Pagan Community Notes: Memorial Day, Manchester, Pagan Dawn, and more! – The Wild Hunt

Posted: May 30, 2017 at 2:16 pm

TWH Today marks Memorial Day in the United States. It is a day to honor the many men and women who have died in military service. According to a news report onABC, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs together state that at least 1.2 million people have died fighting for America during its wars dating back 241 years. The VA has a breakdown of the losses per conflict since the American Revolution.In a 2016 blogpost,Druid John Beckett wrote, Let us remember our warrior dead. Let us remember those who answered the call to do what had to be done and who sacrificed all they had. It is right and good to celebrate their courage and valor.

Many Pagans, Heathens and polytheists have served and are serving in the U.S. military, and still others are members of military families. Memorial Day has a special significance to them. Veteran and Wiccan priest Blake Kirk said, Memorial Day isnt about veterans like me, who got to come home and go on with their lives.No, Memorial Day is supposed to be all about the soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who came home in caskets or in body bags. Or who never came home at all.The modern military experience can bepart of themodern Pagan, Heathen and polytheist experience. Those who are wounded and die in service to our country are not an anonymous other removed from our society and daily lives. Today many will honor our Pagan, Heathen and polytheistbrothers and sisterswho have fallen in the line of duty.What is remembered, lives.

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MANCHESTER, England The suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert May 22 naturally generated intense reactions from within the immediatecommunity. Local Pagans were no different, focusing concerns on the atrocity itself, the safety of their family members and friends, and the need for compassion for the victims rather than a vilification of the Islamic community. Pagan Heather Veitch, told The Wild Huntarticulating a response was difficult, that the shock was intense, but after that wore off, she began doing what she could to help.

Veitch explained, As I wasnt in Manchester city centre at the time, and the emergency services were asking people to stay away, I began doing what I knew I could do: holding space, offering healing, and reaching out to my gods and goddesses to aid my healing work, to comfort the bereaved and broken, to midwife souls as they transition. I sent up prayers and offerings to protect those who were working to find and heal those caught up in these events, and waited on my own friends and family to check in.

Veitch added that she is proud of the citys emergency services units, and the wider community who has stepped up and did what they could with what they, in turn, had: offering rooms, food, transport, comfort, and so much more, but she also aches for victims and their loved ones. She said, What started as an evening of excitement and joy ended in terror and death.

She also said that she is angry, adding, Once again a tragic event in the Western world has focused our attention on the war against terror but events such as the bombing in Manchester are happening on a daily basis in other areas of the world. We need to remember, honour, and work to heal the suffering throughout the world, not just in white and/or Western societies. As a collective consciousness, we keep doing this, we keep perpetuating this, allowing it. We are all connected.

[This is only part of a longer statement on the Manchester attacks. Read Veitchs full comment here.]

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Kate Large

ENGLAND In another story out of England, Kate Large has stepped down as editor-in-chief of the Pagan Dawn, the official and long-running publication of the Pagan Federation. Large joined the Pagan Dawn staff in 2013 as reviews editor, and moved into the editor position the following January, having been appointed by her predecessor, Atreyu Crimmins. Large said that she has stepped down because she felt it was time. I have achieved so much with PD, thanks to an incredible team of people. I want to develop my own career, as well as spending more time away from the screen, improving my physical health (I have fibromyalgia) and working with my daughter, who is home educated.

Large is a freelance writer and longtime media professional, having worked in the television, magazine, and film worlds.What is next for her? She said that she will return to her role as reviews editor, and also increase her paid media work. She added, Political activism and social justice work are areas in which I want to deepen my engagement. I am closely following the post-Brexit political landscape in Northern Ireland, and am keen to increase the amount ofam keen to increase the amount of work I could be doing to support causes that focus on peace and community reconciliation.

As for Pagan Dawn, a new editor has not yet be selected, and the organization is currently looking for the ideal candidate. Large said, Its a demanding job, but incredibly rewarding, and many times, I have called it the best job in Paganism.' Reflecting on her time as editor, she added, My most lasting memories are the phone calls in my kitchen with former PF Publications Officer, David Spofforth, and of the PF gathering at Moonhenge at which I was finally able to put faces to so many names. Leaving has been an incredibly difficult decision and many tears have been shed, but its time to trust to the process, and hand over to a new successor to build on our established work.

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TWHStaff membersfrom the Pew Research Center responded to our questions on the categorization of minority faiths in this years global religious landscape survey. Conrad Hackett advised that religions with ethnic ties were generally included in folk religions, while Wicca and other new faiths were aggregated into the miscellaneous other category along with New Age traditions. Generally speaking, we sought to distinctly measure those faiths large enough to be reliably measured in the censuses and nationally representative surveys conducted around the world. Unfortunately, in this project we did not have sufficient data to report on many of the important, fascinating but smaller faiths around the world. Hackett said that the recent Worldwide Heathen Census was not used as a source.

Gregory Smith, associate director of research, initially provided information pertaining to the United States in particular, which appears to use a slightly different scheme. Smith said, The Pagan/Wiccan category, which accounts for 0.3% of the U.S. adult population, consists of people who used one of those exact terms (or sometimes both terms in combination, as in Pagan Wiccan) to describe their religion. The Other New Age category includes a smaller number of people who gave a variety of responses that we placed within the New Age family. These include responses like Asatru, Druid, Eckankar, New Age, Pantheist, Polytheist, Satanism, Scientology, Theosophy, Transcendental Meditation, Urantia Book and Ancient Aliens.

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Coming up this week:Two men were fatally wounded in Portland Friday after standing up to a man harassing two Muslim women. One of the victims is well-known in the Pagan community through his family: Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche. We will have more on the story and his life in the coming week.

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Pagan Community Notes: Memorial Day, Manchester, Pagan Dawn, and more! - The Wild Hunt

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