Weekly Update: 5/28/2001|
Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: May 28th. 2001
Times Viewed: 4,705
|Feeding Our Young...|
Greetings Witches, Wiccans and Pagans,
Still huffing and puffing from her sprint up the three flights of stairs, Wren refills her coffee mug and heads out to the porch. The birds and squirrels and fishies and turtles that live in and around the little pond are scoffing up their morning breakfast treats and Wren doesn't want to miss a minute of it. This week (There is always something new happening at the little pond!), the moor hen has been introducing her brand new chick to the big wide world. Judging from his reaction, he is obviously not quite sure how all of this is going to turn out as yet. He is still trying to figure out how his feet work.
For those of you who have never seen a moor hen ...well, let's just be kind and say that they are not the most attractive birds on the block. Dark, short and stubby and with a face assaulted by a bright orange-red honker of a beak, moor hens swim and paddle around like most ducks. It is only when they come ashore that one notices the final outrageous incongruity of moorhendom. Where webbed feet would appear to be called for, Nature seems to have made a serious design faux pas. For there at the end of yellow-green legs are these long spindly and flexible toes. Chicken toes. The toes of a chicken that never quite seems to grow into his or her feet. And at five inches high, the moor hen chick is looking down at his five-and-a-half inch toes wondering just who thinks this was a good idea. Perhaps someone will realize the mistake and issue a recall?
None of Nature's mothers (and occasionally the fathers chip in as well) could be more solicitous or caring for her young than the Gallinula mom. As the little chick lifts his big feet high-so as to avoid tripping on his own toes, we'd suspect- and minces along the shoreline, Ms. Moor Hen runs back and forth bringing tasty tidbits for her youngun. You see, Little Chick hasn't quite figured out yet what is and what isn't good food. He picks up empty fresh water clamshells and bits of trash which the sea breezes blow in from the lots across from the little pond. Wren has never seen Ms. Moor Hen roll her eyes at such innocent stupidity though. She just grabs a bit of what IS good for the newbie and patiently offers it to him. Again and again, she seems to say, 'No. Not that one, little one. THIS is what is good for little moor hen chicks to eat."
Watching the moor hens and their chick is both a touching and a poignantly sad experience for Wren. For she can't help but the contrast the feeding of the young moor hen chick with the increasingly non-motherly (or fatherly) treatment that most newbie Pagans receive from their spiritual elders. Unlike the atmosphere around the little pond, there is often a LOT of eyerolling going on in the chat rooms and message boards when our own Pagan 'chicks' enter the scene. Often told what NOT to eat, but seldom brought anything specific which would be good for their future growth, many Pagan newcomers (of any age) are apt to be left to scavenge for themselves. And should they happen to pick up what many would deem the literary equivalent of an empty clam shell (You know the authors/books that I'm talking about here.), the conversation turns quickly into a tirade about the emptiness of the clam shell-leaving the Pagan chick none the wiser about what WOULD be good to eat right now. Chicks need to be taught-better yet, they need to be shown-what is 'good food' and what is not. It is a time-consuming duty to nurture a chick. It takes patience. It requires a sacrifice of energy. It may take some rooting around to find just the right tidbit to pass along. It takes a mother's heart to patiently feed a clueless chick and it takes a father's selfless protection to chase away the egrets that are five times his own size (and with a bill as long and as sharp as the average athame) to keep a yet-clumsy chick safe. (These things have not so much anything to do with gender as they do with dedication and attitude.) So far it is the only way that Nature has devised to grow a healthy 'chick'. And somebody has got to be willing to do it.
Later on in the season, the little moor hen chick will have finally come to grips with his oversized feet and be able to find food that is good to eat on his own. Mr. and Ms. Moor Hen will then remind the not-so-little-anymore chick that it is indeed time to become independent and go about his own life. Perhaps to have little chicks of his own. But today is not that day. Little Moor Hen Chick still needs nurturing and protecting and to be hand-fed a few lessons on Life. Until he is ready, the moor hen parents will continue to gently admonish him when he makes a wrong tidbit-choice, will continue to show him by example how to walk with his new gangly feet and will continue to protect him from forces that he is yet unable to defend himself against.
As the dark, short and stubby Ms. Moor Hen once again rushes along the shore to bring yet another tasty morsel back to the little chick-who stands impatiently shifting his tiny softball sized body from one long-toed foot to the other-she is the epitome of all of the things that, through her example, he himself may one day become. And Wren is sure at this moment -at least in the eyes and heart and mind of one little chick- that no Goddess ever looked so beautiful.
The Witches' Voice Inc.
Moor Hen Photo: was captured yesterday morning (5/27/2000) during Wren's daily feeding freezy of the critters. The little chick's feet really ARE as large as its body is.... and YES, these ARE the actual Moor Hens that inspired the article just above (no stock footage 'round these parts eh?).
| Tradition Profiles at Witchvox|
(Viewed 48,336 Times)
A Powerful Resource Gets Stronger
This week, we are blessed to share yet another Pagan tradition profile with the community.
Blue Star Wicca By Cat Castells and Amy Douglass, Priestesses
Blue Star Wicca is a centuries old Pagan tradition founded in the mid-1970s. Originally established as a single coven in Pennsylvania, Blue Star evolved over the next decade or two into a collection of more than a dozen covens all across the U.S., all working in what is essentially the same framework and therefore recognizable as a tradition.
History: The ancestral coven of Blue Star was founded by a fellow named Frank Duffner in 1975 and many of the folks who entered the tradition in those early days are still practicing. It would be Frank's future wife and Priestess, Tzipora Katz, and her second husband, Kenny Klein, who would have the most influence on spreading the tradition to students across the country.
In the course of their career as traveling folk musicians, Kenny and Tzipora established small Blue Star study groups all over the country, teaching students during their brief visits once or twice during the year and later continuing to train via audiocassette, phone and mail. These days, the number of trained Blue Star initiates who live scattered across the country makes such long-distance learning largely unnecessary. (Full Profile)
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.
Associate Editor - Witches' Voice
May 28th., 2001
|May Adult Pagan Essays!|
New this week...
Are The Gods Real? This question clearly hit a nerve, bringing us a dozen varied and interesting responses. Read them here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12
The Seminal Books of Paganism and Wicca: Get ready to break your book budget....these reviews of the key books in Paganism will probably send you scurrying to the bookstore to fill the holes in your library. In one of the essays (#4) Trish Telesco has given us a Pagan author's view of the current state of Pagan writing, and reminds us that authors and publishers listen to us; our voicesand our pocketbookscount. With that in mind, when you make that trip to the bookstore, please patronize your local Pagan-owned store! Read the essays here: Page 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
New For May 28: Adult and Teen Essay Topics for June AND July are now up See Bottom of this Page
| May Teenage Pagan Essays!|
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.
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.
- Are The Gods Real? (May 2001) Are The Gods Real? There's some interesting speculation in this group of essays; some believe firmly that the gods have an objective reality, others, that they are energies within us. Check them out here: Page 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
- How Do I Tell My Parents?(May 2001) There's plenty of goodand funnyadvice in these essays; for instance, the suggestion that someone with very conservative parents start slowly and... "Don't make any sudden movements. Like nervous animals, parents may bite." Hmmm... maybe you could get your parents to read these essays, too! Read these essays here: Page 1 - 2 - 3
|Notes from a WebCrafter|
Introducing "Global Announcements", Busy as Beez, and Witchvox Myths Revisited
Greetings to all,
These are busy times here at the apartment that does double duty as "Witchvox Central". Wren handles most of the office work as well as inspiring so many of us, and I do what I can whilst working a high stress day job. Speaking of that day job...
Help: Personally, I am going through the final phases of a major hardware/software conversion where I spend my 11 hours a day AWAY from the Witches' Voice. Since I am the sole person designated to do this entire implementation, I will be 'flat out' until mid June working on this. IF any of you out there are VERY WELL VERSED in a Win2000 server, SQL2000 server and Citrix Metaframe set up, I would love to do a brief phone chat with you. What I am looking for is info on network design, then I can tweak things out to suit our needs.
Earlier this month we introduced "local announcements" as a new mod for your State/Province Page... This has been quite successful in noting requests for healing, celebrating initiations, births, deaths and countless other community information that just doesn't seem to fit in our other modules.
This week, we answer the need for Global Announcements with a section designed to do just that. We have this broken down into both "Commercial" and "Community" based GLOBAL notices. Check out our beta version of Global Announcements (v.85b) and look for more details and expansion in the weeks to come.
Like all pages, in the WOTW section, this page is updated every 48 hours. Announcements stay "live" for one moon cycle (28 Days) and are then sent off gently into the abyss. To list YOUR Global or Local announcement, use our Announcements Form.
Witchvox Myths Revisited
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 AGAIN 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 bullet list above comprises some of the misconceptions and myths about the Witches' Voice both on and off the web.
- 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 90% 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 Witchvox.com and Witchvox.net. Witchvox.com stats are added daily and WitchVox.net 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 proudly 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.
As always, our goals are to create solutions that are both valuable and useful to the Pagan community. Both Witchvox.com and Witchvox.net were created for your news and networking needs. Use them with our love. As always, YOUR suggestions and thoughts are welcome, in fact this site has evolved FROM YOUR suggestions. Have a magickal week everyone!
In Your Service,
Fritz Jung (WebCrafter - Witchvox)
Monday, May 28th. 2001
| Wendy Rule Hits the U.S.A.|
This week we learned (by seeing an event come through) that Fame Pagan Musician Wendy Rule would be doing a gig in New Mexico as part of her brief US tour (check the NM events page for details)... Two weeks ago we reported the following...
Incredible news for Florida Pagans (as well as Massachusetts, California & parts of Europe)... Famous Pagan Musician Wendy Rule will be doing a brief tour in May and June. Look for more info here at TWV on Wendy's tour in the weeks to come, but until then know what we know about an opportunity to experience her magick in a rare performance in Orlando, Florida! The Price? A measly 6 bucks (True! just 6 bucks!), we quote from our Florida Events page...
"Earth Tones Studios Artist Series presents Wendy Rule LIVE in Orlando, FL. Saturday June 2nd, 2001 at 3pm. The Australian Pagan Diva herself will be giving a small intimate concert in Orlando Florida at the SAKS Comedy Theater, 380 West Amelia St. For a map go to: http://www.sak.com/map.htm Only 198 seats available! Tickets are available only through Earth Tones Studios. Order your ticket now to reserve your seat!"
Visit the paganmusic.com for more info... For the latest info on Wendy Rule visit her powerful website apply titled www.wendyrule.com.
| Pagan Commercial Ventures -- An Explosion of Growth|
(Reposted from Last week due to massive email response)
Over the past year, we have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of Pagan commercial ventures submitted to our VoxLinks Pagan Search Engine. Since I personally process all the listings, I couldn't help but notice this trend... Yet for months the question had been haunting me... Just how big IS this trend? Because this has been gnawing at me, I had to "run the numbers" (I live to analyze data). Since we save just about everything, it was off to a back up from last year at this time. Not quite a full year profile, but close enough.
What this profile does NOT include is local festivals, events, workshops or physical pagan shops (local event listings are up 67% over last year and actual local shop listings are up 12%). What this profile does include is all the listings in our VoxLinks Pagan Search Engine. Last year commercial listings held 24% of the total, this year they are at 34% and climbing.
What is interesting to note is the substantial softening of personal/non-commercial listings and the dramatic increase in Commercial listings. NOTE: In this profile we aren't counting personal sites that are doing an Amazon affiliate program AS a commercial site (although technically they are). It is worth noting that NOT being profitable doesn't make you a 'not for profit site'. The trend towards commercialism in the Pagan Community is actually more dramatic than I thought.
Since 1995: We can say with confidence that we have noticed and annual doubling of Pagan commercial sites on the web over the past 6 years. It's also worth noting that only a tiny fraction of these listings are actually making any real money. We highly encourage you to keep your money in the Pagan community by supporting Pagan commercial operations when you can. Buy your books from the Pagan shops.
* Other Ventures: This number includes; Auction sites, website hosting, web design, commercial healing, pagan travel, astrology, personal pages submitted as "commercial", some graphic sites and other miscellaneous ventures.
Variables: To paint the most accurate picture, one must always note any known variables... In fact, over the past year we have been more aggressive about cleaning up our links pages. A year ago we were simply testing the urls. About 6 months ago we realized that geo-cities and others don't return a "404 error" when sites are gone, they redirect to one of their promo pages. We made the decision to do email verification instead. To our surprise hundreds of sites were dead. We made email verification the procedure for testing links and we do this "ritual", faithfully, every 90 days. Point being; had we not adopted this procedure, we would still be listing close to 600 links that would be dead. Variable I: The 2000 totals are more than likely overstated by about 11%, rendering a higher differences in both the change and percent columns. Variable II: We have noticed a marked increase in removal requests from Personal Pagan sites that have been up for years and are now shutting down . Variable III: We have also noticed that many non-commercial community sites of the past are now commercial ventures.
For The Record: The Witches' Voice IS a non-commercial site and accepts NO compensation or "free" gifts from any vendors, shops or services with any implied obligation (This doesn't include Home-made cookies or Truffles). This enables us to promote products and services that we deem of interest to the Pagan community. We are not in anyone's back pocket nor do we have any desire to be. WitchVox is solely funded by sponsors! If you like what WitchVox offers, surf to your Area page and THANK your local sponsors, they pay for much of what you see here at TWV.
| Pagan Perspectives|
WitchVox Question of the Week!
Last week, we asked...
Is There An Energy Crisis? - Sure there is, say most of you, and no matter what the cause (and most of you are also quite suspicious), conservation should be included as a part of any viable solutions. Alternative forms of energy can also be developed, but the majority would like to preserve and protect the natural wild places from oil and gas drilling. View the Responses.
This week, we ask the question:
What's On Your Balloon? We've all seen the bumper stickers and pins: 'Question Authority' or 'Hate is NOT a Family Value' or 'It's Been Lovely, But I Really Have To Scream Now'. Suppose every morning when you got up, there was a big bunch of slogan-balloons there that you had to give away during the day. What would YOUR balloons say and who would you give them to-- and why? (Sure hope some of those balloons make it over to a few of the political circus performers out there!) Wren (self-confessed ex-hippie chick and 70's put-the-daisy-in-the-gun-barrel-political activist) thinks this might be a good real-time idea to consider at protest rallies or to exchange at Pagan Pride events. Would YOU be gutsy enough to actually do something like this? - Post YOUR Opinion or view the Responses of others.
| In Closing... |
"The hardest thing is facing yourself. It's easier to shout "Revolution" and "Power to the people" than to look at yourself and try to find out what's real inside you and what isn't, when you're pulling the wool over your own eyes. That's the hardest one. "-(John Lennon; The Lost Lennon Interviews, by Geoffrey and Brenda Guiliano)
In Your Service,
The Witches' Voice Inc.
Monday, May 28th., 2001
Location: Clearwater¼, Florida
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