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Weekly Update: 9/04/2000

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: September 4th. 2000
Times Viewed: 6,689

Pagan Pride and Lots of It!

Greetings everyone!

September is Pagan Pride Month! This year the theme seems to be especially poignant as in the last few weeks the radical religious extremists and prayer-monger-marching-bands have been, as demonstrated by the articles compiled at The Oakgrove-Family/Pagan Resource Pages, out in force and whipping folks into a frenzy. As the Fall Equinox approaches, the hours of light and darkness once again become equal and so magickally speaking, this is a very good time for Pagans to 'equalize' the scales of public dialogue.

"We will not hide in the shadows any longer, practicing our spirituality privately because we fear reprisals from members of monotheistic religions. We are not ashamed of the Gods we reverence and the ways we celebrate! We are coming "out of the broom closet". Ours is not a path for everyone; you are encouraged to practice what spirituality you will. But we now claim the right to take pride in what we practice."-(statement from the International Pagan Pride website.)

Several very successful programs took place last fall and while September is the 'traditional' month for the 'official' Pagan Pride Day festivities, fund raising events, public rituals and other gatherings proclaimed the 'We're Pagan and We're Proud' theme all the year long. To see if a Pagan Pride event is scheduled in your area, you can check out the listings in your TWV state page. Couldn't find one? Well, think about getting a few friends together to clean up parks, collect food for soup kitchens or blankets and cleaning supplies for the local animal shelter. Start up a 'stroll through the park' project for pagan teens and youngsters and educate them about the native plants and trees (bring a trash bag and pick up as you mosey along), or volunteer to read to children in your library. If you think that you would like to host an event in your town, check out the International Pagan Pride website for tips, ideas and lots of other useful information. Anything that you do as a Pagan can be done with Pride!

Pride has gotten a bum rap for years. It has been linked with selfishness, self-absorption and egotistical behaviors. But we're not talking about the "pride cometh before a fall' stuff here. A sense of pride in one's real accomplishments is called self-esteem and psychologists are currently saying that children of all ages really need more of this type of 'pride' rather than less. A loss of esteem can send someone spiraling down into anger, resentfulness and depression. Happily, most people recover from nominal blows to their sense of self. Some rise up taller and even more determined than ever to guard and protect others from similar victimization. They become role models for those who feel that they cannot change their position. They go on to lead people away from despair and apathy and into that space where they feel that they CAN change the world and make it a better place for everyone. We know names like Gandhi, Martin Luther King and the Dali Lama. We know names like Stewart Farrar, Leo Martello and Starhawk. A name that you may not know is Danielle Mason.

In her essay called PAIN, Danielle writes about her experiences at school and how the mistreatment that she suffered there strengthened her resolve to stand up for the rights of anyone who is being oppressed by a dominant culture or religion. The entire Mason family has been standing at ground zero in the Santa Fe, Texas area while the prayer-brigades stormed the football stadiums. Mom Debbie, a Baptist, has staunchly stood up for the rights of the religious minorities and atheists in her town -and everywhere- and quite specifically for the rights of Wiccans and Pagans. Debbie Mason and her two daughters, Danielle and Aistear, have started a Freedom of Religion web site as a result of what they saw, experienced and ultimately stood up for in Santa Fe.

Perhaps one of the best definitions of pride is "delight or elation arising from some act, possession or relationship' and that really sums up how many Pagans feel about their religious path or belief system: They are elated, delighted and downright exuberant about their spiritual life. They are indeed, "Pagan and Proud!"

WitchVox Approaches Million Pages Viewed! Thanks to your support and magic, August broke all records here at the Witches' Voice. Last month clocked in with 936,690 actual pages viewed (witchvox.com: 531,760 -- witchvox.net: 404,930). Hot areas included, Wren's Nest, Pagan Perspectives (new), Pagan Links, and the WitchVox weekly update. W.O.T.W. (our networking pages) saw a record number of submissions and page views. Thank YOU once again for continuing to make TWV one of the hottest sites on the Pagan Web.

Witches of the World v.5.0 Ahead of Schedule! Fritz is very passionate about this upgrade and thanks to actually finding some r&d time over the past few weeks, it really does look like WOTW v.5.0 will be released sometime around mid-month. Look for many exciting changes in this new version.

Ellen Evert Hopman Releases "Pagans"

Pagans can indeed take pride in the many ways that we have rediscovered, reclaimed, reconstructed or reacclimated the Old Ones and the Old Ways into our modern religious and spiritual practices. Every year, archaeological and historical records and writings reveal more about ancient pagan beliefs. Even though interpretations may differ, Paganism, as an alive and vibrant set of beliefs, continues to grow in knowledge and enrich our cultures with innovative rituals and honored traditions.

Ellen Evert Hopman, Druid author, Priestess and herbalist, guides just such a journey of discovery (or rediscovery) in the video, PAGANS. Working through the Wheel of the year, 'Pagans" shows the incredible beauty and depth of modern-day Pagan practices. From Yule to Samhain, the rituals, folk customs and earth-based bounty of what has been called "one of the fastest growing belief systems in the world" is told with reverence, humor and respect. Get the popcorn, call your friends and settle down for a treat. Geared to also be distributed to schools and libraries as an educational tool, think about donating a copy to your local area venues. Probably make a great stocking stuffer for those hard-to-buy-for covenmates, too. Pagan Pride? Oh, yeah...we got it!

Another good gift video for either yourself or a friend is Drawing Down The Moon, an independent film released on video by Steven Patterson. As reviewer, Daphne Stephanotism says:

"Witches everywhere, it's time to cheer. At last, a movie that you can recommend to your friends without wincing at what it shows about your religion! Drawing Down the Moon (unrelated to the book of the same title) is an independent action-adventure tale of a wandering witch who embodies the phrase "she changes everything she touches." Dowsing her destination from aboard a bus in Middle America, Gwyneth McBride (Karina Krepp) steps off in (town) with a mission to help. She befriends homeless cancer victim Faith Shields (Linda Merritt) for starters, beginning a series of healing workings. Then she goes on to wheedle the eccentric owner of an abandoned Elks lodge into renting it to her for a homeless shelter. Unfortunately, that building is the last property in a redevelopment scheme that will recoup the fortunes of inept druglord Joe Merchant (Walter Koenig, of Babylon Five and Star Trek fame), a gangster whose mind is on higher fractals instead of the family business. When his backers in The Corporation lean on him, the pressure mounts to eject Gwyneth and her increasingly successful shelter occupants. Meanwhile, the local preacher has his shirttail in a twist over the presence of witchcraft, and Gwyneth has her hands full keeping her promise to protect Ripley (Ingrid Boedker), the daughter of Merchant's moll Angela (Maura Clifford). By the end of the tale, people and a town have hope again..."

Doreen Valiente Web Site Launched this Week!
The Doreen Valiente web site is now online.

"It was a quite a strange feeling to be standing amongst tea chests of her belongings shortly after her death. Doreen kept absolutely everything, from old shopping lists to exquisite magical documents. We had become good friends over the years with the Centre but we were still there to do a job - collate Doreen's exhibits and archive them, whether photographically or electronically. Over the coming months, doreenvaliente.com will grow and grow. There is such a wealth of information still to be archived - we are discovering history everyday."-(publishers' notes, Dorenn Valiente.com)

Mystic Journeys has it, too. Every month, this publication put out by The Magickal Cauldron offers book and film reviews, articles of interest and interviews with pagan personalities. Can't get enough Harry Potter? Well then check out, "Harry Potter: The Controversy- an article, book review and survey by Gypsy Witch". Oh yes, there are some scrumpdillious looking recipes for Fall in there, too. That Pina Colda Fruit Dip sure sounds like it would be a nice treat for man and fey alike!

Pagan Pride is also the driving force...
behind the proposed "We Still Work Magic" rally in North Carolina:

Luna Izar, the N.C. WARD director writes: "As some of you know, Darla Wynne (WARD) and Ginger Strivelli of the Appalachian Pagan Alliance met yesterday with Tony Baldwin, the principal of A.C. Reynolds High School regarding the "We Still Work Magic" rally. I am pleased to say that Mr. Baldwin agreed to allow the APA to hold their event at the stadium. The date agreed upon was September 20, 2000. The only issue now is a monetary one. Mr. Baldwin agreed to the same provisions as the "We Still Pray" conference that was held in the same stadium. They are as follows: $100 stadium rental, Custodial fee of $15-$20 per hour, $1,000,000 worth of insurance for the duration of the event (2 hours) and 15 police officers for security of the event The principal had the ability to waive the insurance and the custodian fee, but stated firmly that he was maintaining the exact contract as the We Still Pray group and will not waive these fees. At this time we are trying to negotiate with the local police departments to secure officers (at little or no charge) at the event. We are also checking on prices for insurance. Ginger is to receive a copy of the original contract for the "We Still Pray" group.

It is imperative that we are able to come up with the funds to support this event. Not only will it be a coup for the Pagan community but an event that generates discussion and education among the Christian community. It sends a message to the community at large that if a public facility condones an event of religious content, that they MUST be open to every religious path that requests the same. And finally on the cusp of the national "We Still Pray" movement, we have to be a voice of opposition to what is an extreme invasion of privacy and religious indifference to any non-Christian person. I am asking that you make any donation possible for this event to take place. Any amount is appreciated and can be sent to the NC WARD address as follows: NC WARD, C/O Ami Peck, PO Box 1576,Welcome, NC 27374-1576." For more information, you can email Luna at Luna_Izar@mindspring.com.

Young Pagan Essays for September NOW UP!

  • Solitary or Covener?: Three excellent essays focus on the magick of personal solitary work, highlight the dangers of working in a group before you know the people you are working with, and discuss the difficulties involved for teens in finding people to work with. Check out the Solitary essays... Page ONE - TWO - THREE

  • Tolerance: One of the two essays on this topic looks at the fine line between tolerance and allowing or accepting harm in the name of tolerance. The other looks at how being true to yourself in the face of other's intolerance brings strength, and often, a silver lining. Check out the Tolerance essays... Page ONE - TWO
Thanks and bright blessings to all of you who take the time to share your thoughts with us through these essays! We at The Witches' Voice believe that the open exchange of ideas and opinions strengthens our community. Please be aware that the essays are posted as written and reflect the opinions of the authors, not necessarily that of Witches' Voice.

Pagan Perspectives
WitchVox Question of the Week!

Last week your Pagan Perspectives looked into the Pagan broomcloset to see who was in there. Most Pagans are of the in-and-out persuasion: Exercising caution and a view to personal circumstances in order to determine to whom they reveal their spiritual preferences and when to refrain from doing so. Almost all respondents dislike 'in your face' religiosity of ANY kind and many had mixed feelings about how closeted Pagans impact the public movement toward equality.

This week's Pagan Perspective question is...

Pagan books/web sites-dynamic or drivel? Books written by, for and about Pagans and Pagan beliefs fill the shelves of bookstores and Pagan web sites abound on the Internet. But do they really do a good job of reflecting Pagan beliefs, training new seekers or educating the non-Pagan public?

What are YOUR recommendations?

Click to Post Your Opinion or to view the Responses



Wiccan/Pagan Times features Interview with Dorothy Morrison
This week Wiccan/Pagan Times is featuring an interview with Pagan Author Dorothy Morrison. In their typical thorough fashion the WPT's digs in and asks some probing and interesting questions. As many of you may know, Dorothy is spear-heading a permanent memorial for those that were executed in the 1692 Salem Witch Hysteria. For this powerful interview surf to the Wiccan/Pagan Times.

Major Festivals for August - WitchVox Reviews!

August 2k was another strong month for Pagan festivals. Thanks to some fine reporting we are honored to share with you two new reviews. Both events happened in the past few weeks and celebrate the magick that only be called the modern Pagan movement. We are also excited to present a review of Magic Mountain Music from this past June.

  • The Caduceus Festival - Healing, Magick & Medicine - With the smell of the greenwood, hearty laughter, and the embracing of friends, both old and new, The Original Caduceus Festival kicked off it's millennial opening and 5th year on Friday August 25th. A beautiful new site selected for this year's festival in Monroe Twp. New Jersey, was a perfect backdrop for this healing festival come of age. Three days... (Full Review)

  • Firedance 2000: A Magical Drum and Dance Celebration - The festival took place in the mountains near Santa Cruz, CA and was attended by approximately 300 drummers and dancers from all across the United States, as well as participants from Australia, Poland, Israel, and Canada. Experiential workshops on drumming, sacred dance, chanting, exploring sacred space, body art and community ritual were presented during the day. These prepared and encouraged... (Full Review)

    and this just in for a festival from this past June...

  • Magic Mountain Music - Before I begin this review let me say that I am a professional musician and reviews of my music have appeared in a magazine before. And although Magic Mountain is a Music festival, a focus on the performers is not my purpose here. Simply put, this festival is unlike any that I've ever attended. Now in its 5th year... (Full Review)


Wren's Bird Call of The Week
br>comes off sounding an awful lot like, "Duh"! The UN Religious Peace Summit (You remember, the one that did not invite a Nobel Prize Winner for (duh!) Peace, the Dalai Lama, to attend because of politcs.) ended their worldwide religious tete-a-tete weekend with this grand announcement: "Religious Leaders Call For Peace." Again with the Duh!

Okay, so no Neo-Pagan religious leaders were invited and this may sound like just so much sour grapes. Pagans certainly could not have been excluded based on any sort of perceived fashion faux pas given some of the fancy bejeweled gowns that were being worn by other members of the delegations. And that was by the men- which there were a lot of- meaning there were not too many women religious leaders present- which may also be another reason that there were no Pagan religious leaders there either.

But looking at the numbers-and most importantly at the RISING numbers-of people who describe themselves as either Buddhist or Pagan and that the leaders of both of these belief systems were excluded, one has to wonder if there is a pattern here.

Let's review. Both Buddhism and Paganism are non-proselytizing, non-hierarchical faiths that support and encourage individual spiritual devotion and growth. They both-excepting for the facts that some Buddhists did fight the Chinese takeover of Tibet and that Paganism has some warrior castes of its own-are basically peaceful and non-violent in nature and extremely (sometimes to their own detriment) tolerant of other faiths and creeds. There are no membership drives, no urgent messages allegedly from on high to convert the masses happily practicing a different faith and no carved in stone dogmas that require armed troops to defend them.

Maybe, Pagans and Buddhist just don't need to spend four days locked up in some stuffy chamber in New York City to be able to come out and say, "We're not only for a peaceful world, we have spiritual ideals that can help make that hope a reality. We live them every day and they work." Maybe, Pagans and Buddhists weren't invited because that sort of spiritual thinking-appealing as it is to those who are flocking to these paths-is just too threatening to the religious institutions that depend on herds of followers to support their expensive habits.

Maybe the Pagans and the Buddhists just don't fit the spiritual 'norm' of what a religious 'leader' is perceived to be. And to my way of thinking, that is the very best reason that they both should have been there. Duh!

In Closing...

Pride in one's choices and accomplishments can be a very liberating experience. As Pagans, most of us say that we are 'responsible for the results of our actions' but forget that this means that we have just as much of a responsibilty to claim the rewards for our good deeds as we have in being willing to suffer the consequences of our bad decisions. We are Pagan and We Are Proud. Considering how far that we have come over the last few decades, we certainly have much to be proud of.



Wren, Fritz, Peg, Dio, Christina and Steve
The Witches' Voice
Year 2000 - September 4th.






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