Showing posts with label Star Foster. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Star Foster. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Double, Double Toil and Trouble

It is tempting to wade into the discussion about a prominent individual disavowing the label Pagan. There is, however, significant evidence that such decisions are commonplace within our community.

Over the last couple of years we have heard from T. Thorn Coyle that she will no longer teach Feri Tradition courses, We have witnessed this author (Peter Dybing) announce the decision to withdraw from Pagan Leadership.

Well-known Witch M. Macha Nightmare eloquently announced her resignation from Reclaiming tradition after decades of service.  Ed Hubbard at Witch School International has given up his ministerial credentials and announced his intent to step down as CEO of Witch School.

An incredible emerging Pagan Leader who founded Firefly tradition has left religious life completely. 

Couple with these events the reports of splits within traditions and one can easily get the idea that the community if rife with drama, conflict and tumultuous changes: well, not really, there is another explanation.

Pagans are known for their independence, their insistence that each of us has a personal relationship with deity.  We espouse the idea of independence in spiritual practice.  When the need to manifest change in order to experience growth is obvious we, as Pagans, tend to act decisively.

Each of these individuals have acted boldly and followed their path with dedication to personal relationship with deity.  Their actions are a great example of why community fears of “Pagan Institutions” are groundless; our focus is not on accruing power, or achieving popularity, but on personal growth. Sometimes that means speaking our own truth, disengaging, even disappointing others.

Over the years as the ‘fire burns and the caldron bubbles’, more Pagans will evolve, emerge, leave, step up and step down.  They will inspire us and then move on in the well-established tradition of seeking their own relationship with the Goddess.

These changes are not a cause for concern, but an opportunity to celebrate the unique character of our community. Self-empowerment, reclaiming, personal relationship with the divine, these are not small concepts; they are foundations of our beliefs. They also drive me to congratulate those making changes along the path and wish them well; no drama needed. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

PantheaCon and the New Pagan Media

Most of those I know would agree that a free press is an inherent necessity in maintaining a democratic society. Over the last few years we have all witnessed the escalation of hyperbole in the mainstream press. This trend towards the “Yellow Journalism” that was so present in the first part to the twentieth century threatens our nation and all minority communities. When the rhetoric turns to our community it is our Pagan press that responds with reason and a voice of moderation.

In this century, we have seen the emergence of the Internet with its ability for single individuals and small organizations to participate in the global conversation. Members of the “Pagan new media” have seized on this development and created a credible Pagan news community that stresses journalistic integrity, accuracy in reporting and the inclusion of those from all traditions within our community.

There is a fundamental difference between this new internet based press and the much admired periodicals that have been around for years. Today, Pagans can get daily updates on developing stories of interest to the community. This development means that we are informed, current and most importantly have reliable information not based on personal opinion or conjecture.

This new media have the ability to “call to action” our community like never before. Recently we have witnessed the success of the VA Pentacle project, Pagans responding financially to the crisis in Haiti and overwhelming support for the right of Pagan prisoners to have access to paid Pagan clergy. While there are many organizations in our community that can take pride in these developments: it is our new Pagan press that is the driving force behind the wide support for these causes.

The recent publication of the Pantheacon schedule of events reflects the importance of this new press. With three different presentations on the media, multiple discussion groups and a film showing hosted by a member of the Pagan press it clear that our media have become an influential force in our community and beyond. Further evidence of this new influence is provided by the inclusion of members of the Pagan media in publications such as The Washington Post, Belief Net, Patheos and others.

The members of this “Pagan new press” are in the drivers seat in terms of the direction our community will take in the future. Each of them has proven that they can be trusted with this immense responsibility. If you are going to PantheCon, take the time to meet this committed group of individuals. Each of them are in service to the entire Pagan community.

It would not be possible to write on this subject with out pointing out that the standard barer for the development of this new press is Jason Pitzl-Waters. Jason has taken the Wild Hunt to a level where it represents the best in journalistic excellence. It is important to note that Jason’s approach has not been to build a successful operation of his own but replicate his own success with the creation of the Pagan Newswire Collective. Add to these achievements Jason’s’ support for other competing Pagan news and discussion outlets and it is clear that his interest is in developing a diverse and positive journalistic community.

Having stated my admiration for our community of journalists let me ask: is this sustainable? While very few have managed to develop funding for their efforts, many more write and report on the Pagan community on their own time without pay. Whether you are a fan of the Wild Hunt, Patheos, Belief Net or one of the Pagan Newswire Collective bureaus, come forward and offer real support in a way that encourages this important asset to the Pagan community.

Anyone who has read this piece knows that I am no writer, yes I have a Blog where I share my experiences and opinions, but I do not possess the skills or ability to be a real writer. What I hope has come across is how important I think it is that we support those who do.

Peter Dybing
National First Officer
Covenant of the Goddess

Friday, December 31, 2010

Walking the Talk, 10 Pagans Who Made A Difference in 2010

This is my highly subjective list of Pagans who “Walked the Talk” in 2010. As I write this I have a list of more than three dozen names sitting next to me, what a great community. Most of the people on this list you will know, some maybe not. All have created a lasting impression on me during 2010.

10. Katrina Messenger

Connect DC is a group that focuses on public ritual. Katrina Messenger’s work with this organization has created a sense of openness and interconnectedness within the DC Pagan community. As the founder of the Reflections Mystery School, a facility member of Cherry Hill and organizer of the Sweeping the Capital Clean event Katrina has a long history of service to the community. It is however, her focus on providing public community for all Pagans that brought her to my attention as a Pagan that “Walks the Talk”.

9. Amber K

2010 has been a financially rough year for those attempting to build Pagan organizations. Ardantane Pagan Learning Center in New Mexico is no exception. Amber K could have easily given up on this mission that serves the entire Pagan community. Through these hard times she has remained steadfast, of good humor, and committed to making a difference. Her determination and ability to see the Magik in even these trying times should be an example for all Pagans who aspire to serve our community.

8. Alane Brown

When Disaster struck in Haiti Alane made it her personal business to insure that the Pagan community was motivated to provide assistance to the victims. Alane spent countless hours fundraising and making connections with a wide range of Pagan organizations. She did not stop there, she also wrote a song for Haiti fundraising and convinced a group of incredible woman to record it. When tragedy struck she took action, reflecting the best of what the Pagan community has to offer.

7. Star Foster

Ms. Foster’s management of the Pagan Portal at Patheos has manifested an open forum for Pagans of all paths. Unity in purpose, open-mindedness and respect for alternative views are hallmarks of the Pagan Portal. Patheos is a site that has Portals for all of the major faiths. Star has helped establish Paganisms place at the table of interfaith dialog for a new generation. Star puts her belief that all faiths have value into practice. She has demonstrated her ability to “Walk the Talk”

6. Iris Freemoon and the Firefly House

Many may not be aware of the Firefly House. This small organization in Washington DC represents the best in what a small activist Pagan organization can accomplish. During 2010 the Firefly House has participated (provided all the logistical support) for the Lady Liberty Leagues 25Th. Anniversary, created an online ritual for healing in Haiti that had broad national participation and has just concluded a soap drive in response to the epidemic in Haiti. Members of this community are not content to sit around and talk about current events, they take action. Firefly as an emerging tradition has much to offer the Pagan community

5. Starhawk

There could be books written on this individual. What impresses me most is that she continues to provide “literally” down to earth leadership to our community. As a Pagan who exemplifies the concept of “Walking the Talk” no list would be complete with out Starhawk.

4. Selena Fox

Circle Sanctuary with the leadership of Selena continues to make enormous contributions to the Pagan community. Salina’s relentless pursuit of rights for Pagans never comes to an end. Her work this year in supporting Pagan prisoner’s rights, establishing a Pagan cemetery and supporting Pagan soldiers overseas is a true example of “Walking the Talk”

3. Rev. Don Frew

This has been my year to become acquainted with the Work of Don Frew. Frankly, his accomplishments and intellectual approach to Interfaith Dialogue leave me in awe. His total emersion in the interfaith community has brought much change in how the Pagan community is viewed not only in this country but also internationally. If there were any one person who deserves more accolades for his accomplishments in the Pagan community I would suggest Don Frew

2. Jason Pitzl-Waters

Over the course of this year The Wild Hunt has reinforced its reputation as the premier location for Pagan centered news. It is however, Jason’s efforts in establishing the Pagan Newswire Collective that places him near the top of this list. Instead of being satisfied with his success, Jason forged ahead and gave birth to a whole new media model that will survive the advent of The Wild Hunt and bring responsible Pagan centered news too generations to come. His determination and organizing ability makes him a Pagan who “Walks the Talk”.

1. Patrick McCullom

Patrick McCollum’s efforts on behalf of the Pagan community are well known and do not to be listed here. Patrick’s actions alone leave him at the top of this list. What many do not know is that while he has some limited funding from national organizations the majority of his legal and travel expenses come out of his own pocket. Here is an individual who puts everything he has on the line in support of our community. What Rev. McCollum does is beyond “Walking the Talk” My hope is that the Pagan community will provide him with additional funding in the future.