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Weekly Update: 2/26/2001

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: February 26th. 2001
Times Viewed: 4,754

Spring Cleaning...

Greetings Witches, Wiccans and Pagans,

Wren is starting her spring-cleaning a little early this year. She usually does these major 'nest-cleanings' at Beltaine and Samhain, but since the weather here in mid-Florida has been a bit warmer than usual, she simply finds herself in the mood to do it now.

Looking over the bookshelves-and at all of the on-the-floor book stacks and the under-the-bed book piles and the in-the-closet-somewhere book nooks-she decided that some of these books simply need to find a new home. Like book lovers everywhere, Wren thinks that tossing a book out into the trash bin is akin to engaging in some sort of literary blasphemy. So what do we do with all of those Pagan books that we have held onto for years and now have simply 'outgrown'?

Consider donating them. Your local public library-like all libraries in the U.S.-work with limited funds. They may welcome book donations, especially hardcover editions. Hardcovers do last longer, but that doesn't mean that paperbacks are not useful. In fact, even if the library already has a paperback copy of some of your books on the racks, they welcome back-up copies of popular titles. There is also the maybe-conspiracy that we hear mentioned from time to time that Pagan related materials continue to 'disappear' from library shelves. Some of this vanishing act is the result of theft, but there may indeed be something to the theory that certain groups check out Pagan books and don't return them-just to get them off the shelves. In any case, do check with your library or even start a Pagan book drive in your neighborhood/group for such a purpose.

Another venue where Pagan books are welcome is in the Pagan prison ministries. Prisons all have different standards on what sort of Pagan materials that prisoners are allowed. Generally, any media depicting nudity, tool/mead making techniques or violent/ baneful spells is prohibited. Many of the basic 'new seeker' books (such as Cabot, RavenWolf or Cunningham) however rarely include this type of material and can be donated. If you already know of a group in your state that conducts a Pagan prison ministry, do contact them (or check out the TWV networking section to see who may be doing what and where) and ask if they could use your old books.

W.A.R.D. has one of the most extensive Pagan-oriented prison ministries in the country. Darla Kaye Wynne (AKlover@aol.com) wrote in response to our inquiry: "We would be very interested in receiving donations for the prison ministry program. We currently serve 18 facilities in NC/SC. Anything received would be greatly appreciated! Our mailing address for this would be: WARD, Inc., 44 Walnut Street, Great Falls, SC 29055."

Morgan Pierceheart, a Pagan who just returned from a military stint in Bosnia, wrote us that Pagan troops in that area are in great need of materials. He writes: "Please encourage your readers to consider mailing books to the troops here in Bosnia." And so we shall. The best way to do this is by sending them to: Morale Welfare and Recreation, attn: Soldier Support Library, Eagle Base, Operation Joint Forge. APO AE 09789 or to the Chaplain's Office at: Chaplain's Office, Eagle Base, OJF, APO AE 09789.

Other ideas include starting a local Pagan neighborhood book swap or holding a semi-annual "Really Cheap Pagan Book Sale" to help raise money for local/national/international causes. Many Pagan groups-and especially the Pagan festival organizers who are raising money to buy land-hold raffles and auctions at events. Check out the events being planned in your area-or the promos for those that you plan to attend-to see if a raffle/auction will be held. Contact the event folks and ask if they would like your donations of books, magickal items, etc.

Books collected from coven members can also become part of an 'initiation welcome kit' and when signed by the members of the group can become a treasured memento of a very special occasion.

Well, Wren is doing pretty well so far. We've got three boxes of books ready to go-two for Pagan festival raffles and one for the WARD prison ministry. Now, what else just simply HAS to go?

Photo credit: The picture to your upper right is from the personal altar of Robyn & Brahm (Website: http://tigerhaus.tripod.com/Brahms/ from Guthrie, Kentucky (USA). "The book in the photo is one of our new ones from our line at the bookworks, I had to have one too." Bless YOU Robyn & Brahm for sharing your magick with us all.

There's So Much Stuff In My Closet, There's Barely Enough Room In There For Me!

Well, that's another subject for another time. Getting back to the non-human stuff in the closet though, how about those old blankets and towels? Take them to your local animal shelter. Too many candlesticks and incense burners and-what IS that thing anyway? Consider the raffle idea for your own group or plan to hold a Pagan neighborhood yard sale for a charitable organization. What fun! Sure, you'll probably come back with more stuff than you brought to sell, but heck-it's for a good cause, right? Places like Goodwill will take old appliances and so give disabled people an opportunity to work by repairing and reconditioning them for resale.

Still got that material or yarn for that project that you never got around to actually doing? And are you are really, really tired of feeling guilty every time you set eyes on it? Think up an easy project for the kids to work on at the next Pagan meeting, gathering or festival. Making masks from paper plates and then threading colorful yarn all around the edges should keep them busy for a while and they'll look quite fashionable at the circle later, too! Cutting the material into squares for quilt projects or for making handbags/magickal pouches works for older kids. Remember dressing up in your mom's clothes when you were young? (Some folks think that Pagans never really got over this and that is why Pagan fashions tend to be so..um.... interesting.) Bring some of those frilly old goodies (and scissors to make length adjustments for safety reasons) and costume jewelry to your next gathering and let the kids go wild. Put on a Young Pagan fashion show! With the right announcer, this could get quite entertaining for all ages. Future Pagan Elders (older teens) can work on coven flags or banners or create their own symbolic emblems if they get together at events often enough. A Youth banner exchange between young adult groups across the country might be an interesting project as well.

End of life issues-while difficult to bring up in casual conversation-may prompt you to start thinking about what you want done with your personal magickal items when you exit this realm. If you want something intensely personal to 'go with you', do let someone know. Write it down somewhere. Talk about it. Who you'd like to 'gift' other items to or how you would like them to be ritually disposed of is not only a good topic for a 'workshop' (hint. hint.), it is also a good reason to call for a special family or coven meeting. Sure, we could always contact you at Samhain, but a little hint in the here and now would certainly give those who are left behind a head start on carrying out your final wishes. By the way, when Wren's time comes, don't send flowers; send feathers. It's a phoenix thing. Also going down the chute into the flames lying on featherbed sounds nice and comfy. (Wren: There. One more 'last request' logged for posterity. Check that one off my list!)

We have a sort-of rule here in the Jung household: If something new comes in, something else has to go out. Practitioners of feng-shui- and those Pagans who are conscious of energy exchanges- feel that nothing new can come into one's life unless you make a space for it first. We can just imagine some Goddess looking down and saying. "Oh yes indeed. I would love to gift them with this...but just where in Caledonia would they PUT it?" We don't know about you, but if a Goddess really, really wants to give us something, we want to make sure that special spot is all set aside well in advance in order to receive it!



Avatar In Trouble, Major WOTW Clean up,
Server Upgrade, and New Treats Comin'


Greetings Everyone,

In the final week of the most recent "Mercury turn around", communication was at a low this past week, with much confusion and ineffectiveness. Mercifully, our massive verification of 36, 307 contacts in our networking section went quite well (see details below). Other communication throughout the community didn't go so well but do know that Mercury DID "turn back" today (at 10:42 am EST) and things should be smoother this coming week.

AvatarSearch... No One Does it Better.
The big buzz this past week was related to the future of AvatarSearch.com. Yes, Avatar IS a business, yes, they do seem to have a steady flow of advertising and yes Avatar is a community to many. Problem IS Avatar is custom written from the ground up (no quick cgi "re-colorization" for this one folks) and the actual daily operations are being personal funded by the founder, a very time consuming process making it difficult to have a "day job" AND maintain Avatar.

The "Brainiac from Smartron" that has created and maintained this Magick is one Tina Ann Coutu. Although Avatar's spiritual focus is broader than ours here at TWV, we do share the same root level celebration of freedom for ALL religions. We will always respect Tina and the Avatar staff for this.

Big Sites ARE Expensive to Run: As we are painfully aware of, a busy site can be VERY expensive to run and for some reason this seems to be inconceivable to the community at large. Avatar notes over 1.2 million visitors per month and generates close to 40 gigabyte of traffic. They have received many suggestions for alternative hosting, but do know that web hosts that claim they offer "unlimited bandwidth" are simply NOT telling the truth. Avatar's hosting is NOT the problem, paying someone to administrate it is, and personal funding by it's founder has run out.

The Details... Rather than re-explain things here, all details related to the Avatar problems can be found at a six page thread... Topic: Critical Announcement . Avatar IS for Sale: A few months back Tina put Avatar up for sale... Details can be found at AvatarSearch: Sales Prospectus. How YOU Can Help: Over the past week a plan HAS been formulated to help Tina keep Avatar alive, and if you are a regular user of the AvatarSearch site we do encourage you to check out AvatarSearch needs your Support!.

In other Site News this week...

WitchVox Networking... Major Clean up: This past week we sent out 36, 307 emails to verify ALL of the listings at Witchvox.net(working). This mailing pinged all individuals, groups, events, shops and site links. The results are interesting, in that we just did this on 11/19/2000 (90 days ago)... Of the 36, 307 verifications...2, 398 were returned as "user unknown" or "mailbox full" AND 579 of you requested to be removed. The afore mentioned listings have all been removed and the latest submissions/changes are now up.

A Mountain of Email: Whenever we do a global email verify such as this, it puts us WAY behind in responding to email. For those of you that ARE waiting for responses from us do know that we should catch up with most of it over the next few weeks. IF you email was of a critical nature, feel free to remail us, there is a real chance that you piece got "lost in the shuffle".

Witchvox.net Server Upgrade: Last night we replaced the power supply on the Witchvox.net server AND added another 256 meg of ram. This will speed things up a bit, but do know that at peek times you will still have to wait a bit for some pages to load.

More Free Tunes Coming: I apologize here and now for the delay this month in releasing another one of my tunes (see Celtic Feast of the Dead). To me it is more critical to spend precious site update time continuing to celebrate Pagan Musicians that ARE active and participating in Bardic Circle here at TWV. Look for "Color Me Pagan" to be released for next week's update. Until then feel free to grab the FREE tunes we have released so far.

Pagan Music Oops: For the past few weeks the link in our Pagan music pages that is SUPPOSED to go to the 2001 Music press release page was pointing to last years press release page. DO KNOW that this was quickly fix and that you can enjoy THREE Pagan Music press releases for 2001 by clicking here.

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 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 one of the most extensive and cleanest listings of Pagan events in the world. Check out the Circles & Events for your area.

Several other hot issues have been brewing in the background over the past few days and we WILL note them here (or at Wren's nest) as soon as they become news or of interest to the Pagan community at large.

In your service.

Fritz Jung
Webcrafter - The Witches' Voice

Bardic Circle Week #10   (2/26/2001)
Musicians Tell Their Stories.

COVEN 13
We kick off this weeks Bardic Circle with a powerful tune by COVEN 13 called "In Heaven ".

"On December 7, 1997, I was sitting at the piano with a tune coming through. I (Amanda) grabbed a pencil and some staff paper and began to write it down as it came. The words "In Heaven, " along with other phrases, came with this melody."

Having no idea why "In Heaven" was so prominent in my mind, I just shrugged my shoulders and continued to write. It was not until 6-7 weeks later that I learned my dear friend, Michael, had passed away on DECEMBER 7, 1997."

-- For the complete experience download... In Heaven



Darragh Nagle
The second offering is a wonderful vocal piece (recorded LIVE at Heartland) by Darragh Nagle entitled "Gently Johnny"

"This very warm and sensual love song is a favorite around the campfires. It is an old English folk tune, with words that describe a man gently touching a woman, and as she tells him how much she likes it, she also starts giving him hints as to where she would like to be touched next. Things get more and more amorous as the song progresses, and I've seen many couples become passionate while listening to me play the song! Highly recommemded..."

-- For the complete experience surf to the Gently Johnny bardic circle page.



Slamfist
As a bonus treat we also offer a powerful and rockin' tune by Slamfist called "Wilderness Avenger ".

"This song is actually one of the first songs we created. It's about our pain and anger towards the polution that our earth is suffering... As a metalband we focus on the more 'darker' side of paganism. Using frustrations and anger as a fuel for our songs. This leads to highly agressive, extremely fast music.... The lyrics describe how nature turns into a sort of monster of destruction. A gigantic treeman with tendrils as arms, taking revenge on humanity for their wrongs. To picture nature as a gigantic monster slaughtering humanity is a way to make people see nature as a living thing. "

-- For the complete experience download... Wilderness Avenger

In Your Service,


WebCr26th., 2001

For OTHER Stories visit the Bardic Circle Index Page)


Major Festivals for 2001

Two weeks back we used our front page to celebrate our experience at the Southeastern spirit Gathering. This week we add another 'fest review to the Witchvox Feativals Pages...

New This Week!

Bridfest 2001
February 15-18, 2001 (Saint Petersburg, Florida)
A Review by Mari

Bridfest was a fun filled spiritual Festival, this is the second year for this festival and they keep getting better. The Pagan Cafe, run by Todd and Dawn of Flesh Under Metal, had wonderful breakfast and lunch food at reasonable prices. Brigit's Hearth Too was the nighttime coffee shop and they had a great drink called Dark Goddess. All the local people raved about it and said that they never miss a Friday night at the Metaphysical coffee night at Brigit Books which is located in Saint Petersburg on 4th Street and 11th Avenue.... (Full Review)

Witchvox Major Festivals Listings: For over 4 years TWV has featured wonderful reviews of large (and small) Pagan spiritual gatherings from all over the world. To check out Major festivals for 2001 click here. For an extensive listing of events in your area click here.

Pagan Perspectives
WitchVox Question of the Week!

Last week, we asked, How About Some New Holidays? --While there does not seem to be much support for another 'national-type" Pagan holiday-many groups already celebrating 13 moons and 8 Holidays already! -Pagan Pride Day seems likely to develop into an unofficial national day (or week) of recognition. Pagan Pride Day, springing up as it has from a grassroots level, seems to appeal to the get-involved-or-nor-get-involved-your-choice attitude of most Pagans more than any mandated celebration ever could. View the Responses.

This week we ask the question:

What Do You Support and Why Do You Support It? What sort of organizations or causes do you regularly support? Are they usually local causes or national/international projects? When serious First Amendment problems come up, many folks say, "Go to the ACLU"-yet one might wonder how many people giving this advice actually send money to the ACLU to help them respond to these requests. What criteria do you look at when making a decision to support or not to support some project, cause or organization? Given the situation surrounding Napster, do you think that people are basically greedy and self-centered and will take whatever they can get for free-or does humanity really have an altruistic streak which urges us to help others and support causes that we believe in? What do you financially or as a volunteer support-and why? Or why not?-- Post YOUR Opinion or view the Responses of others



In Closing...

We do not always know the ultimate results of our actions. A smile of encouragement, a sympathetic hand, one simple act of generosity can ripple out throughout the Universe. We do not always know the ultimate results of our actions, but we do know that we are creating our future today.

In Your Service,

 

Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2001 - February 26th.






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