ARTEMAS, Penn. — A popular festival venue for Pagan events recently experienced an outbreak of suspected dysentery. Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary says it’s working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to investigate the outbreak and is taking steps to ensure the safety of future events, such as the upcoming SpiralHeart WitchCamp.
On the weekend of June 15, the Mad Tea Party took place at Four Quarters. According to Maryland Our Community Now, “By Sunday morning, reports of horrifying conditions began to emerge from festival attendees. The event page on Facebook has become an active forum for complaints as attendees report ambulance rides, hospital visits, and over 20 hours of illness after an apparent viral outbreak.” The report also says prior events this spring at Four Quarters have also experienced similar outbreaks.
Four Quarters quickly put out a message saying they were seeking answers to what caused the outbreak and asked attendees to report any health issues to the Pennsylvania Board of Health.
The venue is a popular site for Pagan and New Age events because of its central location, beautiful scenery, and modern facilities such as flushing toilets. The next Pagan event to be held at Four Quarters is SpiralHeart WitchCamp.
WitchCamp is “a week long, magical, intensive in the Reclaiming Tradition” and is scheduled to begin July 10.Gwion Raven is teaching at WitchCamp, and has been to Four Quarters for previous WitchCamp events. He describes the venue well-maintained and remembers seeing signs posted in key locations which warn about viral infections and what can be done to prevent them.
He says although the reports of illness concern him, he’s still planning to attend the event.
SpiralHeart WitchCamp messaged attendees saying they are aware of the problem: “Hello campers! In just under 3 weeks (20 days) we’re convening for our annual Summer Intensive at 4Quarters Farm. There was a recent outbreak of a viral GI illness at that venue. The PA Health Dept. has been involved, and it appears the virus was brought by recent attendees. Four Quarters is working with the PA Epidemiological Dept. and will be visiting onsite with them shortly. Our organizers are in contact with Four Quarters staff and we will update you when we have information.”
Raven says he’s going to take common sense precautions like bringing his own water and packing Pepto-Bismol, but is interested in knowing what caused the outbreak. “If the recent outbreaks have to do with the actual water system, hand-washing won’t help much,” he said.
Raven notes that viral infections at large gatherings aren’t that uncommon and says smaller events, like WitchCamp, place much less stress on a venue’s facilities.
Four Quarters put out a statement detailing what they know and the steps they put in place to limit viral infections from spreading during an event:
Recently we have suffered at Four Quarters outbreaks of a very contagious viral GI illness that is following the pattern of the 2008 season outbreaks. We have been in contact with our public health officials about Viral GI prior to the outbreak at the Mad Tea Party and have been in continuous contact since Sunday morning, June 18. We have been forwarding contact information, hospital information, test reports and samples directly to the PA Epidemiological Dept, and will be meeting with them on site shortly.
[…] In working with the PA Health Dept after our experience with Viral GI in 2008, we put into place policies and improvements under their recommendation. We believe these policies prevented a much wider outbreak at Mad Tea Party.
- We quarantine campers and campsites that display symptoms of any kind of GI distress, until it is known they are not infectious, and we supply these camps with chlorine wash-down supplies. We track arrival times, travel histories and first symptoms of cases reported to us.
- We educate through signage and publications about the nature of Viral GI. Much of our staff has passed Safe-Serve educational certification.
- During high risk events we continuously clean and chlorine wash-down all potties, water spigots, hand-wash stations and smooth public surfaces many times during the day.
- Our water supply is tested and licensed with daily chlorine readings and monthly sampling. We volunteered for this highest level of testing.
- Food vendors are safe-serve certified and are Health Dept. inspected prior to events. Our own kitchen is licensed to the commercial level with safe-serve certified staff.
Experts suggest the first line of defense against catching some type of illness at a festival is to get adequate sleep. One study suggests people who get less than six hours of sleep a night are four times more likely to catch a cold when exposed to the virus than those who get seven or more hours of sleep.They also say attendees should limit or avoid alcohol, wash hands frequently with soap and water, bring bottled water, and not share food utensils or beverage containers.
Heathenry: the religion of conservative, straight white guys who’d rather read an academic journal than join in a ritual; plus there’s a good chance they’re secretly Nazis.
Paganism: where all the shiny parts of the worlds’ religions are brought together by aging hippies and teen girls into a mish-mash of New Age spiritual hash.
By FLORENCE FABRICANT
Rachel Levin is likely to concentrate on midrange and affordable restaurants in a city awash in money from the technology industry.
Amazon to Buy Whole Foods for $13.4 Billion
By NICK WINGFIELD and MICHAEL J. de la MERCED
The deal for a physical grocery retailer reflects Amazon’s ambition to become an even more frequent shopping habit to customers.
ASK THE WIRECUTTER
Instant Pot, the Latest Prized Kitchen Gadget, Has Staying Power
The Instant Pot is incredibly convenient and practically foolproof, but its housing makes it bulky.
By DAMON DARLIN
The practically foolproof Instant Pot lets you throw a bunch of stuff in it and have dinner in 30-ish minutes. But it might bump your slow cooker off your countertop.
The Pleasure of a Chilled Soup on a Sweltering Day
By GABRIELLE HAMILTON
Ice-cold schav — salty, tart made from sorrel — offers heat-wave relief.
Recipe: Ice-Cold Schav
A Kenyan Pursuit: Perfecting the Chicken Dish Kuku Paka
The Kenyan dish kuku paka seems simple enough: chicken on the bone, in a sauce of spiced coconut milk. But you’ll find it cooked a number of ways across the country, and beyond.
By TEJAL RAO
This product of a rich immigration past thrives today as cooks across the country, and far beyond, continue tinkering with the recipe.
Recipe: Kuku Paka (Chicken With Coconut)
A GOOD APPETITE
Fattier Pork Is Better Pork
A brief stint of high-heat searing followed by a jaunt to the oven allows the edges of the pork chops to caramelize and the center to cook a little more slowly.
By MELISSA CLARK
Bone-in chops are easier to cook when they are marbled with fat — and they taste better too.
Recipe: Pork Chops With Tamarind and Ginger
The Savory Side of Carrot Cake
This savory carrot cake is garnished with cilantro, scallions, black sesame seeds and crushed red pepper.
By DAVID TANIS
At first glance, this well-spiced cake looks like dessert, but don’t be fooled: It’s iced with crème fraîche and hasn’t a speck of sugar.
Recipe: Savory Spiced Carrot Cake
A Blackberry Farm Chef Goes for a Broader Audience
Joseph Lenn, at J.C. Holdway in his hometown, Knoxville, Tenn., says his menu embraces international flavors, which were implicitly forbidden at Blackberry Farm.
By JANE BLACK
Joseph Lenn left the celebrated — and pricey — restaurant and resort to open J.C. Holdway in Knoxville, Tenn.
Recipe: Gochujang Barbecue Ribs With Peanuts and Scallions
Stackable Mixing Bowls for the Millennial Set
$70 at store.moma.org
By FLORENCE FABRICANT
These lightweight bowls are made from bamboo and come in a subdued palette of colors.
Graphic: A Brief History of the Tartufo
By TONY WOLF
A short visual history of this Italian frozen treat dipped in chocolate.
The Ideal Lemon Bar: A Fierce Filling and a Strong Supporting Crust
Quite possibly the only lemon dessert recipe you need, this bar has a crunchy, buttery crust and soft, creamy filling.
By JULIA MOSKIN
Recipe: Best Lemon Bars
A Rosé That Defies the Season
By FLORENCE FABRICANT
The first pink wine from Grgich Hills in Napa Valley would work well for a summer picnic or an autumn feast.
Bordeaux Estate Makes Fine Wines Naturally
Horses plowing the Château le Puy vineyard. The chateau uses horses on about a third of its vines to maintain the soil’s lightness.
By ERIC ASIMOV
Château le Puy follows its own muse, making wines that epitomize the French ideal of digestibilité.
Although it may be impossible to plot a direct evolutionary line in the development of the Arthurian legend from his earliest appearance as a semi-historical solider figure, to the imperial presence found in the later romances, there are certainly stages of tradition which can be identified.
TWH – For many people around the world, this week marks the celebration of the summer solstice, also known as midsummer or Litha. It is at this time that the Northern Hemisphere is tilted closest to the sun. The astrological date for this year’s solstice is June 21 at 04:24 UTC (or 12:24 a.m. EDT).
In honor of the abundance of daylight and sunshine, communities have long used bonfires, music, dancing, and outdoor festivals as traditional features of both religious rituals and secular celebrations. In some modern Pagan practices, it is believed that this holiday represents the highest ascendancy of masculine divinity.At the same time, our friends in the Southern Hemisphere are experiencing the exact opposite. They are coming together to celebrate and mark the winter solstice; a time of darkness, candles and inward reflection.
There are several international secular holidays that correspond to the midsummer holiday. In 1982, Make Music Day, held annually June 21, was established in France and has since spread to become a global solstice celebration of sound. On that same day, others will be honoring the United Nations’ official International Yoga Day, while still others will be taking to the warm summer mountain trails to celebrate Naked Hiking Day.
June also marks gay pride month — officially proclaimed this year as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month — which has grown in popularity over the past few decades. Events are specifically held in June to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, which happened in New York City on June 28, 1969.
As we noted this weekend, June is the month in which many countries honor fathers and father figures, and in the U.S. it marks the end of slavery.
While those celebrations mentioned above are all examples of secular-based traditions, there are just as many religious holidays that occur at this time, many of which are honored by modern Pagans, Heathens and polytheists. As already noted, there is the celebration of Litha or midsummer, or conversely Yule and midwinter.
The Fires of St. John festival, a Christian holiday, is also held at this time in many countries and is closely associated with the older midsummer solstice’s traditions, including bonfires and feasts. Similar celebrations are found in many European countries, often known by different names.
In Vodun, Lucumi and other African diaspora religions, there are a number of feast days celebrated around this time, including the Feast of Ochossi and Feast of Eleggua.
Here are a few thoughts on the season:
If you’re like me and don’t feel like lots of merriment this Litha, it’s a good time to reflect on the significance of this turning point in the wheel of the year. Wait for the cool of the evening if that’s possible. Light some candles. Pick an incense with a floral or citrus scent. Have a nice glass of wine or other relaxing beverage. Then take time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished since Yule. Have the seeds of ideas and projects you planted during the first part of the year been able to grow? If not, is there anything you can do to help them germinate during this time of the year that is focused on the greening of the earth? – David Taliesin, Litha (Summer Solstice) for Introverts
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The energy of Midsummer night is a long-understood atmosphere in Western culture. It means air warm enough for all-night goings-on outdoors. It means woods and meadows and moon-dappled hilltops. Nights for mystical and amorous adventures! Wherever you live, I suspect you know what I mean. The long, lovely evenings. – Mark Green, Hail the Magnificent Sun.
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The longest day and the shortest night of the year. This is a time to celebrate the completion of the cycle that began at the winter solstice – the sun is at the height of its power and although hopefully the hot days of summer are yet to come this is the point when the year starts to wane. Connect to this moment by taking time to stop, be still and look back over the past few months, celebrate your achievements and acknowledge your failures, make sense of your actions and learn from them. Focus now on what you want to nurture and develop during the coming months. – Rachel Patterson, Magical Food for Summer Solstice
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This is the time of year to be harvesting a lot of plants including yarrow, mugwort, elderflower, rue, comfrey, lavender, plantain, and St. john’s wort. The last is actually named specifically because it blossoms at the same time that midsummer occurs. Often European midsummer festivals were recast as festivals for St. John so that all the merriment and harvesting could continue to occur under the auspices of a Christian saint. – Melissa Hill, Harvesting the Verba for Midsummer
Age: Early 30s
Country: Usually the US
Interests and hobbies: I'm a fannish person but not in a single fandom - I'm a butterfly. I like to talk about what I'm reading, watching, or playing now, instead of writing a lot of posts about the same fandom.
Outside of fandom, I'm a graduate student in linguistics who does research in West Africa, and I'm really passionate about languages, especially those outside of Europe. I sometimes dabble in writing original fiction. I post a lot about music.
Looking for:: I miss the days of LJ fandom. I have a tumblr, but it's so impersonal and it's impossible to make friends. Really, it just feels very isolating unless you have a lot of friends there already. I'm looking for people who have a similar approach to journaling on DW as me: People who use it as a way to talk about their interests, and make connections with other people that way. I don't really use my DW as a daily life blog.
Anything else: My journal is mostly open, but I friendslock some fandom stuff. I have a pretty open policy re: grant access. It's mostly just to keep any real-life friends and family who happen to discover my username from knowing too much about my taste in porn (mostly slash, if that matters to you).
Contrary to that, critics say that the law will allow for open discrimination based on religion, marital status, or sexual preference. Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said, “With his signature [..], Gov. Abbott has joined the lieutenant governor and other lawmakers in taking Texas down a dark and cruel road.” Miller added that the bill is a “clear attempt” to discriminate against not only the LGBT community but “also people of other faiths.”
In May, we spoke with blogger John Beckett, a Texas-based Druid and Unitarian Universalist. He said that while he understands the sentiments behind the bill, he stands in opposition, saying, “Its real-world impact will be to make it harder for LGBT families, Pagan families, and other non-Christian families to adopt children.” However, he did note that that the situation is complicated.
The new law will go into affect September. Several LGBT organizations have reportedly planned to challenge the new law.
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BRAZIL — Members of the Piago Paganism organization inaugurated a new polytheistic temple dedicated to the religious traditions of the area. Located in the Piauí in northeastern Brazil, the temple is located in a “large rural area dedicated to the preservation of polytheist cultural and religious preservation: Vila Pagã.”
Held May 28, the inauguration ceremony was attended by members of the Pagan community, as well as political and religious leaders, including those from the Catholic, Neopentecostal, and World Messianic churches, as well as Candomblé and Umbanda.
According to organizer and leader of Piaga Circle, Rafael Nolêto, the “event was started with a presentation of children from the community, who [presented a theatrical piece] representing the formation of Piaga Paganism, a polytheistic tradition that celebrates the spirits and deities native to Piauí and Brazil.” Piaga Paganism also honors the gods of 15 foreign pantheons.
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UNITED STATES – Today is June 19th, also known as Juneteenth. As columnist Crystal Blanton noted in a June 17 article, “Juneteenth is just that – an historic day of freedom for Black Americans. Filled with celebrations, festivals, and remembrance, the date June 19 marks the end of chattel slavery in all of the states within the U.S.”
Celebrations are taking place throughout the country. Blanton lists a number of ways that Pagans can celebrate the holiday with the help of several websites, one of which is Lilith Dorsey’s Voodoo Universe. In a 2015 post, Dorsey discussed the honoring of ancestors with food. She writes, “Many of the recipes I feature here on this blog Voodoo Universe would be suitable dishes to make this Juneteenth for your own illusion. For at it center Juneteenth is about celebrating our hard won freedom on every level…. nourishing ourselves no matter what illusions life dishes out. Enjoy this Juneteenth and your freedom.”
In other news
- Where did everyone go? Circle Sanctuary’s Pagan Spirit Gathering, one of the biggest and oldest week-long Pagan camping festivals, got underway yesterday. Look for blog posts and updates in social media from that community over the next week.
- Speaking of festivals, Eight Winds is less than a month away. This four-day festival is ADF longest-running event. Held in Trout Lake, Washington, Eight Winds will offer “great food, rituals, workshops, fireside chats, and lots of bardic shenanigans.” Featured guests include: Lupa Greenwolf, Phaedra Bonewits, Shauna Aura Knight, and Rev. Kirk Thomas. The festival runs July 13-16.
- Another summer Pagan event is New York City’s popular WitchsFestUSA: A Pagan Street Faire. The three-day-long annual event happens near Astor Place in the West Village. Last year, the event drew loud protesters, who irritated some attendees but did not stop the festivities. This year’s event will take place Saturday July 14-16.
- here, including the address and details on how to make an appointment to walk it. While it’s not news to labyrinth aficionados and Google Maps fiends, a Wiccan in Enola, Pennsylvania has built a pentacle labyrinth with his own two hands. Lord Fairy Bottom Educifer, high priest of the Coven of the Mighty Oak (part of the Blue Ridge Mountain Clan tradition) told a Wild Hunt reporter that he first created it in 2006, but upgraded and expanded it in 2014 over two months to make it usable in wheelchairs. Visible in satellite photography, the new version is 60 feet in diameter with paths lined with limestone dust three inches thick. More details about the labyrinth are available
- A new issue of the Dolmen Grove Chronicles is available online. The midsummer edition features articles, reviews, and photographs that capture a Pagan spirit. For example, Rachael Moss offers seasonal sowing charts and Andrew Cowling writes about St. John’s Wort. The digital journal is the publication of the Dolmen Grove, a UK-based organization of mixed spiritual paths that was established in the 1990s.
- unconventional_comic_feed -- UnCONventional, a web comic about fannish conrunners -- posts twice a week
- thisisindexed_feed-- Indexed, a web comic that depicts information mostly in charts and graphs, drawn on an index card -- posts a couple-few days a week
- small_beer_press_feed -- Small Beer Press, Not a Journal -- infrequent posts mostly about Small Beer Press & its authors
- ourbodiesblog_feed -- Our Bodies, Ourselves -- A blog about women's and girls' health, from the nonprofit, public interest organization that brings us the Our Bodies, Ourselves books -- posts randomly, as needed
- librarything_blog_feed-- The official blog of Librarything, the site where you (or your local library) can catalog your books (and movies and music)
- eleanor_arnason_blog_feed -- Eleanor Arnason's web log -- from SF&F author Eleanor Arnason, a retired white woman who thinks about race and class and age and writing
- cypher_of_tyr_blog_feed -- Cypheroftyr blog by Tanya D., fan and gamer and PoC who doesn't put up with much shit
- body_impolitic_blog_feed -- Body Impolitic, a blog by Laurie Toby Edison & Debbie Notkin, two white women who collaborate on projects about bodies and images of bodies -- posts infrequently
Also posted in dw_feed_promo
The game is easy for us to learn, whimsical and funny. It's just plain fun to run around Hogwarts and revisit the story. There are a few parts that are tricky / fussy, especially timed jumping. I realize that platform jumping is a gaming tradition going back to Frogger and Donkey Kong, but it is not friendly to people with arthritis or dexterity issues. I wish games would rely on it less, or have easy jumping modes. Last night I spent way too long trying to jump over a required barrier and got frustrated.
Lego HP requires little to no reading and no listening. Information is conveyed through pictures. So, you can play with the sound off and you don't need captions. There is one game aspect where it's helpful to distinguish red from green (Parseltongue cabinets), but not strictly required. The parts where you fight a "boss" (often at the end of levels) tend to be much easier with two players. This game can be played with one player, but seems designed for two players. Levels are not timed-sensitive-- in fact you're rewarded if you spend more time looking around and exploring. You can't save mid-level, though, so if your game freezes or you have to leave for some reason, you will have to replay that bit of the story.
For my roommate and I--we are novice newbie gamers-- Lego HP has been a really great entry point. I definitely recommend it.
TWH – Every year on the third Sunday in June, many people around the world set aside time to honor and celebrate the fathers and father figures in their lives. Father’s Day has become a day to recognize the unique and important contributions that men make to the rearing of the next generation.The history of the American secular holiday does not have the same radical roots as its counterpart, Mother’s Day. In 1908, a Washington state woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, who had been raised by a widower, wanted male parents to be honored in a similar way as mothers. Dodd’s own mother had died giving birth to a sixth child and, consequently, her father was forced to raise all six children himself.
In 1910, Dodd was able to convince Washington state officials to establish an official Father’s Day. She had hoped it would be on June 5, the day of her father’s death. However, the state made it the third Sunday in June.
The idea spread very slowly, meeting much resistance. Some local communities, such as one in Fairmont, West Virginia, picked up on the idea through its church community. After a catastrophic mine tragedy in which many men lost their lives, the community began celebrating Father’s Day on July 5.
In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommend adding the holiday to the calendar. According to Library of Congress’ wise guide, Coolidge believed that it would “establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children” and “impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.”
But the idea was quickly rejected. Many Americans felt that the holiday was silly, and still others protested against the establishment of yet another commercially-focused celebration. By this point in time, Mother’s Day, which was declared a national holiday in 1914, had already become quite commercialized, upsetting founder Anna Jarvis and drawing some controversy.
Despite these objections, the idea to establish a national Father’s Day got a significant boost by World War II and Cold War nationalism. An unofficial version of the holiday began to spread throughout the country and, by 1970, it was widely embraced. Then, in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed the proclamation that made it an official U.S. holiday. Today, many countries around the world honor fathers on this same day.
While Father’s Day is certainly secular, the celebrations do not need to be. The original idea reportedly came to Dodd during a church service. Moreover, becoming a father itself, similar to becoming a mother, can be deeply transformative. And the experience as a whole transcends the mundane drudgery of child-rearing, leaving an indescribable lasting impression.
“[Fatherhood] deepened my stewardship and guardianship instincts overall, and solidified my sense that humanity is – and is supposed to be – a part of nature capable of enacting sacred partnerships with each other, plants, animals, and spirit/diety,” said Canu, a Witch, Wiccan and Faery Seer in Florida.
Canu has raised two “amazing humans,” who are now 19 and 21. “It has been humbling to help foster growth for my children’s own health and goals.”
EarthSpirit co-founder Andras Corban-Arthen also found his journey to fatherhood transformative. “I was in my late thirties when I became a father. By then, I’d been in many deep and complex relationships, and I was pretty confident that I knew myself emotionally, that I knew what love was all about.”
“It turned out that I was totally unprepared for the outpouring of feelings I experienced with both of my children: the depth, the intensity, the absolute sense of unconditional love, the knowledge that I would give my life for them without a moment’s hesitation,” he said. Corban-Arthen has a daughter age 26 and a son about to turn 30.
“[Having children] probably changed me more than any other experience in my life.”
Canadian Heathen Robert Rudachyk agreed, saying that his life has been changed since becoming a father. “I looked out for myself primarily. I focused on what was best for me. Since my kids were born, I have focused on what is best for them and put myself in second place.” Rudachyk has an 8 year old daughter and 10 year old son.
Wiccan Priest Matthaios Theadoros is at the very beginning of his own journey as a father; his son will be two in August. Theadoros said, “Before my son was born, I was heavily involved in my coven. I was not prepared for how much I would be giving up when we had a baby. [Becoming a father] has taught me a lot about time management.”
More practically speaking, he added, “It’s taken me out of a lot of online interactions, so I’ve been much happier. Less unimportant drama.”ADF Druid Sean Harbaugh has four children ranging in age from 10-22. He said that becoming a father had not altered his spiritual journey, but added that his religious beliefs definitely influence the way he raises his children.
“As an ADF Druid, we have a really complete cosmology and set of virtues.There’s nine of them, and then all other values and virtues fit within those. I’ve reinforced those virtues with them as they have grown, and hopefully it has stuck with them into adulthood. I think they are really good humans with big loving hearts.”
The other men interviewed agreed with Harbaugh, stating clearly that their personal beliefs and religious practices have informed the way they view fatherhood and have chosen to raise their children.
“We are a religion that honors life’s changes and cycles,” explained Wiccan Priest Theadoros. “Here’s a front row seat life’s changes and cycles. It’s a beautiful chaos that has shaped my spiritual path which, in turn, shapes my approach to being a dad.”
Like Harbaugh, Rudachyk described how he calls on his religious background to directly guide and teach. He said “I often use different stories from the Eddas to help teach the kids about proper behaviour and have quoted the Havamal many times for simple life points.”
Anecdotally, Rudachyk added: “Just last week when my kids and I were fishing and we hooked a five foot long river sturgeon. My son was holding the rod when the fish launched itself completely out of the water. It freaked him out more than a little bit, and afterwards I was telling the story of how when Thor went fishing he caught the Midgard Serpent. That really resonated a chord with both of them and became a great teaching and bonding moment with my kids.”
When asked how his beliefs informed his parenting, Corban-Arthen focused on the importance of community. He said, “Community is one of the three foundations of the spiritual practices I follow. Because of this, I think of myself more as a parent than I do as a father. My wife Deirdre and I have always parented as a team, and have traded roles and responsibilities back and forth over the years, so that our children would not see either of us as one-dimensional, but experience the fullness of who their parents are.”
Corban-Arthen and his wife made a “very deliberate choice” to raise their children within a rural and spiritual environment. He explained, “These were, for us, distinctly spiritual choices. Both of our children were born within a ritual setting, with several other members of our family in attendance. From day one, they’ve had a sense of being part of a tribal family which includes many aunts and uncles in addition to their parents, and they’ve had a very direct experience of the natural world, of wilderness, of living in harmony with the land.”
In discussing this subject, Canu said, “My main dieties in practice are Herne, the Green Man, and Oshun. The strong stewardship and guardianship roles of Herne and the Green Man guided me in raising my children with awareness of the sacredness and value of the human, plant, animal, and spirit lives all around us, as well as our responsibility to understand how we affect our environment.”
He added, “Oshun has really helped guide my sense of how to instill respect for our own and other’s expressions of beauty, relationship possibilities, and sexuality. That’s a challenge to convey as a parent, but she has helped!”Like motherhood, fatherhood has its profound moments of joy, fear, pride, and frustration. When asked to share a special moment, Harbaugh said, “Witnessing the birth of my son Zane was by far the most profound moment I’ve ever witnessed. Words cannot describe the feeling of amazement as I witnessed him joining us here. Birth is just an amazing thing to witness.”
Fatherhood also brings moments of unforgettable comedy and deep laughter, as only a child could inspire. Theodorus recalled his son’s recent Wiccaning. “It was magical, in all senses of the word, watching my fellow Third degrees offer their blessings. My son insisted that I hold him during the ceremony. Pretty early in the ritual, his diaper leaked and he peed all over me. We had a good laugh over that.”
Whether it is a birth, a Wiccaning, a first day of school, or simply a quiet moment in the house, fathers and grandfathers, as it were, play an important role in the raising of the next generation. This is exemplified in an NPR article titled “Why we need Grandpas and Grandmas,” which uses elephant society as an example. The guidance and lessons that fathers bring to community are integral to children’s well-being and their future in community, whatever that may turn out to be.
Not all these vital teaching moments are planned; sometimes guidance is needed at odd times, and a father must be ready. Canu recalled an unexpected, but very touching moment between himself and his oldest child. “I had the privilege and responsibility of having the first talk with my older child about coming out while he was in junior high,” he explained.
“It wasn’t planned or voluntary (an inadvertent interruption of computer use while getting ready to leave in the morning), but our first talk unfolded as a basic expression of support and trust, love, and support for his own growth and desires, not mine or mine by proxy.”
Fathers don’t only play a pivotal role in guiding of sons, but they also provide valuable assistance in guiding their daughters. Corban-Arthen’s own daughter reminded him of an important message the he gave to her as a child.
“Every so often when she was little, and it was just the two of us together, I would tell her to always remember that she was the equal of any boy or man; that she could do whatever she wanted to do, and be whatever she wanted to be. That if her brother got to do certain things that she wasn’t allowed to do, it was only because she was younger, not because she was a girl. And that, in time, she too would be able to do those things, and probably do them at an earlier age than her brother.”
Corban-Arthen explained that his daughter was growing up with two older boys in the house, and he felt that this message was very important for her to hear. “It would have been easy for her to internalize the wrong message, the message of inequality that our culture tries to imprint in young girls from the moment they’re born. I’m glad it meant something to her, meant enough that she remembers it.”
Fatherhood is not at all a uniform experience; there is no playbook or manual. And the job is not always an easy one. Canu said, “My father-in-law said to me once that each of your children will take something you hold dear, twist it into something unrecognizable and confront you with it. Fathers will be called to face that moment, their children, and their Gods.”
All five men of the men interviewed have participated in the transformative journey of fatherhood in their own way, guided by their beliefs, spirituality, and their children. We asked what advice that would be willing to offer to future fathers, Pagan, Heathen or otherwise.
Corban-Arthen said, “Give your children the very best you’ve got at every moment, even if it isn’t perfect. But that doesn’t mean just saying ‘I gave them my best,’ and leaving it at that. It means actively engaging in an ongoing quest to always reach for what truly is best in you, even if it takes an effort, even if it means a struggle.”
“It will make you a better father – and a better person – in the end.”
Echoing that statement, Theadoros said, “Be present, be supportive of baby and mama, and enjoy the ride.”
Harbaugh stressed that there are no rules to parenting. He said, “Try the best you can. Seek advice from your parents or friends with children. Always approach your children with love, even when they do something wrong. Through them you are immortal, so think about that when you look into their eyes.”
Rudachyk said, “Remember son, it is no longer about you.”
Rudachyk went on to say, “Your role is first and foremost to protect your kids until they can stand on their own, then it is your role to guide and advise them so that they can find the path which they will succeed at. It is not your role to hide them away in a bubble of fear and mistrust that stops them from venturing out into the wider world, but rather it is your role to teach them about the wider world in such a manner that they can bravely go forth to find their own success.”
Like Harbaugh, Rudachyk also had a broader message – one that illustrates a parent’s obligation to community and a better tomorrow.” Do not teach them hate or fear of those different from us, but rather teach them to find understanding of those who are different from us so that we can build friendships, alliances, and trust in such a way that we all prosper. Your kids are your future and if you must lay down your life for any cause, let it be in the protection of those who will carry on your legacy.”
When asked his advice, Canu echoed the other men’s words, saying, “Foster and nurture the unfolding of life and beauty that your children embody. Our role as fathers isn’t to show our children their paths, but to be open to stewarding their own paths, no matter how different from our own.”
Canu then added, “May all fathers have the strength and wisdom of their many ancestors, their father’s fathers, and their Gods when they face the crucible of living in partnership with their children, when they confront the transition of guiding a child’s development to participating in their child’s own path rather than their own
“There is sacred wisdom and strength in a fatherhood that can uphold the diverse and beautiful unfolding of the life of our children that blesses the men that can embrace it.”
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A very Happy Father’s Day to the men who were interviewed and to all those celebrating!
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “tribe” in a modern Pagan context. The impetus for this has been the presence in my life of an amazing community that I’ve been blessed to be a part of, a group of Morrígan devotees and priests that I’ve come to call “The Morrigan’s Call Tribe”. And over the last two years, this disparate group of strangers have morphed into a kind of extended family for myself and others.
It’s the 9th Annual Pagan Values month. While most Pagan writers, bloggers, etc. write about Pagan Values on a daily basis, we invite you to go a little deeper on topics dear to your heart. How do you express your values in your daily life? How do you practice your Pagan values in the workplace? What personal ethical conundrums have you faced in the past year, and how did your values factor into how you handled them? Because so much of the current Pagan dialectic is world facing, we’re asking you if you can to take some time out to write something a little more personal, a little more vulnerable.