Who am I, Now?

I have been struggling with my identity for over a year. Each time I come up against my usual habit of proclaiming my battlefields, i.e. “I am a bisexual Wiccan warrior woman of color, hear me roar!”

But today my mentor asked me a question. “What battle are you fighting now?”

And the answer was revelatory. “I am not on any battle field”

“So why are you still fighting?”

Good question ...

Our latest discussion concerns my calling myself a priestess. First off, it is not about me being a priestess, but my inclusion of that title in my self description, as in “Poet, Priestess, Warrior & Witch.” Skipping over the obvious battlefield references inherent in the “Warrior & Witch” parts, what is the purpose of declaring myself to be a priestess?

To me it is a title that best describes what I do day in and day out. It signifies my leadership role in the realm of spiritual community. And to me it is no different than the collar on a Catholic priest or the “Rev” on a minister’s calling card.

So my mentor asked me why I didn’t just call myself a teacher. Well I am a teacher, but I felt like the teaching part was inherent in the title of priestess. And this is where we hit the snag in our conversation. Because according to Dr Conforti, clergy and teachers occupy very different archetypal fields.

Teachers are inherently within the realm of elders, storytellers and the learning process. Clergy are within the realm of institutional and societal power. The explanations of Joseph Campbell figure highly here.

“In ancient times, that was the business of the [priest]. He was to give you the clues to a spiritual life. That is what the priest was for. Also, that was what ritual was for. A ritual can be defined as an enactment of a myth. By participating in ritual, you are actually experiencing a mythological life. And it’s out of that participation that one can learn to live spiritually.”

“A priest is a functionary of a social sort. The society worships certain deities in a certain way, and the priest becomes ordained as a functionary to carry out that ritual. The deity to whom he is devoted is a deity that was there before he came along. But the shaman’s powers are symbolized in his own familiars, deities of his own experience. His authority comes out of a psychological experience, not a social ordination.”

And the birthplace of religion is to be found within how “... the shaman ... translate[s] some of his visions into ritual performances for his people.”

But as soon as the hunter gatherers settled down and begin building institutions, the shaman was slowly replaced by priests who focused on the forms and structures and left out the “troublesome” mystical sources of the shaman.

And this speaks to the core of my internal conflict. I am both a shaman working with deities of my own experience and enacting my visions in ritual, and a priestess who is ordained to carry out societal functions. And further, my role as priestess flies in the face of the majority culture’s Abrahamic orientation, i.e. Christian, Jewish and Islamic.

So calling myself a priestess is both charging into another battlefield, and entering an archetypal realm ripe with issues like power differentials, spiritual inflation and clerical abuse. No wonder this is so hard.

Conversely as a teacher it seems simpler and more straightforward. A teacher guides, illustrates, and points out the path, the thread, or the essence. As my teacher David Rottman declares, “We can learn some things on our own, but for the rest we need teachers.” The ancient source of teachers is less conflicted and the mythological source is still close at hand. So the archetypal realm of the teacher may hold some negative aspects, but it is not as corrupted as the field of clergy is for both shaman and priests.

I actually feel less conflicted, less defensive even, when I call myself a teacher. And this difference is key here. Publicly declaring myself a priestess pulls up all my defensiveness, I feel like I am picking up the dropped flag and charging into battle. And quite frankly, I am tired of being constantly on the battlefield.

This questioning has been helpful for me in so many ways. It has helped me to clarify my internal conflict and its archetypal source. And since I am unwilling to fight battles I do not need or want, I can accept that I am both a priestess and a shaman without having to declare it for the world. And most importantly, I feel much more willing to declare my identity to the world in a new way. A way that reflects the ease I feel within me and within my work.

Katrina Messenger, teacher and writer ... hmmm ...

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Wed, 03/21/2012 - 7:24pm.

Hail to Inanna, Queen of Heaven

On October 30th, 2011, a group of pagans gathered in Lafayette Square in front of the White House to honor the feminine divine and support religious freedom. We were motivated partially by the malefic prayers of NAR, but mostly out of our love for the goddesses of our various traditions. Here is my speech, my invocation and my prayer from the ceremony.

_ _ _

In September of 2001, many of us felt overwhelmed and filled with emotions from fear to rage, from shock to grief, and from numbness to action.

For those of us who study mythology, we too felt all those same feeling, but we felt something else at work beneath the surface. And here I must quote the late Dr Maggie Macary in her inaugural blog of November of 2001.

“I felt paralyzed along with the rest of the world, wondering how to move forward in life in the face of so much death and destruction. In the days that followed, further news of terrorist acts and death confounded me, leaving me at a loss for words.  I have felt locked in a liminal, in-between state since September, betwixt and between what once was and what will soon be.  Now, during the darkest days between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice, I feel lost in the Underworld, trying to remember: how does life go on in the face of death? 

As always, I return to my solace: the myths of life, death and rebirth, those timeless stories of darkness and light, despair and hope. ... In studying these stories of death and descent, I am reminded what the ancients knew so wisely: that all transformation, all initiatory experiences, must first begin with a death. The ancients understood this instinctively, basing their rituals, the same rituals that appear disguised over and over again in our own modern lives, on a cosmogonic cycle in which a retreat to Chaos is required before a new world can be created. This Chaos is the end of a “mode of being,” a death to the old life in preparation for the new.  In our modern lives, we forget that death is the beginning of renewal, a time to dismantle the old in preparation for the new.

It is this forgetting of the old patterns, the loss of our retelling the old tales, the forgotten reenactments of initiatory and cosmogonic rituals, that causes us to feel despair at so much death and destruction.  In these tales and rituals humans have found a spiritual comfort that transcends the literal tragic events of life. These tales and rituals allowed people to experience the rebirth that comes from the darkest places of death. Without the retelling, life begins to lose its sense of spiritual meaning and the unconscious steps forward to create its own destructive patterns. ...

It is conscious re-mythologizing of the old tales that becomes important for healing to occur.

... We are not the authors of the stories, we are the re-tellers, the ones who once more take up the ancient myths and through our imaginations, make these stories our own. In the process, we will find a healing that revitalizes our lives.

...Let us rekindle the hearth fires and gather around to re-tell the old stories. Let us hold tight to one another through the long dark nights ahead, and remember that, as always, the light will soon return.”

I savor her precious wisdom, but unlike Dr Macary, I am not only a mythologist, I am also a pagan priestess. So I do not just retell the old stories, I honor the gods within these precious remnants of our ancient human heritage.

And for me, the stories of descent not only lead me toward healing and transformation, they bring me into the presence of many of the old gods. And it is important to honor them all, but today we are here to honor especially Inanna, the Queen of Heaven.

And it is during times of darkness, despair and confusion, that many shrink from the transformative work, clinging instead to forms and structures that are falling apart, creating orthodoxy from past nostalgias and even resisting the turning of the great wheel.

It is at times like these that folks clinging to the status quo demonize the old gods. It seems far easier to denigrate the Queen of Heaven than to follow in her footsteps.

And so the New Apostolic Reformationist have deliberately focused on demonizing the Queen of Heaven. Even today as we gather to hold up Columbia, herself a very American goddess, they seek to dislodge her from her perch because in their eyes, she is an aspect of the Queen of Heaven.

But I am here to say that if our American Goddess, Columbia is an aspect of Inanna, then we will hold them both up for devotion, honor and worship. Because that means that Columbia, like Inanna has the power to transform, the power to heal and the power to guide us towards the new world that is coming into being all around us.

And so today, we honor Inanna, Columbia, and a host other goddesses with prayers and songs.

And in the words of Doctor Macary ...

“Let us rekindle the hearth fires and gather around to re-tell the old stories. Let us hold tight to one another through the long dark nights ahead, and remember that, as always, the light will soon return.”

So mode it Be!

_ _ _

Invocation

*Our Lady of the Morning is Radiant
She looks down upon us from Heaven

We sing your praises, Holy Inanna
Radiant on the horizon (2x)

We call to Inanna
Queen of Heaven & Earth
Daughter of the Moon

Procurer of the Me
Keeper of the laws
Earning the right through ordeal
to rule all she surveys

We call to Inanna
Queen of Heaven & Earth
Daughter of the Moon

Admirer of her own sexuality
Taking what is hers to receive
Lover of Men and
The Giver of Pleasure

We call to Inanna
Queen of Heaven & Earth
Daughter of the Moon

Journeys under her own authority
Knocks on the gates of the darkness
Enters to face the dark Queen
And dies to be reborn

We call to Inanna
Queen of Heaven & Earth
Daughter of the Moon

Guide us in our journey
Show us the way
Help us face the darkness
of our own transformation

We call to Inanna
Queen of Heaven & Earth
Daughter of the Moon

*Our Lady of the Morning is Radiant
She looks down upon us from Heaven

We sing your praises, Holy Inanna
Radiant on the horizon (2x)

*Original song written by Katrina Messenger

_ _ _

Prayer

Hail Inanna, Queen of Heaven & Earth
I am your daughter and priestess

I who bow in your presence and revel in your love
pray that you bless this work and these people
gathered in your honor.

We greet you as our queen, our guide and our mother
We ask that you bless this work and hear our prayers

Teach us how to reach outside of our comfort
for the work that is ours and true

Give us courage to take what is ours by birth
and defend these traditions and mysteries
against the tyranny of fear

Delight in our beauty and innocence
while gently nudging us forward on our path

Help us to hear the call to healing
and step on the journey of transformation

Open our hands so we can let go of what is non essential
Hold us close when despair takes hold

Revive us with the waters of life
and guide us back into the living light

Hail Inanna, Queen of Heaven & Earth
We who are your children, please protect us with your love.

_ _ _

Copyright 2011 Katrina Messenger

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Thu, 11/03/2011 - 4:45pm.

DC Pagans Countering Dominionist Prayer Campaign on October 30th

For Immediate Release

DC Pagans to Hold Halloween Ceremony Countering the New Apostolic Reformation Cursing Prayer Campaign On October 30th in Lafayette Square Park

Priestesses and priests from the Washington, DC Pagan community will hold a Celebration of the Divine Feminine and Religious Freedom in Lafayette Square Park across from the White House on Sunday, October 30th, 2011, as a protest to the New Apostolic Reformation’s 51-day prayer campaign targeting Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, Druids, Heathens, and other Goddess-worshipers nationwide.

The New Apostolic Reformation is a Dominionist group of Christians preaching that all feminine forms of deity are demonic. The NAR is engaged in a 51-day campaign of imprecatory prayer to create a fundamentalist Christian theocracy in the USA. Republican presidential hopefuls Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry are influenced by the NAR agenda.

Reverend Barry Lynn, United Church of Christ minister and executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said, “Some people think the Dominionists and the New Apostolic Reformation are a newfangled movement. I call them what they are: the Religious Right in a new gown. They're not fooling anyone. This is the same old bunch of theocrats we've been dealing with for more than 40 years. It's the same crew that believes only its narrow version of Christianity is acceptable and pleasing to God. It's the same collection of people who believe their religion gives them the right to run everyone else's lives.”

Rev. Lynn went on to say, “I have news for them: Wiccans and Pagans are part of the American religious mosaic, and they're here to stay. Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison gave us religious liberty - and that means religious liberty for everyone. The followers of nature-based faiths are going to use it because they don't want to lose it. What could be more in keeping with the great American tradition?”

Katrina Messenger, a writer, teacher, blogger, poet and Washington, DC native, will be the main celebrant in Lafayette Square Park. Ms. Messenger said, "The methods used by the NAR and other Dominionists are founded upon hate, fear, and ignorance. Their demonization of our Gods and Goddesses uses inflammatory language that can lead to violence and discrimination against followers of minority religions. We have choices in how to respond to this threat to our freedom and our faiths. Many are resorting to prayer, some to writing letters, and some to defensive strategies. We decided to honor the Queen of Heaven, the Goddess Inanna, in a public space, and demonstrate the very freedoms the Dominionists seek to destroy." Ms. Messenger is the founder of Connect DC and the Reflections Mystery School in Petworth.

Event organizer Caroline Kenner is a Washington, DC-born shamanic healer and teacher who now lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. “Nationally, many in our community are appalled by the scurrilous lies about our Goddesses spread by the New Apostolic Reformation. We Pagans are proud American citizens entitled to all the religious freedom granted by the Founders of this country in our Constitution. We are dismayed by the hate-filled rhetoric the New Apostolic Reformation uses, and we wish to show the public that our Goddesses are beneficent and peaceful deities.”

The event in Lafayette Square Park begins at noon and ends at 5pm on Sunday, October 30th, Samhain eve to many Pagans, leading into one of the most holy days of the Pagan year. “Samhain, or Halloween, is the Feast of the Ancestors in some of our Pagan religions. We will invoke the Founding Fathers and Mothers of our nation during our ceremony, along with a multitude of Goddesses from pantheons both ancient and modern. Among our Goddesses will be Lady Liberty and Columbia, the Goddess who stands guard atop the Capitol Building,” said Ms. Kenner. “The New Apostolic Reformation people would topple Columbia from Her pinnacle, and rename DC the District of Christ.”

There will be a number of people offering prayers during the ritual, including a Unitarian Universalist minister and celebrants from several Pagan faiths. After the religious ceremony, there will be drumming, dancing, chanting and energy raising designed to protect people in all fifty states and DC who support freedom of religious belief and practice for everyone. People of all faiths or none are welcome to join the event.

Sacred Space, an annual conference on metaphysics, mysticism and magick, now in its 22nd year, is the sponsor of the celebration in Lafayette Square Park on October 30th. Supporting organizations include Connect DC, Reflections Mystery School and Gryphons Grove School of Shamanism. Individual supporters include Washington, DC Pagan bloggers Hecate Demeter, Literata and David Salisbury.

For more information or to read the NAR curse against Pagans, visit: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildhunt/2011/09/the-new-apostolic-reformat...

CONTACT:
Caroline Kenner
301-384-8455
301-412-1760
mythkenner@aol.com

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Wed, 10/19/2011 - 1:29pm.

Reflections Admissions

Reflections is accepting applications for 2012 school year till Samhain, October 31st.

Every year we post the Reflections application for admissions and every year we hear the stories people make up within their minds about how difficult the application is or the fear it generates in some folks. I have received a great deal of push back about our admissions process. And every year like clockwork, the brave and the determined seem to submit the application just fine even with more than a little trepidation and every year they make it through the admissions process mostly unscathed.

And here we are again, another year of trepidation, nervous questions and more push back.

So this year like in previous years, I thought I would tackle another one of those “questions” we get at Reflections on a regular basis.

Why do we require folks to apply to Reflections instead of just admitting everyone who signs up?

I will answer the question, but first I need to tell you a couple of stories. (And I apologize for the length, but it could not be helped.)

Story #1: Witchcamp “Advanced” Paths

At Reclaiming witchcamps, we teach via a selection of paths. Each path meets daily at the same time, and each path will generally cover a different topic for the week. So in selecting a path, you were selecting your work for the week. You do not wander from path to path, you have to commit to a path for the week from day one. This works pretty well for the most part and the paths were usually advertised ahead of time and right after dinner on the first night, the path teachers describe their paths and the following morning, you have to pick which one to take.

However if you wanted to offer an advanced offering that required folks to be at a similar level of training, we found it helpful to require students to register for the path before camp. We would usually set a cut-off date in the camp brochure and require folks to send in letters directly to one of the teachers. So that once camp started, these students already knew what path they were in and had already completed some preparatory work.

And each year, there would be a couple of students who would request entry at camp, and each year, we would say no. Why? Because each of the students had committed to work ahead of time and as a result had already begun the work of the path. It was both a respect for their prior commitment and a guard against the new students starting up already behind the rest of the class.

Story #2: Michael Conforti, Ph.D and the Assisi Institute

Dr. Conforti founded the Assisi Institute a couple of decades ago. He began his work not knowing how it would turn out or that he would invent a new discipline in Jungian Psychology, Pattern Analysis. But one thing he learned long ago is the need to be selective in bringing in new teachers AND new students.

He shared recently that he interviews every prospective student before the application process because he wants to make sure that they are a right fit for the program. Why? Because he has worked so hard to build the learning environment (i.e. container), he wants to make sure that everyone who enters it can not only thrive, but contribute to its strength.

Dr. Conforti is not a pagan, but his attention to the learning container he has created should be familiar to any High Priest/ess worthy of the title. We try to learn as much as we can about anyone coming into our covens, lodges, circles and groups because we are guardians of the group boundaries.

The Admissions Process

And so I am determined to preserve the level of scholarship, the level of commitment and the level of maturity found within the mix of our student body. There are no perfect candidates, but I needed a way to tell if someone was capable of thriving in our school AND contributing to its overall strength.

The tool I use in addition to interviews is our application. It has twelve questions -- seven collect information such as your name, birthday, address, etc. The remaining five questions asks the candidate about their life, spiritual state, practices, references and what they seek from Reflections. Additionally we have them take a freely available Myers-Briggs test, and list classes that have taken or taught over the last 3 to 5 years.

When I wrote the application, I intended it as a way for folks to demonstrate their accomplishments, commitment, experience and depth. I had never even imagined that it would discourage good folks from applying.

And so recently I was advised to drop the application, and maybe just have interviews.

I thought long and hard about this issue and I decided to keep the application. Why? Well because interviews take up a great deal of my time, energy and attention. And if I am willing to talk to anyone who fills in an application, the least they could do is give me some information about themselves ahead of time. And the application provides me with just the information I need to conduct an interview.

And at the same time, I understand that the application may seem like an impersonal data gathering device. So here is my compromise.

I will explain what I am looking for in each question.

Questions 1 though 7 are pretty self explanatory. Here we get your names, info to pull your astrological information and ways of contacting you.

Starting at question 8 however is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak.

8 - Please explain briefly how you have demonstrated any three of the following; sustainability, willingness, self-care, humility, service and discipline.

So where did this list of qualities come from anyway. Well if you had taken the hint to read the website over carefully, it would have jumped out as the six vows of the Order of the Elemental Mysteries, The underlying spiritual tradition that supports Reflections.

And also notice what word is not listed in this question -- spiritual. This question is not about your spiritual life, it is a question whose sole purpose is to get you to talk about how these qualities already express themselves in your life, your entire life. It is an opportunity for you share your accomplishments in the world.

Did you train for a marathon, or work as a Peace corp volunteer? Did you serve in the military or help plant community gardens? Did you care for a sick relative or persevere in the face of great odds? Here is your chance to share it with us.

It is not an essay question on a college exam. We are not testing to see if you know what the words mean. We are simply giving you a chance to tell us something amazing about yourself.

9 - Please describe briefly your present sense of your spiritual strengths, abilities, challenges, and growing edges.

Now this is where we finally begin asking about your spiritual life. And again, it would help if you read the section on admissions on the website.

“Applicants are expected to have taken our foundation course Elemental Mysteries or its equivalent, participated in group ritual, and have taken steps on their own to deepen and expand their knowledge, skills and experience as a spiritual seeker

Acceptance into Reflections is based on a variety of factors including: experience, skill, knowledge, talent (latent as well as learned), maturity, self-awareness, appropriate uses of power & influence, stability, leadership and level of commitment. Special consideration is given for candidates who have tested themselves via initiation, long-term study, challenging leadership roles, or have faced difficult life challenges.

Although Reflections does not currently accept beginners in the craft, we do offer public foundations courses, such as Elemental Mysteries and the Language of Magick. Reflections however is a place for folks who have already begun the work of personal transformative change.”

So this section is asking that you demonstrate how you meet our expectations for admissions.

What are your skills, talent, knowledge, experience, etc. and what areas do you believe could be improved

10 - Please describe your current personal spiritual practice. How does this help you personally, in service, in leadership, and in community?

I always thought this was an easy question. What do you do and how does it help you. If you are a solitaire, fine. But how does your spiritual life impact the rest of your life? That is all we are looking for here. If you are not sure, say so. You cannot get this question wrong. There is no right answer. Really.

11 – Please list two people who can affirm the level of your magical/spiritual experience, ability and training. Please include either an evening phone number or email address for each. Listing their organizational affiliation is also helpful.

I have only contacted one reference ever and that was because the person misread the application, so I had to make sure it was just nervousness. That person is now one of my top students.

So please do not fret about this too much. I understand every one can have a bad breakup with former teachers or coven mates. But surely you know someone who will vouchsafe for you?

Because if you cannot get along with anyone, why on earth do you want to join a community of committed spiritual seekers?

12 – What do you seek to accomplish within Reflections? What are your hopes and aspirations? What are you fears and concerns?

Okay, this should be a straightforward question. Moving on ...

So now to the section that gives everyone a fright.

  • Please provide a list of all your magical/spiritual trainings over the last 3 to 5 years, including names of teachers and/or mentors. You can summarize as needed.

  • Please provide a list of all magical/spiritual classes you have offered over the last 3 to 5 years, including names of co-teachers and/or mentors. You can summarize as needed.

Everyone frets over these questions. So here is a hint. I am not using the answers to this question to determine if you get into Reflections. So relax. There is no wrong answer here. Just tell us what training you have had or provided. And “None” is a valid answer to either question.

And that is it, the entire application explained in detail. The only thing I did not discuss is the Myers Briggs test scores. And frankly, just attach the score sheet and forget about it.

So now, what else are you waiting for? An engraved invitation? Apply! The deadline is Samhain. I look forward to reading your application!

Blessings,
Katrina Messenger

Posted in

Submitted by katrina on Sat, 10/08/2011 - 3:56pm.

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Recent comments

  • Nephthys (not verified)

    I've been with Firefly for a number of years, I recently left my position at The Firefly Community to pursue other dreams but to be clear how much I was involved before I address the statements made, I was a teacher, Priestess, member of the Inner Circle of the Council of Elders, Course Contributor, Clergy, Delegate and Divination reader so I was quite involved with Firefly on many levels.

    I am offended by your statement that Firefly is cultish. Given my involvement as listed above I can safely say that Firefly members are not cultish in behaviour nor is Firefly cultish in of itself. I am no longer involved with Firefly in any strong capacity other than that of a student so I can also safely say this is not coming from a blind faith position. I will be the first to admit that part of the reason I left Firefly was because I did not agree with some of the changes Lady Iris intended to make, that being said, I don't support the idea that abuse should be turned into a political statement.

    I don't know Sean and I am not close to Lady Iris (I live in a different country) and have not commented on the situation with her marriage but some of his behaviours are reprehensible. If a President did this he would be impeached and booted so I fail to see why it should be ignored and relegated to 'personal marital issues' when behaviour like this is indicative of larger psychological issues. If Sean Bennett is allowed to use and abuse women in this fashion, eventually he would work his way through the single ladies in the OHF and what would you be left with?

    1 year 47 weeks ago
  • Virginia Carper (not verified)

    I for one have been pondering this question. Iris did highlight a valuable point - how are checks and balances established to prevent potential abuse and to air concerns. These are hard lessons that groups need to learn.

    Without denying people their agency, how do you set up a system that will prevent abuse by other members? How far does a group go to ensure the mental and emotional safety of the adult members?

    For example, I know with my disability (brain injury), I would deeply resent being told that the group is looking out for my best interests. It would seem to be paternalistic on the group's part to assume that I cannot fend for myself. But because of my disability, I can be easy prey for a con-artist. How do you solve a dilemma like that? Can this be encoded or is this sort of thing too nebulous to pin down?

    1 year 48 weeks ago
  • Virginia Carper (not verified)

    I have a traumatic brain injury.

    That being said, I got caught in the cross-fire in the Firefly Campaign, since I did not get with the program - i.e. Firemoon was abused by a sexual predator, who for the sake of the community had to be removed. I was shocked at how this mantra was repeated over and over everywhere it could be. I was shocked at how the Firefly folks did not identify themselves as they sought to achieve their goals. It left a poor taste about Firefly in my mouth since I started to regard them as "cultish", incapable of independent thought or discussion. Also it disturbed me how the Firefly folks who had nothing to do with DC, carried water in the campaign as well.

    Since I had lot of free time, I researched the consistent posters and everything I could find, and an disturbing picture arose. The one you described of a one-sided campaign to achieve a stated end, without proper identification or perspective.

    As for the brain injury - I got raked over the coals for making light of the issue from an avowed healer, who thought my injury was a ruse. That scared me into thinking that perhaps my impression of the "cultishness" of the Firefly group was true. (I know cult is a loaded word, but I cannot think of the word that would indicate a group of people, emotionally inflamed with one mission in mind, and not allowing any dissent.)

    1 year 48 weeks ago
  • Kali Firemoon (not verified)

    Katrina,

    I am so sorry that we have not met yet since it so obvious from your comments that you are a close personal friend of Iris’s and know all there is to know about the situation from a front row seat. I mean, after all, one who has seen a woman four months pregnant, losing weight and physically appearing to not be pregnant would of course understand the emotional, and yes, physical stress she was under. But of course, since you were there I don’t need to remind you of that. So lets move on to the rest of the story, you know where her husband chose to have unprotected sex with someone else, who I am sure was a complete virgin and posed no risk to mother or child, and then husband went home to engage in carnal activities with his wife, confident that his unborn child was never at risk. Yes, I am sure that all of your female students understand why you are firmly in the husband’s court. After all, it’s always the woman’s fault when marriages go bad. Or at least that is what I seem to glean from your article. Yes, I am Firefly, and I was one of the one’s chosen to help this woman after she was victimized by this predator who seems to have persuaded the pagan community that it is acceptable to treat not one, not two but at last count four woman as though they were simply a means to his end. And BTW I know she attempted to alert the community to her situation and apparently no one felt it worth even a cursory investigation. Oh yes, one more example of us not wanting to rock any one’s boat. I will tell you that in response to her story, several other pagan women have come forward with similar stories of abuse reported to the male members of a community met with similar disdain and an obvious desire to hide this type of behavior. Do I believe it happened this time, yes; do I believe that this community is willing, no matter the cost, to hide this type of behavior, yes. No one wants to call attention to the pagan community because we already have an undeserved stigma. But that does not mean we should allow behavior none of us condone simply because we are afraid of controversy. If one of us needs be sanctioned, then we either stand and sanction or accept the stigma so many would place upon us. We need to “police” our own. When four and probably five women come forth and tell the same story of predatory behavior against women we either act or fold the tents and go home. So I suggest you talk to all of them before you post any more pontifications. I also realize you can never post this but we both know you will have read it.

    1 year 48 weeks ago
  • Cara Schulz (not verified)

    Hello Katrina,
    Although we know one another, mostly online but also when we met at Sacred Harvest Festival, for your readers let me note that I'm the Managing Editor of PNC-News and the Co-Editor of PNC-Minnesota. I was the primary author of the PNC-News statement that you are writing about.

    The persons who contacted me asking when PNC would cover this were not Firefly members. Most were not local to DC, but were Pagans and polytheists in other parts of the country who had donated to the Pagan community center in DC and naturally had an interest in it. Why would they contact me? Because I'm the Managing Editor and people often contact me to ask if PNC is covering a story or to request that we cover a story. That's how we get many of our articles - through our readers.

    As for why PNC-News put two different situations in one statement, it's because they are related in nature and both needed to be addressed promptly.

    If anyone has any questions, we encourage them to contact us and ask them.

    1 year 48 weeks ago
  • Kat, Emralde (not verified)

    Thank you for this perspective. I very much appreciate the voice of the elders as I struggle with my own (not-voiced) feelings about this situation and its outcome.

    1 year 50 weeks ago