PantheaCon 2011: Pan-pagan convention returns to San Jose on February 18
PantheaCon, an interfaith pagan convention that brings together thousands of people from across the United States, will be happening in San Jose, CA this coming President’s Day weekend.
The convention’s dates are Feb 18-21 and will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel. As usual for PantheaCon, they will be taking up the entirety of the hotel’s function space.
The theme for this year’s gathering is “Walking the Talk.” People who submitted presentations for the event were encouraged to focus on the meaning of that phrase for pagans in modern times. Read full story from examiner.com
Malawi’s jailed witches get a lease of life
A human rights group in Malawi is causing a stir as it embarks on a mission to gather 10,000 signatures from locals to force President Bingu wa Mutharika free several jailed witches.Association of Secular Humanism (ASH) says most of the convicts are women jailed for teaching witchcraft to children. Reports say some are doing jail time of up to six years.
“I’m asking you to sign this petition to help us reach our goal of 10,000 signatures. I care deeply about this cause, and I hope you will support our efforts,” a senior official of the association, Harold Williams is quoted saying.
The petition reads: “Belief in witchcraft is widely held in Malawi by people of all levels of education and stature in society. Whereas the law does not accept the reality of witchcraft, the Police and judicial authorities, many of whom share the belief, distort the law to punish those who are accused of witchcraft”
“It is mainly the elderly, men and women, who are accused of witchcraft and there are many very elderly and infirm imprisoned throughout Malawi – sentenced for up to 6 years without anything that would pass as substantive evidence in courts which do not accept superstition and suspicion as adequate.”
“The Association of Secular Humanism in Malawi has made several attempts to persuade the authorities to release these unfortunates and has visited many in our prisons. We need your help!” Read full story from afrik-news.com
Witchcraft Legal Aid in Africa
NEW YORK — Accusations of witchcraft in Africa have gained increasing attention because of the severe impact they can have on the lives of those accused, including imprisonment, deprivation of property, banishment from villages and in some cases physical violence.The human-rights law program I direct recently partnered with an N.G.O. in Malawi to run a mobile legal-aid clinic focusing on witchcraft cases in two rural communities.
Men, women and children flocked to our clinic seeking legal assistance. The cases were challenging and engaged the question of how to confront accusations of witchcraft, particularly when children and elderly women disproportionately bear the brunt of such accusations.
The persecution of accused witches has not historically been confined to Africa. Witch-hunts have occurred in Europe, America, ancient Rome, Aztec Mexico, Russia, China and India. But the practice persists in poor settings in part because witchcraft can be used in communities without routine access to modern medicine and science to explain seemingly inexplicable instances of death and misfortune. Read full story from nytimes.com
‘Adventures’ every witch way in Salem
With its witch-hunt past and embrace of all things ethereal, Salem is hallowed ground for anyone interested in the paranormal.
So when the crew from the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” (tonight at 9) wanted to up the ante in season four, they pointed their Electronic Voice Phenomena recorders to the North Shore.
“I actually have been dying to come back to anywhere near my hometown for a couple years now,” “Ghost Adventures” investigator Nick Groff, a former Pelham, N.H., resident said. “Everybody knows about Salem, the witch trials, the movies — everything that’s been done here.” Read full story from bostonherald.com
New York City’s Official Apocalypse Manual
Should New York City face a “very grim” situation, the government has the right to “establish curfews, quarantine wide areas, close businesses, restrict public assemblies and, under certain circumstances, suspend local ordinances,” the New York Times explains in a feature this morning about the legal rulebook that governs potentially apocalyptic times. It’s terrifying in theory, but also very boring because it’s written by lawyers. The “New York State Public Health Legal Manual,” a/k/a The Oh My God We’re All Goin’ to Die book, “provides a catalog of potential terrorism nightmares, like smallpox, anthrax or botulism episodes.” But don’t worry, they have a plan. Read full story from villagevoice.com
New Bigfoot sighting near Pittsburgh
It was early Tuesday morning February 8th 2011, Sam was just exiting route 60 at about 7:45AM and about to turn into the PA turnpike when something odd caught his attention.The intersection was in the middle of a rolling landscape with hills on every side. The tenacious winter weather of the season had coated the hills with much snow, and every hill was glistening white in the early morning sun. But to his left a large dark brown figure stood out in stark contrast to the colorless background. It was a massive dark brown humanoid figure, trudging its way effortlessly through the deep snow that covered the hillside to his left. Sam was shocked and amazed. The figure was familiar to him, he had seen it so many times before on documentaries and cable television specials. He was watching a Bigfoot creature first hand from about 100 yards away. Read full story from examiner.com
Capture of wanted killer sheds light on life in polygamist cult
THE revelation that one of Australia’s most wanted killers took sanctuary in an obscure polygamist cult in the Cairns hinterland has finally lifted the veil on the secretive sect, which former followers say has thrived for more than 30 years.
Headed by millionaire property owner Daniel Landy-Ariel, the Jesus People preach an orthodox Christian lifestyle in which adherents speak ancient Aramaic and some forms of violence against women and children are allegedly encouraged.
Guided by their spiritual father, the cult’s 150 followers are crammed into urban properties in Sydney and Cairns, as well as three massive kibbutzes in remote areas of Queensland and NSW.
Police are now investigating the extent to which cult members may have sheltered convicted murderer Luke Andrew Hunter, 42, and whether or not they helped him obtain work with Queensland Health. Read full story from theaustralian.com
Cast Your Love Spell with a Love Potion
A love spell has been described as a positive love-thought that you send out to the universe as an affirmation in the way of an incantation, or simply in the form of a prayer, and then you visualize with intense feeling what you desire to attract to your life.
Put these ingredients of manifestation together with the power of a ritual and you have a love spell that is simply spell-binding! During my years of studying metaphysics I am honored to have close friends and soul sisters from my home land in Australia, Deborah Gray and my late friend Athena Starwoman, both self-confessed and practicing white witches who lived in a coven and follow a spiritual way of life.
Having kept such company, over the years a little of their white magic rubbed off, and for this Valentine’s Day, I have created a concoction suitable for your star sign so you can cast your very own love spell. Read full story from nydailynews.com