Pagan Elders and Abusive Dynamics

shutterstock_34345969Ironically, just hours after I sent in my quote to the Wild Hunt for their “Elders” post, I found myself in a position where I could either tacitly ignore a Pagan elder’s behavior, or I could confront it. I hadn’t quite scheduled a big confrontation into my day, but I found myself ethically obliged after someone messaged me to ask whether or not I supported that elder based upon that elder’s stance on something.

The words I had sent to the Wild Hunt in an email just hours before ended up being almost prophetic for at least four situations that hit my inbox and news feed, including “Big Name Pagans” like Z Budapest and Christian Day, or local Pagan community leaders behaving badly.

Let me see if I can sum up one situation I faced in a way that keeps names out of it, and yet describes a situation that you may have personally experienced.

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Call for Submissions: Masks of the High One — a Devotional Anthology for Odin

Shauna Aura Knight:

Call for submissions for an Odin devotional. Feel free to forward and boost the signal!

Originally posted on Wytch of the North:

A little more than a year ago, I put out a call for submissions for Prayers to the Allfather, a book of prayers and rituals for Odin. Well, despite a number of people being kind enough to share my CFS across the internet, I received exactly three submissions. Due to various factors in my life at the time, I just wasn’t feeling equal to writing the bulk of a book of prayers on my own (since when I think prayers, I think poetry, and I am not primarily a poet), so I reluctantly shelved the project for a while.

Then I got to thinking: maybe a prayer book is too limiting. Maybe most other pagans, witches and polytheists out there also shy away from writing prayers for public consumption, either because they feel too personal, or because (like me) they associate them with poetry and feel unequal to the task…

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Reblog: The Sleeper Must Awaken

I just posted a guest blog on Temet Nosce. It’s super geeky and references what I do in ritual with trance work and techniques the Bene Gesserit use in the fictional world of the science fiction book/movie Dune.

Here’s a snippet and a link to the whole post. Enjoy!

The Sleeper Must Awaken


Science fiction and fantasy books and movies often delve into the fantastic, the unreal, the magical, the impossible…and yet so often they reflect a deeper truths. Sometimes, what looks like magic is actually just incredibly advanced technology.

I’m an admitted nerd for the old 1980′s David Lynch movie Dune. I realized something: A fair number of the trance techniques that I use are right out of the Bene Gesserit handbook.

The Bene Gesserit, if you’re unfamiliar with Dune, are an order of sisters in the far distant future of humankind.  They were colloquially known as “witches” because of how supernatural their powers seemed, but their powers were, at the core, rooted in science and discipline.

Reblog: The Curse of Pagan Niceness by Sable Aradia

Fantastic article by author Sable Aradia. I’ve been enjoying a number of her blog posts. Here are a few quotes from the article; check it out in its entirety.

“Many Wiccans, in my opinion, seem to use the Rede as a way to rationalize keeping their hands, noses, and consciences clean.  It strikes me as an excuse for cowardice, not as a genuine desire to not be “judgmental.”

I call it the Curse of Pagan Niceness.  We are terrible at delineating clear boundaries.  We want to be so accepting that we put up with all kinds of things we should not put up with.  And we can make our community dangerous for the vulnerable because, in our efforts to not be confrontational or judgmental, we let abusive people get away with it.”

“We saw things that worried us, but after we talked to them about it, asked questions and counselled them, we trusted that the high priestess and high priest of the coven, our initiates, were dealing with the situation, and at the very least they had their eye on it and were counselling the family and looking out for the safety of the girls.  We should have followed up and demanded to know what they were doing to intervene.  I especially was trying to be nice in that I didn’t want to step on the high priestess’ toes and undermine her authority.

Look at what all this “niceness” wrought.  A beautiful, intelligent young woman whom I greatly admire and respect was deeply harmed.  Our tradition, who should have protected her, failed her utterly.”

Here’s a brief author bio for those of you unfamiliar with Sable Aradia:

Sable Aradia (Diane Morrison) is a licensed Wiccan minister and a Third Degree initiate in the Star Sapphire and Pagans for Peace traditions. A writer, musician and vlogger, she makes her living through writing, psychic readings, music, and by teaching workshops. Author of “The Witch’s Eight Paths of Power: A Complete Course in Magick and Witchcraft,” (Red Wheel/Weiser) she also writes a column called “Seekers and Guides” at Patheos’ Pagan channel. Her channel on YouTube features her music, instructional witchcraft videos, and her many projects in the world of geekdom. Born and raised in Vernon, BC, Canada, she has been actively involved in the Canadian Pagan community for a little more than 20 years.

The Frosts and Consent Culture

Shauna Aura Knight:

I posted this on Pagan Activist, reblogging it here on my main blog.

Originally posted on Pagan Activist:

Carved Heart– By Shauna Aura Knight

This post is inspired by Gavin and Yvonne Frost but isn’t actually about them. It’s about how Pagans continue to support Pagan leaders and teachers who have written or done highly unethical things. (And by unethical I don’t mean gray area, I’m talking about issues of rape, abuse, and consent.) It’s about how Pagans continue to sweep abuse under the carpet.

What does support look like? Support is hiring people to teach at your event or in your area. Support is hosting teachers in your home or at your venue. Support is attending their workshop or buying their book. Support is keeping silent.

Why is it important to talk about these issues? Largely because there are so many abusive patterns in the Pagan community What I hear over and over is that Pagans want this to stop. To stop it, we have to address it.

And then…

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Review of Maleficent, plus What is Evil?

Shauna Aura Knight:

I’ve blogged about the movie Maleficent, Fairytale magic, and the nature of evil, over on my fiction blog. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Shauna Aura Knight: Fantasy Author & Artist:

maleficent-trailer-500x256I just got back from seeing Maleficent at last. While there were parts that were overly cuteified, I did enjoy how they twisted the plot to achieve the feminist/backstory/how all this came to be. I also enjoyed the nod to the original cartoon/movie, particularly the curse scene. Angeline Jolie might as well have been the original actress who voiced Maleficent; it was brilliant how she pulled the two movies together in that scene.

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Reconnecting Astrology with its Animist Roots.

Shauna Aura Knight:

A fantastic perspective on astrology, well worth the read.

Originally posted on animist jottings:

The Constellations with Astrological Signs of the Zodiac, Atlas Coelestic, 1660.  Andreas Cellarius.  British Museum, Creative Commons.

The Constellations with Astrological Signs of the Zodiac, Atlas Coelestis, 1660. Andreas Cellarius. British Museum, Creative Commons .

The belt of sky along which the planets wander has long been known as the zodiac, from the ancient Greek zodiakos – ‘circle of animals’ or ‘sculpted animal figures’.  Western (and many other) astrologies are, therefore, woven around stories about celestial powers or presences -perhaps we might call them the Wanderers -also from their ancient Greek name planetes-  moving in a cyclic dance, through a succession of animal (including human, centaur, and other-than-human hybrid) figures and forms.  A vivid depiction of the zodiac from Andreas Cellarius’s Atlas Coelestis of 1660 (above) reminds us of astrology’s deep animist roots.

In the first volume of his cultural history of Western astrology, Nick Campion finds, for example, remarkable similarities between stories about the Pleiades from North America, Europe, and Australia, and comments on the…

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