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Weekly Update: 4/23/2001

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: April 23rd. 2001
Times Viewed: 5,146

It's Maypole Week 'Round the World

Greetings Witches, Wiccans and Pagans,

You sure can tell a lot about a group simply by looking at their Maypole. Some groups are obviously pretty tightly focused and use their Maypole to work some serious magick. All the ribbons are color-coordinated, the same width, the same length (you can tell because all of the 'tails' at the bottom make a nice evenly hemmed tassel) and woven about the pole in a herringbone pattern that is as tight and neat as any found wrapped about the most prestigious Egyptian pharaoh's mummy. They probably held a practice session or two on the 'ins and outs' of Maypole weaving before the main event. One is tempted to take a peek under the layers-many groups build on the same pole from year to year, it being 'bad luck' to unravel the ribbons-to see the process involved in building such perfection. Are there some only semi-successful layers hidden under there? A year when they didn't have it quite as together as they do now? Perhaps that one quirky May when they let just 'anyone' grab a ribbon and run with it? While most Pagans also have an eye for structural beauty, we can't help but feel a bit uneasy when we see a Maypole-the epitome symbol of freedom and Springtide-the-sap-is-rising exuberance- that is executed with such precision and basically wound up just a little too tightly for our tastes.

The Maypole as we know it today is (historically speaking) a relatively new custom. The first literary references to a maypole come from a mid-14th century Welsh poem and a late 14th century poem called, "Chance of the Dice". This poem refers to the 'grete shafte of Corneylle' in London. For it to be mentioned at all demonstrates some wide-spread knowledge of the existence of maypoles, but how much earlier that the custom evolved before this reference was penned is unknown. However, we have our suspicions that many of the recently discovered rings which in ancient times were marked with log poles or beams may be the 'old memory' that sparked the renewed interest in erecting the things as came to be known as 'maypoles'.

Wherever and whenever they came from, Maypoles have been embraced, reviled and then embraced again. In the early American colonies, the more pious Christians banned the practice and at various times in England, the religious authorities there did the same. The weaving of ribbons seems to be a very recent addition as the earlier poles were decorated mostly with flowers and wild garlands ahead of the dancing about that was scheduled to follow. The 'kissing the lad or lass whom you might meet' however seems to have been as popular then as it is now. (Probably another reason that the more repressed factions looked upon it with such disapproval.)

We here at TWV like our Maypoles messy because-well, let's face it-sexuality and life (both elements reflected strongly in the Maypole symbol) can be quite messy as well. Life is full of surprises. Sometimes you find out that your ribbon seems to be shorter than everyone else's ribbons. How one deals with that can be a very interesting lesson. And then there are those times when one or two people want to 'take charge' of a situation. Trouble is, no one ever elected them to take charge of anything. And so there you have one or two people looking in disgust at all this chaos going on around the pole while everyone else seems to be quite happy dancing about with ribbons all going every which (Witch?) way. Messy. Freedom can be so damned messy, can't it? Abandoning oneself to one's bliss implies that one actually is prepared to do that abandonment part.

And that is why our favorite Maypoles are the ones that were woven by all of the adults, teens, old folks and children of the group. Some weavings are high and tight, but just as many are low and bumpy. The wide and wild menagerie of colored ribbons crisscross and overlap one another in mysterious ways. One could stand back and rightly wonder, "Whoa! What happened here?" It is only upon closer inspection that one can actually see what indeed happened there: Everyone wove their own ribbon, everyone did their own part and everyone was welcome to become a part of the whole Maypole package.

The short ends have been tied onto the longer ones. The bumps have been incorporated into the total design. And here and there amongst the lower ribbons, one can see the tiny fingerprint made by a small chocolate-rabbit-covered finger.

So this Beltaine, weave your magick, Pagans! Weave your wonderful, blissful and often messy real life magick. And may your Maypole reflect the power and wonder and diversity of the many and colorful peoples whom we call Pagans.

Photo credit: The forest shot to your upper right was taken this past week at CMA Beltane by Don Waterhawk. See our review just below. The Maypole to your upper left was sent in last year from Susan Lockwood of Rose Hill, Ohio (web: goldenseal_@hotmail.com). Thanks Susan!... NOTE: We are looking for group shots from THIS years Belatane celebrations, if you capture a good one of your group, send it in so that we can share its magick with the community.



CMA Beltaine 2001 Festival
Attendance:900+, April 12-15, 2001 (Fayette County, Texas)
Review by Don Waterhawk

This week TWV is honored to present a glowing review of what was clearly an magickal gathering of Pagans in Fayette County, Texas. Since Wren and I have experienced the magick of a CMA festival (Samhain 1997), we were anxious to receive this review. Don Waterhawk makes some pretty big claims in this review and only those that have experienced Don's truth know that he is a no BS guy. It's important to note that over the past 20 years Don has attended something like 200 Pagan festivals (all over the America), so you can be assured that his 'claims' are based from some real references. Our phone conversation with Don and Dee, upon their return last week, stirred our yearning to return to the magick of a CMA festival and the wonderful Pagans there in. Until then we will celebrate Texas magick via this wonderful review. Thanks Don and hugs to all our friends "deep in the heart of Texas".

Exerpt: Well... we packed; we left; and we drove 20 hours deep into the heart of Texas. What the hell were we thinking? Leaving our home in warm pleasant Florida to go to... Texas? I never knew that there were Pagans in Texas. I envisioned being welcomed by a group of people on horseback wearing hats, guns and maybe tie-dyed leather chaps. Wrong... ! We pulled onto the land, were warmly greeted by a young lady (not wearing a cowboy hat, no guns, and a tie-dyed T-shirt... we were safe), and told to follow the road and to look for someone wearing a radio. We did, drove onto some of the most beautiful landscape I have seen, found lots of people wearing radios, and four hours later decided that the drive was not as long as we had thought because of what we had arrived to. (For the full review ... CMA Beltane 2001)



You Call it May Day, We call it Beltane
by Peg Aloi

"Somewhere, I must have learned about May Baskets. I think my favorite third grade teacher mentioned them briefly in Social Studies class (she often talked about holidays and their origins), and then I wanted to find out more about this wacky custom. I was a precocious reader as a kid so it may have been almost anywhere: the Encyclopedia Britannica, Woman's Day magazine, maybe even Playboy. I don't recall where, but I know once I learned about the custom of giving them to someone special, I was determined to make one and leave it in secret for my favorite third-grade teacher, Miss V".

"I took a small box (about half the size of a shoebox) and glued lavender construction paper to it. I also fashioned a handle out of the same paper, gluing it to both sides. I cut out flower petals shapes in different colors and glued those on, too. Very tasteful, I thought. I cut some daffodils and lilacs from the yard, and put them inside. I had already asked my aunt if she could drive me over to her house, having cleverly looked up her address in the phone book earlier. (Now, these days we would call such behavior something less innocent than childlike admiration; we might call it, oh, stalking). As we drove up with the basket to my teacher's house, at around 6 pm, I found myself thinking, "Gee, what if she sees me?" I got out of the car, ran on tiptoe (as if that would make me less visible) and put it on her porch. As I turned, the front door opened".

"As luck would have it, I was busted: by Miss V. herself! She saw me, then the basket, and figured it out. She smiled and thanked me and said it was very sweet of me. I was mortified that she found me out. But then the next day in school, she made me a card with flowers on it. The front said "Thank you" and the inside said "for delighting my day with a May Basket." So I got to put that card on my desk like a little teacher's pet. Of course, I did not think that at the time; at the time I was simply very proud. And realized if I had not gotten "busted" she might never know who brought the May Basket, and I'd have my secret, but only that. This way, maybe the other kids would think of making May Baskets for someone: a teacher, a parent or grandparent. Of course, all I knew was I made something cool and gave it to someone special". (Full Article)



Announcing New Mythic Images website!

This past week rendered a very nice surprise.... Oberon is finally offering his amazing work direct to you via the web. Wren and I have seen the piece shown to right over at our friends the Waterhawks and to say it is stunning and magickal would be an understatement. The color is vivid and the detail is incredible... Thank YOU Oberon and bless you for this magick. - Fritz and Wren (announcement is as follows...)

Dear Friends,

The Ravenheart Family joyously announces the birth of our new Mythic Images website for devotional statuary and wall plaques! In addition to providing a state of the art commercial site, www.mythicimages.com offers in-depth lore about our statues. Although the library is still in progress, it has a bibliography and other interesting resources available now. Soon it will include prayers and invocations, and, we hope, contributions from people like you.

Please be sure to check Oberon's newest sculpture-- a spectacular rendition of "Odin the Wanderer, " straight out of the "Nibelungenleid, " complete with His wolves and ravens, and including a separate base! See all this at http://www.mythicimages.com/odin.htm The writeup for this powerful composite vignette was done by Diana Paxson, science-fiction/fantasy author and oracular Priestess of Odin.

We thank you for your loving support of us as a Family, and as a family-owned small business over the years. We hope to be your source of mythic lore and other visionary works for many years to come and perhaps unto the seventh generation.

On our new site, created by Dano Blanchard, you will always be able to see what new statues we have cooked up recently. You will continue to get quick personal service whenever you need a gift for a holiday or other special time, or when you just need to bring a little more magic into your own life.

Our site gives people who love our statues a chance to help us decide which projects we should do next. What deity would you like to see sculpted by our hands? What sacred image would you most like to place on your altar? See our "Previews of Coming Attractions."

Sincerely,
The Ravenheart Family: Wolf Stiles, Wynter Rose McCrossen, Morning Glory Zell, Oberon Zell, Liza Gabriel, and Jon Bazinet,

WEB SITE: www.mythicimages.com



Wren's Nest... Where the Action is!

Wren spends a great deal of time researching current news events that may be of interest or concern to Witches, Wiccans and Pagans. This page is a convenient way for the Witches' Voice to keep you updated on the latest news, commentaries and issues that effect our community.

Just up 4/22/2001: Starhawk checks in from Quebec City...

Radio Chat With Starhawk from Quebec: We received this from Sandy (F.O.T.E.) earlier today... "I actually had the opportunity to talk to Starhawk while she was there just getting ready to march for the Womens action with the web weavings on the fence and I included that in my latest edition of the "Talking Stick" a program for the Earth Centered community. You can find that at A's-Info Radio Project: http://www.radio4all.net/proginfo.php?id=2923 It will stream live audio for you". Thank YOU Sandy for this timely info.

If it relates to the NeoPagan community, chances are... You'll find it at Wren's Nest on the Web. If you are aware of a craft-related news clip, feel free to email Wren

  Updated Every day.. Updates on Wren's Nest happen every day and in most cases several times a day.



Announcements, Pagan theft, Auctions Thoughts

Greetings Witches, Wiccans and Pagans,

Typically Wren and I spend the entire weekend doing this update, it's a commitment we made to the community over 5 years ago and one that we are very faithful to. This morning we "broke stride" and attended a powerful talk by Rob Boston (Deputy Director of American's United - for the separation of Church and State). Rob was quite aware of the Neo-Pagan community and the Witches' Voice and thanked us for our support of AU.

Simply stated, the Neo-Pagan community doesn't generate the funds to have a lobbyist in Washington OR to fight legal battles of any size (see article). The good news is that we DO have strong allies. We highly encourage YOU to support both Americans United and the ACLU because the work they do IS in our best interests. Thank YOU Rob, Barry and the folks at AU for what you are doing for us all.

Professional Services AND Community Announcements VERY HOT:
Earlier this month we loosely launched two new modules for our networking pages, Pagan Services and Pagan Community Announcements. Last week we activated Pagan Professional listings at the local level and later this week, due to several requests, we will set up a national search page for this section.

Community Announcements: This is the other new module for our WOTW pages and we are still tweaking and defining this section so that it is indeed "correct and for the good of all". Over this past week we have redesigned this form to better define commercial/non-commercial AND local vs. national announcements. Look for more refinement of "pagan community announcements" over the next few weeks.

To list your locally based skill/service, or to make a community announcement surf to the WitchVox Forms Index and pick the appropriate form.




Pagan Auctions ONLINE - No Treasure Hunt for this Witch!
Our celebration of Pagan auctions two weeks ago rendered a surprising number of emails of concern. We listened and we learned much. This email inspired yours truly to go out and take a little closer look.

When I think of auctions, I (and apparently most of you that emailed us) think of personal treasures sold by our brothers and sisters of the craft. Not unlike a garage sale, extremely cool and even rare artifacts can be found if you hunt for them. Many of us do enjoy this... Wren is not a shopper per say (and certainly not a "mall gal") but she does love to "shop" our local Salvation Army store, as does so on a weekly basis. What she finds, "for a song", is just incredible. Financially, we are lower middle class and this offers us powerful options, we look good and feel good for the 1-3 bucks we pay per garment. In fact 90% of the clothes you see us in, here at TWV, ARE from the local Salvation army.

  • An Eye Opener: Until a few weeks ago, I knew little to nothing about Pagan Online Auctions. Earlier this week I ventured out, wide-eyed, on the net to hunt for goodies and treats... What I found was little of the sort, I was quickly hit by a "clue by four" and discovered that *most* "Pagan Auctions" were packed with listings by retailers. Interestingly, we received email from three different retailers, stating that they don't like the idea that they felt compelled to list THEIR products JUST TO COMPETE. Apparently wholesalers themselves are also jumping on this bandwagon, and this in my opinion is a serious breech of ethics to the retailers that they supply. All in all, a very uninspiring experience.

  • A Buyers Market: A surf of close a dozen Pagan Auctions, revealed that there a way more sellers/products than actual bidders (could this be BECAUSE of the domination of retail products?). If the min bids were below cost, this would be exciting, but I do know enough about what this stuff costs to know that there are few 'below cost deals' available.

  • Deals for Savvy Consumers: The good news IS that the astute shopper CAN find some real deals in these auctions, even from the retailers. The smart buyer is knowledgeable about what an item typically goes for and can smell a deal quickly. The other boon for the consumer is that you can find hand crafted original works by Pagan crafters that don't have a shop or web presence to sell their goods. Although this type of merchandise was a rarity in the auction sites that I visited, this scenario is a win/win for the creator and the consumer.

Is it OK for retailers to push their wares in Pagan Auctions? Of course it is, but do color this Witch disappointed, my neive eyes were opened big time this past week. My next visit to Pagan Auction sites will be one of a different mindset.

Pagan Auctions Online may indeed BE A TREASURE HUNT FOR YOU, in fact some sites I visited revealed that good deals WERE had. If so, go for it, as I just stated, it wasn't what I expected, I have learned much and it's worth noting that the above observations are mine alone... yours may differ.

Now, if someone were to put up a Pagan Auction sans "dealers", I know I would be interested! "Pre-owned" or "antiques only"? hummmm...




Givers, Takers and the Pagan Web:
Apparently, spamming and stealing have hit a new high on the pagan net. We were made aware of over a dozen cases of image and copy looting AND that ever disturbing trend of folks telling people what is good for them via email "promotions". Witchvox has focused on these issues over the past few years in an effort to increase awareness on "correct and for the good of all".

  • Spamming: I can't believe that we don't have laws in place to deal with folks that make assumptions FOR YOU via promotional email. Spammers are bottom feeders, plain and simple, they care little about your respect and everything about THEIR agenda. Witchvox has dozens of ways to promote shops, classes, websites etc. etc. YET, there are some that just steal names from TWV, despite clear warnings that this is both unethical and wrong. For a rare few this IS a one time learning process, for most this is simply a way to steal.

    Fighting Pagan Spam You hold more power than you may know. When YOU respond YOU are a potential customer or potential member of their what ever and NOT the BBWV (Big Bad Witches' Voice). If you are hit with pagan spam (commercial or NON commercial)... Fight back! Don't simply "bristle and delete", respond to them and tell them that you don't appreciate this type of unasked for, impersonal and unsolicted email and remind that you will INDEED remember their name. I like to remind them that *if* they do justify this behavior, I have a receive a mountain of spam daily that perhaps THEY are interested in. No spammer has ever taken me up on this offer to share. For more info on unsolicited Pagan email and community thoughts on the same, check out Evangelizing: That Pesky and obnoxious Spam from last year.

Note: For many reasons we don't encourage you to respond to NON-Pagan spam... WE DO encourage you TO RESPOND to Pagan Spam, be it commercial or non commercial. When you simply "bristle and delete" you give them the excuse of saying "We don't get many complaints".

  • Theft on the Pagan Web: This past week we also received a record number of emails of frustrations of Pagans that have had their material GRABBED by others in the community and presented on Elists or websites without even asking for permission to do so. In my opinion, the biggest crime about theft on the Pagan net is that ORIGINAL material doesn't happen because of this. To me this is a travesty because there is a ton of material to write and countless images to create. This past week we received a record number of requests to increase awareness on this troublesome trend. Witchvox has fought looting of Pagan images and words since our inception and offers several essays on this topic. Check out our "Notes from a Webcrafter" Series and hit the many articles linked from the side bar.

    Many are Mad as hel': Charles Arnold has asked us to post an awareness piece, that vents his frustration (and that of others) at finding his work on an elists and websites without his permission. This new addition to "notes from a Webcrafter" Series entitled "Pagan Writers, Artists and Musicians Band Together to Protect Copyright" and can be consumed by clicking here .

In closing, allow me to, once again, thank all of you who have helped to make the Witchvox networking section an incredible resource for us all. Most importantly, I am honored, once again to thank the Witchvox Sponsors for helping to defray the cost of software and connection charges here at TWV. Without their unselfish support, and actually putting their money where their mouth is, the Witches' Voice on the Web would have died years ago. Bless YOU big time.


Webcrafter - The Witches' Voice
(April 23rd., 2001)

Photo credit: The image to your upper right of yours truly was taken at PhoenixPhyre Festival last month by WitchVox staff Photographer Don "Two Eagles" Waterhawk (web: waterhawkcreations.com). Thanks Unky Don.


April Adult Pagan Essays Now UP!

This month's essays illustrate once again how much thought and consideration Pagans put into their religious practices. Thanks to all of these authors for taking the time to share their thoughts and ideas with the community!
  • Tools: There are some great insights and innovative ideas here on the uses of tools and just what a tool is/does. Read them here: Page ONE - TWO - THREE - FOUR - FIVE

  • Pagans and the Environment: Been feeling as though your lifestyle could use a few adjustments in honor of Earth Day? Then read these essays for some excellent suggestions and inspiration. Find out why right here: One and Two

NOTE: Do You have suggestions for Adult/Teen Essay topics... If so Email them to: Diotima


Teenage
Pagans

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April Teenage Pagan Essays Now UP!
As we enter the 21st. century, one thing is clear, Pagan Youth will lead the way. They are embracing this spiritual path with a passion and conviction like we have never seen before. We are honored to feature the wonderful Teen Essays written by our Young Pagans.

  • Tools: (April 2001)This month we asked what tools you use, why you use them, and what their appropriate use is. You replied with good advice and magical happenings...read all about it here: Page 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

  • Paganism and the Environment: We also asked for your thoughts on where Paganism and the environmental movement intersect. Two of you responded with passionate pleas for Pagans to pay more attention to the state of the environment. Read these essays here: Page 1 - 2

  • Traditions: Also, we thought we didn't get any teen essays last month, but it turns out there was one that had gotten lost in cyberspace (or possibly in Dio's computer!). So we belatedly present (with thanks to Rhea Foxfyre for her patience and understanding) this essay on Traditions
Other Young Pagan Resources at TWV: WitchVox Teen Essays MAIN Index - Young Pagans in YOUR Town (6, 758 listed) - Young Pagan Covens and Groups (307 listed) - F.A.Q.'s of the WitchVox Teen Section - Teen Article Submission Topics! Make YOUR Voice Heard! - Teen Pagan Web Sites (267 sites listed!) - Click HERE to submit YOUR Teen Pagan Site.

Pagan Perspectives
WitchVox Question of the Week!

Last week, we asked...

What's On Your Altar? - Thank you to all who responded! We really enjoyed reading the postings on this topic. From elaborate setups to simple 'these are a few of my favorite things', Pagan/Heathen altars are as individual as the Pagans and Heathens who erect/find/honor them. 'Sacred Space' is indeed a wonderful thing! View the Responses.

This week, we ask the question:

What Are The Greatest Challenges That Pagans Face Today? -We've come a long way, babies, but we still have far to go. What do you see as the greatest EXTERNAL challenges that Pagans face today? Intolerance? Lack of exposure? (No skyclad jokes, please!) Lack of a public Voice in politics or society? That said, what do you think are the biggest INTERNAL challenges to Paganism? The search for identity? Lack of leadership or training? Interpath squabbles? Questionable or tenuous religious history? Is there a serious lack of consensus as to the definition of Pagan/Wiccan/Witch/Heathen throughout the Pagan communities which has us mired down in semantics--or is there simply a lack of tolerance amongst ourselves for the differences that we do have? Have we "met the enemy and he/she is us"? - Post YOUR Opinion or view the Responses of others.



In Closing...

"The revival of modern western magic and the renewed interest in 'native' cosmologies and shamanism as found among the Amer-Indian cultures, for example, shows that a 'mythic backlash' has taken place.. Clearly we humans require domains of mystery; we need to know where the sacred aspects of life may be found and how to understand the intuitive, infinite and profoundly meaningful visionary moments which arise in all of us at different times." - N. Drury (The Shaman and The Magician)

In Your Service,

 

The Witches' Voice Inc.
Monday, April 23rd., 2001






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