Pagan Community Notes: March in Portland, DRUID app, Parliament of the World’s Religions and more.

Solar Cross TemplePORTLAND, Ore. — With protests continuing over the weekend, members of Solar Cross Temple participated in Saturday’s March for Justice and Equality.  As noted by author, activist, and Solar Cross member T. Thorn Coyle, “The march theme was ‘Advancing Justice and Equality for All Through the Strength to Love, and it was sponsored by the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform” and co-sponsored by other groups such as the Portland NAACP, the Muslim Educational Trust, and Portland Copwatch.

Solar Cross was joined by other Pagan individuals and organizations including Reclaiming, Feri Tradition, and the Brothers of the Unnamed Path. Coyle said, “This was only one of five events happening in Portland that day. There was also a rally for Standing Rock. Another rally to support immigrants. A town hall meeting. An action at the Portland International Airport.” She went on to say, “I wanted to support a black-led march and rally in this very white city, though I could have easily chosen any of these actions.”

Coyle, a longtime activist, said that she wants to continue giving her support to the groups that have been “working for justice for decades,” but she also wants to find ways to “welcome those just waking up to the need to fight.” She said, “Many in the U.S. have had a fairly complacent eight years, placing the burden of shining the light on injustice onto the more marginalized members of our communities, be they disabled, trans, poor, black, brown, native, or Muslim. All of these groups have been begging the more comfortable among us to pay attention. A very small percentage of those living in the U.S. have made the time. Welcome to the revolution of love.”

A group of Pagans in Portland, including members of Solar Cross, have formed the Pagan Solidarity Group, as a way to network with each other and to offer help to “immigrants, the black and native communities [there], and to anyone else who may be in need.” Coyle said that Solar Cross members in other cities are doing similar work, including in Oakland and New York City. Coyle added, “We encourage others to do so in their communities. Bridge the chasms. Hold out your hands. Organize. Let everyone do what they can, when they can. With networks such as these, we all share the burden for the long haul. Not only can we support one another, we must.”

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175x175bbA new tablet-based app has been causing concern among modern Druids. Created by University of Massachusetts psychology professor Michael Milburn, the new app tests for marijuana impairment. As explained in a Boston Globe article, “A field sobriety test is used when a motorist is suspected of reckless driving, and a breathalyzer is used to gauge the level of alcohol in a driver’s bloodstream. But there’s nothing similar to a breathalyzer for testing whether someone is driving while under the influence of marijuana.” That is where the app comes in.

So what is the problem? The app is named DRUID, and is acronym for Driver Under the Influence of Drugs. Ellen Evert Hopman, an author and practicing Druid, told The Wild Hunt, “As Pagans and Druids we apparently have a lot of educating to do. The general public still doesn’t seem to know we exist and that we have a recognized faith. Even the military accepts our religion these days.”

Hopman explained that she and others have been contacting both Apple and Milburn. Included in her own correspondence, she said: “I explained that Druidism is my religion and that I found it disrespectful that they would name a sobriety app after us. I also said I could not imagine such an app named ‘Christian’ or ‘Muslim’ or ‘Jew.’”

Milburn has replied to Hopman, saying “I apologize if I have offended you. The research I did indicated that the ancient Druids did use marijuana, and there has been a major EU research project on marijuana and driving called DRUID.” He added that he didn’t see any controversy in using the name and that the app is designed to help people.

Hopman encourages Pagans to continue to voice their disapproval in its use, but she added, “All such comments should be polite and respectful, in keeping with our ethos of hospitality.”

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TWHThe Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR) will be hosting a series of webinars during the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week. Beginning Feb. 1, the CPWR will host daily presentations on a variety of current topics from climate justice, women’s rights, sustainable living, and “Standing with Standing Rock.” Two Pagan leaders will be taking part as panelists in the webinars.

Author and priestess Phyllis Curott will be on the panel concerning the dignity of women within religious practice. This panel will be held on Feb. 6 at 11 a.m. CST, and is sponsored by the Parliament’s Women’s Task Force. The featured panelists, including Curott, “will offer insights on the issues of women’s dignity that matter to each of them in their roles within religious and spiritual communities, interfaith communities, and as global citizens.”

Priest and co-founder of EarthSpirit Andras Corban-Arthen will be speaking on the Standing Rock panel to be held Feb. 7 at 11 a.m. CST.  As we reported in the fall, Corban-Arthen is one of the many Pagans who drove to North Dakota to deliver a letter of support and to offer any other assistance needed. The Standing Rock panel is hosted by the Parliament’s Indigenous Peoples Task Force.  As the group says on the CPWR website, “The call to support Standing Rock cries out louder and further as the victory to halt construction may be reversed by the new U.S. administration. Join us to hear about the conditions at Standing Rock from our parliament leaders who’ve been there, what other actions in violation of treaties with Indigenous.”

In other news:

  • The University of Alberta has officially opened their Multi-faith Prayer and Meditation Space. As reported by the university’s news service, Dean of Students André Costopoulos said that the space “meets a long-standing desire by students to have a comfortable space where they can practise their faith while on campus, but it also creates opportunity to connect with others.” Wiccan Chaplain Samuel Wager is looking forward to doing just that. He was appointed as the scheduler for the new space and participated in its opening ceremonies. Wager told The Wild Hunt that, in addition, he will be teaching a “three-credit full-term course on Wiccan Theology this fall through University of Alberta and St. Stephen’s College.”
  • As we previously reported, the election results have triggered what is sometimes being labeled as “rage donations,” or what might be better described as financial support for nonprofit organizations possibly threatened by the current administration. Activist and author T. Thorn Coyle has just launched a t-shirt fundraiser for Planned Parent. Her Feminist Baphomet design is on a black shirt and is selling through Teespring. On the site she wrote, “The great androgyne brings together all polarities –male, female, animal, human, fire, earth, above, below– in support of health care for those who need it.” All proceeds go to Planned Parenthood.
  • The Hungarian Pagan folk duo The Moon and the Nightspirit will be releasing its sixth album titled Metanoia. The featured song is called, “Az Első Tündér Megidézése” or Summoning of the First Fairy. In advance of the album’s release, the band has already produced and released a music video, which includes that song accompanied by visuals created specifically for the album by artist Ágnes Tóth.
  • In other music news, Tuatha Dea is kicking off its touring season Thursday in Atlanta. The Celtic folk band will be playing at Eddie’s Attic, a popular performance venue in Decatur, and then the band will continue from there. Within that busy upcoming 2017 schedule, Tuatha Dea will make several stops at Pagan-specific events, including: Pagan Unity Festival (PUF), Heartland Pagan Festival, and Mystic South.

A Free Course on Dante’s Divine Comedy from Yale University

Over the years, we’ve featured the many drawings that have adorned the pages of Dante’s Divine Comedy, from medieval times to modern. Illustrations by Botticelli, Gustave Doré, William Blake and Mœbius, they’ve all gotten their due. Less has been said here, however, about the actual text itself. Perhaps the most important work in Italian literature, Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) wrote the Divine Comedy (consisting of Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso) between the years 1308 and 1320. And that text is largely the subject of Dante in Translation, a free online course taught by Yale’s Giuseppe Mazzotta. The course description reads as follows:

The course is an introduction to Dante and his cultural milieu through a critical reading of the Divine Comedy and selected minor works (Vita nuova, Convivio, De vulgari eloquentia, Epistle to Cangrande). An analysis of Dante’s autobiography, the Vita nuova, establishes the poetic and political circumstances of the Comedy’s composition. Readings of Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise seek to situate Dante’s work within the intellectual and social context of the late Middle Ages, with special attention paid to political, philosophical and theological concerns. Topics in the Divine Comedy explored over the course of the semester include the relationship between ethics and aesthetics; love and knowledge; and exile and history.

You can watch the 24 lectures from the course above, or find them on YouTube and iTunes in video and audio formats. To get more information on the course, including the syllabus, visit this Yale website.

Primary texts used in this course include:

  • Dante. Divine Comedy. Translated by John D. Sinclair. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.
  • Dante. Vita Nuova. Translated by Mark Musa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973.

Dante in Translation will be added to our list of Free Online Literature courses, a subset of our collection, 1200 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

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Related Content:

William Blake’s Last Work: Illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy (1827)

Botticelli’s 92 Illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy

Alberto Martini’s Haunting Illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy (1901-1944)

Hear Dante’s Inferno Read Aloud by Influential Poet & Translator John Ciardi (1954)

Physics from Hell: How Dante’s Inferno Inspired Galileo’s Physics

Watch L’Inferno (1911), Italy’s First Feature Film and Perhaps the Finest Adaptation of Dante’s Classic

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A Stunning Home in Barcelona

When describing his work, famed Catalan sculptor and artist Xavier Corbero explained, “the outcome of anything I do has to be poetry.” A shining example of this ethos is Corbero’s home; an eight-acre, nine building estate on that has taken him over forty years to turn into a dramatic example of living, ever-evolving art. This is a home tour you have to see to believe.

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Friends with Salvador Dali and famed for his large scale sculpture displayed the world over, Corbero began working on this home in 1968. He discovered dilapidated industrial buildings on the outskirts of Barcelona has worked for 40 years transforming them into a stunning home, workshop, studio, gallery – a magic labyrinth of art, architecture and beauty. There are a total of 10 beds and bathrooms to welcome guests, as well as a number of studios and workshops, including one beneath the ground. The home regularly serves as a residence for fellow artists staying in Barcelona.

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The structures are a mishmash of concrete, often whitewashed in the living quarter, raw plywood, open staircases, manmade caves and soaring arches. It continues to be a work in progress even as Corbero turns 80. In this age of….I don’t even really know how to describe the time we’re living in…I feel like a true passion and such a profound expression of art, life and depth is increasingly rare. I think the following description captures the heart of this place best, “The artist has created a space where creation is immortalized, both as process and as an end.”

Check out this video to truly appreciate the majesty of this house and to hear from the artist Corbero himself.


photography via zara home, and by Jerome Galland for AD France via yellowtrace. Video by Albert Moya for NOWNESS.



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Gee, I Wonder What ‘House of Cards’ Really Thinks About Trump

Here’s the new teaser for season five of House of Cards that Netflix put out today for clearly very subtle reasons. Notice how they also went with the “Washington D.C.’s about to get hurricane’d in the anus” theme, because thanks to climate change denial, that’s literally a possibility now. Think I’m being melodramatic? Here’s a sampling of showrunner Beau Willimon’s tweets lately:

And I’ll just leave this here for my own subtle reasons. *dropkicks mic into space*

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Photo: Netflix

Real Talk, Real Moms: Favorite Books

Our semi-regular series on motherhood is back today and I’m particularly excited about this post. While we’ve tackled weighty motherhood-related topics in past posts (breast feeding, co-parenting, self-care, the election) this post is touch different – because we’re talking about books!


Now some moms might be sharing their favorite parenting books, but since I’m always on the hunt for good children’s books (and haven’t found the time to actually read any parenting ones yet – whoops) I’m focusing on books for the littles. Because they really are books for us too. We’re the ones reading them after all!

Surely, the world of children’s books is nearly endless but some books really do stand out from the crowd. And my definition of good is not as straightforward as it sounds. To classify a kid’s book as worthy it has to be visually appealing with lovely illustrations, have a truly good story, be well written (for the most part) and not drive me absolutely bat-sh** to read it for the 1,000th time. I’m tellin’ ya, it’s a tough bar. Pete the Cat does not make the cut. But I’ve managed to begin building a collection of kids books that both I and my kiddo equally adore. To the point where he has half of them nearly memorized. And wants to read each a minimum of three times in a row, stretching evening storytime into a freaking hour, but I digress. Because these books don’t suck, I’m ready and willing to do it.

To remind, I now have a toddler one my hands, so these are not board books. He’s just trustworthy enough to flip through the pages on his own. While I’ve found some good board books I love, classics like Go Dogs Go and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, I haven’t found as many board books that I also find truly compelling. If anyone has any recs, I’d love to see them!apt34_childrensbooks

1. Almost an Animal Alphabet by Katie Viggers. This alphabet book takes the ABCs to another level. Charming illustrations, actually interesting information about animals and a hidden joke or two make me smile every time we read this book.

2. Ish by Peter H. Reynolds. Ish might just be my favorite children’s book I’ve read thus far. A truly sweet story about a little boy who loves to draw, but his joy is stymied when he’s teased. But through a lesson, from a younger sister no less, little Ramon finds his love of art again. Delightful illustrations and great life lessons make this book a true treasures.

3. Home by Carson Ellis  Home is a wonderful visual story about the definition of just that, home. Be it a nest, an apartment, a pasture or wigwams or boats, this book celebrates how and where all beings live. The illustrations soar above my bar and the diversity of places keep you guessing and the little delighted. It’s a winner.

4. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. If you’re looking for a book that will crack you up virtually every time you read it, I Want My Hat Back is certainly one. The humor is most definitely adult, but the illustrations keep the kiddos engaged. They might not get the joke in the end, but that almost makes it more fun. This one is also short. Always a bonus when wine is calling. (am I bad mom??)

5. Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts. If books that rhyme start to make you crazy after a while, Iggy Peck will save you. While written in verse, the story of a little boy who falls in love with architecture is witty, entertaining, and truly fun to read. You’ll love the pictures, you’ll love the message. There are also sister books, Ada Twist Scientist, and Rosie Revere Engineer are equally great.

6. I’d Know You Anywhere My Love by Nancy Tillman. This story is about a mother’s love for her children, but told through eyes of a child playing make believe. If your little loves animals this is a perfect book. It communicates a monther’s devotion while also empowering the child to use their imagination. It also introduces uncommon animals like the Blue Footed Booby. I just adore it.

7. We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen. This is the only book on my list from the same author that I mentioned before. The language in these books is so simple (would be good for early readers). The illustrations are a crack up. And there’s another wonderfully adult joke at the end. It’s a gem.

8. The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfeld Martin. This is another uplifting little tale about parents’ love for their children. I love the modern, dare I say hipster-esque illustrations. There are great messages for littles about caring, empathy, creativity and joy. There’s a fun little flip out section that makes my little guy say wow. It’s got all the pieces you need for a book both they and you’ll love.

I’m so excited to be raising a little reader. There is nothing more satisfying then seeing my little plop down and pick up a book all on his own. Or recite snippets of the books we read frequently. Books truly do open a child’s mind, inspire, teach and entertain.

I can’t wait to add even more to my little guy’s library with all the other Mamas’ recommendations! Check them out below.

The Refined Woman / Ave Styles / Sacramento Street / The Life Styled / The Effortless Chic / Freutcake


For our entire Real Talk / Real Moms archive CLICK HERE.

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‘SNL’ Went For The Golden Shower Jokes, Guess Who Got Pissed

Our last post was about an (alleged) golden shower recipient, so why not shoot for one more? Above is Saturday Night Live going after Donald Trump’s first press conference and all of the golden shower slash compromised by Russia yellow undercurrent that came with it. Needless to say, our president-elect wasn’t doing anything like, oh I dunno, learning the bare minimum about how the federal government works, so he took his tiny hands to Twitter to demonstrate for the thousandth time that he’s an easily baited, orange bitch. Although, at least he didn’t insult a civil rights leader over MLK weekend. Again. Baby steps.

And if you’re tired of these, “You’ll Never Believe What Donald Trump Just Tweeted,” stories that are clogging up an already shit-packed media – *gestures around at this very site* – those should probably be coming to an end soon because here’s Donald Trump criticizing the director of the CIA yesterday. Because fucking with the intelligence community has been going really awesome for him so far. Talk about a great plan. It’s definitely not sad!

And to make this post extra full of #content, here’s the newest Mark Hamill reading Trump tweets as The Joker recording to remind everyone that, yes, America would totally elect a cartoon super-villain president, but only if he’s crazy racist. Otherwise, it’d just be silly.

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Photos: NBC/YouTube

Is There a Good Way to Handle Seeing an Ex?

No matter our age or stage in life, we can all relate to relationship woes. Long lost loves. Loves of lives past. Every relationship we have informs who we are today. So I can certainly relate to age-old dilemma – what to do when you unexpectedly run into of an ex. Regardless of your current relationship status, I agree with our semi-regular relationship contributor Megan – it is an act of human decency for an ex to acknowledge the kindness and loving that once existed. Sadly, it doesn’t always go down that way. Sound familiar? Read below to see if this story applies to you too.

I saw him coming. The final mile of a sweaty, September-time run isn’t the most glamorous place to run into an ex, per se, but whatcha gonna do?

Though we live in the same big city – not big enough, apparently – we’ve managed to belly up to different bars and wander aisles of different Targets for years. Until now.

Here he was, seemingly a million years later, walking on a trail as I was running (jogging? barely moving? wheezing and looking like I was stumbling towards death?) towards him. He looked exactly the same, still wearing those damn baseball caps, except now he has a beautiful wife to his side, a toddler who is in desperate need of a modeling contract in a stroller and another lil’ babe baking in the proverbial oven. All the while I’ve been white-knuckling what’s left of my youth and dopily ambling around in the dating world. Real funny, universe.

Unless I was going to dive into the woods that hugged the trail, there was no escaping him, no chickening out of this. So I took my sunglasses off and propped my chin up. Then, halfway through saying “hi!,” we passed, his eyes glued to the trail. That was it.

He completely ignored my existence. That, or he was very concerned about tripping over itty bitty pebbles and couldn’t dare look up, but doubt it.

Suddenly I remembered him and I entangled on my bed, crying over his father’s death. I remembered my shoes full of sand as we walked along the Mississippi River and discussed Big Life Dreams. I remembered cornfield after cornfield of the road trips we took together. I remembered him throwing up in my bed on his 21st birthday, forgodssake.

It’s wild – wild! – to me that, during one part of our lives, we’d spent so much time together and now whatever-that-was wasn’t even worth a “hello” to him. What was probably an easy (but cowardly) decision for him was sadly insulting to me.

I don’t need much. Hell, I didn’t even need him to give me a stack of laundry quarters for the barfing-in-bed situation. But apparently I did need this ex-boyfriend from college who I haven’t seen or much less thought of in years to acknowledge that we were kind and loving to each other in a rough and rocky part of both of our lives and that – hey! – we had fun together and we can co-exist in the same city, on the same trail, and that’s just fine. Apparently.

So here’s what I’ve learned: just say hi. You’ll always feel better. When in arm’s reach of someone who used to mean something to you, ask yourself what the adult thing to do is. (Hint: it’s usually the opposite of the easy thing.) We all have to pull on our nasty woman pants one leg at a time, but sometimes you’re sweating your face off pretending you enjoy running and see an ex coming and only have a half-second to think, so quick, yank those pants up!

In this bickering, brawling world, what do we owe each other? Kindness. Empathy. And oftentimes, just a hello will do.


For more of Megan’s brilliant takes on love and life in our Love Series archive, CLICK HERE

image by sketcharound

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