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Weekly Update: 11/27/2000

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: November 27th. 2000
Times Viewed: 4,754

Over The Rivers and Through The Woods...

Greetings everyone!

Walking through the woods for us is always both a treat and a lesson plan. As Pagans, we are aware of the changes, great and small, which continually reveal the many mysteries within the Web of Life. Wren recalls the many times that she investigated the 'south forty' with her Dad. Under the summer canopy of yellow and white pines, the ground was laid with a plush carpet of needles so thick that even walking side by side, two such travelers made no sound. In the winter months, snowshoe tracks paved the familiar paths now discernable only by an instinct born of familiarity and guided by the occasional twisted tree branch or rock outcropping jutting out from the white and frosty topping of snow. In every season, the lessons are there just waiting for us to discern them.

Northern Hemisphere Pagans are preparing for Yule or the Winter Solstice. Walking through the trees in the crisp and increasingly cold air, Pagans know just why our ancestors didn't write down many spiritual concepts. It is not on the printed page, but in the images of gnarled bare tree limb shapes and the sharp shadows cast by the huddling winter sunlight, that the messages are read. Red partridge berries and evergreen holly branches decorate the white package wrapping over the dormant land. Beneath the many layers of freezing wet-tissue snow lies the gift of future Life. The woods sleep deeply with only the chattering squirrels and calling chick-a-dees to tell us that all is still well with the world. Spring will return and warmth will awaken the sleepers. But for now, it is for us to dream long nights away and gaze sleepily while the woods in the fireplace speak to us in their crackling and sputtering voices of the days gone by.

Wren's dad knew about leaving things behind. When he passed from this realm almost ten years ago, he left behind the things that he treasured the most for his daughter. It was not the antique furniture nor the seemingly irresistible urge to fill up every window in the old farmhouse with the multi-colored wavy-glass bottles that he and she dug up from the forgotten homesteads that once dotted the New England countryside that are his legacy. Bill left behind the wisdom of a lifetime spent observing nature. As a pantheist, he saw within the cycles of the wood, a give and take as natural as the changing seasons that guided him. "Leave some to go to seed for next year," he would chant as fiddlehead fern tips were gathered up for spring salads. "Leave some for the birds." Bill would remind the children crawling up twisted vine wrapped tree trunks for the concord grapes which would stain fingers purple today and become jam for YuleTide giving later.

In the coming commercial frenzy known as the "Yule/Christmas shopping season", we hear Bill's voice still. Don't take it all. Leave something behind for the birds, for the animals, for the children of tomorrow. Whatever gifts you may give this Yule, whatever gifts you may receive this Yule, may they be the kind that not only last, but which also leave something of value behind for the future world yet unborn.

Photo credit: This image was sent in by Meredith (Email: mbailin@dvc.com) "These are photos I took for a photography class project in college. I had termed the project "The Alchemist's Lab" At any rate, I thought you might be interested in them".. Thank YOU Meredith for lending us some of your magick. -- TWV Staff




The Next Holiday of the Witch... YULE!
(On or about December 22)
Yule is the time of greatest darkness and the longest night of the year. The Winter Solstice had been associated with the birth of a "Divine King" long before the rise of Christianity. Since the Sun is considered to represent the Male Divinity in many Pagan Traditions, this time is celebrated as the "return of the Sun God" when He is reborn of the Goddess.
This week we ripped up our Yule pages and gave them their own "sub-chapter" in the holidays section. We also feature some thoughts we received in email from a Teenage Pagan who lives in Dublin, Ireland. His message was both positive and inspirational. Check out The Times They Are a Changing... To celebrate Yule '99, we again offer you a wonderful piece by Peg Aloi entitled You call it Christmas, We call it Yule Also check out Yule Essays 1997-1999.



Double Minorities: What Are We Up Against?
(new piece in our Gay Pagan section)

"Recently, someone was killed remarkably near me. I had been in New Mexico for a short stay and when I returned I heard that just a few miles from my house, J.R. Warren was killed. Based on what little we've been told, many have concluded that he was murdered for being black, and/or for being gay".

"This murder didn't get the kind of attention that Matthew Shepard's murder did. J.R. was killed on July 3, 2000 in Grant Town, WV He had allegedly been beaten and kicked by two 17-year old boys, who also ran over him several times until he died. One news report mentioned that several of his fingers had been severed. A 16-year-old boy said he witnessed the crime and helped clean up". Full Article




And Into The Pagan Shops, We Go...

As Wren was skimming through one of her favorite books, "The Triumph of the Moon" by Prof. Ronald Hutton last night, we were considering the sort of gifts that we might give out to our Pagan friends and family. Any of Ron Hutton's books, including "The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles" and "The Stations of the Sun", are good choices for book lovers. Readers of all kinds might enjoy a gift subscription to one of the many excellent Pagan zines available, such as Green Egg, The Seeker Journal, PagaNet News, PanGaia or Raven's Call. There are many other Pagan zines listed in the TWV networking section.

One of our favorite browsing catalogs, AzureGreen, is now online and you can download a copy of their catalog using Adobe Reader. One of the most respected distributors of magickal items is White Light Pentacles in Salem, Mass. and our friends at Salem Tarot offer a nice selection of tarot cards, books and information. Check out the Witches' Voice listings of Pagan Shops In YOUR State and the online shops, craft items and musical offerings from Pagan songwriters (CD's fit into Yule stockings quite nicely!) listed from this index.

Photo credit: This image was sent over by our good friend John Hooper (WebSite: doreenvaliente.com) Photo shows Professor Ronald Hutton (left), head of historical studies at Bristol University, UK. (Prof Ronald Hutton is a respected broadcaster & author) with, John Belham-Payne (right) of The Centre for Pagan Studies UK, viewing Gerald Gardner's Book of shadows (L) & Doreen Valiente's book of shadows (R) at the launch of "Charge of the Goddess" 21/22nd Nov 2000 at The Green Man Gallery, Eastbourne, UK. The event was attended by the media & many members of the Pagan community. It was a unique occasion & a joyful time was had by all present.

Witches of the World - Clean up/Wrap up
2,827 listings Removed this week


Greetings Everyone,

This past week we finished up our hand counts of ALL 37,226 of the contact listings in our Witches' of the World pages. The goal was a simple one, we wanted every listing to include an email address that was REAL. Of the over 37,000 listings, close to three thousand have been removed either by us (undeliverable email addys) or by the listers themselves, mostly due to the fact that the listing was no longer valid. The week before last we did a global verify on 28,000 people contacts and cleaned that up. This past week we audited our Coven/Groups, Events and Pagan links listings. Details are as follows...
  • Circles & Events: This past week we sent out emails to hundreds of "ongoing events" listed on our local pages. Surprisingly there were only a few dozen that were no longer happening and they were quickly removed. We also redesigned the events area pages to better separate; dated, ongoing and workshops/classes.

  • Covens & Groups: This popular section was also deeply cleaned, deduped and verified. Of the 2,000 listings, 300 have been cut from the herd due to either bad contact info or because they are no longer happening.

  • Witchvox Pagan Links: This past week we verified (via email this time) over 5,000 pagan links. Close to 800 have been removed due to "undeliverable email addresses" and another 30 or so because they were related to groups that no longer exist. This week we expanded the search capabilities of this critical section to include deeper searches based on all key words in the listings profile. Check out this powerful option at Witchvox Pagan Sites Search List YOUR Pagan Web site by clicking here
What IF we removed your listing by mistake?
Neither machine or hand counts are perfect so... If you believe that your email address WAS correct and you are no longer listed kindly surf over to our submission forms and re-list yourself, group, site or event. IF you are a WitchVox sponsor simply email us and we will update or reinstate your listing. NOTE: Due to the sheer number of listings here at Witchvox we can only do manual/hand editing for our Sponsors.

All in all, close to 3,000 listings at the Witches' Voice have been removed. Every time we do this we take the opportunity to better refine the process and write new algorhythms. WOTW IS a labor of love and no stock cgi's are used in the processing. All routines are self-written and "home grown". With "database" programming and "middle-processing" control we can do essentially anything we can dream of. It is our projection that we will get the time to better evolve WOTW in the weeks to come.

We take this opportunity to thank the thousands of you that ARE holding events, forming groups, gathering with others and promoting awareness via your websites. YOU have defined the Neopagan community and you are making a incredible difference. The WitchVox staff will continue to work hard to push the focus back, from cyberspace, to your city or town. To us this is where the magick really happens, eye to eye, face to face.

In closing, allow me to thank the hundreds of you that DID use this prompt to UPDATE your listing(s).

Blessed Be Well,


Fritz Jung (WebCrafter - Witchvox)
November 27th., 2000

To modify or add your Coven, Group or Event click HERE



Decking The Halls...

Some of the things that we can pass on to future generations are the Pagan traditions associated with Yule. Anyone who has experienced Yule decorating with children will probably testify that the little ones know exactly where each decoration should go and woe to the parent who attempts to initiate any new decorating schemes at YuleTide! ("The stockings always go HERE, Momma, not over there!") "Five thousand years of human history--maybe more--have enfolded this season in rich garb--many layers of celebration, folklore and tradition," say the folks at Candlegrove as they put out their feature articles on Yule, Solstice, Sacaea-Saturnalia and offer a daily countdown to the Solstice. In Traditional Christmas and Yule Celebrations in England, Arnora states: "The date of December 25 as the date of Christmas was the result of an arbitrary decision made by Pope Julius I in the first half of the 4th century AD. At that time, the date already covered the festivals of Attis, Mithras, and the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun, all of which are festivals brought to the British Isles by Roman soldiers and auxiliaries. In the cold northern climes, where there was little else to do in the cold months but contrive nifty excuses for a celebration, the Yule season lasted from November till January." Sounds good to us, too! And The Witches Web offers a table of December/Yule correspondences as well as a monthly calendar of important December dates for your planning pleasures.

More Yule traditions can be found at Winter Solstice by Selena Fox and Circle Sanctuary, Mike Nichols'-Yule , YuleTide Blessing by StoneCreed Grove (ADF) and our own Peg Aloi's, You Call It Christmas, we Call It Yule. The Witches' Voice has set up a main page of Yule articles, essays and events to help keep you organized (gulp!) in this busy season.

There is nothing that warms the nose like the smell of something special baking in the oven. Baking With The Wheel of the Year caught our attention as did Akasha's Yule Recipes. This past weekend, we attended a feast hosted by our best friends, The WaterHawks. The theme was 'Dishes From Your Ancestor's Kitchen" and we all cooked up something from our Ancestral native lands. Our sweet friend Rene' Michaels found this site- The Searchable Online Archive of Recipes and we are all forever in her debt for it. Searchable by category or by regional preference, this site is bound to yield some interesting goodies for YOUR next Ancestral celebration!

Pagan Perspectives
WitchVox Question of the Week!

Last week you shared with our readers what you were thankful for. Many of the responses were heartfelt and moving. It is always helpful to both our peace of mind and our spiritual development to stop once in a while and count our blessings...

What is the best gift that you ever received? Shopping during YuleTide can make you crazy and there are some great gifts out there without a doubt. But not all of our most treasured gifts were found in a store. What gift came at just the right time for you? Which one-physical, spiritual or a special memory-do you treasure the most? What special gift are you hoping to give to someone this year?

Click to Post Your Favorite Gift or to view the Responses



In Closing...

Traditions are more than words printed on a page. Traditions are the living memories of the past. Sharing a tradition means to not only share the memory, but to do so in a way that empowers others to also share in the experience which shaped it. That is what makes it real. That is what makes the tradition worthy of passing on. That is the gift that will last forever. That is what we, as Pagans, can leave behind for the world to come.

In Your Service,

Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2000 - November, 27th.






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