Rain and Fire, the new normal?

Summer is upon us here on the mountain, with evidence of climate change all around. We in New England have had rain every day for weeks and the weather channel reports that there will be rain for the next week as well. Meanwhile the south west is baking in record heat. Nineteen (nineteen!) firefighters died yesterday in just one Arizona fire. The evidence for climate change is everywhere yet the right wing still denies it. In North Carolina for example, legislators are forbidden to use scientific predictions for coastal sea water rise in their planning.

In a related vein, while the Supreme Court has finally dealt a death blow to the Defense of Marriage Act, right wingers cry foul, insisting that marriage as God intended it, can only be between one man and one woman. Oddly, the Bible that they base this on is rife with polygamy, slavery, the death penalty for adultery, and patriarchs having sex with their daughters. Jesus said nothing about “one man and one woman”, nor did he bash homosexuals.

Back in February I read about the Witch persecutions in New Guinea and elsewhere and I thought that this would be something the Pagan community should protest. I appealed to a number of “Pagan leader” groups and penned a letter to Elizabeth Warren, my Senator, and urged them to do the same with their own Senators. A handful of Pagans co-signed my letter and I sent it off to Senator Warren.

After placing a few follow up phone calls with her human rights aide I finally got a response;

Dear Ellen,

Thank you for contacting me to express your concern about the recent and horrible acts of violence against women in Papua New Guinea. I was shocked and saddened to learn of the killing of Kepari Leniata in February. As you know, the 20-year-old was tortured and burned alive, all while hundreds of people watched and blocked local officials from reaching her. Any culture or legal system that condones such gross abuses of human rights needs to be closely examined and changes must be made.

I support the efforts of the United Nations to encourage Papua New Guinea to take a strong stance in opposition to the increasing violence against people accused of sorcery and to repeal the 1971 Sorcery Law that institutionalized discrimination and helped fuel a culture of fear. I understand that the prime minister of Papua New Guinea has plans to repeal the law, and I hope that this action will put an end to the persecution and violence occurring in the country.

I appreciate your advocacy on this issue. I will continue to monitor the situation closely and look for ways to continue to promote human rights worldwide.


Elizabeth Warren
United States Senator

A few months later I got the word that the sorcery law was repealed.

While I can’t claim credit for this, the timing is interesting. I often hear people decrying the do-nothing congress and saying there is nothing we as citizens can accomplish. I continually urge them to write and phone their representatives. Politicians want to be re-elected and each time they hear from one of us they assume ten to one hundred feel the same way. It quickly adds up when we make our voices heard!

Another example of this is the climate change speech that Obama finally gave  which I suspect was given in part due to the outcry from Americans over the ill conceived Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline. We all know that the time for investing in fossil fuels is long past, even the weather channel has confirmed global warming.  The time, energy and money that would go into building this ecologically dangerous pipeline (see
Every tree and plant died” Canada oil pipeline spill) would be better invested in sun, wind, solar, bio-mass, geo-thermal and conservation measures. Investing in fossil fuels will only hasten the destruction of life as we have come to know it.

In religion news, at Solstice there were the usual revels at Stonehenge with the attendant problems of drunkenness and rowdy behavior. Why anyone would want to piss on one of the most important Pagan temples in the world is a mystery to me. There is an obvious need for a park nearby to be set aside for the revelers and their booze. Druids and other serious sun worshippers should be able to observe the Solstices in reverence and peace.

Meanwhile scholars have posted yet another theory about what Stonehenge was designed to do.

June is always the most dangerous month up here on the mountain, probably because the local wildlife (coyotes, coy-dogs, wolves, coy-wolves, fisher cats, bears, owls, eagles, etc.) have young to feed. Over the years I have lost a beloved cat as have neighbors on both sides, always in June. A few weeks ago I found a disemboweled poodle in the woods next to the drive way, I was alerted by the sight of two huge Turkey Vultures sitting on a limb, something I had never seen before. I had a very prosperous looking black bear in the yard a week ago, while one of the cats was out there. The cat climbed a tree to escape.
Even the skunks are being persecuted. Last night I woke up at 2 AM with the scent of skunk wafting into my bedroom window!

The only good thing about the rain is that I have masses of roses this year and my Easter Lillies are over six feet tall, something that has never happened. The frogs and mosquitoes are ecstatic.

Here is a belated Solstice gift for you all; A poem by Yeats set to music by The Waterboys.

Below you will find the latest book and podcast news, as well as the usual recap of the past Moonth’s archeology, religion and nature news. If you purchase a book or DVD from this website you will get a signed copy and a personal note!

Interviews and Reviews

  • A podcast I did with Phaedra Bonewits on June 5
  • A really nice letter regarding the DVD “Pagans – The Wheel of the Sacred Year” (available for purchase on this site)

    I came across your production of Pagans, Wheel of the Sacred Year, yesterday, just by chance. I had taken this vhs out of a local library back in 2003, in south Florida, and was very happy to see it. I had just recently began studying Paganism, and this put every thing I read in perfect vision for me, this was my path ever since I was a young child growing up in rural New England and then moving to Florida, as a young child, I still was a student of nature and the seasons. For many years after the first viewing of this beautiful explanation of Paganism I wanted to see it again, but failed to remember the title of the video. I told many people of it and went back to the libraries, but as times passes so do the products. I love to Google photos and yesterday, just by magic, I googled Pagan videos, and as I came across a snippet of your story, I watched the first sabbat, Yule, and I knew I found it after all these years, this got me so excited, I did more research and found out who did it. I can’t tell you how happy I am , to know be able to have this for my own, Thank You, again for this beautiful portrayal of us Pagans, many people do not understand what this belief is all about, maybe now I can change this thought. Bless you, keep making videos for all of us to see, you have a great website, with lots of informative and engaging information.
    Most Sincerely, Diane Gardner of Hollywood Florida

    See a short clip from the DVD here. The whole thing is about 70 minutes and covers all the festivals of the Earth year, as celebrated by many different traditions.

Upcoming Workshops

  • I will be speaking on Scottish Fairy Lore July 13 at 7 PM in NH!
    And on Ancient Irish Sacred Sites on July 27, at 7:30 PM
    Press Contact: Mose Olenik
    Mariposa Museum & World Culture Center
    26 Main Street
    Peterborough, NH 03458
  • Celtic Tree Magic and Chant workshop
    Come to lovely New England in the Fall and learn Celtic tree lore, Scots Gaelic and Irish prayers and chants. September 20-22 in Western Massachusetts (at Earthlands).
    Please share the flier if you can!
    Come for the Fall foliage. Six vegetarian meals, lodging provided (airport pick ups for those who need them).

Archeology News

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