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Weekly Update: 1/22/2001

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: January 22nd. 2001
Times Viewed: 6,343

Passing Along The Lore...

Greetings everyone!

Feeling a bit like an amateur archaeologist, Wren rummaged about in one of her old magickal chests. It was not buried treasure that she sought this day, but it was a link to the past that she was looking for. AH! There it is! An old coin- a copper liberty penny-spun on its cord as she slammed shut the chest lid in triumph. Today's search had commenced via a phone call from her daughter, Skye. Skye had wondered if her mother had some personal little talisman of her grandfather's (Wren's dad) that she could have. The penny had almost immediately come to Wren's mind as the 'perfect gift' for the situation.

The penny was old and worn-so worn in fact that the date was rubbed off and the entire surface was smooth to the touch. It looked as though it had been through a war. And, in fact, it had been. This otherwise quite ordinary coin was Grandfather Bill's 'lucky piece" and he had carried it across the world in World War II.

Bill served as a gunner on a munitions ship in the Navy and one of the missions that he volunteered for was the very dangerous 'Murmansk Run". The U.S. Navy sent along a contingent of various vessels to escort the Merchant Marine convoys transporting goods to Russia across the icy and U-boat protected North Atlantic. Some reports state that only one out of every three ships made it to the port of Murmansk. "Between July 4 and July 14, 1942, Nazi torpedo-bombers and U-Boats launched repeated, devastating attacks on the lightly armed ships. Only 11 of the 34 merchant ships reached port. Twenty-four were sunk, along with 153 mariners and Armed Guard, 250,000 tons of war materiel, including 3, 500 trucks, 200 aircraft and 435 tanks.- (from Tribute to the Merchant Marines of WWII)). It was here that Bill learned about the magick of holed coins. (Whether he believed that there was real 'magick' in the coin or not, he would never come right out and say. But Bill did obviously returned from the hazardous missions safely enough to tell his daughter the story which she now shares with you.)

Photo credit: The image to your upper right was sent in by Gryph of The Coven of Mercury, Forever Retrograde (Email: gryph@altcastlenet.com) "These are pictures of my home altar, after the altar-top fire which necessitated removal of a lot of unnecessary stuff (smiles) You can't see it, but behind the center candle is a tiny bottle of salt, for Earth".(Photo taken by coven member Aquil Argentum) -- Thank You Gryphontamer for loaning us this stunning image.

Holey Stones, Bent Coins and The Sight...

Bill told Wren that many British sailors and soldiers had such lucky coins in their pockets. Most were like his-a regular coin bored with a hole- but some were simply bent or warped in some manner. Apparently this practice of holed coins being carried as talismans against harm was also common during World War I (at least as told by the Brits) and indeed even in modern times, English shopkeeps- rather than curse the findings of such coins in their tills- keep them in a jar for 'good luck and protection from theft". While Wren is not the sort of Witch who is prone to attempt to link every modern folk belief to an ancient source, it does not seem to be too much of a stretch to perhaps make a connection regarding the similar role that certain "holed stones" played in various areas of the British Isles. Sites such as Men-An-Tol in Cornwall are associated with healing properties, prophetic divinations and various local rituals concerning the activation of these 'blessings'. Healing Stones are part of a very old belief in the power of certain natural formations (later mirrored by human hands in various art forms) such as wells, springs and stones to work 'magic' if certain rituals were performed or relics from these sites were carried or worn upon the person. (Wren has several bottles of such magickal spring water sent to her by kind friends returned from trips to Ireland and England.)

Whether it was by threading people and objects through, joining hands on either side or by gazing out at a vista framed by the openings (natural or man-made) in stones, branches or other objects, various forms of divination are also often associated with these 'holey' matters:

The craft of the seer "is only one of a number of divinatory practises. Generally speaking, the seer uses few 'aids' (unlike the augur who will use the shoulder bone of a sheep to foresee events). He may possess a 'hagstone', a holed stone through which he will gaze to access the Sight. Such stones are sacred to the Goddess in her hag aspect as the bringer of wisdom.

Another tool associated with seership is the scrying mirror. Many examples of such mirrors have been found, worked in bronze with intricate spiral designs. The majority of seers of today will also practise pyromancy, the art of fire gazing, for they say that visions can be seen more clearly, in finer detail, through the flames of a fire."

Learning Natural Magick In A Natural Setting...

Just as we must curb the tendency to link all modern folk beliefs to ancient religious practices, it would probably be a mistake to likewise view these beliefs as merely local superstitions . There is a link, however tenuous, between the use of holed stones in ancient times and the use of certain talisman and magickal items today. "Stone circles, " writes Liam Rogers in Circles and Cycles - Stone Circles in Landscape and Mindscape , were the zenith of a long history of prehistoric ritual monuments. In the early Neolithic, long barrows were probably much more than simply communal graves, often being in use for many hundreds of years and containing animal as well as human bones. Their large forecourts could have held large congregations that may have had more to do with the mysteries of the annual cycle than funerals. The orientation of long barrows often seems to reflect an interest in cyclical time, and even suggests a knowledge of concepts of death and regeneration.".."The large concerted efforts of groups of people to create and perpetuate these monumental cosmic and social symbols within the landscape may have held communities together and perhaps have created land or other rights for those taking part."

As Sigurd Towrie explains in Dian Stanes and Thunderstones: "These days, behind the word "luck" lies the shadows of forgotten religions and social systems which have long since been abandoned and this becomes clearly apparent with when we consider that over time these powerful charmed stones became regarded as nothing more than lucky talismans. Over the centuries their potency decreased until the time of my childhood when they were referred to simply as "lucky stones" or "luck stones". To carry such a pebble was thought to bring the bearer good luck - but only after spitting on them and polishing the surface, of course.

Inextricably tied up with the lore of the thunderstones are the ancient customs involving a possibly separate class of protective stone - those that were holed or perforated. In a paper describing old Orkney farming customs, the writer Ernest Marwick had no doubts that the dian-stane was round, flat and holed."

Today, modern Pagans are setting up similar structures and groves and enjoying the entire 'getting back to nature' experience. Oya indeed writes, "My husband and I are in the process of starting up a metaphysical retreat company, called Magickal Retreats. Our idea is to teach the Magickal arts in a wilderness setting; I have taught for many years and have found an outdoor environment assists the student to unite with the energies involved. Our first retreats will be starting this spring; we will cover many different aspects of Magick and Metaphysics, including "spiritual alchemy", "earth magick", as well as "your shadow self". We are currently seeking volunteers throughout North America to assist with flyer distribution and/or with the retreats themselves. For more information visit our webpage, Magickal Retreats, or you can reach me at: magickalretreats@home.com."

Notes from a WebCrafter
Server Toasted - Event Myths & A Christian Nation? So Soon?

Greetings Everyone,

Things ARE getting disturbing here in America, and much quicker than expected... As I have stated in past notes, Wren and I are political news junkies and in fact have cable TV mostly to get as many channels of political coverage as we can. Yesterday America swore in a new President, he immediately proclaimed TODAY as a day of national prayer stating "I ask Americans to bow our heads in humility before our Heavenly Father" (American's United and other religious freedom groups have already released statements of concern - See Wren's Nest for related news stories). It is clear that he is referring almost exclusively to the Christian God here folks. This morning we awoke to watch the bush family at a Christian church service that dominated all the news channels. I had that creepy feeling that I was once again being forced to "go to church" and to one that I don't personal subscribe to.

"The Bush Administration is only a few hours old and it already has signaled remarkable hostility for church-state separation ... Anyone concerned with this nation's religious liberties should realize that the next four years will be awfully busy." - Barry Lynn (Americans United)

Wren and I personally donate, on a regular basis, to Americans United (for the separation of church and state) and the ACLU because we believe in supporting those that ARE fighting daily for YOUR right to practice the spiritual path of YOUR choice. Although Witchvox doesn't subscribe to "fear mongering" (an easy way to garner hits or attention) it is clear that a climate that threatens religious liberty is in the air.

Although our 501c3 status prevents us from endorsing a political candidate, we can (and will) continue to focus on protecting our right to practice the spiritual path of our choice via awareness campaigns and information networking.
A dark cloud has manifested over religious freedom in America and that comfort zone of the recent past is dissipating quickly. It really looks like things will be an uphill battle for non-Christian religions for many moons to come. - Be careful out there my friends.

In other WitchVox related news this week...
  • Wren's Nest Goes Mobile: Thanks to recent prompting from several of our regular surfers, the Witches' Voice is proud to announce that effective today we can offer Wren's Nest in a format that works nicely with Palm pilot's and other mobile internet appliances. For Live Access to the 'Nest... Point your mobile internet appliance to http://www.witchvox.com/mobile_nest.html. Big time Witch Hugs go out to J. Brad Hicks (Web) for inspiration, beta testing and beaucoup tips on mobile net configurations.

  • WitchVox Server Takes a Hit: (Three Servers in One Day) This Past Wednesday at 10:45 am, our personal server that hosts all of the Witchvox networking pages, Wren's Nest, VoxLinks: Pagan Search Engine, Pagan Perspectives, Pagan Music and Pagan Shops took a major power surge hit (apparently a 400.00 UPS device wasn't good enough). Within hours we configured my personal computer to serve these pages and later that night pulled out an old 7300 to take over for the remaining of the week. Our apologies go out to those of you that experienced time outs and "server not found" messages sporadically on that day. We DID get a new power supply for the G4 that usually runs Witchvox.net and put it back in operation yesterday. Yes, there are indeed many advantages to having someone else "worry" about the server hardware, especially when you live in the lightening capital of America.

  • WitchVox Events - Clarifications: We often get email of concern asking why we don't have such and such festival or event listed. The answer is simple, we don't, they do (or sure can). It's important to note that manual posting or editing of major Pagan Festivals here at TWV is impractical due to the sheer volume of event activity. We made the decision early on to work smart in this area, by making it easy for event coordinators to submit their info. In fact, MOST major festival organizers DO post their events at Witchvox, many have taken advantage of this Free exposure and continue to do so. Yesterday I did a quick profile of events activity here at Witchvox and offer the following "action stats"...

    • The WitchVox events pages have been viewed 652, 793 times (current monthly views = 38,000 'ish and climbing). Our "festival reviews/tips pages" have been viewed 228, 761 times. In our 4 years online, we have processed/featured 10, 856 events/modifications. This includes; workshops, book signings, personal appearances by famous Pagans, PNOs, small/large festivals, sabbat gatherings etc. etc. We update and regenerate all of the events pages, faithfully, every 48 hours to remove dupes and expired events.

    • Major festivals are another issue all together in that we have consciously designed our networking section to "drill down" to the state/province level. The Witchvox National Festivals have gotten a bit lost in the past few months and along with major "National" Pagan Holiday events/Pagan Pride etc. will be more prominently featured in weeks to come (mostly as a cross reference to the state/prov pages). The major festivals page can be found at http://www.witchvox.com/wotw/events_festivals.html

  • Southeastern Spirit Gathering: Wren and I are honored to announce that we will be attending Southeastern Spirit Gathering in Paisley, Florida in two weeks time. Although this is the first Southeastern Spirit Gathering it promises to be a "winner". We can only make it for Saturday but will be doing at least one workshop and taking some time to "hang" with many central Florida Pagans. For more info on this festival stop by our Florida Events Page.. Also know that Witchvox has the most extensive and clean listing of Pagan events from all over the world. Check out the Circles & Events for your area.
As always, YOUR suggestions are welcome, in fact this site has been rendered from YOUR suggestions.

In Your Service


Fritz Jung (WebCrafter - Witchvox)
January 22nd, 2001



Burns Night, in Honor of "Rabbie" Burns, 1759-1796
By Peg Aloi

"On January 25th, the anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, those of Scottish descent often celebrate Burns Night, an evening of celebration which features traditional Scottish foods, and the singing of songs and reciting of poems written by the man many consider to be one of the best-loved poets of the English language".

"Burns, a prolific poet, worked at a vocation many today might envy: he was an inspector of whisky distilleries. Sadly, this job may have helped hasten his death at the untimely age of 27. Riding many miles on horseback in harsh Scottish weather, Burns contracted pneumonia and was advised to take what was then a popular treatment: "the ocean cure." It was believed swimming in the ocean would heal those sick with lung complaints. But sadly, Burns' condition worsened and he died, leaving behind a legacy of wonderful songs and poems which surely would have been richer and fuller had he lived longer".

For the rest of this enlightening piece Click Here





Pagan Traditions at WitchVox - Over 5000 views!

Our new Traditions section is continues to garner attention with over 5,000 actual page calls in it's first two weeks online! We are very excited about this section, and the feedback we've been getting indicates that you are already finding it to be a valuable resource. Last week we featured: an explanation of the Reclaiming tradition by M. Macha NightMare, and a look at the Golden Dawn tradition by John Michael Greer. Expect more Pagan Trad profiles to be posted in the weeks to come.

If you work within an established tradition, please consider writing something for us about it. We will accept more than one essay per tradition, so feel free to send us your own view, even if there are already other essays posted on your tradition. Please read the editorial guidelines page as well as the introduction on the Traditions page before sending your essay to Diotima

Bardic Circle Continues at Witchvox (Week #4)
Musicians Tell Their Stories.

Reverend Rob:
We Kick off this weeks Bardic Circle at Witchvox with a beautiful instrumenatal piece by the Reverend Rob entitled "Artemis in Lime".

"The song was intended to elaborate on the mixed joy and sadness that was present in my life at the time due to work and personal issues; I often write pieces designed to be a ritual in and of themselves, to purge emotions both positive and otherwise, and let the thoughts and emotions in my head transmute themselves to sound.

The dense layering of the piece is intentional; it reflects the root chaos that was present at the time of recording, with the central theme of the piece reflecting instead the cyclic nature of joy contrasting the wildness of the universe outside myself. In its own way, it acknowledges my favorite time of the year, as autumn begins to fade and everything for a few weeks, regardless of other events or things that impede my appreciation of nature and the beauty of creation."

-- For the complete experience surf to Artemis in Lime.

Music for the Goddess:
The second offering is a tune called "Round and Round " by Wendy Sheridan and Vonorn.

Wendy wrote the chorus of "Round and Round" as a closing chant for the first ritual where she acted as High Priestess.

"The verses grew from a vision that Wendy had during a 3 hour drum circle during a Beltane party at the Portal of the Porcupine in Piscataway, NJ. Wendy remarks, "after attending my first Starwood this past summer, I realized in retrospect that the vision I had was of Starwood and the fire circles there."

-- For the complete experience download... Round and Round

(Go to Bardic Circle Index)


Cooking Up Some Magick...

The NC Piedmont Church of Wicca, an eclectic Wiccan church based in western North Carolina, is planning a cookbook fund-raiser. We plan to include a variety of ethnic and traditional recipes as well as vegetarian and vegan dishes. We want to represent a wide range of heritage and tastes and are currently soliciting recipes. To contribute a recipe or for the latest cookbook price information (prices drop as orders increase), please email browns@shelby.net. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the cookbook sale will go directly to the church. Contributors may choose to be credited by either their craft or legal names. If recipes are received quickly enough, the book will be sent for printing Feb 28th, 2001.

Pagans Speak Out!
  37 Pagan Essays for January 2001  


Adults

Finding The Craft
Again and again we read of folks who came to the Craft through trials and tribulations that would have discouraged all but the most committed seekers. In our society, Paganism is not an easy path to claim, nor an easy one to follow. But the passion with which those who are touched by the gods seek their path and find it is an inspiration to us all. Here are some wonderful stories... Essay # 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16

Money and the Craft
There's a wide variety of views represented in this collection of essays. Some Pagans are appalled at the thought of paying teachers and clergy, others are equally appalled at what they perceive as an unhealthy approach to money in the Pagan community, exemplified by a reluctance to pay for services rendered. Clearly, this is not a subject we will agree on anytime soon. Read the essays here: Essay # 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10
Young Pagans

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.


All Pagan Essays are coordinated by Witchvox Assoc. Editor 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.

Pagan Perspectives
WitchVox Question of the Week!

Last week, we asked, "What is Pagan History and what are Pagan Beliefs?" The good news is that the 'sacred cows' are only held to be sacred as long as they are useful. When something no longer 'works' as either history or belief, hamburgers made from formerly sacred cows seem to be a standard and acceptable way of disposing of them. Outside criticism of the Pagan beliefs seems to not really be effective nor a deterrent to continued 'faith' as long as the sacred cow attacked is not all that close to the hamburger grinder. The more uncertain that we as Pagan believers feel about a particular belief or practice, the more likely it is that we would be uncomforted by outside scrutiny-preferring as all communities of faith do-to choose for ourselves what to keep and what to discard.-- View the Responses.

This week we ask:

What Are The Boundaries? Wherein Lies Accountability? Different Pagan groups and schools have different concepts of accountability and boundaries of behavior. Some may feel that they are only accountable for what they do to themselves alone or to their family/group and perhaps to their Gods. Others perceive that they are accountable for their actions to the larger Pagan community and society in general. There ARE abusers out there whom probably no one would defend. But what do we DO about them? Anything? Nothing? Some groups have personal internal 'blacklists' and others seem willing to support a public listing of this sort. How could we ever agree on just what should not be tolerated under the name of Pagan beliefs? Should we just 'live and let live' and 'let the buyer beware'? Or do we have a greater obligation to somehow defend and protect the reputation and good name of the Pagan communities by drawing the boundary line at some point? -- Post YOUR Opinion or view the Responses of others



In Closing...

"The divine mysteries of nature are above and beyond the power of conception of the limited intellect. They must be grasped by the power of the spirit. If we cannot by our own soul perception perceive a spiritual truth with the eye of the spirit, intellectual reasoning and book learning will not enable us to perceive it clearly. Books, dealing with such subjects, should not be masters to us; they should merely be our assistants. They are useful to describe the details of things which we already know in the depths of our soul; they are merely servants to hold up before our eyes magnifying mirrors, wherein we see the truths whose presence we feel in ourselves." - (Franz Hartmann, Magic White and Black)

In Your Service,

 

Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2001 - January, 22nd.






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