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Witchvox Weekly Update

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Year: 2004 ...

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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.










Weekly Update: 7/15/2002

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: July 15th. 2002
Times Viewed: 6,182

What to Do... If You're New!

If you are new to the wonderful world of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans, then this column is for you. Every day, more and more people begin to explore these religions. The most recent census taken in Australia reported that Witchcraft is the fastest growing religion in that country and that the numbers of those who self-identify as 'Pagan' has doubled in the years between 1996 and 2000. While the U.S. and many other countries do not ask a 'religious affiliation' question on their census forms, the steady increase in the numbers of covens, groups, festivals and on-line Pagan, Heathen, Wiccan and Witchcraft related venues would seem to reflect a similar upward trend elsewhere in the world.

Less than ten years ago, before the burgeoning plethora of books and web sites now available on the subjects, most Witch, Pagan, Heathen or Wiccan groups were very private and selected carefully any new additions (initiates, neophytes) into their folds. One had to come either with recommendations from a current/past member in good standing or, at the least, a willingness to be patient as one's mettle and character were evaluated and considered by the group. While there are some groups which still (more or less) adhere to these practices today, the materials now in the public realm make learning about Witchcraft, Paganism, Heathenry or Wicca readily available to anyone who might be interested. As a result of this current 'open sourcing' of what used to be materials and knowledge available to only a few, the Witch, Wiccan, Heathen and Pagan religions have not only expanded in great numbers, they have also been inundated with people who do not possess the traditional background of personalized one-on-one training and mentoring of the past.

In addition, and perhaps as a result, there now exists a wider dichotomy between those who self-identify as Witch or Wiccan or Pagan or Heathen than ever before. This phenomenon makes any overview or FAQ both increasingly difficult and necessarily quite generalized. (We here at The Witches' Voice are also currently reworking our own pages to better reflect these changing times.) You may want to begin by reading the brief introduction to Neo-Pagan, Heathen and Reconstructionist Religions and then move on to the specific Traditions and/or Religions section for a more in depth study of some of the very diverse spiritual and religious beliefs which make up our communities. As you will learn, there is no one easy or universal answer to your question, "How can I become a Witch, a Wiccan, a Heathen or a Pagan?" So, what do you do if you're new?

Read: You'll get this little nugget of advice quite a bit as you begin to interact with other Witches, Heathens, Wiccans or Pagans. Do heed it. Each religion or tradition will have its own recommended reading list. It is important to keep in mind while you study that a book on Wicca will not tell you much (if anything) about the other Pagan, Witch or Heathen religions. They are all unique and different and so, it is easy to become confused if you try to read about all of them at the same time. Find the one Witch, Heathen, Wiccan or Pagan religion that seems to interest you the most or is the most in line with your own spiritual leanings and stick to that in the beginning.

Some new seekers may feel that the admonition to 'read first and ask questions later' is a brush-off. It really isn't. There is a language, a terminology -- and often a culture as well -- that must be understood before one can discuss the finer details of each religion. What is 'eclectic' in one religion might be considered 'cultural theft' in another. Ethical guidelines and mores also differ from one religious persuasion to another. Many a new seeker has had his or her assumption that all Pagans do, should, or must adhere to the Wiccan Rede come back in the form of a verbose kick to his/her presumptive backside.

As there are some light-hearted 'How to bewitch your man/woman' books out there, please note that while most Wiccans, Witches, Heathens and Pagans do have a well-developed sense of humor, they do not take their religious beliefs lightly. A spell book should not be amongst the first ten books that you pick up and maybe not even in the first twenty. Those religions and traditions that actually do use magick and spell work as a part of their religious practice do so only after the basic tenets or system of that particular religion have been fully explained and understood. Anything less than a similar dedication to that sort of training won't win you any points, believe me.

Take Notes: Call your notebook whatever you like, but do have one. You'll be glad that you do the first time that someone asks you, "Now just where did you hear/read/learn that?" (And they will.) Print out pages from the Internet. Get messy and mark them all up. Write questions in the margins. You'll be sifting through a lot of information at first. Don't spend hours writing in fancy calligraphy a 'book of shadows' because during your first year or so, you'll be doing a lot of revising of your materials. Save the gothic script for those things that you have found to be true or worthy (and hopefully both) after the test of time. Keep more than one notebook if you must. It is sometimes helpful to have one just for questions. Pull it out when you are surfing the net and take it with you when you go to the library or bookstore.

Be Patient: Pagan or Heathen religions are lifetime journeys of both discovery and learning. Experience counts for a lot as does academic scholarship and practical application. It is normal perhaps to want to know everything about everything right away. But the reality is that there are no shortcuts. Enjoy each step in the journey for its own sake. This isn't a crash course; it is a lifetime commitment.

Interact: There is nothing like interacting with other Pagans, Witches, Wiccans or Heathens to get a feel for what each tradition or religion is like for those who practice or follow it. For local contacts in your area visit our extensive 'Witches of the World' Pages (44,000 current listings). Check out message boards and chat rooms. Try to find others both at your own level of experience and some who can help guide and instruct you on the next step. Lurk for a while before you post your first comments or questions. And just be you, please. A lack of knowledge, but a desire to learn will almost always be met with helpful suggestions and encouragement. Pretense and/or willful ignorance will get you nowhere rather quickly.

Some Other Points:
    On Psychic Ability: Psychic ability doesn't make you a Witch; it just makes you a person with a psychic ability. Most Pagans feel that everyone has some form of psychic ability. Many people with psychic ability however will find that the Pagan or Heathen religions tend to be much more accepting or welcoming for those with such abilities than other religions are. It is a talent and -- whether naturally strong or consciously developed -- valued neither more nor less than any other that one might use to enrich one's life or that of the community.

    On Spells and Magick: Some Witches or Wiccans or Pagans do perform spells or use magick and some don't. Some will share their spells with you and some won't. Almost no one will share a spell or teach a magickal form/technique to just anyone who asks. There is an entire philosophy behind spell craft and magick and if you have to ask for a spell chances are good that you are not ready to do one. Spells and magick do work. But this ain't the movies. These things don't just spontaneously happen; they take training and will.

    On the Spooky Stuff: Uh, what spooky stuff?
Beginning a new life path --beginning any new endeavor -- can be both daunting and exciting. There is a lot that you don't know yet and there is a lot that you may want to learn. There is a lot to learn. But -- if you are sincere -- a wonderful journey of discovery and mystery and wonder awaits you...

And you will be most welcome here.

Wren Walker
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, July 15th., 2002



Can YOU Help?...

Pagan Tragedy: Fire takes Home and Cats
Just in a Press Time from Trish

Fritz,

I heard from two very dear friends yesterday that they lost most of their house and two cats to an electrical fire. John Grey Wolf and his wife Deena have been serving the VA community in a variety of ways, John most specifically through on-going sweat logdes at Betsy's Gatherings (www.outofthedark.com). John and Deena lost most of their books, all of John's Native American regalia and spiritual tools, and pretty much everything else in the house was damaged by smoke and water. While they are in good spirits, as the realities of the loss set in, our good wishes and prayers would be welcome.

Additionally if anyone wishes to donate goods and money to cover those things that insurance will not (like lost time from work) Betsy has been kind enough to set up a contact point. Checks (made payable to John Wilde) - mastercard transactions, or goods can be directed to: Blackwater Campground, 7651 Whispering Pines Trail, Windsor, VA 23487, 757-357-7211, Website: http://www.OutoftheDark.com/Blackwater/ EMail: Blackwater@OutoftheDark.com

My thanks to anyone who can help.

In Service

Trish Telesco
www.loresinger.com



A gift for us all...

Crafting The Body Divine
New Book by Yasmine Galenorn
Crossing Press ISBN #1580911048

Crafting The Body Divine is for every person who has looked in the mirror and wondered, "Why can't I love the image I see? Why am I (fat, bald, short, fill in the blank)?" An in-depth look into the connection between body and spirit, this book will help you to rekindle your relationship with yourself, in all of your physicality. With sections on self-confidence and esteem, beauty, movement and exercise and body modification, Ms. Galenorn helps you learn how to tie the body and spirit together, how to reach the Divine through use of your divinely-born temple of flesh, blood and skin.

Perhaps the first book on Pagan spirituality to directly address concerns such as body size, disability, and self-image, Crafting The Body Divine is both educational and explicit. Inside these pages, you will also find yourself on an exploration of some of the alternative practices so accepted by many within the alternative cultures today, including tattoos, body piercing. Ms. Galenorn is not afraid to tackle issues many authors shy away from, and she offers help so that you might form new perceptions on these subjects.

You will discover the connection between movement and spirit-learning how to best approach exercise for your individual needs so that you can find your connection to the Divine through the joyful dance of your body. Humorous and yet solidly grounded in research and experience, reverent yet blunt, Crafting The Body Divine takes a new direction in books on Pagan spirituality. Let Ms. Galenorn lead you into the dance, joyously.

More info about Yasmine and her Magick can be found from the beautifully crafted www.galenorn.com website or by emailing her directly at her Website



Smiling Faces of Love...

Happy Anniversay Nicole & Jeremiah!

Witchvox is one of the few Pagan sites that features the faces of the community, front and center on our busiest pages. In fact we are always looking for an opportunity to do so. This week we are honored to share a shot from Nicole & Jeremiah's Handfasting from this past Lammas... Our thanks go out to Hps. Heidi Couture for sharing this image...

"This photo was taken at Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge New Hampshire on Lammas 2001. It was a open WES Lammas Circle where a handfasting was performed. The photo features the newly wed couple Nicole & Jeremiah Charette and High Priestess Heidi Couture of WES who hanfasted the couple. WES will return to the Cathedral of the Pines on July 28th for a Harvest Circle of Gratitude in celebration of Lammas. Nicole and Jeremiah will be there celebrating their one year anniversary. Happy Anniversary Nicole & Jeremiah!"

For the complete handfasting experience (and the latest on WES events) visit the pictorial over at the www.WESociety.com Website (click on 'event picture' then 'Lammas 2001' and voila!)



New in the Witchvox Gay Pagan Section...

Confessions
by Helen Companion

I'm going to start off with a confession: I am not gay; I am not a lesbian; I am not bi. Most would probably call me straight. I guess one of the few categories I fit into is Pagan.

So, why am I writing this? Why am I writing about homosexual Pagans if I'm not one? Well, I thought maybe someone who was straight might be able to offer a new perspective...

See, two of my best friends have been gay or bi and in a sense this is sort of my homage to them as well as my opinion on the subject. And really, I'm not one of those social butterfly types who has a million surface friends; Instead, I have a total of five friends on a good day, so two of them being admittedly gay or bi says a good deal. -- Full Article



Witch Hunts - Exposing The Lies - A Smash! (8,000 reads)
HOT new series by Kerr Cuhulain

(NEW Article featured this week!)


Do Witches worship Satan? Are Pagans the members of a secret underground cult that sacrifices babies? Are some 'unsolved' murders really covered ups perpetuated by law enforcement personnel as part of an evil conspiracy to overthrow Christianity and to promote a devilish agenda?

The answer would be 'yes' if you believed the claims of people such as Michael Warnke (The Satan Seller), Bill Schnoebelen (Wicca: Satan's Little White Lie) or Lawrence and Michelle Pazder (Michelle Remembers).

And many people DO believe.

Weaving a web of outrageous claims, these authors and the others like them, wage their insidious campaigns against Witches, Wiccans and Pagans with unbridled venom. Their books - in which they describe their 'firsthand' accounts of the 'Pagan' crimes that they claim they either witnessed, participated in, or were the victim of- have sold tens of thousands of copies worldwide.

Who are these people? Are they really ex-Pagans and/or ex-Satanists who have now 'seen the light'? Are they truly the victims of satanic occult abuse? Or are they something else entirely?

For many years, Kerr Cuhulain, working with other investigators and members from various Pagan communities, has followed the murky trail of allegations in order to uncover the truth behind these twisted tales of sorcery, secrecy and subversion.

To Experience PART THREE of this series - Bill Schnoebelen's "Little White Lies" - CLICK HERE

Walk in Love and Light,

Wren Walker
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
July 15th., 2002

Editors Note: This hot new series continues to be a smashing success with over 8,000 reads in just two weeks. Great work Kerr!



Wren's Nest 'Main Page' Cracks 3 Million
The most timely Religious News in the community!

Ya gotta hand it to her, she is faithful, timely and dedicated. This week Wren's nest (JUST the main page) delivered its 3 millionth request for the latest news. That number doesn't include the 364, 652 requests for article detail from the portal on our intro page (just this year), the 162, 364 searches, the 40, 878 calls for 'last weeks news', the 9, 669 'tell a friend' calls or the other various pages of the nest (another 40, 878 requests).

My beautiful wife, ever the vampire, looks for news directly related to the Pagan community, anything related to freedom of religion, and various other news of interest to and for the Pagan community. I will admit that I do 'ride her' at times to keep the news comin, but it doesn't take much. She is a news hound and creating the Nest was what they call a 'no brainer'. All SHE needed was a place to share it. So thanks honey, thanks for keeping us all informed over these past 5 years. -- Fritz Jung (Husband, Soulmate, Lover and Friend!)

It all happens locally... (from Wren's Nest)

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

Learning How To Fly...

Wren had no idea that a crowd was gathering behind her back. She was busy spreading the breadcrumbs along the shoreline for the turtles and watching the tiniest fishies flit about in the clear water of the Little Pond. Straightening up and flexing her not-quite-awake-yet back muscles, she marveled as the pink reflection of the sunrise was painted upon the pond's smooth surface. Early morning in Florida is the coolest part of a July day and Wren- like all of the other critters who visit the Little Pond Breakfast Bar- likes to finish up her outdoor business before the sun turns the landscape setting up to 'broil'. Grabbing her bag of tidbits, she pivoted back to face the small hill behind her and that's when she noticed the crowd. Well, it was hard to miss since it consisted of about 40 laughing gulls.

Wren simply had to laugh. There they were- all bright eyes and dark sleet heads and white puffy chests- concentrating on her every move with rapt attention and a sort of compressed energy. It was as if they were a professional orchestra just awaiting the signal of the conductor's baton striking the dais in order to begin to play. Wren wouldn't have been too surprised at that point if she had seen a violin or a trumpet suddenly emerge from under a slate-gray wing. Since that didn't happen though, she decided it was probably a good time to dispense the treats in their direction.

For these stories and more take the
Witchvox 'Wayback Machine'
back 13 Moons cycles to 7/5/2001


Community News clips from 1997-2002 ARE available by surfing our Weekly Update Archives. Nearly 5,000 articles about Pagans in the News can be found over at Wren's Nest News.



Birthday Blessings for go out to...
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It is our projection that this day be full everything that makes up your most powerful reflections. Do something special for yourself and take advantage of this day to reflect on the exciting future you have just ahead.

May the Love of the Great ones be with your spirit throughout the year,

In YOUR Service,
The WitchVox Staff



Notes from a Pagan WebCrafter

On a Tear!

Greetings Pagans, Witches, Heathens and Wiccans!

Yes! This past week was a productive one, with pockets of 'spare time' spent on enhancing, polishing and evolving Witchvox to many new levels. Over the past 6 years, we have constantly molded this piece of clay into what you see today. The real software hero (or heroine) at Witchvox has always been Filemaker Pro! A single database holds, scripts and delivers all that you see.

Dynamic Content Plods Forward: Although, I am still a PHP newbie, I am actually starting to get feel for some aspects of this language. With a new pallet of tools I am rethinking many things. With the speed of a MySql back end, the flexibility of Server side includes and organizational power of FileMaker 6.0, all being held together with the PHP, many things are starting to come together. This past week I experienced some wonderful successes and actually flowed with many of the aspects OF the PHP language. What this means to the technically challenged is a smarter, faster and more intuitive Witches' Voice.

Witchvox Changes This Week! (that I can remember)

Chapter Rewrites: Both the 'Pagans in the Media' and 'Gay Pagan' Chapters got a major face lift this week. These popular areas NOW display the 'page reads' action, and feature a dynamic article link sidebar. This means any new additions will automatically appear on the side bar index. This makes my life more efficient and cuts down time involved in launching and celebrating new work from the community.

WOTW version 7.2: Lots and lots of changes over at the 'Witches of the World' pages. The most dramatic is a major rewrite of the Main Page for your area... All state/province and country front end pages now feature; Local Notices (up top), Birthdays this Calendar Week, Circles, Events and Workshops (for the next 2 weeks), and all new or updated Covens and Groups & Orgs listed in the past two weeks! This gives you quick access to some of the latest info on your area. Another, long overdue, feature is the proper flagging of new vs. updated listings. With a listing this large many of you have requested this and we now have it set up for our Groups listings... Look for proper flagging of all listings in the weeks to come. Also revamped this past week was the detail page for Covens and Groups. This page is one of the top 5 visited pages here at Witchvox and really needed to be better detailed and fleshed out.

SSI: Probably the most exciting tool of 2002, for us, is the use of Server Side Includes. Most of the left side panels here at TWV are SSI, this means that we change JUST the one file and voila, all pages WITH this 'include' are immediately affected. I can't tell you how sweet this makes my life. There are includes all over the voice, including the footers of all pages.

Menus a Jumpin': This past week I discovered that I can put includes INSIDE of includes (I am not very smart) and took our 'jump menus' (Witchvox Information and Witchvox Networking) and did just that. So... look for these powerful pull down menus on many of the sidebars throughout Witchvox.

Return of Pagan Perspectives: A week doesn't go by without several Pagans emailing us asking... "When are you going to bring back our 'question of the week'". Trust me, we really DO want this back, but we have had to spend most of this year rewriting our entire networking section. Now that that WOTW is finally 'looking good' we will be working on NOT just a question of the week but more of a Poll/Comments set up. This week we tossed a simple poll up to test the tech waters and to get a feel for the interest. YES, this has been long over due but do know that we hope to have a powerful and interactive polling/comments system in place by August.

When Your Email Goes Bad: The only real rule we have for the WOTW section is that all listings must have a working email address! This is a reminder that IF your listing disappeared there is a 99.9% chance that we received a 'Server not found', 'User unknown', or 'mailbox over quota' bounce. With our new 'Cloaked' email system, anyone can email your listing BUT if it fails, we get the undeliverables back.

If your listing was removed PLEASE don't attack us assuming it must have been a sinister plot against you personally (or that we must be afraid of the 'competition'). We don't react well to that. I say again, 99.9% of the time it was YOUR email that went bad and we will not list anyone without a real and working email address. So IF your listing has been removed, kindly resubmit it with an email address that DOES work.

In closing, I'd like to note that unless you are a 'journey is the reward' kind of guy (or gal), do yourself a favor and simply grab one of those prefab Post-nuke websites. In a few hours you can have an amazing shell of a website that is much more feature-laden than Witchvox will probably ever be.

In YOUR service,

Fritz Jung
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, July 15th., 2002



Echoed Voices... Faithful to Quality
All Path - Monthly 'Zine continues to deliver inspiring content

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


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.

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Essay Topics for 2002 Q3/4 Announced!

This month Diotima posted the essay topics for the remainder of 2002 for both the Young Pagan and Adult sections

For the complete list of Adult Topics Click HERE
For the complete list of Young Pagan Topics Click HERE

Adult Essay Topics for the August...
    Topic: Lughnassad/Lammas
    Do you celebrate Lughnassad, Lammas or another early harvest festival? If you do, tell us how you celebrate it, when, and what myths, stories and rituals are important for you around this time. -- Go Here for details

    Topic: The Mineral Kingdom
    The use of stones and crystals in religious practice spans many cultures. Do you use stones or crystals as part of your magickal, meditative or ritual practices? What part do they play in your practice? Have you gotten information on the stones from a tradition, from personal experience, or both? -- Go Here for details

    Publication Date: August 11th
    Submission Deadline: August 4th
Teen Essay Topics for the August...
    Topic: Lughnassad/Lammas
    Do you celebrate Lughnassad, Lammas or another early harvest festival? If you do, tell us how you celebrate it, when, and what myths, stories and rituals are important for you around this time. -- Go Here for details

    Topic: The Mineral Kingdom
    The use of stones and crystals in religious practice spans many cultures. Do you use stones or crystals as part of your magickal, meditative or ritual practices? What part do they play in your practice? Have you gotten information on the stones from a tradition, from personal experience, or both? -- Go Here for details

    Publication Date: August 11th
    Submission Deadline: August 4th

See Ya all next week!...

In YOUR Service,

The WitchVox Staff
The Witches' Voice Inc.
Monday, July 15th., 2002


Last Week at Witchvox:

"The Consistancy of Change..." by (changeling) Wren Walker    Notes from a Pagan WebCrafter - Mucho changes, new face for 'Basics', 'White', and Wren's Nest sections as well as details pertaining to countless changes and tweaks    "Witch Hunts - Exposing The Lies" A NEW series by Kerr Cuhulain - Part Two - Michelle Remembers: The Second "Survivor" Story    Witchvox HITS 100... July 1st. came in as our busiest day in our history with 101, 900 pages delivered    Castle Leslie, Sir Paul McCartney, Wendyl and Magic... a wonderful Pagan connection    Wren's Words, Wrants & Wramblings...All of Wren's weekly notes, as well as past editorials and rants now in new chapter    M. Macha Nightmare Spearheads Statement... "Pagans Support Ninth Circuit Ruling"    Witch Hunts - Exposing The Lies (by Kerr Cuhulain) - Part one a smash with 3,000 reads - New Article up this week    One Nation Under Many Gods - So Vote It Be! voter education and registration drive announced by the Pagan Unity Campaign    Additional comments on 'the pledge issue' by Ahroun Wolf and SPC. Christopher Restemayer   Gary Cantrell (author of the Llewellyn book "Wiccan Beliefs and Practices") passes over... received from Quill (at press time) (Click HERE for last weeks update!)







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