4 Feb 2013

9th Conference on Current Pagan Studies

Posted by tony

Saturday, January 26, 2013 was the first day of the 9th Conference on Current Pagan Studies, held at Claremont Graduate University. The theme for this year was “Pagan Sensibilities in Action.”


The day began with a welcome talk from Jeffrey Albaugh, while we enjoyed pastries and coffee.


The first speaker was Kathryn LaFevers Evans who has extensive teaching experience and integrates New Mythos theory and practice in an interdisciplinary paradigm — engaging the imaginal, mythopoetic cosmologies of Renaissance Neoplatonism & natural magic with depth & archetypal psychology. She gave a presentation titled “Leadership in Depth & Archetypal Psychology: Indigenous Vision Quest in the Dreamtime” which was mostly a meditation exercise preceded by calling the quarters using rattles in a Native American fashion.


Joseph Merlin Nichter is a Wiccan Priest, co-founder of Mill Creek Seminary and the National Pagan Correctional Chaplains Association. As the first state-recognized Minority Faith Chaplain, Joseph provides religious services and assists with religious accommodations of minority faiths for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; he has also served as a religious program instructor for the California Department of Mental Health. Joseph’s presentation was “The Ink Blot Tarot: A Querent’s Journey of Self discovery.” Joseph has served in the military and understands tarot cards in terms of his military experience and survivor guilt. He gave up his seat in a helicopter to another soldier only to find out that the helicopter crashed, killing all on board. Joseph outlined an absolutely fascinating technique where he would use tarot cards as doorways, and then sketch in peripherals — thus scrying for the card beyond the card.


Kenneth Christensen has had involvement with Left Hand Path, Heathen (including Theodism), Tripura Tantra and alchemical practices. He is in the process of building his own esoteric non-theistic tradition with its origins in Theodism. He presented “Runic Alchemy:  Transmutation of the Dark Night of the Soul into a Creative Process.” Kenneth stated that the Dark Night of the Soul refers to the realization of being asleep and needing to wake up. He discussed the need to feel the presence of direct experience. The highlight was when he played the Terence McKenna video — “Reclaim Your Mind.”


Joan DeArtemis is an Initiated Priestess of Artemis, a Consecrated Priestess in the Western Mystery Tradition, is active in both CUUPS and the Dianic Tradition, and has been practicing the Craft for over 30 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Religion & Society from Syracuse University, and is currently working on a Master of Divinity degree at Claremont School of Theology with the intent of becoming ordained as a Unitarian Universalist Minister. Her presentation was “Help! There’s a Pagan in My Christian College!” She explained that Christianity was a new religion based on numerous old religions, and then discussed various seminaries, focusing on Cherry Hill Seminary. She outlined the inequity that Pagan chaplains work on volunteer basis, while their mainstream religion colleagues are paid.


Joseph Futerman and Elizabeth Rose did a joint presentation. Joseph has a PhD in clinical psychology with an emphasis is Jungian Depth Psychology, a Masters Degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in Family Therapy, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Criticism and as well, is licensed  by the State of California as Marriage and Family Therapist. He is also a certified NLP practitioner and Hypnotherapist. He is the associate chair of the Marriage and Family Therapy Department at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He is also an adept of the Golden Dawn Tradition, a founding member of the Fellowship of the Gods, and the Kaotic Order of Adventurers, Seekers and Sorcerers his the leader of the Magus Project. Joseph is currently working on a book titled Descartes’ Depression and the Rise of Rationalism. Elizabeth is a Master’s level social worker at the Veteran’s administration, currently completing her hours for licensure. She is the Director of the Association for Pagan (and Pagan-Friendly) Therapists (APT). Her research paper and documentary ‘A Wider Path: LGBT Elders and Spirituality’ was recently published by the HPPAE Journal ‘Generativity’ and can be viewed on YouTube. She has been a practicing Pagan since 1985.


Joseph and Elizabeth’s presentation was titled “Building Pagan Community Organizations: Avoidance, Engagement and Adaptation.” They pointed out that the US has 1-2 million Pagans, and thus constitutes roughly 0.67% of population. As a community, Pagans generate less money than other communities of similar size. This led to a discussion of issues such as how Pagans could be motivated to serve their community, and whether Pagans actually need to have their own hospitals and other institutions.


Charlotte Turvey is a candidate for a Masters of Arts in anthropology at California State University Northridge. Charlotte presented “Twelve Stepping on the Margins” which was a product of her graduate research on Neo-Pagans who are in Twelve Step programs — Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Al-Anon. Even though these organizations claim to be non-religious, Christian elements are largely maintained in both. The early founders in the 1930s were Catholic and Protestant, so their idea of diversity was to bridge this gap. They are thus non-denominational Christian, rather than non-religious organizations. They both have a male-centered monotheistic worldview. Both groups state that they aim for care/contact with “God as we understood Him.” Pagan participants in Charlotte’s study had to make adaptations to adjust for incongruences between Twelve Step ideology and Pagan ideology. Meetings included the Lord’s Prayer, during which Pagans would silently substitute the Serenity Prayer. There is actually an abundance of Pagan-oriented material on the internet and in books to showing how to modify this material.


Kimberly Kirner, PhD, is a cultural anthropologist at California State University Northridge specializing in applied cognitive anthropology, medical anthropology, and environmental anthropology. She is interested in understanding interrelationships between cognition, emotion, and decision-making; the construction of identity and community; landscape and worldview; and the way cultural systems of knowledge interact with policy and large-scale systems to impact human behavior. Her research has focused on the political ecology of the American West rangelands; cultural modeling of health care-seeking behavior; and the Pagan Studies. Kimberly presented “Fear, Minority Stress, and the Journey Toward Healing” in which she discussed her new Pagan health survey. An interesting development was that of Pagan identity, with many respondents criticizing definitions of Paganism in their comments at the end. Heathens of course declared that they were not Pagan. She pointed out that 76% of all Pagans had to seek out help for mental distress or disorder, and of these, 22% experienced prejudice or discrimination. Terrible problems when health professionals confuse Pagan practices with mental disorders — thus, communicating with ancestors becomes identified with hearing voices. As a result, Pagans have to withhold information — beliefs and practices — to avoid being stigmatized. Interestingly, a lack of LGBT persecution draws these people to Paganism, and in turn they influence Paganism. When dealing with health professionals, LGBT pass as heterosexuals while Pagans pass as Christians to avoid prejudice.


The Keynote Speaker for Saturday was Sabina Magliocco, PhD, who is Professor of Anthropology at California State University, Northridge. She is a recipient of Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright and Hewlett fellowships, and an honorary Fellow of the American Folklore Society, she has published on religion, folklore, foodways, festival and witchcraft in Europe and the United States, and is a leading authority on the Neopagan movement. She is the author of numerous books and articles, including Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America (2004), Neopagan Sacred Art & Altars: Making Things Whole (2001) and with filmmaker John M. Bishop produced the documentary film series “Oss Tales,” on a May Day custom in Cornwall and its reclamation by American Pagans. Her current research is on animals in the Pagan spiritual imagination. Sabina’s presentation was “The Rise of Pagan Fundamentalism” and she explored the rise of radical religious ideologies within modern Paganisms in early 21st century America.


Sabina stated that when Paganism re-emerged in the mid-20th century, the emphasis was on ritual practice rather than belief. However, the 21st century saw the emergence of fundamentalist trends within Paganism, by which she means “an increasing emphasis on the acceptance of certain beliefs, including those about the history of modern Paganisms and the nature of the divine, and on a growing intransigence and hostility towards those who refuse to accept them or argue against them.” Sabina engaged in online research, limited to English speaking world. Paganism has a very strong internet presence, which fosters a sense of community, especially for those who are geographically isolated, but also allows extreme beliefs to flourish without being challenged by a more moderate majority. Myths have sacred truth and encapsulate core values in a religion, but are not necessarily literally true. Fundamentalists believe in the literal truth of foundational narratives. The purpose of foundational narratives is to capture the imagination of practitioners so that they go out and make the world a better place. Made up religions, like Jediism, show that fictional narratives can be just as effective as the longer established narratives. Belief is now coming to the fore as a benchmark of identity. Paganism has now grown into a serious player on the global stage. When Sabina finished the accolades and applause were long and loud, and she embraced them in true rock star fashion, by extending her arms out to the side and bowing repeatedly.


Alfred Surenyan, DMA is a composer and ethnomusicologist. He has studied in the field of classical music and folk music of Eastern Europe and the Middle East. In the past 10 years he has also done research and work in Pagan Music. As both a practicing Pagan and Musician he has brought the two together both in practice and academic work. Currently Alfred is composing several chamber pieces and also has plans this year on several electronic music. He currently is an Adjunct Faculty at the Art Institute of CA, Inland Empire. Alfred’s presentation was “New Directions in Pagan Music.” He discussed styles of music not explored before, which have developed from older styles or experimental music. He focused on two types of music not used by Pagan musicians before. Firstly, there was Pagan rapping, examples of which are Manau (France), Gruf the Druid (Canada), and Kelle Maize. Secondly, there was classical / choral music.


Elizabeth “Flame” Malamed is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Integrative Body Psychotherapist. She is also a priestess and teacher in the Reclaiming Tradition, a certified yoga instructor, and has studied in the Anderson Feri Tradition. Flame presented “From Pentacles to Stars: Adapting Pagan Practices for Broader Use.” In her presentation, Kimberly Kirner discussed the problems that result when health professionals confuse Pagan practices with mental disorders, compelling Pagans to withhold information so as to avoid being stigmatized. Flame’s talk continued on from this, as she has developed an ongoing curriculum for therapists to address this very issue.


Jeffrey Albaugh is a Pagan mystic who has actively participated in and practiced various forms of occultism for over twenty years, including initiations into various branches of the craft, and has studied within the Anderson Feri Tradition for a number of years. Jeffrey holds a BA in Theatre, and is currently working on a MA/PhD in depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Jeffrey presented “As Above, So Below: Pagan Theology, Polytheistic Psychology, and Pagan Praxis.” While theology is the study of a male god (theo), and thealogy is the study of a goddess (thea), Jeffrey favours the term Theoilogy — which is coined term to encompass male and female gods. When Jeffrey was younger, he resonated with Eros and Athena. Now that he is a little older, he is resonating more with Zeus and Odin. Jeffrey insisted on the need for a fluid approach, and compartmentalized the basic social functions within life as sustenance, defense, learning, leadership and healing.


Francesca Howell is a Religious Studies and Deep Ecology scholar, as well as a Priestess of Gaia. Her most recent doctoral studies took place in Italy, where she participated in a variety of festivals, documenting how they renewed and sometimes created bonds with community and place. As faculty and former staff of Naropa University, the work of Naropa’s Environmental Studies department and the philosophies of Buddhism have been influential in her work.  She is currently employed by the University of Colorado. Francesca presented “Sense of Place and Community: An International Pagan Perspective.” She presented a series of slides documenting her work with newly emerged Wiccan and Pagan groups in Europe, especially Italy.


Anne Z Parker, PhD, is a Geographer and Professor of Environmental Studies at Naropa University, teaching in the BA in Environmental Studies and MA in Environmental Leadership. Anne integrates her work and research with traditional cultures in central Australia, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and the Himalayan region, her study and practice in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and her active practice in the European earth-based traditions within innovative approaches to transformative education. Ann presented “Training Environmental Leaders: The Role of Buddhist Contemplative and Pagan Practices and Perspectives in Leading From the Heart.” Anne explained that to teach students she uses the “Triune Brain” theory, which means that information must be provided in a way that all three brains can take process. The information must appeal on a cognitive level for the cortex, an emotional level for the limbic regions and a physical level for the brain stem. While Western practices are conceptual and involve abstract reasoning, Buddhist contemplative practices use methods rather than beliefs, and Pagan practices are connected to nature and are methods for direct experience. Anne was actually originally a Buddhist who gradually moved into Paganism.


Lauren Raine is an interdisciplinary artist. She studied mask traditions in Bali, and in 1999 made 25 ceremonial masks for The Spiral Dance in San Francisco. The Masks of the Goddess traveled throughout the US for 10 years. She was awarded an Alden Dow Fellowship for her work based on the native American Creatrix myth of “Spider Woman” in 2007, and was resident artist at Henry Luce Center for the Arts at Wesley Theological in Washington, DC in 2009. Currently she is working on a series of “Numina” masks. Lauren presented “Numina: Sacred Places and Pagan Pilgrimage.” She explained that Numina is “an indwelling intelligence felt in a particular place  …  the origins of the Roman gods may be the sense of numinous presences underlying all the processes of the natural world.” “Myth has always been a way to become intimate with what is vast, hidden, elemental and invisible.  …”


Marie Cartier is a scholar, visual /performance artist, queer activist, poet and theologian who has been active in many movements for social change. Marie teaches at UC Irvine in Film and Media Studies, and California State University Northridge in Gender and Women’s Studies. Her PhD is in Religion from Claremont Graduate University (2010), with a major in Women Studies in Religion, and an emphasis in theology, ethics and culture. She has published several articles regarding the possible sacrality of the butch femme community at the mid-century. Her book, Baby You Are My Religion- the Emergence of Theelogy in Pre-Stonewall Gay Women’s / Butch-Femme Culture and Community will be published by Equinox Press. She has three Masters of Fine Arts Degrees, in Film, Theater, and Art. She exhibits her installation performance project MORGASM, the Museum of Radical Gender and Sex Matrix, which explores female orgasm in a museum context in galleries and on the web. Marie presented “Stories from the Yoga Mat.” Marie’s presentation was quite personal. Upon obtaining a new pair of glasses, she looked in the mirror and realized she was getting older. She wanted to protect her body/mind. This led to a new found commitment to yoga. Yoga is a body/mind system that prioritizes the present moment, and practitioners are encouraged repeatedly to listen to their bodies.


The day ended with Marie Cartier running a short class on yoga.


Sunday, January 27, 2013 was the second day of the Conference and began with a welcome talk from Dorothea Kahena Viale and William Blumberg.


Zayn Kassam is the John Knox McLean Professor of Religious Studies at Pomona College in Claremont, CA. The winner of two Wig Awards for Distinguished Teaching, she has also won the National American Academy of Religion award for Excellence in Teaching. She teaches courses on women in Islam, Islamic mysticism, Islamic thought, as well as contemporary Muslim literature. More recently, she has also been teaching courses on religion and the environment. Zayn has lectured widely on gender issues in Muslim societies, and has authored a volume on Islam and edited a book on Women and Islam. Her current research investigates contemporary challenges facing Muslim women. Zayn is also a board member for the highly acclaimed Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, as well as the Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace. Zayn presented “Bringing Pagan Sensibilities into Classroom Pedagogy,” where she referred heavily to Rumi’s writings and Carol P Christ’s “Rebirth of the Goddess: Finding Meaning in Feminist Spirituality.” One of the central messages in Carol Christ’s writings was: “We find in the Goddess a compelling image of female power, a vision of the deep connection of all beings in the web of life, and a call to create peace on earth. The return of the Goddess inspires us to hope that we can heal the deep rifts between women and men, between “man” and nature, and between “God” and the world, that have shaped our western view of reality for too long.”


Jennifer Rycenga is Professor of Comparative Religious Studies at San Jose State University. Her areas of interest include American religious history, religion and music, feminist analyses of religion, lesbian history, religion and politics, and feminist analyses of music. She is co-editor of two books, “Frontline Feminisms” (with Margie Waller) and “Queering the Popular Pitch” (with Sheila Whiteley). Currently she is working on a biography of Prudence Crandall, a white Abolitionist teacher, and editing a reader of Mary Daly’s work. Jennife’s presentation was “Richard Jefferies and F C Happold: The Presumption of Nature’s Naivete.” She described varieties of spiritual experience, focusing on “peak” experiences rather than everyday ones. She divided these into two categories:

  • Moments of great insights – epiphanies, hierophanies, theophanies; spirit possession; shamanic healing
  • Moments of great achievement within a system – meditation, yoga, contemplation; earning darshan, a Sanskrit term for the glance of the divine; understanding one’s destiny (vision quest)

A text Jennifer uses in one of her classes is F C Happold’s “Mysticism: A Study and an Anthology.” She pondered why Richard Jefferies was included in this anthology, whereas numerous greater mystics were omitted, such as Catharine of Siena, Catherine of Genoa, Francis de Sales and Jacob Boehme. One of the issues her students faced in this class was that “mysticism” has become a term of derision amongst atheists, and Jennifer has been restoring its original meaning.


Dorothea Kahena Viale, PhD is the creator and organizer of the Conference on Current Pagan Studies. She is currently teaching at CalPoly Pomona where she enjoys the opportunity to introduce her students to experiential activities like being born into their new lives through mask making, dancing as well as guiding them to be critical thinkers. Kahena is an ardent fan of embodied knowledge and acquires hers through raqs al-sharqi, referred to in the United States as belly dance. She shares this knowledge through her classes and sacred dance dramas. Kahena is currently writing on lived religions as shared by women as well as the validity of religion not based on revelation. Kahena presented “Drumming, Dancing, Masks and Circles in the Academic Classroom,” the highlight of which was a short video on mask making.


Armando D. Marini/Murtagh A. anDoile is an independent scholar and researcher. He is the Director for the Pagan History Project. He has a degree in Anthropology and has worked as an archaeologist for Brown University.  Tagh has been involved in the Pagan movement since 1968, and is a Druid and elder of the Tuatha De Danann Tradition (NECTW) and the group, Nemed na Morrigna. Through talks given in the early 80’s, he is one of the progenitors of the Celtic Reconstructionist movement. He was interviewed in “Keepers of the Flame: Interviews with Elders of Traditional Witchcraft in America”. Tagh presented “Reconsidering Magic and Witchcraft in America before Gardner: Grandmother Stories Reconsidered or Don’t throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater.” Tagh quoted J Gordon Melton’s “The Origins of Contemporary Paganism”.

Influences and Traditions that we know are continuous from history and folklore in America:

1)       The growth and study of Non-Christian religions on the academic and popular levels; started with the Orientalist revival in the late 1800s and was introduced in America in early 20th century.

2)       Occult practices as Theosophy, which created space for an occult worldview; Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry; the ideas of secret organizations with a degree system and occult teachings; Ritual Magic: the rituals which bring the ideas of High and Low Magic.

3)       Parapsychology, especially by J B Rhine in the 1930s.

4)       Witchcraft, here relating to folk witchcraft or cunning work; ads can be found in New England and MidWest newspapers & histories from 1800s.

Tagh’s focus was on the folk witchcraft or cunning work that predated Gardner.


Aline O’Brien/M Macha NightMare. P&W, is an internationally published author (“Witchcraft and the Web, and Pagan Pride: Honoring the Craft and Culture of Earth and Goddess”, and, with Starhawk, “The Pagan Book of Living and Dying”), ritualist and all- round Pagan webweaver. A member of the American Academy of Religion, the Marin Interfaith Council, the Nature Religion Scholars Network, the Covenant of the Goddess (CoG), and the Advisory Council of the Sacred Dying Foundation, Macha speaks on behalf of Paganism to news media and academic researchers, and presents at colleges, universities and seminaries, and teaches on the broomstick circuit. She currently sits the Board of Directors of Cherry Hill Seminary, the first and only seminary serving the Neopagan community. Aline presented “Elders and Oldsters, Ancestors and Teachers.”She analyzed the results of her survey of contemporary American Pagans, which indicated that the growth of reliable and trustworthy eldership is necessary for the prospective health and viability of the contemporary Pagan movement.


Sam Webster, M Div, Mage, has taught magick publicly since 1984. He graduated from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley in 1993. He is now a PhD candidate at the University of Bristol, UK, studying Pagan history under Prof Ronald Hutton. He is an Adept of the Golden Dawn, and an initiate of Wiccan, Druidic, Buddhist, Hindu and Masonic traditions, publisher at Concrescent Press, author of “Tantric Thelema” and the blogs “Arkadian Anvil” and “Pagan Restoration”. He founded the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn in 2001 (www.OSOGD.org), and serves the Pagan community principally as a priest of Hermes. Sam presented “Theurgy and the Ancient Origins of today’s Pagan Religion.”Sam analyzed the practice of Theurgy in Iamblichus (ancient times), Agrippa (medieval times) and the Golden Dawn (relatively modern times) and found that there were commonalities in practice. This led him to conclude that there are non-lineal lines of transmission. Theurgy was transmitted via books to the Renaissance, via books and persons to the Victoria Age, and via books, persons and groups to Pagans today. Thus, while there are no ancient lineages, there is access to ancient spiritual technology.


Peter Dybing is a national disaster team Section Chief with extensive experience in high reliability management and leadership during disaster responses. His background includes experience as a firefighter, EMT, mental health counselor and cooperate executive. Peter is also an activist involved in multiple causes including international humanitarian disaster assistance, environmental action, Occupy issues and Pagan community organizational advocacy. Peter is a former National First Officer of Covenant of the Goddess and a Board member of 100% for Haiti. He is currently traveling the country meeting with local Pagans. Peter presented “Stirring The Cauldron of Pagan Sensibilities,” which he began by leaping onto a desk so as to capture our undivided attention. Continuing on from Aline O’Brien, Peter discussed Pagan leadership, where he focused on three types:

  • Traditional (Covenant of the Goddess board)
  • Organic (Sunflower River Collective)
  • Fantasy (internet based)

He promoted the concept of Transformative Leadership where an individual might answer a leadership call to action within a group but then step down from leadership to insure that the entire group has a sense of accomplishment. This approach requires that egos be set aside. Peter discussed Pagan leaders, pointing out that they deserved respect, understanding, compassion and a voice; but pointed out that they may be the products of their generation, with tightly held beliefs and values that differ from contemporary ones.


Sam Webster gave another presentation, “Pagan Soteriology.”Soteriology was defined as “the doctrine of salvation” by the early Church. However, it was originally a Hellenic (or older) term. A crucial element in Iamblichus’ soteriology was an impulse to prayer. The importance of soteriology lays in the key question of what happens after death and the life goals of an individual, consisting of liberation, enlightenment and harmony.


Tony Mierzwicki, the author of “Graeco-Egyptian Magick: Everyday Empowerment,” presented “Pagan Warriors Past and Present.” Tony discussed the prevalence of war and warriors in ancient society. He discussed the relevance of ancient Greek literature to contemporary warfare. Tony went on to point out the Pagans in the military suffer discrimination from evangelical Christians in the military and pacifist Pagans. He argued that even though Pagans may oppose a war, they should still support the Pagan soldiers fighting it.


Amber D Gray is a former graduate student from CSUSB. Amber graduated with a MA in Interdisciplinary Studies focusing on Religion, Culture and Family Dynamics in 2009. She graduated magna cum laude and is a member of CSUSB’s International Honour Society. After graduation, Amber continued to work in the field of Behavioral Health as a Case Manager and Part-Time Counselor. She is a Hellenic Pagan Polytheist and founder of an Online Hellenic Pagan Community. Amber presented “On Racism, Homophobia, and Misogyny: In Hellenic / Pagan Reconstructionist Communities After the Election of President Obama.” Aspects of Amber’s presentation followed on from Sabina Magliocco’s presentation. Amber pointed out that while the internet allowed Pagans to feel connected to each other, it allowed unchecked behavior and allowed discrimination against creed, religion, sexual orientation, race and gender. Pagan Reconstructionism is a branch of Paganism that is 90% Caucasian, where mainstream exclusionary practices foster Pagan exclusionary practices. This creates an environment conducive to the inclusion of fringe elements (Neo-Nazis, Anti-Semitics, Misogynists, Racists, Nationalists, Homophobes, and other hate groups). Public division after the presidential election exacerbated the issue. She cited the example of K Pythia, whose blog and newsletters were widely utilized by Hellenic Reconstructionists, but who came under fire when she was revealed as being non-white. Some Reconstructionists insist that you must be of the same heritage and race to practice. Greco-Roman subjugation and degradation of women is being continued by some Reconstructionists, who push aside and dismiss the points of view of women. Some Reconstructionists consider LGBTs inferior. Those Pagans who are less knowledgeable than others are made to feel inferior on Reconstructionist forums. Amber recommended that intolerance must be made unacceptable on the internet by taking a universal stance, and ensuring that it is inclusive.


Helen Hye-Sook Hwang, PhD (Korea and USA), is a scholar, teacher, and activist for Goddess Feminism and World Peace. Hwang earned an MA and a PhD degree in Women’s Studies in Religion (Claremont Graduate University, CA) and currently completing her second MA degree in East Asian Studies at UCLA. She has reconstructed Magoism, a pan-East Asian gynocentric cultural matrix that venerates Mago, the Great Goddess of East Asia. Hwang advocates Magoism as a historical framework in which women of the world can realize alliances across differences. Previously, she was a member of Maryknoll Sisters in Korea, New York, and the Philippines. Encountering Mary Daly’s Radical Feminism, she pursued her graduate studies. Hwang has published many articles in English and Korean and gives lectures, while teaching religions and feminisms at the university level. Hwang is going to lead the first Mago Pilgrimage to Korea, June 6-20, 2013. Hwang presented “Field Research of Collecting the Oral Stories of Gaeyang Halmi, the Sea Goddess of Korea, and Uncovering Her Magoist Implications.” Mago is a yet-to-be-known Great Goddess of East Asia. In documenting and interpreting a wealth of primary sources from Korea, China, and Japan, Hwang discovered the tangible but “forgotten” tradition of Mago and named it Magoism, which is. the ancient gynocentric tradition of East Asia that venerates Mago as supreme authority.


Thus ended the 9th Conference on Current Pagan Studies. The presentations were of a high level and left attendees with numerous points to ponder. Some presentations fostered enhanced understanding, while others were calls to action. The next few months may well see ripples of change in the Pagan community attributable to this conference.


Tony Mierzwicki

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