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Weekly Update: 3/5/2001

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: March 5th. 2001
Times Viewed: 5,664

Helping Our Own...

Greetings Witches, Wiccans and Pagans,

It seems as if Mother Gaia had a few things to say this past week. Happily, aside from a few broken windows and some downed trees, our Pagan brothers and sisters weathered the rocking and rolling of the Seattle earthquake with nothing more serious than some understandably frayed nerves. We want to thank our many contacts and friends in that area for emailing TWV to let us know that they were indeed okay. Do let us know if there are any Washington state Pagans who may need some assistance or have magickal 'replacement' needs. We will be more than happy to help get the word out on any such relief efforts.

Even we earth-oriented Pagans sometimes forget that 'terra firma' is really a misnomer. What we think of as the solid ground beneath our feet is really just a set of rock plates floating on a bed of liquid magma. If you would like to learn more about earthquakes and see the areas where they most often occur-which on every continent just about every day- surf on over to the U.S. Geological Survey, Earthquake Hazards Program. Here you will find listing and maps of the most recent quake occurrences, earthquake hazard probabilities for the California region, tips for being prepared for an event and other useful information. Although modern scientists are still pondering on how to predict earthquakes in the future, one man has developed a prediction theory based upon the writing of the ancient past.

Mike Lee writes: "The appearance of eclipses were interpreted by ancient Hawaiian priests as a warning from Madame Pele, their volcano goddess, of an approaching earthquake or volcanic eruption. Madame Pele's sacred name of Hina-i-ke-ahi, meaning "moon in the flames, " was derived from the red hue of a lunar eclipse. A casual study of astronomy and plate tectonics suggested that a scientific correlation of eclipses and seismic events should be tested. Using the astronomy computer program Voyager II (1992, Carina Software) and Fowler's text The Solid Earth (1990, Cambridge Univ. Press), the penumbra of past and future eclipses was geographically tracked to identify locations along fault lines which were then investigated for seismic activity. The following are representative of preliminary findings: Earthquakes reported for Hawaii (21Jun82 and 18Nov75) and Peru (26Sep96) followed lunar eclipses by about 480 days. Earthquakes reported for Mexico City (30May84 and 10May94) followed solar eclipses by thirteen days. More research is needed to determine if seismic factors indeed coincide with alignments of the sun, earth, and moon. While the eclipses cannot explain the accumulated geological stress that drives seismic events, triggering mechanisms may be related to such factors as ocean tides, mantle shifts, and electromagnetic effects. Eclipses represent a simplified approach to investigating possible theories." On Mr. Lee's Earthquake Prediction Page, you can find his prediction based upon separate lunar and solar methods for this year, some more distant future predictions and a chart on how accurate this theory has been shown to be thus far.

Goddess forbid that you should ever have to experience a great natural disaster. While in many cases, it is clear that Gaia is going to do what Gaia is going to do that does not mean that we cannot take charge of our destinies in some ways. What would YOU do in an emergency? One of things that has been proven to save lives and everyone can easily learn to do is CPR. Book mark the site. Print out the information in wallet-size version available and keep it where you can find it in an emergency. Put an extra one in your vehicle. Schedule a practice session with your family or coven. Your local Red Cross agencies offer workshops and if you have a festival planned, you might consider adding a CPR/Disaster Management workshop into the schedule. Given that regular services might be disrupted for weeks or even months after a disaster, natural or herbal medicines might be the only things accessible. Learn about-and stock up on-things such as tea tree oil, which can be used for so many conditions, injuries and ailments that it really can be called one of Nature's miracle gifts to humanity.

Here in Florida from May until November, our news stations continually repeat public service announcements during the hurricane season. Every Floridian is urged to assemble a hurricane kit. You can use the same guidelines if you want to do something similar for your family. If you have spent time in a long line at the grocery store with everyone else who waited until a storm was just a few hours away, you'll save yourself a lot of aggravation if you plan ahead and just do it now.

Having tried to contact some of our own friends in the Seattle area after the quake last week brought to mind another project that someone or some group might want to consider taking on for the community. If some disaster struck an area of the country, how can Pagans let other Pagans (and their families) know that they are okay? If several of the more highly-trafficked Pagan web sites could get together and form a sort of "Disaster Notification Buddy-System", this could be accomplished very quickly. In the case of TWV, we would try to contact Lhiannon over at Draknet if Florida had a statewide emergency and ask her to list messages from Florida Pagans who are reporting in. In return, we would do the same for the Texas Pagans (or any other state) here at TWV. In the case of more localized situations, Pagans from one part of the state could help forward messages from the Pagans in the part of their state that was affected. Something to think about and we're sure that something like this would set a lot of worried minds to rest should we ever need to implement it.

Notes from a Pagan WebCrafter

Taking Care of Our Own...
A Fair Exchange of Energy

Greetings Everyone,

With AvatarSearch financially on the ropes, issues such as commercial vs. non-commercial, outside support, cost of running "big sites" and the like are back in our collective consciousness. (for the latest info on the AvatarSearch situation and how YOU can help check out... Avatar Announcement ).

In a world full of hype, spin and hustle it can be difficult for the Pagan surfer to filter things out. I have spent the past 30 years of my life as a retailer in a specialty products industry (rock n' roll instruments) and have held just about every position therein (from cleaning bathrooms to President of an 8-store chain that did 16 million in annual sales). Selling and Marketing have been a personal fascination of mine for years. Does this make me an expert? Hardly! Is this my personal opinion and is it "colored" by my Witchvox experience? Absolutely! Nevertheless, this week I would like to share my thoughts on issues of commercialism, marketing and how it relates to the NeoPagan web. I have also added an "out take" of this weeks cover image for fun (thanks Tia).

Before I start, allow me to thank the thousands of Pagan websites that DO offer info and services to the community and pay for it themselves. It is their gift to you. If you like what they present we highly encourage you to email them and thank them. I can promise you that a simple email "thank you" will blow them away.

Commercial vs. Non-Commercial: Although many in our society (and in our own community) tend to blur the line between these two factions, both secular and ethical laws are very clear on the difference. If you are selling anything on your site and are not a non-profit org (following strict guidelines), you are running a commercial site. This is neither right nor wrong but the rules are very different. McDonald's may have a playground attached but even to the casual observer they are burger joint and NOT a day care center. They offer this "community service" as a marketing move so that they can sell more food. Nothing wrong with this, unless they try to claim, or convince YOU, that they ARE a community service. (NOTE: Not being profitable or not selling "enough" products doesn't make a site "non-commercial".)

An Exchange of Energy It's real important to note that when you hit a site and are faced with advertising, products, store links or commercial banners (regardless of WHAT the site it claims to be) an energy exchange HAS just taken place. You just DID PAY them by consuming their advertising or by offering your presence as a consumer for their products or shop. It amazes me as to how many folks are oblivious to this reality.

Pagan Shops... No Goldmine There
Over the past few years we have seen an explosion of Pagan Shops Online . The ".com" revolution of these past few years have inspired many to go for it. Pagan products ARE a specialty category and trust me when I say that this is a very tough category to make a living at. Pagan Online Shops such as Snapdragon Gifts - Triple Moon - New Moon Occult Shop - Magickal Needs - Azure Green - Amystical Grove/Whispered Prayers (arguably the busiest) and several others dominate this market primarily because they WORK REAL HARD at taking care of their customers, have established a trust with their customers and embrace classic business/marketing techniques. As a lifelong retailer I can only respect the afore mentioned shops (as well as others). Hard work and concentrating on customer satisfaction will always make a difference, in fact it is usually 'the secret of their success'. I believe that if YOU do the same, you will build a strong business as well.

Outside Financial Help: Some in the Pagan community have solicited financial aid from outside the community both directly and indirectly. This has never been our preference here at TWV, in that our fundamental belief is that the Pagan community can take care of itself. (see Wren's thoughts just above and my Reality Check from 1997). As a community we ARE big and we CAN be as strong as we desire to be.

Message Boards One of the easiest ways to generate traffic is to add a message board(s). Many sites that sell products and advertising have message boards and to some folks these boards become their life, their home away from home. These message boards become their own community and *if* that ends, it is typically devastating to those involved. In scenarios such as this, the right thing TO DO is to support the shop that does offer this valuable netorking feature.

Big Websites: One the many issues discussed this past week is that "big sites" are expensive to run... Sites such as AvatarSearch, WP Resources and AMG/WP, to name a few, DO generate some serious traffic... This IS a fact. When a site gets popular, their web host starts charging the site owner more... How much more? That depends on the traffic they are generating. Wren and I painfully remember entering our third month online as TWV and getting socked with $600.00 in 'extra" traffic charges.

TWV webnotes April 4th, 1997 (www.witchvox.com/twv/webnotes9704.html)
The Sucker Punch... "On Thursday we got slapped with a major dose of reality... Our Internet service "provider" (ISP) labeled us a "Super User on Server 7" and is "excited by our growth" (read: they see a goldmine in usage charges). We immediately ran a spreadsheet on our usage charges based on our ISP's daily usage log... Rough calculations indicated that over 8 gigabyte of data will be "hit" or downloaded by those that check us out this month... As with most ISP's, they allow us 1 gig and then charge us 4 cents a meg after that... Anybody got a calculator? The horrifying fact is that we are staring down the barrel of a $350.00+ usage bill for the month of March and it looks like February will be close to $250.00 (we really hope we suck at math)".
We panicked and started hunting, within a month we found a new home at cetlink.net and for the next three years they charged us 32.95 a month. In that we were generating 40 gig a month of traffic THIS WAS A GIFT. This past May Cetlink called us on our traffic and Witchvox almost went down for good. (see the Witchvox Home Page 5/15/00 for details).

So, if you ever hear the claim... "We offer unlimited bandwidth/traffic"... Do know that this is essentially a lie. If this WERE true, we'd be hosting Witchvox there.

There ain't NO FREE! Free email addys, Free Webspace, Free email lists, Free products etc... These are typically ways to expose you to advertising or marketing moves to build a business. Someone IS paying for this. Even Witchvox ain't totally free, it is for 99.99% of you but, like most of you, Wren and I are not rich folk (one small income, zero savings), we DO count on at least a dozen sponsors a month to help us with communication and operation charges (Witchvox generates 60-80 gig of bandwidth per month - ask YOUR ipp or isp what THEY charge for this kind of traffic).

We HAVE gladly invested thousands of dollars of our own money into this organization. Last year I sold a 1964 Martin D-18 (a vintage guitar) and a Mackie 1604 audio mixer in an effort to purchase desperately needed "used computers" just to keep the hardware side of WitchVox going. I will miss this gear but the 2,000 bucks did enable us to take advantage of some REAL good deals from the company I work for.

The Bottom Line (for us) Our mission is a simple one, we do this TO serve the community and TO educate the secular world on who we are what we do. We have always been aggressive about minimizing expenses, we have never taken a salary or a penny for advertising. We do this because we want to, because we think it matters. We have been blessed for 5 years with enough donations to pay for much of our communication/office expenses. There are those IN this community that believe that we are worth supporting. When this stops... So will we... This is not an emotional statement but a reality that we've communicated for the past 5 years.
WitchVox has been online doing some serious traffic for 4 years BECAUSE of financial support by our precious sponsors. Wren and I can't afford to do a site/org like this, neither can our sponsors... together we can, together we have. We could never thank our sponsors and supporters enough.
We ARE thankful that this site has networked hundreds of thousands of Witches, Wiccans and Pagans. We ARE thankful that we have been a part of an international awareness campaign that has rendered our ways as respectable to hundreds of thousands on the Planet. We ARE thankful that we have inspired trust in so many and we ARE thankful that so many can feel that they are respected here.

I close this week's webnotes with a plea from an editorial I did back in 1997

"Support ANY Pagan Organization/Website that you Believe in"

There IS allot of good work out there in our community, there are many wonderful websites and local groups and orgs. If you use a site allot, do the right thing... pitch in, find a way to help, either financially or with some hard work.

It's all about a fair exchange of energy. To give really IS to receive, we have "smile lines" to prove it.

In your service.


Webcrafter - The Witches' Voice
Monday, March 5, 2001


Pagan Trads at WitchVox - Two More UP!
Pagan Traditions at Witchvox has just completed its first moon cycyle on the 'net and has become a very popular section (viewed over 20,000 times to date). Big time community thanks go out to the traditions that have shared overviews of thier path. Look for more trad profiles in the weeks to come.

This week brings us two new tradition essays for our Traditions section: the Prytani Tradition by Ceridwyn Pheryllt, and Grove of the Unicorn by Urania.

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 Week #11   (3/5/2001)
Musicians Tell Their Stories.

Wildcraft
We kick off this weeks Bardic Circle with a powerful tune by Wildcraft called "Deities of Ancient Rites ".

"The words in this mix are from some radio preacher going on about the sins of pagans. Satyr Oz edited and remixed his sermon, making his message a little ambiguous and is supposed to be a critique of the christian anti-pleasure mentality."

"The message I guess is that to understand the craft of the wild, one must acknowledge that we are beasts and surrender to the internal animal desires. Unlike the christian mythology that doing so leads to destruction and damnation, we put forth that it is the only way to save our planet and our species. Only by recognizing that we are animals and part of nature can we realize our true role on this planet and ascend to our true potential as a species."

-- For the complete experience download... Deities of Ancient Rites



RavensWing
The second tune this week is by RavensWing called "Mists and the Stone ".

"This song epitomises the world of Nature, from a Druid perspective. The connection of Man and the Earth, which is all but forgotten in this era of clear-fell logging and mass destruction of resources on an indescribable scale. This song aims to make a reconnection to the past whilst stirring an awareness in the hearts of those that choose to listen."

-- For the complete experience download... Mists and the Stone



Vampire Nation
The third offering is by Vampire Nation entitled "Craft of the Union"

"This is the first song I've ever structured myself. When deciding to work with Fred for this cd, we realized how in tune we were to our understanding of magick and spiritual studies. The lyrics to this song hold a deep meaning to me. Actually, I think anyone can identify with the words. It's about letting go of someone, or even another side of yourself, in effort to follow the path of you new spiritual realizations. I was thinking about this while outside one esbat night, and the magick flowing in the darkness around me was like a blanket to comfort the pain of loss I felt. Not everyone understands or can relate to our choices to be witches and seek out more of the self inside. I've had people close to me unable to think of me as anything but crazy. I've sacrificed different sides of myself for a greater purpose. This song is for anyone who has faced loss in sight of their different perspectives. And to those who can't understand, I suppose this song is for them."

-- For the complete experience surf to the Craft of the Union bardic circle page.

(For OTHER Stories visit the Bardic Circle Index Page)



Pagan Perspectives
WitchVox Question of the Week!

Last week, we asked, What Do You Support and Why Do You Support It? --Pagans give to many and varied organizations. Financial support is difficult for some, but they have found other ways to contribute to their favorite causes. From offering goods or services to providing transportation to simply writing letters in support of the organization's mission, Pagans are reaching out to help make the world a better place-one person, one Pagan at a time. View the Responses.

This week we ask the question:

"Why can't they be like we were, perfect in every way?..."

Whassa Matter With Kids Today?--Maybe nothing, but you couldn't tell that from the main media news stories or from the often disparaging remarks overheard (overread?) about today's youth in the Pagan newsgroups, message boards and chat rooms. Are the Pagan youth of today nothing but shallow thrill seekers intent on finding some easy spoon-fed answers? Do they come off as spell hungry monsters looking for a quick fix? Are they really unable to delve into the deeper mysteries simply because they are young? "Why can't they be like we were, perfect in every way?" Pagan Adults: What trends and tendencies do you see manifesting in the Pagan youth of today? What would you LIKE to see? Pagan Youth: What about the treatment often received by young seekers bugs you the most? Is it justified? Do you feel 'stereotyped' as a young person? Adults AND Youth: What are the benefits and drawbacks of inter-generation communication?--Post YOUR Opinion or view the Responses of others



In Closing...

"Everything I speak of here begins with a person; but in every case, I see those needs building community.. I know that such an approach-homely, immediate, piecemeal-amounts to moving by inches. But it is movement by way of real projects, here and now, and at least each inch we gain is real ground won by the rights of the person and the health of the planet." - Theodore Roszak; Person/Planet.

In Your Service,

 

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






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