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Weekly Update: 12/18/2000

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: December 18th. 2000
Times Viewed: 5,597

Gather 'Round The Fire...
G reetings everyone!

In the next few weeks, people of many different religious backgrounds will be traveling, visiting and getting together with family and friends. Some see their favorite people on a regular basis, some only can get together once or twice a year and some may only be able to travel the miles between less often than they would prefer. But wherever people find themselves during the Holiday season, it is quite possible that they will take some time to remember Holidays past, recall scenes from their childhood or relive treasured memories. Nostalgia is as much a part of the Holiday season as candy canes, Yule stockings and that perpetually reincarnating oddity, the fruit cake.

For every person who opens a box of ornaments with excited anticipation- and lovingly fingers an old family glass orb or paper snowflake made by a child- there are those who would echo Mr. Scrooge's 'bah-humbug' and wish the entire affair was over and done with. Certainly those February credit card bills may give some folks cause to reflect if it was all indeed worth it and the holiday blues are as predictable for certain people as the annual rerun of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer'. (And just what ARE 'reindeer games' anyway?)

However we may feel about the various customs, Holidays are traditionally about gathering together with family/friends and so-love 'em or hate 'em- why not make the best of the situation?

Photo credit: The picture to your upper right was is of Maya Heath and was taken at the Autumn Meet Festival in the fall of 1999.

And Tell The Tales of Olde...
One of the best presents that we can give, share- and even keep a portion for ourselves at the same time- is the gift of family and ancestral history. Often in these modern and hurried times, a video camera is the only resident historian. Panning around the room, as paper and ribbons fly off secret packages and Uncle Bob (A little tipsy even this early in the day) sings "Goddess Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" at the top of his lungs, the cold glass eye will pick up on the deepening laugh lines around Grandma's mouth, but cannot ascertain just what events put them there in the first place. For that we need Grandma, we need Grandpa, and we need their parents and their parent's parents: we need our personal family history to be told. And told not in the listings of names and dates (which is all that many of us today know about the people from whom we share more than DNA strands), but told in the human voices of stories, tales and recollections. To make our human story real, we must once again bring those ancestral voices within our circles and listen to their lives as told by their children and their children's children.

All folktales (literally tales of the folk) begin locally. As Linda Richter Neves writes in All About Folktales, "People told folktales long before there were books, newspapers or televisions. Folktales were a way to bring news from one village to the next. Parents used folktales to teach lessons to their children.

These stories helped people learn and understand the customs of their village. Folktales also explained the wonders of nature, like thunderstorms and the phases of the moon.

Folktales tell a lot about the peoples who invent them. For instance, the early American settlers believed in hard work. A lot of their stories are about rugged individuals like Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed, who were strong and brave and accomplished a great deal. Many cultures have one clever character who is always getting into trouble. Native American Indians have Trickster, Cape Verdians have Los Nobos the wolf, and Africans have Anansi the spider.

Folktales are told over and over and they change with each retelling. Each storyteller breathes a different life into a story. The storyteller is always making choices; where to begin, where to end, where to add a dash of humor or a sprinkling of suspense. It's like a big story stew!"

Looking at some General Folklore and Mythology, we can see just how powerful and lasting these once very localized tales can be. While no one can guarantee that your family's personal tales will one day be viewed as a classic of mythic proportions, that same humble local origin is from where most of these now well known stories and fable so originated. Many teens find history a boring subject in school, yet who could find tales of their own ancestors to be anything but engaging? (You just know that there is a family scoundrel in there somewhere!) Younger children still like stories like Snow White (who incidentally has a wonderful page of links to bite into) and a good storyteller can make family history into a storybook-like tale suitable for their young age. (AKA: A Wren Story - My First Initiation)

Pagan Merchants -- A Celebration
Online Shops, Pagan Crafters & Wholesales


Greetings Everyone,

As promised, this past week we put much time and energy into a pull-out and enhancement of our listings of Pagan Merchants. Formerly lost in our vast VoxLinks: Pagan Search Engine, this new section is much more dynamic and poised for more timely future growth.

We kick off this new section at TWV with links to close to 400 Pagan Online Shops and 150 sites that celebrate crafts made by the Neo-Pagan community.

Earlier this year Pagan Shop listings became the hardest hit category in our VoxLinks: Pagan Search Engine section and continues to dominate to this day. With the advent of "easy to build" net store CGIs, it seems that this growth will continue dramatically over the next couple of years. What is even more interesting is the substantial increase in community interest FOR these online shops... Sure, the community itself continues to grow and bring in new customers, but our recent analysis indicates that a larger PERCENTAGE of the community is interested in Pagan online shops. This is VERY encouraging news for Pagan online retailers.

New in v5.1: With this new "rev" of Pagan Merchants we offer many enhancements and additions, the most powerful being focused search, either by site name or by keywords from their detailed profile... We even designed the results page to enhance and pullout the keywords you are searching for. So, it you are looking for Cloaks, Athames etc, simply type them in to the keyword search box on the left panel of all pages in this new section. ALSO featured are Pagan Merchants that have chosen to support/sponsor TWV. In a way to say thanks, we have them featured on the intro page to this section.

Visit Pagan Merchants at the Witches' Voice for your Pagan/Craft Shopping needs.

A Thank You Gift from WitchVox...

LAST WEEK... In a effort to give back to a community that has been both a blessing to work with and to serve we decided to give away my 1996 CD release "Celtic Feast of the Dead" (CFOTD) as a kick off to things around the corner in our new Pagan Musician section.

Feedback for "Starwood" was wonderful and I use this space to thank all of you that sent over you thoughts. It is the first of many different tunes that I am honored to offer to my brothers and sisters of the Craft. Due to some confusion some of you emailed us asking where this tune was... For a Direct path to this "Treat" visit the Starwood story page. For more details about the give away... Click HERE

Coming in 2001: Our new... Pagan "Bardic Style" Song stories structure is coming together in the background here at TWV. We have set up a submission form for Pagan Musicians to submit one of their tunes and a heartfelt story on how and why they created it. If you are a Pagan Musician, have an mp3 file and would like to tell YOUR STORY email us for more information.

WitchVox Sponsors: We can never thank them enough, their support is critical to keeping us alive. This past week we flagged our sponsors in not only the new Pagan Merchants section, but also flagged them in our Covens and Groups pages as well.

In closing, allow me to note we continue to receive record submissions on our networking pages! Lots of additions and modifications. 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 Safe and Magickal Yule Everyone!


Fritz Jung (WebCrafter - Witchvox)
December 18th., 2000

Photo credits: The picture to your upper right taken last year at the Florida Pagan Gathering and is of Kim and Eric of the 'Otter and Trout Trading Company'. Kim and Eric can be contacted via email ottertrout@yahoo.com (email them and tell them how 'cool' they look)


Myths, legends and folklore
There has been in recent years an explosion of interest in genealogy. There are some very nice 'family tree' type albums on the market today, which might make a nice gift. These can be adapted for covens and Tradition (traditions) as well. Since lineage is important in some Traditions, an album such as this, complete with photos and perhaps a congratulatory note from Tradition Elders, would make a wonderful advanced degree initiation presentation. Myths, legends and folklore are often defining statements about the cultures that they represent. As the Pagan communities continue to grow and expand, it is only natural that a 'folklore of modern Paganism' will emerge. As Gordon Spice, Ph.D. of the University of Penn. writes in "Myths" and "Stories" as Aids in Cultural Understanding for the Pennsylvania Counseling Association:

"Viewed in this way, every culture has a "story" to tell. This story is composed of the rich fabric of myth and folklore which has nurtured countless generations of individuals within the culture -- and which continues to nourish them -- either directly or in more subtle ways. This mythological fabric continues to exercise its influence in the manner in which people view themselves and others, and in the way in which they view the world and their role in it.

A culture's mythological fabric has many dimensions -- like a coat of many colors. When we read examples from the mythology and folklore of a given culture, we can gain an appreciation of the uniqueness -- and also the universality -- of the dynamics of the culture. Such an appreciation probably can be gained in no other way! Another way of saying this is that the mythology and folklore of different peoples can provide us with a greater appreciation not only of how we are different from other peoples of the world, but also of how we are like them."

NOTE: The Witches' Voice is currently looking for practitioners of the various Pagan traditions (traditions) to write articles outlining the basic beliefs, traditional celebrations, structural system and non-oathbound practices of their Tradition. You can contact Diotima for more information and guidelines.

Whether or not the Pagan communities and Traditions (traditions) actually have "countless generations' which practiced the same rites, rituals and beliefs as we do today is not the point. The important idea to consider here is that the last two or three Pagan generations can certainly provide us with enough background material with which to make a good start of it. Further research into archaeology and historical documents will most probably continue to fill in some the gaps of the past, but it is up to US to begin to document and pass on what is happening right here and now in our modern Pagan families and communities. Don't we all wish that some faraway Pagan ancestors HAD actually left us with a family 'book of shadows'? Wouldn't having a nice set of documents, diaries, logbooks and magickal items from past Pagan generations be considered a family treasure? Well, that is something that we will actually be able to do for our future generations! Think about how many such things might have meant to you and then consider doing something along those lines for your children, grandchildren and spiritual lineage offspring. 'Family Scribe' is indeed both a worthy and an honorable title.

Next Week at WitchVox...  A Hot New roll out of... Bardic Circle Stories from Our Own.


Positive Experiences Wanted for New Book!
(a request from Myrddann)
"I need your stories! I have acquired rights to write a book through a publisher in regards to spiritually uplifting, humorous anecdotes and experiences in Pagan lifestyles. This book will be similar to "Chicken Soup for the Soul", but is exclusively for Pagans. This book is currently in the works and I have already received stories to include within, but I could definitely use more!

This book will not contain rituals or spells, but will contain positive experiences from both. Your help is greatly appreciated and will make this book a sure seller! You may submit your stories to myrddann@earthlink.net with BOOK STORIES in the subject line. Please add with your stories whether or not you wish to have your real name or public magickal name published with your story. Please use plain text for your story submissions. For more details on this book, go to http://www.paganculture.com/book/book.htm Thanks one and all, and have a merry Yule"!

Web Note 12/18
Last week we introduced the Witchvox FAQ in French... In a bizzare twist of fate, we actually received this community gift from TWO different spirits. Thank YOU GeneviŹve (Canada) for your mercy towards this "often confused" Witch and thank YOU Bruno Voisin (France) for your wonderful efforts. Look for both versions later this week.

Pagan Perspectives
WitchVox Question of the Week!

Last week, our readers offered their suggestions for More Gift, Craft and Holiday Celebration Ideas! Along with some great innovative ideas, we got a few neat recipes, too! -- view the Responses.

This week we are asking TWO questions

1. Okay, the United States has a new President-Elect. And that's all that we here at TWV are gonna say about that! What do YOU think about our latest entry into the Presidential Political Pool? -- Post YOUR Opinion or view the Responses of others

2. What have YOU done to trace your family history? Find any skeletons in the old family closet? What soer of family stories are you documenting for your children? Is your coven Tradition (tradition) continuing to compile the history of your belief system? Do you think that we living in an historical moment in Pagan history? Are there steps that we should take today in order to preserve the history of these times for posterity? -- Post YOUR Opinion or view the Responses of others



Pagans Speak Out!
  Witchvox Essays for December 2000  


Adults...
  • Is Your Sex Life Really Pagan? Back in Queen Victoria's time, Mrs. Patrick Campbell asked "Does it really matter what these affectionate people do -so long as they don't do it in the streets and frighten the horses?" Well, to some people it certainly does. Here's a far-ranging collection of Pagan ideas on sex and religion from a variety of sexual viewpoints, including one from (gasp!) a celibate. Check out the Is Your Sex Life Really Pagan? essays...

    WebCrafters Note: We had apparently misplaced one of the essays this past week (was sent to Wren instead of Dio)... a wonderful piece of work by Lady Holde Amber Busch... Check out her Is Your Sex Life Really Pagan? essay.

  • Can you be Christian and Pagan? We've got your ChristoPagans, your Pagan Christians, your GnosticPagans and just about every other flavor of Paganism and Christianity right here! Some see irreconcilable differences between the two religions, some see deep similarities, but everyone who wrote has clearly given the subject a lot of thought. Check out the essays here:. Check out the Can you be Christian and Pagan? essays


Young Pagans...
  • School and Religion: We asked about how your school treated your religion, and whether or not you felt that there was an implicit Christian bias in your school. Not surprisingly, we discovered that out-of-the-broom-closet Pagan teens generally have a tough time in school. Though there are encouraging signs, and teens are doing their best to educate their peers and teachers, one of our contributors said it best in the bio which accompanies her essay: "She dreams of a day when topics such as "School and Religion" are no longer an issue." Check out the School and Religion essays.

  • Can you be Christian and Pagan? is a question that crops up fairly regularly. One of these teen essayists consider themselves adherents of both faiths -- the second looks at the problems of being Pagan in a Christian household. Check out the Can you be Christian and Pagan? essays.


This Just IN! Dio has finished the list of Adult Essay topics for Q1 and Q2 2001... Click HERE to check them out. TEEN topics should be posted in a few days (For a the January 2001 Teen Topics, see details at the bottom of this page)

NOTE: 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.


In Closing...
Our Pagan ancient history is still being uncovered, rediscovered, rekindled and rewritten. Whether we so well shall stand the test of time as the Old Ones have done is unknown. If we believe that the present day is an historical event- as great as any other that we could ever hope to recall from the past- then we shall do what we can to preserve our thoughts and dreams and beliefs for the future. With our Ancestors, we should join in the following promise to our children, "The ancient ways shall ever last!" - (Doreen Valiente from "The Long Man of Wilmington", Charge of the Goddess)

In Your Service,

 

Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2000 - December, 18th.






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