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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Canadian Pagans

ProstitutionI read a blog called "The Honest Courtesan" written by a retired call girl named Maggie McNeil, that discusses sex, sex workers and our attitudes about it.  I don't always agree with everything she says, but she wrote an article recently that I've been ruminating on.  The long and the short of it is this:

For many years, prostitution has been decriminalized in Canada; but everything around it has been illegal, from the keeping of a place of business to "living off the avails" of prostitution (so if, for example, a hooker hired a driver/bodyguard to protect her, he could go to jail.)  On September 28, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that, at least in the province of Ontario, these laws were against our Charter of Rights and Freedoms (our equivalent of the Constitution) and the government was given a few months in which to try to appeal or to draft a new law.

Sounds like a positive choice, right?  But Maggie predicted, accurately, that this would be used as an opportunity for anti-prostitution lobbyists to suggest another option, which was to adopt a policy that is becoming known as the "Swedish model."  That is to say, prostitution itself isn't illegal - buying sex is.  So the criminals become the clients, not the prostitutes.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Building BridgesTwenty years ago, there was no Pagan community to speak of in the Okanagan Valley.  My sister in spirit Rowean met a girl named Unruhe, and they started talking about forming a Yahoogroup for Pagans in the Okanagan.  Rowean had come from Prince George, where a couple who had been trained by the Wiccan Church of Canada in Ontario had opened a shop and formed a community years ago; and Unruhe had moved up from the Coast, where there was a very large and established Pagan community; and they missed it.  I was a solitary from the time I was 14 years old and the idea of connecting with other Pagans appealed to me.  I knew a few others from the Society for Creative Anachronism and so I encouraged Rowean to call Unruhe up.  We met in a coffee shop - I think a Tim Horton's, but don't quote me on that - and discussed the idea.  Unruhe and her friend Perchta formed the Yahoogroup, I was the third person on it and Rowean was the fourth.  We decided to meet for Sabbats and the first ritual was at my place, led by a Celtic Witch named Havoc.

Over time, the group split over the typical ideological differences that split Pagan communities, compounded by the fact that most of us went through the stuff that I would now, as a Witch, refer to as "Second Degree ego issues," all at the same time.  There were hard feelings and bad blood.  Some people bowed out of the community for a long time.  Some spread rumours about other groups.  Some bowed out entirely and disappeared.

Most of us who were the "core" organizers of the original "Okanagan Pagans," however, continued to trudge along doing our own thing.  My husband and I organized a couple of covens.  From a Women's Mysteries' group that Rowean and I had begun, a Women's Ritual Group sprang.  A group of Druids coalesced and began doing their own thing.  Ritual magicians started doing their own thing.  And eventually, what we ended up with was a lot of small groups doing very compartmentalized sorts of activities.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Sable Aradia, Thanks for sharing! Praise the Goddesses and Gods, that your community came together in such an awesome way.

Just a quick note to tell my loyal readers that the Canadian music anthology alluded to in my article on the Sun Wheel Pagan Festival is a go! It will be a fundraising effort for the Canadian National Pagan Conference and all artists have agreed to contribute their works entirely free of royalties; all profits support the Conference! Musicians who have agreed to participate so far include: The Dragon Ritual Drummers, The Ancient Gods, Raven's Call, Dano Hammer, Vanessa Cardui, Brendan Myers, Jamie Field (formerly of Parnassus before it was Chalice and Blade,) Tamarra James and me. We're still waiting to hear back from a few other artists and more information will be made available as it unfolds.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for keeping up posted! It will most likely end up on my Christmas list. I enjoy Canadiana, so what could be better than Pag

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sun Wheel Pagan Arts Festival 2013

On the July 1st long weekend, I celebrated Canada Day by driving 10 hours to Drayton Valley, Alberta, to pitch a tent in a mosquito-infested field.  I left late, of course; I never seem to get out on time.  I didn't want to be late because even though the Sun Wheel Pagan Arts Festival didn't officially begin until the following day, on the Friday evening there was a firewalk scheduled and I had never done such a thing.  I came with my husband Erin and my young boyfriend Chad McLeary, also scheduled to perform on the stage.  I was quite honoured to be part of such a prestigious line-up; the roster included Vanessa Cardui, current bardic champion of the Kingdom of AnTir, an up-and-coming artist who also does medieval music like me; my friends from the Edmonton Pagan Choir and Chalice and Blade; the legendary Sharon Knight; and the indomitable Heather Dale.

But I shouldn't have worried.  Pagan Standard Time being what it is, things were running about the two hours late that I had left the house by, so I had just enough time to set up camp before hurrying off to the ritual.

"Shouldn't we have brought some burn cream, just in case?" Chad fretted.  This was his first Pagan festival.  He was not intending to participate in the firewalk; the concern was for me.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for sharing your experiences! It's nice to see some of our neighbo(u)rs to the north here. I'll definitely check out the Ca
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Pleased that you enjoyed it, Jamie! And it looks like things are coming together, I am happy to say. I will write about it as t

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Raven's Call at Sunwheel 2012

In the wake of my article on Canadian Pagan music, I had an opportunity to interview Thom of emerging Canadian Celtic folk rock band Raven’s Call, who was happy to share with me the details of what was going on with his band!  For the full interview, check out my podcast as of June 10, 2013, at http://paganpathfinders.webs.com.

Raven’s Call

Location:  Edmonton, AB, Canada

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Gaia Gathering: The Canadian National Pagan Conference


Dominique SmithThis weekend, which is a holiday long weekend north of the 49th Parallel, Pagans from all over the vast expanse of the Canadian landscape will be meeting in Gatineau, Quebec (which is just across the river from our capital city Ottawa) to discourse on what it is to be Canadian and Pagan, exchange ideas, study workshops, exchange chants, review scholarly works in our field, and of course, socialize.  It's called the Gaia Gathering (the Canadian National Pagan Conference,) and I believe this to be the most exciting thing currently going on in the Canadian Pagan community.  I made an epic journey to the 2010 conference in Montreal to present at a couple of panels, as well as one of their first workshops, and it was a life-changing experience.  This year, I am unable to attend but I was able to interview "Winnipagan" Dominique Smith, the current Chairperson, via Facebook about this outstanding event:

Question: So from your perspective, what is Gaia Gathering all about?

Dominique: The Canadian National Pagan Conference: Gaia Gathering at its most basic is about the identity and culture of Canadian Pagans. As Canadian Pagans we have unparalleled perspectives on the world and on the Craft. Our politics, our environment, and our Canadian culture influence us Pagans in a profound way. We see the world and react to it quite differently than most other people. Gaia Gathering is a way to explore and honor our uniqueness. Gaia Gathering is also an opportunity where Pagans from across Canada can interact, learn and create with a diverse group of individuals that have peerless perspectives and experiences on issues facing Canadian Pagans. Figuring out what makes Canadian Pagans different also opens us to identify our similarities and in a country this large its important for Canadian Pagans to feel connected and not alone, especially in rural areas where access to information and other Pagans can be quite limited.

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Because I released a new CD in these past two weeks since my last blog entry here, I have had music on the brain, and it occurs to me that Canada has a few talented Pagan musicians who deserve recognition.  Because we have a smaller population than the US, it’s harder for our musicians to make a living.  Let’s face it; it’s a niche market, and our market is smaller, so most Canadian Pagan musicians make US appearances too.  If you’re a Pagan music fan you might want to check these folks out.  Disclaimer – I have learned that music is very subjective and these are strictly my opinions.  But because I like these artists and I want you to check them out, I will provide as many links as I can to their music so you can listen for yourself, and maybe support also if you share my love.

The Ancient Gods

The Ancient Gods http://www.reverbnation.com/ancientgods – I met these three when I went out to a little town called Fruitvale to officiate my first legal Wiccan wedding.  They’re from Castlegar, BC, and they’ve just quietly been performing their own unique rhythmically-driven filk and folk music with growling male vocals, acoustic guitars and violin for many years.  I once likened it to heavy metal with acoustic instruments and a djembe.  They don’t have a website but they’re starting to get their word out on the web.  If you don’t hear them on their ReverbNation site you can find them at CBC Music.

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25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism (Canadian Wing)

A lot of people have been reading and circulating the recent articles that were written by my fellow Patheos.com blogger, Jason Mankey, about the “25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism”.  He wrote an “American Wing” article and a “European Wing” article, and I thought they were excellent, but the sum total of his mention of those of us north of the 49th Parallel was “sorry, Canada!”  Well, naturally that got my dander up a little.  It gives the impression that what goes on up here is an appendix to the greater American scene.  But in the founding of modern Paganism, in many cases it was the other way around.  Here’s my list of 25 Canadians who helped mold the modern Pagan world; without whom, nothing would be as it is.  If you ranked them along with the members of the other two lists to create a list of “The 25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism (All-Time Champions,)” some wouldn’t make the cut . . . but many of them would.  Just as Mankey did, I’ll list them in alphabetical order, since prioritizing is very difficult.  Mankey said that the American list was harder than the European one because everyone was “second generation”; I find that my list consists of either proto-Pagan contributors, or people who are doing very interesting things right now; perhaps a third generation, still active.

Runners-up:

 

Brother XIIBrother XII (Edward Arthur Wilson) (1878-1934,) Proto-Pagan Cult Leader – Colourful cult-leader Brother XII founded one of the first spiritual communities in North America, in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  His organization, the Aquarian Foundation, was a proto-Pagan one, founded in Theosophy but speaking of the Osiris/Isis male/female polarity as gods within.  Eventually personality conflicts with his followers led to investigation, criminal charges, and fleeing to Switzerland after destroying the colony, where he may have feigned his own death.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Update: Fritz Muntean removed from mention in this article at his request.
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Update: I have received a fair bit of personal email about this article. Much of it involves a bees-nest of Canadian Pagan polit
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Update: Amanda Strong has written me to correct a mistake I made in my post. She tells me that she is not an initiated Feri Witch

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