Paganism

Pagan Celebrations of Vernal Equinox

March 19, 1999

Source: The Boston Herald

On March 19, 1999, The Boston Herald featured an article on Pagan celebrations of the vernal equinox, which honor the arrival of spring and Eostra, the Teutonic goddess of spring. Pagan lore recounts that a rabbit so wanted to please Eostra that it laid sacred eggs in her honor. The rabbit then decorated the eggs and presented them to Eostra. She was so pleased with the eggs that the rabbit was sent across the land to distribute the eggs. Although vernal equinox celebrations differ from coven to coven, many Pagans do paint the eggs...

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Lawsuit Brought Against Lincoln Park Public Schools in Michigan

February 20, 1999

Source: The Detroit News

On February 20, 1999, The Detroit News published an editorial noting that a 17-year-old high school student in Lincoln Park High School, Crystal Seifferly, is suing the school system for not giving her the right to wear a pentagram, the symbol of her Wiccan faith. In an attempt to curb violence and gang activity within the school system, the principal of the high school announced a policy that would target "inappropriate activities" such as "graffiti," "gang colors/styles," "cult dress/styles," "black nail polish," and "Pentagram...

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Pagan Education Network Creates Pagan Community Fund

December 25, 1998

Source: Pagan Education Network

On December 25, 1998 Pagan Education Network released a press release stating that "The Pagan Educational Network, Inc. is proud to announce the founding of the Pagan Community Fund. This fund, formerly known as the Wiccan Community Fund, provides cash assistance to Pagans in need. Recipients may use the assistance to put food in the cupboard, pay bills, recover from some natural disaster, or fund legal efforts in the case of religious discrimination."

Winter Solstice Celebrants Arrested

December 23, 1998

Source: The New York Times

On December 23, 1998 the New York Times reported that 33 participants in a Winter Solstice celebration were charged with trespassing. The Staten Island beach is technically closed after dusk, and the ritual fire was seen as problematic. "Ms. Henes, 53, said she had held at least 15 solstice ceremonies on South Beach and never run into a problem before. 'In the past,' she said, 'sometimes the Fire Department has come because someone has seen the fire, and we say, look, this is our religion, and they have been very respectful and...

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Massachusetts Candidate for Governor Runs Advertisement That Stereotypes Witches

November 1, 1998

Source: Chicago Tribune

On November 1, 1998, the Chicago Tribune issued an article concerning a television advertisement that was run by acting Massachusetts Governor Paul Celluci in his bid for election. In the advertisement, which is supposed to attack the priorities of his opponent Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, a "black-hatted, green-faced crone" was featured while an announcer said that Harshbarger once threatened to prosecute a Christian group for harassing a group of Wiccans in Salem. In reaction to the advertisement, a rally was...

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Wiccan Reflections on Halloween/Samhain

October 31, 1998

Source: St. Petersburg Times

On October 31, 1998, the St. Petersburg Times published an article entitled, "Witches Rejoice, Reflect on Halloween." Robin Spaulding, a Wiccan priestess who lives in northeast St. Petersburg, says that "on Samhain, that is the time you are most likely to communicate with the spirits that have passed on." Susan Granby of the Compass Coven in St. Petersburg suggests that Samhain is both a celebration of life and a time to say farwell to the spirits of those who have died this year.

Wiccan Reflections on Halloween/Samhain

October 29, 1998

Source: Los Angeles Times

On October 31st, while many Americans celebrate Halloween as trick-or-treating and costume-wearing, Wiccans celebrate Samhain or Hallowmas, which is the Wiccan New Year. Two articles were written which engage Halloween as a Wiccan holiday. On October 29, 1998, the Los Angeles Times published an article entitled, "Their Guiding Light." Ruth Barrett, instructor and co-founder of Circle of Aradia in Southern California, describes Samhain as the "night where the veil between worlds is thinnest: between this world and the spirit...

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Wiccan Wedding Ceremony in a Public Park

September 20, 1998

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

On September 20, 1998, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Christina Francis and Rick Beckner had exchanged wedding vows on September 19th in Scout Lake Park in Greendale, WI. Describing the Pagan community of her youth in Milwaukee as "very hush-hush," Francis now sees the Pagan community as "more comfortable with visibility," such that she is now able to enjoy her wedding ceremony in a public park. Francis and Beckner were joined in a ceremony known to Wiccans as second-degree handfasting, which is a legal...

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Pagans Establish Fund to Assist African-American Congregations

August 17, 1997

Source: Pagan Educational Network

On August 17, 1996 the Pagan Educational Network released a press release stating that "In response to the burning of African-American churches across the South, the Pagan Community Fund (PCF) and the Pagan Educational Network (PEN) announce the birth of the Yemaya Fund... The birth of this fund springs from PCF's mission to assist those in need regardless of their faith and PEN's commitment to build community and religious freedom for all."

Pagan Education Network Announces E-mail List for Alternative Community

July 31, 1997

Source: Pagan Education Network

On July 31, 1997 Pagan Education Network released a press release stating "The Pagan Educational Network is proud to announce the launch of the Sacred Action e-mail list. The list grew out of PEN's April 1997 conference of the same name. It is dedicated to furthering Pagan networking, facilitating joint action on issues of importance to the Pagan community, and building an alternative community. Topics include spirituality, human rights, the environment, sexuality,...

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Pagan Yemaya Fund Makes First Disbursement

June 22, 1997

Source: Pagan Educational Network

On June 22, 1997 Pagan Educational Network published a press release stating that "On June 22, 1997 the Yemaya Fund made its first disbursement to the Inner City Community Church in Knoxville, TN. The gift of one hundred dollars was accompanied by a letter from the fund's sponsors, the Pagan Educational Network and the Wiccan Community Fund, and materials about Paganism. The Yemaya Fund was established in August 1996 to provide Pagans with a way of...

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