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Weekly Update: 2/7/2000

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: February 7th. 2000
Times Viewed: 7,302

  Witchvox -- Three Years in Your Service!
This week marks our third anniversary online as the Witches' Voice and what a wonderful journey it has been. Allow us to thank you all for making this one of the most active sites on the Pagan Net. Together we have done so much, we have grown dramatically and you changed the world in so many ways. This week Witchvox offers much new info, essays and features.

This past week was one of surprising anger in the Pagan community. This anger/concern was aimed directly at Pagan author Silver Ravenwolf (related to an ad in the new Llewellyn catalog for a "Teen Spell Kit" due out later this year). It is clear that this topic was indeed one for discussion and we certainly can respect the fact that some would have concerns. To our knowledge there was no real attempt to actually communicate with Silver before these attacks started. Statements were made, assumptions manifested and shots were fired. Oddly, this was all based on a product that is still in the design/writing phase.

The WitchVox staff received dozens of emails making us aware of this, pointing us to various newsgroups and chat rooms, and asking for what we thought. All week long we checked out the posts made in email, newsgroups and on the web. We felt the anger as we watched a good ole' fashioned one-sided fight. We applaud those that tried to look at the broader picture, we saw them chewed up on a few boards for questioning this attack. We tried really hard to understand this level of anger but we just kept looking at each other saying "I don't get it".

Wren's Thoughts: As I have stated here, we have been watching this all week and due to numerous requests, Wren has penned her observations. Click HERE for her thoughts on this past week's issues.

We hadn't even planned on covering this until the past few days, we thought things would naturally ground themselves into discussions of the broader issues. Not so, this anger started popping up in new places and the personal attacks continued. A fight was a brewin' and they were calling Silver out.

Vicious personal attacks? Why? Surely it wasn't about the spell kit, they've been around for ever (see side bar). Too dangerous for teens? We don't think so. The packaging is demeaning to our spiritual path? Maybe! We don't feel a self-esteem hit from this, we used to hang in Salem, we used to snack at Dairy Witch. The work will always speak for itself. Packaging is just that. The solution is simple, if you don't like it, don't buy it or don't recommend it.

To some in our community, *this* really doesn't include children. They believe teens aren't smart enough, mature enough and, as stated by many this week, this IS dangerous stuff they are dealing with. Some have stated that they believe that most teens will use these "tools" to render a wrath like no one has ever seen. We don't believe this true and again... We don't get it.

Do Spell kits create "Children of the Corn"?
You'd think so based on many of the posts we've read. Spell kits certainly don't contain the same depth or maturity as say writing your own, or simply realizing that this IS a life's quest of both lessons and the accumulation of knowledge. This comes with time and hard work. It has always been our belief to cut the teens a lot more slack than this. We believe teens ARE smarter than ever. The Craft movie, Sabrina and Charmed hardly hold much depth BUT they have sent tens of thousands onto the net seeking some truth. Last night The Craft was again shown on TV, today WitchVox and many other Pagan sites WILL see a substantial increase in "curiosity hits". Teens experiment and learn and these days they learn fast.

For years, we have been professing that spells are like prayers, "you can't do this wrong", and that *we* are a peaceful and safe path with roots based in mother earth herself. Hence it couldn't really be harmful for teens to participate. This week some are stating that it this is dangerous! Oddly, it's a quote by a Christian minister, just a few weeks ago, that continues to haunt us. In response to the Eicher website and it's disclaimer that discourages those under 18 from entering, he stated, "What kind of religion doesn't allow children to participate?".

Our Stance:
As a conscious choice, Witchvox doesn't give out spells (on the site or in email), we don't have a "book of shadows", we don't teach Witchcraft or Wicca, we don't accept paid advertising and we don't sell products. Personally, Wren and I don't take a penny for doing Witchvox, for festival appearances, classes or consultations. This is what is comfortable for us. Many are making money from this path, we've never had a problem with this. Anyone that has surfed this site can attest to the fact that WitchVox DOES feature info on NeoPagan related books, videos, CD's, commercial shops both on and off line, paid workshops, festivals etc etc. In fact we list thousands of ways for Pagans to spend their money with others in the community.

We reiterate "our stance" above for the benefit of those new to this site. You can see by this statement that we celebrate a wide diversity of sites that may look at things differently than we do personally.

While we do believe in a healthy exchange of ideas and communication that is correct and for the good of all, we didn't see that this week. From our perspective, this was not a pretty sight. Why some felt it necessary to personally attack ANYONE in this community the way they did Silver is beyond our comprehension. We do know Silver well enough to believe that she does listen to the community. But, like everyone else she is more apt to listen to someone that is NOT yelling at her. Were these personal attacks justified? Not to us they weren't!

Maybe we DO need to be hit with a clue by four, because after 6 days, we still don't get it.

Honored to be in your service,

Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2000 - February 7th, 2000
Spell Kits: Are they offensive if they in a box? A bag? From a page of a NeoPagan book (most do have spells)? From a laundry list handed out at hundreds of craft classes? Wren and I have been talking about this all week and we fail to see the difference. This new one from Llewellyn may come in a box AND has the word teen on it. The other kits, referred to above ARE sold to teens on and off line, in quantity, on a daily basis... Sales have skyrocketed.

Teen Age Access to Spells: Most Pagan shops, both on and offline, are more than glad to take money from teens, without question, on a daily basis. Many make up their own spell kits that allude to producing the same results as the soon to be released "Silver kit". This has been going on for decades. Spells are all over the Pagan net, in fact in our links section 387 sites mention them in their promo paragraph. 47 of our listings state that they sell "spell kits". Teens are a big part of the Pagan Net and our numbers show a consistent audience that is 30% teens. Tens of thousands of teens are surfing the Pagan 'Net daily. There will be more tomorrow.

Marketing the Craft: This spiritual path is HOT, it's been getting hotter and hotter over the past few years. There is a market for this type of merchandise, and hot on the heals of this realization are the marketing guys (or gals)... They come from within and they come from without. They smell money and they go for it. Frankly I am surprised that the marketing isn't stronger from outside of the community. This aspect has always been there in the NeoPagan movement. The latest move was a step forward by the folks at Llewellyn with the Silver Ravenwolf Witch Kit. A bold marking move for sure, but not unique by any stretch of the imagination.

Due out later this year will be the "Harry Potter Movie". If you think Llewellyn's latest move "crossed the line" just wait 'til you see the magical accessories that will marketed with this film.

We will have yet another opportunity to educate the world as to who we are and what we do.

Young Pagans at WitchVox: Teens have a always had a home here, we celebrate their words, listen to their needs and network over 4,000 of them. Teen focus at Witchvox will increase along with the site.

We believe in the Witches of Tomorrow, always have and always will.

The Cats of WitchCraft
This past week we caught up with yet another backlog of new cat pictures sent in from the community. Check out our latest addition to this section The Cats of the Craft PAGE #8. Note: during 1999 our Cats of Witchcraft page was the #5 hit page here at WitchVox. These pages average over 800 views a day.

It turns out Pharoah The Cat isn't the only Pagan feline with her own home page. A quck surf to our newest cats page (page #8) with reveal three more that are sanctified on the net.

Witchvox has featured the "Cats of Witchcraft" since our first days online and as of this writing we are up to 8 full pages of images. We will continue to evolve and grow this chapter of WitchVox and continue to solicit the magic of your Witch Cat. To Submit a Picture of your Kitty: Email our WebMaster and attach the file. (We process the Cats of Witchcraft pages on a monthly basis).

February Young Pagan Essays... Now Up!

The teens came on like thunder with this months essays. Incredible work from the heart.

  • Out of the Broom Closet: Coming out of the broom closet can be hard at any age, but teenagers have the added difficulty of still being dependent on their parents, who, if they disapprove, can make a young Pagan's life very unhappy. This topic has been an extremely popular one; there are stories about the courage it can take to come out of the closet, as well as thoughts on knowing when to come out and to whom. Good reading! Check out the 12 Out of the Broom Closet essays this week at the Voice.

  • Whatcha Readin'?: Check out the book reviews; the good, the bad and the ugly (the ugly being what happens when what you're reading is what outs you to a Pentecostal youth group!). Young Pagans read a lot, and they have strong opinions about what they like and don't like. Check out Whatcha Readin? in the WitchVox Young Pagans section.

Herne Weekend with Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki
a review by Little Frog and Moon Leopard

"We left the city four hours ago. As we crossed the rural Delmarva Peninsula the hip-hop rhythms of city life gradually modulated to the slower, stronger heartbeat of the country"

There is a twinge of anxiety as we slow down the car, looking for that dirt road which disappears into the woods. We find it and turn left into the forest. We enjoyed the ride up and the woods are pleasant, but when we reached the parking lot the final crust of mundane cares dropped away. For these woods contain marvels".

"We have arrived at the covenstead of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel and home of Craft Elder Ivo Dominguez, a magnificent geodesic dome set amid one hundred and five acres of woodlands. The sacredness of these woods is almost palpable; entering them is like walking into Lorien. The environs have been consecrated and re-consecrated by some of the finest lords and ladies of Witchdom. This weekend the Old Ones will walk this forest land; it is the time of the running of the Wild Hunt.". -- For the rest of this review surf to Herne Weekend 1999.

Circle Round - Now in Paperback!

Just out: Starhawk's colorful trade paperback edition of CIRCLE ROUND: RAISING CHILDREN IN GODDESS TRADITIONS - co-authored with Diane Baker and Anne Hill to help parents teach children meaningful spirituality -- (Bantam Books; February 8; 439 pages; $14.95).

Circle Round is a comprehensive parenting guide for people of all faiths and beliefs, based on the Goddess tradition's appreciation of the Earth (the Goddess) and the view that life is a never-ending cycle of birth and death.

Circle Round presents the Goddess tradition in eight holidays spanning the year and in rites of passage for life transitions. Each celebration is easily adaptable to any family or faith, giving parents a way to teach spirituality and establish customs that can be passed down through generations. The book offers new ways to foster a strong sense of familial closeness, whether a family is headed by a single parent, step-parents, same-sex parents, or a loving community of friends. Crafted with a parent's limited free time in mind, Circle Round, with an eye to ecology and nature, uses music, crafts, recipes and read-aloud stories that can help families celebrate life.

At a time when child rearing is intensely affected by the stresses of modern life, Circle Round offers parents and children an innovative way to remain connected to themselves and to one another while adding a piece of Goddess tradition to every home.

Available in bookstores and online. for additional info surf to the Circle Round website.

Neo Pagan Times - Releases Issue #19
A few weeks back the folks at Neo Pagan Times asked for an interview for their Imbolc edition. We were thrilled to have a chance to talk outside of the Voice... Their promo for this new edition states " Fritz Jung talks about the origins, activities and human side of The Witches' Voice, the Internet's most influential Pagan Website -- Read the cautionary true story of an attempted possession by a vampire. -- Pagan "activist" and leader of celebrated British Pagan band Druidspear James Binning explains his musical and personal philosophies. -- Also in this issue: Paganism in Uruguay and Aboriginal mysticism". -- To check out these features and more at the Neo Pagan Times website.

Cite Your References

The Witches' Voice has always maintained a strong ethical stance and consciously takes a hard line "attitude" in this area. This new section was hit hard and those that choose a strong ethical stance emailed us with their enthusiastic support. It is our desire to use this section to provoke both thought and awareness in the area of "Correct and for the Good of All".

NEW This week: We are proud to present a rant from Ian Mitchell entitled Cite Your References. "So what good does this do if my page is everywhere? None! However if a simple rule of thumb is followed, I am satisfied. CITE YOUR REFERENCES! It's a simple rule we learned in grade school. Give credit where credit is due".

Over the next few weeks/months we will finish up some rants that have been stewing for some time. We will continue to feature other Pagan WebCrafters and community members and their thoughts on values, ethics, responsibility and accountability. Check out Notes from a WebCrafter.


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