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Weekly Update: 3/26/2001

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: March 26th. 2001
Times Viewed: 5,867

It's Tribal Time!
(Smiles from a Fab Weekend)

Greetings Witches, Wiccans and Pagans,

This weekend, Fritz, Peg (escaping from the frozen tundra of Boston) and Wren attended PhoenixPhyre in Land O' Lakes, Florida. While this is definitely one of our favorite Pagan festivals already, Wade Berlin and the entire Phoenix Festival staff once again proved that vision, organization and good old fashioned hard work are the key elements to any successful event. What days before was a relatively quiet country getaway off the county road was transformed within hours into a bustling Pagan tribal village. It is hard to believe that this encampment is not a permanent home for the hundreds of individuals, families, merchants, artists, musicians and wise Elders we met there. It reminds us of those old folk-tales in which enchanted towns magically appear for a few hours out of the mists of time before once again vanishing without a trace to who knows where.

Although we missed the performances on Thursday night (darn day job!), we did get to reconnect with the members of both Elven Drums (Wheeeee!) and The Raft. We sure do a lot of hugging at Pagan festivals! We saw lots of old friends from previous events and of course, each time that we go, we make some new old friends to look for at the next one. Making that face-to-face 'people connection' is the major draw for us. Sitting behind a computer keyboard for the many hours each day that the maintenance of a large site like TWV requires tends to leave us feeling a bit 'hug-deprived'. Getting back to Nature and back within the circle of humanity at a Pagan gathering recharges our emotional batteries and renews our pledge to serve such wonderful people as these.

In the older tribal model, the entire community was responsible for the well being and success of the village. In today's world, we often as individuals and as families and even as Pagan groups are focused in so closely upon our own model of 'success' that we do not see the entire village that has grown up around us. Because the goals that we have set for ourselves are narrowly defined and the culture is so fast-paced and soulless, people who want to 'get ahead' in the world often spend all of their energy on just a few things: those things that will aid them in attaining that goal. Distractions are kept to a minimum by keeping the rest of the world-with all of its problems and general social 'messiness'-outside of our own little circle. That sort of focused-on-a-goal-and-not-much-else attitude works in the corporate business world that expects one to sacrifice a lot in order to get ahead. It is often touted as one of the 'virtues' of highly successful people. Tunnel-vision-like focus is highly productive and in the realms where high productivity is highly rewarded, separatism works extremely well. And it works well when well. But things don't always work out so well now do they? And that is when we often find that our comfortable non-distracting cubicle of a life has no doorway to the village around us.

What if one day you woke up and found out that you had just been diagnosed with a painful, disabilitating or terminal illness? What if in the afternoon, you learned that your money is all gone and you and your family are going to be put out into the street? What if your child went to school in the morning and never came home again? It is when things aren't going well that we often realize that we ourselves have never seen a family that we personally know out in the street or spent hours just listening to another person talk, cry or rage at the death that is hunting him/her down or sat up all night worrying along with another parent when a child is missing or late or seriously hurt. We haven't seen these things happen before to anyone that we know- and now it is happening to us and we don't know how to talk about it or who to talk about it with or even if there is anyone else out there to talk to at all. All we see are the rows and rows of separate cubicles that make up the average town or city and the people who 'live' in them going about their business like nothing has happened.

If you have ever said, "Why is this happening to me?" or "I want my life to count to for something." or "I didn't know that anyone else ever felt this way, too- or believed this way, too- or had experienced something like this, too", you have realized at some level that you are missing (perhaps yearning) for a tribal connection. In a tribe, everyone knows what happens to everyone else, has seen what happens to everyone else and then goes through the experience with everyone else. They know that sometimes bad things DO happen to good people, not just to you. They know that people reach out to help to other people and that they will help you, too. They know that people get hurt, get sad, get lost, get found, get married, get abandoned, get sick, get well, take their own lives, either find their own way back or need to be searched for. They know because they have seen it, experienced it in the lives of the other people in the tribe. It is no longer experienced as if the 'Universe' out to get you personally anymore, but simply as another of the joys and the sometimes consequences of life on this planet. It puts things into a larger perspective.

Pagan festivals give us a taste of what tribal living could be like. Of course, few of us are willing to give up our separate residences for communal living nor our individual mobility to be tied down to one geographical spot. But the 'concept' of tribal perceptions, of a tribal "consciousness" as it were-IS something that we can nurture by maintaining ties with the people that we meet there. It is an oddity of human nature that we often tell complete strangers things about ourselves that we have never told to anyone else. Most of the time, we do so because we don't think that the people that we DO see often would understand or even care about these deep things inside us. How very sad for all of us to miss hearing about the very things that could bring us together in the bonds of happiness or sorrow or fear or insecurity which we all-in our most honest moments-know lie within ourselves as well.

The Power of Tribal Healing...

The story of Tempest Smith points out the power that is inherent in the tribal consciousness. Many, many people wrote to us out of their wish to do something about violence and hazing in schools, their desire to express what the story evoked within them as human beings and, most often, they wrote about the similarities of events in their own lives. What was to Tempest and her family a private pain became the pain of an entire group of people. Once out into the open, people who might otherwise have never told their personal story to another suddenly realized that these things DO indeed happen to other people. They are no longer alone in their pain, no longer isolated by their fear that no one else could possibly understand how much these things affected their lives. Opening up to the knowledge that others share a similar experience also opens up the possibility of sharing in the tribal healing process. We know that your comments, cards and letters to the Smith have helped them in this most difficult time. We also hope that being able to share similar stories with others has helped some of the writers (and those who read the stories) to be able to begin their own healing process. We are not alone. We are part of the tribe of humanity. We can be there for each other if we dare to consider what that might mean. It can begin with us.

We have added another page of YOUR comments, stories and thoughts in response to the Tempest Smith story. We thank all of you who have emailed or written the Smith family, George Hunter (Detroit News reporter of the original story) and TWV with your support, ideas and deepest held feelings. Thank you for sharing your gifts with the tribe.

Joyce Rasmussen Passes Over: We just received this info from Terry (Heartland) as we were putting up this weeks update and will offer more info as we receive it. "For those of you who don't already know. Joyce Rasmussen crossed over @ 9:10 this morning. I'm sure that anyone who has Buckland blue book has seen her mentioned in it. She did have one request that I'm not sure if it can be done or not. She is going to be cremated and wants her ashes spread at the camp". - Terry "Hawk" Brown (The Witchvox staff would like to offer our sincerest regrets to the family and friends of Joyce Rasmussen)

Photos: From Top to Bottom, Fritz and Wren, Waterhawk elevated to Elder, Unky Wade, The Raft table with Starwind, and Elven Drums. The photo in the "For the Record section just below is of (l-r) Dee, Sue, Wren and Peg. All photos by Fritz Jung (photo of Fritz and Wren was taken by Skip). It's worth noting that we would need pages to fully credit, detail and thank all those involved in this incredible weekend. Visit the Phoenix Festivals Website for a complete listing of presenters and stay tuned to Witchvox for more photos in the weeks to come.

WebNote: For upcoming festivals and events in YOUR area, check out the Witchvox "Pagan Events" pages or visit our Major Festivals Page for a listing of the larger gatherings.

Notes from a WebCrafter
Some Quick Notes & Another Free Tune

Greetings Everyone,

As Wren has just mentioned, we "ran away" to a festival over the past few days and are presently scrambling to catch up. These little jaunts to gather with our brothers and sisters of the craft are invaluable to our state of mind and a wonderful way to recharge the batteries. Ya just can't beat hitting a Pagan Fest to fill up with light and fill up is just what we did. Phoenix Phyre 2001 again, broke attendance records and a splendid time was had by all. Here are some quick thoughts and some quick notes.

WitchVox Myths: Ya gotta know someone to be featured here! NOT TRUE! (and never was) At the Phoenix Phyre festival this weekend we were reminded of the many misconceptions of the what and why of the Witches Voice. I have reposted our "for the record" notes just below, to help dispel many of the Witchvox myths that we keep running into.

Last week we wrapped up our "Bardic Circle" series here at TWV, but do know that we will be featuring a few more artists in the future, we presently have commitments by the Raft, Dream Trybe and tentative offers from Wendy Rule and Elven Drums.

A Thank You Gift from Us to YOU...

Allow me start off by apologizing for falling out of sync with this series. In an effort to keep the press on with Bardic circle, I have neglected to keep up with my promise of our give-a-way of my own CD "Celtic Feast of the Dead". To catch up I will be releasing tone tune this week and one next week.

I bring this project back in line with a tune called Color Me Pagan... Many folks have cursed me for writing this one. Cursed? Moi?... Apparently the problem has been an infectious melody line. This tune was one of the quickest to write but one that went through several different versions when I was recording it.

Based on a simple vamp of Am/F/E7 (capo IV), Color Me Pagan is just one of those patterns that you can play/sing/solo over for ever. One day I had Gary Beckman over and he kindly added some lead guitar parts, by soloing over the tune several times. I took the parts, cut them up, and threw them back into the computer, some actually worked in harmony together.

Take this tune as a gift from us to you. For more details... Click HERE

Wren and I usually spend most of the weekend on the weekly update, this weekend we took for our own. Thank YOU for allowing us this break and thank you for allowing us to do this work.

In Your Service,

Fritz Jung (WebCrafter - Witchvox)
March 26th, 2001

For the Record...

There are many things we take for granted here at Witchvox. We naively believe that because we have stated something a few times over the years that the word IS out. Recent email indicates this is not true. Apparently there ARE myths about who we are and what we do. We must constantly remind ourselves that we DO get thousands of new surfers here every week. So... For the record (in no particular order)...
  • The Witchvox staff does NOT take a penny for the work we do, never have and never will.

  • The basic Witchvox staff is Wren and myself with part time help from Diotima, Peg, Christina, Daven and Steve. We do this work as a way to serve a community that we both love and respect.

  • The Witches' Voice is funded by the community ONLY. We encourage and accept sponsorship donations from those that deem this mission of value. We use these funds to pay for communication costs and for donations to events/situations in the community that need help.

  • Witchvox has no desire to enter into any commercial co-venturing schemes with vendors inside or outside of the community. We like the look and feel of a "No hustle, No Banner ads" website and after receiving thousands of pieces of email thanking us for choosing this 'refreshing' approach, we believe that this has been a wise decision.

  • Witchvox does not teach Wicca or Witchcraft, nor do we promote our personal spiritual beliefs on this site. We offer some of the more popular tenets to those outside of this community in an effort to help them better understand who we are and what we do.

  • Witchvox is ABOUT supporting and celebrating the work OF the local communities. We are constantly approached for interviews by some of the most famous publications in the world. We defer 85% of these requests to Witches', Wiccans and Pagans at the local level.

  • The Witches' Voice will never be about titles, degrees or fame. Our focus will always be related to the work itself. We live in a world of spin, idle promises and hype. It is our observation that the work will ultimately speak for itself.

  • The Witches' Voice IS a community effort, we don't pay writers or famous names for articles. Even *if* we could afford to do this, it's doubtful that we would do it. We are a site by the community... for the community. All are welcome to submit articles and always have been. Notable Pagans are encouraged to share their wisdom and experiences.

  • The 'pages viewed' stats on our splash page are indeed real. They have been faithfully culled from our server logs from day one. They indicate a running daily total of both and stats are added daily and stats are only added at the end of the month. At present we are pacing at close to 35,000 pages viewed on a daily basis. If you prefer to work with the concept of "hits" (page elements) you can multiply that number by 5, if your preference is for actual visitors, divide this number by 5.

  • Witchvox offers no special treatment or promotion to individuals or groups of the Neo-Pagan community (old guard OR new guard) solely based on fame or longevity. The Witchvox focus IS on the present day and the present way. To us everyone IS special and valid in their own personal beliefs. ALL you have to do to get "featured" here is to do something for the community. We don't care if you found this path last month or 25 years ago. We do "lean into" individuals and groups that consistantly work FOR the community. Current selfless work, for the good of all, means everything to us.

  • The Witchvox staff have no desire to impose our own personal morals on anyone. 'an it harm none, do what ye will' -- We DO maintain a strong sense of ethics. We encourage honesty and direct contact by anyone that has concerns related to what we do.

  • We have a rich history of answering 99% of our email on a daily basis (we sure have received a mountain of it). We do not participate in "he said/she said" gossip and do not respond to background bitching. Our email addresses are accessible via links at the bottom of ALL of our pages

  • All members of the Witchvox staff use their real names and are out of the broom closet.

  • Witchvox is produced on Macintosh computers.

  • The WitchVox offices are located in Clearwater, Florida in a small apartment (yes! we are poor renters like most of you).

  • We make lots of mistakes and don't mind it IF you point them out to us. We do live to render this site as accurate as possible.

  • The Witches' Voice offers Pagan Political Neutrality to those that practice the Rede, the law of three of a similar compatible code of ethics. We have no desire to referee local WitchWars (nor are we qualified to) BUT highly encourage those at the local level to learn from these lessons and realize that we are stronger when we are united. NO one or group is less valid on this path, many are simply different in their approach. Again, the work will ultimately speak for itself.

The bullet list above comprises some of the misconceptions and myths about the Witches' Voice both on and off the web. We will cite others in the weeks to come.

As always, our goals are to create solutions that are both valuable and useful to the Pagan community. Both and are here for your news and networking needs. Use them with our love.

Pagan Perspectives
WitchVox Question of the Week!

Last week, we asked, What Is The Appropriate Response to Bigotry and Religious Hatred? - Common sense-knowing when to stand your ground and when to walk away- seems to be a preferred approach to many who responded to this question. Responding in kind seems to be a waste of time; yet finding a response that preserves one's own dignity is a challenge that many seem to think should be considered. The 'victim' mentality definitely does not rest easy upon the shoulders of most Pagans and more educational materials for the general public as well as strengthening the networking between the various Pagan communities are things that we can do now to help combat the effects-if not the cause- of bigotry and religious hatred. View the Responses.

This week we ask the question:

What Are Your Views on Abortion, Euthanasia and Suicide? - What are your personal views on the issue of abortion, euthanasia and suicide? Do you consider these as individual and personal decisions or are they moral, religious or ethical 'crimes'? Does society-or the majority view (religious or otherwise) have the right to 'regulate' such actions or does the individual have the personal 'right' to decide whether to have an abortion or take their own life through euthanasia r suicide? CAUTION: These topics are very emotionally charged ones. Please do not attack or respond directly to another's posting, but rather simply state your own opinion on the matter. Anyone who wishes to debate the topics further via email with others can state so in his/her posting. Postings directly attacking another individual will be removed. - Post YOUR Opinion or view the Responses of others

Some important notes from last weeks update...

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

In Closing...

Nothing thrills us more that hugging and chating with the amazing folks in this community. Thank YOU Wade, Dianne and the many wonderful folks that work so hard to make Phoenix Phyre a festival to remember. We are honored to call you friends. We are honored to be a part of all of this.

In Your Service,


The Witches' Voice Inc.
Year 2001 - March 26th.


Witchvox Central

Location: Clearwater¼, Florida

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