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TWH – Statements condemning the Supreme Court’s ruling that reversed Roe v. Wade have continued to be publicly issued by various religious and professional organizations. These new statements come as various states are releasing drafts of proposed or pending legislation that range from providing protection for those seeking abortions to laws severely restricting abortion.The Covenant of the Goddess National Council, based in southern California, released the following statement last week:
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling reversing Roe vs. Wade eliminated an established right that has been an essential component of women’s rights and liberty for half a century. This step backward for women’s rights has destroyed more than the right to legal abortion for all individuals with uteruses. It has also revealed the court’s decisions are based on the principles of a religious minority.
The SCOTUS abortion decision was spearheaded by Christian Nationalists using their ideological worldview and the Bible and several other recent rulings have also chipped away at the separation of church and state. It has shattered public trust in a court that once led us in securing individuals’ rights and liberties. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) has said, “The church is supposed to direct the government, the government is not supposed to direct the church.” The Court’s decisions are a direct and obvious shift in a direction and represent a major threat to our Pagan and Wiccan communities.The Covenant of the Goddess (The Covenant) is acutely concerned about human rights, women’s equality, and the separation of church and state. At the core of our organization, we believe that each person has equal rights to liberty, an individual’s right to religion or spirituality of their own choice, and the right to make the best choice for their bodies.
The Covenant expresses its concern for our community members, appreciating that people are feeling a range of emotions and have different needs. This is a serious time when all Pagans should not have to worry if and when their rights may be subjugated based on another person’s religious beliefs.The Texas Local Council Covenant of the Goddess released their own similar statement a few days earlier:The devastating news that the people with uteruses in the United States of America are no longer in charge of their bodies and their decisions when it comes to the choice of being a parent has rocked us to our core.
We are now second class citizens once more. This assault on our rights has spurned many of us to act; however, we must act in good faith and get into what John Lewis called, “good trouble.”Some witches and Wiccans have chosen to hex and send out harm. We believe all of our energy is better spent focusing it on both physically and spiritually protecting and supporting those that this law is directly affecting and codifying Roe v. Wade into law. We should use our energies to open the eyes of those who agree with the overturning of Roe vs. Wade to see the harm this act is causing and to open their hearts to protect this basic right.
Now is the time to speak up and speak out through the rights we hold, such as assembly, petition, freedom of press, and speech. Contacting our representatives, both national and state, making our voices heard, and when the time comes: VOTE.
No one can afford to be a part of the silent majority. We must lift our energies and our voices. We must also continue to stay aware of the actions of our government and remain vigilant to protect our other rights which may very well be soon coming into question. So mote it be.The American Psychological Association (APA) in a press release stated that “Restrictions on access to reproductive care will worsen mental health” and “expressed deep concern and profound disappointment in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision eliminating the constitutional right to abortion.”APA President Frank C. Worrell, PhD. said:
“This ruling ignores not only precedent but science, and will exacerbate the mental health crisis America is already experiencing. We are alarmed that the justices would nullify Roe despite decades of scientific research demonstrating that people who are denied abortions are more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety, lower life satisfaction and lower self-esteem compared with those who are able to obtain abortions.
“A person’s ability to control when and if they have a child is frequently linked to their socioeconomic standing and earning power. Therefore, restricting access to safe, legal abortions is most likely to affect those living in poverty, people of color, and sexual and gender identity minorities, as well as those who live in rural or medically underserved areas.”
States like South Carolina, which introduced a new bill called the “Equal Protection at Conception – No Exceptions – Act” would make almost all abortions illegal and would only allow abortion in cases where a mother’s life is at risk. The bill would also make it illegal for anyone to provide aid for someone seeking an abortion, including even providing information (including internet sites) on where an abortion might be available. Any drugs used to end a pregnancy would also be illegal under the legislation if it were to pass.The Thomas More Society and the National Association of Christian Lawmakers are both working with anti-abortion groups to draft legislation that would restrict people from traveling to other states where abortion remains legal.
The Department of Justice, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland addressed those issues in the statement released the same day the Supreme Court handed down its ruling reversing Roe:“But today’s decision does not eliminate the ability of states to keep abortion legal within their borders. And the Constitution continues to restrict states’ authority to ban reproductive services provided outside their borders.
“We recognize that traveling to obtain reproductive care may not be feasible in many circumstances. But under bedrock constitutional principles, women who reside in states that have banned access to comprehensive reproductive care must remain free to seek that care in states where it is legal. Moreover, under fundamental First Amendment principles, individuals must remain free to inform and counsel each other about the reproductive care that is available in other states.Also addressed in the statement was the protection of healthcare workers and those seeking reproductive care, as well as outlining that states cannot ban the use of Mifepristone which is FDA-approved for use.“Under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, the Department will continue to protect healthcare providers and individuals seeking reproductive health services in states where those services remain legal. This law prohibits anyone from obstructing access to reproductive health services through violence, threats of violence, or property damage.
“The Department strongly supports efforts by Congress to codify Americans’ reproductive rights, which it retains the authority to do. We also support other legislative efforts to ensure access to comprehensive reproductive services.
“And we stand ready to work with other arms of the federal government that seek to use their lawful authorities to protect and preserve access to reproductive care. In particular, the FDA has approved the use of the medication Mifepristone. States may not ban Mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy.
“Furthermore, federal agencies may continue to provide reproductive health services to the extent authorized by federal law. And federal employees who carry out their duties by providing such services must be allowed to do so free from the threat of liability. It is the Department’s longstanding position that States generally may not impose criminal or civil liability on federal employees who perform their duties in a manner authorized by federal law. Additionally, the Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has determined that federal employees engaging in such conduct would not violate the Assimilative Crimes Act and could not be prosecuted by the federal government under that law. The Justice Department is prepared to assist agencies in resolving any questions about the scope of their authority to provide reproductive care.Legal experts have suggested that the language in South Carolina’s bill is likely to be very problematic as it infringes on the First Amendment and the right to free speech, as well as in direct contradiction to interstate travel and commerce laws currently in effect. ASHEVILLE, N.C. – While access to abortion remains legal in North Carolina, several protests took place in various cities across the state over the holiday weekend. On Sunday, hundreds of people in Charlotte turned out for the march to the Uptown Romare Bearden Park.In both Raleigh and Asheville protests were held on July 4th. While the Raleigh protest drew a smaller crowd, those who turned out focused their demonstration on the State Supreme Court building and the surrounding square.
The protest in Asheville had well over 400 people turn out who demonstrated in Pack Square near the remnants of the Vance monument. Those assembled displayed a variety of signs in support of access to reproductive and condemning the Supreme Court’s decision.They chanted “my body, my choice” and “the patriarchy must go” for close to two hours.The group of protesters then marched to the nearby Pritchard Park where the protest ended after roughly another 30 minutes.Governor Roy Cooper has stated his commitment to making sure abortion and access to all reproductive health services remain legal within the state.Announcements:
In a follow-up to the 2018 Fall release of The New Aradia: A Witch’s Handbook to Magical Resistance, Revelore Press has issued an open call for contributions for The Gorgon’s Guide to Magical Resistance. The New Aradia, which was released just prior to the 2018 mid-term elections is characterized by the publisher as, “an effort to empower people with magical tools of resistance,” and is comprised of “sigils, spells, recipes, essays, invocations, rituals, and more, all gathered from experienced magical practitioners from around the world.” The guidelines laid out for submissions dictate that they must be limited to no more than 1,000 words, may only contain up to two black and white illustrations, and can range from spells, meditation, brief rituals, essays, or other material designed to be “timeless” in application but also supply readers with tools for advancing and protecting the many rights currently under threat in the U.S. The deadline for submissions is July 26, 2022, with a planned released date for The Gorgon’s Guide as this fall, ahead of the 2022 mid-term elections.
On Sunday, July 10th at 7:00 pm (EDT) Commons of Modern Pagans and Spiritual Seekers (COMPASS) will present the event: Pagan Teachers Commons. The event seeks to “create a space where Pagan teachers can meet regularly, share expertise and resources, and work collaboratively to improve teaching and understanding for all their students. The aim of the Pagan Teachers Commons (PTC) is not to dictate content–what we teach–but to inform our practice of teaching methodologies, so that we may be better facilitators of our educational settings. The PTC is modeled after the idea of a Professional Learning Community, which relies on reflective dialogue, a focus on student learning, interactions among teacher colleagues, collaboration, and shared values and norms.” COMPASS has also created a survey for teachers participating to better define the project and which can be found on the event page.
Cherry Hill Seminary announced its Fall courses for both Master’s Courses that run from September 4 through December 14 and the schedule of four-week Insights courses. The Master Course schedule includes Liturgical Design: Beyond the wheel of the year; Group Theory and Dynamics, Chaplaincy, and Research Design and Methodology. The Insights Courses schedule includes Earth-to-Earth Companionship for the September session; The Ritual of Writing for the October session; and The Dark Goddess: Her Many Faces and Expressions for the November session.
Crossings of the Veil
Theresa “Tree” Higgins – November 5, 1967 – June 21, 2022Theresa “Tree” Higgins crossed the Veil on Summer Solstice just a little over a week after experiencing a second stroke. In September of 2019, Higgins suffered a major stroke that affected and limited her mobility and balance.
Higgins was a lifelong Heathen and spiritual teacher and was very passionate about her religious beliefs. She had worked as a dialysis technician and in-home healthcare before pursuing work that better aligned with her spiritual path and beliefs.
Higgins was the co-facilitator of the monthly, “Welcoming Circling” at Asheville Raven and Crone and worked as a runecaster there one day a week. She had also been named as the general manager and “Mistress of Mayhem” of the metaphysical store, Of Earth and Wand in Marshall shortly before her first stroke.
She had a deep love of literature, with a special affection for poetry, and even wrote poetry, some of which was published.Higgins loved her three dogs, which were a big part of her life. She was very protective of the people who were important to her and in her life. While she was not one to mince words, she often demonstrated a great deal of patience with her students, and those seeking a greater understanding of their own path. She never failed to make time for those in need of spiritual direction or help.A remembrance service is planned for Higgins next month at the Asheville Raven and Crone, but the date and time have yet to be announced.What is remembered, lives!In other news:
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling that would allow the U.S. government to give thousands of acres of land to the mining giant RioTinto. The land in question is part of a land swap known as Oak Flat or Chi’chil Bildagoteel by the Apache tribe and is culturally significant to a number of Native tribes. The group Apache Stronghold has been fighting to save the land from the proposed copper mining project that would reportedly destroy it and leave a several-mile-wide crater. The ruling would seem to fly in the face of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Two members of the three-judge panel said that while they were sensitive to Apaches’ religious concerns, they stressed their ruling was narrowly tailored to the question of whether the government can do what it wants with its own land and whether the land transfer would prevent Apaches from practicing their religion. The third judge who dissented said it was “absurd” and “illogical” to think the land swap would not impede Apaches’ religious rights. President Biden had paused the land swap and while there is a bill in the U.S. House that would undo the land swap, it is still uncertain what the fate of the land would be. TWH has covered this story and will continue to follow it and report any new developments.
In Canada, a mummified baby wooly mammoth was discovered in the Yukon Klondike region of the country by a gold miner. The baby mammoth, believed to be female was found in what has been described as a fetal position with intact hair, skin, and tusks. The Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin ancestral land is where the mammoth was found, and tribal elders have named her, Nun cho ga, which means “big baby animal” in the Hän language. This find is believed to be the most complete wooly mammoth to ever be uncovered in North America.
Positively NoteworthyDisney released the trailer for Hocus Pocus 2 last week. The film features Bette Midler reprising her role as one of the Sanderson Sisters along with Sara Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as bad “witches”. The original Hocus Pocus is a cult classic in the “spooky witch genre, and there are high hopes for this modern sequel.Tarot of the week by Star BustamonteDeck: Modern SPellCaSteR’S Tarot, by Melanie Marquis and illustrated by Scott Murphy, published by Llewellyn Worldwide.Card: Major arcana, XX (20) JudgementThe week ahead is likely to hold “a major shift in consciousness,” and possibly seek a fresh start. There is the positive potential for evolved criticism and judgment that opens the way to an existence that is reflective of spiritual liberation.Conversely, the shift in consciousness could manifest in a much less positive way that is darker and likely contains harsh judgments and criticisms. This is likely to result in a need for cleansing and renewal.Decks generously provided by Asheville Pagan Supply.
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