Weekly Update: 12/10/2001|
Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: December 10th. 2001
Times Viewed: 5,069
Update Notes: this weeks update features the beginning of our celebration of the next Pagan holiday for the Northern Hemisphere - Yule. This past week we 'upped', configured and stabilized a new server for witchvox.com. With this domain as the ONLY website on this server, Witchvox is now running "Wicked Fast". Also note that TWV has been capturing the history of the modern pagan movement for the past 5 years... Community News clips from 1997-2001 are available by surfing to our Weekly Archives - enjoy
The Return of the Light
The Tide of Solstice is fast approaching. For those of us here in the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice is December 21st at 14:03 UT (more or less and depending on where you are standing. Subtract 5hrs for EST). On this date, the longest night of the year will occur. Those who live in the Southern Hemisphere conversely will be celebrating the longest day as Summer Solstice. But wherever you might be upon this world and whichever event you might be celebrating, the solstices reflect the ever changing balance between the day and the night, the hot and the cold, the darkness and the light. And as Pagans we recognize these events not only as natural phenomena that mark the division of the seasons, but also as spiritual metaphors for the elements of both light and dark that exist within us and within our societies. It is widely believed in Pagan circles that the 'in-between times' are especially auspicious portals. It is a good time for divination. It is a good time to look deeply into the unknown or to explore the hidden realms. It is a good time to uncover that, which is normally hidden. So hang on to your broomsticks, folks, cuz here we go!
Like many Pagans, I have thought much about the balance of darkness and light over the years. I have celebrated the turning of the seasonal wheel in the ways that were passed down to me and have learned a few new things from my fellow Pagans along the way. But I think the one thing that has had the most impact on how I view the light-dark dichotomy was a statement that came not from a family member nor from a Pagan, but from a person who had real and consequential first hand experience with both the darkness and the light. This person of whom I speak is far from perfect. His role is one filled with controversy. His is a life enmeshed within a stark reality of unfolding events that few of us today can even imagine. But perhaps we should try to imagine it. Perhaps we as Pagans should make an effort to heave our noses out of the archaeological journals once in a while and try to recall what happened just not that long ago. (History is relative after all and unless the lessons from it are learned, very often it is also repetitive.) For this man knew what many others would deny: You don't need to go searching for the 'dark side'. You don't need to attend a seminar in order to learn how to find and embrace your shadow self. If you live in this world at all, it won't be long before the dark side comes looking for you.
There is no special super-charged energy to the dark side and those who embrace it are not more sophisticated, knowledgeable or powerful themselves because of it. The adherents of the 'dark' can hiss all that they want to about that statement and go on playing out their ooky-spooky fantasies ad nauseum for all I care. They can continue to scoff at those who choose to uphold a light in the hopes that it will guide some other traveler upon his or her way and call these people fluffy-bunnies if it helps them to shore up their self-esteem. These 'darksiders' can crow about their right to do as they like regardless of social or religious dictates and continue to pretend that it is they who are the rebels, the true path makers, the ultimate players of the game. But it is in the end all smoke and mirrors. For it is not the 'darksiders' who will bring forth change. They can't. They have chosen to throw their allegiance in with the one thing that resists all change and welcomes neither the independent thinker nor the innovative mind. Believing that they become freer they are in actuality (unwittingly perhaps) pledging their vow to further the cause of that dark thing which abhors true liberty and would make slaves of us all.
What is this darkness then? The answer is both stunning and yet quite unremarkable in its simplicity: The darkness is simply nothing more than the status quo.
The 'status quo' is indeed that dark shadow that lives within all of us. It is that which says, " Get used to it, everyone. This is the way that I am and there is no changing that. I was abused and oppressed. I was born poor, sickly or with a bad temper. My parents sucked. My school sucked. I was picked on. I am a victim of my circumstances. You're stuck with me the way that I am. I will never change. I cannot change. I don't want to change. Tough! Live with it! I do." The status quo wins every time that someone agrees with it. And people agree with it every day.
The 'status quo' shadow in society assumes many forms as well and some not so obvious as those espoused by our disenchanted fellow quoted above. But the message is still the same: "Give up. Give in. You can't change me. I don't want to be changed." Start shining a light into that abyss and see what happens! Well, we as Pagans know what happens, don't we? For the status quo god of religion is dogma. Religion has to have a dogma. You can't have a real religion without dogma and rules and people to interpret those rules for you. There have to be boundaries; there have to be well-defined definitions; there has to be a clear and concise list of do's and don'ts. For how else, they say, can we who worship the Status Quo know who is in or who is out? How we can know for sure what part of the Status Quo belief system that your religion is willing to uphold for us? How else can we know if you are going to willingly submit to the system or if you are going to start some trouble? Religions have rules, says the Status Quo God. And if you dare to try to upset what is, if you dare to challenge our set of definitions, if you do not want to draw up a set of instructions for your own followers that all of them must obey, well then, we will have no choice but to impose our rules upon you. We will define you. We will control you. We will force you to uphold our Status Quo. And if you do not, then we shall do everything that we can to stop you, to shut you down, to drive you out. The Status Quo is all. Long lives the Status Quo!
There are Status Gods in all areas of society. There are the Party-line Gods of politics that shut out any attempts at establishing a third (or fourth or fifth) political rival god. There are governmental Status Quo Gods that accept the offerings of the large industrial and commercial worshippers while scoffing (Ah! A telltale sign of a Status Quo follower, that scoffing business!) at the individual citizen who actually believes that these 'gods' care one lobby-dollar bought minute about him or her. The Status Quo Gods go on television each night giving 'alternative' viewpoints which are nothing but that which flirts about the perimeters of 'what is' but never actually crosses over into uncharted and unapproved territory. The Status Quo Border Patrol makes sure of that! One step over the Status Quo Line and you're never invited back, bucko. You might even lose your job or your television show or your opinion column. And sometimes, you might even lose your freedom.
That is what happened to that controversial man that I mentioned before. He spent 27 years in prison. His crime: treason. Treason against the state, treason against the system. Treason against what was and didn't want to change. Treason against the Status Quo. That man is Nelson Mandela. And here is what he said:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us." Our light frightens us because we can live more comfortably in the dark. The dark is all around us. The darkness is what is. And if we decide to put on our light, we won't be part of the darkness, of the Status Quo, any longer. We will stand out. We won't be able to hide within the crowd. We will have to defend ourselves on all sides. We might have to stand alone. We will be under constant pressure to come back to the fold. "You can't change things after all", they will whisper in your ear. "This is the way things are and the way things will always be. Everyone else just goes along to get along. Why not you? What makes you think that you are so special anyway?" And if that doesn't get you back into line, there is always guilt or social pressure. And if those fail to move you, then we'll just see about those civil rights of yours! "Maybe we can take some of those away. Especially if too many people start actually believing in them. We like them there, you understand, just for show. We don't really expect that anyone will use them. Anyone who is part of the Status Quo has no need for them anyway."
But if it is indeed our own light that frightens us, you can be sure that this very same light scares the Status Quo Gods even more. Because light exposes the hidden things. Light shows clearly to just what lengths the Status Quo Guards and Gods will go to maintain their hold on power. And if enough people should begin to put away their fear, if enough people should begin to embrace their light and take on its transforming power, then these people too might one day come out and say as did Nelson Mandela when he accepted the Nobel Peace prize in 1993:
"We stand here today as nothing more than a representative of the millions of our people who dared to rise up against a social system whose very essence is war, violence, racism, oppression, repression and the impoverishment of an entire people. And that would change everything.
I am also here today as a representative of the millions of people across the globe, the anti-apartheid movement, the governments and organizations that joined with us, not to fight against South Africa as a country or any of its peoples, but to oppose an inhuman system and sue for a speedy end to the apartheid crime against humanity.
These countless human beings, both inside and outside our country, had the nobility of spirit to stand in the path of tyranny and injustice, without seeking selfish gain. They recognized that an injury to one is an injury to all and therefore acted together in defense of justice and a common human decency."
Walk in Love and Light,
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
December 10th, 2001
| Pagan Perspectives|
WitchVox Question of the Week!
Last week, we asked the question...
What's News? -Most of you who responded to this question don't consider yourselves 'news junkies'. Many cite the main reasons for this as being a general distrust of the mainstream news and the agenda of business corporations behind the media. It was nice to get the 'other' side viewpoint from a few who are actually in the 'news' business- over worked, underpaid and doing the best that they can under the pressures of deadlines and editorial policies. And thank YOU to all of the readers of 'Wren's Nest' for your suggestions on how I can do a better job delivering the news that you want to read. -- View the Responses
This week, we ask the question:
How Do YOU View the Balance of Light and Dark? As the Solstices approach, what are your views on the lessons that we might learn about darkness and light? What does the natural turning of the seasons mean to you? What insights might you share about the spiritual aspects of light and dark? How does the balance now stand within your own personal spiritual path and in the world at large? What have your experiences of light and dark taught you? Post YOUR Opinion or view the Responses of others.
This Weekend at Wren's Nest News... Wren is rabid about keeping up with the news and since 1997 has posted over 3, 600 news items related to religious freedom and the Pagan path. Visited nearly 3 MILLION times, Wren's nest is a bookmark for many.
Just this past weekend:
The More Information is Restricted, The Less Secure We Are AU Comments on Withdrawal of Brame for Labor Board Post Brame Withdraws Name for Labor Board Post State Rep. Suder Joins Witch Hunt Rep. Huebsch's Witch Hunt Volunteering for Satan's (And Coke's) Diabolical Hordes Uphold Religious Freedom for Rev. Jamyi Witch, Wiccan Wisconsin Prison Chaplain Rec Center Cancels Tarot Course After Complaint From Resident "It's The Pagans That Make the Solstice Interesting." New Wiccan Prison Chaplain Defends Her Position For the latest in Witch, Wiccan, Pagan news as well as just about anything related to religious freedom... Visit 'Wrens Nest' on the Web.
Camp Gaea Needs YOUR Help!
Wonderful People Doing Wonderful things
As reported in Reuters and elsewhere: "A Kansas retreat that caters to witches and Pagan rituals is fighting for survival amid community talk that naked Witches may be weaving magical spells in the moonlight.
The owners of the Gaea Retreat Center, a 168-acre (68-hectare) camp west of Kansas City that is home to such annual events as the Gaea Goddess Gathering and a "Heartland Pagan Spiritual event" filed suit on Monday in Leavenworth County District Court after county commissioners effectively put the retreat out of business by denying it a renewal of its land use permit."
In a message from Gendah, the Treasurer of Earth Rising, as posted on the organization's web site, she states:
"Financially, Earth Rising has watched it's P's and Q's this year, and we came into this conflict with some breathing room. However, many of the buildings have deferred maintenance that would have been addressed in the spring, and we are by no means a money rich organization. We are setting aside money into a Legal Defense Fund, and any donations made to this effort will be encumbered and used only to fund these activities. Please consider helping out in this effort. We have not lost the property, the Spirit, or the drive to succeed, and we will not be forced from our land, or denied the right to freely meet. "
"Where can we go where religious bigots don't live? Unfortunately, nowhere. We must stand our ground...as well as bend a little to show the surrounding community that we are just as forgiving and flexible as we expect them to be."
Please feel free to write me at Gendah3@aol.com and visit our website at Camp Gaea.Org for the latest news and updates.
Donations are being accepted at the following address: Earth Rising, INC, PO Box 696, Tonganoxie, KS 66086
A Dream Whose Time Is Coming
21 Chants For Rituals And Devotional Ceremonies
Recorded under a full moon in a temple dome in the forest of Seelie Court. The sound is powerful, real, and filled with the magick of the moment of its creation.
This cd was created by members of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel and friends as a fundraiser for the New Alexandrian Library project.
For more info on this benefit CD and a sampling of lyrics ... Click HERE
New Alexandrian Library
The Vision: We live in a time where there is a new renaissance in the exploration of the spiritual and the magickal. A need exists for a place where knowledge from many esoteric traditions can be accessed by scholars and serious seekers. The New Alexandrian Library will be a modern, state of the art library with the capacity to preserve and to protect all forms of esoteric knowledge. Books, periodicals, special collections, music, media, digital data, etc., will all be carefully cataloged and cross-referenced to ease the work of research. The Library will work to restore and to preserve rare and damaged documents. The history of our magickal communities will also be collected for the future. In addition to its physical presence, the New Alexandrian Library will have an internet component to maximize its utility. Over time, as much material as is possible, within the limits of logistics and legalities, will be available online.
The New Alexandrian Library will be primarily a research and reference library, not a lending library. It will provide onsite workstations and other facilities. We are also examining housing options for long term research... Click HERE
Pagan Holiday: Yule
December 21st at 14:03 GMT
also known as: Yuletide, Alban Arthan.
Yule is the time of greatest darkness and the longest night of the year. The Winter Solstice had been associated with the birth of a "Divine King" long before the rise of Christianity. Since the Sun is considered to represent the Male Divinity in many Pagan Traditions, this time is celebrated as the "return of the Sun God" where He is reborn of the Goddess
Yule Features at Witchvox! (Link)
Past WitchVox Yule Essays...
- You Call it Christmas, We Call it Yule - This powerful piece, written by TWV staff member Peg Aloi is linked from all over the net and to date has been viewed nearly 50,000 times... "Try though we might, it is not easy to escape the influence of Christmas in this country. It is easy to become jaded and cynical about it, wondering why it is not the magical time we all experienced as children"... Author: Peg Aloi Times Viewed: 43708
- Listening to the Woods - White Birch has always been our wood of choice for the Yule Log. Throughout the now almost fifty years, Wren can't remember any other tree being given that particular role of honor in her family. Whether it was actually regarded as a magickal 'tradition' in her house or it was simply that the stark white bark offset the cherry red candles and deep green holly so well, we really don't know. Perhaps it was just a New England thing. New Englanders are quite proud of their magnificent white birch trees and rightfully so... Author: Wren Walker
- Yule Events this Season - Check out the Latest Local Listings
Yule is a time of much magic and celebration. On this page we offer every Yule related event that we have ever heard of. This page is updated daily so do check back for the latest happenings in your area.
- Yule Essay #1 - In Dublin city one of our main shopping areas is a long pedestrian street named Grafton Street. On this street there is a large department store (hmmm... .are they called the same thing in the US, I'm not sure. Just... Author: Shane
- Yule Essay #2 - This is a difficult topic. I didn't think it would be until I started. In fact, I thought it would take about two paragraphs to describe how I celebrate Yule by myself and then participate in Christmas with the rest... Author: Stazya
- Yule Essay #3 - When time comes to celebrate Sabbats, I freeze. I can handle Esbats with an ease borne of the Muses; I can write spells and rituals for the odd needs of life with wit and fun and joy. But when the... Author: Diana Rajchel Olsen
- Yule Essay #4 - I don't have a lot of family left; only one grandparent out of four, but I still go there for her Christmas celebration. But being a Pagan doesn't make it any harder on me to go and have fun. It... Author: Dyana MoonRose
- Yule Essay #5 - It took some time for me to become comfortable with celebrating Yule alongside other aspects of the holiday. I felt I was putting a lot of energy into resisting the influences of other religions; luckily, the High Priest of the... Author: Aradia
- Yule Essay #6 - Sing the ancient Yule time carol..... Sometime after Samhain, when the weather turns cold, the wind picks up, and the first snowflakes drift gently down around us, we are suddenly swept up in the Winter Holiday spirit. For some it... Author: SilvrSkys
- Yule Essay #7 - Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas And great cheer to all Let's hurry up and get there It's waiting at the mall! We'll spend money, lots of money That will put us in the hole So not to forget someone Not a... Author: Kalah
Photo credit: The anchor photo to your upper right was sent in today by RiverWolf and FireWalker or Roseburg, Oregon (Email: <email@example.com>) and features their wonderful Yule Altar. Thanks RiverWolf and FireWalker for adding this piece of magick to our Yule feature. -- Witchvox Staff
From the Witchvox achieves...
Deck The Halls With Witches' Ladders...
A Witch's Ladder makes a great homemade and inexpensive surprise present for the Pagans on your gift list. Traditionally made with three cords of different colors and braided together, the feathers of nine separate species of birds are then added, each tied on while chanting an appropriate charming rhyme. The completed Ladder is then hung from the highest point in the home for good luck. Instead of feathers (most wild bird feathers are illegal to use in the U.S. except by special permit), modern Pagans often scour the flea markets and antique marts for old charm bracelets. Then nine (or more) charms holding special significance to the maker or recipient are sewn onto the cords. Small bells, seashells, twigs from the nine sacred woods or little herb bags can also be used. It's a fun project for children- played out as a scavenger hunt- as any age child can help the grown-up 'Crafties" to find those special items. The older Pagan teens can make a Ladder (Probably of the "Keep Out!" variety!) for their own rooms. Witches' Ladders make great presents for handfastings, wiccanings and initiation events as well as providing an excellent elementary "Witchcraft 101" lesson for those Teachers guiding newcomers in the elements of magickal practice and spellwork. You can make up a kit with all the ingredients for those who always prefer to do their own magick, thank you very much!
We are always surprised to see many Pagan homes with lots of dream catchers and pentacles, but no Witches' Ladders. But then again, while some sources say that the Ladder should be placed in a spot where you can see it every day, others (like us) may be more traditional and keep theirs hidden in a secret spot. House protection magick was very much a part of Folk Magic in Britain and elsewhere. Witches' Ladders can be a nice alternative to some of the more unsavory forms often found in the excavations of old buildings. As with all magickal items, when it comes time to retire or replace them, it is wise to burn them, bury them or throw them into deep running water. Burning the old Witches' Ladder at Yule, Samhain or on a day dedicated to your patron God/Goddess-after making a new one, of course-might make a nice coven or family ritual that can be handed down through the generations. If you like to time your rituals to moon phases and seasonal changes, the new Unity 2002 calendar can certainly help you do so (see stunning image at top right). And it's another beautiful and easy to ship gift item as well! Ask St Nick, Old Nick or Good Old Thor to put one in your stocking. (And are we the only ones threatening to fill the Yule socks of 'bad' little Pagan girls and boys with discarded ballot chads instead of coal this year?)
Adult Essays for December NOW Up!...
12 thought provoking essays presented for your reading pleasure.
Beyond the Rede
The "short version" of the Wiccan Rede-some variation on "An' it harm none, do as you will"-has become an almost ubiquitous moral code in Paganism, even among those who are not Wiccan. However, we hear from those who object to this rather strongly, and we'd like to hear how you would re-write the Rede, or what similar code of ethics you use as a guide. Here were the essays that we received on this topic: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11
As My Word by Karl Lembke
Oaths are integral to Wicca, and show up in many Pagan faiths. So important are oaths that we use the term "warlock", meaning "oath-breaker" as a term of censure and reproach.
According to Webster, an oath is a solemn pledge, calling upon one or more Gods to bear witness, and usually involving a certain amount of ceremony. It is a promise to do something, or to refrain from doing something, and it is undertaken in front of at least two people -- one to administer the oath, and one to witness. In addition to a promise to do or not do something, an oath may also invoke punishments that fall to those who break it. (Full Essay)
| December Teenage Pagan Essay 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.
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.
- An Oath Is What You Make It by Michael Moore
The oath is an integral part of almost all religions. I would go so far as to say that is nearly mandatory in most religions. Pagans, as well as Christians and Jews, have celebrations for the initiation of new members, or the profession of faith. Christians have confirmation, Jews have Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. In these instances, the oath is seen as way of professing one's faith deeper, and often it entails becoming a fully functioning member of that religion. While I myself am not fond of oaths, initiations, or many other professions of faith, they still hold a deep significance for people who participate in them and feel that they are important for growth as a person. (Full Essay).
|"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."|
-- (Nelson Mandela; 1962 while on trial in South Africa for treason.).
May of the Love of the Great Ones be with you,
The WitchVox Staff
The Witches' Voice Inc.
December 10th, 2001
Location: Clearwater¼, Florida
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