When Trashing a fundraiser ….
And the peanut gallery
How Quick we Forget eh?
Woman found responsible in dog dispute
SALEM — A local business owner, who was charged with disturbing the peace after objecting to a police officer's decision not to arrest a man who left his dog in a car last August, was found responsible for her actions Wednesday.
Laurie "Lorelei" Stathopoulos, 56, of 125 Essex St., Salem, had been scheduled to stand trial on the misdemeanor charge in Salem District Court, a trial requested by her attorney.
On Wednesday, however, a judge reduced the charge to a civil infraction and entered a finding of "responsible," a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office said.
The Aug. 15 incident took place on Essex Street near the intersection of Washington Street, outside of a shop specializing in items of interest to Wiccans.
Stathopoulos owns another Wiccan-oriented shop further down Essex Street and is the founder of a group called "Salem Saves Animals."
When she learned that a man had left his dog in a parked car, she demanded police officers take the dog's temperature and they charge the owner. When police decided not to do either, she attempted to prevent the dog's owner from leaving the scene, leading to her arrest on the disturbance of the peace charge.
Police said at the time that the dog appeared to be healthy when they arrived, that the windows were left partly down and the car was parked in the shade.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.
Lori Sforza Takes Christian Day To Court, Gets Harassment Protection
Christian Day Lawyer Troubles
Witch wins protective order against warlock in Salem court
BOSTON (AP) — A judge granted a protective order against a warlock on Wednesday, spelling relief for the Salem witch who accused him of harassment.
The two squared off in court before a Salem District Court judge, who granted the protective order to witch priestess Lori Sforza. She had accused self-proclaimed warlock Christian Day of harassing her over the phone and on social media over the past three years.
During testimony that at times became heated, Sforza accused Day of making incessant phone calls at night and humiliating her on Facebook, The Boston Globe reported. Day's lawyer countered that the dispute stems from a onetime business partnership that fell apart years ago.
Before 2012, Day let Sforza perform psychic readings rent-free at one of his occult shops in Salem, he told The Associated Press in an interview after the hearing. Their relationship fell apart when Sforza revealed plans to start her own witchcraft shop nearby, Day said. The two are still business rivals.
"This is a business dispute gone wrong. That's all it was," Day said. "They don't want me to make snide remarks on Facebook; I won't make snide remarks on Facebook."
During the hearing, Sforza reportedly told the judge that she can see into her own future, saying, "That's why I'm here today." Sforza, 75, uses the business name Lori Bruno and says she is a psychic witch who descends from a line of Italian witches. She also leads a pagan church in Salem.
Day, 45, who now lives in Louisiana, owns occult shops in Salem and New Orleans. Described on his website as the "world's best-known warlock," he organizes the Festival of the Dead in Salem, a series of Halloween events every October that culminates in a Witches' Halloween Ball.
The pair made headlines in 2011 when they cast spells together to try to heal actor Charlie Sheen, who had called himself a "Vatican assassin warlock" during an interview on national television.
The judge hearing the case said he was dismayed by the volume of late-night calls Day made to Sforza. After hearing the decision, Day, who didn't testify, denied making the calls and then stormed out of the courthouse, according to The Globe. He told reporters he would appeal the order.
"I'm going to fight this every step of the way because it's unjust," he said.
Salem, home of the 17th-century witch trials, has a tourism industry built around the occult that reaches fever pitch in October, drawing thousands of visitors.
Christian Day Warlock Flushed Down Toilet
Christian Day is a self-described warlock in the pagan community, who considers himself more Satanic than Satanists, offers an interesting case study of a fame hungry fraud who destroyed himself when encouraging rapists to rape women much to the anger of all his customers in the pagan community. Christian Day built up his personal brand of fantasy through manipulation of the gullible US media rather like the Satanic Temple has done, building up a successful business and personal reputation amongst the pagans and other dabblers of the occult.
Thanks Christian Day and Screw You Too
What upsets me is that a resounding cry has gone out all across the internet by pagans against Day. But, none of those voices are being heard, at least, not on the level Day has reached thus far. There is not an equal and opposite voice in the mainstream media, welcoming cameras and newscasters into their living rooms. There is no soccer mom witch who is on CNN saying, "Look! See! I am a normal, functioning member of society that looks and acts and dreams just like you. I just happen to be pagan.
Beware Christiand Day Pagan Predator
I want to warn everyone about a tool named Christian Day, a member of the Salem pagan scene who has recently started posting private information about people publicly, including real names. When one of the women he outed informed him that she used a pseudonym because of a deranged, violent stalker, he replied “I hope your stalker has some fun with you,” and “Oh, and by the way, if he rapes you please call out my name while he does so.
Christian Day Rape Threat
It has come to my attention that yesterday afternoon, Mr. Day issued an apology on his wall for the general public, and I both read it, and I am keeping a copy. I think that this apology (as generic as it was) was indeed a step in the right direction for Mr. Day. It was a FAR cry from his taunting remarks made the day I released his PM to the public. I have to admit that I have quite… mixed feelings about this. One the one hand, I don’t think anyone is “Beyond” learning from their mistakes… and on the other, I am still having to adjust to life unmasked to a man who very likely still means me harm, and I will admit that I am still very, VERY angry about that.
Appalling Offensive and Intolerable
Basically, we have a self-styled "elder" (though I can hardly think of anyone who deserves that appellation less and he's certainly no one of worth, let alone an elder, in any tradition that I practice) Christian Day who recently 'outed' a number of witches in an online forum for working under pseudonyms. When one of these women contacted him pointing out that she was being stalked and harassed to particularly dangerous levels and that she used a pseudonym for her safety, he not only dismissed her comments, but went on to say that he hoped her stalker was successful and that she should call out his (Christian's) name when she was being raped. Source Here
Another Day Another bnp Behaving Badly
Following on the heels of Z. Budapest’s incendiary remarks, news is circulating that Christian Day, a prominent figure in the Salem, Mass. occult and pagan scene you may remember from his attempt to curse Charlie Sheen, has been sharing people’s private information in a public venue. When contacted by one of the people he “outed” who explained that among the many reasons she used a pseudonym was to elude a violent and threatening stalker, the “world’s best-known warlock” responded as follows...... This guy actually said:
I hope your stalker has some fun with you.As well as: Oh, and by the way, if he rapes you, please call out my name while he does so. I am sickened beyond words. This vile creature’s ego is so bloated with hubris that he believes not only that speaking to an abuse-survivor in such a way is permissible but that he will suffer no consequences, either professionally or magically, for doing so. Perhaps it’s time to show him otherwise.
Christian Day to the rescue
Look What I found !
Yes folks he thought it was hidden yet dated and saved as far back as 2007 on Way Back Machine I bring to you The infamous RESUME :
THE FORREST GUMP OF WITCHCRAFT
There’s a Sexism Problem in the Modern Witchcraft Community
By Jaya Saxena November 19, 2015
"...The men of witchcraft: Last month Christian Day, an author and occult store owner who describes himself as "The World's Best Known Warlock," was ordered by a judge to stay away from witch Lori Sforza, who had accused Day of harassment. Sforza said Day had been leaving her curse-filled voicemails and writing malicious posts about her on social media. In an interview outside the courthouse, Day said it was an issue of free speech. ..."
SOURCE HERE >
Salem witch takes warlock to court over alleged harassment
BOSTON (AP) — A Salem, Massachusetts, woman who calls herself a witch priestess said she is taking a self-proclaimed warlock to court over accusations of harassment.
Lori Sforza, who runs a Salem witchcraft shop and leads a pagan church, filed for court-ordered protection against harassment from Christian Day, whose website calls him the ‘‘world’s best-known warlock.’’ Sforza accused Day of harassing her online and over the phone for three years. The two will meet in court on Wednesday.
A lawyer representing Day declined to comment. Day owns occult shops in Salem and New Orleans, according to his website. His lawyer said he lives in Louisiana.
The 75-year-old Sforza is accusing Day, 45, of repeatedly calling her late at night from a private number and swearing at her, said Fiore Porreca, an attorney representing her. Sforza, who goes by the business name Lori Bruno, also alleged that Day made malicious posts about her on social media.
‘‘She’s being abused, intimidated and harassed,’’ Porreca said.
Porreca said the harassment has hurt his client’s business. On her website, Sforza calls herself a psychic and a clairvoyant. She claims to be a descendent of Italian witches who has healed victims of the bubonic plague. She is also the founder of Our Lord and Lady Of The Trinacrian Rose, a pagan church in Salem.
Salem’s Festival of the Dead — which culminates in the Official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball on Halloween night — was created by Day in 2003 and has expanded to include a psychic and witchcraft fair and a séance.
The Salem District Court and the lawyers in the case would not provide a copy of the order filed by Sforza.
Sforza and Day were once business associates in Salem, Porreca said. They also made headlines in 2011 when they cast spells together to try to heal actor Charlie Sheen, who had called himself a ‘‘Vatican assassin warlock’’ during an interview on national television.
A judge in Salem District Court is scheduled to hear the case on Wednesday to decide whether Sforza’s allegations amount to harassment and if she needs court protection.
Salem, home of the 17th century witch trials, has a tourism industry built around the occult that reaches fever pitch in October. The city is home to several witchcraft stores, museums dedicated to the trials and Halloween-themed attractions.
Wild Hunt article
Here is a neat article that was deleted but saved by the archives of the web .....
Jason Pitzl-Waters — September 8, 2014
Normally on Mondays I do my weekly round-up of news and happenings within our religious movement. However, this week I’d like to instead address something in a more personal editorial. In the previous week, there has been a lot of discussion in our interconnected communities over an ugly and hurtful exchange that invoked issues relating to outing (aka “doxing”), toxic communications, and the reality of rape culture. For those who want some more background, Polytheist.com has a public statement up that talks about what happened. Since the initial exchange in question was made public, there have been a number of replies, a public apology, a response to that public apology, calls for a boycott of the prominent Pagan involved, and an ongoing simmer of activity as word slowly reaches different communities.
When this emerged, a number of people asked me when I would respond. As the Founding Editor of one of modern Paganism’s largest news sites, many look to us for an “official” report on important events. In this case I was hesitant, not because of the prominent Pagan involved, who actually offered to give me a public statement, but because I know how the magnifying “bully pulpit” power of this site works. Given that the genesis of this incident starts with the outing of public identities, I didn’t want to draw more people towards giving scrutiny to someone who is already dealing with the ramifications of being outed. So instead I want to briefly touch on some underlying issues, and the challenges our interconnected communities, our broader religious movement, faces as a consequence
There is no excuse for the outing (or “doxing”) of individuals who choose to use pseudonyms short of matters that would involve criminal charges (in those cases, the authorities should be called). The basic functioning of our movement depends on the safety of our assumed identities, as we are still members of religious minorities who largely live in countries where the dominant religious paradigm views us with skepticism at best, and with hostility at worst. Those of us with the privilege of being “out” can sometimes have a hard time understanding the ramifications of having your identity revealed, and thus being exposed to hostility, discrimination, or personal danger as a consequence. Even removing all dangers, calling Starhawk ‘Miriam Simos,’ when she’s asked to be called Starhawk, denotes a lack of respect that eats away at the basic functioning of any sort of community.
Relationships are the backbone of polytheism, of Paganism, and anything that perpetuates rape culture or abusive language is anathema to it. Our religious reality is about overlapping relationships: with gods, with spirits, with our ancestors, with our family, and with our wider religious community. Those relationships encompass every expression of gender, race, orientation, and ethnicity. It has to, or else we end up denying some piece of what we call sacred. I don’t have to like everything all of the time, I’m not endorsing some sort of false utopia of harmony, but I cannot forget that any time I break or poison a relationship my actions ripple out into a larger world, often in ways I could not anticipate. Further, hospitality is a common value many of our communities share, and we should bring that ethos to the Internet and social media in a real way. A chat window on Facebook may not feel like “home” but in a very real way we entering and exiting other people’s personal spaces and should ever be mindful of that. Lastly, as a family of faiths that encompass beings we call goddesses, the perpetuation of toxic patriarchal memes or sentiments degrades our mission of cultural shift.
We’re part of a broad movement of different faiths, but we interact in community. Community can mean a lot of things: On an immediate level it means our family, our direct religious community, and the beings who we honor in the course of our lives. However, community also means the friends we make on Facebook, the groups we join, the causes we support, the events we attend, the acquaintances we make. Sometimes the virtual world can feel very much like a life-giving and supportive community, and sometimes it can feel hollow and fake, and in those moments we can be tempted to forget the humanity of those we interact with. When that happens, horrible things can follow. I have been skeptical lately of whether there can be a national or international “Pagan Community,” or if true community can only be built in a small grass-roots manner, but even still we cannot deny those interactions we maintain outside of our personal faith communities. Our movement may be a convenient umbrella fiction for scholars and polemicists to bandy, but it is there, and we do have a stake in our small faiths finding a way to thrive in our modern world. There is no way to “No True Scotsman” our way out of people behaving badly, there is only doing the work to make sure we’re all accountable to the communities we participate in.
This has been a hard year for our community. We’ve been hit by the deaths of pivotal figures within our movement, by horrific crimes and scandal, by a world increasingly under stress, and it can seem easy in these times to simply drop our tools and walk away to the relative safety of our hearths and homes. I know that I have been tempted, when hit by that “one more thing”, to question why I am here. Wouldn’t my life be easier, better, if I simply kept to my own practice, my own family, my own tight circle of close friends? But I have to believe that our interconnected families, our almost impossibly diverse movement, is indeed worth something, and worth fighting to improve. In the years to come I do plan to focus more on my local experience, but I will not give up fighting for a better movement to be in, and to honor the amazing people I have met as a consequence of my outreach into ever-wider circles of community. I hope we can take this moment, and pivot towards something great, something that says “we have learned” and that we can build better in the years to come. A place where we feel safe once more.
Thanks for listening.
To Support Warlocks, Boycott This Awful Film
Fresh off of getting a bunch of press for cursing Charlie Sheen, Salem's own warlock-wannabe, psychic-for-hire, and skull fetishist Christian Day is on TMZ today calling for all warlock supporters to boycott the new film Your Highness on the grounds that it, yes, defames warlocks.
Salem-based spellcaster Christian Day -- who even runs his own little witchcraft shop called HEX -- is pissed at Hollywood for its constant negative portrayals of warlocks in movies ... and now, he's calling for an all-out boycott of "Your Highness" for its anti-warlock messages.
Christian calls the movie an "assault on taste" for casting a warlock "who hopes to deflower helpless virgins and rule the world" -- telling TMZ, "Hollywood continues to cast Witches and Warlocks as negative roles when we're the good guys and gals!"
Christian adds, "I hope people boycott this movie and movies like it so that Hollywood is inspired to release more positive films about Witches and Warlocks."
Apparently Day hasn't gotten the message that really, the last thing the magical community needs is its own Bill Donohue-esque sanctimonious blowhard.
Catholic League president Donohue is known for his feigned outrage over every possible imagined slight to Catholics such as a New York YMCA that replaced Santa Claus with Frosty the Snowman this last holiday season. You know, because apparently red suits, white beards, reindeer, and American consumerism are all hallmarks of the Roman Catholic faith. Meanwhile, real Catholics in Germany were not amused. Seriously, is this kind of nonsense what the occult community has come to? Let's hope that Day's fifteen minutes of fame are over shortly.
Meanwhile, Salon movie critic Andrew O'Hehir agrees that Your Highness is a film to be avoided, but not for cultural or political reasons. Rather, he contends that it may very well be one of the worst movies ever made.
For a few hours after having seen "Your Highness," I considered the possibility that it was the worst movie ever made. The image of McBride as the dim, smug and beefy Prince Thadeous, who begins the story as an irritating lardass loser and ends it as an even more irritating hero, was burned into my brain, complete with the enormous severed minotaur dong he wears on a necklace. (Monster cock! ICWYDT!) And while I shouldn't feel bad for James Franco about much of anything (let alone the Newtonian backlash from all the media-fellatio he has enjoyed), his directionless, Keanu-lite performance as Thadeous' cooler and studlier brother, Fabious, only deepens the sense that his career has abruptly hurtled off a cliff into a bottomless abyss.
These two idiots wander about the countryside -- "Your Highness" was shot in Northern Ireland, so at least there's pretty scenery -- speaking in intentionally fakey Angoloid accents (sprinkled with wacky, occasional contemporary utterances, like "butthole" and "sweet!"), smoking some pipeweed they stole from Bag End, giving hand jobs to a Yoda-like alien pederast called the Wise Wizard (you can only wish I were kidding), lopping off the penises of would-be ass-rapist minotaurs and sporadically attempting to rescue Fabious' fiancée (Zooey Deschanel) from an evil wizard called Leezar (Justin Theroux), who plans to impregnate her with his foul seed. Oh, and Toby Jones plays a little, Iago-like elfin character called Julie. Who turns out to have no dick. Did I mention that there are a lot of dicks in this movie? Or that the people who made it are dicks? Or that I must be a dick, too, since I lacked the dignity and self-respect to walk out on this bloated, atrocious spectacle?
What does this say about Day's confidence in his warlock powers? Calling on people to boycott a movie that's so awful it's unlikely to do well anyway? Seeing as his Charlie Sheen curse was singularly unimpressive (Sheen was booed in Detroit at the opening of his "torpedo of truth" tour, but bounced back with a much better show at his next performance in Chicago. Is that all these Salem posers have got?) perhaps he feels a need to hedge his bets. That way when the movie does poorly because it sucks he can take unearned credit for inspiring millions with his vision of politically correct warlock-depiction.
But really, isn't this a little like calling on everyone to boycott Troma Productions' Class of Nuke 'em High on the grounds that it defames mutants? It's not like many people are clambering to buy tickets for the damn thing.
Worst. Ritual. Ever.
Worst. Ritual. Ever.
Judging from the recent events surrounding the hexing of Charlie Sheen, it's clear to me that despite the executions all those years ago plenty of the town's fake witches never left. In fact, they appear to have founded their own fake tradition, in which effective spell-casting takes a back seat to looking spooky, wandering around in Renaissance Festival attire, and dredging up all the free tabloid press coverage and tourist dollars they can muster.
According to serial eyeliner abuser Christian Day's updated website he is now the world's most famous warlock. I suppose that could be true, seeing as Charlie Sheen now admits he was only joking around, Julian Sands played a fictional character, and the other six people in the world besides Day who call themselves warlocks have never been mentioned on TMZ. Fame has little to do with competence, however, and the fact is that the "binding spell" on Charlie Sheen that brought Day his fame is one of the worst rituals I've ever seen in my life - and trust me, I've been around long enough to have attended some that were pretty bad. The thing is, nobody involved thought any of those rituals were awesome enough that they needed to be posted on YouTube for the whole world to see. Let's take a look at Day's masterpiece and bask in its awfulness.
0:40 - Lorelei gets some points for wearing red rather than the otherwise ubiquitous black of her and Day's gothy hangers-on and for apparently having a really cool athame, unless those jewels in the hilt are plastic. Red is attributed to Mars and is just as appropriate for a curse as is black. But she loses those points almost immediately when she casts the circle incorrectly. In witchcraft the circle is a protective barrier that encloses the place of working and needs to be cast around everyone present. Lorelei, however, just casts it around the altar and main operators, leaving most of the people present outside it. Bad form. One of my friends noted that her outfit is pink rather than red and just looks darker because of the lighting, so that would in fact make it inappropriate for a ritual such as this. Maybe that makes the overall score for this section negative.
1:14 - When calling the four archangels the directions for Gabriel and Raphael are swapped, replacing the order used in both Wicca and ceremonial magick with one adapted from a Kate Bush song. Are these people for real? Either this is another stupid mistake or the Salem witches practice a style of witchcraft I've never encountered. To my knowledge there is no legitimate tradition that has ever led off with Gabriel in the east. And no, this isn't the order used in the traditional Jewish prayer either, which is said as follows:
May Michael be at my right, Gabriel at my left, Uriel in front of me, Raphael behind me, and above my head, the Shekhina—the Divine Presence.
2:10 - Day now uses his skull named Robert (!) to call upon the dead. He gets points for wearing a really cool cloak but loses them for, as usual, wearing too much eyeliner. As far as the skull being named Robert, I don't know enough to make a determination. If the skull actually belonged to, say, one of his ancestors who was named Robert, from a necromantic standpoint that would be pretty effing cool. But I'm guessing that's not the case, which makes it rather sad.
Now, in most traditions in which the spirits of the dead are called upon an offering should be made at this point, a step that is conspicuously absent. When I stated at the beginning that Lorelei cast the circle incorrectly maybe I was wrong. Perhaps the gothy hangers-on outside it were left there as an offering, so that the spirits of the dead would have the opportunity to nibble on a bunch of angst-ridden souls as payment for their presence and help. Is this the sort of thing Moloch was talking about when railed against magicians taking up necromancy as some kind of fad? Looks like it to me!
3:00 - Day whips out his Anubis-head rattle and shakes it vigorously at about 3:30 once the other operators have made various statements related to the goal of the ritual. I guess this is supposed to pass for raising power. While in his media statements Day claimed that his and Lorelei's group was trying to "help" Charlie Sheen, Anubis is the psychopomp and this gesture along with all the black in the room is really most appropriate to "works of malediction and death." One wonders if that's the real psychic intent going on here with more positive language being substituted for the cameras. Either that or the rattle the only tool like it Day owns because his big tourist event is the Festival of the Dead, for which Anubis is legitimately the most appropriate Egyptian deity.
4:15 - Lorelei finally binds Charlie Sheen, using a spell she seems to have picked up from the film The Craft. What is it with this group and pop culture? They know that spells from songs and movies aren't real, right? I mean, I know that Fairuza Balk is a practicing Wiccan and served as a sort of unpaid ritual consultant so the spells aren't quite as bad as usual in The Craft, but still.
Note that this "binding" is cast using the name Charlie Sheen, which is a stage name. Sheen's real name is Carlos Estevez, which is the name one would need to use to make a binding spell like this work properly. The intent of the rite preceding the final binding is also rather muddled, with several people speaking at once punctuated by intermittent choruses of "so mote it be!" If you want a spell like this to have an effect you need to have your whole group on the same page and make a single, concise statement that covers all your bases rather than having each operator make up their own on the spot.
4:55 - The ritual is over and the circle is closed. That took what, five minutes? Some spell. I know, short spells can sometimes work well, and making an incoherent mess like this longer wouldn't have helped it any. The only good thing I can say about it is that I'm glad it was over quickly.
Unsurprising to real magical practitioners, the only effect the spell might have had is to ruin Sheen's first show in Detroit. His next performance in Chicago went much better, but as he reworked the show between performances it's hard to say whether or not this is simply a case of a veteran actor adapting his presentation to his audience. I'm guessing the first show was just bad, and that this ritual most certainly had nothing to do with the reviews. Sheen's still here and still famous, while Day is left complaining about being defamed by a stupid stoner comedy that nobody wants to see. Where the two of them go from here remains to be seen, but the trends are already not looking so good for Salem's would-be warlock.
On Sep 27, 2014, at 8:44 PM,
Christian Day <email@example.com> wrote: >
Hi Michelle, > > I’ve endured a campaign of harassment for the past several weeks by this crazy, naked YouTube fat man named Ronald French and his cohorts. They’ve posted pics of my house, my elderly aunt’s address (a former city councilor who watches my three year old niece five days a week) with subtle suggestions that people go visit me there even though I haven’t lived there in ten years. I had an old resume archived on my site that apparently google had buried in their listings. But this is a far cry from what Mr. French and his cohorts are doing by publicizing that address and suggesting people come and “learn computers” from me in subtle threats. > > Their names are Ronald French, Laura Bradswell and Audie Goff. > > Why I am emailing you is that one of your authors, Celeste Heldstab, is all over their pages, including posts that included commentary about my aunt, whose life they put in danger. She is upset because my businesses, and another business in town, Crow haven Corner, stopped carrying her other products because she made us wait over four months for our products with excuse after excuse, which is why Coventry stopped doing business with her. > > I do not know if there is something you can do as she is one of your authors, but I take this very, very seriously as my aunt and my niece have been placed in danger by people she is encouraging and egging on with her likes and subtle comments on her own page. > > https://www.facebook.com/ChritianDaytheForrestGumpofWitchcraft > > Many blessings, > > Christian
You got to be kidding me ?!
If you go to HEX Fest and any other events Christian Day produces here is a little tid bit about those gift bags people get. Currently Christian Days events will run you $150 -$300 all of which fattens his wallet and to show his appreciation to those who spent that money he has his minions beg for donations.
HEX WITCH NEW ORLEANS IS A FRAUD
Lilith’s Amazon Store
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Religious Discrimination: Here We Go Again !
August 8, 2015 by Lilith Dorsey 6 Comments
Hexfest logo, all rights reserved.
Hexfest logo, all rights reserved.
It is with a heavy heart and a scratchy head that I write this post today. Many of you know in a few weeks I will be lecturing at an event called Hexfest. Designed as an exciting weekend of witchery in New Orleans the event will feature workshops, drumming and more. Originally the event was scheduled to have a Voodoo ritual on the Steamboat Natchez which as of yesterday became cancelled by the owners of the boat. Most likely this occurred for religious reasons, although they claim differently (the exact details can be read in the letter below.) We are still going to have the ritual anyway, you can’t keep good Voodoo people down and participants at the event will now get to enjoy the Creole Queen.
Yet many are up in arms, screaming “Oh my Gods ,” unfortunately I am sighing and saying here we go again. For those of us with darker skins and darker religions we are constantly forced to sit at the back of the bus, despite years of struggle and oppression. This hurts, not only as a person of color and a Voodoo priestess, and while I was not involved directly in facilitating this ritual, discrimination continues to effect all of us would were to be present, as well as the larger magickal community. We should not be silent. In my 20 years as a Voodoo priestess I have been called everything from the n-word, to relocated miles out of the way, even by other pagans. This can not continue, let’s everyone open our eyes. Thank you.
Organizers Christian Day and Brian Cain’s letter to the parent company of the Steamboat Natchez, Grey Line
Dear Grey Line,
It is with great sadness and concern that inform you that my business partner, Brian Cain, and I, as well as all of the attendees of our event, HexFest, have been discriminated against by the Steamboat Natchez for our religion of Witchcraft which itself is recognized as a legal religion in the United States of America (see the following law memorandum at http://www.paganmade.com/temple/download/ckhtlawmem.pdffor details on this).
On the morning of August 7th, the coordinator of our event, Ty Siddiqui and I spoke on the phone with Deidra Edwards, Director of Sales for the Steamboat Natches, which is itself owned by your Grey Line NOLA affiliate. Ty and I were informed by Ms. Edwards that the owner of the boat had just found out about our Riverboat Ritual conducted by a Voodoo Priestess and featuring drummers and that he was canceling it for “religious reasons.” The website describing it been up for over a year and we had explained everything that was going to be going on to Deidra on the phone and even referred to components such as drumming and voodoo in emails back and forth, none of which she expressed concern over because we had already discussed this by phone. Moreover, the Voodoo Priestess in question, national television personality “Bloody Mary,” has been hired by Grey Line NOLA for numerous events on the boat through the years and, according to Mary, even our shop has supplied services for Mary in helping to entertain guests on the boat. In spite of all of this, Deidra Edwards informed Ty and me by phone that the owner wanted nothing with Witches or Voodoo for “religions reasons.” In addition to this being incredibly discriminatory, it also put us in a precarious position given that this was two weeks before the event.
Thankfully, we are now at the Creole Queen and Deidra did help with that so perhaps she feels some shame at the actions of the owner of her company. However, after she and the owner met with their lawyer, Deidra has revised the reason we were being cancelled, never having admitted in writing to the “religious reasons” she spoke of to Ty Siddiqui and I on the phone, but rather is now stating that they are canceling the contract because we violated it by having a drumming on the boat that they were unapproved and by selling tickets to “non-members” of our organization, both prohibited by their contract. However, I had addressed the membership piece of the contract by phone and Deidra had said that said that this didn’t apply to us since we were a public event and not a membership organization to begin with. I also have emails back and forth referring to the drummers on the boat and to the Voodoo priestess and blessing she was doing and never once did Deidra act surprised by this, presumably because we had already discussed it by phone. Deidra Edwards knew all along that this was an event that sold to the public and that we were having drummers and a Voodoo priestess and that the event was for Witches. If she had an issue with the drummers or the public event, both of which they knew about, why wait until two weeks before the event to cancel? This is appalling. I realize she kept the owner out of the loop but he should have at least had the good grace to treat us as a customer and allow us to have our event at least for this year so we would have time to plan for next year’s event in June, where we would happily rather go to the Creole Queen than be somewhere we are not wanted.
I have worked in tourism for thirteen years. I sat on the Board of Directors for the official office of tourism of Salem, Massachusetts. I have been an ambassador for tourism in both cities with appearances on Showtime, The Wall Street Journal, TLC, BBC, The New York Times, The Travel Channel (multiple times), and more. To treat us this way at the last minute, causing us to incur numerous costs such as flyer reprinting, several staff members allocated to calling attendees and presenters to make sure they know the location of the other riverboat, which is also much further away from the hotel we are at. There’s a good chance we would have changed hotels if we knew we were going to be at the Creole Queen.
Perhaps most disappointing about this is that it has put is in a compromising position with our guests, who now have to walk a mile from the hotel or rely on cabs that there may not be enough of in order to reach the new location which is 3/4 of a mile further away. We take our relationship with our guests seriously and we believe that the Steamboat Natchez and Grey Line Tours NOLA should take their customer relationships seriously as well. It is deeply distressing to think that they could treat this so cavalierly.
We have shared this with my combined 60,000 fans on social media across numerous pages for our three retail shops between Massachusetts and New Orleans, our walking tour company, and our two festivals. We are hopeful that Grey Line national will disassociate with this affiliate as not doing so constitutes support of this type of discrimination.
I would like to leave you with this quote by our mayor here in New Orleans, from his own Executive Order on discrimination in the Crescent City:
“With this executive order, I am issuing a clarifying call to the nation that New Orleans is an accepting, inviting city that thrives on its diversity and welcomes people from all walks of life with open arms,” said Mayor Landrieu. “In New Orleans, we believe religious liberty and freedoms should be protected and discrimination prohibited, and we have passed our own laws to reflect that principle. This executive order is an important, symbolic affirmation that discrimination in any form will not be tolerated in New Orleans – and it should not be tolerated anywhere in Louisiana.”
We hope you can reach out to us to discuss this.
Christian Day and Brian Cain
HexFest – www.hexfest.com
Hex: Old World Witchery – www.hexwitch.com
Omen – www.omensalem.com
Festival of the Dead – www.festivalofthedead.com
When a City does not want you get the hint ding a ling.....
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