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Weekly Update: 12/11/2000

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: December 11th. 2000
Times Viewed: 5,372

Unlocking The Door...

G reetings everyone!

The scent of spiced apples is there waiting for us as we enter the hallway. Plopping the packages down on the steps, Wren pauses for a moment to delicately sniff the air. (Okay, Wren is really standing there desperately gasping for breath in a decidedly indelicate fashion. Living on the third floor sometimes has its drawbacks. Hauling the groceries up multiple staircases is one of them.) It is a scientifically researched conclusion that certain scents can spontaneously prompt the brain to recall events or feelings from the past. Spiced apples, heavy with cinnamon, are very old-fashioned and hardly anyone makes them anymore. Even fewer people can make them using the rosy apples plucked from their own trees. But while it may be true that many Pagans no longer actually live in country settings, we can still be quite creative when it comes to bringing the outside in and keeping the past ways alive.

The art and practice of Hospitality is another old-fashioned idea. Although it is one which we would hope has never completely gone out of fashion, many of the practices and values that once promoted the concept of 'giving' have been replaced with those which emphasize 'getting'. "Hospitality" in the older Pagan sense, is a more equal exchange-a balance- of both giving and getting. In the days when people traveled much, but in which there were no widespread Holiday Inns to guarantee a good and safe night's repose or a hearty meal, the folks who hit the road depended upon 'the kindness of strangers'. Obviously, to invite (and in some cases be REQUIRED to invite via local/feudal customs/law) strangers into the heart of what most people would consider their most private safe haven presupposes that everyone at that time knew, understood and agreed to abide by some guidelines. In exchange for a place to stay or a meal, the traveler agreed not to steal anything from the house nor harm its inhabitants.

In some locales, a special honorarium was offered to the Gods of that household-even if these Gods were not the traveler's own. The idea behind this practice was to honor the Gods of that domain Who had blessed and provided for that household in ways that allowed the traveler to eventually enjoy those same bounties. It was considered extremely bad form to abuse the hospitality of a household while under its roof-and thus offend the householder's Gods in the process-by entering into quarrels, insulting the food or lodgings being offered or by bringing weapons into the home. We can only think that if more people adopted the old Pagan values of hospitality, we all might become a little more open-minded and tolerant about other people's belief systems. (There are plenty of chatroom and message board affectionados who surely could use a lesson on the responsibilities that come with accepting the hospitality offered by the board hosts and hostesses!)

Opening The Door...
According to YuleLore , "Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun, the boughs were symbolic of immortality, the wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly, mistletoe, and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes. It was to extend invitation to Nature Sprites to come and join the celebration. A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to pay visit to the residents." Today's decorations designed for the entryway are really remnants of protection magick. What hung over, on or under the threshold was meant to send a message of either 'Come in!" or "Keep out!" to both human and otherworldly travelers alike. How many non-Pagans today put out a big 'welcome mat' in front of their door and then wonder why door-to-door solicitors are constantly bothering them? Pagans, on the other hand, 'qualify' both the welcomed visitors and those who are being asked to stay away by carefully charging the items that they place in the entry points of their homes. So, whether you buy these 'decorations' or make them yourself, make your intentions clear - as you would in any magickal practice- and you should have no further problems with those annoying and pesky critters of any variety!

One of the most widespread decorations for the door is, of course, the wreath . One of the ways to find out who your friends REALLY are is to allow them into your bathroom during your wreath-making season. If they can come out again without shuddering at the site of a bathtub filled with murky brown water and strange sinewy humps- which seemingly point to your hereunto unknown hobby of harboring mysterious snake-like creatures in your powder rooms- then do consider keeping these people in your life forever! Soaking grapevines is sometimes a necessity if you can't get those wreaths made during the 'season of pliant vines'. Honeysuckle makes a nice round as well, but you should always check out any potential wild-harvest vines during their leafy season first. Poison ivy vine wreaths can send a clear-and quite visible- message, too, but one that we do not personally endorse. Talk about your instant karma!

New Pagan Music Section Released!
Mp3's, Images & Free Treats


Greetings Everyone,

This past week we finished up a rewrite of our Pagan Music section. Formerly located at witchvox.com, this new version of our celebration of the Pagan Musician is much more dynamic and poised for more timely future growth.

Since the day we launched Witchvox (early '97) we have celebrated every Pagan musician that we have been aware of. Neo-Pagan musicians go way back to the 60's and have entertained us all with their muse and their magick for over 40 years. Stylistically, Pagan music is a tapestry of diversity and runs the gauntlet from ambient instrumental music to hard core Pagan metal. The rule is... there ARE NO RULES that dictate what Pagan music sounds like. If it's from the spirit and speaks from a Pagan voice, it IS Pagan music!

This new section at TWV features links to close to 200 sites related to the music of the NeoPagan. We also feature timely press releases and dozens of sites that support, record and market the Pagan musician.

Some changes include...

An Mp3 Link celebration: Over the past year many musicians have adopted the mp3 audio compression format to deliver a sampling of their work. With high speed access via cable and dsl lines becoming more or a reality, the next big changes of the internet and on their way. The Pagan musician can effectively deliver "respectable quality" audio to the masses. Mp3 players and plug-ins can be found all over the net.

Artist's Images: A picture is worth (at least) a thousand words has been a philosophy here at TWV since day one. This week are proud to add faces to many of the musicians in our listings. Look for more in the near future.

Music Search: We've added intelligent search capabilities in the release that point to only the music listings. Your choice of searching by artist name or keywords from the artist's profile.

A Thank You Gift from WitchVox...

In a effort to give back to a community that has been both a blessing to work with and to serve I have decided to give away my 1996 CD release "Celtic Feast of the Dead" (CFOTD) as a kick off to things around the corner.

Beginning this week I will release one track per month for one cycle of the wheel. This will be in the form of mp3 files for your listening pleasure. It will be FREE and with no hidden advertising or strings attached. I may also sneak in a few bonus tracks of some obscure cover tunes as well as feature the tracks of some of my Pagan friends. At this point I am not quite sure what tracks or when, I want this to be fun and loose.

For more details and a link to the first tune... Click HERE


Pagan Music at TWV: The Future. Look for some "Bardic Style" mp3s features from many of your favorite Pagan artists in the weeks to come. Also look for some tips on mp3 conversion and where to host your mp3s for cheap from Darragh.

Speaking of Pagan Musicians! As we went to "post" we had just heard.... Allow us to congratulate Emerald Rose for landing the number one position on the "Spiritual Pop Charts" over at Mp3.com. TWV surfers can also give theirselves a hand for being a major catalyst in this wonderful news. - Good work Lads!

In closing, allow us to note that the past several weeks have rendered record submissions on our networking pages! So, if YOU are looking for a Yule Event (48 listed as of today), a Group to work with (over 1, 800) or simply want to network with Pagans in your area (28,000 plus)... visit Witches of the World ... If you simply want to surf the Pagan web, check out the VoxLinks: Pagan Search Engine for over 4,000 updated listings. This is all keyed from your Area Page. Celebrate the Pagan Path in YOUR Town.
Have a Great Week Everyone!


Fritz Jung (WebCrafter - Witchvox)
December 11th., 2000


Opening The Door Even Wider...

This year, Hearthstone Circle of San Jose, California decided it was time to give back to the community by adopting a family for the holidays. Molly writes, "Already this has brought us such joy that we are making plans to continue this on a seasonal basis. We are working through a wonderful organization called FESCO (Family Emergency Shelter Coalition) which is a nonprofit organization comprised of over 30 churches and community members in the Hayward, Castro Valley, San Lorenzo and San Leandro, California area. They reach out to serve homeless families with food, shelter, clothing, counseling and links to community resources." If you would like more information on how you can make a difference through FESCO, click here to go to their website.

While you're out shopping for all of your Magickal Needs (and maybe humming, "We Three Crones" from Willow Firesong's Pagan Yule Carol Collection ), consider picking up an extra can of food, bottle of shampoo, box of diapers or bag of cat litter to donate to the charity of your choice. The winter months are difficult for many families (and animals) struggling to keep the Solstice spirit alive in their hearts- and in the hearts of their children- while trying to simply make ends meet. Sharing from the blessings that our Gods and Ancestors have bestowed upon us honors Them, expands our own gratitude for what we have received and reminds us all that the "longest night' does not last forever. The Sun shall return!

Next Week at WitchVox...  A Hot New roll out of... Pagan ONLINE Shops & Pagan Crafters.


The Return of the Sun was viewed by many people via the Charles Tait Photographic site last year. "The Neolithic chambered cairn of Maeshowe (or Orkahowe as the Vikings called it) has several winter solstice alignments. Apart from the obvious shortest day sun shining down the passage, the sun in fact shines down the passage and illuminates the back wall for several weeks on either side of the solstice, weather permitting. Recent studies by myself (Charles Tait) and Vidtor Reijs have shown that Maeshowe may in fact be much more than a winter solstice site.

"At the Winter Solstice the setting sun illuminates the north west side of the entry passage of the cairn. About twenty minutes before apparent sunset, the light hits the back wall, first as a narrow beam, which gradually widens to a broad band of light, before being extinguished."

At Newgrange, a similar event occurs . "One of the most interesting features of the mound, particularly in view of the fact that it is a feature unique to Newgrange, is the roof-box above the entrance to the passageway. It consists of two low side-walls, a back corbel and a roofstone; and it is through this gap that the dawn sun beams on the winter solstice. Its purpose is unknown, but some have speculated that the builders: must have held the sun in such high regard that they gave it a separate entrance."

Pagan Perspectives
WitchVox Question of the Week!

Last week, our readers really dived into the topic, Does Older Equal Better? . We were really impressed by the many well-articulated and thoughtful responses. 'Respect' seems to be what each side of the issue kept coming back to. How that request for mutual respect may play out in the years to come will shape our future. ( Responses )

This week...

More Gift, Craft and Holiday Celebration Ideas! Over the last few weeks, TWV has tried to offer a balanced assortment of gift, craft and Yule/Solstice planning/celebration ideas. Gifts can be homegrown and homemade and some other ideas may send you off to "shop 'til you drop". We would now like to hear about YOUR gift giving ideas. Are you making some gifts or craft items this year? Would you like to share your favorite 'bargain spots on the web" secrets with us? Do you have any good projects for Pagan children or ideas for coven/group/family special 'traditions' that can help to make the Holidays especially meaningful or spiritual? C'mon! Give!

Click to Post YOUR Opinion or to view the Responses



Solstice Cinema:
or, What to Watch on Chilly Nights of Winter
by Peg Aloi

Of course, we witches know that winter is the season of turning inward; reflection, thinking, quiet creation, keeping busy with works both mundane and magical. As much as we may enjoy crunching through the snow, walking in the brisk glittering air, gazing upon fiery stars in the deep blue winter sky through the haze of our own breath...let's face it. It also feels pretty darn good to be INSIDE on cold, dark days, maybe near the fire if we are lucky enough to have one (I am; in Fritz and Wren's old apartment in Medford, MA, where we have winter the old-fashioned way: it's COLD!), or in the kitchen with the oven turned on to bake cookies or heat some cider. We invite friends over for the sharing, caring holiday spirit, but also because the very act of journeying out into cruel weather (such as we have in the Northeast) is itself an act of friendship that we want to reassure ourselves with.

Once the hustle and bustle of the holidays are over, and we realize the solstice has merely marked the BEGINNING of winter, we sigh and realize we need to entertain ourselves on those wintry days and nights. Maybe we have a few days off from school or work; maybe we are spending more nights at home out of an automatic impulse to stay close to the hearth. In any case, one thing many of us find ourselves doing is watching more TV and renting more movies. There are those holiday favorites many of us have had for years: "It's a Wonderful Life, " "Miracle on 34th Street", "Toy Story, " "Edward Scissorhands, " even "The Nightmare before Christmas."... ( Full Story )

Pagans Speak Out!

  Pagan Adult Essays for December 2000  




For a the January 2001 Teen and Adult Topics, see details at the bottom of this page


NOTE: We are looking for suggestions for next years Essay topics... If YOU have some ideas mail them to Diotima

Wren and Fritz can't thank the beautiful Dio enough for the help that she has delivered to us. She has been a gift from the Goddess and we are honored to work with her. Bless YOU Dio.


WitchCraft
Basics
Witch, Wiccan and Pagan F.A.Q.'s NOW In French
Frequently Asked Questions about Witchcraft... Our FAQ page has been the number two hit page on this site since the day we went "on the air". It has become a powerful educational tool and was updated by Wren earlier this year. "The WitchVox FAQ's are offered to new seekers and the general public in an effort to dispel many of the myths of the Craft of the Wise. Witchcraft IS a legally recognized religion and has been since 1985. The ways of the Witch are defined in even more detail in various other pages on this Web site." We now present this document in English - Spanish - Italian - Finnish - Latvian - German - Turkish - Dutch - Swedish - Portuguese - Polish - French

In Closing...

The Winter Solstice dawns with a promise. Throughout our lives, there are times of joy and laughter and there are also times of sadness and pain. When the emotional darkness casts its gloom upon us, we can look to the ancient sites where each season for thousands of years our Pagan Ancestors stood at the stone doorways and awaited the sign that the Sun had been reborn. And if after thousands of years, modern Pagans can still stand in those same ancient spots and still be witness to the very same wonder of perpetual Solar certainty, then we can still draw the same hope: The Sun is Reborn! The Light has Returned!

In Your Service,

 

Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2000 - December, 11th.






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