In the strange times that we are in right now, with Covid forcing lockdowns, and people being isolated, we would like to take a moment to wish you all a blessed Samhain, and to say that you are never far from our thoughts.
We are now in the season of the third harvest. The time to feast and come together in celebration, and it is very hard when we can’t do that with our chosen families.
At the time of Samhaim, we usually come together to dress up, feast and party, to carve scary pumpkins and turnips, as well as celebrating the more serious side of remembrance.
This is the time when we might collectively light our candles in memory of those who have gone before and take our scrying dishes and bowls for looking through the mists to see what visions may come through; the time when we honour our ancestors and our beloved dead, and those from the Otherworld, who guard the land, and we make offering to them; the time when we would spend time in contemplation, often in quiet places, connecting with the land and our ancestral lines.
Remember, all of these can still be done, the Dumb Supper can be laid out, the candles, can be lit, the scrying can be done, the remembrance, thanks and offering to our ancestors and our beloved dead can be made. If you’re in a family group, you can still play games together and dress up.
When you light your candles Samhain night and make your offerings, take a moment to think of all of the other people who will be doing the same in the quiet of their own homes, carrying on the traditions of this time of year in their own way.
When you go for a walk in the autumn chill of Samhain, you are walking with all of us.
And by keeping yourself safe, for this short while, you are making sure that in the long term, we will gather again, light our fires and candles, share our rituals and rites and celebrate together, the continued turning of the Wheel.
Samhain Blessings from all of us at Pagan Life Rites.
The Pagan Moot (monthly social and networking meeting) in Ennis, County Clare has been slowly undergoing a revival in recent times.
There had been a decline, due to members moving away and life’s busy schedules… but it’s getting back on track!
During the year, the 3 remaining local members continued to meet up regularly and touch base. Upon recent discussion and a little guidance, there was an agreement to reboot and overhaul the local moot.
Following on from that the Ennis Pagan Moot page was created on Facebook. This new page will highlight the location, and facilitate networking and advertising, to create awareness in the immediate local area.
The members want to bring back shared learning topics and relevant discussion focus within the moot – which made its come back for September with the topic of Magickal Herbs.
Some of the planned topics for the future include:
… and many more to follow!
The new overhaul in the Ennis moot is already a success, with 5 new members from across the county joining for their first topic night.
It is the overall aim of the organisers to create a safe space within their local community – for old and new members alike – to meet up and discuss life and chosen topics in a warm and friendly environment.
Ennis Pagan Moot is welcoming and open to all who come with respect (including non Pagans, as we are all aware that there are many spiritual paths and ways).
We are very sorry to announce the resignation of Luke Eastwood from our Clergy Membership.
He is one of the founder members of Pagan Life Rites and has been a prime mover in helping us forge our path in the Pagan Community. He has made valuable contribution in all that we have set out to achieve, therefore, it is sad to see our paths diverge at this time.
We wish him all the best in the future, and know that he will still be supporting us in other ways.
It’s been a while since we have last posted any news, but that doesn’t mean we have been idle. We have been dealing with the boring administrative things that keep our organisation going.
We have said a farewell to some Clergy Members, who have moved on to newer things, and, as a result, couldn’t give the commitment required to the obligations of being a Pagan Life Rites Clergy Member. However, we would like to give them our thanks for the hard work and input that they have put into the organisation and the hard work that they have done on your behalf, and we wish them well.
We also welcome a new Clergy Member, Anna Coote, and know that she will be a valuable addition to the Clergy Membership.
We are accepting new membership applications at the moment, which will close on the Autumn Equinox, so if you think you have something to offer to the Pagan community as a Clergy Member, please send us an email expressing your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line Clergy Application.
We have been welcoming new clergy membership applications since March, and have had a very good response.
If you wish to become a Clergy Member of Pagan Life Rites, then please send us an email at email@example.com, and we will send you an application form. Please have a look at our Membership page to see the criteria for applying.
All completed applications must be received by us no later than June 15th, 2017, in order to be considered for Clergy Membership this year. We will not consider any further applications after that date until the Spring Equinox 2018.
In the lead up to Census 2016, Pagan Life Rites ran a social media campaign which encouraged those from various Pagan traditions to simply declare “Pagan” in the “Other” box for the question on religion. This was to unify our community under one descriptor to more easily demonstrate the number of people in our community who self-declare in the Census. For reasons of prejudice, privacy and family, there will also be some who will not self-declare on the Census (within the “Not Stated” category) so the figures in this report as outlined below may not be fully representative of the size of our community. There may also be persons of Pagan faith who may not define their spiritual path as a “religion” and so may opt for the “No Religion” category, which means that not all of those opting for this descriptor in the Census are Atheists or Humanists.
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In today’s report focusing on the data for this question we can see that there is a 39.1% increase in the number of people who opted for “Other Religion.” This brings the total number of this cohort to 97,700. The top three counties for this category are Dublin (122,079 / 24%), Cork (23.958 / 29.2%), and Galway (12,601 / 27.7%) with Kildare following close behind.
If you go to the data tables and run reports for religion selecting “Pagan/Pantheist” you will find that the total number of those who identified as such has increased by 40.5% bringing the total number to 2,645, an increase of 762 declarations. 1,913 of these were Irish nationals with UK nationals being the next largest cohort to declare (340). 1,209 were male (43% increase since 2011) and 1,436 were female (38.3% increase since 2011).
While a county breakdown for “Pagan/Pantheist” is not yet available from the CSO, the figures do show that our community is slightly larger than the Jewish community which currently sits at 2,557 declarations. We can also see that declarations of Catholicism have dropped from the 2011 figure of 84.2% to 78.3% in 2016. Of interest to us, given the above, are declarations of “No Religion” which have increased by 73.6% – meaning this cohort now represents almost 10% of the population – and the “Not Stated” category which has increased by 71.8%.
*“For the 2016 Census, the religion breakdown has been expanded. In 2011 the religions with a 0 figure were included in the Other Stated Religion category. The CSO attempts to capture and code all responses and have published any categories where there were 30 or more responses in 2016.”
Report chapter on religion: http://www.cso.ie/en/media/csoie/releasespublications/documents/population/2017/Chapter_8_Religion.pdf
Pagan Life Rites now sits alongside many other Civil Society Organisations listed on the Irish Links Directory of www.activelink.ie.
To find us there, simply hover over the “Irish Links” menu tab and select the “Civil Liberties-Human Rights” option from the drop-down and you will find the listing below on Page 3.
Much gratitude to the folks at ActiveLink!
The new Board of Pagan Life Rites was elected on 31st March. According to our Constitution, the Board is rotated annually and made up of four elected Regional Officers. We thank our previous Board members, Francis Devenney, Lora O’Brien, Fionnuala O’Regan and Vinnie Woods for their year of service and dedication. We welcome our new Board members, Sophia Boann, Barbara Lee, Kristian Märkus and Gavin Morrison. The outgoing Board members continue to serve as Regional Officers and Clergy members.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS TO DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION CLOSES MONDAY, MARCH 20TH
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The Minister for Education, Richard Bruton T.D., had extended the deadline to March 20th for receipt of submissions to the consultation process which shall assess the role of religion in schools with a view to considering changes.
In January the Minister had invited submissions from key stakeholders, affected or interested parties as part of a broad consultation process. This was initially open for a four-week period, however, to allow for as many submissions as possible, the deadline was extended and will now close on Monday, March 20th.
Pagan Life Rites fully supports the following demand for the repeal of subsection 7(3)(c) of the Equal Status Act, 2010, which currently permits State schools to use baptism as a mechanism for preferential enrolment. This is a breach of human rights and contravenes Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act, 2014, which compels all public bodies to implement Public Sector Duty, promote equality and eliminate discrimination.
This is your last chance to have a say in this consultation process. Please feel free to craft your own submission or copy and paste the template letter below and submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submission deadline extension: http://www.education.ie/en/Parents/Information/School-Enrolment/Role-of-Religion-in-School-Admissions.html
Subject: Submission concerning the Baptism Barrier
Dear Minister Bruton,
Please accept my submission to the consultation on the Role of Religion in School Admissions.
I want all children to have equal access to their local publicly-funded schools and I want religion to have zero bearing in admission policy and practice. It is not acceptable in a modern, pluralist society that parents feel they have to baptise their child to ensure access to a publicly-funded school.
I believe that the only equality and children’s rights option is option 4(i). Repeal subsection 7(3)(c) of the Equal Status Act, 2010, in respect of publicly-funded schools.
This is possible by amending subsection 7(3)(c) of the Equal Status Act, 2010.
I strongly recommended that you, as Minister for Education and Skills, take this opportunity to remove all religious barriers from school admission policy and practice.
Consultation Paper specific issues:
A. The removal of the Baptism Barrier would be of benefit to families and children of the many minority religions, Irish indigenous traditions, and those of no religion, as it would increase their ability to gain entry to their local publicly-funded schools regardless of its denomination.
B. I have seen strong constitutional advice from leading constitutional experts that shows option 4(i) is possible.
C. I believe option 4(i) would be the simplest to implement.
D. Option 4(i) is the simplest approach that does not impact any of the issues outlined in the consultation.
Allowing schools to use baptism as a mechanism for preferential enrolment is a breach of the human rights of your service users. Your department is legally obliged to act in accordance with Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act, 2014, which compels all public bodies to implement Public Sector Duty, promote equality and eliminate discrimination.
Pagan Life Rites and HSE Work Together to Introduce Change
Acting on reports from our community members, Pagan Life Rites has successfully negotiated an agreement with the Health Services Executive, resulting in a HSE directive now issued to all CEOs of our fifty national acute hospitals requesting the PAS systems to include Pagan categories of religious identity.
Not Long ago some community members had relayed to Pagan Life Rites their various experiences in Irish hospitals. Issues arose upon registration as patients at the hospitals when people were asked, as a matter of standard procedure, which faith community they belong to. In most hospitals there was no option for “Pagan” on the PAS (Patient Administration System) database and so patients were either entered as “Other” or opted for this in lieu of poor choice. At other times hospital staff had referred to “Pagan” as being “No religion” and were registered as such despite protest by patients. Even when registered as “Pagan” on arrival staff had twice changed the religious identity to “Christian/Catholic” on the physical version of one patient’s medical records.
Pagan Life Rites has since taken on the task of remedying these issues for our community. We have engaged with senior management of the Health Services Executive (HSE) and raised all of the above issues as a matter of concern given that they conflict with the ethos and guidelines of the HSE’s 2009 Intercultural Guide. Following consultation, we have successfully negotiated an agreement with the HSE that frontline hospital staff operating and maintaining the PAS registration database shall be issued with supplementary material explaining what Paganism is. At the heart of this agreement is the HSE directive now issued to all CEOs of our fifty national acute hospitals requesting the PAS systems to uniformly include the following categories of religious identity for patients to choose from. Collectively these options are reflective of Ireland’s Pagan community. Any person not falling within either of the last four subcategories below may simply opt for the main category, “Pagan.”
• Pagan – (if patient does not fall within categories below or is not specific)
• Pagan – Wicca
• Pagan – Shamanism
• Pagan – Heathenry
• Pagan – Druidry
Some hospitals have already commenced the implementation process which should be completely rolled out over the coming weeks. Be mindful that one hospital group within the broader network has currently included the main category only (“Pagan”). Should you encounter future difficulty with registration please assert to staff that their hospital CEO has been issued with a directive from the HSE for inclusion of the above categories.
Furthermore, the HSE has kindly provided the hospital network with the contact details of the clergy of Pagan Life Rites who offer chaplaincy support to patients and loved ones of the deceased. We are very grateful for the kindness and support of the Health Services Executive.