“I don’t believe in objectivity, but I do believe deeply in fairness.” – Margot Adler
The first time I met author and journalist Margot Adler in person, we were having lunch together at PantheaCon in San Jose, and she was showing me pictures of an Occupy protest that were on her iPad. It didn’t sink in at the time, but I later realized that she was generously acknowledging me as a part of her journalistic tribe. That she was sharing an emerging story she was excited about. During that weekend I wanted so much to transmit to her how important she was to me, to what I had become, but I didn’t really have the chance. On reflection, it seemed to me that for Margot the reward was doing the work, documenting her experiences, and sharing it with others.
Like many, I learned of Margot’s death yesterday morning, via Facebook.
“Old friends, long time fans, today at 4am Margot breathed easily for the first time in two weeks. Later today, at 10:30am she was pronounced deceased.
Her condition had been getting much worse over the weeks and months and the brain radiation (which she had a treatment of scheduled today, tomorrow, and wednesday) was thought to help her double vision, since it was the cause.
Well, Margot and John both won’t be seeing double anymore, but they will be seeing each other for the rest of time.
With much love and difficulty do I write this,
Her son, Alex”
Margot Adler was a noted journalist who worked for National Public Radio (NPR), and they have paid a moving tribute to their colleague.
“Margot once wrote in an e-mail that she absorbed the values of many of her colleagues in developing her own view of life – a belief, she said in a world without snark, of deep values, and that despite everything she’d experienced and encountered and covered, an abiding belief that people were basically good.” – David Folkenflik, NPR News, New York.
For almost every Pagan, former Pagan, or would-be Pagan, she will be largely remembered as the author of “Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America.” It is truly hard to over-state the importance of Adler’s book, as it had a hand in shaping what many of us call “Pagan community” today. While Adler was not the first person to attempt an overview of the emerging groups of modern Pagans in America, her 1979 book was by far the best, the most read, and it helped catalyze the move towards a community/movement consciousness among the Pagans reading it. A largely small-group and regional assortment of religious adherents shifted towards a broader umbrella identity.
“Blessings to Margot Adler in her journey to the realm of the Ancestors. She died this morning from cancer. Support to her son Alex, and to all of us mourning her passing. Margot and I were close friends since we first connected 36 years ago and had many adventures together, including conducting each others weddings and rooming together at PantheaCon. The world is a better place because of Margot. Let us remember and give thanks for Margot, her brilliant mind, her loving heart, her beautiful voice, her activism, her writings, her news reporting, her other works, her magic, her bright spirit. May we take comfort in knowing that she lives on in our memories, in the many people, organizations, endeavors she blessed. Hail & Farewell, Margot! We honor you, we remember you, we love you. Blessed Be.” - Selena Fox, Circle Sanctuary
“Drawing Down the Moon” was also important because Margot Adler was truly one of us. She was a member of The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS), Covenant of the Goddess (COG), and other groups, she attended Pagan festivals, led workshops, and loved to lead Pagan chant sessions. She was not an outsider sampling our religious wares then making snarky asides during the book tour, she believed in our potential, loved us, flaws and all.
“Margot Adler was a brilliant, loving and passionate voice in Unitarian Universalist Paganism. As a former board member of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS), she stood for a democratically, inclusive organization that embodied Unitarian Universalist thinking and voices. She also brought to the denomination the joy of ritual, music and dance that celebrated our humanity, our place on the planet and our connections with the God/dess and Universal energies. Her voice, wit and liveliness will be missed deeply. We honor the gifts Margot brought to UUism and to CUUPS.” - Jerrie Hildebrand, Corporate Secretary, CUUPS
The last time I saw Margot Adler I said to her: there would be no Wild Hunt without your example, without your work, without your kindness in giving an emerging Pagan blog an interview back in 2006, and that I know you are fighting your cancer and are planning to win, but I’m truly thankful and didn’t want to miss this opportunity to tell you that. I didn’t think it would truly be the last time I would speak to her, but I’m glad I said those words, and I’m glad she attended the gathering for Pagan media practitioners that I co-hosted that year at PantheaCon so she could see how a journalist traveling the country, documenting an emerging religious movement could ripple out into a diverse and thriving ecosystem of Pagan media-makers.
“We are all part of the life cycle. Like a seed we are born, we sprout, we grow, we mature and decay, making room for future generations who, like seedlings, are reborn through us. As for the persistence of consciousness, deep down, I thought, ‘How can we know?’ Perhaps we simply return to the elements; we become earth and air and fire and water. That seemed all right to me.” – Margot Adler
Margot Adler was a kind, generous, funny, talented, dedicated, and wickedly smart person. She gave us all so much. I have no definite answer regarding the persistence of consciousness either, but if she has simply returned to the elements, well, that seems all right with me too.Send to Kindle
(aka why HSUS is full of shit. Please donate to your local shelters! HSUS is NOT your local shelter.)
"Boa constrictors — the most popular in the pet trade — have predictably established more invasive populations than any of the other constrictor snakes"
FACT: There is only one population (Deering Estate, south of Miami). This population is reportedly the result of release or escape of boas during a movie set in the 1960s. Regardless of the cause, it has been noted since the 1970s and in over 40 years, the snakes have not moved outside of this original parcel. They are struggling to survive on this small tract of land and have not “invaded” to form other populations. Also, Boa constrictors of the subspecies Boa constrictor imperator are native into the Sonoran Desert of northern Mexico. If they could be invasive into a large area of the U.S., they would be here now.
"Boa constrictors have killed one adult and injured numerous children — biting them in the face, ambushing them while playing in their yards, and even attacking them while sleeping in their beds."
FACT: Boa constrictors have not been documented “ambushing them [children] while playing in their yards.” There have been sensationalized stories and misidentified snakes that were actually native species, which still would not have ambushed anyone. While bites from snakes do occur, any animal, including humans, may defend themselves if they feel threatened or are handled inappropriately.
"boa constrictors have also been killing people’s companion animals."
FACT: There have not been any documented cases of feral Boa constrictors killing people’s pets.
"Constrictor snakes can attack suddenly and with deadly force, preying on unsuspecting people who encounter someone’s escaped or released constrictor snake"
FACT: Constrictor snakes are not in the U.S. “preying on unsuspecting people.” All incidents involving constrictor snakes occurred within the owner’s property. Even USGS (a Government science organization) recently published an article stating that no tourists in the Everglades have been attacked by pythons. There is unfortunately a population of Burmese pythons there as a result of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The pythons in southern Florida are not the result of irresponsible pet owners driving from all over the country to release their pets into the Everglades.
“Boa constrictors and reticulated pythons have already killed five adults and three babies, and the danger continues to escalate.”
FACT: There have been 3 total deaths reportedly from Reticulated pythons and Boa constrictors.* All three deaths were to adults and they were the owners of the snakes. One case involved a woman giving a 14’ Reticulated python a shot (administering medication) without assistance. The Boa-related death was very odd as reportedly there was another adult on site and in the same room. Boas do not get nearly large enough to be uncontrollable for two adults. All three deaths happened in the households where the animals lived and resulted from improper handling of the animals. The other deaths from large constrictors involved Burmese pythons or African Rock pythons, not Boa constrictors or Reticulated pythons. All these species have very different behavioral qualities and each is unique. Just like people, even individual animals have varying “personalities.”
*NOTE: There have been 10 constrictor snake-related deaths in the U.S. since 1990. At least one case has been noted as potentially fraudulent (i.e. the snake did not kill the person). No case occurred outside the household/facility that housed the snake. All incidents reported are tragedies, as are all premature and accidental deaths.
“Boa constrictors, the most popular of the nine large constrictor snakes in the pet trade, are predators who can grow up to 13 feet long…”
FACT: Most Boa constrictors in captivity are 5-8’ (males are much smaller than females) and weigh less than 25 pounds. Boas over 10’ in captivity are rare. Often reports of 10’ snakes (of any species) only measure about 7’. The record length snakes were in the wild, and were not captive bred and raised animals. Boa constrictor constrictor (BCC) is the largest of the 9 subspecies of Boa constrictor and they are not common as pets. By far, the most common pet subspecies is Boa constrictor imperator (BCI), which is found from northern Colombia through Central America to northern Mexico. Many populations in Central America and Mexico only reach 4-5’ in length.
“They die during capture and transport.”
FACT: This implies that these snakes are all wild-caught animals imported into the country. Nearly all large species of constrictor snakes are born and bred in the U.S. Very few animals are imported and even many of those are from breeders in other countries, not wild-caught animals.
"One study showed that Burmese pythons in the Everglades may have contributed to a 99 percent decrease in the numbers of certain small- to medium-sized mammals."
FACT: This study was not able to link Burmese pythons with the decline in mammal populations and very unscientific assumptions were made.
During ongoing excavations in northern Sudan, Polish archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology in Poznań, have discovered the remains of a settlement estimated to 70,000 years old. This find, according to the researchers, seems to contradict the previously held belief that the construction of permanent structures was associated with the so-called Great Exodus from Africa and occupation of the colder regions of Europe and Asia.
The site known as Affad 23, is currently the only one recorded in the Nile Valley which shows that early Homo sapiens built sizeable permanent structures, and had adapted well to the wetland environment.
This new evidence points to a much more advanced level of human development and adaptation in Africa during the Middle Palaeolithic. Read more.
You know you wish your predator avoidance strategy looked this good.
The severe winters on North America’s largest body of freshwater echo the Ice Age, when glaciers helped gouge the Great Lakes. At times their waters drained into the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River system, or reached the Atlantic through the Susquehanna or Hudson. Now the lakes empty through the St. Lawrence River.
National Geographic - August, 1973