Weekly Update: 3/12/2001|
Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: March 12th. 2001
Times Viewed: 15,938
|Every written and spoken word takes on new meaning. Every aspect of their home life and school interactions are scrutinized. Every pundit on every talk show and every editorial writer from the New York Times to the Rocky Mountain News has a theory, a commentary or a soaring inspirational piece about the tragedy. And in the end, a new Christian martyr, Cassie Bernall, is the subject of a book and the name 'Columbine' is forever branded into American history.|
And we learn that guns don't kill people; people kill people.
If a young girl dresses in black, she is teased and taunted at her school and presumed to be a Goth and interested in Witchcraft. (She was.) And if she resolves not to go to school one day with a gun, but decides instead that she will simply end her pain by taking her own life, well-- that doesn't make her book material really; it makes her just another teen suicide.
What may make this case different from the first is that twelve-year-old Tempest Smith's tormenters ARE the Christians. And their weapons of choice were not guns, but "Christian hymns".
Will the notebooks and computers of Tempest's classmates' be seized and searched now? Will their CDs be examined for subversive anti-Pagan lyrics? Or will their parents be questioned about their family's prayer life at the local police station? Will they be sued for not exerting proper parental control over their vocalizing offspring?
"The last thing we want to do is make our students feel guilty, " said Lincoln Park Middle School Principal Robert Redden. "But, maybe there is a lesson to be learned here: that we should strive to treat each other with more kindness."
No, it doesn't look like Tempest is going to be elevated to Cassie Bernall status anytime soon. But, "maybe" she will make an interesting lesson plan.
"Gunman targeted Christian girl because of her beliefs." BIG story there! And why not?
"Christians targeted girl because of her beliefs". No big story there. And why not?
And we learn that Christian hymns don't kill people; children of another religion who can no longer endure being mocked with Christian hymns day after day kill themselves.
And Pagan shop owners like Jamie Cain of Walker, Louisiana, aren't driven out of towns by Christians marching into her place of business and shouting bible passages, such as "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live", either. Christians don't actually perpetuate hate crimes against Pagans; they just don't want 'that kind' in their town of pretty white churches.
And we learn that one person's death threat is just another person's scripture passage.
No big story there either. No CNN Crossfire. No Larry Ling Live. No "Breaking News Story' on MSNBC or Fox.
America must be under a spell.
What other reason could there be for the lack of incensed Democratic congressmen and women showing up on every television talk program decrying the rising tide of intolerance directed toward their Pagan-American constituents?
Why else would the great liberal editorial voices of the New York Times and The Washington Post not be lifted up in outrage?
What else would prevent President George W. Bush from calling for an official investigation-- or at least calling Tempest's grieving mother to offer some sort of comfort?
And what else can possibly account for the eerie silence of the American people-a people who swear to uphold the rights of liberty, freedom and justice for all-when confronted by the hidden hatred that haunts Pagans-- and hunts gays-- and eliminates the names of black voters from the rolls.
America must really be under a spell.
And it is a spell that only real Americans can break.
In Your Service,
The Witches' Voice Inc.
Year 2001 - March 12th.
The staff and friends of the Witches' Voice extend our heartfelt condolences to Denessa Smith, mother of Tempest Smith upon the untimely passing of her daughter. As pagans, we believe that life goes on albeit in another form. reunited with our loved ones- both in the otherworld and in future lives- we will live again, laugh again and love again.
Sources: TEASING AND TAUNTING LED GIRL TO END HER LIFE; George Hunter, The Detroit News (3/7/01)-http://www.detroitnews.com - WITCHES PROTEST WALKER RECEPTION; Bob Anderson, The Advocate (3/8/01)
What you can do: If you are a Pagan parent and your child has experienced harassment, taunting or excessive teasing at school because he/she is Pagan: Write a brief description of the incidents, what the school (include school info and contact names)has/has not done about the situation. Send your letter (and/or email) along with a copy of this editorial to your state and national government representatives. Include your legal name, address and phone number; write that you are a voting constituent; most importantly, tell them exactly what you expect them to do about it. This is a serious issue that demands serious action.
|Contact Info added Wednesday, March 14, 2001|
Update: Wren spoke with Denessa Smith today and she is very touched to hear how the Pagan community has embraced both Tempest and her story. Denessa is a very open and spiritual woman and she is doing as well as can be expected. She is proud of her daughter and hopes that Tempest's story will help in some way to change the situations that all too many of our youth face in the schools today.
She would very much like to receive cards and letters from the Pagan community. You may send your condolences, letters or personal notes on how the story affected you and what you may be planning to do to help promote tolerance to:
Her address is: Denessa Smith - 1573 LeBlanc St., Lincoln Park, MI 48146
| Which Came First...The Bunny Or The Egg?...|
Greetings Witches, Wiccans and Pagans,
Ostara and Mabon (down under) are on the horizon. Another change of the seasons, another turn of the Wheel is immanent. Wren is simply a sucker for bunnies (see That Fluffy Bunny just might... Kick your Ass! from 1999). She loves this time of year because the stores are loaded up with fuzzy bunnies and chocolate bunnies and everything-bunnies. Did she mention chocolate bunnies? (Mmmmmm...white chocolate bunnies are the bestest!)
The phrase "Mad as a March Hare" refers to a well-known habit of hares at Springtime. At the first hint of warm weather, wild hares can be seen acting rather strangely; leaping and boxing in the fields at moonlight as part of their mating dance.
The good folks at Full Circle thought we could best start our year off with a little wildness; something to celebrate the Spring time and the young life that we will soon see all around us. To that end, they begin the year with a Full Circle Charity Event they call "March Hares", so named in honor of the life affirming hare.
If you go to the March Hares Store section of the website you will see a wonderful collection of toy bunnies, frogs, cows, bears, and chicks. When you purchase a toy for March Hares, it will then be sent to a child currently housed at a Battered Women's Shelter. What a nice way to kick off the 'new season'!
WebCrafter's Note: The image to your upper right is on of the Toys that you can send.
Easter gets its name from the Teutonic goddess of spring and the dawn, whose name is spelled Oestre or Eastre (the origin of the word "east" comes from various Germanic, Austro-Hungarian words for dawn that share the root for the word "aurora" which means " to shine"). Modern pagans have generally accepted the spelling "Ostara" which honors this goddess as our word for the Vernal Equinox. The 1974 edition of Webster's New World Dictionary defines Easter thus: "orig., name of pagan vernal festival almost coincident in date with paschal festival of the church; Eastre, dawn goddess; 1. An annual Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, held on the first Sunday after the date of the first full moon that occurs on or after March 21." The Vernal Equinox usually falls somewhere between March 19th and 22nd (note that the dictionary only mentions March 21st, as opposed to the date of the actual Equinox), and depending upon when the first full moon on or after the Equinox occurs, Easter falls sometime between late-March and mid-April. (Note: This year Ostara falls on March 20.)
For more Ostara/Equinox lore, see You Call It Easter, We Call it Ostara by Peg Aloi and for a Northern Pagan version, see Ostara by Kveldulf Hagan Gundarsson and Gunnora Hallakarva.
| Pagan Summit Offers Details to Community.|
"The first national Pagan Summit was held over the weekend of 2-4 March 2001 in Bloomington, Indiana. The goal of the Summit was to allow people who lead nationally-focused Pagan organizations to meet face-to-face and discuss issues facing the national Pagan movement".
"Articles on the Summit are planned in many national Pagan publications. We look forward to sharing our experiences and having them enriched by the ideas of others in the movement. Thanks to all for your support!"
Full Press Release: See Wren's Nest.
The Summit Site: http://www.bloomington.in.us/~pen/summit.html.
Hopping Around The Net...
If you have found yourself being tantalized by the promo ads now running on TNT for The Mists of Avalon, you are certainly not alone. "The Mists of Avalon is the story of legendary Camelot, as seen through the eyes of the women who wielded power behind King Arthur's throne. Angelica Huston will play Viviane, the Lady of the Lake, who tries to preserve the pagan beliefs of Avalon. Julianna Margulies will portray Morgaine, Arthur's sister, who becomes Viviane's pawn in the quest for control of Camelot. Joan Allen will play Morgause, Caroline Goodall will play Igraine, Samantha Mathis will play Gwenhwyfar, Edward Atterton will play Arthur, Michael Vartan will play Lancelot and Hans Matheson will play Mordred." And just when we thought that the era of 'ren clothes' was finally over! (Oh well, Wren thinks she might still have a pair of leather gauntlets still buried in the back of the closet somewhere.) If you are a Camelot fan, this month in Ancient Heritage Magazine, there is good article about the legend of Arthur. Check out: Arthur: The Real and Future King?.
Another new Pagan 'zine in the spotlight this month is Asian Pagans Monthly. "The inauguration of the Asian Pagans Monthly is timely for future development and dissemination of modern Pagan ideas in Asia. Not only is this a platform for the Asian Pagans' voices to be heard, it is also a defense mechanism to justify countless of misconceptions about the Pagan path. Television shows, from Sabrina to Charmed, have more or less ignited curiosity in our Asian brothers and sisters to investigate further about the craft. To this, Asian Pagans Monthly acts effectively as an educational paper to guide young minds in their journey."
"Asian Pagans Monthly supports the growth and maturity through resourceful articles and thought-provoking discussions. And sticking to that aim, we also hope for unity and solidarity. If 1960's The Pentagram was the United Nations for witches in Europe according to Doreen Valiente, then Asian Pagans Monthly is indeed a unity mouthpiece for Pagans in Asia. Enjoy."
| Three Days Left to Sign the Letter...|
Just a reminder that the last day to sign the Open Statement To President George Bush is March 14th. As of 3/8/2001, at 10:30 p.m. EST, there have been 3, 484 signatures received and added to the letter. (The letter went up here for the first time the evening of 2/25/01.)
Excerpt: "Ladies and gentlemen, we ask you to unite Americans in freedom and equality. This country and its resources are for everyone regardless of race, religion, sex or age. We ask that our tax dollars be given to initiatives, programs and organizations that do not discriminate. The signatures on this letter represent the many congregations and clergy in sympathy with us in the United States today. We represent all 50 states and territories. We represent men, women and children of all walks of life. We represent business owners, property owners, and a variety of bi-partisan voices. Most importantly however, we represent votes."
Check it out if you haven't already and do as ye will. Community Letter To The President
Counting Our Chickens...
If you're one of those Pagans that likes to 'stand up and be counted", then there is an on-going Pagan Census that you might want to click your data into. Kecia writes: "Why do a census? When I first started out on my path I felt very alone. As the years passed I met other pagans, Wiccans, heathens and witches. I discovered that we shared that sense of loneliness in our beginnings. It is my hope that others will find this website, and that it helps them to realize that they are one of many and perhaps it will encourage them to seek out others. Also I am curious, just how many of us are there? It would be interesting to find out. Who knows what the future will hold?"
Our down-under friends who are planning Mabon festivities might find this site devoted to Wheat Weaving and Corn Dollies interesting. "Objects made from dried straw are known to have been made in the earliest civilizations, practiced throughout Europe, Asia and South America. Harvest rituals occurred in every country where grain is grown in order to please the spirits of the crop. Abstract shapes or religious symbols made from straw were believed to insure prosperity and good luck in the next growing season." And did you that " Folklore says that blue bells flowers were witches' thimbles? This may explain why many thimble manufactures decorated the band of their thimbles with blue bells." For a bit of sewing folklore, surf on over to Sewing Tips and Trends.
Now if you are having a hard time keeping track of all of these events and Pagan goings-on; if you're life is just one big sticky-note; or if you actually are trying to keep that New year's resolution to 'get more organized', here is a little treasure that may help you to do all of that. The Seasons of the Witch 2001 Calendar Planner comes as a spiral-bound Goddess-send to busy Pagans everywhere. Along with the usual Pagan dates of interest and astrological data, there are sections in which to list your daily appointments and some nice original artwork. The volume is heavy and solid and the spiral binder keeps the book open while you write. This really comes in handy when you're busy counseling someone on the phone while brewing up a batch of Ostara oil and playing 'Okay, who took my sage wand?' with the cat all at the same time. (Oh, you have days like that, too?) Anyway, we like it, we receive nothing from anyone to mention it here and we do so simply because we think it's a pretty handy product.
Pagan Essays for March 2001
These just up...
- Planting the Seeds: The Future of Paganism: Here's a fascinating group of essays which look at the future of our religions from very different viewpointspractical support, teaching the children, and questioning whether our theology is strong enough to survive at all are a few of the takes presented on this subject. Read them here: Page ONE - TWO - THREE - FOUR - FIVE - SIX
- Traditions: Our only submission for the Traditions topic is titled "Get Your Snake Oil Right Here" and in it, the author states that he has yet to find a bona-fide Neopagan/Wiccan tradition. Find out why right here: Snake Oil
Your Voice Wanted (April Essays ... All Ages)
What magical tools do you use, and why? From athames and chalices to drums and amulet bags, Pagans often manifest the energy of their magical and spiritual work into concrete objects. What do you see as the place and appropriate use of tools in magic?
Topic: Pagans and the Environment
Do you make an effort to live your life in an environmentally-friendly manner? Do you think Pagans generally do enough to minimize environmental damage, or do you think "all this fuss about the environment" is overdone? Send us your thoughts on where Paganism and environmentalism intersect.
Adults Submission Deadline: April 8th ... Publication Date: April 15th
Young Pagans Submission Deadline: April 1st ... Publication Date: April 8th
For a complete list of Future Teen Topics: Click HERE ... For Adult Topics: Click HERE
| Bardic Circle Week #12 (3/12/2001)|
Musicians Tell Their Stories.
Faerie Elaine of the Silver Stream
We kick off this weeks Bardic Circle with a powerful tune by Faerie Elaine of the Silver Stream called "The Lady of the Lake".
"I perform in concert and participate at "Womens Circles, " an annual week-long women's gathering held each August at Rowe Conference Center in Rowe, Massachusetts. In 1999, the theme of the gathering was the "Lady of the Lake." I thought it would be fun to write a song for the event. I did a bit of research on Vivian, and although I had read many of the Arthurian legends, including The Mists of Avalon, I had forgotten that the Excalibur sword that Arthur used actually belonged to the Lady of the Lake. Eclipse had emailed me some reminders of the legend, including the image of Vivian's sister, Morgaine LeFey, a Faerie, who used her dreams, thoughts, intentions and visions to sew the Magic of the sword into its sheath. The reason the sword worked so well for King Arthur was because he believed it was magic and made him invincible. This song is an example of the power of our minds that anyone can access through their thoughts, prayers and focused intentions."
-- For the complete experience download... The Lady of the Lake
The second tune this week is by Patrick Ginnaty called "Sirens ".
"I started this song in my 20's (early 70s LOL) but had no melody. I wrote the melody...the Sirens voices singing, in 1994. They say that the lure of the Siren's voices is irresistible."
-- For the complete experience download... Sirens
The third offering is by blackQueen entitled "Silentium"
"The main inspiration from Silentium came the Dario Argento films "INFERNO" & "SUSPIRIA". In the story, there are three witches who hire an alchemist/architect to build for them special dwelling places to practice their magick, run their covens, and also retain secrecy from public knowledge to avoid further persecution. The alchemist has to make a vow of silentium to the witches, swearing he will never divulge their secret reasons for having these buildings constructed.
His vow is their insurance that they will not be hunted down and destroyed by the fearful, judgmental herd that fears & doesn't understand thier ways & practices, and wants them wiped out. When the alchemist spills the beans, the witches catch wind, and all hell breaks loose."
-- For the complete experience surf to the Silentium bardic circle page.
(For OTHER Stories visit the Bardic Circle Index Page)
| Gaia Consort Recording in Full Swing|
Seattle's own Gaia Consort is in the studio again recording their second release, Secret Voices. Recording began February 19th, at Audio Logic Studios (http://www.audiologicinc.com) and should take until the end of May to complete.
The husband and wife team will once again be joined in the studio (as they are occasionally in live performance) by drummer Dan Ochipinti, bassist Dan Mohler, keyboardist and producer, Jay Kenney, cellist Betsy Tinney and violinist Heather Alexander.
Bingham and Tinney have produced three CDs; The Burning (1993), Angel and the Hanged Man (1995), and Gaia Circles (1999).
Find out how to get YOUR name in the liner notes, as well as access to Gaia Consort's recording logbook, information about the band and sound clips from previous releases at http://www.gaiaconsort.com . Listeners in the Seattle area can see Gaia Consort at their second fundraising concert, Saturday, March 17th at the Sunset Hill Community Center, in Ballard. Suggested donation is $6 to $15 for the show. For information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (360) 862-8762. (for the complete press release surf to our page for Pagan Music Press Releases for 2001)
In Other Music News: Famous Pagan musical vet, Wendy Rule will be doing a brief tour of the US in a couple of months... Ginger and Lynda of "Dream Tribe" are in the studio working on their next CD. Look for more details here at TWV in the weeks to come. For the latest in music news and press releases visit the popular visit the WitchVox Pagan Music Pages
| Pagan Perspectives|
WitchVox Question of the Week!
Last week, we asked, Whassa Matter With Kids Today? -'Not too much' was the clear answer here. While the youth expressed some real concerns on the lack of respect accorded them simply because of their age, they also wisely note that they are often just as likely to view adults with a somewhat jaundiced eye. Many folks who have children themselves or work with youth expressed frank admiration at the maturity levels that they find manifesting in the next generation. Hope shines brightly as we look to the future. View the Responses.
This week we ask the question:
Why Are Kids Killing Kids?--And what can be done about it? Is violence so prevalent in societies today that it is inevitable that it will trickle down to our kids? What do you think are the causes of violence, uncivilly and alienation in today's world? What roles-if any-do you think the availability of guns, the 'cult of individuality, ' the changing family structure or the fast pace of life play in these situations? Should schools keep the same hours as the workplace so those children are not alone for hours until the parents return from work? Are parents responsible? Should the right of all children to personal privacy be breached in order to curb the violence of some? Do Pagan philosophies offer any suggestions on how to help mitigate the problems facing a society in which violence is an almost daily occurrence?--Post YOUR Opinion or view the Responses of others
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...
Pantheacon Pagan Convention
February 16-19 2001 (San Francisco, CA)
By D. Jewel St. Michel
"I was excited to attend this year, and I had just gone through a dot-com layoff and had lots of free time to really experience it all at my leisure. There were more authors and speakers and workshops than ever before, and I found myself spending the weeks before the con trying to plan how to spend my time while there. I did manage to attend several great lectures, a really good ritual or two and a terrific panel workshop on divination. I also noticed much higher attendance and a huge festival marketplace that was amazing and fun"! (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.
"When we can see ourselves as part of a larger whole, one that extends beyond our life spans into the infinity of the cosmos, our singular lives take on meaning. This connects us to the continuum that many spiritual teachers urge us to seek- our relationship to the force of life itself."- (Carole Kammen and Jodi Gold; Call To Connection)
In Your Service,
Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2001 - March 12th.
Location: Clearwater¼, Florida
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