Weekly Update: 4/29/2002|
Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: April 29th. 2002
Times Viewed: 4,825
Beltaine in the Lone STAR State
The Witchvox Review of CMA Beltaine
There are many good things that can be said about Texas. One of them being that the 'Lone Star State' is simply littered with 'pentagrams'. The star in a circle emblem greets you wherever you go and we noticed that right away. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why Texas Pagans are so active. State for state, Texas has always been at the top of the TWV Witches of the World list for the sheer number of groups, organizations and community activities. Texas Pagans are busy Pagans!
And so, Fritz and I very much appreciated the hospitality shown by the folks at the Council of Magickal Arts Beltane 2002 celebration. As busy as they all were-and they were plenty busy!- many of the CMA staff and friends took time out to inquire if we had everything that we needed or to simply wish us welcome. The TWV Worker-Beez are really not used to being on the receiving end of the energy exchange, but during our two day stay on 'The Land', we felt nothing less than..well.. pampered. And it all started as soon as we got off the plane...
The weather in Austin is very much like our weather here in Clearwater, so the heat and sun were not a problem. Standing outside the baggage claim area waiting for our ride to the festival, we had a few moments to stretch those plane-pretzel limbs. And then suddenly here come Murlyn and Joy, all smiles as usual, but looking strangely wind-blown. That was a clue. Which we didn't get. The giggles were another clue. We didn't get that one either. Even if we had known then that the theme of this year's CMA Beltane was "Laughing at Ourselves", I doubt that we would have been able to guess what was about to unfold. Under any other circumstances, I'd be worried that my Witch radar had a short in the system, but these Texas Pagans can be downright diabolical, as it turns out. Okay. We give up. What's going on?
We meet up with Seamus as he directs us over to his vehicle. The one with the 'CMA V.I.P." flag flying from the antenna. The one with the motorcycle escort. Yep, we have a two-person motorcycle escort. It was originally supposed to be a four-cycle escort but one of the bikers- who shall remain nameless to spare him the embarrassment (See, Chainsaw, I told you that we could be discreet!)- ran out of gas on the way in. We would meet up with the stragglers later and we all had a great time grounding over Texas beef burgers. Then it was on to the adventure that is CMA!
We had been to a CMA event about five years ago, but this was a whole new experience because the festival is now being held on CMA's Pagan-owned land. Thanks to the hard work and fund-raising expertise of the current director, Greg Evans, CMA purchased a very beautiful multi-acre piece of Gaia. The work of clearing and cleaning still continues, but what they have done already is nothing short of a modern marvel. A lot of the credit for that has to go to Gary Park, John Gerace and Tiny Peterson for leading the teams that work so hard to make the land beautiful and usable (along with all the volunteers who show up to the work weekends and work). I told you these Texas Pagans work hard. And they really, really do! It shows at CMA.
After stowing our gear in the RV that Joy and Murlyn generously provided, we got the 'short tour'. A maze of tents and pavilions, the layout was like that of a small village. Once we got our bearings though, we could find our way around pretty easily and we were soon off on our own to explore and do the meet and greet. One of our best friends, Lisa Knorra, had moved to Texas in Oct '97 and so it was Babylon South reunion time as we hugged and got caught up on the latest news. Other old friends were also there, such as Trish Telesco (hardest working Pagan author in the multi-verse), Charlie Murphy (Pagan Uber Bard), Loke E. Coyote (funniest satirical Pagan songwriter ever), Dana Davis (aka The Gorgeous One) and, of course, the gals and guys of Dreamtrybe (who always rock our world). We found out that the diamond ring on the beautiful Amanda's finger means that she and Ginger are engaged! Whoo-hoo! Now THAT is gonna be one heck of a handfasting. And we had better be invited, gals! Gee, wonder who they'll book as the band...
We settled in at CMA 1- the pavilion for 'all things CMA'- for a bit to get out of the sun and to share some great frozen lemonade treats. (Thank you, Kerridwen and staff for feeding us!) Greg came by and we got to chat with him for a bit. The CMA staff has a schedule that allows time off for the various staff members during the festival so that they can actually-gasp!- get to enjoy the fruits of their own labors. Having witnessed many festival staffs burn out from overwork over the years, we think that this is an excellent plan that more festival promoters should implement. We then went to say hello and howdy to Charlie and Bruce Denney at their coven camp and stayed on for some delicious fried chicken and shared a killer chocolate daiquiri whipped up by their in-tent bartender. We don't drink as a rule, but even we had to sample one. They were that good! Yep...Feelin' pretty mellow right about now...
After changing our clothes for the evening festivities, we wandered over to the stage. What a treat was in store for us there! As Fritz and JC traded old roadie stories and Fireside Theater quips, Dana Davis hunted us down some coffee and we settled in for the 'Canvas' concert. These guys are terrific! If a Pagan band can be considered to be 'alternative' already, then Canvas would be an alternative alternative. They rocked! And when Dana swore that the lead singer, Joseph King, was channeling Jim Morrison, I couldn't disagree. If you ever have the chance to see this Austin based group, take it. You will become a fan, too. And speaking of fans, it seems that Dreamtrybe has more than a few of their own. Like we didn't know that? (We love you MORE!) One camp commissioned the Trybe to put on a 'private' concert. Weaving our way through lamp-lit grassy paths, we settled down for a few more hours of magickal melodies. As the incredible vocal power of Ginger and Linda took us once again (as always) into the place between what is and what can be, our spirits soared even as our weary feet headed back to the camper for some much needed winks.
Saturday morning and Fritz was already off on the coffee search. Caffeine deprivation finally got me out of bed and as I meandered slowly in a b.c. fashion (b.c.= before coffee) through the camp, I paused here and there to speak with some folks (Hi, Jana and Sidney!) and finally found Fritz-and my coffee! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Cathy and Alan Eddy!- sitting at the stone table with Oberon Zell. Oberon showed us his newest creation- Odin, the Wanderer - and you'll probably want to get this one for sure. Oberon's detailed work is simply outstanding and he carves all the molds. He also has a 'God' and 'Goddess' figurine set in the works designed especially for the young folks. The 'Moon Maiden' and 'Forest Faun' set is whimsical without being cutesy. They are perfect, in fact, for the young Pagan's personal altar. (We hope to have some images of these and other works by Oberon for a future TWV feature.) JC stopped by and then Troy joined us and soon everyone once more was trading music industry stories and talking about the 'good old days' of the sixties, seventies and early eighties. We met Alexandria who autographed a copy of her new book, 'Wiccan Feng Shui' (Citadel Press; ISBN 0-8065-2296-8) for us. Can't wait to read it! Goliath, aka Bill, the Fire keeper, brought forth the official CMA Fire Clan staff (made and donated by WaterHawk Creations at CMA Beltane 2000) and he wanted us to tell Don and Daniella that he and the Clan were honoring the intention and magick of the staff. We know that the main ritual and revel fires were outstanding! So that fire magick is really working! We found that we had a front row seat for the Beltane parade- and who doesn't love a parade? - and so we clapped and hooted for the May King and Queen and oohed and 'awed' over the wonderful costumes. Donal stopped by to invite us over to his camp and we then did a bit of shopping. A gal can never have too many sarongs, I always say!
The sun was hot. So were the showers. Now anyone who has been to a Pagan gathering knows that the quality of the showers is a big deal. The new showers at CMA are simply the best anywhere. The water is always on and it is always hot. The stalls themselves were hand decorated by various staffers and volunteers with many more plans in the works to continue to improve them. Even in their present state, they are a luxurious perk that one really appreciates at the beginning, middle or end of the day- and sometimes all three. Since the water is a steady stream, the lines are short and so your shower buddies are all in a real good mood! There are even scheduled gender-only times for the more modest amongst us. Cathy McNulty (bless her heart!) conjures up all those little amenities-like tents, tables and toilets- that become so important when you are out in the 'wilderness'. The CMA staff has pretty much thought of everything. But then again, they are pros at putting on a festival.
We didn't get to any of the workshops- which is a shame- because now I'll never know just where those 'Acupressure Points for Lovers' are or who won the 'Battle of the Sexes'. Darn! But we did get the 'extended tour' from Greg that took us into the Meditation Woods across the wooden bridge. What an enchanting place! There are carpets of wildflowers everywhere in various shades of red and pink and blue. The butterflies- and, no doubt the fairies too- seem to bless the scene with their presence. Even with a huge festival going on just yards away, it was like walking into another world.
The evening slowly drifted in and we had plans to attend the night's concert and then trip the camp fantastic. Well, THEY had other ideas apparently and we found ourselves sitting in the CMA I pavilion most of the evening just yakking it up with folks, Since we love to go to festivals in order to personally meet and talk with the Pagans who have previously only been known to us via their email addresses, this was hardly a heartbreak. And since we had a window view of the stage from where we sat, we didn't have to miss Dana Davis' kick-butt performance to do it. The Wyrd woman is truly a Goddess of Song and her new band added depth to the sound without diminishing Dana's own powerful performance one bit. It was a great blend of rock, blues and soul. If you have ever heard and loved Linda Ronstadt or Kate Bush, then Dana is definitely your kind of diva. Talking over pagan community related issues with Lil Ferewing and Lady Diana of B&B, the hours just flew by. Loke E. Coyote came by and invited us to join him for a little non-Pagan political debate, so we settled into his bus-camper, sipped on some excellent coffee- Can you tell that for me it is ALL about the coffee?- and discovered that beneath the biting wiccabilly satire and ironic wit, Loke is an extremely intelligent and savvy guy. Of course, we solved all the problems of the universe before we reluctantly bid him farewell and thanked him for such an engaging and fulfilling dialogue. We had a great time, man! Thanks for everything! And let's do that again real soon...
The drumming seemed to be everywhere and great drumming, it was. Probably some the best that we have heard, in fact. As we gathered up our stuff and packed it into the car which Danielle and Shawn most generously let us borrow to drive to the airport at-gulp!- four a.m., we spent the next few hours just hanging with Dana and Sidney (a Pagan lawyer, no less!) and talking about music and love and friendship. We have determined over the years that "good friends never say good-by" and so we simply hugged and kissed and said, "See ya soon!" to everyone as we drove out of the gate.
Fritz and I would like to thank everyone at CMA-the staff, the volunteers, the old friends, the new friends and the spirits of 'The Land' for making us welcome and leaving us with so many fond memories. Thank you to Kimberly Blackwell who makes sure everything gets done (she leads the work shifts), Mary Wolf, Chris Clark and Gella for keeping everyone safe and secure, and John Horrall, Ron Smith and Marie Smith for keeping us healthy; to Shorty (Virginia) who gets the 1,000 plus people registered, and Skelter who keeps the CMA database and to Amanda Guinn who gets everyone in and counted and to Troy Lockwood at the community center. Thank you, Loke, once again for all that you do. And our special thanks to Greg Evans, his beautiful lady, Caliope, and to the enchanting Sarah Riley, who seemed to be everywhere at once, for sharing so openly your visions and dreams for the future while working so very hard in the present.
Yes, indeed. There are many good things that can be said about Texas. The fact that so many good -hearted Pagans call it home is one of them. Thank you all for sharing your home with us. Blessed Be--and serve that up Texas Style!
Walk in Love and Light,
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, April 29th., 2002
Photo credits: Images for this feature were captured quickly by Troy and Fritz during a brief photo op on 4/20/2002. Sadly we didn't capture many photos this time out... Too many beautiful people too little time for shots.
Note I: We are sure that we missed many good workers and spirits and for this we apologize in advance, kindly email us with any errors (spelling and other) that you notice.
Note II: For upcoming festivals and events in YOUR area, check out the Witchvox "Pagan Events" pages or visit our Major Festivals Page for a listing of the larger gatherings.
New this week in your Trads and Paths Chapter...
The Church of All Worlds & The Faerie Faith
(Trads at TWV Viewed nearly 1/4 of a million Times)
Once again, we are blessed to share two NEW Tradition profiles with the community... Here are some excerpts and links to the full profiles
The Church of All Worlds (by Iacchus)
The Church of All Worlds (CAW) is one of the oldest incorporated Neo-Pagan churches in the United States. Among its members are people of various faiths, including the Abrahamic traditions. CAW has an international membership that includes a board of directors, an ordained priesthood (of women and men) and a fellowship of consecrated members called scions who are dedicated to the service of the church. It has a process of personal development delineated by 9 circles (stages) that can lead to the priesthood, local congregations called Nests and various subsidiary organizations. CAW promotes lifestyles that support personal freedom and responsibility, environmental stewardship, progressive and cooperative social order and pluralistic democracy.
In 1962 CAW evolved from a group of friends and lovers who were in part inspired by the science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. This book suggested a spiritual and social way of life and was a metaphor expressing the awakening social consciousness of the times. Inspired by this awakening of consciousness and the book, Stranger in a Strange Land, this group grew, evolved, became "water-kin" and created a religious organization that was recognized as a church by the federal government of the United States on June 18, 1970. -- Click for the Full Profile
The Faerie Faith (by Cliff Landis)
The Faerie Faith is a complex Pagan tradition, with its own mystical system, that of the Beth-Luis-Nion Celtic Lunar Tree Calendar. It is impossible to understand any one part of the tradition without looking at all of the tradition's different components. I will try to introduce some concepts that should be kept in mind while reading this paper.
First, the Faerie Faith is a Dianic tradition, and as such places emphasis on the feminine in humanity, in nature, and in God. For ease of reading, all pronouns will be in the feminine, according to that tradition. For example, "High Priest or High Priestess" will be referred to simply as "High Priestess, " unless noted otherwise. Similarly, pronouns such as "he or she, " and "his or her, " will be referred to as "she, " or "her, " respectively. It should be noted that individuals of both genders can and do enter the training of the Faerie Faith.
The Beth-Luis-Nion system is a mystical system, and therefore it is difficult to understand in a purely intellectual way. In many ways it is comparable to the Qabalah. Israel Regardie describes the Qabalah as, "a trustworthy guide, leading to a comprehension both of the Universe and one's own Self" (Regardie i). Similarly, the Beth-Luis-Nion system is a beneficial system that leads to an understanding of Nature, and a personal transformation of the student. It is this goal of personal transformation and balance that all students work towards on their journey through the mysteries of the Celtic Lunar Tree Calendar. -- Click for the Full Profile
If you work within an established tradition, please consider writing something for the community about it. We will accept more than one essay per tradition, so feel free to send us your own view, even if there are already others posted on your tradition. Please read the Editorial Guidelines page as well as the introduction on the Traditions page before sending your essay to Diotima.
Associate Editor - Witches' Voice
November 19th., 2001
Adult Pagan Essay Topics for April:
Publication Date: May 12th
Submission Deadline: May 5th
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
Echoed Voices is Something to See
All Path - Monthly 'Zine wraps up First Year Online
Very Few Pagan web sites stay current these days. It takes mucho work and dedication to keep a site fresh and exciting... Echoed Voices is a beautifully crafted and meticulously executed Online Zine with a mountain of rich content. There mission is best stated on their splash page.
"Echoed Voices is a non-profit venture dedicated to keeping you up to date on issues facing the various traditions and paths of contemporary Paganism. We strive to be entertaining, informative, and thorough because we care about the world in which we live, and the people who share it with us. All Echoed Voices staff are volunteers. Each contributor graciously donates their time and their talents and we are grateful to all of them. It is through their generous support that we have been able to move to this new site".
Check out this wonderful site at www.echoedvoices.org
Notes from a Pagan WebCrafter
50 Million Pages - CMA Beltane - Festival Retirement
Greetings Witches, Wiccans, Pagans and Heathens!
This past week was one of healing, re-energizing and getting back on track. Our CMA Beltane experience was a glorious one for sure. Although, Wren covers this quite well in her piece (just above), I wanted to add a few comments.
We were treated like royalty at CMA Beltane. Since we don't (and have never) consider ourselves as such, this was very weird for us, but appreciated never the less. Our job is to evolve a website that disperses news and builds local networking... The real royalty of our community are those that get things done and gather those at the local level. Those Pagans ARE most precious commodity! We will continue to humbly support this effort in anyway we can, because to us, the real magick DOES happen face to face at the local level. CMA Beltane was an excellent example of this. Over 1,100 Pagans DID gather, DID put their differences aside and DID manifest a very special weekend for all.
Personally, I love the magick of the human face and prefer to communicate 'eye to eye'. Wren and I had the pleasure of meeting literally hundreds of Texas Pagans, many that we have chatted with in Email over the years. This was thrilling for us. Our biggest fear with this update is that we will forget to thank everyone, so allow me to apologize to anyone that we forgot to mention specifically. Never doubt that we will remember your magick. (Hey Tres!)
There were a few Pagan 'Stars' in attendance AND the GOOD NEWS is that they were quite grounded and appreciative of being there! Over the past few years we have seen a nice 'weeding out' (at the festival level) of Pagan personalities that believe they are better, smarter or magickal than You or I. This type is simply NOT invited back. You've made them Pagan celebs and it's high time they thank YOU for this honor. Over the weekend, I enjoyed some quality chats with Oberon Zell (founder of Green Egg and CAW) that focused on changes in the Pagan movement over the past 30 years, his art and lots of refs to Firesign Theatre. - And YES! Wren really does have 'a balcony you could do Shakespeare from'.
I truly enjoyed spending some quality time with Trickster, chatting about his/our political views and the many technical aspects of his awesome Pagan Rock Opera "Druid Four Winds - a Pagan rock opera ". Wren is right, for us, it really IS about the coffee. In fact this was our only DEMAND. Music at CMA was hot, and at one point someone noted that we had 6 professional sound engineers on site (myself being one of them). I had a blast chatting with JC about the good ole days (musically) and watching Nikki and co. whip together a professional stage show. Any time I am in a group of people and NOT surprised to hear someone yell out... "2 db cut at 4k' I know I am good hands. These folks are pros and our community is blessed to have them in attendance.
Fire Twirling at CMA was amazing and it was everywhere. This troupe just continues to evolve and bring new elements to their art. Wren and I had experienced many of them at the " PhoenixPhyre festivals here in Florida but at CMA you are on their home turf and get the whole show. Simply amazing!
This past week Wren and I made the decision to stop doing festivals for the unforeseeable future. We feel both old and tired. Although we DID have a glorious time at CMA (and our CMA experience has ZERO to do with this decision), these jaunts always put us behind, and cause us to work triple time both before and after the event and beat us up badly. We really need to take some vaca time JUST for ourselves (in 7 years we never have) and we plan to do just that. We take this opportunity thank the wonderful folks that have invited us to their gatherings of the years. We offer our apologies to all of the groups and orgs around the world that have invited us to celebrate their magick were we had to (unfortunately) decline. We profoundly thank those of you AT the gatherings that we've attended, because you reinforced our belief in this community and it's magick. We will continue (for the near future) to work for you and celebrate YOUR magick here at the Witches' Voice. IF we ever DO win the lottery and I can quit my 'high-stress day job' we will surely reconsider this decision.
So... Thank You Greg Evans and friends for the hard work you've done, for giving us this mini vacation (we didn't do a single workshop AND CMA let our previous 'community service' count AS community service work for the fest) and for giving us a boost that will carry us for months. Texas Pagans are something special and something to see.
50 Million Pages! This past weekend TWV hit a very big milestone... The pages of this community driven/commercial free website have now been viewed over 50 million times by seekers from all over the planet! For those of you like to count "hits" (page elements), THAT number would be over a quarter of a BILLION. April 2002 looks like it will break all previous records and come in somewhere near 2.4 million pages viewed. So... We have no reason to believe that interest in who you are and what you do is waning. Thanks go out to the Pagan community for building this powerful resource. YOU made this Happen, your words and your magick are more interesting than ever...
You are special for so many reasons. Thank YOU for allowing us along for the ride.
In your service,
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, April 29th., 2002
Global Notices & Press Releases...
Welcome to the Witchvox Global Announcements Master Page. The Witches' Voice is honored to help increase both communication and celebration at the Global level. This new section is for Global and National Announcements, Press Releases, Notices and Proclamations... Note: For State - Province - Country specific notices, visit YOUR Area Page - To List your Local or Global Notice Click Here for details.
Typical Email that We Receive!
(why we have so much respect/hope for our Young Elders)
Blessed Be & Merry Meet,
My name is Emily, though my craft name is Diana (after the Goddess). I am currently studying the Wiccan path, and have been since I was about 12 or 13, (I'm posted in your teen section). Right now I am 15 and still studying, as I always will be learning throughout life, but there was one thing that I didn't understand, and I was hoping you could explain it to me. I saw something on your site about Witch Wars, and I didn't know exactly what you were talking about. So, I was wondering if you could enlighten me. My own personal guess on what these "wars" are is the dividing and dislike among different Pagan practices, against each other. I'm not sure if that is right, but if it is, I guess I'm more confused than I thought. I always thought that we're taught to honor everything, especially each other. If these "wars" are about that, then isn't everyone joining in them eradicating what they claim to believe in? Again, I guess I just don't understand, and I'm not even sure that I'm right about what I think these wars. If you could please clarify this to me I would forever be grateful. Thank you.
Blessed Be & Merry Part,
Diana (After the Goddess)
(P.S. if there is anyway that I could help in ending these wars, please let me know. Thanks)
Bright Blessings Diana,
Witchwars are a sad reality in our community. We explain Witchwars at What is a WitchWar and throughout the Witchwars chapter here at TWV. Your observations are correct. Most Witchwars are based on individuals or groups that offer no respect for the beliefs of others or in many cases 'their completion'. They profess one thing yet do another. These are classic traits of insecure individuals. This action is commonly referred to, by many, as the 'more Pagan/valid than thou' syndrome. This simple lack of respect of the belief of others, is the root of most problems in our society and in our own community.
To answer your PS question... The best way to end Witchwars is to encourage more people to simply NOT PLAY. I do know that MY personal beliefs or 'validity' are not threatened buy the actions or words of the group or individual down the street. Why? Because their actions and the results of those actions speak for them, NOT for me. I believe that most people will conclude this in the long run.
A phrase that you will hear allot on your journey is 'Correct and for the good of all'. Thinking beyond the needs of the self is easier said than done and is a developed skill. Many that fight these wars have difficultly thinking beyond their needs, both spiritual and emotionally.
Ultimately YOUR spiritual path is just that. Be true to your ethics, strive for a fair balance in your life and let the others fight it out amongst themselves. Perhaps you can learn from their actions, for many can teach you how never to be. Don't be discouraged; there are many wonderful Pagans all over the world, ones that walk their talk, ones that can think beyond THEIR agenda. When you meet one, thank them! They are our most precious commodities.
It IS clear to me that you already get it. Thank YOU Dianna for the light that you shine and best of luck with your spiritual journey!
In your service,
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
See Ya all next week and Happy Beltaine to all!...
In YOUR Service,
The WitchVox Staff
The Witches' Voice Inc.
Monday, April 29th., 2002
So What Happened to the Other Weeks Features?
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