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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.










Weekly Update: 7/9/2001

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: July 9th. 2001
Times Viewed: 9,879

In Memory of Tempest...

Pagan Quilters Present Mother With Work of Love

The members of The Quilters' Coven really know how to weave -er- stitch up some powerful magick. On Sunday, June 24th, Megan Spangler presented to Denessa Smith the patchwork quilt dedicated to the memory of her daughter, Tempest. Tempest would have loved the quilt, her mother said. She loved to sew and one of the things that Tempest was most proud of was a quilt that she and her mom had worked on together.

A journal diary found under Tempest's bed describes the sad and haunting tale of a young girl's unbearable torment at the hands of her peers. Teased since elementary school, the situation had grown even worse when her classmates discovered that Tempest was reading books on Wicca. Taunts of "Jesus loves you.." and much, much worse followed her wherever she went. So Tempest decided one morning to go to the one place where she believed that the taunts could not follow her. Tempest, aged 12, was found hanging from the post of her bunk bed last February 20th. She had taken her own life.

When George Hunter of The Detroit News broke the story, the Pagan community embraced, not only Tempest, but also her mother as our own. (See: "Hidden Hatred Haunts Pagans" for details and the original TWV coverage of the story as well as Lhiannon's inspirational piece "Words in a Tempest ".) Letters and emails of support soon were on their way to Denessa. But The Quilters' Coven wanted to do something more -something special and personal and lasting- and so they began to make squares for a memorial quilt.

Denessa told TWV of her emotions when the quilt was at last placed into her hands: "I was overcome with emotions when I wrapped the quilt around me - to feel this against me is beyond words. I am told it was made by The Quilters' Coven- they even made a matching pillow for my 10 year old son."

"This beautiful gift now hangs on the very wall Tempest stared at for the last time - as if to render this wall nonexistent."

Despair has also become non-existent for many of the recipients of Tempest Smith's donated organs. "I have received letters from the recipients of Tempest's organs", said Denessa. "Her pancreas and liver were transplanted at the same hospital and the two men ended up in the same room for recovery at the same time. They now each live a symptom- free existence and consider themselves blood brothers. I have all hope that each of her donated organs will continue to bring forth vitality and optimism."

According to the follow-up article by George Hunter (The Detroit News) dated July 4, 2001, attorneys for Denessa Smith have filed a 10-million dollar lawsuit "against the Lincoln Park School District, claiming school administrators turned a blind eye to students who teased the girl about her religious beliefs."

"The lawsuit," Hunter writes, " filed in federal court Tuesday, also charges the school district with religious discrimination."

It won't bring her daughter back, reflects Denessa, but perhaps the case might result in more administrative responsibility in such incidents, the formation of diversity tolerance programs in the public schools and help to raise awareness of the real pain that teasing and taunting can inflict on children. She doesn't want another mother to suffer the pain and loss that she has experienced.

Denessa keeps Tempest close to her during these often-difficult times. Around her neck she wears Tempest's pentacle and a small vial holding some of her daughter's ashes. And now, thanks to the talented and compassionate members of The Quilters' Coven, she has yet another memory of her daughter to treasure. When she feels sad, Denessa can wrap the patchwork quilt around her. "I draw on its strength," she notes, "for this is one of great power." And she believes that in every stitch, in every memory and in every act of kindness, the spirit of Tempest lives on.

Note: Letters and cards of encouragement or support can be sent to: Denessa Smith, 1573 LeBlanc St., Lincoln Park, MI 48146 or you can e-mail Denessa at: (denessa1965@msn.com).

Walk in Love and Light,

Wren Walker
The Witches' Voice Inc.


A Critical New Site: Gerald Gardner.com

Since 1995 we have promoted 11,365 websites related to the Pagan community via VoxLinks Pagan Search. Every two days we capture and offer up the latest listings... Whilst rendering yesterdays submissions one clearly stood out, GeraldGardner.com. A quick surf revealed a stunningly beautiful and meaningful site.

"Gerald Gardner.com provides factual information about the life of Gerald B. Gardner whom many have called the father of Wicca or modern Witchcraft. It explores controversies in the history of Wicca as well as providing an archive of hard to find documents, a list of where to buy rare books on Gardner and Wicca, a forum and mailing list, and essays on Gerald Gardner".

"Over the next year, I hope to expand this website with essays by myself and other guest writers, to create a forum and mailing list for discussion of issues relating to Wicca's history, and generally to expand the available knowledge of Gardner and his contribution to Wicca. With a lot of work and a little luck, those who wish to better understand Wicca's history will no longer lament, "why is there no biographical data of Gerald Gardner on the web?"

Hats of to Morgan S. Davis. With a foundation like this one, I trust we are seeing the birth of a critical archive for us all. Thank YOU Morgan for this non profit/labour of love... For the complete experience surf to www.geraldgardner.com

The Witchvox Preview

by Peg Aloi

The long-awaited mini-series of the longtime best-selling novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley will premiere on TNT July 15th and 16th. Our full review will appear next week (we don't want to spoil you before then!) but, just to get your appetites whetted, I will offer some of my first impressions of the mini-series, which I viewed this past week.

First some background: Bradley's novel, if you have not read it, is an ambitious and beautifully-wrought epic, the retelling of the Arthurian saga from the point of view of the women behind the throne: Morgaine (Morgan le Fay, Arthur's half-sister), Viviane (the Lady of the Lake in Avalon, the magical land which exists just beyond the obscuring mists near Glastonbury), Igraine (Arthur's mother by Uther Pendragon, Morgaine's mother by the Duke of Cornwall) and Gwenhwyfar (Arthur's wife and, in this version, a pious Christian who dislikes his allegiance to the Old Religion). This novel, which is really a trilogy in one book, is a feminist, historically-detailed, mythically-rich, magically-faceted story that has been very much a part of the literary canon of modern Witches and pagans. A "prequel" entitled Lady of Avalon delves more closely into the world of the priestesses of Avalon: the magical isle which lies between the worlds, shrouded in mist and accessible only to those who have been magically initiated into the old ways.

If you have not read either of these books, I am here to tell you that you must: there is nothing more to say on the subject. (the book is being re-released in a special edition to coincide with the mini-series premiere)... (Full Preview).

The Enchantress Now Available on Compact Disc

Salem Witch Gypsy Ravish is not only one of our respected elders but also an incredible tunesmith and singer. In 1990 she released a tape of Pagan Pop tunes entitled "The Enchantress". Simply stated, this release redefined WHAT is possible in the field of Neo-Pagan music. Prior to "The Enchantress" NeoPagan music was dominated by a formula of ren(ish) Am/Em vamps... Alexian at paganmusic.com concurs...

"When I was first initiated into the Craft in 1989, I soon after purchased my 1st copy of Gypsy's "Enchantress" tape (I believe from Arsenic & Old Lace in Cambridge, MA -- now defunct.) It blew me away! Here I was graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA., and a Witch, like myself, had recorded a POP album! The Goddess had already been bending my ear to write and record a pagan album, but most of what I had already heard was of a more folk oriented style."

I couldn't agree more, in fact this tape also inspired my own release from 1995  Celtic Feast of the Dead  (now offered for free here at TWV), not musically, but in the sense that with Pagan Music ANYTHING goes in the name of the Gods/Goddesses.

We chatted with Gypsy (via phone messages) this past week and she noted that not only has the music been digitally remixed and remastered BUT also features an amazing new cover

Thank YOU Gypsy for this quintessential piece of Neo-Pagan History... For more information surf to the nu-Aeon Website Nu Aeon Website (Gypsy and Richard's Shop in Salem, Mass) or see the feature over at Earthtone Studios.


Next Week: July Adult Essays, a new FREE mp3 gift, 20 new cat shots and much much more...


Young
Pagan
Essays
For

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JULY 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.

  • Acceptance: It's Getting Better All the Time...
    In the past decade, we've seen an enormous change in the level of public awareness of our religion. Mention Paganism or Wicca these days, and most people will at least understand that you are talking about a modern religion. There is still plenty of misunderstanding and discrimination, but it's getting better all the time. We see a lot more understanding and acceptance these days, and we'd like to hear your stories of how your religious path has been accepted by family, friends or the larger community. Read these powerful essays here: Page One - Two - Three - Four - Five

  • What's an Elder?
    We hear the term "elder" a lot in the Pagan community, but we aren't really sure what it means. Of course, we know just who to ask for a definition! :-) Tell us what you think makes an elder an elder: Is it age? The number of years spent in the religion? Initiations? Education? Contributions to the community? All of the above, or maybe some things we haven't thought of? Page One.
Other Young Pagan Resources at TWV: WitchVox Teen Essays MAIN Index - Young Pagans in YOUR Town (6,638 listed) - Young Pagan Covens and Groups (310 listed) - F.A.Q.'s of the WitchVox Teen Section - Teen Article Submission Topics! Make YOUR Voice Heard! - Teen Pagan Web Sites (242 sites listed!) - Click HERE to submit YOUR Teen Pagan Site.
TWV Essay Topics NOW UP!: Diotima has JUST POSTED the essay topics for the rest of 2001... Choose: Teen or Adult


Magick in Cyber Space? Absolutely!

During the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of chatting with the beautiful Lisa Mc Sherry in email about both the new Avatar Online Zine "Illumin-8", as well as her own writings on the subject of forming and working with Cyber Covens...

"After practicing as a witch for two decades, I have combined my love of writing with my magickal experiences in cyberspace to create CyberCoven.Org: Exploring Paganism and Creating Magickal Groups Online. This is the only book that takes you through every aspect of creating and maintaining an online magickal group and is one of the few electronic books in the esoteric or occult genres".

"At the most basic level, CyberCoven.Org provides the reader with the knowledge needed to go online and join the hundreds of thousands of pagans already in cyberspace, sharing information. But this book goes much further than that. Following in the tradition of The Spiral Dance and Coven Craft, my book allows the novice and the well-trained pagan to move to the next dimension in pagan evolution - the creation and continuation of a virtual coven". This cyber book is available through CyberCoven.Org in PDF format.

Notes from a WebCrafter
A Webcrafter is Back!
(what's left of him anyway)

Greetings Witches, Wiccans and Pagans

Allow me to start off by thanking all of you for your patience with me for these past weeks. Actually pulling off a hardware/software conversion at my job has "inspired" me to work, non stop, 80 hours a week for the past moon cycle. I have learned much and have actually gained some respect for the windows 2000 server architecture. Big time thanks go out to my life partner, the beautiful Wren, for working double time shoring up much of Witchvox during that period. These past weeks got me behind in email (now caught up) and about the only thing I could not shirk during this period were the bi-daily updates of "Witches of the World".

Fires at Solstice 2001: The only time I have had off in 4 weeks was a single morning at the Fires at Solstice festival. Wren and I headed out early, only to deal with a vicious summer storm as we arrived. Torrential rains are "good news" here in Florida and everyone at this festival was in very good spirits. This was a wonderful, abet brief, get-a-way for us and an opportunity to get some quality hugs from many old friends as well as the opportunity to meet some new ones.

As stated two weeks ago, it was a thrill for us to meet Robyn and Brahm, from Brahm's Eclectic Bookworks (who do those awesome hand made book of shadows), we offer a nice shot of this beautiful couple with Wren from that very day. Pictured to you left are *some* members of the short lived "Goat Club"... (don't ask)

Regrets include having to leave after 4 hours, not getting to say hello and offer a proper hug Mino and missing what was clearly a fabulous line up of workshops. Thank you Wade, Dianne and our family at this gathering for again making us feel welcome and a part of all of this. These get-a-ways mean the world to us.

Saying Goodbye to old Friends: Two fixtures at TWV were "let go" this week... After six years of community service our computer chairs had no more magick to give. Although we paid 250 each for them and they did serve us well, their time had clearly come. Gone also are the pillows and lower back support accessories that kept them going during their final years. Yesterday we splurged and purchased another pair (same price) and today our work for the community is rendered from a renewed position of comfort.

Butt TIP: It has always astounded me that people will pay 2 grand for a computer and then experience it from a 69.00 chair. Do yourself a favor, especially if you put in some serious time on the net, and treat YOURSELF to some ergonomic bliss with a proper chair. Your body will thank you immediately.

Website Notes:

Witchvox June 2001: Typically one of our slower months, June 2001 played out as predicted. Witchvox delivered 1.4 million pages to seekers of this path and the community large. The Witchvox.net server went down 3 times (6 hours each time) due to problems with Verizon (our local DSL provider). Witchvox.com, hosted by Drak.net, was stable (as usual) and all in all nothing that dramatic to reveal.

Personal Contacts at TWV pass 30,000: One of the things that we are most proud of is the usefulness of our networking section (aka: "Witches of the World". It IS useful because we verify all email addys every 90 days. This past week, for the first time ever, we noticed that the personal contact section had broken the 30,000 listing mark. Thank YOU for building this critical resource for the world to see. YOU made this happen.

As always, our goal is 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. Always know that YOUR suggestions and thoughts are welcome and that, in fact, this site has evolved FROM YOUR suggestions. Have a magickal week, everyone!

Proudly in Your Service,


Fritz Jung (WebCrafter - Witchvox)
Monday, July 9th. 2001


NEW this Week!
Cats of WitchCraft - Page 24 Now Up

In an effort to dispel one of the many myths about the craft, we began featuring pictures of Witch Cats back in '97 when we went online. Of late, we have been barraged with submissions... A plea for help last year resulted in some fine volunteer work by some fine Pagans. Out of that group came Daven who has faithfully and in a timely manner coordinated our last 8 Cats pages. Thank YOU Daven for treating us all with the latest... To gush over this new batch of cuties Click HERE.

NOTE: Daven has been working hard putting these together and NEXT WEEK we will have another page of 20 more "Cats of the Craft" images for cat lovers to gush over.
Gathering of the Tribes -- Georgia 2001
Review by Lady Ta`rakali

Everything was planned and we (9 total) were ready to go. There was approx. 394 miles between us and the Gathering of the Tribes Festival. This required a little planning and a schedule (augh!, something most Pagans have a hard time with). We had already sent in our reservations, made lists, and had a roll of duct tape. We felt we were ready to conquer the road maps and highway construction areas.

It was planned that we would be on the road by 9am, so we told everyone in the group 8am, except Psychic Dustbuster . Now this is the part that is really amazing, we were on the road by 8:45am. I knew then that magick was afoot, because this group NEVER starts anything on time and now we were actually running early. This would be the start of a most magickal weekend!

The road trip went smoothly with little traffic and nice weather. Our front car navigator did a great job. We made it to the campground with only one small wrong turn at the very end. Everyone was excited and we had made good time getting there.

We pulled into the wonderfully private and scenic campground around 3; got our name badges and set-up our tents along side a beautiful babbling mountain creek. It seemed there was magick everywhere. We had one glitch that we quickly fixed with the duct tape our canopy corner piece could not be found. (Full Review)
The latest from Point of Ares...

PRESS RELEASE 7/6/2001: Point Of Ares has just returned from headlining the Second Annual Pagan Hands Across the Red River Festival near Fargo ND. POA drummer Ryan Desroches joined the crowd of festival organizers and attendees who marched across the Red River Bridge between Fargo ND and Moorhead MN in a show of tolerance for all religions. Ryan was interviewed during the march by Dan Gaffney on WDAY TV News. There's a link to a transcript of Ryan's interview on POA's website at http://www.arularecords.com/pointofares.

Point Of Ares's new CD, Enemy Glory Darkly Blessed, is now released and available for sale through CD Baby (http://www.cdbaby.com) and several other major Internet music retail outlets. For a complete list of sources adventure to http://www.arularecords.com/orders.htm. Sound samples are available on both POA's and Arula Records's websites. Enemy Glory Darkly Blessed is currently being featured as "CD of the Week" at Indie Productions (http://www.indiepro.com) where it is also available for sale... (Full Press Release)
Pagan Perspectives
WitchVox Question of the Week!

Last week, we asked...

How Fares The First Amendment? - Some real concerns show through most of the postings on this subject. Having the First Amendment in print is sometimes not all that reassuring when it comes down to putting those freedoms into practice. In a very diverse nation, how to maintain one's own beliefs and at the same time be tolerant or accommodating of another's beliefs is still the challenge that faces us. View the Responses.

This week, we ask the question:

Ending Religious Discrimination-What's It Gonna Take? - After reading the Tempest Smith story, we have to wonder just what it is gonna take to prevent this sort of thing from happening to any other child-or to any adult. No other school district ever received as much information about Pagan beliefs as the Lincoln Park School District did -and it even had to pay big bucks to settle a lawsuit over the wearing of a pentacle in one of that district's the high schools- yet what happened to Tempest occurred in that very same district. What more can the Pagan communities do to help end religious discrimination? What other groups can we get to align with us? Why does this continue to happen not only in the schools, but also in the workplace and in divorce/child custody proceedings? What are the causes of religious discrimination or intolerance for others? How are Pagans doing in this area" Are we part of the problem (Do we discriminate, too?) or part of the solution? Post YOUR Opinion or view the Responses of others.

In Closing...

"Don't let the clouds forever block your sunshine. Don't let the sunshine blind you on your way. You might have years of tears put behind you -- But right now you've got one more day."- (David Bailey; lyrics from One More Day ).

In Your Service,

 

The Witches' Voice Inc.
Monday, July 9th., 2001






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