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The light has returned, and the members are happy to see the dark times over Sunday, February 4, 2018. Much introspection and meditation. The traditional beginning of Spring, the members honored the goddess Brigid and gave offerings in thanks of her continued support of the society.

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Imbolc 2018, altar, Sunday, February 4, 2018, Salt Lake City, UT

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Imbolc 2018, Brigid, Sunday, February 4, 2018, Salt Lake City, UT

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Imbolc 2018, altar close up, Sunday, February 4, 2018, Salt Lake City, UT

The Satanic Temple’s Utah Chapter has closed for business. According the chapter president, Chalice Blithe, the chapter dissolved in April. While it had good steam, the lack of events failed to move membership and Chalice thought it best to close it for now. Possibly in the future the chapter may return, but for the year it was around, it did some cool things! SLPS ensured some of the history was captured, with their blog being archived in the Wayback Machine  at the Internet Archive and some of their documents and a painting archived at the Utah State Division of Archives at the Rio Grande building downtown Salt Lake City.

We are very sad we lost a pine tree in the storm yesterday. Winds knocked it into the neighbors yard and patio, thankfully away from all houses. We had be nurturing, watering, and trimming the tree for years to strengthen it but it just went. We’ll have the cut the one next to it down as well as it’s just as vulnerable. Sad to loose two pines. We will have one left in the temple, but we can make fire wood with the down trees. The area will be reused for native trees and plants. It’s still a shock though to loose a friend. It gave us many beautiful experiences as it watched over our temple area as seen from our Midsummer 2014 photo.

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Fallen Pine tree, Sunday, March 5, 2017, Salt Lake City, UT

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Midsummer 2014 temple area showing Pine tree in all its glory.

A new meeting took place Sunday, July 10, 2016 for the druid community. President Cureton formed a Facebook group after noticing there wasn’t a group in Utah for the druids. One of the members took action and planned a simply picnic with ritual. Those who attended had a fabulous time in the early July morning, finding joy in community and meeting other druids. “Druids in Utah tend to be alone in the woods (pun intended). So few meet ups, rituals, or other activities. It all tends to be centered around witches, wiccans, and trad craft. There was a group that folded a few years ago, Nine Silver Hazels, and one or two Celtic reconstruction groups here, but they are secret. In total I only know about 10 druids in the state and about half of them are ADF (Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship)”, said president Cureton.

SLPS looks forward to the new growth and outreach to come. President Cureton also started a local home circle called Awen, Oak, and Sage (also Facebook) from AODA (Ancient Order of Druids in America) for those interested in revivalist Welsh druidry.

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Utah Druid Community meetup l to r: Seth and Kay Mildenhall, Josh Williams, Christina Neville, Sunday, July 10, 2016, Warm Springs Park, Salt Lake City, UT

A planning meeting took place for the SLC Pagan Pride Day committee and board on Friday, July 8, 2016. The organization has decided to growth the festival, which means  creation of news offices such as a PR person, tech, and policy writer, adopting an ethical standard of business practice, and beefing up the digital heritage and infrastructure with a controlled domain. The goal of the new phase of Pagan Pride is to reach out to the state of Utah to provide education, culture, and foster unity in the community while growing the festival, which will be held on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City

President Cureton discovered while going through the Utah Pride Center private archives a photo of the “Salt Lake Pagan Community” from the the 1995 Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade. “I didn’t know that the Pagans had been marching in the parade back then. I had thought perhaps that SLPS was the first to march in the parade, but I knew others could have, just there was no evidence. This year is the 26th year of the parade, so now we know they have marched before. SLPS began marching in the parade in 2011 with the Utah Pride Interfaith Coalition.”

The LGBT community has had a long crossover into the Pagan community, as many of the members identify with both. It’s common that LGBT people find the Pagan community more accepting because of how personal the spirituality of Paganism is and how many various paths people walk. Paganism allows individuals to explore facets of deity, the inside self, and the universe they hadn’t previously without putting them into a box or creating a cookie cutter mentality. Often Paganism is more fulfilling than larger organized religion.

The Utah Pride Center has photographs from various events that will be transferred to the Marriott Library Special Collections Archives at the University of Utah this year under the leadership of President Cureton, who works as the library director at the center. The picture below will soon be available for everyone to access in the Multimedia Division. If anyone can identify the individuals, please send SLPS an email or leave a comment.

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The Salt Lake Pagan Society has recently parted ways with Gwendoline M. Allen Newhart (married to Chris Newhart) of Pensacola, Florida living in Salt Lake City. Some of her aliases known are Gwen Allen, Rev. Lady Draikaina HPS (witchvox), Emprezz Rude or Selectrixxx Rude. She owns currently a shop, Wiggin’ and Weaving in West Jordan; a music business Gorrilla Mafia Entertainment; a cleaning business Crossroads Cleaning; a tour group Tour Utah Activities; and a school of New Age spirituality called “S.T.O.N.E.-Spiritual Teachings on Natural Eclecticism”.

She conned more than $30,000 from society members and itself in the name of “Voodoo and Santeria” for protection in her Voodoo house Ille Ori Ille Iku, for cleansings of evil and negativity, and for her version of cult spirituality. The excitement of a new tradition and the exploration of Afro-Cuban diaspora coupled with Ms. Allen’s charismatic excitement and Florida East Coast attitude slowly reeled in the members. The truth was revealed over the last few months and the pieces put together, and the exit from it all made over Thanksgiving.

For the benefit of the Society and the members, SLPS advises those who come in contact with her to use caution and take her fast talking business selling proposal Florida tactics with a grain of salt and to seek out other psychics and advice.

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Gwendoline M. Allen Newhart

Sad news to report, one of the local gay bars of South Salt Lake, The Paper Moon, located on 3737 S State, closed its doors this past December 2014. SLPS was informed about its closure in April 2015, which appeared to be quiet and unnoticed in the community. Its website, thepapermoonclub.com says “This webpage is not available”, but there is still a Facebook page. Yelp, a popular customer venue rating site like Urban Spoon and Angie’s List, also reports of its closure. As the only lesbian bar in Salt Lake City and the only gay bar located out of the downtown area, this is a great loss to the culture and night life of the LGBT community.

It opened in 1994, as indicated on their sign when they closed, which read “Thanks SLC for 20 Dyketastic Years.” Lauren Holman remembers being there and commented “It was a good place, good music, drinks, and a sizable dance floor, pool area, and patio. They didn’t like drinks on the floor, cover was $7. Overall was a fun place, especially for all the lesbians.”

The Paper Moon will be missed, SLPS hopes that the remaining exclusive gay bars, Tryangles, The Sun Trapp, and JAM will be able to be a safe place for all our lesbian friends. Long Live The Paper Moon

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The beloved Pagan and Magick shop of Utah County has decided to close its door. Gypsy Wagon, run by mother and daughter team Penny and Misty Mcinelly will be moving in the direction of festival vending, private psychic readings, and online shopping.

The shop has had a history of ups and downs over the last six years since it opened in Spring of 2009 in the basement of a house in Lindon, UT. President Cureton fondly remembers shopping there when he first became a Pagan.”I was thrilled they were so close, as I was a student in Provo at BYU. I don’t remember how I found them. Most likely their website, as I was new to Paganism and new to Utah as well, so I had to do Google searches and looking at Witchvox.com. I met Misty when I went to the house, which I had to enter through the back through a back door. It was very secretive, being in a highly Mormon neighborhood in Lindon, which is basically Orem. Misty and I got along great, and formed a friendship I still maintain till this day. She even participated in some of the early functions of the U of U Pagan Society and traveled with me to visit Utah State University Pagan Alliance (USUPA) in Logan over Beltane 2010.

I made my first purchase, a large one, of magick supplies from her in June of 2009. I also had my first psychic readings from her, which turned me on to divination. I paid for a few readings. We did a playing card reading, threw some herbs in some water in a scrying bowl, and the biggest one which provided the most detail was the coffee ground reading. She provided information about people I would later meet when I started helping out at LGBT pride, and at the LGBT Resource Center at the University of Utah in spring of 2010. She warned me about some, showing me the frowns and horns on some faces next to letters that had come up in the cup. I then purchased the Dragon Tarot by Terry Donaldson, which was my first tarot. Meeting her and having those discussions about my path and the changes I was contemplating at the time (transferring schools to the University of Utah) set me on the path I am on today.  Gypsy Wagon was an influential and important part of my history since the very beginning of my journey in Paganism and in Utah.”

The shop moved in 2010 to Pleasant Grove where in the fall they hosted a psychic fair on the front lawn of the house they were using, the same weekend, June 19, 2010, as the City of Fun Carnival which was held at the park a block away. President Cureton read at the fair, doing coral readings along with a few ladies who did tarot and angel cards. Troubles plagued them there, with marginalization from the community and the occasional window breaking from hooligans.  In 2011 the shop moved to a new location in American Fork, in a strip mall on 52 S. Main St where it stayed to date.

The store at one point was closing, but a secret partner stepped up in the spring of 2013 just as the doors were about to shut. So it continued for a while, until September 2014 when the shop made an announcement on its Facebook page that they are changing the structure and closing its door to focus more online, with private sales and festivals in the mix. SLPS wishes them all the blessings of the Goddess on this new journey, may they continue to be the lifeblood of the community in Utah County!

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It is with sad hearts that we report the folding of our wonderful sister group Utah State University Pagan Alliance. Over the last two years since Kassie Cressall graduated, USUPA has had periods of inactivity, and as SLPS reported last year, had come back from the void under a new president. The old president Kassie posted on March 19, 2014 on their “We are no longer an active club on campus. If you are interested in joining the USUPA or renewing it please contact Kassie at kjcressall AT gmail DOT com. She is happy to answer all questions, point you towards currently active groups, and guide you thru the USU club process. Thank you to all club members, leadership, and supporters over the past three years. You made USU history by being part of the first Pagan Alliance in Logan, Utah”

Being such a small place, we hope all the members of USUPA find a new resource and group for spirituality in Logan, UT