Weekly Update: 6/19/2000|
Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: June 19th. 2000
Times Viewed: 6,658
| Happy Solstice Week, Everyone!|
As pagans around the world get ready to celebrate the Summer Solstice/Litha or MidWinter/Long Night, many other organizations who have a vested interest in making the world a better place (and shouldn't we all?) are using this seasonal marker to promote awareness of environmental and social issues. Even if these folks do not consider themselves as 'officially' pagan, they understand the importance of keeping our planet viable for the future.
This year's June 21st is World Peace and Prayer Day and is "dedicated to healing, educating and inspiring our young people. This will bring our youth to an understanding of the importance of opening their hearts and minds to forgiving, believing, creating and healing one another, and most importantly themselves. We ask the Nations and all people of the world to gather for ceremony focusing, in their own ways, our spiritual unity on the healing of our Mother Earth and our World Community, in honor of our Youth and Future Generations." - Chief Arvol Looking Horse (19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Pipe).
Another organizational effort that was brought to our attention this week is the Earth Repair project which has developed a charter for the common purpose of helping to bring about a culture of lasting peace on Earth and maximum benefit to everyone. Among the main visionary projects mentioned in this statement are: Protecting natural heritage and biodiversity, ensuring respect for Indigenous Peoples, acquiring health and immunity efficiency, practicing composting to restore soils, basing economic order on social justice, resolving conflict with creative mediation, transforming the military to earth repair and uniting with others in a common purpose.
A Time for Drama... A Time for Facts!
Those of you that entered Witchvox via our splash page (www.witchvox.com) noticed a celebration of an Alaskan group that is doing some wonderful community service. Nothing thrills us more than to toot this community's horn. The Witches' Voice exists to celebrate those that DO the work that IS beyond the self. We don't care (or have ever cared) if you are a famous Pagan Author/Leader or whether you just discovered this path last month... If you ARE doing something selfless that affects the NeoPagan community at large we are here to help spread the word and to thank you personally.
Those that Talk about it:
Life is all about lessons; you can choose to embrace them and learn from them OR you can simply repeat them over and over again. Over the past several weeks we have seen HOT email with allegations related to theft, bomb threats, rape, stalking, harassment and much, much more. Juicy claims with content such as this speed around the Pagan net like wildfire via email lists, newsgroups, message boards and, of course, websites. Trouble is, during our decade of doing this, it has been our experience that 98 PERCENT of these claims are simply unfounded or spun up to get attention.
This IS CRIMINAL behavior we are talking about here folks! Surely there must be police records? Insurance claims? Public records of some sort? I say again, 98 PERCENT of these claims are simply unfounded. Those that HAVE been in this community for a few years have learned this lesson and have seen it repeated over and over again. Make no doubt about it, there is a victim faction in our midst and to you I say... If you BELIEVE you are a victim you ARE a victim.There are some that expect to be discriminated against... and they, of course, ARE discriminated against. This is commonly referred to as "having a chip on your shoulder". Most of us don't have this "chip", hence we have little desire to celebrate yours.
Wren and I have been out of the broom closet for most of our lives, to our family, our co-workers and in public. You'd think this would have been harder after we moved from Boston to the south. Two years ago we moved to a town that contains over 400 Christian Churches AND is the headquarters for the Church of Scientology. Our pentacles are proudly worn for all to see. We ARE nice to everyone and, not surprisingly, they are quite nice to us.
Hey, Why ISN'T WitchVox covering this or that issue?
When these email fires flare up we inevitably get a slew of email asking what do WE know about it or asking WHY aren't we covering it? The answer is simple... We don't post anything that isn't substantiated. In fact, we have spent real money over the past four years making the calls TO the local police departments, insurance companies, local courts etc. Like others in this community we want to know that this is REAL. There are groups (see note below) and individuals in our community that do this very well. They are invaluable to us all. Why? Because they ARE doers.
Those that DO Something about it:
Good News! We have a very strong community and one that WILL get behind an injustice and do it in a big way. Do know that if something happens to YOU related to religious discrimination you DO have hundreds of thousands behind you... they do care and will fight for your right to practice the religion of your choice. Also know that for us to be effective in helping you, we need to know the facts because these are serious allegations that must hold up to scrutiny from both within and without. The Modern Pagan community contains people with skills in every job category that you can think of... We have Lawyers, Doctors, Policemen and women, etc. etc.
But Hey! They are Pagan so it must be True:
Statements like this are unrealistic. With an estimated million plus Witches, Wiccans and Pagans you can be assured that we have our own share of riff-raff, hustlers and Goddess forbid EVEN criminals. Mercifully this IS a tiny percent but as our numbers grow so do those that use this community to line their pockets or feed their power from YOUR good nature. If it "feels" like a hustle... You can bet it is! Be cautious and Be Wise.
| The above cries for attention are the fodder of many a WitchWar. This is an ugly topic and one that we'd choose to not embrace, BUT it is part of our growth, our reality and part of the lessons of life. Back in late '97 we launched a section at WitchVox entitled "WitchWars - Fire in the Craft" and most readers applauded this effort as both needed and valuable. Some cringed because it was "bad for business". But as most of you know, the Witches Voice is not about what's good for business, it's all about a celebration of the growth of the NeoPagan community including our growing pains. When the WitchWars stop, we will gladly remove this section. But, until they do, we will continue to build this chapter with every tip and personal story on HOW to effectively deal with these "opportunities". NOTE: We believe that it is more effective to attack the underlying reasons and NOT the individuals. For tips on how to deal with these WitchWars in your local community DO visit our 40 plus WitchWars pages. |
Are letter bombs and/or personal attacks a possibility?
You bet they are. We have become a high profile group in the past few years, so it only makes sense to keep our guard up again moves from the fanatical right. So, YES! Please DO take these claims seriously, but don't react or spread the fire UNTIL they can be substantiated. You can't stir a cauldron if there is nothing in it.
So, should YOU be suspicious of these claims in email? The answer is YES! History teaches us to be very suspicious! Check them out, ask for details, call them on their claims, share what YOU have found out with others. Most importantly don't spread this info around if you don't have the facts. You may be the one that "gets the word out" but more often than not, you will be the one to blame when the claim is proven bogus. So for the record...
- We DO encourage you to pass along these emails to us when you receive them, we do check them out and/or aligned with many talented individuals and groups that have the resources to check them out as well.
- Thanks to You, WitchVox IS in the know on just about all of these Hot Button emails. YOU can safely assume that *IF* we are calling for support or mentioning these issues as news, they ARE substantiated. More often than not... our silence is a statement in itself.
- To those of you that choose to yell "FIRE" or are spinning up a bogus or colored claim in email to get attention. You will get your 15 minutes of fame and we will indeed remember your name.
There IS a time for drama... and there is a time for facts.
Webcrafter - Witchvox
The Religious Rights of Wiccans and Pagans and security issues were obviously also the subjects that Phyllis W. Curott, author of 'Book of Shadows', had on her mind when she wrote her latest commentary for Beliefnet.com.
"As the pagan religious movement grows, mainstream America is showing greater understanding and acceptance of it. Yet pagans (I use the term "pagan" here to refer to the Wiccan, Witchcraft, and overall pagan communities) are also coming under increasing scrutiny and attack, not only by the extreme right, but by many who remain uninformed and fearful because of long-standing negative stereotypes and religious bigotry. Over the years, members of the pagan community have battled for and won rights to religious freedom in a variety of important areas. Pagans must understand how the law protects them if they are to exercise their religious liberties. Whether you choose to be public, need to protect yourself, or wish to respond to injustices through social and political activism, being aware of your rightsand the past successes in securing those rightscan empower and liberate you."- (excerpt from 'The Religious Rights of Wiccans and Pagans' by Phyllis W. Curott for beliefnet.com.)
There ARE Resources Available if you need to find help in your area or want to contact some of the pagans who are openly and actively involved in the pagan equal rights movement. You can first check out some listings for the covens, groups and organizations in your area orfor a more focused needcheck out the 'Freedom Fighters' links. All of these and more are listed in the Witches' of the World Links index. You can also find a very helpful directory from the Sacred Earth Alliance. At this invaluable site, you are encouraged to bookmark the SEA site, download and print the information and pass the directory along to others in your area. You can even volunteer YOUR services if you are already involved inor want to become involved inpagan activism.
The Goddess is Not Only Alive - She is now appearing on a bicep near you!
Yep, this week, Steve sent us a photo of his latest tat featuring the TWV 'Goddess' image. Rendered in full color- and now nicknamed by Steve Coslett (http://www.zianet.com/bluecat/), the 'SunLady'- we think that She never looked better. TWV is very pleased and proud to know that our favorite SunLady is now traveling abroad in the world with the personal (and it doesn't get any more personal than a tatto, folks! Ouchie!) assistance of our pagan brothers and sisters.
More Tips and Treats from Some of Our Best Pagan Writers...
Why You Can't Always Bare All by Sia serves up some good points on a very sensitive issue at pagan festivalsnudity. She writes:
"I work as a volunteer with a non-profit group that organizes events for the Earth Wise Community. Some of these events, such as our Beach Bacchanal, are for adults only, but others are designed to include families with children. One such example would be our 3-day Pagan camp-out called MUSE Camp. MUSE Camp was created to be a fun gathering where all ages and traditions are welcome. When promoting MUSE Camp, we make it clear that this particular event is not clothing optional. Well my friends, you should hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth that comes from certain quarters when we make that announcement."
Before you set your own teeth on edge, we suggest that you read the 'Top Thirteen Reasons' included in this very sensible article which explains why sometimes 'do as ye will' may not necessarily translate well in every situation.
And if you think that it is easy making such far-reaching decisions, Trish Telesco offers some advice for those of you who may be thinking about Hosting a Festival, Gathering or Lecture. The subtitle on this article, "Are you sure you want to do this?" is more than just a cute little phrase. Festival Hosting is an art and the festival hosts who do it well-such as Wade Berlin of Phoenix Festivals-deserve our thanks, our gratitude and our respect. It doesn't 'just happen,' as Trish is quick to point out:
"There are moments in many a neo-pagan's life that we think serendipitously that we can do it "better" than someone else... that our vision of a festival will work marvelously and become an immediate success. Think again. Creating a festival that works at all the first time out is, in itself, a huge challenge. Creating one that's repeatedly successful and doesn't put the coordinator(s) in the poor house is almost a miracle."
Pagan Security is Everyone's responsibility!
We usually get at least one inquiry every year about the role that the 'Guardians' play at pagan festivals. Some people seem to resent anyone overlooking their affairs at events in any way. Well, we know a few Guardians personally and we'll tell you up front that even if we all lived in a perfect worldfilled with perfect people who never had lapses in judgement or accidents or illnesses or other unwelcome intrusions from the outside worldwe would STILL feel more secure knowing that some of these good folks are there looking out for our welfare. You probably know some of these folks, too. You just may not know that they are Guardians because the best of the best of the Woad Warrior's Guardian Guild do their jobs so well that you may have never even noticed all of the work that they really do. Rowan writes:
Greetings! The Woad Warriors can be defined as "a loose confederacy of registered Guardians and other like-minded people who provide safety and security services for the pagan community".
If you are inclined to consider yourself a "weekend warrior", or if you tend to see yourself as "pagan police", please do not apply. We are not interested in power-trips, or ego-boosting. Our services are generally voluntary, the hours are long, the weather is often inclement, and the physical/psychic work can be very draining on body, mind and spirit. If, on the other hand, you feel a calling towards community service (and if you have a slightly masochistic attitude), we welcome you to The Woad Warriors!
If you see something at a pagan festival or event that may need some attention, do let one of the Guardians know what is going on.'Taking care of business' is what they do best, but they can do an even better job when other people are willing to work with them to help keep everyone safe!
See YOU at Fires at Solstice 2000... THIS WEEKEND!
Fritz and I are thrilled to be invited to the Fires at Solstice festival just north of Tampa, Florida June 21-25, 2000. We will there doing a workshop this Saturday at 10:00 am. We do hope to see many of you this time out.
Featured Speakers Include: Trish Telesco, Fritz Jung, Greywolf & Briga O'Murchadha, Wren Walker, Don & Daniella Waterhawk, and Main ritual with Coven "Between Worlds" Join us and our pagan family for five full days of ritual, workshops, music and fun in the Florida Sun! So if you are in the area and want to have a magickal weekend, join us at Fires At Solstice. For more info and up to the minute news visit the Phoenix Festivals Website.
LAST MINUTE NOTE: Mention "The Witches Voice" at the gate and get 10.00 OFF the event price or 5.00 OFF of a day pass.
In closing, we would like to thank the many, many hard-working and dedicated people who are out there in the pagan communities. Whether they are writing timely articles, putting on-r working atthe various pagan festivals, producing informational web sites, providing access to educational materials, working on community projects, writing letters to newspapers or on the very front lines of the pagan equal rights campaigns, they all have one thing in common: YOU. They do it for you, they do it for us and ultimately they do it for the good of all.
Our heartfelt thanks go out to the many of you that believe in, contribute to and continue to support this mission in your own heartfelt ways...You ARE the Witches' Voice.
In Your Service,
Wren, Fritz, Peg, Dio and Christina
The Witches' Voice
Year 2000 - June 19th.
Location: Clearwater¼, Florida
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