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Weekly Update: 10/23/2000

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: October 23rd. 2000
Times Viewed: 5,870

October-At The Heart and Soul of Samhain

Greetings everyone!

"You're in my heart, You're in my soul..." croons an old Rod Stewart song and that is what we have discovered here at the Witches' Voice. When we first moved to Florida, we thought that perhaps, as life-long New Englanders, we would miss the changing of the Seasons and lose the rhythm of the Pagan Year as we had always known it. Yet even though the local pumpkin patch here is spread out over an artificial turf rug in the lobby of a Publix grocery store, the spirit of the Seasons remains quite firmly internalized within our hearts. Wherever you are and wherever you go, if you are Pagan, you carry the heartbeat of the Earth within you.

In Samhain: Honoring the Dead , Starhawk writes:

"Samhain--pronounced sow-(rhymes with now)-in--more popularly known as Halloween, is the Witches' New Year, Wicca's most solemn and festive holiday. In my book "The Spiral Dance," I describe it as "the night when the veil is thin that divides the worlds...when the harvest is gathered and the fields lie fallow. The gates of life and death are opened and to the living is revealed the Mystery: that every ending is but a new beginning.

For Pagans, death and birth are intertwined. Our goddesses and gods all represent aspects of the cycle of birth, growth, death, and regeneration. Every good gardener knows that fertility is born out of decay. Every fallen leaf becomes part of the soil that feeds the roots of growing trees."

To learn more about the celebration of Samhain, check out You Call It Hallowe'en, We Call It Samhain by our own Peg Aloi and all of the other articles about this most important Pagan Holiday in the Samhain-The Final Turn of the Wheel section.

Photo credit: The picture to your upper right is from Etaine Cerridwen (Email: Etaine@Shadows.zzn.com) of Oakville, Ontario Canada. "This is the altar in my home, prepared for a Samhain ritual for a newly formed Grove. This will be the first Samhain ritual for the Enchanted Sage Grove as a group. We hope it is a wonderful and solemn event in which we can meditate on our lives and on those passed before us".



Witches Fly Over Hollywood...
For three days in October (Oct. 18-20), The Blair Witch Webfest conjured its way into your home computer. If you were lucky. Due to the large volume of interested fans, curiosity seekers and oh-what-are-they-going-to-do-to-us-this-time Pagans, not everyone could access the webfest. Peg tells us that Artisan is planning to make the webfest segments available on demand soon so that anyone who missed it-or couldn't get in-will be able to see and read the various segments. We'll let you know when this is available.

What IS available is Peg's journal of her trip to Tinseltown: Making the Web Safe for Witchcraft: My Blair Witch Cybermedia Adventure. Peg's mission: to take advantage of this very public and much-hyped event to set the record straight on many of the misconceptions the general public still has about modern witches (most of them based upon sensational media images).

Excerpt....
    5:15 pm: After some snaggling with my electronic ticket (my ID says "Margaret," my ticket is issued to "Peg," oh, for an Irishman who can explain this to the airline), I go to the waiting area. Gate 33: a lucky number. (I am terrified of flying so I look for reassuring numerological stuff. I also clutch a ball of hematite inscribed with a pentacle during take-off and landing. Please, no broomstick jokes.)

    5:16 pm: There, I see Shawn and Jacqui, two Salem witches who are also flying out for the webfest. They will be performing a live ritual and casting spells, according to the official webfest schedule. I have wondered more than once if they might be mad. I mean, performing ritual in front of millions of potentially non-sympathetic people? Then again, I have wondered the same thing about myself: what in the name of the Lord and Lady am I DOING???

For the rest of the humorous and enlightening piece Click Here




West Memphis 3 Benefit CD Released
One of the other things that Peg does -also for no money (Sorry, Peg, maybe someday)- is keep us up to date on the status of the West Memphis Three case. This month, Peg interviewed Eddie Spaghetti of the Supersuckers about the new WM3 Benefit CD Project:

"This week marks the release of a benefit CD for the West Memphis Three from Aces & Eights Recordings and Koch Records. Those familiar with the plight of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. may recall that their tastes in music were one of the things that made people in their community view them with suspicion. In the Bible belt town of West Memphis, Arkansas, heavy metal music was considered the tool of the devil. The dark, intense music and often nihilistic lyrics of bands like Metallica and Megadeth were well liked by the three teenagers in 1993. The black t-shirts sporting the band's names and logos made the three stand out among their peers, and were referred to by "occult expert" Dale Griffis (whose Ph.D. is from a discredited mail-order university) as signifiers of satanic worship."

As the case has drawn more and more attention internationally, thanks to the award-winning documentary film by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky (Paradise Lost and its sequel, Revelations), and to the activism of many who believe they are innocent, many musical artists have become outraged and have lent their voice to the cause. The website at www.wm3.org was featured in Revelations: Paradise Lost 2, which premiered on HBO this spring and is playing in major U.S., cities this fall, and as a result many people have sought more information on this travesty of justice which has landed two innocent young men in prison for life, with one on Death Row and scheduled to die by lethal injection as early as May 5, 2001.

The Benefit CD features artists who have often spoken out about the cause, including Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder (who sings with the Supersuckers), Tom Waits, Steve Earle, Rocket From the Crypt, The Clash's Joe Strummer singing with the Long Beach Dub Allstars, l7, Mark Lanegan and The Killing Joke (who reunited for this cause). The CD will be available in record stores beginning October 10, and you can also purchase it online at www.aces-eights.com. I had the pleasure of talking with Supersuckers' lead singer Eddie Spaghetti, who is also one of the producers of the CD about his interest and involvement with the case."

The Spirits of Pagan Activism Pay A Visit to The Capitol
The reality that many Pagans have committed themselves and their considerable energies into public service was once again brought home this past weekend at the 'Blessed Be and Meet Me In D.C." event. "The tone of the topics were both mature and informative, this was a "grown up" event and not for the "faint of change" or the "dogmatically challenged," say Steven and Bonnie Repko who were first-time attendees of BBMMDC 2000 . "The diversity, experience, and level attitudes of the presenters were refreshing and inspirational, to say we came back with new perspectives is an understatement.

Phyllis Curott was both entertaining and informative as was Kerr Cuhulain and Isaac Bonewits; these workshops were fun and challenging. Looking past the challenge was to open a door of mental freedom, expansion and cultural exchange.

Thought and action, were a big part of the messages that were imparted in these workshops. Thinking about where we "the community" are going and the courses involved in getting there. The evolution of earth based dogmas and shedding the damage of two thousand years of the fear and guilt that continues to pollute many of our actions as pagans. The need to change how others perceive us and how what we do is going to affect what the future will allow for us. Taking a stand now and exercising our "powers" (including the vote) to affect and protect the pagan legacies for future generations."

For more about the BBMMDC event, comments from some of the attendees and a peek at the quite wonderful photos which magickally capture the spirit of those who participated, surf on over to Pagans Gather at the Nation's Capitol brought to you by The Wiccan-Pagan Times.

Photo credit: This wonderful shot as well as all of the images in our BBMMDC review were captured by Bonnie Repko. (Webmaster's NOTE: Does Nybor EVER take a bad picture?).

Political Pumpkins, All In A Row
As rounds one, two and three of the political wrestling match that defines the US election year coverage come to end, the emails, message boards, chat rooms and e-lists continue to light up with the political heat. Politics and religion, church and state, have unfortunately become the strange bedfellows that your mother never could have foreseen and therefore never warned you about. Like it or not-and we don't-religious people have increasingly been forced to become political activists as well. Politicians make the laws-and where they can't, won't or refuse to consider that sometimes inconvenient vehicle named the Constitution-they often attempt to skew the laws to raise up their own personal religious banner higher than the standards of all of the other faiths.

On October 15th, the Red, White and Blue web site posted the responses of the various presidential candidates to this question: "With religious diversity increasing, what are your thoughts on the protection of religious freedom and the separation of church and state? Should religions like Wicca be banned from recognition by the military, as some legislators suggest?" Surf on over and read the candidates' answers to this-and many other important issues that interested voters are weighing as they contemplate their voting decision.

The Witches' Voice-to reiterate the point once again-is politically neutral. As an organization that carries 501(c)(3) status, we are required by law to refrain from endorsing, campaigning or lobbying for or against any one political candidate or party. We do read all of your politically oriented articles and comments. We do follow politics and politicians with a close eye on their platforms as they pertain to religious liberty and Pagan civil rights. What we can't do-and wouldn't if we could (free will and all of that, you know) -is to tell YOU how to vote or who to vote for. We simply can't and won't go there. However, we can put up an open forum where you are free to voice your opinions. And so, we once again are calling up the spirits of the U.S. political banshees:

Pagan Perspectives
WitchVox Question of the Week!

Last week Pagan Perspectives looked into Hollywood Hype. Many of you like some of the shows and movies with "Witchy" content. Some of you hate them all for portraying Pagan practices as just so much theatrical special effects. Most acknowledge that such things have increased the interest in all things Pagan and that either way, we are left to deal with it in some manner.

This week's Pagan Perspective question is a redux of one that we asked about at the beginning of August... (And we apologize in advance to our non-United States readers that we have again brought up an issue that is rather exclusive to just one country, but feel free to comment on the shenanigans of the American political system as you see it.)

Which political platform or candidate are you leaning towards? Have you made up your mind or changed your mind? Will you vote and who-if you don't mind telling the world-are you planning to vote for? Why have you made this particular choice?

Click to Post Your Opinion or to view the Responses of others



If you are pagan and plan to vote this November, you might just want to scoot on over to the Alternative Religions Educational Network to pick up your free I'm Pagan and I Vote banner. (Add a "D" to it after the election.) Another stop along the campaign trail that we recommend is the Pagans Vote web-site with its links to the home pages of the various political parties, commentaries on various issues and other handy yankee-doodle-dandy information. Like TWV, Pagans Vote is politically neutral and presents the information so that YOU can decide who best represents you and your interests. Vote.Com lets you vote your opinion and speak your mind on various international, national and local political issues.

Any way you choose to exercise your rights, we do encourage you to get out and vote!



Lessons, Myths and a New Server for WOTW
(October 23rd., 2000)

Greetings,

It's been a very noisy week here at Witchvox Central (read: our apartment). One of the many treats we get to experience is a flock (about 30) of bright green wild parrots. They fly in faithfully every morning for the snacks that Wren religiously places under the willow tree. If it's about treats... the squirrels, blue jays, pigeons, crows, egrets and the wild parrots get along quite nicely.

The lessons are indeed in nature. Stop, look and listen.

Site Changes This Week:
  • The big news this week is that we have added a new member to our staff. We are honored to welcome Daven as the official coordinator of the "Cats of the Craft" pages. Daven has shown us that he IS in this for the right reasons and has quickly put together 3 of the last 4 cats pages. We can now look forward to a more timely execution of the countless submissions that we get to this ever popular section. Daven's detailed profile can be found on our "Meet the Staff" page. Thank YOU, Daven, for what you have done and will do. Hail and Welcome.

  • As of yesterday Witchvox.NET (Wren's Nest, WOTW, Pagan Perspectives & Pagan Links) is officially up on it's new server (Mac G4/400). The performance is quite zippy and daily maintainence promises to be much more efficient.

  • We have broadened the depth of our article  and past home page  search engines... Until yesterday, they only searched for the first 300 words of the article or homepage archive. NOW your searches to this database will include the 4 million plus words that those sections contain. The good news is that most searches will take less than a second (delivery to your computer is, of course, related to your connection speed and current network traffic).

  • Samhain Events: Dozens and dozens of changes related to the listings of Samhain events for 2000. It's also worth noting that this past week was another record week for submissions to the WitchVox networking pages. For the absolute latest on what is happening in YOUR town, visit our Witches of the World pages.

We continue to get email on last week's "WitchVox Myths Dispelled" (see For the Record) and although I promised to cite a few more this past week, we never did get to it. Allow us to clarify a few recent ones:

  • Shoot First, Ask Questions Later: We were criticized on a news group earlier this week for featuring the Blair Witch Webfest on this past week's update and not mentioning Blessed Be and Meet Me in DC. Mercifully, this person DID email us to ask why (Thank You!). Our experience is that most folks don't bother to ask; the myth being usually juicier than the reality. The Answer: BBMMDC ended on Sunday (just as our weekly update went up), we had received zero info on this Fest this year and hence had nothing TO report. We were indeed curious as to BBMMDC's impact and numbers of attendees. On Tuesday, Wren found an article on U-Wire and promptly put it up on the Nest. This same day, we received a wonderful review by Steven and Bonnie Repko - BBMMDC 2000 Review - which we are proud to feature this week. Lesson #1: If you have a question for us, simply email us with it. We have a rich history of quick response. Lesson #2: Don't believe everything you hear in newsgroups and chat sites. Contact the source if you ARE interested in the facts.

    So Where DOES Witchvox get its material? This is yet another ongoing myth, with many assuming that we have some big staff that goes out like typical newspapers, and hunts down the news (We are not funded by advertising and our small volunteer staff works for zero pay)... Nothing could be further from the truth. For almost 5 years, it has been YOU that have delivered the news and activities of the Neo-Pagan community. This is Your Site, always has been, always will be! -- Thank you to all who have sent valuable community news this way.

  • 43,000 Pages a Day? I don't think so!: One astute lad emailed me early in the week quoting my statement of this past week: that we are delivering close to 43,000 pages a day in traffic. He had been watching our front page counter and only saw a 21-25,000 page increase from day to day. The Answer? We ONLY track witchvox.COM on a daily basis, the "action" of witchvox.NET is added, in it's entirety, at the end of the month (.net generates about 20,000 page). Another reality is that we HAVE cracked the '20 million pages viewed' mark. Thank YOU all for this and do know that this latest number will be reflected on 11/1 with an additional 4-500,000 pages viewed added to our home page.


As always, our goals are to create solutions that are both valuable and useful to the Pagan community. Both Witchvox.com and Witchvox.net are here for your news and networking needs. Use them with our love.

In your service.

Fritz Jung
Webcrafter - The Witches' Voice



Between The Worlds, Beyond Duality
(New in our Gay pagan Section)

As this is the time between, the season where the veils between worlds grow thin, it is also the time when Pagans contemplate what is and isn't, what has been and will be. For many Gays, this time may last all of the year. Being an 'other', a 'not quite this and a not quite that' poses challenges and inspires insights. This week, Storm Faerywolf explores the concepts of 'magick, polarity, and ourselves' in The Queer Craft: Rethinking Magickal Polarity:

"There are numerous symbols that we can draw upon to this end. For example, the turning of the seasons could be mythically expressed in the concept of the Oak King and the Holly King (or the Bright Mother and Dark Mother) representing the light and dark halves of the year, together becoming the cycle of eternity. In this example, polarity is seen in same gendered terms, but still retains the essential quality of complimentary forces.

We can also turn our attention to non-gender specific examples of polarity, such as Rhythm and Melody. This could be seen as bass drum and flute, each representing different powers, but coming together to provide the whole picture, in this example a musical one. This brings to light the idea that polarities are not pairs of energies in opposition to one another, but are instead complimentary forces in every meaning of the term. With this in mind, we might also see polarities in motion and stillness, form and formlessness, holding and releasing, feeling and knowing. As our understanding of energy increases, so does our ability to experience it, and to comprehend.

But why should we limit ourselves to just two forces? for the complete article Click Here.

Photo credit: The picture to your upper left was taken by Christina Vagianos Constable (Email: constabl@musc.edu) at SOLSTICE/CUUPs events in Charleston, SC.

Enemy Glory -- New Book, New CD
PRESS RELEASE 10/23/2000:

ENEMY GLORY, Book One of Karen Michalson's new dark fantasy series of the same title, is due out from Tor Books in January 2001. Amazon.com is now taking orders, and will ship copies as soon as they are available. ENEMY GLORY is the novel that was the inspiration for Point Of Ares's debut album of the same name. Karen is Point Of Ares's bassist-lead vocalist. For the rest of this press release, and others, visit the WitchVox Pagan Music News 2000.

Next Week at WitchVox...   Yet another round of Samhain Treats for one and for all.


Autumnmeet 2000 - A Much Needed Vacation

Wren and I are honored to, once again, attend the Autumnmeet Festival in early November just north of Tampa, Florida. For a variety of reasons this will most likely be our last festival until 2002.

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, 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. To get a "feel" for this festival visit our 3 page review and pictorial of Autumnmeet 1999.

In Closing...

The Seasons come and the Seasons go. The Earth turns in perpetual balance and harmony. And within the hearts of Pagans who know Her ways, all is right with the World.

In Your Service,

Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2000 - October 23rd.






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