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Witchvox Weekly Update

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Weekly Update: 2/5/2001

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: February 5th. 2001
Times Viewed: 5,185

Thank YOU for FIVE Wonderful Years!

Greetings Witches, Wiccans and Pagans,

This week marks the completion of our 4th year on line as The Witches' Voice and our 5th year of doing this work. In Dec. '95 we tossed up a sample page of "Witches Do's and Don'ts"... coasted a few months... and in April of '96 launched the Witches' League for Public Awareness on the web. Our 8 months at celticcrow.com were very exciting times, everything was so new and not long after it's launch, the WLPA website became the hottest hit url on the Pagan web. We departed the WLPA in Dec. '96 and handed the reins over to Cheryl and Dylan who to this day (along with Webcrafter Chad) continue to offer a wonderful community resource. On Feb. 1st. 1997 we launched The Witches' Voice, 4 years whizzed by and here we are.

The work of the past five years would have gone nowhere if it weren't for the incredible support of the Neopagan community. YOU told us what was happening, YOU shared your magick and your information, YOU wrote the letters... YOU brought Neo-Paganism into the 21st century and you did this like no other religion has done before. The Witches' Voice has been honored to be a part of all of this and with 67% of you entering this site from bookmarks, it is clear that this has been a home for many. Thank YOU for this support!

Although our mindset is rarely one that looks back... We'd like to take a moment to do just that to kick off this week's update. This anniversary we made a conscious effort to step outside of the box and note some of the trends that we have noticed.

One of the many rewards that Wren and I treasure is to be in a position to observe the metamorphosis of a new spiritual path from a rather unique vantage point. We have watched attitudes and labels shift over the past twenty years and have witnessed an amazing acceleration of changes in just the past 5. Life really is a constant state of change. Mercifully, most of our community does embrace and celebrate change.

Some of the changes that we've noticed...

Wicca, a household word: It amazes us at how often we see the word "Wicca" used in our general society these days. Without losing its alignment to the word Witchcraft, Wicca has become a new word in our culture. This happened because of your work, your websites and your local education campaigns. This is quite an amazing accomplishment. You directly affected public opinion!

Magical Names: Over the past year we have seen a substantial increase in Pagans that are using their REAL names. By that I mean they have either reclaimed their birth name or made a commitment to their magical name by changing it legally. We find this most inspiring!

Diminishing Titles and Degrees: It has also been our observation that less folks are using titles and degrees to gain respect. More ARE gaining respect through their actions. Actions really DO speak louder than words... The Pagan community has become more active in both the mainstream culture and politics. Wren's Nest News and our Weekly Updates are laced with examples of Pagans that do work that IS "correct and for the good of all".

The Pagan Web: Much HAS changed since we first 'tested the waters' back in late '95. At that time there were only 40 or so pagan sites that we could find (and trust me, we searched constantly). Since then the Pagan Web has exploded with thousands of sites. Last month, I signed back up to the Pagan Webcrafters. These days the PWA is mostly about site reviews and critiques from those in this group, I did check a few out and WOW!, there are many folks that are crafting some gorgeous sites under the pagan umbrella. By most estimates the Pagan web consists of over 8,000 sites and continues to grow... Visit our own VoxLinks Pagan Search Engine for a listing of thousands of websites representing some of our communities finest work.

Pagan Commerce: Over the past year we have seen an incredible increase in Neo-Pagan commerce. Witchvox now lists almost 2,000 Pagan Websites that are selling goods and/or services. Since just selling something can be quite a struggle (on the net), we've seen an increase in creative ways to get customers to commercial sites. The good news is that in 5 years we have only received 4 complaints about "bad business practices", from this we can safely assume that most pagan merchants are working real hard to earn and keep YOUR business.

Pagan Music: Some very exciting changes in this area. Prior to 1996 Pagan music, with few exceptions, was dominated by Renaissance(ish) music that was caught in a cycle between Am and Em... My own release in 1995 assumed that anything goes when it comes to Pagan music, and apparently many others were thinking the same thing. These days Pagan music comes in just about any musical flavor you can imagine. In Dec. of 2000 we launched a new section called "Bardic Circle" (see feature below) and a quick sampling will reveal a cauldron of musical diversity.

Traffic and Interest: Interest in the Neo-Pagan movement has not waned during our 5 years on the web, it continues to climb. Traffic at Witchvox continues to do the same... Last month (January?) broke all records at this end as we delivered 1, 693, 342 actual pages (54, 626 a day avg.) to the world and from what we hear, hits are up all over the Pagan web.

Pagan Networking: Today there are more Pagan websites, Groups and Events and ever before. Record growing areas in our own networking section include Covens & Groups (now over 2,000) and Pagan Events (over 10,000 events have been processed in the past 3 years alone). Over the past couple of months our hardest hit Location page was England. Submissions have never been higher and what is most interesting is that REGIONAL sites (and elists) that focus on a state or province are coming on strong.

WitchVox Central: This past year saw a flurry of staff activity here at TWV. Our associate editor Diotima worked 'religiously' at coordinating powerful essays, in record numbers, for our Adult and Young Pagan sections. Dio also spearheaded and "made happen" our recently launched "Pagan Traditions" section. Mid-year we welcomed Daven as the coordinator of our "Cats of Witchcraft" pages, he managed the submissions of dozens of cat pix and rendered 6 pages of code celebrating Witch Cats of the World. Peg came through, as usual, with brilliant and inspiring writings and some awesome coverage of her trip to England. We were thrilled to work, once again, with the beautiful Christina who penned some stirring pieces in our Pagan Parenting and Pagan Holiday's section. We received several of our most amazing photos this past year from Bill Kilborn, Don Waterhawk, Darragh and from many of you as well.

Back in August Wren took over the writing of our weekly updates. This freed me up to evolve TWV in many, many ways. The goal has always been the same; build a unique and powerful resource of news, tools and networking, find a need and fill it. Thanks to YOU and your work we have done just that. Thanks to the dozens of you that submitted well thought essays we have inspired many. Thanks to the hundreds of thousands of you that ARE making this all happen at the local level, the Pagan community is both seen and heard by our society.

We are deeply honored that some of you have deemed Witchvox worthy of your financial support. We can't thank YOU enough for helping to keep this alive.

So what IS in the cards for the Pagan community? We haven't a clue! BUT we do like what we see and we do like how this feels. Thank YOU for allowing us to be a part of all of this.

'til next time.



Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2001 - February 5th.

Photo credit: This powerful image to your upper right came to us from our good friend John "Hoops" Hooper "This shot shows Ray Lindfield of The Centre for Pagan Studies (front right) with Jerry Bird of the Green Man Gallery/organizer of the Eastbourne Pagan Circle, Sussex, UK. (holding Brigid), at the Long Man of Wilmington, East Sussex, UK. The celebration was held at The Long Man , which is an ancient Pagan site and was one of Doreen Valiente's favorite places. (see page 48 of Charge of the Goddess)".

"The Long Man itself is an ancient hill carving on the South Downs in Sussex (see image), which is accessible by footpath from the quaint & pretty village of Wilmington.The presence of fire-jugglers in the background, whilst a ritual was carried out at the base of the Long Man, made the evening a truly magical and timeless event which was well attended despite the English wet weather". -- Kind regards, Hoops. John Hooper (Web: doreenvaliente.com)




Teenage
Pagans

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2001 and the Teenage Pagan: This past year saw a real rebirth for the teen section here at The Witches' Voice. Many new authors came forward with some powerful articles and essays. Big plans to grow and develop this section even more dramatically are in the stars. Check back here for the latest in articles from the Teen pagan point of view.


Pagan Faith-Based Social Programs? Yeah, We Got 'Em...

There has been much talk this past about the Bush administration's plan to institute a 'faith-based initiative' designed to allow religious groups performing or providing social programs to receive federal monies. The Pagan Perspectives forum has been lively with comments and the emails have been flying. Wren couldn't resist the urge to coin her two-cents on the topic and you can find her Wren Wramblings at My Place or Yours?, Finding A Neutral Meeting Place in Religious America.

This question has also been raised: Do Pagans even have such programs? The answer is: Yes, we do. Not many as yet-modern, public Paganism is only fifty years old, after all-but we do have some groups who are expanding outward to reach not only other Pagans in need, but also to the general populace at large.

The creation of a nationwide Pagan oriented scouting program, known as SpiralScouts (TM) has been announced by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church of the Seattle (Washington) area, to fill the void left by prejudicial treatment of other established children's programs. It is formally incorporated at Imbolc, 2001, and an appropriate venture for the new millennium.

SpiralScouts, a program for girls and boys working, playing and learning together, has existed within the church to benefit member's children for over a year. Recently word about it spread on the internet and, due to the great demand, it has been formalized into an expanded program under the name SpiralScouts International, Inc., a nonprofit subsidiary of the ATC. SpiralScouts supplies leadership handbooks, awards, merit badges and pins, embroidered shoulder patches, and activities handbooks to make the program work for you on a local basis.

The Blessed Bee is an internet Pagan store which sponsors a scholarship open to students following a Pagan spiritual path who are continuing their education beyond high school. It is also open to currently enrolled students in associate, baccalaureate or trade school programs. The criteria for awarding the scholarship is based on a combination of spiritual growth, scholarship, need, and community service --with no particular percentage attached to any of the categories.

Students applying for The Blessed Bee Pagan Scholarship should be following some type of Pagan/Neo-Pagan spiritual path, such as (but not exclusively), Wicca, Witchcraft, Druidism, Asatruar, Shamanism, Native American Spirituality, Stregheria, Voodoun, Santeria, etc. It is open to students belonging to a group, coven, clan etc., as well as those whose spiritual path is a solitary one. For information, consult the Pagan Scholarship Page.

Note: If you know of any other Pagan faith-based social programs, let us know. If we receive enough listings, we'll add a category for them in our Networking section. In some other Pagan public service announcements this week, we find:

C.R.A.F.T., Creating Religious Acceptance, Freedom and Tolerance, was formed as an organization "to maintain the religious freedoms of all citizens of the United States as they are protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution and all clauses thereof. No citizen of the United States shall be controlled by the Government in that individual's pursuit or denial of the Divine as they see it. Said rights shall be maintained and fought for using peaceful and law-abiding methods and the pursuit of this cause shall not infringe upon the religious freedoms or legal privileges of any citizen of the United States of America."

"This campaign was started in response to President George Bush Jr.'s proclamation of Sunday, January 21, 2001 as a National Day of Prayer, stating, "I ask Americans to bow our heads in humility before our Heavenly Father, a God who calls us not to judge our neighbors, but to love them, to ask His guidance upon our Nation and its leaders in every level of government." The language he used, and put in writing, is exclusionary of all who do not follow the Christian path that President Bush follows. He has defied the separation of Church and State and insulted all who do not follow his path. Adding this act to others he has made in his short time in office thus far, and his previous statements discounting Wicca and Witchcraft as valid religions, specifically saying, "That's not a religion", we cannot assume that our religious freedoms are inviolate during President Bush's term in office. President Bush has also recently created a White House Office to distribute billions of dollars of tax revenue to Faith-based organizations. And while he has stated that this is not an infringement upon the First Amendment, there is cause to be concerned as there is no set guidelines for determining exactly how the money will be spent once it is in the hands of the Religious groups, or who will monitor the money's use. It is for these reasons that C.R.A.F.T. has been formed to educate the community as well as the Government that the citizens of this country will not be complacent when it comes to our Constitutional rights."

And when you really to relax from all over your labors (No one enjoys being around a burned-out Priestess!), plan a Pagan friendly, earth-respecting trip. Sia offers some links and suggestions in this addition to the Pagan Merchants section: It's The Journey That Matters:Neo-Pagan Travel and Retreats.

Sia wrote: "My perfect vacation combines the experience of natural beauty, a look at the local wildlife and a bit of education on the side. I can get all that from Footloose Forays, a company which specializes in natural history trips. These excursions are lead by the Owner, Michael Ellis. Michael has degrees in botany and marine biology and is an outstanding Field Naturalist and teacher. Every year he leads natural history tours to the Serengeti, Zimbabwe, Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands, Turkey, Antarctica, and the wilder parts of California. Want to get in touch with nature and learn something at the same time? Then check out his website at footlooseforays.com." Wow! I am feeling more refreshed just reading about it!

Bardic Circle Continues at Witchvox (Week #7)
Musicians Tell Their Stories.

Rick Vartian:
We Kick off this weeks Bardic Circle at Witchvox with a (near 5 minute) "smokin instrumental" tune called "Ehwaz (Movement, Progress) " by Rick Vartian. All I say is WOW... Just grabbed this tune and took it for a spin... It is fabulous! The composition is actually interesting, sonically it very cool and the stereo imaging even had my cats looking around. Great piece Rick!

"This piece is one of the more lively numbers on this album, but I thought that the audience here would appreciate the emotion contained in this work. (it is becoming very popular on MP3.COM already!) But... If you like softer more mellow moods, I invite you, the listener to explore my section on MP3.COM to explore my entire collection of pieces from not only this first album, but my other two releases that are also available there. I think that there is something for everyone within my collection of works, regardless of your musical tastes. Most of my works however, tend to be dramatic and moving, since many of my moments of inspiration are of the spiritual nature. A feeling of connecting with the divine if you will."

-- For the complete experience download... Ehwaz (Movement, Progress)

Zorah Staar:
The second offering is a partial piece by the Zorah Staar entitled "We are growing". An inspiring pop tune with a haunting melody that leaves us yearning for more...

"I've heard it said that when we are children, our parents are like Goddess and God to us - our whole universe, our everything. When I was a child, my father was both a god of nightmares and a god of music. When he wasn't busy hurting, he'd be busy playing fast and free on a beautiful, golden, Gibson hollow-bodied electric guitar. And there was this guitar riff he'd play over and over, sort of like a wild trumpet call of power and delight."

"And so I always wanted to play guitar like that. I always wanted that sense of power and delight, and the freedom and courage to express it to the world. When I was well along my own particular pagan healing path, and also well into creating the music I call "pagan pop, " it came to me that it was time to write a song for my father and myself. It would be a song to burn away all that needed to go in my relationship with him, a song to honour both our painful journey and the journey of all women and men, as we try so hard to grow, to "stumble free of our grief and confusion" into places of love and light."

-- For the complete experience surf to We are growing bardic circle page.

(Go to Bardic Circle Index)



WitchCraft
Basics
Witch, Wiccan and Pagan F.A.Q.'s NOW In French
Thanks to the meticulous skills of GeneviŹve Huot, this past week we polished up the French versions of our FAQ's... Her determination to get this right was most inspiring and the Witchvox staff could never thank her enough for seeing this through. 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 in early 2000. "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 I and French II


Pagan Trads at WitchVox - Continues to Soar
Launched just 3 weeks ago, Pagan Trads at TWV has received over 11,000 visitors. Last week we added 4 more... Read about The New England Coven of Traditional Witches by Tuan Cu Mhara of Coven Hensariad, Mixed-Gender Dianic Wicca by H. Byron Ballard, The Druidic Craft of the Wise by Ariel, and Seax Wica by Daven.

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

NEW this Week!
Cats of WitchCraft - Page 20 Now Up
In an effort to dispel one of the many myths about the craft, we began featuring pictures of Witch Cats back in '97 when we went online. Of late, we have been barraged with submissions... A plea for help last year resulted in some fine volunteer work by some fine Pagans. Out of that group came Daven who has faithfully and in a timely manner coordinated our last 6 Cats pages. Thank YOU Daven for treating us all with the latest... To gush over this new batch of cuties Click HERE.

Note: Last year our Cats of Witchcraft section was one of the most popular here at TWV. These pages average over 800 views a day.

Pagan Perspectives
WitchVox Question of the Week!

Last week, we asked, What Do You Think About Bush's 'Faith-Based' Initiative Plan? Many of you thought that the 'faith-based initiative' was a violation of the separation between church and state. Even those who thought that it might work expressed some reservations on how the process could remain fair and unbiased. Many of both viewpoints acknowledged that Pagans would find it difficult to compete for federal funding for many reasons, including prejudice, lack of previously established programs with a proven track record and perceived hostility toward Pagans within the Bush administration.-- View the Responses.

This week we ask the obvious follow-up question:

Where Are The Pagan Social Programs? Do We Care? Pagans have been put in the somewhat uncomfortable position of being asked about their own social programs. Granting that modern public Paganism is only about fifty-years-old (and the Gods know that we have had many credible reasons for keeping a low profile for most of that time), is there need in the Pagan communities for social or charitable outreach programs? Do you know of any in your area? Do you have an idea for one? What needs do you see in the communities that such programs might address (such as food pantries, Pagan baby-sitting or child-care, counseling). Do Pagans have some unique ideas that might carry over into programs to benefit the general public as well as the Pagan communities themselves? Do we even care about social programs?-- Post YOUR Opinion or view the Responses of others



In Closing...

Thank you all for the light that you clearly shine. Together there is nothing, as a community, that we can't do. Witchvox exists because you want it to, because you believe that this community DOES have something very special to share. Thank you for allowing us to do this for the past 5 years.

In Your Service,

 

Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2001 - February 5th.






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