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Weekly Update: 7/24/2000

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: July 24th. 2000
Times Viewed: 9,706

Dr. Leo Louis Martello (1931-2000)

It is with a heaviness of heart that we announce to the magickal community the unexpected passage of Dr. Leo Louis Martello, who crossed over into the Sumerland at the end of June 2000.

Born of a Sicilian immigrant farming family during the Depression Era, he eventually settled in New York City where he lived most of his adult life and through to his death.

Leo was the first to sponsor a public magickal circle in New York back in the 70s when Witchcraft as a religion was little-known, let alone public. During his life he consulted to a number of traditions and covens and aided in the development of their unique books of shadows. He was a respected elder of the Trinacrian Rose Coven (Church) based in Medford, Massachusetts.

During his life, Dr. Martello founded the "Witches Anti-Defamation League", later renamed the "Witches Anti-Discrimination Lobby" (WADL), as one of the first Witch and Pagan Civil Rights organizations in the USA. Its existence eventually spawned many similar groups with similar names long after Leo passed its operation on to other capable hands.

Leo Martello was an author of a book and manuscripts on the "Craft of the Wise" from his perspective of a Sicilian heritage. His works were the first to be published in the USA regarding Sicilian Witchcraft within the constraints placed on him by his elders.

Following Leo's wishes, Rev. HPS Lori Bruno of Medford, MA. an elder of Leo's tradition and administrator of his estate, had his remains cremated per his wishes.

A memorial web page and guest book has been set up at: A HREF="">

A remembrance and memorial day is being planned for sometime in August 2000 at a location yet to be named in his native state of Massachusetts. This will be announced at the memorial web site shortly.

Stories, remembrances, or messages of condolence may be posted at the memorial web site, or may be sent to Lori Bruno per below. Those seeking to issue a more substantial remembrance may wish to consider making a donation in Leo's name to their local HIV/AIDS related charity or local animal shelter. Both were favorite charities of his.

Questions, inquiries, or other letters may be forwarded to:

Lori Bruno
33 Everlyn Ave. Medford, Ma 02155

Note: Permission is granted to propagate this posting to mail lists, newsletters, web sites, and other pagan publications. We ask that when possible it be quoted in its entirety per above. -- Dennis Kirkpatrick HP, Trinacrian Rose Coven

Weaving the Web...
A Week of Commentary, Concerns,and Controversy

Greetings everyone,

The past week has once again highlighted the promise and the problems of on-line communications. On the plus side, new pagan web sites are constantly being added to our TWV networking sections and older ones, like TPAO, are continuing to revamp and update their services for the community. On the down side, anonymous communications make it easy for the more unscrupulous types to take advantage of our good nature and perhaps exploit the pagan belief systems for purposes other than the 'good of all'.

Not So Nice Folks On The Web, this week stirred up the on-line pagan communities, message boards and e-mail lists. Someone claiming to be offering pagan 'initiations' in Sumter, South Carolina put up a web site (screen shot to your right) soliciting interest and email from...

(spelling as it was posted)

"any females from the ages of 13-20 in to the pagan word. This is only for the serious for if you choos to enter there is no backing out. I will only be doing this for a short time for i must move to another city soon. this is for the residents of sumter south carolina only at the moment"

"This is (sic) the rules. If you come to me you must never speak of what went on. Secondly if you come to me you must go through to the end regardless of what it intales, for you are truly serious about getting into paganism you would do what ever it takes. lastly you must prove your self to the gods. and finaly if you are skittish about sex or nudity dont bother coming for paganism also intales sex magic and worshiping in the nude. (the best but not that important... virgans will be the strongest to join... meaning if you enter as a virgin you will be much stronger than those that are not... but not necessary to be one... contact me for more info... lastly ages 13-20 only and if 13- 17 come alone or bring another to follow the gods... but after every thing is done no word will ever be spoken of what has gone on for it is the first rule of entering..."

Needless to say, this entire scenario for pagan 'initiation' is not only first-degree crappola, it is also a solicitation for an act which is illegal with teens under the age of consent in that state. Was this person on the level?

Well, this could very well have been a real sexual predator-albeit a very stupid one. Be warned, young people and parents, that real predators of this ilk are rarely so obvious or easily exposed.

It could have also been the subject of an experiment for a college paper. This sort of 'baiting' for comments and reactive feedback seems to be a new trend for secondary school research projects.

It also could have been a reporter (friendly or otherwise) who was researching crimes against teens, the 'dangers' of the recent teen interest in paganism and Witchcraft, the 'dangers' of the internet for congressional hearings or any other such project. Law enforcement personnel also sometimes set up 'sting' operations for research purposes although these are usually done by posing as a potential victim during an investigation.

And lastly, if this was just a joke, then we aren't laughing.

In this case, several pagan individuals and groups called the local police department and the FBI to report the web site. The hosting service, Tripod, was also notified and within hours the site was removed from the web. That is both good news and bad. The site is gone, but does the person still prowl the net in chat rooms, message boards or on the streets of a pagan neighborhood? Whether the authorities had enough to go on, enough time to collect information or even the interest and resources to look into this further are unknown. But we certainly hope that they did.

If you should come across any site which posts such material under the guise of some pseudo-pagan practice which may endanger young people or expose them to risk, please notify the police, attorney-general of your state (or the state listed on the web site if available) or the FBI. Contact a reputable pagan organization with the information if you are not comfortable reporting it yourself. Please talk to a law enforcement agent before posting the information to pagan lists and other generally public venues. The agents may want to work their legal research 'magic' on the author of this material and it is easier for them to do so if the author is not scared off by a mob of angry pagans. (We can always do that later, my non-Wiccan friends!)

The law enforcement agencies are as concerned with the safety and welfare of children as we are. It's their job. Let's help them do it. Ask them for advice on how to proceed.

Finding such material as that posted above is upsetting. Some say that it makes us all look bad. It doesn't. We won't stand for it. We will work with law enforcement agencies ( and some otherworldly agencies as well) to make sure that people like this-whether pagan or non-pagan-are tracked down and prosecuted for any crimes committed under such a guise. TWV has beefed up the warnings on our teen contact pages to remind young folks to exercise caution when contacting or being contacted by others via email or through other internet access points and to never share personal information- such home address or telephone numbers- without parental approval.

Pagans don't like to be victimized. Been there, done that. Not anymore; in fact, Never Again!

Little Witch and The Christian -- A Smash!
(part II now up!)

Speaking of Sequels... Many regular Witchvox visitors may recall a story that we featured here early last year called, The Little Witch. This piece was VERY popular and to date has been read some 32,016 times!

John has since penned a follow-up story starring the same endearing and outspoken main character. This time, we find the Little Witch attending a wedding. Realizing that she knows few people at the celebration and left sitting alone at one of the tables, our Little Witch begins to wish for "something" to happen that would be "pleasant and interesting and maybe even lively".

(Teaser ahead!) Be careful what you wish for... you just might get it! What the Little Witch does with what she 'gets' is the subject of a five-part series called, Little Witch and The Christian.

Web Note: This special feature is part of our new printable Basics of the Craft section.

Texas Pagan Awareness Online, ( an award-winning two year old web-site of news and public information for the Texas Pagan Community is pleased to announce the appointment of it's new Editor David Pollard.

Pollard, who has been part of Paganism in North Texas since 1987 also serves as Vice President for the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS), as well as North Texas Rep on the State Executive Committee of the Green Party of Texas. His media background includes working at two radio stations and one newspaper in the late 1970's and early 1980's, and as sysop of Renaissance BBS from 1988 to 1995.

TPAO is most noted outside of Texas for the previous editor, Kit O'Connell's outstanding coverage of the "Wiccans in the Military" controversy at Ft. Hood last summer which was featured prominently at the time on WitchVox. Articles expected in the next several weeks range from Anti-Pagan discrimination at a Unitarian Church in West Texas, to the evolving plans for the CMA's new 110-acre festival site, along with coverage of regional events such as United Earth Assemblies (UEA) and CMA-Samhain. (TPAO is a public service of DRAK.NET, a central Texas, Pagan-owned Internet Service Provider, which also web hosts the portion of the TWV web-site.)

Witches, Wiccans, Pagans
Circles, Events, Festivals
Witch Shops in your Town
Thousands of Pagan Links
Covens and Groups
Witches of the World Pages...
Make a difference where it counts.... In YOUR town!

With a current listing of over 23,000 Witches, Wiccans and Pagans, keeping this list de-duped, sorted and clean is quite the chore. Recent systems have automated much of this... This critical 1,000 page 6-part section of WitchVox (Adults, Teens, Covens/Groups, Events, Shops and Pagan Links) continues to network thousands on a daily basis. Many of the newspapers we talked to this past Samhain were "blown away" at the sheer numbers of Witches, Wiccans and Pagans who DO choose to come out and be listed.

WOTW also includes (as of this writing) 1,675 Covens and Groups, 574 CURRENT Festivals and Events, 4,241 annotated links to Pagan Web sites and 642 Pagan shops of the World.

The entire WOTW and Links sections are driven by a custom written Database System that has evolved over the past couple of years. Our WOTW pages are updated every 24-48 hours and are constantly being fine-tuned for accuracy. Check to see what's happening in YOUR state, province, or country today!

So what are some of the Signs of a True Elder, Master or Priest? Trish Telesco asks:

"Reading one book does not make anyone an expert. Attending a year's worth or rituals does not qualify a person for eldership or priesthood! In a world of seemingly shake-and-bake shamanism and instant priesthood, the route to true magical mastery isn't traversed quickly or without sacrifice, and it can't be found in the yellow pages. And it certainly has very little to do with a fancy or powerful sounding title. At its pinnacle, adepthood isn't about impressing people; it's a way of living and being. In other words, the focus is not on "talking the talk," but on "walking the walk." What are some of the signs of a true elder, master or priest?"

Wren's Bird Call of The Week

It certainly won't be a 'gobble-gobble' for General Mills Corp. products.

GM has issued an apology for inserting CD-ROMs of the Bible into 12 million boxes of Cheerios cereal (can you believe it folks?).

General Mills twitters nervously that they are really, really sorry, but they "didn't know" that the CD-ROM promotion included ramming a religious doctrine down their customers' throats. Greg Swann, founder of Rhinosoft Interactive of Wisconsin, which helped to create the CD's for the promotion, crows that GM's protestation of innocence is "a flat-out lie".

Since it was also announced this week that GM will purchase Pillsbury Products, we are looking forward to the day that the Pillsbury Doughboy giggles, "Well, Praise the Lord!" when poked in his chubby little belly. (Some could argue that Gerry Falwell has the schtick down already.) Then again, rather than just squawk (<--- Link for your comments to GM) about it, maybe we'll just choose to eat something a bit more easy to digest for breakfast from now on...

In closing... the Internet has been a boon for the pagan communities. We can network literally across the globe, share information, rally for a cause, come to the aid of pagans in trouble, celebrate our Holidays and interact like never before. On the flip side, with all of this web 'power' comes the responsibility to use it wisely and well. Most pagans do. How we will choose to deal with those who abuse this gift of communication under the guise of pseudo-paganism will continue to generate controversy--but it is indeed one responsibility that we probably cannot afford to shirk

. As always, 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 Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2000 - July 24th.


Witchvox Central

Location: Clearwater¼, Florida

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