Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not real.

Source: Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not real.

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Witches of America (My Personal Thoughts)

Gwydion Blackrose

Woman in storm

I’m worried about what other people might make this post mean. I’m not screaming out for attention here. This is not a calculated attempt to ride the waves of popular discourse, either. What it is about is what Alex Mar with her new book Witches of America has been doing to me, people I love and care about, and the Craft in general. This is about how it makes me feel, because I have been there. Literally.

(Note: If you have no clue what that book is about in the first place and why it’s not only very bad writing and an insult to good and decent journalism and research, I recommend that you read this excellent review by Rhyd Wildermuth. You can read an excerpt here in addition, if you really have to. Now let’s proceed.)

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A Texas woman’s Dildos-Not-Guns protest is causing gun fanatics to lose it

we hunted the mammoth

Is that a gun in your pocket or, oh, never mind Is that a gun in your pocket or, oh, never mind

An Austin woman has come up with a rather innovative way to protest a new “campus carry” law that will allow Texans to carry concealed weapons on campuses: what if gun control advocates were to show up on the University of Texas at Austin carrying not guns, but … dildos?

Naturally, she’s calling it #CocksNotGlocks.

As Jessica Jin, the woman behind the proposed protest, explained on the Facebook page she set up for the event,

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Pagans and Plants

Pagan Activist

Ayahuasca_prepOne of the first things I did as a new Pagan was roam the hills and woods near my home looking for flower faeries. I felt, at the time, like I had seen a few, as well as the faery of the tree in my back yard. When I did my self initiation as a solitary eclectic Wiccan (I don’t call myself Wiccan anymore) I used fronds from a local willow tree to form a circlet to wear. Weeping willow is still sacred to me to this day. I’m typing this with a willow frond in henna on my arm, and “willow” remains part of my magickal name.

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Eating and caring: a conflict of interest

the vegan strategist

October 4 is the birthday of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Italian saint who according to legend could talk with animals. On that day, we celebrate World Animals Day. The situation of the animals in this world is kind of similar to the situation of the humans: some of them bathe in luxury – mostly the companion animals or “pets” in the rich countries – while many more live a life that’s nasty, brutish and short: the animals we eat.

Pigs are at least as intelligent and capable of experiencing emotions as dogs, but as we want to buy their meat at as cheap a price as possible, the pigs of this world mostly lead short lives of fear, stress, pain and boredom. As a society, we do things with pigs, chickens and cows that we would never do to our companion animals. If you ask people’s opinions…

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My Experience at a Board Meeting about Social Justice at The Enchanted Tree

This past Saturday evening my sister and I attended an open forum board meeting at The Enchanted Tree regarding the treatment and experiences of pagans of color as well as the backlash over the Spirituality and Social Justice workshops that the organizers had moved out of the space citing hostility from the rest of the members of ETO.

I walked in to a haze of sage smoke and the president beating a drum in the class room as people were filing in. We sat down in the back with a friend who had traveled all the way from Los Angeles to attend this meeting as she had to attend the workshops every month. Everyone was given a maximum of five minutes to comment to the board and the board was only obligated to meet for an hour.

Some people stated that the workshops and articles posted online had no place in the organization and that social justice did not qualify as a spiritual practice, and how much they didn’t like  stuff being posted calling all white people racist even though I couldn’t find anything on the forum stating so. One board member read a statement that explained why she had resigned her position.

One statement read during the meeting and shared online:

An Open Letter To The Membership of The Enchanted Tree,

Over the past several months a number of issues regarding the treatment of Pagans of Color at The Enchanted Tree have been brought to the forefront by several members of the board, teachers and members at large.

Several Pagans of Color and allies contend that they have been made to feel as though they are not welcome at the Enchanted Tree. This is the result of over four months of pushback against requests from PoC at the Tree for 1) more inclusive programming 2) more awareness around cultural appropriation 3) more teachers/traditions represented 4) acknowledgement of a budding path being built by an intersectional coalition group that establishes social justice as a legitimate spiritual path.

These requests have been met with a campaign by the leadership of the Enchanted Tree to have social justice issues declared “non-spiritual issues” or to have the lived issues of Pagans of Color that affect them spiritually declared “political” in nature and therefore unwelcome. This consistent politicization of the bodies of the Pagans of Color who attempted to get involved with certain Tree activities has led to a clear sense that these PoC are not welcome at the Enchanted Tree unless they are silent about their issues, their lives and their spiritual needs.

Several Pagans of Color feel they have been silenced and pushed out of a supposedly inclusive space due to the unwelcoming nature of the Enchanted Tree. Numerous attempts have been made by the facilitators of the Spirituality and Social Justice workshops, the attendees of the workshops and several board members, to reach a peaceful resolution with The Enchanted Tree Organization. These attempts have been met with hostility, defensiveness and the suggestion that the financial difficulties of the Enchanted Tree Organization are somehow linked to a decrease in membership due to the suddenly active presence of Pagans of Color and their White allies working for change.

The workshops have had to find another home, and many members, including board members, have felt that due to harassment, The Enchanted Tree is no longer a spiritual refuge of any kind. We encourage all members to reread the mission statement and see where The Enchanted Tree is but a sapling in the realms of compassion, wisdom and community building. To be unaware of the suffering of some members and to silence their voices is to be irresponsible at best and to be complicit in their pain at worst.
With this, we commit to creating spiritual sanctuary for those working for justice.

I have tried to like The Enchanted Tree as a space even though they didn’t usually offer things that interested me. I’ve been studying witchcraft and paganism since I was eleven and I’m thirty-one now. Most of the usual workshops and classes were things I already knew from books I read in high school, so when the Spirituality and Social Justice workshops were brought up I thought “Yay, something that matters!” I attended all but one of these workshops and I found solidarity, genuine healing, grief, catharsis, and empathy. At no time was I made to feel bad for being white, straight or cisgender.

Early into the board meeting I experienced what I consider my “Jump The Shark” moment. One of the problems I have observed online and in physical space is using vague and general “love and light” warm and fuzzy statements being used to shut down any serious discussion of real pain and crisis. During the meeting the mother of the board president used her comment time to sing a song. I was seriously expecting it to be Kumbaya, but she started singing “Come on people now, smile on your brother…” and things kind of went downhill from there, at least in my opinion. I don’t fault her personally because she probably really thought she was being helpful. But I sat there thinking Oh my fucking GOD, are we seriously devoting five minutes of a board meeting for the Board President’s mom to sing a little song!? 

The other low point in the meeting for me was when an official sounding letter was read from a person with a lot of important sounding credentials saying that he didn’t consider ETO to be a racist organization and the people complaining about it were spreading lies.It was quickly pointed out that the writer of that letter was the Vice President’s boyfriend. They essentially said “We’re totally not racist, my black boyfriend says so!

And when the woman who came from L.A. expressed a desire to know what lies were supposedly spread not one person on the board could give an example.

I even heard someone say they didn’t see color. And my sister later said she wanted to scream at someone “That’s NOT what White Privilege means!” 

This meeting is when I decided I was done with The Enchanted Tree. Oddly enough my problem wasn’t racism. I think it’s A PROBLEM to be sure, but my problem personally was so many people so determined NOT to be made uncomfortable that they alienated anyone who was trying to make a real difference. This makes me sad because now I’m not confident that this community would support me if I tried to do anything “controversial” like a pagan prison ministry, fighting any sort of injustice or even helping the homeless.

This past weekend was not the first time I’ve been disappointed by my spiritual community center, but it was the first time I’ve been embarrassed by it.

This breaks my heart because pagans don’t have many options for community, especially if they’re brown. If I was a chistian and didn’t like the Catholic or Methodist church by my house I could go to almost any church of my choosing in any neighborhood. No so for pagans. Especially Pagans of Color. On a local pagan facebook the other day I saw a guy with a confederate flag as his profile picture asking about groups to join. Even if that person is a full blown White Supremacist he will likely have an easier time finding a community than many pagans of color will. And as a straight, white wiccan, I find that horrifying.

On The Importance of Intersectional Witchcraft:

GODS & RADICALS

CC BY-ND 2.0 Fennica Protest CC BY-ND 2.0

This week I performed a trabajito in the form of sigil writing and spell casting to protect the protestors who, at the time of this writing, are dangling themselves across the St. John’s Bridge and floating in kayaks below it to stop the Shell icebreaker ship Fennica from leaving it’s port and heading to the Arctic to assist in drilling for oil.

Why did I do this? It’s because I feet obligated to be involved in the struggle to save our planet. Like I feel obligated as a person of color to march in Black Lives Matters protest. I use my education, my citizenship status, my economic privileges and my light-skin passing privileges to further various social justice causes. So why wouldn’t I use my craft?

Many people are abhorrent to getting involved in politics. This is true for pagan communities too. I don’t mean…

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