, and there were a lot of really intelligent and animated older folks who wanted to talk about it. You could see how interested and excited they were.”

    Only rarely do Osiris’ Pagan beliefs surface in such encounters.

    “Sometimes — not very often — I get an occasion to talk about Witchcraft and magic a little bit, particularly if I’m putting up displays with those images,” he said. “Sometimes people might say, ‘Why are you doing that?’ I might explain it a little bit, but I usually keep it pretty mundane because I don’t expect to really illuminate someone with the full scale of Paganism or Wicca.”

    Are Osiris’ Pagan/Witch Barbies just a fun pastime, or do they serve a magical function?

    “As I came into the era of Barbie collecting from 2001 — I had my coven going back then — I would say to people, ‘I am building Coven Mattel because . . .  they never talk back to you,’” he said with a hearty laugh.

    “Going back to the earlier times when I crystallized my views as a Witch and magic worker, I became aware of some legendary sorcerers, one in particular from the Egyptian era — I’m not going to tell you his name because it’s part of my secret, secret name that I don’t tell anyone, but you could probably figure it out if you’re smart enough. He was known for using figures — image magic — to defeat armies whether they were fighting the Assyrians or Babylonians or whoever the heck they were fighting back then.

    “I sort of took that idea into myself too, that in a sense it is a form of image magic, maybe more loose or abstract. I don’t sit around with Barbie dolls and do play-acting with them, but I have used a few Barbie dolls that I have purchased specifically for doing some image magic work. I won’t say any more about it than that.”

    The Barbie collection of Oberon Osiris includes dolls inspired by Egyptian mythology [courtesy].

    If, as Aleister Crowley proclaimed, magic is “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will,” then the change that Osiris’ Barbies spur in people indeed may be magical.

    “These dolls, these images bring out a lot of joy and pleasure in people,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s their childhood or if maybe it’s the nature of images that’s calling to them. I just get so incredibly geeked over this stuff.”

    Read more »
  • Editorial: This Earth Day, Let the Land Spirits Lead You

    [Columns are a regular weekend feature at The Wild Hunt. Each Friday and Saturday columnists from various backgrounds and traditions share their perspectives and add their insights to the larger conversation in the community. If you like this feature, consider making a small monthly donation or make a one-time donation toward this vital global community venture. Either way, it is your help and your support that keeps daily and dependable news coming to your doorstep each day from wherever its origin.]

    [Pixabay.}

    This year as we celebrate the 48th annual Earth Day on April 22, hope is a resource that’s coming up short for many environmental activists. Environmental regulations are being rolled back, U.S. governmental departments like the EPA and the Department of the Interior face huge cuts, and land and monuments that have been held in the public trust for a generation are being slashed. April 21-29 is also National Parks Week in the United States, with all national parks offering free admission on the 21st. 

    This is a great week to enjoy our national parks; what we have is actually a rarity among most of the countries on the planet. Having such large tracts of unspoiled land set aside for nature to just be nature is a treasure. Sadly, it’s under threat. 

    Looking ahead, I see one of the major challenges for the Pagan community being able to walk our talk. At the heart of many, though not all, Pagan spiritual practices is a deep and spiritual love and appreciation for the Earth, its inhabitants and natural processes. From many backgrounds we are frequently united in our finding peace and solace in the natural world. Though many of us are urban dwellers, our hearts break as we see the unchecked damage caused by fossil fuels globally and the scientifically verifiable, catastrophic impact that human activity is having on our home.

    As someone who has only in the last five or six years truly reawakened to animism, I have come to recognize that it is a knowledge, not just a belief, that I’ve had since I was a young child. 

    In an enspirited universe, we are required to act with respect, deference and reciprocity with those spirits all around us. As a child I used to talk to rocks, ask them where they wanted to be moved or if they wanted to be left alone. I used to send wishes and prayers away with the robins and cardinals I would find perched in the trees outside of my bedroom window. When I learned other children didn’t think and act the way that I did, when I was bullied and attacked for being a weirdo who would sing to trees (they like to be sung to, try it), I tried to kill that part of myself. I began to abuse and disrespect those things around me that represented nature because I was led to believe that such love and reverence was weakness. When you treat the spirits poorly they respond in kind. It wasn’t one person or one group of kids but the message that our culture manifested, one obsessed with assigning monetary value to everything, one that said strength means violence or the ability to perpetrate violence, one that only was capable of binary thinking. 

    This week, David Buckel, a former lawyer for Lambda Legal and environmentalist, killed himself by self-immolation in protest of the negative effects of fossil fuels on humans and the earth. 

    Buckel was well known for being the lead lawyer on the Brandon Teena lawsuit which found Nebraska law enforcement officers negligent in the death of Teena, a transgender man. The details of Teena’s life became the basis for the movie Boys Don’t Cry, directed by Kimberly Pierce. 

    Buckel was also famously on the front lines of marriage equality, arguing in 2006 before the New Jersey Supreme Court in Lewis v. Harris that civil unions relegated same-sex couples to second-class status. While the court agreed that all rights afforded to heterosexual legal partnerships must be granted to same-sex couples, they split on how to recognize them with the majority of the court advising for amending civil unions rather than full legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

    Susan Sommer, a former lawyer at Lambda Legal said in a New York Times article following his death that he was “one of the architects of the freedom to marry and marriage equality movement.”

    Buckel was a passionate environmentalist who would walk an hour to and from work every day rather than drive, and who helped lead the NYC Compost Project, an outreach and education program created through the New York City Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability. He mentored young people from financially unstable backgrounds and got them active and involved in creating an environmentally sustainable future. Surviving him are his partner and their daughter. 

    Buckel’s fierce willingness to fight for justice may have belied a commonality I see in him, in that he seems like a very sensitive soul. According to friends and family he had been feeling distraught about the state of the Environmental Protection Agency under Trump as well as soaring temperatures in the polar regions of the planet.

    I think many of us can identify with that sense of powerlessness to create change. The odds seem stacked against us and the planet’s health is accelerating past the point of no return, at least when it comes to our ability to survive as a species. The earth mother, in whatever form you experience her, will live on beyond us. In that I find great solace all the while mourning for the lost species and the spirits we have sundered because of our hubris. When you act disrespectfully to spirits, they respond in kind.

    How powerless are we, really? As magickal people I would say we aren’t powerless at all. Our challenge is to stand in our power, not allow others to take it from us, it is from that point where we are able to shift and change our realities. To be clear, I’m not saying Buckel was acting from a place of powerlessness when he chose to make his final protest, far from it. Whether or not you agree with what he did, his action has raised the dialogue, which seems to have been his intent. 

    What do we do now? Are we as a group of loosely affiliated, religious and/or spiritual and/or magickal people capable of standing together around what, at the very least, a majority of us believe is the core of our practice in a meaningful way?

    Buckel sent an email to the New York Times detailing the reasons why he took his life. In it he remarked that, “many who drive their own lives to help others often realize that they do not change what causes the need for their help.” Times editors also noted that he said that donating to organizations was not enough. 

    On this Earth Day, during National Parks Week, as the head of the EPA Scott Pruitt continues to gut the agency he works for, all the while bankrupting it at every turn, perhaps we should all take some time for contemplation. Reach out to those embattled spirits of the land, air, and sea. Look with fresh eyes and fresh inspiration towards a Pagan-powered environmental movement. Look to where we’ve been, where our elders have taken us and ask where we can go next. Ask ancestors and spirit guides where we could improve and what we’re not doing now that we can be doing.

    Stop talking and just listen.

    Then act.

    When you act respectfully to spirits, they respond in kind.

    *   *   *

    The views and opinions expressed by our diverse panel of columnists and guest writers represent the many diverging perspectives held within the global Pagan, Heathen and polytheist communities, but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wild Hunt Inc. or its management.

     

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  • Column: Embracing the Power of Silence

    [Columns are a regular weekend feature at The Wild Hunt. Each Friday and Saturday columnists from various backgrounds and traditions share their perspectives and add their insights to the larger conversation in the community. If you like this feature, consider making a small monthly donation or make a one-time donation toward this vital global community venture. Either way, it is your help and your support that keeps daily and dependable news coming to your doorstep each day from wherever its origin.]

    [pixabay]

    The impact of silence could promote complacency and disconnect depending on context and situation. It is often weaponized in situations of power and privilege in greater society and within some interpersonal dynamics. Yet silence is also utilized as a means of survival and self preservation for many people, and within many scenarios. There are a myriad of different perceptions about silence and how it is used, yet silence can be a powerful tool.

    In the age of internet usage at our fingertips, and social media as a primary means of interpersonal connection, immediate responses and action appears to be the social norm of engagement. We see this on everything from news articles, blog posts and even Facebook; we live in a world of instant gratification. Within larger overculture it could be argued that how fast we respond, how much information we obtain, and how well we present on social media indicates a measure of success or power. Silence within these same contexts can be looked at as being uninformed, unable to keep up, or suspect.

    Much differently, as a social worker we are often trained to identify moments of silence as potentially useful and necessary. These moments of pause can give way to reflection, introspection and clarity within a variety of situations. In such a fast paced world, having a moment can be worth its weight in gold and hold valuable therapeutic opportunities.

    As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, sometimes I work to support or create a moment of silence to promote deeper thinking and engagement with the self. Sometimes that means sitting in my own silence to model its power to those I am working with. There are so many ways to engage with the usefulness of silence and to define its relevance.

    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines silence as “forbearance from speech or noise, muteness, absence of sound or noise, absence of mention”. Within a spiritual context this definition could expand and grow. Silence isn’t just the absence of something, but it could also be supporting a space of contentment, learning and presence.

    [pixabay]

    While silence is not always the answer to solving problems that arise on our paths, engaging in the act of silence as a tool can be a means to connecting with purpose, desire, clarity and intention; all of which happen to be some of the most useful and necessary elements of effective magic. It is essential to state that the impact of silence is always very different for marginalized people or when referencing oppression. As Karina BlackHeart eloquently states in her book A Witch’s Book of Silence, “When we fail to raise our voices in opposition to injustice, we contribute to it. When our silence is complicit in obscuring truth, we are guilty of lying. Yet as a Witch, I want to unpack the equation of silence and complicity or death differently”. While we are not approaching this article from the lens of injustice and oppression, it is always a part of the conversation and always a factor in how we think about such intersecting topics related to our community and our practices.

    How exactly do Pagans see the usefulness of silence? If we asked 10 Pagans this question, we might get 48.39 different answers, but it is an interesting thread of consideration to ask ourselves about our spiritual practices. Does our use of silence within the magical realm begin and end with meditation? Are we keen to the variety of ways that we engage silence as a means to connection with the Gods? Do we utilize silence as a way to expand our spiritual capacity and to act as our own council? Do we see our own silence as something useful or harmful within spellwork or ritual?

    We hear of magical theories like the Witches’ Pyramid and the concept of “To know, to will, to dare, and to keep silent” in magical circles often. It is clear that some traditions and practices incorporate such principles into their workings, yet this doesn’t appear to be something widely discussed or accepted in modern Pagan overculture. Or is it?

    Since this could ignite a variety of discussions, it is important to note that there isn’t going to be one right answer to such inquiries. Instead of looking at this from a dichotomous perspective of right or wrong, I began to wonder how silence is talked about in our magical world.

    I looked to several Pagan and Polytheist authors who have written about some of these topics to see what they have shared on the necessity of silence and its usefulness.

    In T. Thorn Coyle’s book Make Magic of Your Life, she explores the power of silence and its connection to purpose, power and desire.

    Silence allows us to listen, and listening brings us into a state of trusting. We learn to trust ourselves better when we listen deeply, because our thoughts and emotions are better informed and not running around crazed with energy and suppositions. We learn to trust the world and our responses to the world, because our interactions with the world are more and more based upon what we actually see, sense, hear, taste, touch, and know, instead of what we think we should see or what our emotions tell us about how things have been before. We can face the world fresh – with experience, yes, but not with overly programmed assumptions or knee-jerk reactions.

    In “A Witch’s Book of Silence”, Karina BlackHeart talks about the unfolding importance of silence in the development of the self.

    Practicing silence is a way for us to drop beneath the layers of the monkey-mind, beneath the barrage of fears, anxieties and fantasies and deeper into the place where slow thoughts arise and disperse. We go deeper still to the pool of presence which is our true mirror. In silence we see ourselves clearly – – in all our power and terror, all our beautiful flaws, all our messy intensity and imperfect humanity. Here we come to know – – and also love – – ourselves in all our parts.

    In silence, if we listen long enough, we find our truth: The irrevocable core of self. When we know ourselves we are able to move through the world of funhouse mirrors and noisy distractions unaffected. Operating from our core, we enjoy the company of others but do not seek or need their approval.

    It is from this core that great power is won, breath-taking art is made, real love blossoms forth, ecstasy is experienced. We return to this core for our sustenance. It is here, in silence at the pool of presence that we keep our own counsel.

    Archer wrote in her blog piece “Five Days of Silence” about her deeply insightful learning experience at a buddhist retreat.

    I talk in self-defense. Or at least that’s how it feels. I talk to seek reassurance and attention, to fill the silence, to make myself real. My words are a thicket, a fence flung up to keep threats out. It takes a lot of work—a lot of words—to keep this little ship of ego afloat.

    The verbal flow will always be a part of me, but sometimes I feel trapped within the facade it creates. It’s as if the words construct this superstructure on their own, with little contribution from my deeper self.

    So I welcomed the idea of all that silence. Once I got to the retreat, where the only sound would be the bell that called us to meals and meditation, there was indeed a deep release in being with others without having to perform, or worry about what they thought of me. As we entered silence together, I felt a connection with them that ran deeper than words. We were all in the same boat, all dealing with the same problem: ourselves.

    The first thing silence teaches you is that the loudest place in the world is the inside of your own head.

    [Wikimedia]

    In my own practices of life and magic, I have found that the transition between the ways that I use my silence holds significance. In my work it often is a skillful and useful technique, where in my personal relationships silence often is my coping mechanism when I am feeling harmed, unsafe, or sad. Silence plays a vital role in my professional and political life because it is important for me to use my words wisely, listen carefully and make my words meaningful in the sound bite of time I am given. As an activist silence isn’t my go-to tool of interaction.

    Within my engagement with the ancestors and Gods, I have been silent a lot lately. I have invested my practice in the listening, learning and humble practice of service. While this is a different approach to the powerful use of silence, it is interesting to reflect on just how similar all of these differing aspects of my life are with one another.

    How do you use your silence? Does it vary in the intersecting pieces of your world?

    There are plenty of ways that we can benefit from incorporating a routine of silence in our mundane and spiritual lives regularly. While meditation is one very useful and known technique to do this, it is not the only one and maybe not even the most effective for all people.

    Honing our skills to seek out moments of silence to connect to the inner core of our being, and to increase our knowledge and power could be quite a useful tool to put in our magical toolboxes. Whether sitting in silence on your drive to work, pausing before responding to an email or post on social media, practicing deep breathing before engaging in interpersonal communication, communing with nature in silence, utilizing mindfulness techniques, engaging in dance, or being in sacred space without words or noise; connecting to our own inner knowingness can be therapeutic and rewarding.

    In the article, “10 Ways to Embrace the Power of Silence”, Jean Nicomedes Stone states,

    “In the midst of all the noise, silence is remarkably easy to find; it’s everywhere around us. We should learn to unmask the noise by deliberating and consciously making an effort to create silence. In so doing, we can help remove tension and anxiety from our environment, recharge our internal batteries, and create peace with ourselves and our surroundings.

    In a world that is so fast-paced, noisy and full of expectations, bringing this empowering and undervalued tool into our spiritual practices might just support many of us in the chaos of today’s world.

    May we all be inspired to be our own council. Give yourself permission to seek silence.

    *   *   *

    The views and opinions expressed by our diverse panel of columnists and guest writers represent the many diverging perspectives held within the global Pagan, Heathen and polytheist communities, but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wild Hunt Inc. or its management.

     

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  • Heathen cookery web series comes to YouTube

    OTTAWA, On. – A new web series, featuring Austin “Auz” Lawrence is gaining popularity and fans on YouTube. “Heathen Hearth” was debuted in October, 2017; in the first seven months 18 episodes have been released, racking up more than 11,000 views. With almost 1,000 subscribers in 36 different countries, its success is already worldwide. “The response has been very positive. My channel even got a mention in one of the largest newspapers in India – the Hindu” Lawrence said in an exclusive Wild Hunt interview.

    The web series is offering Lawrence a fun and inspiring way to express his love of food: “I find that the communities around YouTube cooking channels to be extremely positive and supportive. Mine is no exception. It is actually a place on social media where I find myself feeling better about myself and the world, so very unlike the negativity I seem to encounter on other social media platforms.”

    Austin “Auz” Lawrence [courtesy].

    Lawrence is known in Canada as one of the stewards of Raven’s Knoll, a pagan campground and event centre, located on 100 acres of wooded land alongside the Bonnechere River, near Eganville, Ontario. This is the venue for Canada’s largest Pagan festival, Kaleidoscope Gathering, which he also co-organizes.

    Heathen Hearth is an opportunity for Lawrence to combine his most serious passions. He has a masters degree in anthropology, which led him to his full-time day job. He manages to fit this in alongside running the campground and producing the web series. He is also actively involved in running other festivals and events for his local Heathen community, and serves as an oath-bound goði, associated with the American Vinland Association.

    “My inspiration for Heathen Hearth is to share how I have enriched my life through experimenting with being in other places and times by first researching and understanding the meaning of a foldaway, then finding a way to let it be part of your own life in a very physical way.”

    Lawrence’s spirituality and academic studies made the leap into the web series a natural next step: “I am both a person of the imagination and one of experience. I studied history and anthropology at university; imagining the past or being a participant observer. In university I was introduced to the approach of ‘experimental archaeology.’ This is a method that combines the two approaches.”

    Heathen Hearth was not the first video project for Lawrence. Bitten by the reality television bug, back in the days when the craze for this type of show was gaining momentum, Lawrence and a friend began developing a series called “The Viking Chef.” Unfortunately this project got shelved due to busy lives and other projects, but it planted a seed that took root, when Lawrence was facing a heath crisis.

    As Lawrence explained, “Starting two years ago, I started to get sick with a strange set of symptoms reminiscent of Lyme disease. The symptoms began to get worse and worse. Last summer my symptoms peaked, I broke down, both physically and mentally. I was in a terrible, dark place. I was alienated from life by the stresses of my religious community, by the stresses of my paid career, and by the pain and weakness manifest in my own body. I watched cooking shows on YouTube as both an escape and solace. After watching the entirety of a few channels I realized they progressed from being jumpy recordings on a phone to polished shows. This was something I could do. At the time I could not work and felt useless. I started recording Heathen Hearth because I was in complete control of the very easy schedule. I could stop if I did not feel well, and it did not matter if the episodes were bad because no one counted on me for them.

    “Heathen Hearth was a safe way for me to be creative again, to explore project management and spirituality indirectly, and to take a fresh run at the world again by learning something new. Heathen Hearth has been part of my healing journey.”

    Historic Iroquois winter soup [Austin Lawrence].

    Each episode of Heathen Hearth provides much more than just instructions on how to cook something. Lawrence explores global cuisines, indigenous diets and precolonial ingredients. He recreates recipes, based on his research, which could have been eaten in paleolithic Europe.

    This commitment to understanding these traditions and cultures is something Lawrence takes very seriously: “Many of us first experience other cultures through their food. One may not be able to travel to the place of another society or being in the place where their food comes from, but you can taste a people’s culture and their history through their recipes. Food-ways are central to identity and culture, as important as modes of dress or other similar cultural traits. To know a person, or a people, or a time period, is to sit at their table. “

    Some of the recipes venture into the realm of fantasy and imagination. One can learn to make “bowls of brown”, a Game of Thrones inspired recipe, in an ‘instant pot.” The recipe for “injera dosa, Viking style” is a mashup of Lawrence’s three favourite cuisines – Ethiopian, Indian and Nordic.

    Bowls of brown [Heathen Hearth].

    One of the unique categories of recipes on the Heathen Hearth channel are the ones that have been on the menu for Hail and Horn Gathering. These selections are all inspired by the food and culture of northern Dark Ages Europe: the pre-Christian diet of the Scandinavian and Germanic peoples. Attendees of the gathering have been able to taste-test these dishes at the sacred husel feast offered at this event.

    Lawrence is now in the process of editing a few episodes that feature creative recipes dedicated to the goddess Skaði. This year Skaði will be honored at Hail and Horn Gathering, with a blót and the raising of a god-pole.

    Lawrence intends to continue to improve and polish his videography and editing skills, and with every episode, is working to elevate the production values to a more professional level. Looking ahead, he says, “I plan to continue with Heathen Hearth as long as it brings me joy. It would be amazing if this hobby could fund itself through a few small revenue from the channel if it every got very popular, but that is unlikely because it is such a niche market. What I am really hoping for it that it connects me with people who have the same passion for cooking and historical food-ways as me! I would love to collaborate with other people and channels on episodes and learn from others.”

    As the season turns toward spring, and the weather improves, viewers can look forward to seeing Lawrence moving outside to shoot new episodes at Raven’s Knoll. He also has plans to collaborate with sponsors. Rhe drinking horn maker Alehorn is expected to have a presence in a future episode. Lawrence is seeking other YouTube cooks to work with as well.

    New episodes of Heathen Hearth are usually released every two weeks. The next episode, “Loki’s Cheesy Balls,” will be available April 28.

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  • Godless gather under the full moon

    HEALDSBURG, Calif –The light of the full moon which shines down on the mighty redwoods here will, in August, illuminate a gathering of non-theistic Pagans as the second annual Moon Meet is convened. Hidden deep in the forest, they will share meals, share knowledge, and share sacred space in much the same way that other Pagans do.

    [Wikimedia Commons.]

    Event organizer Mark Green prefers the term “Atheopagans” to describe this particular subculture-within-a-subculture, but that relatively new term describes a mindset that has been part of the contemporary Pagan movement for decades. He wrote about becoming Pagan in the 1980s for Witches & Pagans issue 35: “Several prominent voices in the community at that time were clearly in the gods-as-metaphors camp,” he recalled, also noting that he “found deep meaning and joy in celebrating the changing of the seasons, in the ritual circles that I shared with community . . . and environmental values that were the community norms.”

    As the landscape of Paganism has shifted and matured, some non-theists have felt the need to openly identify with that worldview, and to seek like-minded folks with whom to spend time. Nearly 1,000 people are members of the Atheopaganism Facebook group, where a need to gather in person arose, echoing Green’s own desire to build community ties. That need manifested last year as Moon Meet, at least for a small number of the Facebook participants. Despite only having 19 attendees, the event was enjoyed by them and financially sustainable, which is why it’s going to happen again.

    “We’re a subculture of a subculture,” Green acknowledged, and “we’re sparse on the ground.” Moon Meet has low overhead, and costs only $90 per person with meals included. It’s also in a somewhat remote location that requires attendees being shuttled from the parking area in four-wheel-drive vehicles. While there’s a limited amount of indoor sleeping accommodations for those who need it, the event “isn’t very wheelchair-friendly,” Green said.

    Meals are produced in the house on the land, with attendees pitching in to help the site owner, who enjoys cooking for groups. That serves a twofold purpose: it minimizes fire danger in an area where that’s a real threat, and it gets everyone together to eat. Community is one of the values attendees cherish, and shared meals help strengthen those bonds.

    The size of Moon Meet makes it a flexible event. Only one workshop is offered at a time during the day, but it’s fine to enjoy nature or the company of other people instead. There’s a bardic circle on Friday night, and a ritual Saturday which is designed by the attendees that afternoon. A discussion about the future of Atheopaganism is held Sunday afternoon before the event is closed down.

    Despite the size of Moon Meet, there are standards of behavior. Attendees must sign a non-harassment and there’s a process for addressing violations. There’s also a blanket policy of no photography, because atheist Pagans “are in two closets,” Green pointed out, and safeguarding their privacy is critical.

    Last year, most of the workshops focused on skills for ritual, and Green may himself offer one on ritual design this time around. He finds ritual to be important, even if gods are not included. For one, it’s “about connection to the all-that-is, the great cosmos and community, but also to become better and happier people. As we do, we can help to create a better world.”

    Green said that concerns about appropriation are minimal, because “we don’t really draw from other cultures.” Atheopagans are consciously forward-looking, he said, and “not rooted formally in anything in the past. We’re observing the ritual technologies and techniques used over time, from the Roman Catholic church to the plains Indians, to see commonalities,” such as flickering candlelight being more conducive to the mindset than fluorescent tubes. “It’s more about the technologies than the cultures.”

    Some Pagans and polytheists bristle at the notion of atheist Pagans, but Green is thankful that the controversy of several years ago seems to have died down. “Most people have accepted that [Paganism] is a big tent, and this fits,” he said. “It’s fine that others go other ways.”

    Part of what sparked controversy could be that there are different kinds of atheists, and not all of them view the world in the same way. The findings of a University of Tennessee study revealed at least six different kinds. The anti-theists are the most open about their position. Green describes them as “nakedly hostile to anything about religions, [they’re] really loud and really obnoxious; Richard Dawkins is a classic example. They’ve given atheists cover for coming out, but they’re so abrasive I don’t think they have ever encouraged a theist to rethink that position. The tone is difficult.”

    Another part of the spectrum is what’s been called ritual atheists, who fall into the broad category of “spiritual, but not religious.” These are the ones — about 12% of all atheists, he said — that Green wants to meet. “They’re looking for quasi-religious experiences in life, to give meaning and build community.” Those experiences include rites of passage and others which take place in a ritual framework. Paganism has accumulated more than 50 years of contemporary ritual experience and technique, he said, and that’s something atheists lack.

    The anti-theist tone is “angry, uncomfortable, and pointless” in ritual space, Green said, and thus isn’t a focus in ritual design, the goal of which is “celebrating life and the universe, trying to be the best people we can in the short time we have available to us.”

    While Green has experience putting together events and wouldn’t mind Moon Meet growing in size, he also wants his fellows to have the tools to organize their own events locally. “The carbon footprint of travel is huge,” he said, and as an environmentalist he wants to see choices that allow for a lesser impact. To that end, he’s published a guide to event planning on his own blog.

    Information about Moon Meet is available here; the exact location will be provided to those who sign up.

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  • Global Wiccan summit set for early September

    TWH — The Global Wicca Summit will take place from Sept. 4 through 10, 2018, and be focused on the question, “Is Wicca a global faith?” This free, interfaith summit will discuss and examine the current state of Wicca throughout the world.

    The organizers are encouraging local groups to host local face-to-face meetings, where online resources can be shared among people who may lack access to the internet, or a safe way to connect online.

    As an online conference, the summit will lack the travel and hotel costs of most face-to-face conferences. Travel has carbon costs to the environment as well as financial costs to the individual. The “Pagans Tonight” network will also broadcast selections from this summit. These broadcasts will occur nightly throughout the summit, helping to bring get the message out within a smaller carbon footprint, which aligns it more with the Wiccan reverence for nature.

    Leaders of the Witch School and the Correllian Nativist tradition are hosting this event. The former has had over 250,000 students registered for a variety of classes, suggesting a large number of potential participants.

    Organizers of this event have plans for a gay Wiccan summit and awareness campaign, which is slated to run from April 27 through 29.

    Some Wiccan traditions exclusively trace their origins to Great Britain and Ireland, but the Correllian Nativist Ttadition has a different history. Part of its origins can be traced to Cherokee traditions. Lady Orpheis Caroline High Correll founded the Correllian Nativist tradition in 1879 C.E. Her family, the High Corrells, claims descent from both Cherokee Didanvwisgi and traditional Scottish witches. The Didanvwisgi are Cherokee medicine men or shamans. Aradian Witchcraft, spiritualism, and hermetic thought also influenced the Correllians. According to the Correllian’s website, “Lady Orpheis’ nativism was a highly political and deeply syncretic [sic] form of Pagan universalism, which stressed the need for the world’s native (Pagan) religions to unite in the face of colonial Christianity.”

    These influences may give members of the Correllian tradition a unique perspective on Wicca as a global faith. Its members live in Australia, Europe, India, South Africa, South America, and the U.S. Ed Hubbard, co-founder of the Witch School, stressed that the goal of discussing “Wicca as a global faith” is not to impose one spiritual vision on the entire globe. He said, “No one has to accept our vision of our future, only we do.”

    The Correllian Nativist tradition is considered by its members to be a “global community, a faith that extends beyond borders to create [a] spiritual family.” This global identity may be a driving force in the Correllians’ practice. Besides this global summit, they will play an active role in the seventh Parliament of the World’s Religions. Members will organize a Samhain ritual at that parliament, and also plan to present their findings from this summit.

    The seventh Parliament of the World’s Religions will occur from Nov. 1 through 7, in Toronto Canada. Its theme will be “the promise of inclusion, the power of Love: pursuing global understanding, reconciliation, and change.”

    Organizers of the Global Wiccan Summit are seeking “presentations, papers, and panels.” For more information, or to submit proposals, send an email to EdthePagan@aol.com.  Additional details about the summit can be found at its Facebook page.

     

     

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  • Pagan Community Notes: Marc Pourner update, Hell’s Belles, Lost Chord Award and more

    [Courtesy.]

    MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas – David Brown, Jr. reached a plea agreement with the state for the murder of 2015 murder of Marc Pourner, who was known to the Wiccan community as Axel. Pourner, who was 28 at the time of his death, had disappeared for several days, after which authorities found his body and his burned truck in a field alongside a road. 24 hours later, Brown was arrested.

    According to local reports, “In an agreement to a lesser charge of first-degree felony murder from the original indictment of capital murder in February 2016, Brown pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Brown will be eligible for parole in 30 years.” Pourner’s mother, Jolene, spoke words aloud as Brown walked out of the court. She concluded, “My son believed the best in people. I don’t know if there is a best in you but I’m willing try to see if it exists by you finally telling the truth of what happened on that horrible night.”  A second man, Daniel Kirksey, has also been arrested and is due back in court today.

    *    *    *

    MANCHESTER, England — On March 24, the Manchester Evening News published a story on the all-women biker’s group called Hell’s Belles. The article reads, “As I head through the garage into their club house – otherwise known as The Cauldron – I feel like I’m entering an arcane realm, or a Buffy the Vampire Slayer set. On the wall, there’s a huge emblem of a witch riding a motorcycle, behind the outline of a pentagram star. Not only are they bikers, they’re Pagan witches too.”

    Hell’s Belles was founded by Pagan Witches, as it states on the group’s web page, and its logo and the name of the clubhouse are tributes to that tradition. However, since publication of the news article, the organization has reportedly received some backlash, and leaders have since stopped talking to the media. A statement published to Facebook begins: “Hells Belles WMC officers would like to reiterate that the news article that is currently doing its rounds on Facebook was mainly not the words of the club and our members.”  The statement invites people to contact them directly if they have questions or concerns about the group or what was published in the article. TWH reached out to Hells Belles to learn more, and has not received a response by publication.

    *    *    *

    BERKLEY, Calif. — The Society for Ritual Arts will be hosting its second gala event in June. The event is called the Lost Chord Awards and Gathering by and for the Ritual, Sacred and Folk Arts and the theme is “Encounters in the Realm of Spirit: a Confluence of Intellect, Culture, and Community.” Society members will present the award for interfaith spiritual music to Margaret Davis and Kristoph Klover, the EOS Promising Scholars award will be given to Karis Dulan and Pauline Stangl, and a lifetime achievement award will be bestowed by the Coreopsis Journal of Myth & Theatre to an unannounced guest.

    The gala, to be held June 2-3 in Berkeley California, will also host keynote speaker Dr. Stanley Krippner, as well as a number of musical guests. The Society for Ritual Arts is a nonprofit membership organization that “support artists and scholars in the fields of spirituality, music, performance, consciousness studies and related fields as they pertain to ritual arts.”

    In other news

    • Hellenion has announced the formation of another new proto-grove. The Kerykeion Proto-Demos is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. On its new Facebook page, the group members posted, “Whether you are brand new to Hellenic polytheism, have been practicing for a while, or are curious to learn more about it, you are welcome to come and participate in public events.”
    • This August, Pagans will be gathering at Moon Meet, a gathering for “Atheopagans, non-theist Pagans, and others interested in [their] paths.” The event is in its second year and will be held on private property in Sonoma County, California. Registration is now open.
    • Another summer event in its second year, Mystic South now has announced programming. This year’s headliners include Sangoma, John Beckett, Yaya Nsasi Vence Guerra, and Ivo Dominguez, Jr. Musical guests include Mama Gina and the Night Travelers. The schedule itself has not been posted but the website continues to be updated with the weekend’s workshops and lectures by the headliners and others. Mystic South is an indoor conference that is hosted in Atlanta, Georgia in July.
    • The founder of the U.K.-based Pagan Police Association will be speaking at Parliament of the World’s Religions Monday, April 16 on the subject of faith and police work. We have reached out to the association to learn more about this talk and how it was received. We will have more on this in the coming week.
    • Ever wonder where your TWH donations go? Here is a breakdown.

    Tarot of the week with Star Bustamonte

    Deck: Tarot of the Pirates by Bepi Vigna, artwork Michele Benevento, published by Lo Scarabeo
    Card: hermit, major arcana IX (9)

    This week may bring a new challenge that could possibly alter the path one is forging. Pausing to refocus, and redefine what the goal or journey entails would be pertinent. It is equally important to seek to realistically evaluate one’s current situation and environment.

    [Decks provided by Asheville Raven and Crone.]

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  • CalderaFest is cancelled

    LAFAYETTE, Ga. — CalderaFest, a beleaguered Pagan music festival scheduled for May 2019, has been cancelled according to a statement released by festival founder David Banach.

    The festival debuted May 2016 in LaFayette, and a second one was scheduled there for Oct. 5-9, 2017.

    On Aug. 31, 2017, Banach announced on the CalderaFest Pagan Music Festival Facebook page that “ticket sales were not as robust as we hoped” and that the event was being postponed to May 2019. “We are carrying over all existing tickets to the new date,” the post said, meaning refunds would not be given.

    The statement announcing the cancellation was posted April 12. The statement appeared on the CalderaFest Pagan Music Festival Facebook page and was emailed to several media outlets, including the Wild Hunt, following inquiries from those outlets. It reads:

    My name is David Banach and I am the creator of CalderaFest Pagan Music Festival.

    CalderaFest 2019 will not be happening.

    CalderaFest was my idea for over a decade and my passion and my obsession for over 4 years now. It truly breaks my heart to have no choice but to cancel the event. After spending nearly $50,000 out of our pockets to pay for CalderaFest, we find that 2019 and beyond is just not financially possible.

    We will be issuing refunds as a percentage of the sale price based on the amount of capital that we still have. We will be sending out e-mails very soon to ticket holders and vendors regarding this.

    All I can say is that we are truly sorry for this and it tears me apart to have to do this. I know many of you will be upset by this news. Please remember that we did this for the betterment of the greater Pagan community. All we ever wanted was to be able to break even.

    At this time, this is the only statement we will make and we will not be answering questions about this.

    A Facebook post from February 2017 announcing the artist lineup for the upcoming CalderaFest.

    A Wild Hunt request for further comment sent to the CalderaFest email has not been answered as of this writing.  The festival’s Facebook page has since been deleted.

    Jennifer Griffin, an artist, designer, and photographer from Woodstock, Ga., worked as a vendor at the inaugural CalderaFest and decided to purchase a double vending space for the 2017 event. She paid the $206 via PayPal on June 26, 2016, she said, and received an email notification and phone call from festival organizers when the event was postponed to May, 2019.

    “I was fine with it as long as I was still able to be a vendor,” Griffin told the Wild Hunt. “However, I had already spent over $1,000 in supplies to make new items specifically for the festival, and a new 10-by-20 vendor tent to set up shop . . . . I held onto the supplies and new tent thinking I would just use it for the later show. Now, I am not only out my vendor fee but also the investment in items for the festival.

    “Now I cannot get in touch with anyone to get my vendor fee back. They have all but disappeared. The paganmusicfestival.com site is gone, they are gone off of Facebook, even the production company is gone. If I had the funds to front for a lawyer, I would take them to court to get my money and investment back. But as it is, I am just a one-person business, trying to make a living, and I don’t have the cash flow to hire a lawyer. It is just very bad business and I am a believer in you reap what you sow.”

    Eight people responded within four hours to Banach’s Facebook post about the cancellation. A short time later, attempts by this reporter to once again access the Facebook page repeatedly returned a “this content isn’t available right now” message.

    Earlier on April 12, the calderafest.com website was functioning and featured Banach’s August 2017 message about the event’s postponement. Later on April 12, a visit to that website address led to the message “Looks Like This Domain Isn’t Connected To A Website Yet!”

    Another CalderaFest site which Griffin referred to, paganmusicfestival.com, also was not functioning when this reporter attempted to access it on April 14.

    Of the eight respondents to the Facebook post about the cancellation, four requested a “full refund.” A fifth person posted: “I’ve been requesting a refund since the ‘postponement’ was announced. Haven’t heard a peep.”

    Husband and wife Chris and Angela Wade, who run Damon’s Armory, a chainmail-making business, were vendors at the inaugural CalderaFest. Angela told the Wild Hunt she paid $180.25 to sell at the 2017 CalderaFest.

    Before the CalderaFest Facebook page was taken down, Angela posted there, writing in part, “I don’t need a full explanation of why it was canceled but I do need a full refund because I paid as soon as the one was announced for 2017. When that was postponed, I was supportive and said that I didn’t need a refund, just hold it to 2019. I was cool with that. Now, I’m not cool with it . . . I feel like those of us who were there at the first one deserve better than this post and a statement of ‘We aren’t answering questions.’”

    Two posters expressed support for Banach, including one who wrote:,“Geez, folks, give the guy a break. He only has so much money and told you he would split that amount to refund at least part of the fee. I get that you are angry, but he is doing all he can.”

    The CalderaFest 2019 ticket sales page on eventbrite.com was still up as of April 14, although a check of the site on March 31 had revealed a “sales ended” message throughout the page. Ticket prices listed on the site included $150 general admission, $300 VIP admission, $50 children ages 6-12, $50 for a day pass, and a “Party Pack” of 10 general admission tickets for $1,000. Processing fees and sales tax were extra for each ticket level.

    A CalderaFest 2019 ticket sales page on eventbee.com also was up as of April 14, but it included different ticket prices than the eventbrite.com page.

    The eventbee page also listed a lineup of 29 performers that included Arthur Hinds, Brian Henke, Damh the Bard, Didges Christ Superdrum, Dragon Ritual Drummers, Hecate’s Wheel, Mama Gina, S.J. Tucker, Spiral Rhythm, Treblehawk, Tuatha Dea, Wendy Rule, Witch’s Mark and others.

    Trisha Parker is one of the organizers of Phoenix Festivals, which hosts Phoenix Phyre in March and Autumn Meet in October in Lakeland, Fla. “This is so sad and affects the integrity and reputation of other festivals,” Parker said. The postponement of the October 2017 CalderaFest “put a huge hit on us because those bands had to scramble to play in other places and that made them being at our festival not unique.

    “We hired Tuatha Dea and Spiral Dance to play at Autumn Meet 2017. They were going to have to cancel with us or play at venues around us to make up the money they lost. Therefore, playing at our festival exclusively was ruined by Caldera cancelling.  We lost quite a bit of money as a result.”

    Despite the debacle that CalderaFest became, a number of attendees at the inaugural event praised the music.

    “The music was awesome,” said Angela Wade of Damon’s Armory. “Several of my favorite artists performed. Damh the Bard, S.J. Tucker, Celia Farran, Witch’s Mark and many more were just amazing.”

    Singer-guitarist Mama Gina was one of the performers.

    “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” Gina told the Wild Hunt. “It was truly a magical experience. So many of my Pagan musical heroes all in one place! I do believe it forged not just a few friendships, and we’ll be hearing musical collaborations for years from the connections that were forged at Caldera.”

    Read more »

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