Weekly Update: 2/11/2002|
Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: February 11th. 2002
Times Viewed: 5,776
Take A She-Wolf To Lunch Day...
It ain't all hearts and flowers and chocolate, you know. Valentine's Day, semi-truth be told, has a history ribald enough to set any respectable Christian saint into tsk-tsking from his grave or sepulcher or ossuary or wherever it is that good old saints go to retire from this earthly realm. Well, that's a pretty depressing way to start an article about a day dedicated to romance! And if you happen to be a dog owner or a goat herder, the 'truth' gets even worse from this point on. Yep, we're talkin' animal sacrifice here. You just might want to ask your beloved pups to leave the room while you read this. Even man's best friends have their limits. And if your favorite goat also happens to be in the room with you right now, I'm just going to assume that you do not have any big romantic plans for the 14th anyway due to some sort of scheduling conflict with your therapist. Please do keep that appointment. We are all very worried about you.
In the days before there was a St. Valentine- if there ever was a Saint Valentine- the 'any excuse for a party' Romans celebrated a festival known as Lupercalia. For 800 hundred years or so, this was one of those mysterious 'guy things'. Like ice fishing and sex. My ex-husband never could understand how I made that connection even after I recounted in great detail all of the obvious sexual symbolisms involved in the concept of a bunch of grizzled men and boys with poles sitting around a hole waiting for something to happen. He said that I just had a dirty mind. And that was one of the few things that he actually liked about me, by the way. But it must be one of my more endearing qualities because Fritz says that he rather likes that, too. Fritz does not, however, go ice fishing. And that is one of the things that I actually like the most about him. But let's get back to those toga guys...
Those of you who didn't sleep through your junior high school Ancient History course may recall the story of the founding of Rome by the twins, Romulus and Remus. Abandoned as infants, the boys were raised and suckled in a cave by a kindly she-wolf. (We have to assume that she was indeed a kindly she-wolf since she didn't seem to opt to have twins-on-a-stick for lunch in this story.) To celebrate the non-consumption of R&R by the she-wolf, every year on February 15th, young men and boys would gather at the same cave and perform the rite of passage. Goats and dogs were sacrificed to Faunus (or, in alternate versions, to Lupercus or the Greek Pan) and the blood from the sacrifice was then smeared on their foreheads to be wiped away immediately with a piece of wool soaked with milk. (This has obvious connections to a 'birthing rite' and there is some speculation that the ritual originally involved a Goddess rather than a God.) The men and boys then had to laugh loudly -undoubtedly the sight of one another helped to get that going- before gorging themselves on a large feast. Then they did what any guy in this situation would do: They got good and stinking drunk. The hide from the dog or goat sacrifice was cut into little loincloths for the naughty bits and little strips for the flailing of young women and girls in the town below. Ah, for the good old days, eh gals? We just don't see those hoards of blood-soaked drunken guys in loincloths come howling down from the hills and carrying whips often enough in these modern times. Perhaps that is why we truly were forced to embrace the solace of chocolate. The emotional loss of hide-bound, tipsy, and smelling vaguely of burnt dog whip-wielders probably led to the invention of other comfort foods like ice cream and potato chips, too.
The pre-modern good ladies of the town would assemble below the hill and wait for the guys to make their move. If this sounds rather pathetically like waiting by the phone, it probably was. I mean these guys were already drunk and smelly and having a fine old time in the Luper Clubhouse seeing who could belch the loudest or something. Eventually though, tradition won out and the men would do their duty. The women got their ritual whipping. The flailing was supposed to bestow good fortune and fertility upon the whipped. And you always wondered why the Roman Empire really collapsed? The whip was also a purification device. In fact the word for this whip is februa and that is, of course, where the name of this second month of our year came from. I don't remember learning about that part in junior high, do you? Maybe I slept through that chapter. No matter; luckily it wasn't on the final.
Another little nicety practiced by the Romans involved a sort of lottery. The names of young women were placed into some sort of container and the bachelors drew out a name and were then paired with this woman for a few months. There are various realms of thought on just what this actual 'pairing' may have entailed- the most lurid possible scenario, of course, is depicted by Hollywood and the more likely innocent symbolic gesture theory does not hold much interest for anyone with a healthy libido. Sex sells.
When the big bad monotheist religions came along, they decided that all these Pagan fun and games just had to go. Too much fun and too much sex were.. well...just too much fun and sex. So the Church took the lottery suggestion and substituted Christian saints. Great. So now one got to live the life of a saint for a year instead of getting drunk and running with the wolves. Did I mention that most saints were depicted as being celibate? The Church did keep the purification ritual of the whip however. Self-mortification was a big fad in all of the best priories. They even took the loincloth idea, but turned that into the always popular and oh-so-stylish hair shirt. And this is all supposed to be less kinky than Lupercalian rites somehow? Needless to say, the saint lotto system was never that bitchin', so the Church and romantic poets thought up the 'true love' scam. Love meant never having sex with the one you yearned for. It was all holy and cerebral and chaste. And if that brilliant idea had really worked out at all well we wouldn't be looking at rusty old chastity belts in the museums today.
Some of the lore of the Lupes was still practiced right up to modern times. Divination always being a popular pastime, in the 1800's, girls would place the names of all of their most preferable suitors into a bowl. The name drawn was supposed to foretell the perfect match to come. In other areas, the first eligible man or woman seen on Valentines' Day was deemed to be 'it'. One was also supposed to give this person a gift. If it was a really good gift, one could suppose that one would increase the odds of this person liking you a whole lot better than if you had simply said, "Nice day, huh?" That still works with some women, I hear. Super Bowl tickets or a new sports car for the guys might get you into his heart as well. Since there once was a tradition known as 'Valentining'- rather like trick-or-treating without the pumpkins- begging for heart related gifts has some considerable history behind it. One of the rhymes associated with 'Valentining' goes like this: "Good morrow, Valentine. First 'tis your and then 'tis mine. So please give me a Valentine." Mercenary, but honest.
It was somewhere in the 1860's or so that Valentine's Day went commercial. As the cost of printing materials went down, it became quite fashionable to send out printed cards on all of the holidays. From those humble beginnings arose the mega-complex of obligatory holiday gifts and salutations that keep Hallmark, Godiva and Bob's House of Shrimp in business today. And many folks probably still check out their mailboxes during the week of the hearts to see if someone special has sent them a Valentine's Day card. Or a whip.
Lest you think that I have a jaded view of love and romance, let me assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. The day that I met Fritz was one of the best days of my life. And each day with him is precious and special and totally wonderful. He is the love of my life and not just on Valentine's Day but also on every other day. My wish for each of you is that you find your own true love and live happily after together. Just don't put too much pressure on one little day, that's all. If your love brings you coffee in the morning or rubs your back when you're tired or can listen to you rant and rave about the toilet seat thing without cracking up, then I'd say chocolates or flowers or a romantic candlelit dinner for two are just some extra perks. Celebrate your love every day. It's good for the skin, improves the disposition and makes everyone around you wonder just what it is that keeps that smile on your face.
Of course, if he shows up at Bob's House of Shrimp wearing nothing but a loincloth, celebrating Lupercalia might not be such a bad idea either.
Walk in Love and Light,
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, February 11th, 2002
Image credit: The beautiful shot that anchors this piece was taken by Jeffrey Carl Jung (Fritz's brother) back in the 70's and seemed a wonderful choice. Fritz had been eye-balling this beautiful wine decanter since he was a child, but sadly mom auctioned it off for 4 grand a few years back.
Adult Essays for February 2002 NOW Up!...
As of this morning adult essays here at Witchvox have been read an astonishing 1,101,644 times. Both adult and teen essays here at TWV have been popular
Thoughts on Imbolc
What does the Sabbat of Imbolc mean to you? How do you celebrate it, and what myths do you associate with it? Also, since it is a "cross-quarter", do you celebrate it on the traditional date of February 2nd, or on the astrological midpoint of 15 degrees of Aquarius (February 4th this year)? Here were the essays that we received on this topic:
Hexing to Heal?
- Imbolc #1 - by Karl Lembke
In the waxing year, the Goddess awakens. The Maiden aspect awakens first, as winter fades into spring. Imbolc, Candlemas, and Lady Day are names given to this first of the three festivals of the waxing year. Imbolc, literally "in milk", refers to the beginning of lactation in the farm animals, in preparation for the birth of the young. The name Candlemas traces to the practice of blessing the candles for the coming year, making way for the light to come... (Full Essay)
- Imbolc #2 - by Erin Doerffer
A common translation of the word Imbolc (also spelled Imbolg or Oimelc) is 'in the belly.' That's why this holiday has such special meaning for me: two years ago at Imbolc, I was barely four months pregnant with my first child, and was beginning to feel my baby moving and kicking. Few people knew about my pregnancy, as I hadn't begun to show yet, and the baby's movements were too subtle for even my husband to feel. Everything was 'in... (Full Essay)
- Imbolc #3 - by The CheshireMatt
When I was first approached by another Pagan, I thought he'd sneezed - I had no clue what Imbolg meant, since I'd managed to skip over that page of my Wicca 101 book. For those of us just getting into (or getting back into) Paganism, it's an awkward place to start. There are no popular five-day celebrations in Imbolg's honor and no big Christian holiday for us to point at and say, 'See? That was ours!' Granted, there is Candlemas, but... (Full Essay)
There's an old saying that goes "The Witch who can't hex, can't heal". Do you think this is true? Is the ability to hex an integral part of the ability to heal? Here were the essays that we received on this topic:
February Bonus Essay
- Hexing to Heal? #1 - by Bandelle
My great-grandfather Harry was by all accounts quite the character. Remembering the stories I've heard of him have painted a man that was a larger than life. He was a person filled with an exuberant zest for living, strong opinions and a certain indescribable intensity. Grandpa Harry was of an imposing size with eyes so dark and piercing that everyone who met him felt as though he could see right through to their very soul. Accordingly, as with many others... (Full Essay)
- Hexing to Heal? #2 - by Diana Rajchel Olsen
In the Pagan/Wiccan world, it's as dirty as death to talk about, but it happens: people do hex. Whether we like it or not, narcissism is a part of the human condition. We all have a need to feel important. In fact, in order to heal, we must treat ourselves and those we heal with importance. If a Witch is so inclined to curse, we must also treat the person we wish to hex with importance. The key skill... (Full Essay)
- Hexing to Heal? #3 - by Rev. C.K.
No, I'm not a Witch or a Wiccan, nor do I 'play one on TV'. However flinging negative energies around like it was 'Silly String' is something that I'm more than familiar with. Quite a few seekers that come knocking on the our door are in a spiritual crisis and have either left those paths or are familiar with them and all of them want to 'do spells to get even with someone.' Somewhere along the Path we are all... (Full Essay)
- Hexing to Heal? #4 - by Kuldunia
The saying that 'A Witch who cannot hex, cannot heal' is one that generates a remarkable amount of tension and heated debate in modern Pagan society. As with many aphorisms, its very conciseness can lead to a variety of interpretations, from the extremely precise to the broadly general. In order to support or refute any statement, an agreed definition or comprehension of the content must be determined. Since agreed definitions seldom seem to happen in Pagan society, I will proceed... (Full Essay)
- Hexing to Heal? #5 - by Iko (L. Starr)
The saying: "The Witch who can't hex, can't heal, " in addition to being what I call 'bumper sticker Paganism' immediately brings to my mind the conspiracy theory guys on the TV show the 'X-Files.' The show's three computer savvy and conspiracy preoccupied characters often say to each other 'my kung fu is better than your kung fu.' For those not familiar with these fellows, this saying is used by one or another of them as a psychological checkmate to boast... (Full Essay)
- The Literate Pagan - by Michelle Barcoski
Whether we look at the statistics , or simply look at our circles, covens and community at large, there is little doubt that Wiccans are, as a whole, highly educated. Most of us are open-minded, tolerant, actively seeking knowledge; most of us have a college education or higher. This implies that we are also highly literate. But what if I were to suggest that we are, as a whole, not literate at all? In his book Lives on the Boundary , author... (Full Essay)
Aussie Ly De Angeles Hits the Net!
Two new Books available ONLY Online
From the Author in email...
"My first book Witchcraft Theory and Practice (Llewellyn, USA, 2000) is proving to be a strong success but I am aware that many who are not new to the Craft or Paganism are seeking works other than what has already been written (in many instances over and over again!).
I have recently had two more books published here in Australia through the Covenant of WildWood Gate titled: Genesis: A Legend of Future Past and The Feast of Flesh and Spirit (quoted several times in W'craft T & P)
Both The Feast of Flesh and Spirit and Genesis are written by a Witch but are not about Witchcraft -- rather I have sought to take the reader into the more creative and mystical worlds that living the Craft have evoked for me. Both are currently available ONLY through cyberspace - web-site: www.lydeangeles.com except for one or two exclusive outlets in Oz".
Contact Info: Ly can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or via snail mail at: Ly De Angeles, P.O. Box 1978, Byron Bay, 2481, Australia
Notes from a Pagan WebCrafter
Festival at Summerland - For Free/For Real, - My love to Wren
Greetings Witches, Wiccans, Pagans and Heathens!
Wren and I took yesterday off and headed down to a new first-fest here in southern Florida. We knew 'Festival at Summerland' would be a special and magickal gathering, but I must say that even our high expectations were exceeded. Hosted on the land of brothers, Skip and Ed, this gathering was one of the most magickal that we've been to in many moons. The land was amazing, and from what we hear, that was directly related to weeks of 'back-breaking' work by many Pagans in the Fort Meyers area. WE hear tell that famous Pagan Band, 'Emerald Rose,' did an awesome set of music on Friday. Sadly we were working and couldn't be there.
We humbly offer our thanks to Mino, Tina and countless others for inviting us to share in the birth of this new gathering. Although it was a long day for us (8am to 10pm), it was well worth the effort. Thanks go out to all in attendance for rendering this festival an event that will clearly be one of our country's best in the years to come.
For the Record... Last week's quarterly listing of the typical myths about TWV (see 'Notes from a Pagan Webcrafter 2/4/2002'), our staff, our office and what we do rendered some very interesting email. What we heard a lot of was "I can't believe you do this for no pay - What's the catch or What's in it for you"... Sorry to disappoint, but there is no catch, no products to sell and no hidden agenda. We believe that we simply couldn't do this community project properly IF we were obligated to a) make a living from it or b) be in anyone's 'back pocket'. Although many believe us fools for taking this stance, we believe that money changes everything and we have no desire to 'go there'. We love the challenge of doing this work and, although the rewards are not financial, they are plentiful enough for us. Simply stated, we are thrilled to be a part of this work and actually love this community. If we didn't, I can promise you that we wouldn't spend every weekend working up a positive and (hopefully) inspiring weekly 'zine. I would like to take this space and this opportunity to thank Wren for the light that she shines both on the net and in our home on a daily basis. Sand-bagging her into composing a weekly piece to kick off our update (two years ago) was arguably the best decision I have ever made. I am honored to call her my friend, my partner and my lover. In fact I do believe that I am the luckiest Witch in the World. Thank YOU dahlin' for the magick that you share with us all and for being the love of MY life!.
How do YOU get 'featured' on Witchvox? One of the many myths about Witchvox is that we favor our friends, their words and their photos... This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, what you see featured here is literally 99.9% of everything that has ever been submitted. We have no problem picking and choosing... We put up what we receive; it's really as simple as that. You don't have to be a BNP (Big Name Pagan) or one with 20 years of 'experience' under your belt to be featured here. All you have do is send over some WORK that serves the community itself.
There is nothing that we love more than to feature quality news and writings that are truly a gift to the community, a gift without an underlying financial agenda. People/Pagans are smart and DO filter out the ultimate agendas offered in exchange for 'free' information. A gift is just that, and should never have strings attached.
As always, our goals are to create solutions that are both valuable and useful to the Pagan community. Both Witchvox.com and Witchvox.net are here for your news and networking needs. Use them with our love.
Have a magickal week everyone,
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, February 11th, 2002
Image credit: The photo of Fritz and Wren (above) was taken back in 1996 by either Laurie Cabot or Witchvox staff member and friend Christina Aubin (I can't remember which) in Salem, Mass around the time that Fritz met Wren.
Take a Ride on the Witchvox Wayback Machine!
13 Moons ago: A Blast from YOUR Past
We keep it all for YOUR reference
(Update 2/12/2001) - "Getting back to nature was just what Fritz and I did yesterday. We were honored to be invited to speak at the Southeastern Spirit Gathering in Paisley, Florida. Our gracious hosts, The Rowan Grove, told us that this campground was way 'out in the boonies' and they weren't kidding! Nestled in the rolling hills (Yes, we DO have some hills in Florida!) outside of Ocala, the site was encircled with old live oaks. Beneath the twisted limbs draped with curtains of hanging Spanish moss, we caught glimpses of brightly-colored tents nestled in the little natural groves. Pathways lined with tiki torches gave the entire campsite a look of a warmth and welcome that had little to do with the 80-degree temperature and much to do with the hospitality of the people". (Full Update)
Pagan Trads at WitchVox - Two More UP! Pagan Adult Essays for February 2001 PUC-PAC Announces The "I Am" Project Pagans in Ohio had a very busy week. In Moraine, Ohio, dozens of Witches, Wiccans and Pagans turned out to protest a ban on fortunetelling. the Interfaith Alliance of Akron had to change tonight's scheduled ceremonial dinner after receiving objections about a Pagan musical group were raised by an Orthodox Church pastor. Bardic Circle Week #8 -- Terry Allan Hall offers "Of Reincarnation and Love" and Lucien Desar offers "What We Felt at Clonmacnoise ". Teen Essays: Best Friends and Magick, Healing, And The Pagan Paths WitchVox Question of the Week! Where Did You Get Your Magickal Name?
Everything you do... continues... long after you've gone
truth is worth more than pride
truth cannot be denied
truth is worth more than pride.
(Neil Finn, "Truth" from "Try Whistling This").
For these stories and more take the
Witchvox 'Wayback Machine'
back 13 Moons cycles to 2/12/2001
Community News clips from 1997-2002 ARE available by surfing our Weekly Update Archives. Nearly 4,000 articles about Pagans in the News can be found over at Wren's Nest News.
A Powerful Build: Gerald Gardner.com
Since 1995 we have promoted 12,662 websites related to the Pagan community via our VoxLinks Pagan Search. Every now and then we are reminded of Web sites that are a true labour of both love and respect... The fabulous GeraldGardner.com is one of those valuable historical sites that continues to evolve.
Hello again! I hope you are doing well. I thought I'd drop you a line to let you know that I've just released my first essay on the Gerald Gardner website. It fleshes out in fifty pages the rather neglected period of Gardner's life from 1946-1949 and uncovers some exciting things, like Gardner's association with the Old Catholic Movement and his family in America. In keeping with my desire to bring the materials that document Gardner's life to the public, I've quoted some interesting sources at length. You can find the essay linked from here: http://www.geraldgardner.com/index/essays.shtml . With the essay release, I've also put some new material in the archive. There is an obituary from Memphis for Gerald's younger brother Douglas and his wife Miriam, and I'm hoping to add some more pictures and things soon.
With Kind Regards and Bright Blessings,
Hats of to Morgan S. Davis for this non profit/labour of love... For the complete experience surf to www.geraldgardner.com
Brigid in New York
Starhawk Reports in from New York City
From Wren's Nest: February 3rd, 2002 -- Article #3840
It's 8 AM on Saturday. The march starts at noon: already we can hear helicopters circling. For days, every McDonald's and Starbucks in the city has had an honor guard of three cops. The streets around the Waldorf are blocked and guarded.
Last night we had our ritual in the park. I missed the setup because I was speaking at the students' CounterSummit, and by the time I got down there were already hundreds of people gathered and more cops than I could believe, long city blocks full of vans crammed with police, a helicopter circling overhead, police on the street and forming their own sort of welcoming committee at every entrance to the park.
We also had more media than I had ever seen at a ritual. ABC, Fox, the BBC, every IndyMedia reporter in New York, every graduate student doing a video project, they were all there and all wanting to talk and interview and photograph and record.
Ruby had done a tremendous job actually organizing the ritual and the complex art making, and people were setting up the shrines of grief, healing, rage, vision, and the forge, which included a huge cardboard cauldron filled with flames and a cardboard anvil and hammer. I hope someone else will describe them all more fully, because I only got, at best, a quick glimpse between the crowds and the reporters. Rosemary had done a spectacular, simple, elegant stature of liberty out of wheat. We had a wonderful Brigid's well with waters of the world, and the GAPatistas brought a triptych of the vision of the future. A friend of Harvest contributed a voudoun altar. Considering we couldn't have tables, wood, posts, poles, or living flames on any of them, we created some very powerful and beautiful images. -- [Full Story] -- [Powerful Pictures] Wren Chirps In: Witch hugs to M. Macha Nightmare for forwarding over this timely piece.
Additional Coverage: Also check out the indepth coverage and pictures over at www.magickalcauldron.com
February Teen Pagan Essays Now UP!
| We are honored to kick off our essay series for 2002 with two new essays from our Pagan young elders. Pagan Youth are clearly an inspiration to us all. They are embracing this spiritual path with a passion and conviction like we have never seen before. We are honored to feature the Young Pagan Essays for all the world to see. It is clear that their light shines brightly.|
What does the Sabbat of Imbolc mean to you? How do you celebrate it, and what myths do you associate with it? Also, since it is a "cross-quarter", do you celebrate it on the traditional date of February 2nd, or on the astrological midpoint of 15 degrees of Aquarius (February 4th this year)? -- Check out Essay One - Two
Hexing to Heal?
There's an old saying that goes "The Witch who can't hex, can't heal". Do you think this is true? Is the ability to hex an integral part of the ability to heal? -- Check out Essay One - Two
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.
YOUR Voice Wanted for March 2002!
Young Pagan Topics:
Publication Date: March 3rd Adult Pagan Topics:
Submission Deadline: February 24th
- Spring Equinox
How do you celebrate the Spring Equinox? What is its meaning to you, and what myths do you associate with it? -- Go Here for details
- When Your Parents Disapprove
What do you think teens should do when their parents disapprove of their religious beliefs? Many Pagan teens have parents who don't agree with their religious choices, and don't want them to have Pagan books or tools or practice magick. How should a situation like this be handled? -- Go Here for details
Publication Date: March 10th
Submission Deadline: March 3rd
- Spring Equinox
How do you celebrate the Spring Equinox? What is its meaning to you, and what myths do you associate with it? -- Go Here for details
- Converting to Paganism
We'd like to hear your conversion storiesdid you come to Paganism from another religion? What catalyzed your conversion, and how did it change your life? -- Go Here for details
|"When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." - (Billy Crystal in 'When Harry Met Sally')|
In YOUR Service,
The WitchVox Staff
The Witches' Voice Inc.
Monday, February 11th, 2002
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