Weekly Update: 1/8/2001|
Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: January 8th. 2001
Times Viewed: 7,111
| Peeling Back The Wallpaper...|
Growing up in an old house is an adventure unto itself. For two hundred years, someone in Wren's family had lived in the little white farmhouse at the bottom of the dead-end road. At some point in time, the dirt road became a paved 'avenue', but it still always stopped just a few feet past the driveway. Beyond the pavement's end, there were blackberry bushes and grapevines and a small coldwater spring. During the warm months, there were gullies to run up and down, clay deposits for the neighborhood 'artists' and plenty of nooks and crannies for children and other beasties to hide in. When the cold finally settled in though-except for the few places where the tiny brook broke through the snow- our entire world seemed to stop where the snowplow did. January in New England was often an 'indoor time' and during one such snowed-in January, Wren's father decided it was time to strip the wallpaper.
Five generations of creative familial paperhangers and painters had left their legacies on walls and trim and floors. Wren's dad often joked that the only thing holding up the house were the layers of paint and paper and on the day that we started to peel back the wallpaper, those of us wielding those magickal tools of scraper and knife were inclined to agree. What we anticipated was a long, tedious and messy job. What we got was an enlightening and entertaining history lesson. Peeling back the layers of Pagan history may also sometimes be messy, but the rewards go far beyond uncovering what others have built up. Getting down to the bare walls-the very foundations of the construction materials themselves-reveals the soundness or weakness of the structure. In a building, this is an important safety and security concern. In a religion, it is just as essential and for many of the same reasons. Every once in a while, it is a good thing to strip off the old layers and check out just what lies beneath.
Photo credit: The image to your upper right is from jadine moonowl aka sylvafox (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) who is from Glouchestershire, Britain. "I found the moon was just out, and so raced around the house to collect, my first attempt at a pagan altar, I've been doing a lot of research, and don't want a tidy one, like some I'd read about, I'm an untidy person, and throw things together, for maximum effect, as an ARIES, I'm like a bull in a china shop!
Peeling Back The Layers of Paganism...
Many of you have probably read the article in the January 2001 edition of the Atlantic Monthly. In The Scholars and The Goddess, author Charlotte Allen took out her literary scraper and set it to work on some Pagan wallpaper. Stripping off the first layers of past Pagan postulations on the origins of what is now modern Neo-Paganism (scrape, scrape), Ms. Allen cites reference after scholarly reference (scrape, scrape, scrape) that seemingly disprove the 'ancient' or 'historical' basis for the practices and beliefs of Wicca, Goddess Worship and Paganism in general. What Ms. Allen fails to realize is both obvious and two-fold. First, that this is not only old wallpaper, this is old news. The Pagan community has in the last several years adjusted quite well to new archaeological and anthropological discoveries and research. Ronald Hutton's inquiries into the origins of Wicca (cited in Ms. Allen's article) is very highly regarded and recommended by many teachers in the Pagan community as the definitive work in these areas. Secondly, standing up to her kneecaps in wallpaper shavings, Ms. Allen neglected to address in any relevant manner the final result of all that scrape, scrape, scraping: Yes, the walls were indeed laid bare and they do look a bit stark without their protective coverings. But the point remains that the walls- the basic foundations of what now makes up modern Paganism- do not lie in the curling, scraped off bits at her feet. The walls- the foundations- of Paganism still stand and they are sound! The foundation walls are not held up with 'wallpaper and paint', but by the basic integrity of their initial construction. (You can read other responses and also post your comments on this article on the Atlantic Monthly forum. - also look for Starhawk's statement - now circling 'round many email lists)
There are those both within and without the Pagan communities who are obsessed with the concept of "validity". "What paths are valid? Who is a 'real' Witch, Wiccan, Whatever? Are the various Pagan religions and beliefs valid-or just the latest New Age fad?" Well, let's take a peek then, shall we? Scrapers set on ready?
New this Week at WitchVox... We are thrilled to finally launch Pagan Traditions.
What's Under All This Stuff Anyway?
When Wren and her dad set out to scrape off the old wallpaper in the farmhouse, they got a few surprises, too. One room had apparently (judging from the style of the multi-layered patterns and colors) been used at various times throughout the decades as a living room, a formal dining room and as a bedroom. The paper and paint defined the use of the room. However changing or removing the paper did not in any way invalidate the integrity of the room itself, but rather merely defined its past or current use or need for such usage.
And so it is with the basic foundations of Paganism. Rooted in the cycles of Nature, grounded on the firmness of the Earth Herself, Paganism at its most basic level IS as ancient as both Nature and the Earth. When our earliest Ancestors first began to wonder about how they as the microcosm fit into the larger macrocosm that they saw around, above and below them, the first stirrings of what became the religions and belief systems of the world emerged. Religion and the spiritual quest has always been an attempt to answer the age-old questions, "Who am I?" and "How do I fit into the cosmic scheme of things?" "Is this Life all that there is-or is there something more?" If one thinks of these first inquiries into the meaning of Life (initially defined or explained by the forces and cycles of Nature and Earth) as the basic foundation (the walls or infrastructure) of what shortly thereafter became the first Pagan religious systems, then the 'validity' of Paganism is beyond dispute. There IS nothing more ancient upon this planet than the Earth and Her cycles. And if our Pagan beliefs are indeed founded upon these principles (as we believe that they are), well then... how could anything be more inherently valid or based upon a more ancient theme of spirituality than that?
| Notes from a WebCrafter|
Dozens of Updates, Changes and New Treats
Things seem all a blur at this end as we passed into the new calendar year. This week we have much to share and celebrate, so much so that I will be brief in this intro and get right to it.
The following is a list the many new items, tweaks and changes here at Witchvox. Time didn't allow for a proper celebration here on our home page, but we do have much to say and many to thank. So, on with the show...
My Goddess, I am sure I have missed a few things in this weeks notes. Look for additions to the list above, over the coming week, as I continue to "buy a clue". Thank You for your patience and thank you for allowing us to do this.
- Pagan Traditions & Paths: as Wren will note lower on this page, this week's big news is that Diotima has put together a powerful new section that is all about Pagan Traditions)... This week we launch it with three powerful tradition profiles. Look for some rapid development in this long overdue chapter of the Witches' Voice. - Thanks Dio for this work.
- Face lift/Printable Pages: Inspired by countless concerns related to problems with reading "black background" pages for any length of time as well as simple printability, over these past two weeks we rewrote our ever popular Teen AND Adult essay pages... Many enhancements were rendered. Check out the Teen Essay Pages and the Adult Essay Pages for the new "look and feel".
- Phases of the Moon 2001: Although not noted on last week's update, on 12/31/2000 we DID receive (and posted) the times and dates for this year's lunar phases... The Witches' Voice is honored to thank Gary Reed for compiling the Moon data for the year 2001
- Pagan Leaders: Who are our leaders and what DOES qualify them to lead. We do have some wonderful ones, but we also have many grabbing FOR yet another title. This HOT topic is constantly discussed on email lists, in chat rooms and face to face. Last week Isaac Bonewits released a passionate and direct new piece entitled "Defining Pagan Leadership 2.0". As one of the best we have, just about anything new on the I.B. home page is a treat. Check out this piece and many others at the recently updated Isaac Bonewits HomePage and if you like what you see, support his work.
- Last week's Cover Shot: Apparently a few of you, mostly musicians, DID get the reference to the theme from the film "2001 A Space Odyssey" (root... Fifth... Octave = the first three notes of "Also Sprach Zarathustra") -- Good show.
- Pagan Shops and Pagan Musicians: These two new sections were VERY popular in December with 15.000 and 11,000 page views respectively. As a "semi-retired" Pagan musician and a retailer of 25 years, it thrills me to see the traffic in these areas. Witchvox is proud to celebrate Pagan Merchants and Musicians, free of ads, and directly TO the community. Check out and support our Pagan Merchants and Pagan Musicians
- New Cats of the Craft Page: Thanks to our "Cats of the Craft" coordinator Daven, a few days ago we put up Cats Page #19 Thanks Daven for your hard work on these pages!
- Calendars for 2001: The beautiful Sia of Snapdragon Gifts has composed a wonderful sampling of some of the new Pagan calendars for this year... Visit the Neo-Pagan Calendars 2001 page in our Pagan Shops section for more info.
- More Free Tunes Coming: Last week I released the second tune from my 1996 release " Celtic Feast of the Dead", a tune with much personal meaning entitled Be Well. Thanks go out to all of you that sent countless emails of support and thanks. The same questions keep coming in... "What is the next tune and when will it be released?". To reiterate the basic plan... I will release 1 tune per moon cycle over the year 2001. As also noted, I have promised to toss in some obscure cover tunes and next week will offer a tune called "Soldiers of Love".
- Taking The Year Off: Heartfelt thanks go out to all of you that have invited Wren and I to your gatherings, festivals, handfastings etc. For many reasons, we have decided to take this year off from just about all personal appearances. Although the invitations have been very flattering, I am running a vacation deficit at work (I owe them a week). Like most of you, we simply can't afford to lose a paycheck.
We WILL be doing a few local events including the Southeastern Spirit Gathering - (Paisley, Florida 2/8/2001 - 2/11/2001) and PhoenixPhyre 2001 - (Land of Lakes, Fl -- 3/21/2001 - 3/25/2001) as well as the Florida Pagan Gathering 'round Beltaine. We CAN do these because I do get the weekends off and they are all close enough to drive to. Do know that we continue to play the lottery and *when* we hit we will cheerfully retract these statements. For more info on the afore mentioned events, and others, re-visit this page AND stop by our Florida Events Page.. Also know that Witchvox has the most extensive and clean listing of Pagan evenst from all ofer the world. Check out the Circles & Events for your area.
In Your Service
Fritz Jung (WebCrafter - Witchvox)
January 8th, 2001
Pagan Youth Speak Out!
Pagan Teens Essays for January 2001
Finding the Craft... We love to hear stories of how people find the Craft. They are so often filled with examples of serendipity, courage, grace and comedy that they almost can't help but be interesting and inspiring. Here's a whole collection of stories for you... Page 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9
Money and the Craft... We asked: How does your religion affect your attitude towards money, and how should we handle those areas, such as paying teachers and/or clergy, where money and religion interface? A couple of thoughtful teens replied with these essays: Page 1 - 2
Click for a complete list of Future Teen Topics and Future Adult Topics.
NOTE: We are looking for suggestions for next years Teen Essay topics... If YOU have some ideas mail them to Diotima
Wren and Fritz can't thank the beautiful Diotima 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.
Ancient Foundations and the New Wallpaper
Let us be perfectly clear here. In this simplistic little allegory, 'wallpaper and paint' are terms used to describe a concept. In real-life, these material items are used to define the use and function of a room.(There is no real reason that a formal dining room would not have pink bunny wallpaper-and I heard that snort, by the way! - on the walls. But it just doesn't seem to 'fit' the basic scheme, usage or function of that sort of a room.) The Pagan Traditions in a similar sense define the function, use and scheme of modern-day Witchcraft, Wicca and other Pagan belief systems. Some 'rooms' may be painted with scenes from the epic sagas, myths or legends of the locale from which it was built. Others may have grasscloth coverings or leaf-prints. Still others may reflect the sheen of swords and altar candles and silver chargers. Pagan Traditions are not decorations; they are forms-the wallpaper and the paint- we put up in an effort to describe, interpret and define what Paganism in the modern world is. Upon the bare walls of basic Paganism- firmly rooted in Nature and Earth cycles-we hang our defining symbols, emblems, concepts, rituals and beliefs. As those change, so does the wallpaper, so does the paint; but the walls -our foundations-still remain the same.
Sometimes we can walk into a strange room and immediately feel completely at home. So it is with the various Pagan Traditions, but finding those traditions in which one can feel right at home can be difficult. This week, "in an effort to celebrate the variety of Pagan traditions, and hopefully bring a greater understanding of what "Pagan" means both to our community and to the larger world, The Witches' Voice is offering this section on PAGAN TRADITIONS and PATHS. In it, we hope to eventually have explanations of all Pagan traditions written by those who practice them."
Photo credit: The image to your upper left is from cleo the cat (Email: email@example.com) "I have been affiliated with paganism since the year 1967. This year was eventful and the spirit was kind to me. I would love to share this with you, and send you love and blessings and peace to you all. Here is one of them inspired by a wiccan friend of mine."
New Pagan Parenting Site - Your Magick Wanted!
"Are you concerned about the future of the pagan community? All conscientious pagans should be. Since our children are the future of our community I urge you to contribute to their future by submitting articles, stories and artwork for PaganParenting.com. PaganParenting.com is a soon-to-be launched website devoted to the responsible development of our most precious asset: our children. Sections include Education, Building Community, Family Life, Spirituality, Pre-Parents, Fun & Entertainment, Legal Rights and an extensive list of pagan parenting resources. For more information about how you can help build a brighter pagan future please contact Nicodemus at firstname.lastname@example.org".
More Pagan Music: Bardic Circle continues at Witchvox!
Bardic Circle Week #3 (1/8/2001)
Musicians Tell Their Stories.
We Kick off this weeks Bardic Circle at Witchvox with a beautiful piece by Bootlegg Shaman entitled "Wiccan Woman".
"This song is dedicated to my wife, whose beauty, devotion, and artistic talents are unmatched by any other woman in the world. She is from Delhi, Louisiana, down in cajun country. I'm from Columbia, a tiny town in south Mississippi. I moved to Atlanta in October of '87, and inadvertently met her briefly in Phase IV, my old rehearsal studio. The second time we met is a different story. I had begun my Magickal journey late in life, having no teacher; but I learned the art of prayer and visualization. At 29, I was lonely and tired of dating. With much meditation, I mentally conjured up the woman of my dreams. I knew I had to be specific, and I included every detail of her persona, from the sound of her voice to the shape of her hands, from her bare feet and gypsy skirts to the tone of her skin, and her likes and dislikes. It took a year."
-- For the complete Bardic Circle experience surf to Wiccan Woman.
The second offering is a tune called "The Goddess' Waltz" by Vanth SpiritWalker.
"This tune is a small lullaby which was composed as a birth present for Beauyn Alasdair, the son of a very good friend of mine and one of the most important people in my life, born Dec 25th 1999. Since I seem to see a lack of pagan lullabies around, I decided to offer this to the community. "
"The song is completely free, since I have this personal belief that music is a gift of the Gods and should not be paid for. It is not registered and anyone is free to copy it and distribute it, as long as the credit is given to the people who worked on it and to Beauyn, whom it was written for".
-- For the complete experience download... The Goddess' Waltz
(Go to Bardic Circle Index)
| Pagan Perspectives|
WitchVox Question of the Week!
Last week, we asked "What More Do You Want To Know About Paganism?" Your answers were thoughtful and we hope that "they" are listening. The desire to hear more about a Pagan philosophy of Life was a recurring theme, as was the need for more information/counseling when faced with the end of this mortal life cycle. What to tell the kids, Pagan rites of passage and more down-to-earth ways to live the Pagan life rounded out the most popular answers.-- View the Responses.
This week we ask:
Who or What is a "Pagan Leader"? We hear this term bounced back and forth around the Pagan communities and some either claim to hold such a position themselves or others have labeled them as such. What qualities/qualifications do YOU think a 'Pagan leader' should possess? Do we even need Pagan leaders in the national/international sense? Does the very term 'leader' set your Pagan teeth on edge? What do Pagan leaders really DO anyway? -- Post YOUR Opinion or view the Responses of others
The various Pagan Traditions- each in its own way- seek to answer the questions of life, death, and rebirth. Our spiritual connections to our Gods, Ancestors and the Divine take many forms and we have adapted our modes of worship within our many Traditions (traditions) and belief systems throughout the years. The forms of our rituals have changed over the centuries and they will change again in the centuries to come. But whenever a Pagan looks up into the midnight sky or hears the birds welcoming the morning sun or smells the scent of jasmine on the wind, he/she will remember from whence we came. As long as the Earth turns on Her axis, the Moon sheds Her light at night and the cycles of Nature continue, there will be a Pagan somewhere who lifts up his/her face and smiles in wonder and reverence.
In Your Service,
Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2001 - January, 8th.
Location: Clearwater¼, Florida
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