On Monday, police in Bluefield, West Virginia arrested James Irvin on multiple charges of sexual abuse and sexual assault against children. Local West Virginia media say that according to the police report, Irvin allegedly promised magical feats of healing and even resurrection of the dead so long as the children complied with his requests.
“According to the criminal complaint, two of the victims lived with their mother and stepfather in Irvin’s home on Giles Street when the alleged offenses occurred in 2007. The complaint states the alleged sex acts were performed under the guise of Pagan/Wiccan rituals, of which Irvin was a follower. One victim testified that Irvin forced her to perform the sexual acts, described as ‘magic’ to ‘make mommy well,’ the complaint states. […] A third victim — a friend of the family — has also come forward to report that she was sexually abused by Irvin on four occasions at his home. She told police, according to the criminal complaint, that Irvin told her the ‘magic’ acts could ‘make her recently deceased father come back.’”
As news of this arrest spread through the Pagan community, anger at Irvin’s alleged crimes were evident, with some asking how anyone could distort Wicca, which places an emphasis on not harming others, into something that could encompass the sexual abuse of children. Cat Chapin-Bishop, former Chair of Cherry Hill Seminary’s Pastoral Counseling Department, with over 20 years of experience as a counselor specializing in work with survivors of childhood sexual abuse, says that in some cases religion or claims to supernatural powers are merely a means to an end for perpetrators of abuse.
“For some perpetrators the lies and deceptions they use to manipulate children are something they enjoy, in and of themselves. For others, they’re just a means to an end: controlling child victims. Whatever is the case here, as terrible as it is that our religious beliefs have been distorted in such an ugly way as part of this abuse, the real horror is the crime itself: children betrayed by adults they should have been able to trust. This is the real tragedy here.”
Covenant of the Goddess, a national organization that works to network and empower Wiccan and religious Witchcraft traditions in the United States, issued a statement on this arrest from its Hills & Rivers Local Council, which serves the Pennslyvania, western New York State, and West Virginia area.
“Our faith depends on strict ethics that ask us to harm no one. Wiccans do not commit crimes against children or others. It is against our code of ethics to do anything of this nature. We are disheartened to learn that anyone would use our religion to harm children.” – Lady Annabelle, First Officer of Hills & Rivers Local Council, Covenant of the Goddess and High Priestess of Grove of Gaia.
Lady Annabelle went on to add that Hills & Rivers Local Council has reached out to local media in Bluefield to, quote, “offer any information or assistance in the reporting of this story and future stories that involve Wicca and Paganism.”
Chapin-Bishop, who recently wrote a guest post for The Wild Hunt on how to best respond to abuse within the Pagan community, adds that whatever Irvin’s beliefs may or may not have been, “it’s a good reminder to our community of the wisdom of doing background checks on anyone who is working directly with children. We may not detect every offender this way, but it will be worth it to detect those we can.” As for Irvin, he is currently being held on $100,000 bond, and may face additional charges according to WVVA’s Lindsay Oliver. We will keep you posted as this story develops.Send to Kindle
(i totally forgot I queueued that post so I was surprised to see it in the tags)
(but i’m v proud of you all for rebloggin it b/c i think it needs to get out there)
Here is a subtle litmus test for a potential teacher/group leader:
What are they reading and learning right now? Are they getting into herbalism and happy to tell you about the cool book they just finished? Are they taking a correspondence course in [other subject]? Are they studying tarot through a variety of websites?
If they’re learning and studying, then they are more likely to be open to someone disagreeing with them—after all, they’re not going to know everything about whatever it is they’re studying, so they should be able to generalize that incomplete knowledge to other spheres of life. Wheareas the only teacher I encountered who I would recommend against was not studying on his own when I met him. And yes, the reason I would not recommend him is that he was too wedded to his views and his ‘rightness’ to actually teach effectively.
It’s not a full-proof test for fitness as a teacher or leader, of course. But, combined with the usual questions of “Are they in it for the ego trip?” and “How do they handle conflict?” it is very telling. And unlike those questions, this is easy to find out from the source (it’s so much easier to ask “Hey what are you reading these days?” than “So tell me are you using this group to overcome your deep-seated feelings of incompetence and inefficacy?”)
stay safe friends
So I’m having a prints giveaway! I’ve got a bunch of old stock digital prints of my work, some matted, some not, that I’m putting up on my Etsy store and figured I’d kick it off by giving some away.
I’m giving away five prints, pictured above. Outside dimensions of all five is eight by ten inches. The image size of the non-matted ones is a little smaller because of the white border; for the matted ones the image comes to about 3.75 by 5.75 inches.
The prints are, from top to bottom:
The Celtic horse Goddess Rhiannon in a purple matte;
The Germanic Goddess of Spring Ostara;
The Maya Goddesses Ix Chel (center) with Chak Chel (left) and the young Moon Goddess (right);
A print of the Egyptian Goddess Hathor in a red matte (Aleister Meowley not included);
and a print of my Athena Glaukopis.
So, here are the rules:
You have until 11:59pm EDT May 1st 2014 to enter (that means all day Beltaine until just shy of midnight).
You can like this post all you like, but I’m only counting reblogs as entries because—
When you reblog it please list the prints in order of your favorites from 1 (favorite) to 5 (least favorite). When I pick the winners, the first one I pick will get their #1 favorite, then the second will get the one closest to the top of their list I can manage, i.e. if the first winner doesn’t pick the second winner’s favorite, the second will get their #1 favorite, but if they did then the second winner gets their second favorite, &c on down the list.
You must have an open ask box at the time of the drawing; otherwise I won’t be able to contact you to get your address which I kind of will need to send it to you.
Only people in the US, please.
I reserve the right to change these rules in case I look at it tomorrow and decide something doesn’t make sense; it’s kind of late here now.
So there you go. I’ll be putting up more of the old stock prints at my Etsy shop throughout the week so keep checking back if you don’t see something over there you like. Also, if you’d rather have something larger, I’ve got more prints for sale over at my deviantArt gallery.
And reblogging again. C’mon people, there’s a really good chance to win here!
somehow I have been going to DUPA meetings every other Friday for months and i have never taken pics of the group for Sexy Pagan Friday, nor have I ever told them that Sexy Pagan Friday exists.
i’m very sorry for the oversight.
FAIRIES learn to dance before they learn to
Fairies learn to sing before they learn to
Fairies learn their counting from the cuckoo’s
They do not learn Geography at all.
Fairies go a-riding with witches on their
And steal away the rainbows to brighten up
their rooms ;
Fairies like a sky-dance better than a
They have a birthday once a week at
Fairies think the rain as pretty as the sun ;
Fairies think that trespass-boards are only
made for fun ;
Fairies think that peppermint’s the nicest
thing they know ;"
I always take a packet when I go.
Yessss indeed. I was wondering if you were planning/ were willing to share a few things about that? I know I have a hard time finding things that aren't very sex-based for beltain.
In Starhawk, Baker, and Hill’s Circle Round, there’s a story titled “The Goddess Blesses All Forms of Love” which is about (you guessed it) the holiness of all forms of love, from the sexy kind to the love for one’s job or fambly, and those types of love become the ribbons of the maypole. So I’m thinking my University group will invite people to dance around our Maypole/Dragon (we’re doing it by the school mascot statue because we are Bosses), think of something/someone they love, and bless a ribbon to wear around their wrist to remind them of their love. And that translates well to solitary practice—braid a bunch of ribbons into a bracelet/anklet.
Alternately: Flowersflowersflowers. I don’t know what but flowers.
Also: Beltaine is one of the days that the veil between our world and Faerie is supposed to be thin (according to Irish-ish legend, but lbr when have I ever noticed the veil??? never) and the Fae courts parade around. So you could leave some nice honey and butter for local fae and do… something? with your local court.
Alternately: have you thought about daffodils?