Pagan Census Revisited: Part Two

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Researchers from Brandeis University and the University of Tromsø, Norway have released a follow-up survey investigating the practices of modern Pagans. The authors state that, “Data from this survey will be used for writing books, articles and doing presentations on contemporary Paganism. All answers are anonymous. Your participation is voluntary.”

If you wish to participate and contribute to scholarly research on the neo-Pagan community, take the 32-question follow-up survey here.

Key Largo Says Dead Animals Due to Santeria

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Josh Gore, reporter for Florida Keys News–Islamorada/Key Largo Free Press, published a story on April 2nd titled, “Authorities: Dead animals could be linked to Santeria,” after dead animals were found in a canal in the Port Largo Villa’s:

More than two dozen birds, including chickens, and at least one goat body was found in the Port Largo Villa’s canal, according to property officials.

“This was really freaking out our guests,” said manager Marcy Myers.

Two weekends in March, Myers was alerted by patrons that animals’ bodies were floating up near the docks. In one instance, the body had been placed in plastic bags. She suggested the actions could be linked to Santeria, a religious practice that employs the sacrifice of live animals.

Is this truly the actions of Santería practitioners? Many sources, including this BBC article about the Lukumi religion, state that animal sacrifices are typically consumed.

Check out a recent post on the Wild Hunt blog about blood sacrifice in the Neo-Pagan and polytheist communities.

Photo credit.

 

The Florida Pagan Gathering: a community in crisis

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The Wild Hunt has published an article by Heather Greene detailing the latest developments about the status of the Frosts at this coming Beltane Florida Pagan Gathering Festival.

The Board of Florida Pagan Gathering has reversed their decision about inviting the Frosts.

Ann Marie, President of the board of directors of the Temple of Earth Gathering (TEG), stressed the need for community healing in a final statement:

At the coming festival, in place of workshops that will now never be presented, we instead will attempt to hold some workshops and rituals focused on healing the community, because the pressing need right now is for us all to remember we are about one another, and our collective care for our community.

Registration for Florida Pagan Gathering is available online. This year’s headliners include Janet Farrar, Gavin Bone and Orion Foxwood, among many others. Musical guests include Murphy’s Midnight Runners.

Joint Resolution Facebook Page Addressed to FPG Board

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This is a developing story. For more details, visit the the Wild Hunt blog.

After news broke about Temple of Earth Gathering (TEG) Board of Directors confirming Gavin & Yvonne Frost as guests at the upcoming Florida Pagan Gathering Festival, concerned members of the Florida Wiccan and Pagan community acted quickly and drafted a joint resolution, the full text of which follows below.

The Joint Resolution to FPG Board Facebook page appeared on April 2nd. In less than five days, page activity surpassed 400 likes.


“As attendees of the Florida Pagan Gathering (FPG) for many years, members of the Florida and national Pagan communities, and concerned allies of the pagan community, we express our collective concern over the decision to have Gavin and Yvonne Frost as workshop presenters at the 2014 Beltane Florida Pagan Gathering. We love FPG and see it as a true community-built and driven event.  For those reasons the pagan community must have the ability to provide feedback and be heard on what teachers we put forward to instruct new seekers, our children, and ourselves.

On April 1st, 2014 we learned that Gavin and Yvonne Frost will once again be attending FPG and presenting workshops. This information was not made public but was shared by a concerned member of the FPG staff.

In the 1970’s the Frosts published material advocating the sexual initiation of children into the Craft. Not only have the Frosts refused to recant this advocacy, they have affirmed it, republishing these materials and sharing their position in subsequent interviews and workshops.

Since their original publication these ideas have been viewed as bizarre and unrepresentative of most traditions of the Craft. Today the pagan community is strong enough to speak with one voice when we condemn the abuse of our divinely granted sexuality. To teach that sexual submission by minors is required for initiation is a felony and does not honor the integrity of modern Paganism, our Ancestors, nor the Old Gods. 

A movement has sprung up in the last couple of days among FPG attendees to request that the FPG Board of Directors disallow the Frosts from presenting workshops at Florida Pagan Gathering. Despite numerous personal emails to the board, requests for refunds of registration fees, concerns expressed via the festival Facebook page, etc. the BoD has thus far responded by deflection without addressing the issue at hand. They first deleted discussion from their public Facebook page and then blocked posts all together.

We stand together, as modern Pagans, to urge the FPG Board to listen to our concerns and to help host and foster discussion about this critical issue.  We call for a removal of the Frosts as presenters at FPG and a ban on any distribution or vending of their materials.  It’s past time that our beloved community take a stand against those who advocate abuse. Silence = complicity. The FPG Board has an opportunity to confront a critical issue in our community and our society.  Be leaders who reject all forms of abuse beginning with this very issue! Speak out against those who would advocate the manipulation of sexuality for spiritual growth and especially those who would victimize our youngest members of the Craft.” 

Fervent Discussions on The Frosts at Florida Pagan Gathering Festival

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This is a developing story. This information was sent to PNC Florida by a reputable contact. Readers are encouraged to also review the comments (link above) which further verify this submission.

Quoted from an email: “On Tuesday, April 1, Temple of the Earth Gathering (TEG) Board of Directors, the governing body for Florida Pagan Gathering, confirmed that Gavin and Yvonne Frost will be guests at the Beltane 2014 festival and will be presenting workshops. Although they are not listed as headliners, Board Members stated that the Frosts would be guests of the staff and the festival’s spiritual advisor.

Members of the Pagan community voiced concern about the Frosts presenting, citing their 1970s published work which included sexual initiation of under age girls and other ritual practices, which they, to date, have not only never recanted, but reaffirmed on several occasions.

Members of the Board stated that the Frosts had been convicted of no crimes, that they are presenting workshops as any festival attendee is welcome to do, and dismissed concerns voiced by the festival attendees. Several FPG staff have resigned as a result.

The concerns raised come soon after news of the arrest of Kenny Klein last week and the emerging discussions in covens, communities and the blogoshpere about the need to make our communities safe for all and to end the practice of ‘looking the other way’, or excusing behaviors considered inappropriate.

After a few hours of discussion on the FPG Facebook page, FPG page administrators deleted these comments. An FPG Board member posted that those with concerns are encouraged to email the TEG board at tegboard@flapagan.org

Other members of the Pagan community are contributing to discussion on these issues. Check out T. Thorn Coyle’s thought-provoking four part article on her blog here, as well as articles by M. Macha NightMare, author Stephanie Woodfield and ex-pat blogger Cosette.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates. If you have additional relevant information, please post to the comments.

Miami Herald Features Santeria Religion Story

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Check out David Ovalle’s Miami Herald story, ”As Santería grows and evolves, the increasing focus on Africa opens rifts among the sects

“In Cuba and South Florida, the religion has evolved into a distinct offshoot widely known as Santería but called Lukumi by followers. In Haiti, elements of the tribal beliefs are famously known as Vodou. In Brazil, Ramos studied a variation called Candomblé.

Whatever the names, at the root of them all is Nigeria’s Yoruba tribe. When members were forced into slavery hundreds of years ago, they brought their beliefs to the Americas. Now followers like Ramos — in a world made smaller by the Internet and social media — are increasingly looking back to Africa to reconnect with the roots of their faith.”

 Read the full article at the Miami Herald website.

Tallahassee LGBT Interfaith Service Tues. April 8, 2014

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“COLORS OF FAITH: FEEL THE LOVE”
By Diana Kambert
The open and affirming faith communities of Tallahassee will host, “Colors of Faith: Feel the Love,” on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tallahassee, 2810 North Meridian Road, from 7:00 – 8:00 PM. All are welcome to stay for the reception following the service.
The organizers of “Colors of Faith,” recognize how many in the LGBT community have felt unwelcome in houses of worship, or even literally been cast out of the church or group in which they were raised.  For this reason, they often feel estranged from spirituality altogether.  But things are changing.  Tallahassee is coming to have a growing number of churches and other faith groups in which to find an open and affirming spiritual home.
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An Interfaith service for Gay Pride is an important show of support, to let people know that there are places where they are more than welcome.  Alliances of people of many faiths, backgrounds and sexual orientations may spark a spiritual renewal within the LGBT community. The Interfaith Service for LGBT Pride has become a fixture of Tallahassee PrideFest since 2008.  This year’s offering will give each faith tradition an opportunity to share how it feels and shares the Love that is Divine, expressed in story and song.  Participating faith groups include the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tallahassee, Gentle Shepherd Metropolitan Community Church, Red Hills Pagan Council, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Episcopal Church of the Ascension of Carrabelle, Temple Israel, Unity Eastside Church, and others. Tallahassee PrideFest is a week-long series of events produced by The Family Tree, Tallahassee’s LGBT community center.  In addition to the Interfaith Celebration, PrideFest culminates in a day-long festival in Kleman Plaza on April 12.For more information, visit the website: pridefest.familytreecenter.org

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