Heart Of The Beast, May Day Parade!

If you have never heard of the parade, first read about it. If you missed one of their donation buckets, you can also donate ! I asked some of the Free Speech Sections participants what group they were with, and why they were here?

Photos: M Bardon

Eric Angell – Our World in Depth, ” I’m here to be festive with friends and neighbors in Minneapolis.”

Erick Boustead – Line Break Media, ” I’m ‘shooting the parade,’ and to soak in the awesome mix of the art and theater. ”

Gary Lingen –  Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance, ” Over the 29 years I have lived here, I have only missed one May Day! I missed last year because of surgery, but I always come here in any type of weather to be part of the celebration today.

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UMPA Annual Meeting and Anniversary Celebration

The Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance celebrated it’s fourth anniversary Saturday evening with a capacity crowd at the Sacred Paths Center.  Not only was the event packed with people, it was packed with activities.  Attendees were treated to entertainment by the ever popular Murphey’s Midnight Rounders and tribal dancing by Kamala Chaand.  UMPA held it’s annual meeting, where they ratified new by-laws and elected their officers for the next two years.  New officers are Bonnie Hanna-Powers, Gary Lingen, Bress Nicneven, Grace Morgan. and Joshua Adam Blesi.

The community also settled a long simmering dispute – who makes the best red sauce, Don from the Coven of the Standing Stones or Mistress Judy Olson?  Don won the competition handily, but many at the event said if you mix the two, it was better than each sauce alone.

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UMPA Celebrates 4 Years of Social Activism

The Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance (UMPA) reached its fourth anniversary and invites the community to help celebrate it.  The event takes place at Sacred Paths Center on Saturday starting at 4pm.   Organizers of the celebration say all community members are welcome for this free evening of fun activities.

From the March 3rd issues of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

UMPA is not only celebrating an anniversary milestone, the group is celebrating the accomplishments of the past four years.  Started during what has become known in the Pagan community as “The Quest,” the struggle to gain approval for a Wiccan symbol to be placed on fallen Wiccan military members headstones, UMPA hosted the Veteran’s Pentacle Rights Ritual. This ritual took place on the state capitol grounds and garnered national news coverage for the issue.

(See Pagan+politics coverage of UMPA formation and project, the Pentacle quest, and links to national press coverage, here)

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Give Christmas Back to Christians (and perform good deeds)

In a recent essay Pagan author, T. Thorn Coyle, asks

“anyone who is not a Christian and who celebrates Christmas: what exactly do you think you are doing? Why are you contributing to this beast, this monster, this creature that not only feeds on the sweat of poor people around the world but simultaneously takes more and more money to just maintain its caloric requirements? Why have you – atheist, Pagan, Christian, or Jew – been taken in?”

That’s an interesting question to ponder and her entire essay is worth a read.

If you are not celebrating Christmas on Saturday, what could you be doing instead?  You could be living out your religious ethics of service to the community by volunteering for Meals on Broomsticks this Saturday.  Spend a few hours helping others – and bring your family and older children along.

UMPA, the Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance has, for the fourth consecutive year, signed up with the Union Gospel Mission to serve meals to senior citizens and low income families residing in two high rises in the Twin Cities. This service commitment requires 8-15 people willing to share a part of their day serving meals, chatting, and maybe even singing a carol or two.

When – This Saturday December 25, 2010 (our fourth year!!)
Where – Meet at the Union Gospel Mission- located at 435 E University Ave.
in St. Paul. It is just East of I35E and North of East Seventh.  MAP

Time – Gather at 11.15am, we load up and drive away shortly after 11:30 am so be prompt.   Contact us if you plan to attend!

UMPA says that dressing up for the occasion adds to the fun, so get out your elf, Santa, or Grinch costumes.  Nels Linde and Judy Olson say that the food is really secondary to the people they deliver meals to, it is the time and attention that the elders receive that is so greatly appreciated.    They also noted that the meal delivery is usually done by 1:30pm and the volunteers then go to Cecil’s Deli for a fun lunch.

Editorial – UMPA Pagans Walk the Talk

Many Pagans describe their religion as “Earth-Centered.” I’ve found this a rather puzzling statement since I wouldn’t describe my path as that way and I don’t usually see much difference between the actions of Pagans and non-Pagans in regard to the earth. I hear a marked difference how they talk about the earth as sacred, but as my mother taught me, “If you want to know what a person really believes and values, watch their actions and ignore their words.” I don’t know, I don’t think we show by our actions that we are any more or less “Earth-Centered” than any other group in the US.

Which is why I was excited by the prospect of picking up garbage with a group of fellow Pagans last Sunday. The group is the Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance, UMPA for short. They used to sponsor a 2 mile stretch of highway out by Anoka under Minnesota’s Adopt a Highway Program. Now they have claimed a section of 35E near Hugo. Last Sunday was the first time UMPA cleaned their new bit of interstate.

I was delayed by work and arrived on scene about an hour late. A group of five had already donned their attractive safety vests, put on work gloves, grabbed trash bags and sticks, and were picking up trash along side the North-bound lane. Judy gave me safety tips, helped me suit up, and then John joined us to do the South-bound lane.

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