Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started!
A Breakthrough on the Issue of Trans Inclusion? In Friday’s Unleash the Hounds, I reported that questions over transgender inclusion at women-only rituals had become an issue at the then in-progress Pagan Spirit Gathering festival. A situation that echoed incidents at PantheaCon in the past two years. Yesterday, newly returned from the festival, Cara Schulz from PNC-Minnesota reports on what may be a historic press conference held on Saturday, featuring Rev. Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary, Dianic High Priestess Ruth Barrett, and festival presenter and transgendered activist Melissa Murry.
“Both women said the transgender community is trying to find their voice, similar to the feminist movement in the 60′s and 70′s. Like the feminist movement, they speak of suffering, pain, and violence. Murry and Barrett also spoke of the value in claiming mysteries and rituals specific to their sacred journey as women. “Within my Tradition, which is about the female body and the journey of being born female and the journey through the bloods and birth and menopause,” said Barrett. “That is a different journey for transgendered women who come to womanhood through a different path.”
Rev. Fox announced that at next year’s PSG they would offer a mystery ritual and rites of passage for transgendered persons if Ms. Murry would lead them. After Murry agreed to do so, she asked Barrett if she would assist her. Barrett was unsure if she would be able to attend PSG next year due to changes in her personal life, but said she would help Murry however she was able.”
In a release sent to various Pagan media outlets, Barrett said that she couldn’t “express enough how happy and hopeful I am from the work accomplished at PSG,” and that the work accomplished at this festival will be “a model for other pagan festivals that are dealing with female-born space and trans inclusion/exclusion issues.” While not all concerns about ritual inclusion were solved, there did seem to be some important shifts taking place at PSG, including the acknowledgment that trans women are women by a prominent Dianic leader. You can listen to, and download, audio of the entire press conference, here (note, the PNC is looking for volunteer transcriptionists so we can make the content more accessible) .
Pagan Pride at NY Pride: Earlier this month I reported on the involvement of Christopher Penczak‘s Temple of Witchcraft in the 2012 Boston Pride Parade, now we have a photo from another Pagan group in a LGBT Pride Month parade.
As you can see from the photo, that’s a contingent from the New York City Pagan Pride Project at the New York City Gay Pride Parade, showing their support for LGBTQ rites. This NYC Pride Parade marked the first anniversary of same-sex marriage becoming legal in New York. Also involved in the parade, carrying their own banner, was the NY Gay Men’s Open Pagan Circle. Zan Fraser, a contributor to The Juggler, was there, and plans to post about his experiences soon.
Songs of the Goddess: The blog Songs of the Goddess, where Draeden Wren diligently reviews Pagan and Pagan-friendly music, has released a free sampler of Pagan music entitled: “A Pagan Music Collection (Volume 1).”
“I am truly a fan of these artists, and I am so grateful they accepted my proposal for them to be a part of this project. More important than that, I am so happy to be a soundboard for these artists. They need people to know about them! We are able to listen to brilliant Goddess/Nature-based/Tree-hugger music because of these creators.”
Artists on the compilation include Sharon Knight, Damh the Bard, Wendy Rule, Kenny Klein, Deborah “DJ” Hamouris, Amelia Hogan, and many more! It’s a nice round-up of the bigger names within Pagan music, and you certainly can’t beat the price. You can find the download link, here. You can also find Songs of the Goddess at Facebook.
In Other Community News:
- Please pray and do workings for the health of Pagan activist Patrick McCollum, who is recovering from a serious illness related to exposure to neuro-toxins and a subsequent snake bite.
- Brendan Myers, author of “Circles of Meaning, Labyrinths of Fear” and “The Other Side of Virtue,” has almost reached his goal to raise $5000 dollars to write a college-level logic text that would be made available to the world for free. Myers is a professor of philosophy and humanities at CEGEP Heritage College, in Gatineau Quebec, in addition to being a Druid, so you be assured that this text, and this campaign, are worthwhile. Let’s help get him to his goal, shall we?
- Pagan Spirit Gathering isn’t the only Pagan festival happening this Summer, Jason Mankey files a report from Wisteria Summer Solstice, focusing on Pagan music. Quote: “…in my fevered state I got to listen to some fantastic sets by Kenny Klein, Kellianna, Owain Phyfe, and GBMojo. The only problem I experienced with any of those artists involved GBMojo’s Bekah Kelso who nearly stole my heart by just being exceedingly kind and incredibly beautiful.”
- If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that Dan Halloran, a member of the New York City Council, and a Theodish Heathen, is running for a seat in congress. Well, now you can see his first campaign video, where he shows his local bona fides, and attacks Obama. For background on Halloran, and what Theodism is, check out the recent guest posts from Nick Ritter.
- Over at the Huffington Post, Teo Bishop reviews “Jesus Through Pagan Eyes: Bridging Neopagan Perspectives with a Progressive Vision of Christ” by the Reverend Mark Townsend. Quote: “I think there is good cause for Christians and Pagans, alike, to read Jesus through Pagan Eyes, and to step back from our preconceptions about one another.” You can read my own review, here. My planned podcast dialog with Rev. Townsend and Paul Louis Metzger has been pushed to July, due to health issues, but will be happening.
That’s all I have for now! Are there blogs, podcasts, or other Pagan news sources you think I’m missing out on? Please leave links in the comments, and if there’s news in your community be sure to share it!