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Weekly Update: 4/08/2002

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: April 8th. 2002
Times Viewed: 4,115

Runs With Bees...

Bees generally get a bad rap from most people. They think 'bee' and then their minds fly almost immediately to 'ouch'! Yeah, well there are probably a lot of people that you know whose very name prompts the same reaction. Some of them may have earned that reputation because they tend to sting first and ask questions later. Bees are much more sensible than that.

Honeybees are really nice folk. For one thing, they mind their own business. Secondly, they don't go looking for trouble. Now right there you have two sterling qualities that you probably wish more people would emulate. Honeybees are also very focused (Your boss would like that one.) and productive (Also a big resume plus). They make a good solid product and they have been in the same business for tens of thousands of years. They don't even really mind sharing the fruits of their labor if you know how to properly ask.

Man and bee have created a nice little partnership over the centuries. From the very moment that some primitive man or woman first plopped a finger sticky with wild honey into his or her mouth, they had us hooked. Free samples have always been a staple of good marketing technique. So, after fighting off a cave bear or two, our ancient ancestors decided it would be much better for both man and bee if we just took them home with us. And we have been cohabitating ever since.

If you happen to like 'chick flicks', then you have probably seen the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes. In this tale, the lead character, Idgie, is a 'bee charmer'. A bee charmer is allegedly a person who can 'speak' to bees and, without any other special equipment or protective clothing, can talk them out of some honey without getting stung. The scene where Idgie reaches into a wild hive and scoops out a jar of dripping golden sweetness for her friend, Ruth, is both a beautiful and a powerful one. Idgie, humming softly, was soon covered from head to foot with thousands of bees. But they flew off as she walked slowly back to Ruth.

"Here you are, Madame, this is for you. Just think, Ruth, I never did it for anybody else before. Now nobody in the whole world knows I can do that but you. I just wanted for us to have a secret together, that's all."

Ruth, in tears, replies, "My Idgie's a bee charmer. That's what you are." "I've heard there were people who could do it, but I'd never seen one before today."

Well, I have.

Ten years ago or so, New England suffered a long and very dry summer. I kept three birdbaths- two on pedestals, one on the ground- for the various and sundry local birds and critters since many of the usual watering spots were totally dried up. One morning when I got out the water jug to refill the basins, I found a group of unexpected visitors. Wing-to-wing honeybees encircled the entire wide brim of the backyard birdbath. As one would drink her fill and load up with some water drops to take back to the hive (they sprinkle the water around and then beat their wings to produce some natural air conditioning), another would take her place. There must have been hundreds of them. And a very polite bunch of ladies, they were, too. No jostling. No bee kneeing each other out of the way. Just a nice orderly queue of yellow and black fuzzy hummers waiting patiently in line at the water bubbler. These visits continued for weeks. And the bees did not only fascinate my daughter, Skye, she became enchanted by them.

The next day, as I was just barely on my second cup of coffee, she came in from the back yard. Humming innocently to herself (always a warning sign) she opened up the cupboard and before my not quite open eyes proceeded to smear honey (from that little plastic bear bottle thing) onto her arms and face. She followed that up with a good dowsing of sugar water from a glass that she had apparently pre-mixed earlier. Now living with a teenage daughter, one quickly learns not to ask too many silly questions. But curiosity got the better of me this time. The words- "Uh...whatcha doin'?" - came out of my mouth before I could stop them. She just looked up and grinned. "Wanna see something cool?" she asked.

The other thing that one learns when one lives with a teenage daughter is that, as a general rule much like that of 'don't ask; don't tell', one usually does not want to see anything that the aforementioned daughter thinks is 'cool'. But I must have been feeling particularly foolhardy that day because I said, "Okay." And so, fortified with another cup of coffee, I followed her out of the door and out onto the patio. "Wait here and watch this," she said. "Oh yeah. Promise me you won't freak." With those encouraging words, she tripped down the steps. I sat down and practiced my not freaked Mom face. I actually thought that I had the proper mildly interested look nailed down for a minute there. I never got to use it. No matter. What I saw next really called for something more along the lines of utter astonishment anyway.

Skye was standing in front of the birdbath with arms outstretched and face tilted up towards the sun. Within seconds, she was covered with hungry and thirsty little honeybees. To my credit, I didn't screech or faint. I did have to close my mouth by applying a firm upward pressure to my chin however. My little charmer was wearing a living honeybee suit. Okay, it turned out that it indeed was pretty cool. And quite fashionable really: A yellow and black striped suit that hummed. She never once- during that day or on any of the other days that summer when she repeated this impromptu banquet table act- got stung. Not a single nip. She did however take a lot of showers. And her complexion never looked better. I think standing out there in the yard being licked and nuzzled by hundreds of honeybees did something for her both emotionally and spiritually. Whenever we speak of it, a sort of dreamy look comes over her face. I guess the charming spell works both ways. And, much to my surprise, it also worked on me.

You see, my own mother is very allergic to bee stings. The need to get a shot or swell up and die sort of allergic to bee stings. And I grew up seeing my mother batting bees away and screaming and running way from them. So I learned by proxy to have a fear of bees, too. Even though I had never been stung myself, my heart would start pumping if I even heard a buzz. I realized intellectually that I had no reason to be afraid of bees. I knew it was irrational; I just couldn't help it. It was a learned and conditioned reflex inherited from my mother. But I knew that I absolutely didn't want to pass along that irrational fear to Skye. So I worked through it bit by bit over the years and I finally got myself to the point where I could share space with bees and not dissolve into a quivering puddle of fear.

As Skye was growing up, I explained to her all of the good things that bees do that help humankind and what a service that they provide. And that if you don't hurt them, they won't hurt you. All true enough. But this was a bit of bravado on my part as I wasn't actually at the point where I could hug a bee. The generational ghost was still haunting me, but I did do my very best not to pass it along. And while I couldn't completely break that final link in the chain of fear myself, Skye did. And watching her feed the bees that morning, I realized that I was finally set free myself.

There are a lot of things out there in the world that can hurt us. And there are many bad things that occur in families or in relationships the memories of which we carry like the pain of bee stings within ourselves. And for the most part, these are things that we don't want to pass along to another generation. But it is hard to eliminate them completely; it is difficult to heal ourselves all at once. But, the good news is, we don't always have to be the one who does all of the work. We just have to do the part of the work that we can do. And if we do just that part of it that we can do, there will come others who can do the rest. And then the cycle-whether it been of abuse or anger or fear or aggression- will be broken.

So many years later when we learned that Skye had brain cancer, I was very, very afraid of losing my only child. But Skye wasn't afraid. She always knew that no matter what happened, she would be okay. Somehow, she just knew it. Just like she somehow knew on that certain summer morning that the bees wouldn't sting her. Maybe the bees told her. Maybe they still tell her things that bees only tell to those with whom they have shared the charm. I'm not a part of the bee charmer inner circle myself. But I do know-as hard as it was to do at the time- that I helped to draw that circle.

Just as I know that some things-- hope-- love-- courage-- taste very much like wild honey upon the tongue.


Walk in Love and Light,


Wren Walker
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, April 8th., 2002

PS: Our friend, Tavara, recommends these web sites for more information about bees and beekeeping:
Image credit: The "Bee" image used for our anchor photo was taken by Michael Myers and is used with permission. Visit the Michael Meyers Website at http://www.netaxs.com/~mhmyers/index.html.





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April Teen Pagan Essays Now UP!
  • Magick for the Planet - #1 - by Sierra-Rose Autumn'sFox
    Personally, I do send energy to the Earth for healing. She does so much for us, so why not help her back? She has trees to keep us cool and the planet oxygenated, animals and plants to feed us, not to mention makes an appropriate environment for the other elements of fire, air and water (not to mention spirit) to... (Full Essay)

  • Magick for the Planet - #2 - by Sienna
    I find that we must give back and do magick to heal the Earth. In no way do I find this inappropriate. As I speak, the Mother is being raped, burned, despoiled and lacerated. If anyone I knew, man or woman, adult or child, came to me having to bear the treatment that She is enduring right now, I would... (Full Essay)

  • Magick for the Planet - #3 - by Tessa Amara
    As a vegan environmentalist, I am anything but impersonal when it comes to my planet. I have the soul (and thought patterns, and body language, and character... ) of a cat, thus I am incredibly territorial. My home is not just the place where I live, it's my home, and I love it with a passion. I have more than one... (Full Essay)

  • Mixing Pantheons - #1 - by Rominjn Wind
    Zeus, Osiris, Odin, Hera, Isis, and Freya. Are these gods and goddesses of different mythologies really that different from each other? There are many people who would say that they are different gods with their own personality and power, while others would simply say that they are after all just gods, all descendents of The One. If you were a... (Full Essay)

  • Mixing Pantheons - #2 - by Tara Starsong
    Stop! Before you read this essay, forget for just a moment everything you've been told about 'monotheistic' and 'polytheistic' religions. Everything I am going to say below asserts that those terms as we traditionally define them are invalid. Alright, ready? I was taught, as you most likely were, that there are three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Well, guess... (Full Essay)

  • Mixing Pantheons - #3 - by Sienna
    This month's topic I found particularly interesting, as it's something I've been wondering about for the last little while. I've organized my ideas so that hopefully you can comprehend them, as they've just been floating around in random spirals through my mind until now. The astral plane is like a school, or work (not literally, figuratively). A school or work... (Full Essay)

Next Month's Young Witch/Pagan Topics:
    Publication Date: May 5th
    Submission Deadline: April 28th

  • Beltane
    How do you celebrate Beltane? What is its meaning to you, and what myths do you associate with it? Also, since it is a cross-quarter, do you celebrate it on the traditional day of May 1, or on the astrological midpoint of 15 degrees of Taurus? -- Go Here for details
  • Spirit Guides
    What non-physical entities do you work with? What are your contacts in the realm of Spirit? Familiars? Fairies? Angels? Loas? Tell us who you are in communication with, how you contact them, and why. -- Go Here for details
Adult Pagan Topics for April:
    Publication Date: May 12th
    Submission Deadline: May 5th

  • Beltane
    How do you celebrate Beltane? What is its meaning to you, and what myths do you associate with it? Also, since it is a cross-quarter, do you celebrate it on the traditional day of May 1, or on the astrological midpoint of 15 degrees of Taurus? -- Go Here for details
  • Spirit Guides
    What non-physical entities do you work with? What are your contacts in the realm of Spirit? Familiars? Fairies? Angels? Loas? Tell us who you are in communication with, how you contact them, and why. -- Go Here for details



Gene Jinson - Where for art Thou!
Received this plea at Press Time - Perhaps YOU can Help?

Hello Fritz Jung,

I have been in contact with my friend Gene Jinson (Dwayne Eugene Jinson) of Topeka Kansas for over one year. I last heard from him Tuesday night March 26, 2002. His phone is disconnected, and living in Orlando Fla makes it very difficult to find out what has happened to him. I know he practices Wicca and has a friend named Randy, who also practices and lives in Topeka, but that's all I know about his friend. I am just sick with worry and have made numerous contacts with the local authorities to no avail. Gene has a son (Junior) of the same name, but he does not have a phone and I don't know his address.

Could you help me locate Randy and maybe he would know more??? They could contact me at my email: NightAngel1526@aol.com . I am just sick with worry and feel so helpless to find out anything. I truly appreciate ANY information you could find out or if someone knows Gene's whereabouts, that they contact me. Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

Betty
Orlando Fla
Email: NightAngel1526@aol.com
Sunday, April 7, 2002



Notes from a Pagan WebCrafter
Our Busiest Week EVER! - CMA Beltane - 3 Main Sections Ported and PHP love/hate!

Greetings Witches, Wiccans, Pagans and Heathens!

This past week (April 1-7), was the busiest week (traffic wise) that we've seen in our 6.2 years online... Clocking in at 612,157 full pages viewed (over 3 million hits consuming 3.2 gig a day in bandwidth/traffic). It is clear that as the net continues to grow, so does the Pagan web. In our case, the 'action' was across the board, all sections and pages saw increases. It's been fascinating to watch.

Again this past week I was on a tear and converted/rewrote our MAIN Area Pages, setting them up to (eventually) portal Wren's Nest News for YOUR Area, feature events of the day, and much, much more. This conversion improves the load time performance dramatically. ALSO converted are two other VERY BUSY modules here at TWV; Local Pagan Shops and Local Circles and Events.

PHP Love/Hate: PHP is the middle ware we have chosen to put much of the 'new' Witchvox together. Although, it's been around for a few years it is a new language for this Witch. I love its speed, it's power and it's depth... It Hates ME! Many functions that should be simple are hard to find, and yes I have some good references. I am slowly winning this battle and will not let this code 'break me'.

PHP: Postnuke! This past week two more fellow Pagans thanked me for 'turning them on to' prefab PHP website systems. Ya see, you don't have to roll up your sleeves and actually learn this language, you can simply grab one of the ready made systems already out there. PostNuke is becoming the most popular (better security), is open source/free and can be set up in an afternoon. You install the script files, create a database and run the start up routines and Voila! The coding is brilliant and deep, offers many instant features and the list of add on modules grows daily. All you need is an ISP/IPP that will let you run PHP and MYsql and this list is growing. The draw back to any prefab system is what to do when it breaks. Perhaps your ISP can save the day, perhaps THEY haven't a clue, find this out early on and make sure you get some backup routines in place from day one. Ya see, you live and die by the integrity of the data tables. It's also worth noting that, although feature rich, postnuke sites can be painfully slow to load. There are many variables that attribute to this, but slow load times loose visitors/customers.

WOTW v70b4: Nothing thrills this Witch more than seeing the explosion in action over in YOUR networking section (Witches of the World). Yes, it's been mentioned constantly here in my webnotes (due to the dramatic rewrites and insane improvement in load time - now about 1 second) but I do know that it 'taint just my notes that are driving it, the increases are just too large. The modern Pagan is a herd animal and the need to gather with others of like mind has never been stronger. We are thrilled that we are soon to see closure on our conversions from the old 'slow WOTW' to the new zestier version.

Last week: Here is what I remember (most of the week was blur)
  • YOUR State/Province Page: These are the key pages for our networking section and porting them was a challenge for sure. I had to hack through some new PHP techniques (for me) to get these pages at least a functional as they were before, but the good news is that they ARE ported and working well. Look for BIG changes on these key pages in the months to come.

  • Local Shops: These pages have always been popular and as of this morning have been consumed nearly 600,000 times. Enhancements include a key listing of community related offerings from the shops right on the list view page. We encourage you to patronize your local Witch/Metaphysical shops.

  • Local Circles/events: Another VERY popular section and one that I knew would be a bitch to covert properly. I spent most of the weekend getting this section functional! The BIG fight was writing/guessing at HOW to do readable dates based on conditionals in PHP (do note that I am a newbie with this language). Enhancements include the option for a second email address and a second URL for those of you that ARE listing an event and a cleaner 'look and feel'. Local Events at TWV are the largest and busiest in the land.

  • Other Changes that I can remember: Tweaked up the 'side bar navigator' on all of the WOTW pages - (finally) changed the body color structure these pages will actually change the color of links you've already checked out - Squashed about 200 noted bugs and weirdities (with another 100 plus to go) - Tweaked up many of our submission forms to include countless new fields... YOU may want to consider resubmitting YOUR listing(s).
Worth Repeating: 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.BR>
CMA Beltane - See Ya there!
Wren and Fritz will be in Texas later this month!

It's Official: 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


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

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.

In your service,

Fritz Jung
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, April 8th., 2002


See Ya all Next week...


In YOUR Service,

The WitchVox Staff
The Witches' Voice Inc.
Monday, April 8th., 2002











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