Circle Sanctuary Responds to Festival Closure – Interview

On June 30th Circle Sanctuary issued a statement in response to the early closure of their largest event, the Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG)  due to flash flooding. Besides other measures “Circle Sanctuary is offering a gift to all 2015 PSG paid registrants who request it — a $100 certificate ($50 for minors aged 12-17) that can be used toward any Circle Sanctuary event, including future PSGs, through June 21, 2020.  This is a gesture of commitment to our community, to do what we can to promote healing. Please understand that this is a gift, not a refund or compensation for any loss.”  The early closure was the first in 35 years of PSG, and the Circle community has rallied in support of the organization, and for the healing of those most effected by the waters and trauma of the flooding.

I spoke with Bob Paxton, Circle web and email administrator, an ordained Circle Sanctuary minister for seven years, current PSG assistant manager, and a Circle Sanctuary land maintenance volunteer each week.

N: What went into the decision to offer this gift?

Bob:  After we unloaded the truck and started to think about things going forward we as an executive committee met, and had a long in person conference and tried to figure out what the best way forward would be, not just for Circle Sanctuary but for the PSG community as a whole. There were things that we knew we would do as church relative to the community, such as mobilizing our ministers to provide spiritual counseling. When people come to PSG they bring a years worth of spiritual work they intend to get done. To a substantial degree that work was short circuited by events.

There was a need for energy work and spiritual healing, and so we put out a call to the community to send in requests that they had We held full moon, our regular circle, and had it focused on healing and recovery from the events at PSG. There was a healing altar and about three dozen people in attendance, and we did an energy working to bring peace and solace to those effected.

Thirdly we decide because so many had lost so much during PSG, not just physical loss but the opportunity to do the work that happens there, to give a gift to the community for those who felt they needed it, a certificate toward admission to future Circle Sanctuary events. Good for not only for PSG but for future events on Circle Sanctuary land.

Psgflood

Why is a gift appropriate?

Bob: There are two sides of that. A refund is an actual return of money. You gave us X number of dollars, we are giving you X number of dollars back. The reality is that PSG is Circle Sanctuary’s single largest fund-raiser, but Circle is pretty well diversified in activity to bring in funds year around. As we looked at the numbers we saw that we could not give a refund of any sort without severely impacting the work that Circle Sanctuary does for the community year around. There are people who approach the entry fee to PSG as a simple purchase. Most events have a calamity befall it do not provide refunds because of an act of nature. An act of nature occurred that rendered the PSG site as unsafe for occupancy so we elected to close the gathering early. The gift certificate is a gesture to help people severely effected by the flooding to come to future events.

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Pagans to Join ReclaimMLK March on Monday

If you haven’t seen social media, or national news, or been to Mall of America, or even seen the Oscar nominations, you have been hiding. Black Lives Matter! There is a movement afoot to wake America up, and Monday you can help shake us from our slumber!

For Minnesota Pagans, this movement has stimulated a lot of online debate, analysis of our privilege, and discussion of our response.  Well, “Words are Wind”, and Monday many Pagans hope to change that with action. Several area Pagans have pledged on social media to attend the march, and some are meeting in advance to make signage and arrive together.

http://fergusonaction.com organizers are encouraging this weekend of events to reclaim the legacy of Martin Luther King with national resistance to injustice and demand action. The TC metro area has a March planned for Monday 1/19/15 at 1:00 PM in St. Paul, MN at. Snelling and University Ave .

From the Facebook event:

Join us for a March to #ReclaimMLK as part of a national day of action.We can’t stop now. Eyes on the prize. Text @BlackLives to 23559 for action updates

Martin Luther King Jr’s life’s work was the elevation, honoring, and defense of Black Lives. His tools included non-violent civil disobedience and direct action. Dr. King was part of a larger movement of women, and men, queer, and straight, young and old. This movement was built on a bold vision that was radical, principled, and uncompromising. The freedom fighters who believed in this vision were called impractical, rash, irrational, and naive. Their tactics were controversial. Some elders distanced themselves from what was then a new movement for change. Some of the older generation joined in. Our movement draws a direct line from the legacy of Dr. King.

Unfortunately, Dr. King’s legacy has been clouded by efforts to soften, sanitize, and commercialize it. Impulses to remove Dr. King from the movement that elevated him must end. We resist efforts to reduce a long history marred with the blood of countless women and men into iconic images of men in suits behind pulpits.

From here on, MLK weekend will be known as a time of national resistance to injustice.This MLK weekend we will walk in the legacy of Dr. King and the movement that raised him. We will #ReclaimMLK http://fergusonaction.com/reclaim-mlk/

OUR DEMANDS:

Our basic demands are an immediate end to the unjust police murders of unarmed Black people, including Black children and teens, and for Minnesota to take measures to eliminate our worst in the country racial disparities. Our initial policy demands include:

1. Adopt statewide legislation to end racial profiling.
2. Require all Minnesota law enforcement officers to take implicit bias and cultural competency training.
3. Establish an independent community review board for police departments with full disciplinary powers and establish a federal oversight system.
4. Increase the number of officers that live in the communities they serve and immediately repeal the 1990 “Stanek Residency Freedom Bill.”
5. De-militarize local law enforcement across the country.

We also demand that Bloomington City attorney Sandra Johnson and the Mall of America halt the outrageous charges and restitution for “lost revenue” and “police overtime” being threatened against “organizers” of our peaceful gathering at the MOA. This is an evolving list. We want to form a community commission to address the biggest racial disparities in policing in the United States now. We won’t wait. Black lives are at stake. We remember Terrance Franklin.

BlackLivesMatterMinneapolis

 

Nels Linde

Barebones presents Metamorphosoup- by Lisa Spiral Besnett

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Photo by Bonita Blumenauer

In the Twin Cities we are blessed with a wide variety of performance art options. Some of my favorite events are community based, like the May Day Parade. At this end of seasonal cycle Barebones Productions puts on its Halloween Extravaganza. This is an evening event, outdoors in a park late in the fall in Minnesota. For the 21st annual production Barebones presented Metamorphosoup.

This year the weather has been perfect for this kind of event. Sunday night when I
attended the temps were in the cool, but comfortable 50’s. Much better than some years, but still nice to be bundled up. This year’s presentation seemed shorter than some. There is often a theme or story associated with the production. This year seemed more pageant than play.

photo: Lisa Spiral Besnett

photo: Lisa Spiral Besnett

The audience entered through the mouth of the great whale and found their seats on hay bales under the trees. We watched the new moon setting over the trees as we waited for full dark, for the audience to settle, for the main show to begin.

BB3Actors/street performers dressed in Halloween visions of carnival characters directed people to seating and kept us engaged. There are 5 performances with a total attendance around 8,000 people (maybe more this year due to the fine weather). Complete with puppets, aerialists, fire spinners, dancers, singers and musicians we watched the cycle of birth and death and rebirth play out before us.

This was the story of the cosmic soup, the great cauldron of creation. This was a pageant of evolution and destruction, of limited resources and greed, and the bounty of stone soup. There were moments of profound loss and grief and  moments of awe and joy. There was an acknowledgement of ancestors lost and of remembrance.

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Photo by Bonita Blumenauer

That description hardly does justice to the wonder that is the Barebones. There were dinosaur puppets, bones perhaps not to scale, but certainly representative of the size and scope of actual dinosaurs. The great wave of water brought
the scene to the ocean filled with floating luminescent creatures lighting up the darkness. Fire spinners dances in glorious numbers, circles and forms. Each time they appeared the fires beneath the great cauldron seemed to glow brighter and the cauldron grew bigger and bigger. In the end there were the ancestors, and the stars.

Photo by Bonita Blumenauer

Photo by Bonita Blumenauer

BB6Even after the presentation there is still production happening. This is not just a play, but an event, a community ritual.
There is a beautiful Hungry Ghost Altar set up around the tree for people to spend time honoring their ancestors, beloved dead and unknown dead alike. There is paper to leave notes and messages, candles available to light, offerings made with the great tree as witness to all that happens at its feet.

Photo by Bonita Blumenauer

Photo by Bonita Blumenauer

The Jack Brass Band (the Brass Messengers on other nights) played music into the night. The brass band echoing on the wind is reminiscent of a New Orleans style funeral procession, somber on the way in but joyous and celebratory on the way out. Sisters Camelot had hot food available for those who stayed and needed a warmup.There was also some merchanting, another source of funding for this amazing production.

Still playing October 30-November 1
7pm at Hidden Falls Regional Park (North Gate Entrance)
1305 Mississippi River Blvd. S., St. Paul  (arrive early for parking)
Suggested donation $10-$20 – new this year they will accept credit cards!

For more information:
Barebonespupets.org

Lisa Spiral Besnett

Harmony Tribe, Inc. Annual Meeting Sat Oct. 18th

Harmony Tribe is holding its Annual Meeting Saturday, October 18th at Black Bear Crossing in Como Park on Oct 18, from 2 to 5 PM in the Larry Kito Community Room.  This is the first annual meeting after receiving a 501c3 federal tax exempt designation as a religious and educational non-profit. This is an exciting time to get involved with this group because many changes are taking place.  New members are joining and a new location and vision for Sacred Harvest Festival is being developed. Harmony Tribe has been a place for nearly twenty years where Pagans of many traditions and paths work together to create community events, educational workshops, and community rituals.
HTBanner
Harmony Tribe has developed a clear set of values (at the bottom of each of their web pages), and a process covenant that each member agrees to and is held to. These, and an efficient task based structure has helped the organization move to a drama free atmosphere with efficient monthly two-hour meetings.  Transparency is really important to build trust and hold each person accountable. Once you become a member you have access to organizational communication, a member forum, and an archive of historical documentation.

To become a member of the council a person needs to attend at least two meetings, take on a significant task or role, and ask to be voted into the council.  Many organizations require years of involvement, taking on a titled directorship, and standing for election to help guide the group. In Harmony Tribe a demonstrated commitment and interest is all that is required. You can review all the Harmony Tribe organizational documents.

 

Pagans can gain many leadership skills and “people” skills by working within a group that shares a few basic values, but also has a broad and inclusive membership. Check out the annual meeting Saturday and see what Harmony Tribe has to offer you!

Nels Linde
Nels is currently a Harmony Tribe Council Member.