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Weekly Update: 3/19/2001

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: March 19th. 2001
Times Viewed: 9,991

  Shining The Light On Hidden Hatred...
Greetings Witches, Wiccans and Pagans,

Since we posted the editorial on Tempest Smith last week, we have received dozens of pieces of email. The majority of them were supportive; some - especially those from a couple of evangelical Christians - were quite harsh in their criticisms. When a story such as this one is featured, we know from the get - go that we will receive some of each. What we didn't know was the number of people who would come forward and tell us their personal stories or the stories of their children. And it is some of the comments from those stories that we would like to share with you here. (All of the names have been changed to protect the identity of the posters.)

"I was touched by your article about the little girl who killed herself. My little 9 - year - old boy just got thrown out of the Boy Scouts because we are Pagan and Latin. The lady told me: You don't belong here, you are not wanted here, you don't fit in". It was very hard explaining, to my little boy that people will hate you just because or your race and religion." - Mother of former BoyScout

"I have tasted the bitterness of hatred, for no other reason than because I'm expressing what I feel inside me. Just as Tempest had. So I feel her pain, and pray that perhaps some day, people will at least try and understand another's path. And perhaps, walk a few miles in their shoes, before they judge." - Transitional Pagan

"I guess I am just too old not to remember what life can be like when a group of individuals does not stand up for themselves. Yes, I have fear about where this might lead, but to do nothing but cry and moan would be for me a failure to honor the diversity that is life. Diversity that is perhaps the most beautiful and sacred part of experiencing this world. A diversity that was denied when one more child's life was sacrificed to the gods of intolerance." - GPW

"I have to say that I am not Wiccan. Several years ago the word "Wicca" caught my eye. But as I was visiting a bookstore one day I was looking through the new age section and a book on Wicca just seemed to leap out at me. That book began my journey. I couldn't wait to find another book. I soon learned that witchcraft can and is a fascinating journey. It breaks my heart to know that paganism just can't be accepted by those who know nothing about it. I didn't know a thing and I am so glad that I read and educated myself. I'm not an expert on the subject by any means but at least I know enough about it to hold my own when it comes to defending someone and their religion. And that's because I took the time to read and learn and to be tolerant. I wish more people would make the same attempt. Again, I was touched by the article. I will certainly think about Tempest tonight when I go to bed and keep her mother in my thoughts." - Another Mother

Related Info

Initial TWV Coverage

Words in a Tempest
- by Lhiannon

"Five years ago, many of us probably wouldn't have known Tempest Smith. Five years ago, her interest in Wicca would have been called Satanism and her death would have gone down as an occult related suicide. Instead of funeral attended by mournful children mortified at what their own teasing had wrought, instead of notes on Tempest's coffin which read "I'm sorry if I said mean things to you", her family would have grieved away from the glare of the media struggling to make sense of it, and we all probably would have gone on blissfully unaware of this tragedy." - (Full Article)

Email Tempest's Mother
(via Brother-in-law)
bwbarbour@home.com

Cards & Letters
Denessa Smith
1573 LeBlanc St.,
Lincoln Park, MI 48146


"That was a very moving article. As a Pagan/witch I have suffered discrimination. I lost a job. Then got it back. I worry about crosses being burned on my lawn, etc.. I can only imagine being a child and facing the taunts of a pack of hateful (yes, hateful) peers. I would like to know the follow up of this story. I hope that some good can come of this... Paid for in blood, it is a pricey lesson. I hope that it teaches people to be compassionate." - KI

"What does this tell me? Well, those people who go to games and decide to pray out loud (against the Supreme Court ruling), need to do some more Bible reading dealing with these passages. Perhaps Parents need to spend Quality Time, not Quantity Time with their children. It is not how much time spent, but the effort that goes into the time spent that counts. Finally, Romans 13:10 really sums up the matter: "Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law". There is no real excuse for Christians to act the way they do, if they have taken the time to read the Bible." - DF

"If we all learned to accept that we aren't, nor were we meant to be alike, if we learned to be kinder to each other, to celebrate and not punish diversity, then hopefully we might not have to mourn for the all too avoidable sacrifice of sensitive, gentle children with so much to offer the world, on the altar of fear. It is that altar, and the religion of hate and intolerance, that is the true enemy, the true demon that is the foe of Pagan and Christian alike".

"Its that enemy that drives us to war with each other, and gloats when yet another young victim falls. If we don't destroy that demon, then surely, in the end, it will destroy us".

"Its my prayer that the death of Tempest Smith, like the Columbine tragedy, and the countless thousands of innocent sacrifices on the altar or prejudice, intolerance and bigotry, will one day wake all people of whatever faith, who love and cherish the light and the sacredness of our planet, all humanity, and all living things, and with one voice, we will cry out: "Enough.... NO MORE." - RD

Update on the Smith Family:

Denessa Smith would like to thank all of the people who have already sent her messages of condolences and hope. Her heart - felt wish is that Tempest's story will inspire, motivate and energize people of ALL religions to work on the problems of violence, bigotry and isolation that seem to permeate our society and infiltrate our schools. Denessa Smith welcomes cards and letters at: 1573 LeBlanc St, Lincoln Park, MI, 48146 or by email via her brother - in - law, Barry at (bwbarbour@home.com).

We would also like to thank George Hunter, the Detroit News reporter who wrote the story and who shares copies of all the positive email that he has received from Pagan and non - Pagans with the Smith family.

Should Hidden Hatred Should Remain Hidden?

While the emails this week were overwhelmingly supportive, in the interest of fairness, we offer the opposing viewpoints:

"I am not a Christian, I am not a pagan, I am one of the many who don't classify themselves. Yet when I read articles like the Tears for Tempest article, I can understand why George W. Bush does not consider you a real religion. You seem to be crying for attention like some radical group. Not even the KKK uses such disgraceful tatics as you've used in that article. You will not be able to reply to me at this address, no reply is really necessary. Your actions will be the only reply I need." - No Return Email

"I just wanted to say what a load of rubbish your site is filled with. Total and utter crap. The article about the gril who commited sucicide because of christian bullying, have you ever thought she may have killed herself because she was totally mixed up in the head, with this witchvox crap! Oh and let me make something clear i dident visit the site i STUMBLED apon it. TRUST ME! Yours christianly, " - Mr W

"In the case of Tempest Smith, if I read the article correctly, she took her life because classmates at her school were singing Christian hymns? Ooooh, now that is bad. Perhaps we should lisence every hymn so that we will know exactly which one killed her. Perhaps we should see if anyone remembers which one was sung that could have "pushed her to the limit" and made her take her own life. Perhaps we should start banning Christian hymns from being sung at all. Of course, all the while allowing songs that talk about shooting people, and killing people, and raping women and performing acts of public disgust to be sung, listened to and considered Top Ten hits in the schools. In other words, get real...What Wren fails to consider is that when taken as a whole, Christianity is truly the religion that is under assault, not Wicca. Values and beliefs that Christianity holds dear: Morality, honesty, integrity, respect, salvation, all of these values and more are under a daily assault by the mainstream media, by Hollywood movie producers, radio disc jockeys, politicians, and others...Tempest Smith's death, no matter how it came to occur, is a sad event that has caused a lot of pain for those who knew and loved her. My condolences and sympathies go out to her mother, Denessa Smith, as well. In my time of prayer and reflection, I will be sure to keep her and her family in my thoughts." - QCC


Regular readers will know that here at TWV we choose to address the sites that promote hatred, bigotry or bias towards Pagans by not addressing them at all.(See: When Somebody Hates You.) Depriving them of the attention that they so obviously crave while continuing to support and add power to our own communities is, we feel, the best sort of response that we could offer. In "When Somebody Hates You" and in many other places, we make it clear that we are not anti - Christian; we are simply pro - Pagan. Not all Christians - indeed not most Christians - hate Pagans simply because Pagans are not Christians. But the sad reality is some do. So in light of some of the criticisms leveled at us this week, we would make the following suggestion:

If those Christians - or anyone else for that matter - who feel that we are being unfair in OUR criticisms of some members of their faith would be so kind as to visit the following sites and there inform their Christian brothers and sisters that perhaps THEY are misguided in their hatred toward Pagans, this would be a nice first step toward more healthy interfaith relations. We'd really appreciate it.

  • Sound Doctrine - Paganism: "I will continue to speak out against witchcraft, wicca, paganism, satanism and other assorted "fruitcake" "religions". I will not be silenced by the evil minions of Satan and if you practice any of the above rest assured you are a HELPER OF SATAN whether you admit it or not!!!" - Tammy forgot to mention that she is willing to slander, lie, rant, rave. foam at the mouth and anything else but see the truth - she is filled with hatred and Pagans are simply a convenient target because no 'real' Christian will tell her that she is wrong. Either they don't believe that she is wrong or they are afraid that they will be labeled not a 'real' Christian if they question her about her views. If good Christians want to experience some real persecution, take on Tammy.

  • The Classic Child Sacrifice in the New Age: "As of the printing of this article, we were not able to ascertain whether or not Witches use the blood of aborted children in their sacrifices. Since the child is not considered human according to our liberal abortion laws, it stands to reason that such a sacrifice, protected by law, could be used by witches." - Gee. No proof needed. Since something could be true, it must be true. And if Jay here says Witches might be doing something - well heck, facts or no facts - they just must be doing it.

Sure, there are more, but if some good Christians will just work on these three for a while, we'd really appreciate it. Then we'll get together and talk about who is being unfair and hateful to whom again.

Pagans don't live in a vacuum nor do they live in little Pagan villages somewhere on the outskirts of your town. Pagans are your neighbors, your bankers, your attorneys and your relatives. Most Pagans have family members, friends, co - workers and professional associates who are Christians. We not only get along with them; we actually LIKE them. Some of them, we love. And they like and love us right back. So please work with us here. We thank you for your support.

Wrapping up a Wonderful Musical Experience
Bardic Circle at Witchvox Comes to an End... Mp3 pulls the plug

Witchvox and the Pagan Community extend our heartfelt thanks to the 33 musicians that participated in our "bardic Circle" series over the past 13 weeks. Pagan musicians have been celebrated at TWV since the day we launched back in 1997. To date, pages at Witchvox that feature musicians have been viewed over 1 million times. THIS WEEK we offer 3 powerful tunes and detail our thoughts on Mp3's announcement.

MP3.com Pulls the Plug: This past Friday, mp3.com announced that they would STOP paying musicians for their "Payback for Playback" program UNLESS they pay mp3.com 20 bucks a month (Full Article). This change takes effect on April 1 and will no doubt be a huge disappointment to 10's of thousands of musicians. Many are both angry and bitter about this announcement and feel they have been used, others were simply thankful for the free ride while it latest. Two weeks ago I stated that their 'ain't no free, it is either a marketing move or a way to build up a new business. Mp3's announcement sure looks like the later! Build up the traffic and then change the rules. To this Witch, offering to pay musicians when their music was played WITH advertising WAS a reasonable exchange. NOTE: A few Pagan musicians HAVE been paying the 20 bucks a month to divorce their work from mp3's ads, I assume that their new "Payback for Playback" program will be ad free.

Yes, this IS bad news for *most* Pagan Musicians... The mp3.com model WAS a wonderful option for the independent musician, beautifully executed, exposure was fab and there was money to be made. It is STILL a powerful option, but a major incentive was just removed.

WitchVox and Mp3.com - a clarification: Our intent with the bardic circle series was to offer both tunes and stories TO the community commercial free. Many musicians expressed both disappointment and anger that we asked to link directly to their tunes and NOT to mp3 and their advertisers in the bardic circle features. It is NOT our mission to promote the advertisers of mp3.com. It IS our desire to promote Pagan Musicians for free (no ads) to the Pagan community and expose their names to literally 10's of thousands in our community. After two weeks we decided that the choice of mixing Clairol ads/pagan music was NOT our call so we gave in and linked directly to mp3 pages and their ads. It is worth noting that we only requested 'clean links' for our bardic circle series, we HAVE linked to Pagan Musicians MP3 homepages in our Pagan Music section since the launch OF mp3.com and continue to do so.

On with the show...

Bardic Circle Week #13   (3/19/2001)
Musicians Tell Their Stories.

Emerald Rose
We kick off the final week of Bardic Circle at Witchvox with a powerful tune by Emerald Rose called "The Freya Shakti".

"I heard Arthur's chant at a campfire, and really was taken by the melody. Soon, I noticed that the tune and words would NOT go away - which was an indication to me that it was a really good song! I felt that the song needed another part to manifest the images that it brought to my mind when I heard the chant. When Arthur brought the song to the band, I began working on a set of lyrics to indicate the nature of the Goddess mysteries. I also wanted to write images that would show the universality of the archetype across time and culture. The original lyrics for the verse came quickly, but my wife and priestess Danae had problems with them. Originally, each line of the verse started with "I know a woman...", to indicate the mystery involved. Danae kept insisting that those lyrics were not "right". After several rewrites and some serious meditation, it was changed to "She is a woman...", to be a song more directly about the Goddess herself, and her associated images. "

- For the complete experience download... Freya Shakti



Mythic Magic
The second tune this week is by Mythic Magic called "Legend".

"The concept behind the song is a combination of many thoughts, X - files and a few other bits of inpiration. Basically pagans are more prone to accept that "Mythicical" creatures do exist. Some folk even feel like they have encountered some of these beings. We know they are real. Aside from the made for TV version of X - files, there is actually a real division that studies and keeps track of paranormal critters etc. There are at least a dozen known cases of documented paranormals recorded on file. So we wrote this song about that".

"We recorded it in our home studio and did all the mixing ourselves. It got played on the local radio station KLBJ for their Halloween show. We are slowly building our fan base in Austin TX and are currently working on a new CD and hopefully will soon have a real recording contract. Which has us exited. "

- For the complete experience download... Legend



Alchemy VII
The third offering is by Alchemy VII entitled "Aradia"

"I work as a Tarot reader at a shoppe in Minneapols called Enlightenment Inc. (Formerly The Shoppe of Enlightenment.) The owner, Becky, was doing some ordering. I saw a book on hereditary Witchcraft and it kind of jumped out at me. So I had Becky order it. It was about Italian Witchcraft and I have always been curious about my heritage being half Italian. I brought the book home and skimmed through it and put it downstairs where the band practices. I was trying to write a new song and went down to work on something. My hand brushed the keyboard and I hit an interesting couple of chords so there was a tune forming but I could not come up with a subject".

"Well the book fell off the shelf and opened to a page about Aradia an Italian Witch who was a heroine to the people of Italy during the burning times. So I sat down and put her story into lyrics as I felt she deserved a song and also felt very guided by her. The song fell together that night at rehersal, the band just took the idea and ran with it. I believe we took it into the studio a few weeks later. It is one of my favorites. I can not help but wonder if Aradia was a great, great, great, great, great... Grandmother."

- For the complete experience surf to the Aradia bardic circle page.

(For OTHER Stories visit the Bardic Circle Index Page)



Pagan Tradition Profiles at WitchVox
a Powerful Resource Gets Stronger

Do you know what Pagan tradition counts hard hats and battery-operated headlamps among its magical paraphernalia? What a Gorseddau is? You will after you've read this week's update to our Traditions section, featuring an article on Robert Cochrane's 1734 tradition by Chas. S. Clifton, and one on the British Druid Order by Greywolf. Thanks to all of those authors who have taken the time to share knowledge of their traditions, we are compiling a fascinating library of information on the traditions of modern Paganism.

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 others 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

A Call for Healing:
Hoof and Mouth Disease Affects Farmers, Hikers, Tourists, and Pagans

"Many sacred sites in Britain (including England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) are being closed to the public until further notice to prevent the spread of hoof and mouth disease. This includes public walking paths and many tourist destinations in the countryside, including sacred sites which are sites of pilgrimage and worship for many pagan travellers the world over".

"This outbreak comes after many years in which the disease was thought to be eradicated. Vaccination of livestock was halted in recent years since it was believed that hoof and mouth had all but died out. But, as in the United States with recent, sporadic outbreaks of diseases long thought eradicated (like polio, which has not seen regular vaccines of school children since the 1970s), it is clear that nature can harbor these harmful microbes for decades". - (Full Article)



Your Voice Wanted (April Essays ... All Ages)
    Topic: Tools
    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


Pagan Perspectives
WitchVox Question of the Week!

Last week, we asked, Why Are Kids Killing Kids? - And don't we wish that we knew? Your thoughts on this subject were expressive and sometimes very personal. Many recalled their own trials and tribulations in schools. Being 'different' has posed challenges - and brought much pain - to many over the years. Hoe a given society views those who may fall - or choose to walk - outside the box of mainstream thought, values or religion tells a lot about how such differences may be addressed. Unfortunately in a violent society where 'might makes right', differences are often met with antagonism or violent resistance. View the Responses.

This week we ask the question:

What Is The Appropriate Response to Bigotry and Religious Hatred? - What do you do when someone attacks you for simply being a Pagan? Would this color your perception of all practitioners of that religion? Or would you see it as the act of an individual who may or may not reflect the views of the entire religion? Many Pagans are Wiccans. Does that mean that Wiccans must 'forgive and forget' in order to abide by the Rede? Must we embrace in the name of 'interfaith relations' those who follow a religion that directly or actively campaigns against Pagans? Should we all just 'go along to get along'? When it is appropriate to say "Enough!" and when should we just let it go? What about those anti - Pagan religious sites? What do YOU do when someone hates you just because you are Pagan? - Post YOUR Opinion or view the Responses of others



In Closing... "The assistant principal asked if I was Wiccan. No. He leaned closer and asked again. No. He asked me four or five times, and I felt really bad -- by then I was crying. Finally, I gave in and said yes, just so he'd leave me alone. Then he asked me what was on my hands. I held them out. Do you know what a pentagram is? That star represents evil, he said. Did you think about God when you did this? asked my counselor." - (Brandi Black bear, Guest Interview for Seventeen Magazine)

Hang in there, Brandi. Keep the faith.

In Your Service,

 

Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice
Year 2001 - March 19th.






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