Blog Entries
The Tea Drinking Witches of Flint by Star Bustamonte
Category: WebSite News

Original Link: https://wildhunt.org/2018/11/the-tea-drinking-witches-of-flint.html

By Star Bustamonte
 
 
FLINT, Mich. — In October, the Witches Tea Flint hosted not one but two successful events to raise money for Domestic Violence Awareness in October. Witches Tea Flint is organized by Davonna, Amaunet, and Viki, all from the Greater Flint Area. Originally planned as a single event, the first tea event sold out in just eleven days: so they added a second event that sold out as well. Partnering with their local YWCA of the Greater Flint Area,  the two Witch Tea Flint events and managed to raise over $800.  The events were so well-received; they have decided to do more events.
 
They have three new events scheduled between the end of November and the middle of December:

 

  • Tea and Tarot Bingo – November 30 at Good Beans Café, 6pm – 8PM,  $15 tickets available through Paypal.Me/WitchesTeaFlint to bring awareness for ASPCA’s Adopt a Senior Dog Month.

 

  • Spirits of Yule Fair – December 15, 11AM – 3PM, at VFW Post 822 in Flint (5065 S Saginaw Rd), a witchy shopping extravaganza with vendors throughout the Flint area. Admission is free with a donation to the Humane Society of Genesee County.

 

  • Spirits of Yule Tea – December 15, 6PM – 9PM also at VFW Post 822.  Tickets are available through Paypal.Me/WitchesTeaFlint and this event benefits LGBTQ+ charities in the community: Wellness Services, the Vanessa Goldman scholarship, and the Ellen Bommarito Book Fund.
  •  

 

When asked what prompted the creation of the first set of events, Davonna said, “There was a Facebook conversation about wanting to have a Witchy Tea Party in Flint.  It turned the way things usually do with ‘well, someone should… instead of someone doing… I did not want to let an opportunity pass, so I used my event and media experience to launch.” In looking for sponsors Davonna told us, “I came to Viki and told her some of my idea and how a tea party needs tea.  She is the best tea-maker and herbalist that I know. I asked her what she would charge me to use her tea, but then Spirit starts yelling at me to be open and ask her to partner. I asked, she said yes and she added our friend, Amaunet. We all felt and witnessed the huge need for outreach and support, not only for those who identify as witches, but for the local residents as well.  We saw how much good we could do for the community and have fun while doing it. We work really well together.”

 

Viki is the co-founder of Mid-Michigan Pagan Alliance, which aims to network with the pagan community, owner and proprietor of Wildcrafters Den, as well as the High Priestess of the Coven of the Phoenix Fire with members all over the state. Amaunet has been a witch since 1984, focuses primarily on ancient Egyptian deities, but recently began devotion to Hecate under the mentorship of Viki.  Davonna explains she is ¼ Cherokee, in lifelong Shamanic training, and the owner of Davonna’s Bayou Grace, and has worked in media for the last 25 years and currently works in the recovery community of Flint. They are also working together to build an affordable Pagan-based education through Phoenix Fire Academy and have launched Kindred at the Crossroads, which is dedicated to bringing unity in the Flint Pagan Community.

 

The events have enjoyed widespread support from a variety folks both inside and outside of the Pagan community as evidenced by sponsors like the YWCA. Lavonna added, “Local authors and businesses have shown tremendous support like the Good Beans Café who jumped at the idea to hold space for our event.  The support has been overwhelming, the organizers reported.  As more organizations in the area learn about us, we only see that support growing.  We have been able to reach many witches in the community who had no mutual friends with any of us and give them a community.”

While the organizers of Witches Tea Flint make a point of emphasizing that they are not formally affiliated with any interfaith or faith-based organization for these events, collectively they said, “It is not just our love for being witches that guides us, but a sense of activism for our faith and for the community. We are connecting our witchy brothers and sisters to services that are available to everyone in the community. We are making connections and being there for our community at large, witches and witch-friendly.  We are doing these things on our own, as witches, to show what you can do as a witches and as good humans.”

There Are Now More Practicing Witches In The U.S. Than Ever Before Christina Marfice
Category: WebSite News

Original Link: https://www.scarymommy.com/witches-rising-numbers/

By Christina Marfice

 

 

Witches are rising in numbers in the U.S., because maybe if we all just learn spells we can fix this mess Considering, you know, the general state of things, this news should come as no surprise. According to a number of surveys conducted in the last few decades, the number of witches in the U.S. has been steadily rising, and is now at an all-time high. It makes sense, because things are so awful, why wouldn’t we all just start trying to learn spells and stuff? 

 

Researchers say more and more Americans, particularly millennials, are turning away from traditionally dominant religions like Christianity. A study conducted in 1990 showed there were probably around 8,000 practicing witches nationwide at that time. Recent studies looking at practicing Wiccans and Pagans indicate there could be as many as 1.5 million in the U.S. now. That officially eclipses Presbyterians, who number about 1.4 million. To be clear, we are talking about the actual Wiccan and Pagan religions, which have nothing to do with riding broomsticks or, generally, cauldrons, spells, black cats and warty noses, like the witches of the pop culture vernacular. Think tarot cards, crystals and a strong connection with nature. 

 

“It makes sense that witchcraft and the occult would rise as society becomes increasingly postmodern,” religion writer Julie Roys told The Christian Post last month. “The rejection of Christianity has left a void that people, as inherently spiritual beings, will seek to fill. Plus, Wicca has effectively repackaged witchcraft for millennial consumption. No longer is witchcraft and paganism satanic and demonic, it’s a ‘pre-Christian tradition’ that promotes ‘free thought’ and ‘understanding of earth and nature.”  

This doesn’t, by any means, indicate that witches are outnumbering Christians in the U.S. — the Pew Research Center still finds that 70 percent of the country’s religious population is Christian. But witchy aesthetics are definitely on trend. Plus, the world is kind of terrible right now and it’s not like mainstream religion (or anything) is fixing it. Who can blame people for trying out something new?

And the rise in witch numbers is already doing good things for our collective morale as we navigate these trying times. Remember when the witches banded together to cast hexes on Brett Kavanaugh during his Senate confirmation? That’s something we can all get behind.

 

 

Church VS State and religious persecution
Category: Member Blogs

I keep getting tired of the government having in God we trust on our money. What ever happened separation of church & state... 

Pagan Presence at the Parliament of the World’s Religions by Sean McShee
Category: WebSite News

Original Link: https://wildhunt.org/2018/11/pagan-presence-at-the-parliament-of-the-worlds-religions.html

By Sean McShee

 

TORONTO — From Nov. 1 through Nov. 7, the Parliament of the World’s Religions took place in Toronto, Ontario. Organizers estimated that 10,000 people from 80 countries would attend the event in Canada. The Parliament may be the largest interfaith event in the world.

Before the Parliament began, the Wild Hunt spoke with four Pagans about interfaith work and the Parliament. Three went to the Parliament. One had to cancel at the last minute.

Rev. Jennifer Bennett represented Covenant of the Goddess at the Parliament. Felicity Grove, also of Covenant of the Goddess, had planned on going to the Toronto conference but was unable to do so.

 

Jennifer Bennett [Courtesy]

Rev. Jerrie Hildebrand has attended three Parliaments prior to the Toronto conference. President of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, Hildebrand is also a minister at Circle Sanctuary. Ethan Stark represented Heathens Against Hate (HAH). While HAH is an “independent branch of the Troth,” people can join HAH without becoming a Troth member.

 

 

Ethan Stark [Courtesy]

Interfaith work

Bennett sits on her local interfaith council. Local Christian churches often ask her to speak at their services. Bennett also writes for her local paper’s “Faith Matters” section.

Grove identified five key points of Pagan interfaith work. First, Pagans should have “a seat at the interfaith table.” Second, Pagans can provide a Pagan perspective, such as non-duality, to solving common problems. Third, Pagans can provide a “a different spiritual experience.” Fourth, Pagans doing interfaith work challenges negative stereotypes about Pagans. Five, interfaith work provides Pagans with a chance to model core Pagan values.

According to Hildebrand, interfaith work happens when people of many traditions cooperate. Working together for social justice moves people beyond labels.

Pagans at the Parliament

Hildebrand reported that she has not found any anti-Pagan hostility at any of the three Parliaments she attended. Bennett also found no anti-Pagan bias at a previous Parliament. She found only “openness, genuine curiosity and a positive community spirit.”

Fifteen spiritual traditions had multiple sessions at the Parliament. The Pagan tradition had 16 sessions. In one of these 16 sessions, Alice Walker narrated a film, “”Yemanja: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil.

Main themes of the Parliament

Hildebrand said that the Parliament had four main themes. One theme involved moral and spiritual perspectives on climate change. A second theme focused on the generational transfer of spiritual knowledge and experience. The third theme examined moral and spiritual perspectives about the rights of indigenous peoples. The fourth theme concerned ways to change a violent and hate-filled world into a peaceful one.

According to Hildebrand, the following Pagans made presentations at the Parliament: Andras Corban Arthen, Selena Fox, Patrick McCollum, Don Lewis, Phyllis Curott, Angie Buchanan, Dennis Carpenter, and Jake Bradley among others.

Heathens Against Hate

According to Stark, Heathens Against Hate (HAH) advocates for inclusive Heathen practices, using education and community initiatives to challenge hate and bigotry among Heathens.

HAH staffed the Alliance for Inclusive Heathenry booth. This booth provided information on other inclusive Heathen groups. HAH took part in a panel discussion titled “Striving to save a Religious Identity from Extremists.”

White supremacy and misogyny occur in other traditions besides Heathenry. Stark has found those elements in some Slavic Pagan beliefs and sometimes in Hellenic Reconstructionism. Stark said, “The conscious and unconscious bigotry and misogyny is on an individual level.” He cautioned that history and location may make certain traditions vulnerable to white supremacy and misogyny. The subtle nature of biased beliefs and practices pose a great challenge.

All spiritual traditions have tendencies towards bias. “Heathenry, like other reconstructionist faiths, relies on correct practice based on sourced written and archaeological records.” Those records reflect a lost and fragmented tradition. This sometimes means relying on personal interpretation. This subjective interpretation can allow “ignorant or willful bigotry” to corrupt the tradition.

Stark sees no problem if someone feels their ancestry and heritage connects them to the gods. When they claim that that connection has greater validity than other claims, it reflects bias. Stark stressed, “This idea of genetic lineage being not only paramount, but necessary for Heathen worship makes it bigoted.”

Attendance at the Parliament provided HAH an opportunity to represent the Heathen faith. HAH used this opportunity to challenge negative stereotypes about Pagans in general and Heathens in particular.

Many people conflate Heathen images with white supremacist iconography. Stark said that heathen tattoos or jewelry have elicited reactions ranging from “glares to outright accusations.”

Like other Pagan faiths, Heathenry is relatively unknown. Stark cautioned, “Our [Heathen] symbols are used by hate groups when they rally, protest, and commit violence. Non-pagan/non-Heathen audiences are likely to see this first and foremost, prior to any knowledge of Heathenry.” He stressed that Heathens must first explain what Heathenry is, before explaining what it is not.

According to Stark, this effort is occurring in other parts of the world. The Troth’s International Relations and Exchange Program hosted FrithForge in Germany last year. This international conference of Heathen representatives hosted workshops, lectures, and community worship services. HAH has compiled a list of inclusive Heathen groups throughout the world. Many inclusive Heathen groups “participated in FrithForge and have openly denounced extremism.”

“Heathens Against Hate strives to provide a beacon for those wishing to know the northern gods, honor the ancestors, and revel in a strong spiritual community without prejudice.” Stark explained, “We do so through education, reformation of former extremists, and community initiatives.” Heathens Against Hate welcomes all who welcome all.

For those who were unable to attend the Parliament, some sessions are now available online such as a panel conversation on “Reclaiming the Indigenous Ethnic Religions of Europe” with Andras Corban Arthen, Inija Trinkūnienė and Vlassis G. Rassias, board members of the European Congress of Ethnic Religions.

 

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