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Weekly Update: 2/18/2002

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: February 18th. 2002
Times Viewed: 4,426

Old Friends and Otters...

I was only about halfway across the street before I realized that I should have put on a jacket. It was almost 10:30 P.M. and much too late to be taking a stroll to the store. But since life without coffee is unthinkable and coffee without milk is undrinkable, my goose bumps and I decided to hot-dog it over to the all-night mart anyway. Brrrr! "Think 'hot coffee', Wren"! Think about steaming and deliciously milked hot coffee and keep going!" I practically ran across the access road and was just making the turn into the parking lot when I caught an odd movement out of the corner of my eye. Making a mental note to check it out on the way back, I sprinted for the door.

There's an odd camaraderie between late night shoppers. Whether this is out of some sense of embarrassment over having let the family down by running out of milk or Huggies or cat food, I'm not sure. But it's a sheepish crowd, we 24/7 mart explorers, and not a very talkative one either. We all just want to get in and out with our purchases before we attract too much attention. So in a matter of minutes, I was back into the cold air with an even colder gallon of milk dragging at my arm ligaments. Trying hard to think only warm and Herculean thoughts I had almost forgotten my mental post-it note when I saw it again. Curiosity won over gooseflesh. (So does the woman in the monster movie ever safely stay right where the hero tells her to wait? Nah, me neither.) Setting the milk carton down on the ground, I leaned over the fence and squinted into the darkness. A strange ripple was undulating its way beneath the water in the little swamp. What is that?

Now I'm a pretty well organized shopper and so I don't usually find myself shivering in the dark during a late night mart run. But even a Capricorn can't always figure in all of the variables that the Fates bring our way. Like the sudden and unexpected and totally delightful arrival of old friends upon one's doorstep. That's why I forgot the milk. That's why my fingers might be permanently frozen into the chain links of this stupid fence. And that's why I received two wonderful gifts in the same day.

Toby and Lakshmi are two old friends of ours from up north. In the Clearwater area for a family wedding, they had called us from that very same all night mart parking lot earlier in the day. Five minutes later, we were enveloped in Toby's bear hugs and Lakshami's warm laughter. We easily fell into that effortless chatter that really defines old friendships. Friendships that have stood the test of time and rotating romantic relationships and ups and downs create a magic circle in our lives. Here within the circle of such bonds, we find perhaps the true meaning of 'perfect love and perfect trust'. Within the sacred space of true friendship, time does not exist. Whether one sees such friends every day or once a month or once a year or once in a decade, the conversation just seems to pick up where last it left off. If there comes a silence, it is the silence of contentment and understanding which speaks no words because no words are necessary. Such friends are those who we never really miss because they are always with us and within us. Our friendships become a part of who we are.

We all had a wonderful time, of course, and the hours just flew by. You know how that is. If you have such friends, you are never poor, never alone, and never without love in your life. You don't need to tell your good old friends any of this, of course, but I'm sure that they'd like to hear it from you anyway. Some of the most treasured moments in the circle of friends begin with the words, "Remember that time when we...?" So why not give some of them a call or an email this week? You don't need a reason other than that they are your friends. Like remember that time when Toby and Lakshmi came to visit and...?

"...You forgot to buy milk and found yourself shivering in the dark and trying to figure out what the heck that thing was in the swamp?" As I squinted through the stealthy fog that drifted over the surface of the water, I could barely make out the strange smooth wave of something moving. And then I felt that shiver that one gets when suddenly and inexplicitly, one knows that she is being watched. Glancing over to the cement fragments of the old dam, a shadowy figure was silently skirting the bank in my direction. I must have made some slight movement because the figure stopped short about ten feet from where my fingers were frozen into the chain link fence.

The figure stood up on its hind legs and as it did, a small shaft of light from the parking lot next door illuminated its head. Whiskers twitched. Hers, not mine. We stared at each for a moment- this bright-eyed otter and I- and then a soft chirp came from the water. The male otter rippled himself -that is the only way to really describe such a fluid and graceful movement- up onto the bank and called to her again. Without a sound, she turned and went running toward him. She threw herself at him and they both went rolling head over tail down the grassy hillock. I think that I laughed out loud. I know that I forgot that I wasn't wearing a jacket. I forgot about my frozen fingers, too. Time and temperature had no power here.

For a few brief and enchanted moments nothing else existed beyond the spectacle of the two otters romping on the bank. They tumbled over one another with abandoned happiness. They rubbed noses and whiskers. They mock-chased each other across the fog and then fell into each other's paws all over again. The sheer innocent joy that the otters expressed- the joy of simply being together in the dark and chilly night- created a sacred circle of warmth and light within me. Because I knew just how they felt. Picking up the milk carton, I turned for home.

As I walked, I thought about the bond between the otters; I thought about the bond between old friends.

And I was no longer cold.


Walk in Love and Light,


Wren Walker
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, February 18th, 2002

Image credits: The images in this piece are from our personal archieves and feature group shots of members of "Babylon Heights" at the Starwood gathering in Sherman, N.Y. (circa 1995/1996). We hold these friends dearly and long to experience their magick once again.



"We are now in Sacred Space... Right Here, Right Now!"
(South West Florida)

Festival At Summerland
Review/Photos by Don Two Eagles Waterhawk

WOW! I know... I know... I have to say more for those that were not there. But its hard to expound when the best description is WOW...!!! This became a festival that a lot of people have been waiting for. And if you did not attend this one, come to the next, and you will agree with the rest of the attendees. Daniella and I arrived on Wednesday and was astounded at the work that had been done to the site in just two months to get this festival off the ground and running. The Land was definitely saying "Oh.. thank you", which was echoed by the people saying the same. The site is nestled in Florida's tropical palmetto, coconut palms, pine and ficus forest with shade for each camping site..(you won't get sunburned at this festival). Each camping site gets a bit of privacy because of the way the forest is set, and there is no lack of natural beauty surrounding you...it is truly the best festival site that I have seen yet around the country. This is a 5 star site in my book.

Each morning was greeted with a village ceremony welcoming the day. Thank you Mino for thinking of that. It truly gifted the people with the energy of the village and land to start off the day with Magic and Medicine, and the knowledge of what's to be happening in the oncoming hours of the festival. Doing this ceremony with the people looking up through the palm and pine trees surrounding the main, (yes there were others) Fire Circle, was an awesome feeling.

We left the morning circle feeling grounded and clear for what was to become. And when I walked back to my campsite I noticed a group of people standing around a shed, pointing, at a large Florida Everglades Rat Snake, an incredibly beautiful snake (harmless), that was just laying there turning its head looking at the All surrounding him..unafraid (which transferred its "non-fear to the people) and as we looked upon its splendor, we received its Medicine of Transmutation... it too helped set the Festival mood and energy.

Ed (Land Guardian) came over, let us know that this is the snakes home, but picked it up calmly and took it over to the edge of the property so it wouldn't scare anyone. But it's hard to be afraid with something so beautiful inside and out. This was the first festival to have many "Firsts" happen within festival ground. One, was that Daniella and I, for the "First" time, did not merchant. Instead we got the chance to be more with the "ALL" than ever before. (To those merchants that have never done a festival without vending, ya gotta' try it.) I now know what I have been missing as a merchant for all these years. I did miss being with Lady Daniella all the time, but I got over it. There were nine merchants, and in talking to several, it was found that they were pleasantly surprised at how well they had done for a first time festival as Summerland. That's a good indication of what is yet to come as this festival grows. (continued...)

Ed Note: Also check the wonderful local newspaper article "Celebration of earth-based spirituality held in Bonita Springs" By Erinn Hutkin linked from Wren's Nest


Eulogy for Kevin Smith
by Tom Canfield

It was a terrible shock to learn the news about the passing of Kevin Smith at age 38. For all the fans of "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" and "Xena: Warrior Princess", his work will always be remembered. As the god Ares, Kevin Smith projected a perfect macho image as a ruthless, but fun-loving, deity. His character was the sort who enjoys mowing down thousands of his enemies, and then finds time for relaxing in a jacuzzi.

Ironically, his work on "Hercules" began with a more insecure role. Originally, he was hired to play "Iphicles", the mortal half-brother of Hercules, who was always trying to deal with his insecurities over his brother's heroic reputation. When it came time to cast the part of Hercules' other half-brother, Ares the god of war, Kevin Smith proved to right for that part as well.

In preparation for his role as Ares, Kevin Smith had a very extroverted and energetic life in his native New Zealand. He started his show business career as a guitarist and singer for a punk rock band, which gained a following on the South Island. He was also a rugby player, but he was sidelined after his third concussion, when he started to feel "punchy." His wife, Suzanne, showed him a casting advertisement for a musical about Elvis Presley. Since Kevin Smith had often entertained his friends with Elvis impersonations, he had the right qualifications for the job. He got the part, but the musical only ran for six weeks. Nevertheless, it started him on his acting career.

For several years, Kevin Smith worked with a theater company in Christchurch, doing occasional work on New Zealand television, including a soap opera featuring a young auburn-haired actress named Lucy Lawless. (continued...)

Ed Note: Also check out our Xena Fan Page (by Peg) and Tom Canfield's Theology of Xena piece from back in 1997


Naming Ceremony for Deainira
This just in from Helen

Hi Fritz,

"Below is the ceremony we wrote for Deainira (known as Daya), the bracelet mentioned was a charm bracelet with a silver charm for each 'gift' we gave her. We held the naming/blessing in a local park which had a waterfall behind us and the day was gorgeous. We hope you like this example of how simple it can be and many of our guests were not pagan but found it very fascinating and said it felt very peaceful and welcoming to them".

"We held the naming in a local park named Fremont Park in South Australia at the end of summer.There is a beautiful waterfall just behind where we were and as you can see from the photo lots of lush grass and birds. The people in the picture are Lea (HP) Helen (Mum), Brett (Dad) Eleanor (big sister - 6) and Deianira who was 14 months old at the time".

Everyone stands in circle, loosely formed. Mum, Dad, Elly and Daya are in the centre with HPS. HPS welcomes guests to the circle,

'We have formed this circle of perfect and love and perfect trust for the rite of Deianira's Pagan Naming.'

then smudges Daya with Frank & Myrrh and asks for blessings of the God and Goddess upon Deianira (while smudging)

'I call upon the Goddess and God, the sacred Ether and all the sacred elements of the Universe to be present in this circle to bless this child'. (Full Ceremony...)


Blue Eyes Resting Safely in the Arms of the Goddess
(Feb. 16th, 2002 - 7:44 AM)

Dear Witches' Voice,

After trying everything we could to save blue eyes, our Blue Eyes has passed over to the other side on the Feb 16th 1:00pm PST. When we got to the hospital this morning, our vet told us that his liver is failing him quicker than he can recover from it. Also his blood is not flowing as it should be and he bladder is not functioning anymore. Therefore he was not showing any sign of movements or response to our calls. The oxygen machine is the only way for blue eyes to keep breathing. He was so weak, he could not even open his eyes anymore, and we had to make a hardest decision that we had ever made in our lifetime. We had to let him go... (continued...) -- also note that we have added an update today (2/16/2002)

Important Information about Cats! (Feb. 16th, 2002)
This just in from Skye Windflower and Kali Moonfyre... "First off my name is Skye Windflower and my partners name is Kali Moonfyre. Why we are writing is because we wanted to let everyone know about a disease that our cat has just been diagnosed with, it is called Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). A very common disease in cats, the vet said for every 10 cats he sees one or more of them have FLUTD. It usually effects cats between the ages of 1 and 6 years of age. It is life threatening to the males because the urethra can become blocked and are unable to urinate. While the female cats can also have this disease they are less at risk for the blockage". -- (continued...)



Honor YOUR Pagan Pet!

Pagan Site Focuses on your Pagan Pets

Last month we closed our "Cats of the Craft" section (but only for new submissions) and at the same time made a plea to find out if ANY Pagan site was actually doing a 'Familiars of the Craft section' ... Turns out no one was but ONE man did come forward and noted that he'd be glad to create one. Our community thanks go out to Jeff for taking on this challenge.

Over the years we have taken much criticism for having a 'cats only' section. In fact we personally love all animals but created 'cats of the Craft' to make a specific point. With this new site dedicated to your familiar we will be able to gush over your pets.

Kindly visit www.mainepagans.com/craft.htm and submitt a picture of your critter... We will all be glad that you did.




Take a Ride on the Witchvox Wayback Machine!
13 Moons ago: A Blast from YOUR Past
We keep it all for YOUR reference

A Year Ago This week (2/19/2001) - "From research projects to educational outreach initiatives to web sites geared toward helping Pagans to help themselves, this week TWV reports a definite rise in Pagan public awareness campaigns: Pagan Ph.D. Candidate Research Project: Cat McEarchern is an American Pagan studying for a Ph.D. in religious studies at the university of Stirling in Scotland and is conducting a survey on Pagans and their relationship to Nature. This survey is part of my Ph.D. research at the University of Stirling. I'm looking at how Pagans see Nature and the environment in terms of their own religious practices and beliefs. The questions below are to help me get a broad based idea of what Pagans really think about this issue.". (Full Update)

The Religious Freedom Quilt Project:  In Memoriam: Gabriel McManus 2/13/01-2/14/01  Earth Arts is also an official sponsor of the RIBBON PROJECT  VoxSearch... A Hit with WitchVox Surfers  Wanna Write A Letter, But Aren't Quite Sure What To Say?  Bardic Circle at Witchvox: an instrumental by Moonstruck called "The Burning" -- Dandelion Wine "Mabon" -- Karl Franzen with Sharon Knight "The Wheelright"  Cats of WitchCraft - Page 21 Now Up  WitchVox Question of the Week! "How About Some New Holidays? -- and much much more.

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.


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:
  • 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)
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? Here were the essays that we received on this topic:
  • 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)
February Bonus 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 wildwoodgate@mullum.com.au or via snail mail at: Ly De Angeles, P.O. Box 1978, Byron Bay, 2481, Australia
Website: www.lydeangeles.com


February Teen Pagan Essays Now UP!


Young
Pagan
Essays
For

2
0
0
2
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.
    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)? -- 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
    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
Adult Pagan Topics:
    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 stories—did you come to Paganism from another religion? What catalyzed your conversion, and how did it change your life? -- Go Here for details

In Closing...

"Don't be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is before you can meet again. And meeting again after a moment or a lifetime is certain for those who are friends." - (Richard Bach)


In YOUR Service,

The WitchVox Staff
The Witches' Voice Inc.
Monday, February 18th, 2002











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