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Reflections of the Dark Moon

She is in the sound of bare feet running across the dirt and stone. The thud of bone hitting earth and making it stronger. She is the song without words but whose depth of truth is unquestioned. The cry of beast and mortal alike. Hear her in your beating heart as the pounding drum. Hear her in your mind as the wailing carnyx. A force of nature. A force pushing you to beyond. Beyond your current limits. Ever striving. Ever changing. Ever thriving.

The Dark Moon. The Full Moon. The Summer. The Winter. She is there.

It is the Samhain season, and there is much to do, but there is also a need to sit back and reflect. The bones have been released on my altar. The Ancestors are getting their daily offerings and prayers. The Morrigan’s Holy day was marked in the dark of night under a fog covered sky in the Oakland hills. Every day is full with work.

Work that brings my household money and stability. Work that keeps my household healthy and feeling supported in the hard times we are currently in. Work to prepare for the new year in the Cauldron and what we wish to offer the community. Work for my household Gods and Spirits, to continue our mutually beneficial relationships and bring them honor. Work to shore up and refresh my wards for the house, my loved ones and myself. Work to become a better person.

Amongst all that work it would be easy to get lost. To focus solely on what is directly in front of me and move forward. But moving forward without knowing where you have come from means that you may not realize where you are going. So I wanted to take a moment to pause. The Great Queen wanted me to take a moment to pause.

Herself has been very present this season. The shadows are more than a little deeper. My emotions are a little stronger. Under the surface bubbles and restless energy, it can be harnessed and focused to accomplish so much, but it also threatens to overwhelm and fantasies of literally running wild are never far away. These are some of the markers of the Great Queen’s presence to me. The feeling of a deep endless chasm within me that will never be filled and never run dry.

Several years ago during a trance ritual with the Morrigan it seemed important for me to start working on some form of divination skills. This was difficult for me. It’s not a skill I am particularly attracted to or one that I feel that I am good at, but there was something in the practice of prophecy that clearly she felt would be good for me. That is the crux of my relationship with the Morrigan. Becoming a better version of me. The better version of me that she sees even when I do not.

So I bought Brian Froud’s Heart of the Faerie Deck and started doing readings and it was remarkably easy to listen to them. Now whether or not they had anything useful to say, is another question entirely. I didn’t bother with a Tarot deck. Something about Tarot has just never appealed to me. There are some truly beautiful cards but it’s just…not for me.

I don’t read for people often or even for myself. When I do people seemed to genuinely get something out of it and I have started giving myself calendar year readings annually. For a while that seemed enough.

Not this year. Time to step it up and branch out lol. It started earlier in the year with the random idea that I would like to have another deck, not just those wilde Faeries, to read with. But as mentioned Tarot still seemed not for me, so then was the somewhat difficult task of finding another Oracle Deck that I could speak with. The timing of finding a possible deck has worked out in that witchy way. My dearest sister, Brenda called my attention to the “With Your Shield or On It” deck by Pam Wishbow on my instagram. It was an insta-buy. Something I don’t do often. They arrived a few days before the Dark Moon and the Morrigan’s Holy Day, and as soon as I had them in my hands I realized that I would need to spend time getting to know them and learn their language. It wasn’t one I could already speak like my Froud deck.

It just seemed correct to do a daily card pull to get to know the deck, to see if it was the right one for me. From Dark Moon to Dark Moon seemed natural. Asking the Morrigan to bless the deck and open my eyes was second nature. We are seven days in and I can now see a little of how good of a practice this is right now.

Life is more than a little full and hectic right now. A family member is in the hospital, my partner is on leave to help in their care. Our “normal” has been packed up for another time. Spending some small minutes in the morning to sit in the quiet. To shuffle the cards. To think about yesterday and wonder about today has been supremely beneficial.

Added to that is the fact that there has been a lot of energetic shifts happening around me. In communities I am apart of, in neighboring communities, and just everywhere I look to be honest. This Dark Moon of the Morrigan’s  I told her and felt the truth that it felt like the long holding pattern I was in for many years is over. I am no longer treading water. I am moving forward. This practice of prophecy, of divination, is one of looking in all directions and listening. When there is so much going on, it is important to listen. To be in closer in connection with her voice, to hear warnings, to see patterns, to know.

For all that I am grateful. To the Great Queen who constantly inspires me and drives me, I am humbly grateful.

To all those seeking, my best advice to you is to listen and act. Don’t let the doubt freeze you into inaction. Start small. Start with something manageable, but doable. A prayer once a week. An offering on the Dark Moons. Deciding to read one of her stories and legends. Listen while you are doing these things and take time to reflect.

May this time of great depth and possibility give you what you need to reach a new personal level. May you continue to thirst for greater understanding and mastery of yourself. May your loved ones be safe and protected. May your household be prosperous and joyful even in times of stress. My the Great Queen bless us.

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Magic. Protection. Safety.

 

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Devotional Practice with the Dagda

I was sitting at my desk, enjoying the grey sky morning, when the amazing Lora O’Brien asked the Irish Spirituality group she runs on Facebook, “What one thing you would like to learn about the Dagda?”. It was a question that my mind immediately ran away with. So many things! What archaeological evidence is there? What modern Irish practices and culture resonates with him? What title does he like the best? The list ran long and I was thoroughly enjoying the replies that the question brought up. I started to feel that contented full heartedness that just comes with the Good God. It’s a warm larger than life feeling, it settles in the rib cage and then just expands out. You feel like you could do anything. You feel like anything in the cosmos is possible. You feel like you just climbed a mountain and are looking out on the expanse of the miracle that is nature and all your eye can see. You feel like you want to be at a table full of friends enjoying good food and drink. You feel like if someone challenged your abilities right now you would take that challenge with gusto and laugh heartily. It is about now when this one realizes that she has a Good God at her shoulder, while looking at the several people all asking to know how to connect to him.

It’s not really a conversation. It’s all feelings and impressions but my tiny little mortal mind takes it all and makes it into a story format that my limited consciousness can understand. So bear with me gentle reader, what I write below is not literally what happened, but then again…it is:    

Sitting as inconspicuously as possible at my very conspicuous desk in a very standard office, I let the large comforting and uplifting feelings of the Good God wash over me as I read the responses and think more on my plans for this weekend in the woods, making a mental note to buy him a large Guinness.  

“You should write about how you do things.”

I pause in my typing and general work. I didn’t hear anything, there were no sounds to hear, but I heard it all the same. The feeling on my heart increases, expands, the temperature rises. For a moment I smirk at the idea of hearts growing bigger and the physical, likely dangerous, impact on the human body. The humor is there and so is the strength, settled deep in the chest, in the bones and it has been many months since I have been honored with his presence this acutely. I consider my words, the feelings this small proposal brings up, the doubts, the excuses. None of them are fully formed thoughts and yet the Good God knows them all.

“The work continues on. You aren’t claiming to be anything but yourself. That is enough. You have created a space to share, so share. Others may find their way and more work will be done.”

I breathe deep letting the air fill the caverns of my expanded self. The host of self doubt, of feeling an impostor, of not being enough, remain. I am human and my psyche will always hold these scars, but I will not let them hold me back. I had not been asked to serve for some time. Not in this way. Many things had changed in the course of that time. I had wondered if I would feel this calling ever again or if that path was done.

“It would please me.”

A warm smile blooms on my lips. The path has not gone. It split off but it is as surely mine as it ever was and sometimes a Good God would walk with me. One that was deep, strong and red. One of life and death, of work and play, of love and loss, of the earth and the sky, of wisdom and of foolishness.

For him I will gladly do the good work.

Which, my readers, those of you who have come this far, means that I will be writing a series for the Dagda and posting it here. I already have been given some ideas on how to break things down, and this will really just be explanations of what I do and what has worked for me. Just one version of how this very American, Gaelic Polytheist has practiced Devotion to the Irish God known as the Dagda. Not the end all, or one true way, or how the ancestors did it. Just how I do. That being said, if anyone has questions or something they’d particularly like to know, I would love to hear them!    

Every Day Carry

Times are looking shady af. It is always a good time to think about emergency preparedness, and if you are wanting to also be of use to other people, it’s just something to think about. In that vein, the Lumberjack and I spent the day updating and taking inventory of our EDC’s and making list of things to get for an office kit for me. One of my dear friend’s asked to know what I carry with me, so in the vein here it is in case you find it useful or inspiring.

Now everyone’s EDC is going to be different, based on your needs and area. I hate carrying a lot of shit, so my EDC is as compact and minimum as possible.

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So this is it. Everything that fits in that little bag to the right. The bag is one that can be worn over the shoulder or as a thigh holster for longer distance walking. Starting over to the top left:

My keys, I attach to the outside of my bag with a 150 lbs carabiner. My keys include a small pepper spray unit. I like the small ones you can get pretty much anywhere so that it is out and easy to grab. It is also just good to have out for visual deterrent, rather than being buried in your purse.

My wallet, is that leather bag there. Inside I have a card with “Contact in Case of Emergency” information. This way if something happens to me people will know who I am and who to contact. I also keep a couple dollars change and will likely try to keep some nominal amounts of cash ($20 or so). Because where I work the electricity is dicey and cash is just handy. I also keep a card that has some duck tape wrapped around it in here. you can use and old gift card or any plastic card you don’t use and wrap a good amount of duct tape that won’t take up a lot of space. You can also wrap wire, thread, or fishing line.

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Beneath my wallet is a small clean handkerchief. Endlessly useful.

Next we have my medication bottle. This is going to be the big thing that I HIGHLY encourage everyone to make sure they have one them at all times. Enough of your medication for at least 48hrs. More if you can. I have my personal meds and ibuprofen in that container and have other first aid meds in the Lg. Altoids case.

Next we have my multi-tool and a pocket knife. I have my father’s Gerber Bluntnose Multi-tool.  Which is my preferred multi-tool. It’s slim, it is reliable. I also have a Gerber Remix Serrated folding knife. These are tools that are endlessly useful. In a folding knife, I want something thin and has quality blade.

Then we have a square  black makeup bag. This holds some loose end items, some example of which you can see to the right of it. This is where my earphones go, my glasses and glasses cloth, tampons, hair pins, a flashflight. Keeps everything neat and easy to get to. One thing I need to get that will go here is some beeswax chapstick.

Back to the top, is my check book.

Below that are a few pens, a sharpie, and a hair stick. Sticks are endlessly useful as a tool and for someone who has over 3 feet of hair.

Back to the top is my Clipper card (public transit card), a small Altoids tin (with actual mints in it) and a thing of post it notes.

The Large Altoids tin has some more first aid and survival stuff in it.  Which we will look at below.

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This tin holds some bandaids, two plastic baggies, one of which holds the following:

Strike anywhere matches
A pencil witch wire wrapped around it
Chalk
mini candle
Safety pins
My sewing kit. A piece of cardboad that I stuck a sewing needle into and wrapped some upholstery thread around and taped with masking tapes.
Fishing kit, has a goodly amount of fishing line and a hook

Then I have two zip ties, some aluminium foil, a garbage bag (doubles as a poncho if needed), and a swiss army knife.

Things that are missing from this kit because they got used and need replacing are:
Pepto bismol  pills
UTI pain pills
alcohol wipes

This is everything that I carry everyday in my purse. There are some items that I need to purchase to add to this. Some hand-sanitizer & sunscreen are at the top of my list. And the Lumberjack is talking me into carrying a stainless steel water bottle with me to and fro work. I currently have one at work but…I dunno. We’ll see. I see the use but I lose shit.

I will be making up a kit for the Office here soon that will be a little more in depth on the first aid and will include things like Milk of Magnesia and such, because I live in an urban area where tear gas is a thing.

People that are looking for a place to start in making an Earthquake emergency or just a general emergency kit for the home. There are pretty complete kits, it is a chunk of change up front but overall it would be just as expensive or more so to put it together piece by piece. Amazon has a 4 person Earthquake Kit for $105 and change.

Because I live in CA here is the FEMA Earthquake Safety Checklist for those wanting to get their emergency preparedness together.

There are a lot of things to consider in preparedness, especially in today’s current social climate. Stay safe out there! Be vigilant, and please do what you can to help those around you in need. This is a good guide for helping people being harassed (the comic is focused on helping those of the Islam community but I think it applies across the board): http://maeril.tumblr.com/post/149669302551/hi-everyone-this-is-an-illustrated-guide-i-made

 

 

 

Táin Tuesday: Before the Táin

Well this project took a little longer to get off the ground than anticipated. But now that I have both books in hand and have a few moments to peruse both I see that this isn’t going to be as straight forward as reading chapter by chapter of each one.

For the duration of this project I will be referring to the two versions by the last name of their translators. So, The Táin by Thomas Kinsella will hereforto be known as Kinsella and The Táin by Ciaran Carson will hereafter be known as Carson.

On the initial examination of both books it immediately struck me that the Carson does not begin in the same place at the Kinsella. Whereas Kinsella begins “Before the Táin” and includes the birth and rise of power of Conchobor, the story of the sons of the Uisliu, and the Pangs of Ulster. The Carson begins with the actual cattle raid with Medb and Aililli talking in bed. This is an interesting choice and I will go back and read Carson’s introduction to see if he explains that choice here. Maybe it’s the old stubborn person in me but I feel like leaving out those stories at the beginning leaves out a lot of the context for the cattle raid itself. Though I suppose I only associate them with the Táin because the Kinsella version was the first version I read. But to me they were world builders and set the stage for what was to come. Especially the Pains of Ulster! But then I am rather fond of that story and could be very bias at the moment.

But since I do find those stories to be important and since they are in the Kinsella, I will begin with my take aways and overviews of them and when the two version meet then we will have comparison. Seems fair enough to me.

With that said we being “Before the Táin

In Kinsella’s notes he attributes this anecdotal text to the ninth century text in the Book of Leinster. I have to say that it does have a different feel and sound to me than some of the other parts of Kinsella, but I wonder how much of that is Kinella’s own voice coming to the translation.

In any event this short little story tells us that the knowledge and story of the Táin itself was once lost or at the least not know in its entirety. And in the fashion of all good important myths and legends had to be quested for and sought out.

Now you may be asking “What can you possibly get out of this tiny little story?”

Well, not a huge amount but some things in my practice are certainly underlined and other things that I have known but not paid as great attention to are brought to the forefront.

In the start of this story it is plan that the “Poets of Ireland” have convened to see if they could all remember the story of the Cattle Raid of Cooley. This illustrates that the poets or bards were very much the history keepers. This is something that my previous research already told me, but it is them all discovering that they only know parts of the story and then deciding it was important to go and find the whole tale again that helps brings few things into focus for me.

First, that people especially educated people, and I will go a step farther and say probably especially educated people who considered themselves or were considered by their community to be spiritual leaders, had A LOT memorized. And by memorized I don’t just mean they  had the cliff notes version that I could tell you off the cuff, I mean it was in verse. Word for word, line for line, verbatim. This doesn’t just apply to Ireland of course, the ancient world in general seems to have this trait. A trait that we of modern times have fallen behind on and something I would like very much to work on. This isn’t to say that I’m going to memorize the Tain line for line, but who knows maybe someday. But I do want to memorize more prayers and songs, reading this helps to solidify my dedication to that cause. Also to you know…write more lol.

Second is a little more…spiritual practice-ish. In the story Muirgen, the son of the great poet teacher who set the challenge before them all, finds the gravestone of Fergus mac Roich (deposed King of Ulster who aids Queen Medb in the Raid) and entreats him in verse to tell the whole tale. A mist comes over Muirgen for three days and three nights he cannot be found. In that time Fergus appears before him (dressed spectacularly I might add) and recites the whole thing.   Thus Muirgen is able to return from the quest victorious and the Tain is returned to Ireland in full.

There is quite a bit in that little story. We see that there is a strong ancestral connection, even to figures of myth and legend. That they are real, that they are able to speak and teach us even after death. That is something that I have always connected with. That tangible thread of spirit that links the living to the dead, and the living to their ancestral and mythical past. It is a huge part of what brought me to the Gaelic Polytheist path. I started out following the threads of these same stories and heroes. Ok maybe it didn’t start here it started over a bit of water with King Arthur and his lot but still it didn’t take long to find my way to Erin.  For me this underlines the already standing practice of honoring and learning from the Beloved Dead. It is something that a lot of CR sites and Gaelic Polytheist talk about. Clearly with good reason.

The other thing that I note here and just sort of put on my List-of-things-to-look-for further in this reading, is the mist. The mist came and then knowledge from the beyond was received. There are several different things I can take away from this. One is that there may be future connection between the mist/fog and the dead/supernatural. My other research and knowledge and just flat-out gut says that this is so, but I will make note of it here and see how often this occurs.

Because then I can start and pay more attention to the mist and fog. I live in an area where it is not a stranger to me. Perhaps next time I look outside and see the mists at my door I will leave out an offering to passing spirits. Or it occurs to me that in times when the mist is coming in may be a good time to try to contact the Beloved Dead more easily. Things to think on, things to see how they can fit in my life.

A different take on the time that Muirgen spent in the mist; is that a mortal was able to gain supernatural information from the beyond. Granted this was lost information that was already part of the mortal world but I don’t consider it too far a leap to see a parallel in this to the times that I go into a state of trance and come back with new inspirations, song and prayers. Now I’m sure for some that might be too great a leap in lines of thought, and that’s fine. But for me I can see how the literary use of mist that hides a person for 3 days and 3 nights could in fact be a way to describe a state of trance. Where the body remains and the mind or soul enters into the mist and beyond. Like I said perhaps too far fetched for some but it makes complete sense to me. Which makes it reassuring and helpful. It’s not something I have talked at length about as it’s hard to articulate, but I find a great connection to the divine in a trance state. Interestingly most of my trance states happen in the shower, where there is a mist in the steam and water. This is something else that is on my list of things to look out for. The connections of the divine and supernatural to water, mist, steam etc.

That my friends are my take-aways from this wee tale. Also a very good example of what the rest of this project will look like. So if this interests you please stick around! Let me know what you glean from these stories. What are the nuggets that leap out to your mind. I’d love to hear!

I’m already working on next weeks so I do hope to have these up every tuesday but you know there may be some flubs here or there lol.

Altar of Bone and Flame

Hello little blog, it’s been a while. I find that frequently I just get wrapped up in the real world, or my own mind that leaves little room for things like blogging. But never fear, I always come back. Eager to share, and eager to continue transcribing my spiritual adventures. 

As it’s been a while I thought it would be a nice way to ease back into things by sharing photos from my recently cleaned altar. There are to be many projects, and much blogging on the horizon. This blog will get a face lift amoungst other things. But that is another post for another time. 

For the now I’d like to say how much I love my winter altars. They just come together so much easier. The bones, the stones, the furs, and wood. It all just sings in harmony and I love it. In spring and summer I feel the lack of color, the lack of being outside on a green hill in the open sky. But in winter, it is all stark and wonderfully homey. The bones I leave out all year round, they are spring and summer bones as well. But in winter they take center stage. Wonderful in their off white glory. Warmed to yellow in the flame. 

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There is something about candlelight that just makes an altar connect. It’s hard to capture in photos, at least it’s hard for me but still. The illumination of the flame has always connected to me. I think of it as the light of the human soul. There is something incredibly comforting and familiar while at the same time foreign and mystical about it. 

I arise today
Through The Gods strength to pilot me;
The Dagda’s might to uphold me,
The Dagda’s wisdom to guide me,
The Morrighan’s eye to look before me,
The Morrighan’s ear to hear me,
Manannan’s word to speak for me,
Anu’s hand to guard me,

 

 

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The Gods way to lie before me,
The Morrighan’s shield to protect me,
The Dagda’s hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.
Gods shield me today
Against wounding

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The Gods with me, The Gods before me, The Gods behind me,
The Sea around me, The Land beneath me, The Sky above me,
My Beloved Dead on my right, My Beloved Dead on my left,
The Ancestors when I lie down, The Ancestors when I stand,

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The Dagda be in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
The Morrighan be in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
The Spirits be in the eye that sees me,
Imbas in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of my beloved Gods, of the Valiant Dead, and all that came before.

 – Prayer adapted from Carmina Gadelica St. Patrick’s Breastplate  

To hear the lessons of the Mountains

I’m heading out to the Mountain today.  A brief visit with the Unlaws and then out to the wilds for a quick but much needed camping trip. It’s been too long since I’ve been completely out in the woods. No cabin, no stove, no insulation. Just a thin barrier of nylon between us and the world at large. The Lumberjack has asked repeatedly if I’m sure I want to go now, it’s still below freezing up there in the night hours. But I’m sure that I need to clear my head.

There is a perspective out in the woods that is hard for me to really keep hold of in the city. Right now all the astrology is talking about the intensity of Mars, and I cannot say they are wrong. I’m seeing intensity from a lot of different angles in my world right now. Stress, people being overworked and under appreciated, the blatant rewriting of events for personal gain, people in tension with their loved ones, the news media failing in seeing the pervasive rape culture that it is attributing to, the fall out of that rape culture that has already scarred so many, miscommunications, long time aggravations continuing to brush the wrong way, people breaking free , people doing the hard work. It’s all around, it’s everywhere.

Then, in the back of my mind there is a whisper. It is not silken, it is not soft, but a whisper none the less. Just as I’m about to get heated up in the moment, just as I am about to slam my fist or tear my hair.

It’s all moot. We’re all going to die. 

And I laugh. I can’t help it. I can’t stop it. It’s not a joyful ringing laugh. But it is a deep and very mortal chuckle.

I am comforted by that whisper and that laugh. Inevitably I wonder what that says about me, in fact I wonder even more now that I post this here for all the internet to see. But after two seconds of wondering I shrug and decide that the comfort is worth more than whatever judgement people who I know or do not know may or may not put upon me. After further reflection I can say with certainty that my deriving comfort from that is in no way hindering my ability to live and therefore is not something I need to worry or work on.

Because it’s not actually nihilistic. It’s not there is no reason to do anything because the only guarantee in life is that we are going to die. It’s that you are only guaranteed this one life now, so do your best. It gives more meaning to what we do now because we are in fact fated to die. So don’t waste that meaning on trivial things, don’t get too caught up in the details, the picture is bigger. Your time is short, use it wisely.

I dunno maybe that is nihilistic lol but I find it a useful moment of levity.

The frailty and strength of life and humanity becomes so much more…glorious in it’s tragic beauty.

That’s what the Mountain teaches me. The boulder is unaffected by the squirrel having a fit trying to get a seed open on its surface. It’s seen squirrels having fits before, it will see squirrels to come, it’s still going to be a boulder long after that squirrel is dust in the ground.

The trees are unaffected by the fact that they may get chopped down, or burned, or broken in a storm, or blown over, ripped from the ground in a landslide. They are still going to grow, they are still going to seed, they are still going to be trees.

The Mountain is unaffected by the countless animals (including humans) who have died peaceful and violent deaths on its rocky exterior. It’s forest may burn. People might decide to blow a hole through it and make a tunnel. The rains may come and wash whole portions of it away. In fact the plate it resides upon could begin to shift and destroy it completely. But the Mountain is still a Mountain.

I can take that in and feel the strength of it.

There is a laundry list of things that could happen to me on a daily basis. There are a hundred million dramas that could play out in my life time. I will take part in many of them. I will feel pain, sorrow, loss, stress, anger. I could lose all my love ones. I could in fact die tomorrow, today even. Yet none of that is going to prevent me from living the life that I have now. None of that will actually change who I am. That I am going to try my best and live my life in the pursuit of happiness. I can hold onto that truth and the rest falls away.

I can hold on to that truth and be the Mountain.

Holding the Media to a higher standard

If you keep an eye out for pagans in the media you will probably be aware that FOX News recently picked up an old story apparently just so that they could make elitist  sexist, ignorant and generally to be expected base remarks on Pagans and Wiccans in particular. You can find the details at The Wild Hunt.

While I am not surprised by this in the least, as FOX News has already proven itself time and time again to be a irresponsible propaganda machine in far more damaging ways than this infraction. I was happy to see many in the pagan community taking a real course of action and stand about demanding a higher standard of our news media. I personally believe that this needs to happen on a wider scale across the board, and am hopeful that this beginning will lead to more.

With that said, I stand behind the statement of my community and coven in regards to this issue:

The Clergy of Come As You Are Coven, an Interfaith Pagan community in Northern California, take exception to the statements about Pagans and Wiccans made by Fox Network commentators Anna Kooiman, Clayton Morris, Tucker Carlson, and Tammy Bruce on-air Feb 17, 2013.  The inaccurate and slanted reporting and commentary permitted by the Fox Network on the topic of the recognition of Pagan and Wiccan holy days by the University of Missouri was an incident of egregious misinformation, lack of research, blatant sexism, religious prejudice, and personal invective. The remarks made by these Fox Network hosts were especially irresponsible in light of the increasing diversity of religious tradition in America, where members of minority religions still struggle to establish equality and fair treatment in their schools, local governments, civic organizations, and communities.

Given the current politically divided climate, it is crucial for the media to hold a high standard of integrity and commitment to reporting fairly about the diverse cultures in this country and the countries with which the United States interacts. This is achieved through unbiased reporting, sensitive yet unemotional delivery of factual material, and thorough research to establish the verity of assertions made by reporters and commentators. The media has a responsibility to act with conscience and accountability in the selection and appropriate preparation of the individuals who are professionally tasked with informing large portions of the population. In this case, accurate factual information about Pagan and Wiccan holidays is widely and readily available online, in libraries, in government documents such as the US Army Chaplain’s Handbook, and in a number of state and district court cases where Wicca was specifically recognized as a religion protected under the First Amendment. There is no sufficient excuse for the gross misrepresentations allowed by Fox Network on Feb 17.

We request that this issue be addressed by Fox News Network via an immediate, prominent, on-air apology; significant on-air retraction of specific comments with factual corrections; visible dialogue with practicing Wiccans and Pagans conducted in a respectful manner; and appropriate commitment by the Network to providing the individuals responsible with a mandatory professional course of diversity training in religious and sex/gender sensitivity.

As an Interfaith Pagan organization that recognizes Wicca as a major influence, and that also recognizes the First Amendment right of each individual to choose a personally meaningful spiritual path, we denounce any effort to undermine the sacred nature of any religion/practice, holy day, and/or celebration, especially but not limited to those growing, emerging, and/or marginalized religions/practices.

We applaud the University of Missouri’s sensitivity to the needs of its Pagan and Wiccan community members via recognition of their holy celebrations, and encourage other academic, government, and business institutions to include similar awareness of these holy days in their own administration and planning.

We support the varied and diverse efforts of the concerned individuals and groups who are bringing this issue to public attention and mobilizing Pagans and Wiccans to demand public accountability and fair resolution.

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The Clergy of my coven, the Come as You Are Coven, and myself will be printing and signing this statement and sending it to the following addresses:

FOX News Corporation

1211 Avenue of Americas, 8th Floor,NY, NY 10036

Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

 

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