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Weekly Update: 10/2/2000

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: October 2nd. 2000
Times Viewed: 6,165

But, Will There Be Treats?

Indeed! There are Always Treats!

Greetings everyone!

Wow! Is it October already? Where DOES the time go? The Pagan communities have been busy during September with Pagan pride Day events and festivals and Equinox celebrations and now it is the time to plan for our busiest month of all. Media coverage has been at an all time high throughout this past year and we anticipate that the annual Samhain-related press articles will be numerous and encompass the entire Samhain season. We do encourage reporters and the press to get in their requests for interviews early. Most Witches, Wiccans and other Pagans who celebrate Samhain as their major Holiday are very, very busy as the date of October 31st grows near. And as always, TWV would also love to feature pictures and write-ups about YOUR Samhain celebrations, so please consider taking an extra photo for us. Nothing dispels those evil old hag stereotypes quite like the sight of smiling, happy Pagan faces looking so...well...normal.. up on the computer screen!

It is that time again, dear friends. The Wheel of the Year draws near the points of change and introspection, beginnings and endings, Samhain and Beltaine (down under). Fritz and I simply love this time of year and (no doubt) most of you do as well. For PC surfers we have pushed the brightness of both the orange and green colors on this page (and the intro page) for a stronger Samhain look and feel.

Over the past four years and with your input we have built a strong Samhain section here at the Voice, and this year, with your help, we will continue to add to the cauldron. The Samhain (or Halloween) season is still a strong time for both education and awareness. WitchVox will do its part to optimize this with our "Reporters Info Kit"...Wren has compiled a powerful data page that includes; pointers to Wiccan, Witch and Pagan overviews, statistics, surveys, FAQ's and links to the community websites. And with your help, we will continue to build this section with the latest information and news from YOUR neck o' the woods!

If you'd like to catch up on the past month's news, Texas Pagan Awareness Online, TPAO, has all of the articles and local updates on the 'Dallas City Council and the Wiccan Invocation' situation. The Pagan Pride Day web site has compiled the various news pieces that mentioned the PPD and Equinox celebrations of the last two weeks. And Kit O'Connell (We told you that we'd let you know what the former editor of TPAO news was up to!) is hoping to launch his new venture, Texas Pagan News for Samhain and is looking for writers, reporters and news of Pagan interest.

Tons of Traffic Over at WitchVox.net
This Week: New Search Engine Power, Tweaks & More!


Greetings!

It has been another week of closely following those new hurricanes and dealing with temperatures plummeting down to the "bone chilling" low 70's. Since our move from Boston almost 3 years ago we have found that the blood thins quickly in this tropical zone. The good news is that we are on the threshold of 7 months of near-perfect weather and couldn't BE more thrilled.

The Witchvox.NET pages (WOTW, Wren's Nest, Links and Pagan Perspectives) saw an explosion of activity in September, with over 592,228 actually pages viewed, this critical section of TWV has nearly doubled its traffic. September 2000 saw our busiest month ever with 1,129,246 of our pages (Witchvox.net and .com) viewed on computers from all around the world. Thank YOU for deeming TWV worthy of your support and attention.

Allow us to also thank those of you that emailed us with compliments on the new WitchVox networking and links pages. We were thrilled to get this new version released this past month and *if* we can find some spare time in this month we will continue to evolve this critical section of the Witches' Voice.

This Past Week... was one of much polishing and engine building. All 2,700 of our pages now point to new search engines for weekly home page archives and our 4 year collection of community articles (over 4 million of Your words). Footers on all pages have been revamped to enable quick searches of Articles, Pagan Web Sites, Wvox Weekly Home Pages, Witches, Wiccans and Pagans of the world and close to 2,500 news clips from Wren's Nest. There is still substantial polishing to do but we are quite happy with the functionality of these new data engines.

United Kingdom Pagan UPDATE: Our Plea for help with the cites in the UK rendered so quick response. Both Niall Leighton (The Vernemeton Pagan Resource Project - For the thinking Pagans of the world http://www.vernemeton.the-dell.org.uk) and Rebecca Paxton came through and properly identified cities that belonged in Wales, N. Ireland and Scotland. Turns out there are some pretty powerful listings throughout the UK. NOTE: The UK pages at WitchVox ranked #2 in our networking listings this past month. Thank YOU for your patience with us over the past couple of weeks. JUST UP: Proper flags for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Late last Week... we launched the new version of our Pagan Links/Search Engine (you guessed it... version 5.0).

As always, our goals are to create solutions that are both valuable and useful to the Pagan community. WOTW v.5 is only the beginning of our push to better support Pagans at the local level. Our future plans include adding more and more resources (read: power) for Pagans at the local level.

NOTE: Samhain EVENTS all over the world are at an all time high (dozens have been submitted in the past few weeks). Visit your state/province/country page and celebrate this holiday with your brothers and sisters.

Have a glorious week everyone, and remember... It's never too early to start your Samhain shopping.


Fritz Jung (WebCrafter - Witchvox)
October 2nd., 2000

Image Credit: WitchVox would like to thank the beautiful Ari for creating the "quest for unity" image for us a few years back. For more of Ari's pixel magick visit www.dreamroads.com


Pagan Events- Near, Far And Far Out

The Near-Dottye Anderson attended Pagan Pride Day 2000/ Ft. Lauderdale. She reports, "It was hot and alive with the energy of the Goddess! Hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Church, and coordinated by Sophia leTourneau and Spellcaster, the air sparkled with the music of Florida's premier Pagan Rock band Dionysius. People turned out from not only the Miami- Ft. Lauderdale- Palm Beach county area, but also Tampa Bay, Polk county, Melbourne, and other parts of the state. Many vendors, both indoors (the lucky ones!) and outdoors offered their wares and services (from psychic readings to massage and Reiki); workshops, a lecture by Max Griffin-Maya, outdoor activities for the adventurous, and a book signing by Dottye Anderson, author of Hailing Aradia: A Wiccan Book of Shadows were also featured. An Afro- Caribbean catering company provided delightful and different cuisine. A memorable day of networking and meeting friends, old and new, culminated in a public circle with a Mabon "rock" ritual, complete with the incomparable music of Dionysius. Pagan Pride/ Ft. Lauderdale was worth attending, both this year and next."

The Far-Jami Shoemaker (jamis@mac.com) announced on Sept 21st that an historical event is being scheduled for Bealtaine 2001: Unity Comes to Ireland--Sacred Fires to Be Lit Nationwide for First Time in Hundreds of Years!

"On April 28, 2001, an event will occur across the entire island of Ireland that has not been witnessed since antiquity. A great bonfire will be lit at Uisneach, once the spiritual center of Ireland, followed by subsequent fires lit on major hilltops ringing the entire island, bringing North and South together in an incredible, public display of unity.

Initially conceived as a musical event uniting the five ancient provinces of Ireland through an original symphony, organizers Garry Jones and Dave Hogan soon saw the potential inherent in their idea. The "Fire Eye" project, so called for the arrangement of the hilltop fires, which, when lit, will resemble an eye from above, has become a nation-wide event, celebrating the shared heritage of the people of Ireland. Local communities throughout the North and South will join the celebration with their own music, theater, dance, and folklore festivities. The events of Fire Eye will be nationally televised, with satellite links to North America and beyond.

Tapping into Ireland's long-held sense of the sacredness of geographical place, Fire Eye aims to bring awareness to the ancient concept of the land as a living entity and vital part of daily life. The hilltop at Uisneach was seen as the spiritual center of Ireland, and the seat of the Sovereign Goddess, Eriu, from which Ireland gets its name. A symbolic "marriage" between Eriu and the High Kings of Ireland was believed to ensure the wealth, peace and harmony of the island.

Once performed as a symbolic, spiritual act to honor Eriu and purify the land in preparation for spring, the national lighting of the hilltop fires at "Beltane," or the first of May, was stamped out long ago by the Church, who cited it as a pagan rite. But as Jones and Hogan explain, this once-annual event had the far-reaching effects of island unity, and in the re-creation of this pre-Celtic tradition lies hope for the future." For more information, pictures and updates on how the project is coming together, check out the Fire Eye website.

Did someone say Treats?  If you look,you will find them... they are everywhere!


And The Really Far Out There! Are you ready to think about Witches In Space! Well, our buddy, AJ, is: "Witches practicing the Craft in Space? No way you say? Think about it! Space Travel is routine enough that it should be sufficient to say that of all the people who have traveled there, we have probably had one or two with leanings of the psychic or Witchy sort having been there. I seem to recall that there was an experiment from the Apollo days where psychics participated in a test with an astronaut during one of the lunar flights...

The current situation for a space-bound witch is somewhat like the arrival of Witches to various New World places like North America or Australia some centuries back, so it leads one to ask so very interesting questions about what will happen when we as a species *do* settle in a permanent space station or on Mars and/or the Moon?

The first representative witches in the New World probably were very quiet in their practices, and by necessity considering the hostility of the dominant religion of the time! I will hazard the guess that this is the exactly the same situation that is shaping up for persons who would bring their form of spiritual system to a space station or a new world.

The splitting of Witches from the Earth Mother would, I suppose, be hard on the "Earth Culture". Letting go of children is a difficult thing for a parent to do indeed. How our Craft Elders would see these young "start-ups" would be most interesting... I wonder what news headlines will be when the first of our representatives comes out of the "Space Broom Closet"?"

Samhain = Serious Magic Generally speaking, the NeoPagan community celebrates Samhain (commonly pronounced "SOW-in" sounds like cow or wow) as the end of the year (Pagan New Years). Many dress up as a projection of what they want to become in the new year. It's a time of celebration, magic, ritual, reflection and thanks. Many believe that this is optimal time for connecting with those that have passed through the veil during past year. They say this is when is the veil is in it's most transparent state. Powerful magic is done on Samhain and many groups and covens hold this time sacred.

It's Never Too Early To Start Your Samhain Shopping!
That's what Fritz always tells me on October 1st at 12:01 a.m. Of course, as many of you know, October 31st is also our dear webweaver's birthday, so those not-so-subtle hints concerning possible gift ideas begin real early around the TWV office. For the book lovers in your family or coven-and maybe for yourself as well-there are a few nice new offerings available for Samhain surprises. We received one such surprise in the mail just the other day.

The nice folks over at Hexagon Hoopix sent us a copy of "Charge of the Goddess", a compilation of some of Doreen Valiente's unpublished poems. But more than a book of Pagan poetry-although anyone familiar with Doreen's work will find this thrilling enough in itself- it is both a tribute and a celebration of Doreen herself. Anyone who is interested in the modern history of Witchcraft will be delighted to find pictures of some of Doreen's personal magickal tools and items interspersed with personal comments and reminiscences from the people who knew Doreen best. Some of these writings can be found online at Doreen Valiente.com where you can also order the book. The newly discovered 'Broomstick Chant' posted there on the site would make a great Samhain Pagan Parade marching song!

"The Twelve Swans" - HarperCollins, ISBN 0-06-251684-1-by Starhawk and Hilary Valentine is a book on 'rituals, exercises and magickal training". Much more than that, it is one of the first books that we've seen that approach the level of a work of Pagan philosophy. Deep and insightful, yet easy enough to read for even the beginner student, this is one reference book that you can go back to time and time again for fresh insights.

We also picked up a copy of the Wiccan Warrior by Kerr Cuhulain (Llewellyn, ISBN 1-56718-252-6). This is good stuff and offers practical advice for those Pagans on the front lines. It also helps one differentiate between 'being assertive' and 'becoming aggressive' and classifies some of the different aspects of the "Warrior Spirit".

'Simple Wicca" is a nice and gentle Wicca 101 book to give out to new seekers and teens. New from Conari Press, author Michele Morgan explains the main tenets of Wicca, the structure of ritual work and the seasonal rounds of the Wiccan holidays in a simple and straightforward way. The magickal working guidelines inside this book are both ethical and honest-something most of us look for in a 'first book' that we would recommend to others.

Last, but never least, is Ronald Hutton's, "The Triumph of the Moon". Now available in most bookstores (Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-820744-1), this scholarly book will keep you reading for about a month or so. A deep one indeed and one that you will probably read again and again. You'll undoubtedly hear the information and perceptions that Prof. Hutton brings forth in this work quoted anytime someone speaks about the history of modern Witchcraft. So, you might as well get caught up with the latest perspective on just how, when and what the Witchcraft of today historically represents. (Bring a pin and burst some of your bubbles as you read along.)

Next Week at WitchVox...  A Hot New set of Essays by Pagan Teens.


And It's Never Too Early To Start Planning Your Samhain Ball! In Who Shall Dance at the Witches Ball? by DragonLady, we read about one Samhain Ball that shall be undoubtedly one of many. "Pagan pride and Pagan style will shine out at the first annual West Coast Witches Ball on Saturday, October 21st in Palo Alto, California. (1) The Witches Ball is designed to be a grand costume affair, a Pagan community event and a benefit for the local Humane Society. The organizing body is Full Circle Events, a non-profit Neo-Pagan group that specializes in hosting such gatherings for the Earth Wise Community.

Why did the Full Circle folks decide to throw a Samhain Ball as a benefit for the Humane Society is an interesting story in itself: "DL: What happened? M: There was a period of about 6 months when a total of 25 cats and several raccoons were killed in the Almaden Valley and the Blossom Hill area. (2) Needless to say, our people were very upset and worried when they heard about this. To make matters worse, one local TV station broadcast the story with a picture of a pentacle in the background, even though no Pagan tools or occult symbols had been found at any of the crime scenes. Sia (our Council Leader) does cat rescue work and she became concerned that Pagans might be unfairly blamed for these deaths, so she called Officer Christine Franco, the Humane Society Investigator, and they talked about the case. Sia was able to answer her questions about Pagan practice and counter the rumors about "animal sacrifice" that were going around. At the same time, another local Pagan (who has excellent media contacts) called that TV station and talked to folks he knew there about the use of our spiritual symbol in their report. Later that evening, when this station broadcast the story again, the pentacle logo was gone."

Throughout the month of October, The Witches Voice will be highlighting the various celebrations that fill the Samhain season. Tell us about YOURS and don't forget to check the newly reformatted and regularly updated Witches of the World section to find a Samhain event near you!

Pagan Perspectives
WitchVox Question of the Week!

Last week Pagan Perspectives asked questions about the past and current misconceptions and stereotypical depictions of Pagans. Many of you shared personal stories-some with positive outcomes and some where you simply had to walk away. Inroads have been made, most agree, but more work still remains to be done before Pagans are fully accepted as viable people of faith in their own right. .

This week's Pagan Perspective section is devoted to 'lightening up"...

Pagan Jokes and Humorous Stories seem to be just the ticket to get us in the mood to celebrate our bestest Holiday season. This can be your personal story of 'magick gone awry' or your favorite "How many Pagans does it take..." joke. C'mon! We dare ya! Just try and make us laugh!

Click to Post Your Joke or Story or to view the Responses



South East/Florida Pagans Get Psyched!

In an effort to get away from these "pesky appliances" Wren and I are honored to, once again, attend the Autumnmeet Festival in early November just north of Tampa, Florida. This will be our third time attending this festival and we couldn't be more thrilled. Wren and I are most excited to FINALLY meet our associate editor the magical and beautiful Diotima.

The Powerful line up for this year includes: Alexian & Seridina, Phyllis Curott, Harper Deluna, DreamTrybe, Bruce Fields, Fritz Jung, Diotima Mantineia, Madonna Moonhawk, Nybor & Elspeth of Haven, Greywolf & Briga O'Murchadha, The Raft, Orion Stormcrow, Trish Telesco, Wren Walker, Daniella Waterhawk and Don Waterhawk.

Note: If you can only get a way for a few days do know that day passes are available. For complete details visit the fabulously crafted Phoenix Festivals website. AND for a "feel" for this festival visit our 3 page review and pictorial of Autumnmeet 1999.

Wren's Bird Call of The Week... came to mind right after I fed the birds and squirrels this morning. As I watched from my balcony the feeding frenzy that always ensues after I scatter the sunflower seeds and peanuts under the willow tree, I heard the familiar cry of the blue jays. "Thief! Thief! Thief!" they accusingly scold at the other critters who are just minding their own breakfast business. Now if you know anything about blue jay behavior, it is they who are the thieves-they who swoop down and snatch up as many seeds as their craw can handle and then follow the squirrels to see where they hide their peanuts for later raiding party forays.

I began to wonder just why the cries of "Thief" had so caught my attention this particular morning. And then I realized that the blue jays have their human counterparts in the religious realms and I had just read one or two of those sites where they have built an artificial habitat. Who are these human blue jays? They are those extremist and (unfortunately for a great religion) usually Christian zealots who dedicate themselves to spreading falsehoods about Pagans. They do more than tsk tsk at Pagan beliefs. They call us demons, murderers and every kind of evil being. Why? Let's not mince words like worms here. They say these things because these people are liars.

There are no other religious people that are subjected to such virulent and outright slander as Pagans are. There are people who are not content to simply say that they do not understand or agree with Pagan beliefs like they seem to be content to do with other religions. Nope, from the baby sacrifice stories to the unholy demonic alliance conspiracies, Pagans are convicted by spectral evidence alone. The word of someone who simply says that he or she was once "in the Craft" or a "High Priest of the No-One-In-The-Pagan-Community-Has-Ever-Heard-of-You Coven" and who then goes on and on (maybe even writes a book) about the horrible crimes that they saw Pagans involved in and -before they saw the light, of course- participated in themselves are accepted as true with no real evidence at all. Ever notice that these liar-guys-and-gals are never low on the hierarchical totem pole themselves in these lurid stories? That should tell you something about their need to be in the spotlight... and isn't, Mr. Pacino, vanity still a sin? Just like lying?

These 'thieves' steal the truth. But more than that, they steal love, tolerance and compassion from the hearts of other Christians. They turn those who drink up these stories into paranoid 'lovers of lies' and the more sensational the lie, the more these listeners perk up their ears "the better to hear you with, my dear". They become that which they fear the most. Their own doctrine declares that those who love lies more than the truth shall have their share of some fiery nasty pit. Liars follow that guy in the red pajamas. Oops! How embarrassing for them, I'm sure! Not such a 'little white lie' after all, eh guys?

So again this year when we see the anti-Halloween letters in the papers -which by the way is NOT our Holiday, but just another ancient act of blue jay Christian thievery!- let us remind them that the truth about Pagan beliefs is out there. No evidence of any of these lurid anti-Pagan stories being true exists because these things just never happened, these people were never the "High Priest' of anything except their own crazed need for attention and Pagans are simply not going to cringe over this crap any more. Not true. Never happened. End of story.

In fact, the next time that these guys hear a blue jay call, "Thief! Thief! Thief!" maybe they should pay close attention. I think Someone up there is trying to tell them something.

In Closing...

We are going to let Doreen Valiente have the last word this week: "Pagan, Pagan, what are you finding? Yours is the road that winds lonely and far, Strange are the shadows that round you come creeping, Still through the clouds is the glint of a Star!"-(from the book, Charge of the Goddess).

In Your Service,

Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2000 - October 2nd.






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