Home > Occult, Wisteria-Ohio > Wisteria, Ohio – Part IV – Media Attention

Wisteria, Ohio – Part IV – Media Attention

16 October 2009
Wisteria Pagan Spirit Gathering 2004

Wisteria Pagan Spirit Gathering 2004

The Pagan Spirit Gathering held at Wisteria in 2004 was covered by Channel 19 Action News (WOIO, Cleveland – CBS affiliate), and received two days of attention.  The news video can be found at the top left hand side of this webpage  (first link). 

Cleveland of course, holds the headquarters for our Northern neighbors, the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio.  Gee, I wonder if Bp. Hollingsworth watched the news, or was alerted to it, so he could catch it the next day (or on the WOIO website)?  I wonder if he picked up the phone and called his colleagues in Cinci and Columbus? ..  ‘Hey – you guys know about the Pagans in Athens?  What’s up with that?’

Witchvox, a Pagan site, reports :

“During this year’s Pagan Spirit Gathering in Ohio, a television news team from Channel 19 News Cleveland, Ohio (WOIO, a CBS affiliate) arrived at the gate undercover and unannounced. They were stopped at the gate and refused entry as PSG does not accept drop-in registrations. While at the gate, they asked questions about the gathering, filmed responses with a hidden camera and neglected to reveal themselves as media. We found out which TV station they represented as we talked with local neighbors who had been interviewed the same day by the same crew.

The next morning, a helicopter from the same news outfit flew over the gathering and filmed the Wisteria site and the PSG encampment. As the helicopter flew low and circled near the daily village morning meeting, participants waved to the helicopter crew.

Later that day, Circle’s Selena Fox was able to talk with the production team before the news segment aired at the end of the nightly news. She explained that she was a very public media spokesperson for Paganism and could have arranged an interview had she been contacted in advance of the news team’s arrival. Fox went on to educate the news production team that Pagan gatherings are spiritual retreats for earth-based religions. She also explained that a special feature of this year’s gathering was preparing the Circle delegation for the upcoming Parliament of the World’s Religions in Barcelona, Spain.

The 2:45 segment aired June 24, 2004 on TV Channel 19 in the Cleveland metropolitan area and surrounding region and was reaired the following night. We’ve heard reports that the segment was picked up by a California station and aired again but have yet to verify this or any other occurrences. Following the broadcast on the nightly news, the video clip was posted on the Channel 19 website and was viewable for several days in the Top Video section of their website.

The segment, which aired while the gathering was still taking place, opens with footage showing Pagans celebrating this summer solstice at Stonehenge and goes on to ask “do you know that there’s a world of Witches living among us?” and tells the viewing audience that Paganism is alive and well in Ohio. The voiceover states that there are 15,000 Pagans in Ohio and then shows sweeping aerial footage of the Pagan Spirit Gathering and the hidden footage taken at the gate.”

WOIO-TV did a follow-up interview with a local occult shop merchant, as the Witchvox article relates:

“As a tie-in to the story, the local Pagan shop Mystic Goddess in Akron was visited by a news crew and photographed. Amy Crookston provided the news crew with a positive message explaining that Paganism is an earth-based religion that does not believe in causing harm to others. My favorite quote from her: “Ask 10 Pagans to define Paganism and you’ll get 15 different answers.” Amy’s manner was professional and polite and showed Pagans as the nice and loving people that they are. Crookston is heading up a Pagan Pride event this fall in Akron.”

Alas, Mystic Goddess, “the largest and oldest Pagan/Witchcraft store in Northeast Ohio”, is no more, after a whopping eleven years in business.

The Witchvox article continues, apparently on a tangent of some sort (?) …

“The Parliament of the World’s Religion is still meeting this week in Barcelona, Spain. Along with the Circle and Lady Liberty League ten-person delegation, Earthspirit Community and Covenant of the Goddess have sent delegates to participate in this week of interfaith activities. Delegates are networking with other religions and also promoting and explaining Paganism through seminars, workshops, rituals and worship events, as well as networking with other Pagans worldwide. Appearing there among many of the world’s religious leaders are Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and his Holiness the Dalai Lama.”

Any guesses as to who else participates in The Parliament of the World’s Religions

Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller??  Guibord ??

Oh yeah, by the way – the official Pagan Spirit Gathering is now being held in Camp Zoe Missouri (near Salem).   But don’t worry, there’s plenty ‘o pernicious Pagan pastime a-planning for Wisteria’s continuation of the franchise.  Will they have a candlelight labyrinth walk?  Maybe – they’re having one right about now, so why not for Summer Solstice 2010? 

Why not indeed. 


And just think .. it’s replicating.   Good thing we traditionalist Episcopalians have a strong healthy Christian denomination to counter the spread of the Endorian Lie, wouldn’t y’all agree?  😉

– Elder

Categories: Occult, Wisteria-Ohio
  1. KarenR
    17 October 2009 at 8:21 PM

    Thanks, Elder Oyster, for this informative series on Wisteria, a place of which I had not heard, despite my involvement in paganism in the 80s and early 90s. It was interesting to read about the Pagan Spirit Gathering, of which I did know, because I was once very much in contact with Circle Sanctuary in Wisconsin. People from there visited my town in PA in the early 80s and I visited Circle Sanctuary in 1987, and I had a very positive view of them. Selena Fox, one of the founders of Circle Sanctuary who sounds like she is still a leader, is a lovely and very likeable woman.

    I think it’s important for Christians to be as knowledgable as possible about pagan beliefs and practices and such because paganism can be very alluring and very much fun. Something like a labyrinth that has a Christian history, but is currently very much a trend among pagans, can be confusing. It can blur the line between Christianity and paganism, which is always dangerous. While I have Pentecostal friends who consider everything Catholic and Anglican to be hopelessly pagan, and even celebration of Christmas and Easter, and that is going too far, it is generally good to err on the side of being very wary of anything pagan. Paganism is seductive because it uses the logic of the serpent in the Garden of the Eden and encourages us to be like God, and to find the god or goddess within. We all like to be in control, in charge, in the know, instead of obedient and submissive to God. When Christian doctrines are compromised in today’s ever-evolving church, including, sadly, TEC, then it is easier to be seduced into practicing paganism, whether or not one calls it such.

  2. Elder Oyster
    17 October 2009 at 9:42 PM

    Hi Karen,

    Thank you for the kind words.

    RE: “Paganism is seductive because it uses the logic of the serpent in the Garden of the Eden and encourages us to be like God, and to find the god or goddess within. We all like to be in control, in charge, in the know, instead of obedient and submissive to God. ”

    You know, it’s funny that you should say that, because I’m finding that theme crop up again and again as I look at the occult. The god of Self seems to be the common theme. What I’m having a more difficult time understanding is how involved various Pagans are (and they are a disparate bunch, I’ll warrant) to interacting with spiritual forces not of the Lord, and what they understand about them.

    The Church of Satan, e.g., is quite focused on Self. They also refer to Satan as a ‘force’. That could mean any number of things. It could mean something with a personality, or something without a personality. So it’s confusing to me – but the overarching focus on Self seems to be the consistent factor.

    Maybe that’s part of what makes the Lie so alluring – perhaps the people involved in it aren’t aware themselves of the danger. 😦

    I’d sure be interested in hearing more of your thoughts on Circle Sanctuary (where the Pagan Spirit Gathering movement started) as well as Selena Fox.

    Tell your Pentacostal friends that we have much to learn from one another. Heck, there are even such things as charismatic Catholics. 😉

    Thanks again, and God bless!

    – Elder

  3. KarenR
    17 October 2009 at 11:41 PM

    All of the pagans I have ever known have claimed to not believe in Satan or the devil and I believe that to be true. I know little of Satanism, which I think has always been a very small movement, even in the 80s when there was a lot of hysteria about Satanic ritual abuse, which proved to be completely unfounded. But even though I think very few people deliberately worship Satan or practice black or negative magick (the spelling used by most pagans), that does not mean that Satan is not very much involved. The little I have read about Satanism indicates that it involves a very conscious focus on the needs and wants of the self. But even the more gentle and positive and well-meaning types of paganism do make a god of the self, often using the same language as humanistic psychology. This is part of how the Lie is perpetuated in paganism so that people do not realize the source of the danger.

    I remember warnings in pagan books about spiritual forces we don’t understand and that some are negative and harmful. I do think most pagans know this, and some are of course conscious of this from direct experience. To put it bluntly, if you play around with the occult, you are going to be involved in demonic activity. But to pagans, this wording is incorrect. Evil does not actually exist, nor demons. Some spiritual forces are negative because they have had painful experiences, much as the crimes and misbehaviors of people are blamed on their troubled upbringing. So we need to protect ourselves from these misunderstood but rather nasty forces by doing the proper protective positive magick, encircling ourselves in the bright energy of the goddess, or whatever.

    I remember Selena Fox as a kind and accessable person as well as a talented speaker and writer and leader. When I met her both times in the 80s, she was one of the biggest names in neo-paganism, but not in the least full of herself. I found Circle Sanctuary to be a beautiful place in rural Wisconsin, not too far from Madison, that welcomed visitors for special events and also for informal meetings. In the late 80s, they were being persecuted by some conservative Lutherans who did not like having witches for neighbors, and who were trying to drive them away by using zoning issues. I told Selena how I considered myself at the time to be a Lutheran Pagan, and that I had recently given a talk at my Lutheran Church about the Pagan origins of Halloween and that it was very well received. She took down the details and it was mentioned in the next issue of Circle Network News, their quarterly publication, about my pagan talk to the Lutherans in PA.

    As I said, this pagan thing is very seductive. They are so nice and so cool and so welcoming and inclusive, well, except for conservative Christians. They don’t think much of them.

  4. Elder Oyster
    18 October 2009 at 1:11 PM

    RE: “All of the pagans I have ever known have claimed to not believe in Satan or the devil and I believe that to be true. …

    I remember warnings in pagan books about spiritual forces we don’t understand and that some are negative and harmful. ”

    That’s understandable to some extent. A Pagan would in a sense, be shooting themselves in the foot to acknowledge the existence of a powerful and evil being who fits the description of the Biblical description of the Evil One.

  5. 24 November 2009 at 8:33 AM

    Waow enjoyed reading your post. I submitted your feed to my google reader.

    • Elder Oyster
      24 November 2009 at 9:22 AM

      Thank you for the kind words, Dennis.

      Looks like you have a new blog yourself – congratulations! I liked your photographs. 🙂

      – EO

  6. Silvermoon
    11 January 2010 at 8:24 AM

    I just wanted to thank you for not being too negative toward Pagan’s in your post. I am a Pagan myself and I understand your distrust in my religion. I do believe in God, I just have a different way of showing it than you probably would. I do not believe in and actual devil, however, I do believe there are evil beings. I do not believe I am a Goddess nor do I have one inside of me but I do believe in creating your own “magick” so to speak. I don’t rely on God for most of the things Christians do. I don’t ask for anything or pray for anything but I do give thanks at least daily. I’m not really sure why I feel the need to even tell you all of this. Maybe to let you know that some of us aren’t confused or seduced by lies? It could be anything really. Anyway, if you have any questions, please ask. Again, thank you for not being hateful. I wish you well.


    • Elder Oyster
      11 January 2010 at 11:35 AM

      You’re welcome, Silvermoon. My beef is actually not with you but rather with leaders within my own (purportedly, “Christian”) denomination who approve of mixing elements of your religion and worldview with our own. You do things that are compatible with your religion and worldview; Increasingly, the Episcopal Church does not. That is the problem I am addressing.

      May the blessing of God Almighty (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) be upon you,
      – Elder

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