Weekly Update: 4/01/2002|
Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: April 1st. 2002
Times Viewed: 4,390
Like many Americans, I have been busy researching my family tree of late. The key word here being 'late' as most of my research is conducted between the hours of one and five a.m. Fritz affectionately kids me about being a vampire because often I am crawling into bed just as he is crawling out. Actually, I crawl; he bounces. Living with a morning person when you are a night person does have its challenges. The true nature of my love for him lies in the fact I don't actually hurt him whenever he starts whistling at six in the morning. I do think about it, of course- I mean, the sun is just barely peeking over the horizon and he's already whistling, for the Gods sake! - but luckily for him (and for the state of our relationship), I usually fall asleep halfway through the planning stage. Probably a good thing. With my luck I'd draw a morning person judge for the trial.
I really enjoy the quiet time of the mid-nightly hours. There are no phone calls, kids yelping by the pool or other types of distractions to filter out. Occasionally some egret or moor hen has a bad dream and can be heard screaming out from the rushes that surround the little pond, but at that time of night it is usually just me and the stars and the computer keyboard whiling away the hours between dark and light. I need that quiet time. Genealogy is not the easiest little hobby to undertake. Even with the increasing amount of Internet resources that are becoming available, it still comes down to hour upon hour of searching through Parish records and ship passenger lists and tracking down leads. It is a good exercise in good old fashion perseverance that is only occasionally illuminated with a sudden flash of intuition. Much as in the study of magical theory, if one really wants 'to know'; one has to really want to know bad. It is easier to just skim over the details than it is to read the entire document or context.
Those of you who have ever done genealogical research can appreciate the challenge of tracking down certain family names. In the British Isles, as in other parts of the world, people did not have family surnames as we know them today. People were identified by the location of their homeland, their occupation or as the 'son of...' some immediate or distant ancestor. Add bad spelling into the mix and you'll understand where the intuition part of all of this work comes in. My family, like many, is very well documented as far back as the 1500's or so. Certainly once we hit the American shores, we know a lot about them.
One of the founding families of the Beverly/ Salem, Mass. colonies in 1629 (Now, how ironic is that?), we pretty much can figure out just about everything about them from that point forward. That's not what I'm looking for. I am trying to find- as are other researchers in our clan- the origin of the family name. That- for the reasons given above and more- is a very difficult thing. Learning to read Latin (luckily I took four years of it in high school, so it's coming back to me.), Middle English and Old Saxon were not things that I bargained for when I began this project. But I've found that if one is really serious about going backwards into history, one has to take what one finds in the context of the period in which it was written. It's hard, often frustrating work. It would be so much simpler in these circumstances to just use 'control-F'.
As most of you know, 'command-F' or 'control-F' is the 'find' feature on your computer keyboard. Type it in and a little box magically appears. Type in the word that you are searching for and it will highlight that word where it appears in the document. A really nifty time saving feature that helps one filter out all of the extraneous materials and find just the one isolated thing that one is looking for. I use it a lot. And I was using it at about oh, let's say-three fifteen a.m. or so one night to try and locate a particular ancestral name or variation thereof. Staring blurry eyed into the computer screen, I was about to 'command F' my way through a particular Parish record for a district in Cornwall when a name caught my attention. It wasn't any name (or variation thereof) that I was looking for, but it was an unusual one and for some reason I began to follow this name through the records.
This particular man had eleven children in all. All of them were christened and entered into the records of this parish. For five of them, the notation of their burial was entered in only a few days after they were born. Six months after the last of these five children was buried, his wife died. Then two more of his children. Six months later, he remarried. Eight months after that, both his second wife and their newborn son were buried. Two years later, he himself joined them. Here within a few pages written by the hand of the parish scribe 300 years ago, was the life history of a man and his family. It was eerie in a way and utterly fascinating. I began to wonder if it was an influenza epidemic that had taken three of his children within days of each other. An accident perhaps? A fire? Many of the very young and very old of that parish seemed to have died during the winter months. Were the conditions in Cornwall for those years especially harsh weather-wise? Or were the political maneuverings such that poverty or famine or even fighting occurred there during these years?
Scrolling down the list other family names kept reoccurring and I got to know some of them, too. Similar births and deaths and marriages-happy events and sad events- came to life before my eyes. Paupers' burials paid for by the parish and which were later reimbursed by the district. Illegitimate children who tragically seemed to have an even higher death rate than for the rest of the parish infants. Were they neglected by choice and allowed to die? Or were their mothers simply unable to get them proper food and medical treatment with no father around to help out?
I was hooked. I imagined what life in that little isolated Cornish parish must have been like. I pictured these names that had suddenly and almost magically became real people going to church and to the fields and to the graveyard. For a few hours, I went back in time and experienced what life must have been like there so far away and so many years ago. Leaning back in my chair and stretching those cramped neck muscles, a thought suddenly occurred to me.
I would have missed it all- this man, this life, this history, this culture- if I had simply used the control-F function.
I think that Pagans and Neo-Pagans today often miss something too when we F-key our way through history. In our efforts to reclaim, retrace or reconstruct the spiritual or magical or cultural beliefs of ancient peoples, we so often just key on a word or a phrase and then lift it out of its original context. We isolate Isis from Egypt or Arianhrod from Wales or The Eddas from Iceland and then either place them into a completely foreign land or leave them dangling out there in magical space somewhere with no familiar reference upon which to rest. And by isolating them such, we not only steal them away from their homeland and culture, we also rob ourselves of an opportunity to grow.
Pagans and Neo-Pagans often complain these days that there is no 'Wicca 202' material out there. After one has mastered the rehashed and rewritten basic materials, there is little in the way of advanced studies to be had. We have only ourselves to blame for that. Many Neo-Pagan authors or authors writing for the Neo-Pagan community have simply taken one God from column A and one Goddess from column B and presented that as a standard menu for Neo-pagan practice. Not only is this fare not a balanced diet, it is junk food. And since most American Neo-Pagans have been brought up on a lucrative diet of junk food, we don't realize just how lacking in real nutrition that this menu is. And then we wonder- after reading all of the popular books and doing all of the recommended exercises- why we are still hungry. It's simple. We have nowhere to go from there. The road to Isis has been blocked off, the thread to Arianhrod has been cut and the link to the Eddas has been severed. We have F keyed our way through history. We have skipped over the culture, the context and the land of origin. We have created an intellectual island and we have no boat.
But we do not have to remain island-locked. The roads are still there. The links can still be found and the thread still winds its way through the cultures and languages and customs of today. The past and the present are still connected. Nothing stopped with the advent of Christianity or the Norman Conquest or the Greek entry into Egypt. It changed and perhaps adapted, but it never stopped. And that is where those who hunger for something more will find it.
The man from Cornwall is not my family. But someone today does still carry his DNA. And hopefully that person has found his/her ancestor as I did. I can't claim this man as my family. But if my family also comes from or near this same parish, then the stories may be very similar. But until I know for sure, I can't claim that this ancestor and my ancestor did the same things or lived in the same way. I just don't know as yet. And I'm not about to write this man's name into my own genealogy chart just to fill in some gaps. I'll keep following my own threads. I'll keep on doing the tough research through the wee hours of the night. I'll certainly hope for a few flashes of inspiration to occur along the way to help point me in the right direction. I'll write into the chart only that which I can prove really belongs there.
And I won't be using any control-F function with which to write it.
Walk in Love and Light,
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, April 1st., 2002
Image credit: The image used for our anchor photo and on our intro page this week comes comes to us from Nosal Woodbender. http://home.attbi.com/~nosalwoodbender/ "I took this shot for Brahm at Brahm's Bookworks because of some bookstands I am carving that display their books nicely". - Great shot Nosal. Thank YOU for sharing it with s all.
Why did the Bunny color and hide the eggs?
Many, many years ago, in ages log past; before that is, long before the time of human man - there existed a race of brave and noble rabbits. They lived for each other and longed for nothing more than to feel the sun on their fur, to chew clover so green and sweet, and to burrow up into a warm snug hollow they shared with their loved ones.
Of course they were not alone nor did they have dominion over the earth. They shared the earth much as we do now, with other creatures. Both good and bad. Of all the creatures that it could be said they disliked or worse - it was the fox that earned their special hatred. The fox people were the killers of kindlings, those young bunnies with eyes barely open. The race of rabbits was much as we, they too could feel hate and fear. Their world as ours was formed of the same balance.
The fox people were never happy with a sole kill or stolen life. No, they sought out allies to aid them in the quest of becoming the Lords of all the Creatures. That is the lords of the entire earth and all its complements of animals. Winged and feathered, scaled and swimmers, all.....
By bribery and treachery the fox people one day convinced the clan of nearsighted skunks that without the aid of the fox people that they would lose their ability to make the atrocious scent they used to defend themselves with. Unless that is, they agreed to one simple rule. They must eat every white bird's egg they came across or saw. .... (Full Story)
A Vision of Hope (in these times of War)
by Peg Aloi
My Sunday morning ritual: feed the cats, make coffee, prepare some fresh fruit (today: fresh pineapple chunks: mmmm) and settle in to watch "Sunday Morning" on CBS. With so much horrible news this week, I was hoping for something uplifting, and, amid the stories on the escalating violance in the Middle east, and the deaths of a number of prominent people (Britain's Queen Mother, Milton Berle, Billy Wilder, Dudley Moore), I saw a story which actually offered a glimmer of hope: the daffodils planted throughout New York City last fall are now in bloom!
A German businessman, owner of B&K bulbs, donated a half-million bulbs, and his donation was matched by the city of Rotterdam, which made for a total of a million. Volunteers were gathered by New Yorkers for Parks, and 10,000 people (originally the number that the organization;s president had sought for the bulb donation) took part inplanting the daffodils throughout the Big Apple.
One man who had created a garden plot many years ago with his young son, found the planting difficult because his son, Bruce Reynolds, was a NYC police officer killed September 11th. But he was eventually able to face this task and was happy it brought him back into the garden the two had created together. He said he could think of no more fitting tribute to commemorate those who died in this tragedy than to "go back to the earth, to plant something in the beauty of nature."
These flowers will be in bloom for at least several more weeks so anyone who can journey to New York should make an effort to see this inspiring site...blooms of yellow smiling in the springtime sunlight, creating smiles on the faces they look up at from soil. Nothing beats New York in the spring...and this year's reawakening landscape there is particularly inspiring.
Media Coordinator - The Witches' Voice
Monday, April 1st., 2002
Drak.net offers "Keywords"
This past week Pagan Internet Presence Provider Drak.net announced the availablity of "Keywords" Here is an excerpt...
"Keywords - a powerful and dramatically simple navigation solution - are the answer. A perfect complement to domain names, Keywords are Web addresses that consist of simple, easy to remember names in any language or script - such as brand names, product names, personal names - that help drive qualified customers directly to specific destinations deep within your Web site. For example, Internet users simply type Keyword: IBM ThinkPad into the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) browser to navigate directly to the ThinkPad page. In fact, for every domain name there are many Keywords that can help drive your online presence and make it easier for your customers to find the products and information they need". For Complete details visit Drak.net on the web.
Notes from a Pagan WebCrafter
CMA Beltane - 2 Million Pages - V7 Enhanced Pagan Listings and a New Picture Tube!
Greetings Witches, Wiccans, Pagans and Heathens!
This past week, once again, saw a mountain of activity here at Witchvox central. We continue to race the 'lightening season' clock, going full out on the conversion of our .net domain over to our new server. CRITICAL Note: Although we are referring to this rewrite (of our networking pages) as v7.0, it is important to note that it IS a work in progress and it's functionality, look and feel and data are changing on a near daily basis. So, is THIS what it will look like? NO! The critical mission at this point is just to get it moved and working... Countless polishings and changes are just 'round the corner or taking place AS you read this. IN FACT just this past week we made numerous changes to Witches of the World v7.0 (see details just below)
Festival Season is upon us and this past weekend Wren and I 'shut down' for a day and hit the PhonixPhyre 10th. anniversary fest just an hour north of us here in central Florida. Due to my work schedule we could only make it for the one day, but WOW so many good people and too little quality time. It was hug-city when we arrived, friends... friends... everywhere. Our thanks go out to Wade, Dianne and the PP staff for this invite and hospitality.
Events listings at TWV continue to grow in numbers and this year will see the launch of many new 'festivals', perhaps even one in your town. Net vet site "Witch/Pagan Resources" has just announced their first all Weekend Festival "WPR Summer Gathering" (July 19-21) at 4 Quarters Farm in Pennsylvania. -- For the largest Pagan events listing on the Planet... Visit the Witchvox Local Events Pages.
| CMA Beltane - See Ya there! |
Wren and Fritz will be in Texas later this month!
It's Official: This week we are proud to announce that we will be attending the 'CMA Beltaine" (Council of the Magickal Arts) gathering just outside of Austin, Texas (April 18-21). We are thrilled at the opportunity to circle with the many friends we've made over the years from Texas. Again time is not on our side so we will fly in on Friday and return home very early on Sunday morning. We take this opportunity to thank Loke (Check out Loke's HOT CD release "Druid Four Winds - a Pagan rock opera"), Joy and Greg for making this happen. - We will note more details related to this trip later in the month.
For more details on CMA Beltane visit their website at www.magickal-arts.org. Also check out Don Waterhawk's coverage of last years CMA Beltane right here at Witchvox.
NOTE: Attendance to CMA gatherings is limited to CMA members only
The Witchvox Full Moon Birthday Massacre! OUCH! Due to a freak accident this past Friday morning, our main database accidentally sent out well over 1,000 "Happy Hatchday" emails in error. If you received one of these (in error) kindly accept our apologies. We quickly nailed down the glitch and can assure you that it won't happen again. To the 167 of you that WERE actually experiencing YOUR birthday that day... Happy Hatchday from all of us here at TWV.
A Sweet Treat!... This week Wren and I acquired a beautiful new appliance for our home. A 1949 Zenith TV with a 16" ROUND picture tube (see picture to your left). I won't bore you with HOW we got this, but will say that it was 12 years in the planning and it was a gift. Big time thanks go out to the spirit of Bill Gounaris for this wonderful 'box' and to Peg for nesting over it after we moved to Florida. Witch Hugs go out to Toby and Shawn for driving this 'tele' down from New England this past week. Two men, a 24ft. truck and a single TV. Since Wren and I were born in the early 50's we actually do remember that frightening image of the 'Wicked Witch of the West' from the Wizard of Oz IN Black and White on a tele' not much fancier than this one (I am still 'creeped' out by that image). I plan on rebuilding this wonderful TV in my spare time (laugh) and will let you know if I can breath life back into it. The good news is that I work in one of the few industries in the world (musical instruments) that still embraces the use of tube technology.
Return of Bardic Circle here at TWV. Yes, we are now officially taking submissions for a Bardic circle 2002 here at TWV. For those of you that missed the last round (winter/spring 2001) or are unfamiliar with the concept... Here's the deal. Pagan musicians submit a tune and supply the lyrics as well as a story on what the tune means to them, how they wrote it or why they wrote it. They also offer up a FREE mp3 file so that you experience the music itself. On a weekly basis we offer a few to you. This is not only great exposure for our Pagan musicians but a wonderful opportunity for YOU to be 'turned on to some free tunes'. Look for Bardic Circle 2002, here at TWV, in May.
To experience last years Bardic circle visit the BC index at xbardic.html
If YOU are a Pagan Musician and would like to participate, kindly submit your details via THIS form
Noted Site Changes and action at TWV this past week
A huge number of changes were executed this past week... Here is what I can remember (most of the week was blur)
In closing, allow me thank all of you that support this site both spiritually and financially. You have changed the world, You have built something very powerful.
- 30k Pagan Personal Listings NOW at Witchvox.com: This past Friday we moved the Adult, Military and Young Pagan personal listings (31,668) over to our .com server, dramatically improving the 'time to load page' spec. What used to take a few minutes now happens in a second. Personal listings at Witchvox have always been one of our busiest sections. Pagans have gathered, circle'd and actually fallen in love from these listings. We are honored to offer them as a resource.
We upgraded the personal listings to v7 and added many new fields of information to the personal listings. We removed the option to tweak your personal listings (email, profile address changes) this past week. We did this because; a) the depth of information has changed substantially and b) because we plan on aggressively attacking a 'live update' form after we convert the Witchvox .net server pages. YES, you will finally be able to edit your own listings.
We encourage all to 'enhance your personal listing' to v7 via our convenient form. DO NOTE that we run several 'de-duping' routines on all the Pagan personal listings so... your NEW listing WILL replace your old one when we re-compile the tables.
- Page Footer "Chapter Listings" Expanded: Earlier today we fleshed out, balanced, clarified and expanded the Chapter indexes at the bottom of all 4,200 pages here at TWV. This is arguably your most convenient way to jump around the Witches' Voice. They can be found at the bottom of every page here at TWV.
- NEW Personal Listings for YOUR Town: This morning we added yet another module to your networking pages "new listings in your area" ... You can find this on the side bar of your area page and it displays all new Pagan personal listings from the past 7 days. It's also worth noting that submissions are at an all time high, so check out the latest Pagan listings in your area via our new New Pagan Personal Listings Index Page. (Our thanks go out to Niall Leighton for helping to inspire this long needed feature)
- Monster Traffic: One thing is clear, and that is the new Witchvox.com server continues to be one screaming beast. Much of the site is now pulled from MYSQL tables, amazingly they are still holding up to what is becoming a pounding of information requests. I really expected this backend database to start bogging down, but not yet.
The average numbers of pages that are hit by a visitor have gone up from 5.5 to near 8. So yes, the fast loads are affecting the amount of pages consumed here at TWV. Presently Witchvox is breaking all records with daily page views (this past week) running between 63-75,000. Hits are clocking in at about 220,000 and bandwidth is exceeding 3 gig per day. It does appear that March 2002 will be the busy month in our 6 years online, totally over 2 million pages viewed.
In your service,
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, April 1st., 2002
Lady Sheba passes into the Summerland
Monday, March 25, 2002 1:44 PM
I received word from Lady Sheba's daughter that Lady Sheba passed from this world into the Summerland on March 20th, at home, surrounded by her family. Patricia, her daughter, wrote this:
"In accordance with her final wishes, she was cremated and her ashes will be spread over the Wicker family graveyard in Kentucky. We sent with her, to be mingled with her ashes, a copy of THE BOOK OF SHADOWS, because it was such a part of who mother was. She had accomplished many things in her life, but the publication of that book was her proudest moment. She spoke often and fondly of Carl and Sandra and her association with Llewellyn. She was so thrilled when you chose to re-issue her books for a new generation and died knowing her work was not forgotten."
Nancy J. Mostad
Acquisitions and Development Manager
Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
Tinkers Palace announces: Pagan History Month
Press Release 3/25/2002
October has been chosen the turn of the wheel for the celebration of pagan ancestry and history, Pagan History Month. PHM is a free, non-profit, event celebrated on a national level on a state-by-state basis. PHM will bring forth the many lost and sometimes ancient histories of the hundreds of pagan religions alive in America today.
Tinkers Palace is the founding organization of PHM while we already have many other sponsors. We need any and everyone who is interested in rediscovering their magickal ancestries and paths to join in this massive undertaking.
The event will begin with the onset of October and run throughout the month with gatherings, celebrations, seminars and the like in every state in the nation. We may add however that this idea has now spilt over into Canada and the UK with them participating as well. We need people who would be interested in heading up a state group to plan and organize their state for this upcoming celebration. We need assistant staff and many committee members in still most states. There is a very LARGE need of covens, groups, circles, churches, and etc. to host events in each state for that month. Each event will in some way, shape, or form presents the history that they have researched and brought forward through any means deemed worthy.
If you are interested in volunteering for Pagan History Month please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or join us at our organizing forum at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/paganhistorymonth/
There is Still Time: Adult Pagan Topics for April:
Publication Date: April 14th
Submission Deadline: April 7th
- Mixing Pantheons
Pagans tend to be nothing if not eclectic, but some think we take our eclectic tendencies a bit too far. What do you think of working with Gods and Goddesses from different pantheons? Can Kwan Yin and Hera get along? Will Odin and Osiris work together? Or should we find a single pantheon of gods and work with them alone? -- Go Here for details
- Magick for the Planet
Do you do any magick to "heal the earth", or do you find that kind of magick inappropriate? Let us know your thoughts, and, if you do work magick, tell us what you do and why -- Go Here for details
In YOUR Service,
The WitchVox Staff
The Witches' Voice Inc.
Monday, April 1st., 2002
So What Happened to the Other Weeks Features?
If you missed any of our Weekly updates,
DO KNOW that we archive the WitchVox Home Pages...
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