Weekly Update: 11/06/2000|
Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: November 6th. 2000
Times Viewed: 4,358
| 11/9/2000 US Election Update:|
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:
WitchVox Question of the Week!
Due to the incredible and unprecedented hoopla surrounding the U.S. Presidential election, we are once again devoting our Perspectives column to that issue and-also once again- apologizing to our non-U.S. readers for indulging in that obsession. (Feel free to comment on how the U.S. Presidential race is viewed in your country.) Many people-and not simply Pagans-seem to be stunned by the recent turn of events and so we feel that perhaps you would like a place in which to air your viewpoints, frustrations, concerns and perspectives about the battle for the White House. So, here we go...
A Question to YOU:
Did YOU vote? Which candidate did you vote for? How do you feel about the political wrangling going on right now in Florida? Will/Should either candidate concede for the good of the country-or should either/both fight it out until we all scream for mercy? How do you think either candidate, if declared the winner, will be able to bring the country together given the inference that the election results now point to an America that is almost equally divided into one camp or the other? And the BIG question-What, if any, impact will the final results have on the Pagan communities?
Click to Post Your Opinion or to view the Responses of others
| Pagans Ruled In October|
Congratulations are definitely in order! The month of October 2000 demonstrated like never before that the Pagan communities of the World are not only becoming larger, they are also developing into stronger and more cohesive local networks of individuals, covens and groups. From Newfoundland and Ontario, Canada to Montana and Iowa, spanning from Ohio down into Florida and across the oceans to London and Sydney, Australia, the press clippings came rolling-or is that scrolling? -in. TWV received copies of over fifty local news stories that explored the positive and increasingly important religions that make up the fabric of modern-day Paganism.
Paganism is now more than simply an interesting lifestyle section sound-byte printed up for the Halloween season. The religious holiday of Samhain has finally broken away from both the secular partytime celebrations of Halloween and the blatantly anti-Pagan fallacies spin-doctored by the predominately hardcore fundamentalist Christian propagandists. Rather than being perceived as a manifestation of anti-social behavior or as a rebellion against other established religions or authorities, Paganism is increasingly being understood to be that which it truly is: A new religion.
The emergence of a new religion is not unlike the birth of a new star. We here upon this planet do not often personally witness such an event. Indeed, generations have lived and died without even entertaining the possibility that either such birth was possible. Yet, today with the latest technologically advanced telescopes and satellites, scientists and astronomers indeed can witness new star clusters forming in the heavens. The Universe is not static. Change is both continual and inevitable.
With our feet planted firmly here upon the Earth, we too are cognizant of an exceedingly rare phenomenon. From that same scientific theorem-that change is continual and inevitable in a Universe which will not stand still in the face of any man's superstition nor compromise it's purpose for the convenience of any religious dogma-a new and innovative set of religions has been born out of the stardust of the past. We are not only the practitioners of a new form of spiritual awareness; we are witnesses to history in the making.
This is not a fad. This is not a passing sociological blip on the system. This is the future emerging before our very eyes. Do not take the Pagan religions lightly nor sell yourselves as Pagan practitioners short. New stars-and new religions- are very powerful forces which exert an immense 'pull' on anything that passes near their orbits. Why, one could say even that it sounds a lot like magick!
"Many find Paganism after a search for a spirituality that fits them better than more mainstream religions," said Lonnie Kliever, a religious studies professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas who teaches about the philosophy of modern religions and culture. "Some people think new religious movements seduce followers away from mainstream religions," Kliever said. That's seldom if ever the case. People join these movements because they see or hear something that attracts them."-(Vivi Hoang, Scripps Howard News Service via The Evansville Courier and Press, 10/31/00)
Change Can Be Devastating...
On October 30th, our very dear friends Michael and Therese Pendragon of Salem, Mass. were burned out of their apartment. They quite literally escaped with only the clothes upon their backs. The building exploded with a blast so severe that the foundation on the house next door was cracked. Had they been at home at the time of the incident, they would not have survived. Michael and Therese are well known in the Salem area and are two of the most incredibly gifted Pagans that Fritz and I have had the honor to know. Michael and Therese are the real deal. Their psychic talents have not only earned them a nation wide reputation and dedicated clientele, they have also been used to work for the good of the planet. We have been privileged to join in their magickal workings from time to time while we lived in the Salem area. Michael and Therese are the only people who Wren has ever let 'read' for her.
Along with all of their personal belongings and furniture, the Pendragons lost a lifetime collection of magickal tools, Michael's recording equipment and computer system and, most devastatingly of all, and the lives of their two beloved cats. In true Pagan fashion, the Pendragons are looking upon this as a door that opens up a new future, but the loss of their kitties has wounded their hearts deeply. As cat lovers ourselves, Fritz and Wren can only mourn with them.
If you would like send messages of comfort and support to the Pendragons or financial gifts of any amount to help them get back on their feet, you can do at: Michael and Therese Pendragon, P.O. Box 8174, Salem, Ma. 01970. I know that they will be very grateful.
And Change Can Be Disturbing...
Earth-based Religionists intuit that change is a normal function of the cycle of Life. But for those who follow religions which cannot or will not fathom this most natural of mysteries, change can be interpreted as a threat. Such people are sometimes resistant to change. Change brings the unknown right up to their very doorsteps and then, unfortunately, some of these people-out of fear or hatred- will erupt into violent and criminal actions:
"On the night of Friday 27 October 2000 or the morning of Saturday, 28 October 2000, person or persons unknown gained access to this sacred site and destroyed the limestone altar donated by its members. They dismantled and scattered the simple religious symbols provided by Nature with complete disregard for what these items meant to the members of Fort Hood Open Circle both for their religious symbolism and for the personal time and energy put into constructing them.
A mere twenty four hours after the reports were filed with the Fort Hood Military Police we are told that the investigation has been closed, that there was insufficient evidence to continue the investigation. Other than the Military Police who responded to the call looking at the remains of the altar and the area surrounding it and the filling out of their mandatory reports we have seen nothing to indicate that an investigation was even initiated. After repeated attempts to contact the Fort Hood Chaplains we have been told that reparations will be made to replace the physical items that have been carelessly destroyed, and that given time the military facilities at the site will be improved due to the fact that other organizations will be having increased use of these facilities. Is it too much to ask that our Country's service men and women be given the opportunity, respect and facilities to worship as they see fit provided their doing so causes no harm to others?
This is not an isolated one-time event, on several occasions since being recognized and sponsored by the U.S. Military and Fort Hood our sacred sites have been vandalized and personal property destroyed. Each time we have turned to Fort Hood authorities and Chaplains for assistance but have been given nothing but promises. I am speaking out now in the hopes that our cries will be heard by people of all religions I ask that you take a minute to think, put yourself in our position and then do what your heart tells you is right.
This incident is from the official press release of the Sacred Well Congregation Sacred Well Congregation at Ft. Hood, Texas. A copy of the full release is available from Wren's Nest, article #2441, dated 11/4/00. For more information or to send emails of support to the Sacred Well congregation, you may contact: Marie and Ron Smith, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, David and JoAnn Lyman, email@example.com or David and Tama Oringderff, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Please do not initiate any campaigns without speaking with them first. This incident took place on a military base and the dynamic of protest and public outcry must be weighed against military protocol and procedures. These ARE military Pagans and can direct you on the most effective use of the now considerable power and influence that Pagans can utilize on their own behalf.
Our Beautiful Pagan Sister Dana Davis Wins Cruise!
Finalist in Meow-Mix Jingle Contest
This past week, at the Autumn Meet festival, we (Velvet Hammer/DreamTrybe fans) received some wonderful news from Lynda. Dana Davis is a finalist in a jingle writing contest for Meow-Mix Cat Food. This means that she has already won a cruise AND will be presenting her music at the finals in Miami later this week. We are projecting that Dana DOES score the 10,000 first prize. She is certainly capable of doing so! Anyone that has experienced Dana's amazing voice and songwriting can attest to this reality.
More good news: Lynda (of DreamTrybe - formerly Velvet Hammer) tells us that they did two incredible shows WITH Dana in Austin just a couple of weeks ago. If you have ever experienced Lynda, Ginger AND Dana (the original Velvet Hammer) singing/performing together you know what I am talking about. It just had to be incredible. Rumor has it, that even Katrina (VH's original drummer) may be siting in with the band in the near future. I am sure that fans of the original line up will be busy working their magick to project that this is correct and for the good of all (how couldn't it be?).
Wren and I are honored to call Dana our friend and it makes us crazy that we don't get to share her magick on a regular basis. We love you Dana and project that you will slay them in Miami.
Cats Looking for Love: In another area of the country, we find some cats looking for a home: "I wasn't sure exactly where this fits in, but I thought that a public statement would work. I'm from the Buffalo area and I was wondering if it was possible for witchvox to help save a group of stray cats. Since I am in college, I can't exactly keep them in my dorm, and my mother already has three of them, my father won't allow any more. There are about fifteen cats in the Olcott area that have no homes, and winter is coming swiftly. My mother has offered to pay the expense for anyone interested to find out if the cat has Feline Leukemia..the rest is up to you. Please help these cats, I know there are so many all over the world, but if we can help some, it is better than none at all. My email is RevePoet1@cs.com if you have any more questions or want more information." There are many animals in the world that could use some care. By protecting natural habitats, planting for birds and butterflies and by donating our time and money to aid our local animal shelters, we can help our fellow living beings cope with some of the changes that challenge us all.
Photo credits: All photos in this week's update were taken by Fritz Jung (Photo above is of Dana Davis and Wren).
The Pagan Net Takes a Hammering
Greetings and Happy New Year Everyone,
As Wren stated above, it was a record breaking Samhain season for neo-paganism and this played out in a big way on the Pagan Net. From everyone we've talked to it is clear that most Pagan web sites saw amazing increases in traffic in October. The Witches' Voice had it's busiest month ever with a dramatic increase in traffic - 1,642,838 pages viewed on PCs around the world.
So why was it THIS busy? There are many thoughts on this, the obvious one being that it was October and awareness of Witches is at its annual high. We have learned in the past that ANY media coverage related to Paganism or Witchcraft brings the curious out to the net to learn more. The numerous Halloween/Samhain TV specials, Christian protests, Blairwitch II and even the Simpsons "Tree House of Horror" episodes were triggers for the curious. As recently as 4 years ago this just wasn't an option for the masses. The 'net changed everything. For what the "real people" are saying, you surf the net and the Pagan net offers info on over 8,000 sites.
So, what ARE they checking out? Although, we can't speak for other Pagan websites we can share our own traffic breakdowns as an indication of what we are seeing. Since day one we have tracked (on a daily basis) which pages our visitors request. This info has been both fascinating and a major catalyst for the design and evolvement of TWV. In October here were some of our observations.
- Witchvox.com: Our "Basics of the Craft Pages", as usual, where the busiest hit section (indicating many new seekers). Our "Pagan Holidays" pages were also very strong in October. Continuing to be busy were our Festivals reviews pages, WitchWars and Community & Teen Essays sections. In fact just about all of the thousand plus pages of this part of TWV saw some serious action. The web performance of this domain was solid as a rock and fast as a whip in October. Witchvox.com is hosted on a Unix Box at Drak.net and from what we can see was up and humming 100% of the time.
- Witchvox.net: This domain saw a near doubling of traffic in October, some of this due to our moving (and enhancing/re-writing) all of our search engines away from witchvox.com. Early October saw some technical difficulties installing a new server that choked/timed out for many users. Mercifully we did fix this quickly and are continuing to optimize the performance of the new server (Macintosh g4/400). Wren's Nest saw a substantial increase in traffic (up 42%) indicating that more folks are becoming interested in Religious news. Witchvox links didn't see quite that gain but where the surfers went was interesting. Pagan Shops and Pagan Crafts were once again the leading categories and by a 2/1 margin over all other sections (Pagan ARE shopping on the Net in a big way). The Big traffic increase was in our "Witches of the World" section, both submissions and "drill down" surfing were at an all time high. Busiest area page was the United Kingdom, followed by California, Texas and Florida. Busiest sections included local Events and local Shops.
Action Notes: This level of traffic makes us very nervous... As any ISP will tell you, you pay FOR bandwidth (gigybytes of traffic delivered). With our bandwidth nearly doubling in October to over 80 gig we must project for either a substantial decrease in traffic or an increase in sponsorship donations in the near future. If you believe in this project, do help us out if you deem TWV worthy of YOUR support.
Email Response at Witchvox: With all the traffic we experienced in October came a ridiculous amount in email. Simply stated, we just can't keep up with it. We take this opportunity to thank those of you that have helped by pointing out glitches and the odd broken links, sent in community news as well as those of you that have emailed us kind and encouraging words. WitchVox wouldn't/couldn't exist without you. That said, do know that we DO read the email, appreciate the kind words but due to the sheer volume can't respond to it all.
In Closing, it's worth noting that this update was a scramble due to our taking a few days off this past week to attend the Autumn Meet festival. We humbly thank our hosts Wade and Dianne for giving us a much needed break and that eye to eye community contact that will inspire us for months to come.
Thank YOU for supporting this site and may your new year be everything you hope for and more.
US Pagans? The most importantly you CAN do this week is to VOTE. This race is VERY close and YOUR vote will make a difference.
Have a Magickal New Year!
Webcrafter - The Witches' Voice
(November 6th., 2000)
But Change WILL Occur...
The Ancient Heritage magazine this month is featuring articles and editorials on some of the ways that people can adapt to the changes that in the natural order of the Universe shall come whether we are ready for them or not. In one article entitled, Prejudice , Luminouslight writes:
"Most people still believe all the myths and lies created for so many years and centuries. They are unwilling or unable to view new information with an open mind. I've not got the solution for you; I simply present reality without blinders. My life has been dogged with frightened people - first because I was Jewish, then because I was a recovering alcoholic (you would think people would celebrate to have another alcoholic off the roads!), and then because my spiritual path evolved into a journey that does not fit into the contemporary belief systems. It's been 55 years and I wish I could say things are better. However, I look at the school shootings, at the militia mentality, at the attitudes of religious extremists, at the "don't see, don't talk" view from politicians, at the reservations so lacking in decent housing, food, or education, at the tortures of wars across the world that go beyond any humane dealings of war; and so on endlessly. This fear of what is not known or common in our daily lives also is evident in the horrid misconceptions about all pagan beliefs."
"So this article is not meant to give you solutions but to, I hope, begin your process of looking into yourselves to see what each and every one of you can do to begin building bridges between people and nations rather than destroying; rather than harming the children and their children from ignorance and fear."
The Planet Project is inviting people to participate in a global questionnaire and "to answer a series of questions about what it's like to be a human being at the beginning of the millennium." After you answer the questions on many topics, you will be able to immediately compare your answers with all of those received to that date. After you read the Planet project's privacy statement, if you wish take part, you may register for this event which begins November 15 and runs through the 18th.
And you can help to change the lives of Pagans in prisons right now. Whatever their offenses, Pagans in prisons should have access to the materials and clergy that represent their spiritual beliefs. Much red tape as well as legitimate safety concerns makes this extremely difficult to accomplish. A Prison Ministry program has to be one of the most challenging and difficult services that one could undertake. It is not for everyone and those who have answered the call to this type of service deserve our support.
Patti Treat, the Program Director at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville, Ky., writes: "Part of my responsibility is to oversee the religious programs at the Kentucky State Penitentiary and to make certain that the religious needs of our inmate population are met. This is sometimes very difficult due to the fact that our religious department and library is operated primarily by donations of various outside religious groups.
I am writing you in the hope that you would be able to assist me in obtaining Wiccan books and study materials or other outside assistance for our Wiccan population. You may contact me by email at Patti.Treat@mail.state.ky.us or by phone at (270) 388-2211 Ext. 273. Or my Mailing Address is: Kentucky State Penitentiary Attention: Patti Treat, Program Director, P.O. Box 5128 266 Water Street, Eddyville, Kentucky 42038-5128.
We currently have a small group of inmates that are practicing the Wiccan religion individually. This is partially due to the fact that they are in separate populations. We have approximately 10 inmates in our Protective Custody Unit that are practicing the Asatru religion and approximately 5-10 more inmates in our General Population practicing the Asatru religion."
Note: Wren has spoken with Patti Treat by phone and can verify this as a legitimate request. The Witches Voice last month donated several basic Wiccan books to the Kentucky State Penitentiary as well as two copies of the "Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca" for the staff. If you are interested in perhaps beginning or volunteering for a prison Pagan outreach program, Darla Wynne of W.A.R.D., needs volunteers in North and South Carolina and may also be able to provide useful information on how to set up a similar program for your area.
Everything changes. It is the way of the Universe. Some changes are gradual and subtle; some can be sudden and unnerving. The Universe will manifest its natural function of change to remove old forms that are no longer viable to make room for the new life that is better-suited to carry on the work of the future. There are many ways to change the Universe. The formation of a new star is one of them.
The birth of a new religion is another.
In Your Service,
Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2000 - November, 6th.
Location: Clearwater¼, Florida
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