Weekly Update: 2/3/2003|
Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: February 3rd. 2003
Times Viewed: 5,466
To dream, to wonder, to reach for the stars...
(Featured Articles Below)
"What are we doing here? We're reaching for the stars." - (Christa McAuliffe)
Since mankind first looked up and saw a universe filled with stars, we have wondered, "What is out there?"
Long ago, some men and women drew these stars upon cave walls and in their temple tombs. And some men and women throughout the ages since then have written poems and hymns and penned novels and stories about these mysterious lanterns that twinkle in the blackness of space. Other men and women have invented scientific instruments and telescopes and observatories in order to measure these stars and to count these stars and to formulate theories about these stars. But still, for some, it was not enough.
Some men and women desire to walk amongst them.
Today, as we have before and as we may do again, we mourn the loss of seven such explorers. We shall never forget them. They will always be shining examples of courage and hope to all of us who dream and wonder... and perhaps even dare to reach for the stars...
In Loving Memory of: Rick Husband, Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, William McCool and Ilan Ramon... [Feel free to leave your prayers and testimonials over on the first post at Wren's Nest]
by Darragh Nagle
with thanks to Greyhart for editorial assistance
Back in 1969, the Apollo program landed the first people on the moon.
Everyone who witnessed those times measures history by that day, where were you when they landed on the moon?
I was on a Greek ocean liner, coming into the island of Mikonos. A fellow traveler, who spoke little English, after ascertaining that I was an American, pointed at the moon above us in the sky and proclaimed "America!"
I knew he was acknowledging our achievement, with enthusiasm, and it was really an achievement for all man and woman-kind, all over the world.
Before the Apollo program was the Gemini program. This consisted of two-person capsules, and with these vehicles the first in-orbit rendezvous was accomplished, a necessary first step before the Apollo mission could be attempted, because the Apollo command capsule and module had to mate with the lunar excursion module in earth orbit before departing for the moon. There was one technical problem with the Gemini target module on one flight, a shroud that would not open on the target, and the target module was named "the alligator", due to its appearance, with only one of the two halves of the tip end of the module opening. Multiple Gemini missions were a success, and Apollo could later proceed.... [Full Article]
Witch Cinema: Out with the Old, In with the News...
by Peg Aloi
Greetings Witch Cinema Mavens!
And a happy Imbolc/Oimelc/Candlemas to you all.
At this fallow time of year (except for our friends in the Southern hemisphere, now in the throes of summer!) we are starting to think this "turning inward" stuff is getting kind of old. Winter drags on and we year for fresh air, sunlight, new ways of perceiving the same old stuff. I was in England recently for two weeks and such travel is always good for renewed perspective; even though everyone in England speaks English I am always struck by how very different our cultures are from one another (watch for more on this matter in my interview with professor/author Ronald Hutton; who I spoke with in his offices at the University of Bristol - should be up in a couple weeks!).
One thing that always weirds me out though is how much American culture gets imported there. Perhaps you've heard that the evil McDonald's and Burger King have made their way to Europe. But with the announcement of recent financial losses, maybe these evil fat-spewing death- mongers are on their way out at last. Don't even get me started on AOL/Time-Warner. But the biggest American import (aside from the way everyone in England seems to throw trash all over the streets these days; you didn't see this ten years ago) is Hollywood entertainment. They're big Buffy fans, for example. And they get all our big blockbuster movies around the same time we do. (The big releases there in the last two weeks were Chicago and Two Weeks Notice... [Full Article]
'Round the Pagan Web...
The Pagan web is a gold mine of magick, passion and inspiring muse... Since day one we have been honored to both be a part of it and to point YOU to the thousands of offerings that are Witch, Wiccan and Pagan related. Singling out even a few tends to get us in trouble, but what they hel'. Mostly we tend to enjoy sites that are faithfully updated, don't steal and post full news articles (or other copyrighted material), cite sources, and try to be original... The Wiccan Pagan Times (featuring a fabulous interview with (Salem Survivor) Lilith McLelland) and Echoed Voices (faithful to quality and detailed monthly updates) are a couple of faves. In the postnuke shell category our fave is Ukpagan.net... They are very busy, respectful of sources, have a tres' cool look and appear to serve the UK Pagan community like no one else. - For a vast listing of nearly 6,000 Pagan websites Visit VoxLinks Pagan Search at Witchvox today! We are sure you will find some 'must bookmark' sites therein.
I Think We Might Be Lost (Part 1)...
by Patricia Telesco
You're traveling an unfamiliar road and get this gut level feeling that you might be lost. Now, some folks might wisely stop to ask directions. Others might pull out a map, and others still go a little further just to be sure of how lost they truly are! If you think this sounds a little bit like the modern neo-pagan movement, that's because there are some striking similarities and these are ones to which we should be paying attention.
The Traffic Jam Begins:
The first thing that got us off track was the massive influx of travelers on this road. It has become impossible to insure quality control among a group of people who all got their license in different ways, who perceive this road with completely unique perspectives, and who all think they have "right of way." There doesn't seem to be a handy traffic regulation system in place to respond this problem. Consequently anybody can (even those who might be driving illegally) venture out into oncoming traffic! Needless to say, the ones most often discovered are those without any insurance -- and, as you surmised, these are the ones who usually then are interviewed by the media! SIGH.
The media's tenacity for ambulance chasing probably can't be changed. However, we can change our own behavior. For one, if we each remember that we're in the driver's seat (and the responsibility that goes with that position) and welcome Spirit as our co-pilot, we'd be starting to find our way again. For another, if we make ourselves accessible at the crossroads before someone else does, we can avoid a whole lot of misunderstanding... [Full Article]
New Book Releases for February 2003
The Book section [Link] at Witchvox (launched this past September) continues to be hot and this past quarter saw visits from Pagans all over the planet checking out the latest from our authors. Also hot was YOUR vote for your top 5 favorite books. We are thrilled to offer those results as a guide for the thousands of new seekers that visit this site. Featured this week are 4 new releases to kick off the year (due out this month).
Featured this week...
Spiritual Perspectives on Globalization: Making Sense of Economic and Cultural Upheaval by Ira Rifkin
"Globalization is a phenomenon that is forever changing society... Like the proverbial scrambled egg, there's no putting things back the way they were."
- Ira Rifkin, in the Introduction to Spiritual Perspectives on Globalization
"Globalization" is in the news whenever the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, or other similar groups meet. But what does globalization mean beyond the boardroom? Is there any room for religion in a globalized world? As it breaks down the walls of difference that separate nations, will globalization lead to greater openness and understanding - and perhaps even peace in our time - or will it destroy what makes each country, each religious culture, and each person unique? Just what is lost in this growing global village?
This book, both defines globalization and surveys the religious landscape's views about it, explaining in clear and nonjudgmental language the beliefs that motivate spiritual leaders, activists, theologians, academics, and others involved on all sides of the globalization issue. Unlike other books on the subject, it does not align itself with any political or philosophical ideal, but instead provides readers with the information they need to make up their own minds... [More on this New Book]
Also New this month...
/ul> Visit Pagan Books at Witchvox today to see what's new and what's HOT.
Muse from Polly Moller Featured this Week!
(Bardic Circle Week 11 - The Magick continues...)
This week we feature a new performance by Polly Moller called 'Three Quarters (Nubanusit & Contoocook)...
"In Peterborough, New Hampshire there's a river confluence, where the Nubanusit meets the Contoocook and flows on past the music school where Polly spent a week taking a flute masterclass in July of 2000. By night, the stars were plentiful and the moon bright. These provided the only light when Polly walked back from the music school to the inn where she was staying. Exploring the riverbank and leaning on the railings of the bridge that crossed the river, she started to wonder about the river deities and what it might be like for them to meet..." [Go to This Bardic Circle Performance]
A Bardic Circle, to those unfamiliar with the concept, is a gathering of the clan to share stories, magic and music. This is best done in person, 'round a bonfire. With the advent of mp3 files bringing "quality" audio to the net, we can now do a "Bardic Circle", right here in cyberspace. To listen to the MP3 files your pc will need to have an mp3 player installed. MP3 players can be found for FREE at sites like VersionTracker.com
IF YOU are a Pagan Musician and want to participate by sharing one of your tunes and its story, kindly fill the Bardic Circle Submission form and email us a .jpg (150 pixels high/72 dpi) of yourself, your group or your CD cover. NOTE: Previous participants (from 2000 and 2001) ARE more than encouraged to submit a new tune. Visit Bardic Circle at Witchvox today!.
"Witch Hunts - Exposing the Lies"
by Kerr Cuhulain [Reads!]
Christian Authors Who Fuel the Hysteria - (Part 3 Battling the Occult)
Many Christian authors have written books trying to warn us of the dangers of the occult. One such author who writes about Satanic conspiracies is Dr Hilton Sutton. Sutton was the Chairman of the Board of Mission to America in Humble, Texas. He is considered by many Christians to be an expert in Bible prophecy. Sutton is the author of several books, including: Revelation- God's Grand Finale, The Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church, The US in Prophetic Events, and Familiar Spirits, Witchcraft & Satanism: Innocent Beginnings, Deadly Results.
Let's look at Sutton's Familiar Spirits, Witchcraft & Satanism. In the introduction to Familiar Spirits, Witchcraft & Satanism, Sutton states:
"Originally when I began speaking and writing on the subject of familiar spirits, witchcraft and Satanism, people would often ask the question: Why do you speak and write on this subject?... [Full Article]
Do Check out Kerr's Latest book 'Full Contact Magick: A Book of Shadows for the Wiccan Warrior'.
MORE New Essays for January 2003... (more coming next week)
| NEW THIS Week... |
Imbolc Thoughts: A Pint with Brigit
Last year I did a very "witchy" ritual for Imbolc. I had a red and white altar cloth, matching colored candles, incense, oil; the whole works. Only it didn't work. It fell flat, and left me with the sense of a wasted evening. As I was cleaning up I began thinking how Brigit herself would celebrate this day in modern times. I came up with two possibilities: 1. going out to an Irish bar, drinking beer and catching a session, or 2. staying up all night with pregnant ewes. Since I am a true city girl and have never seen a pregnant ewe, I decided then and there to celebrate Imbolc 2003 by drinking and dancing with Brigit at a local Irish pub. I managed to salvage the evening by putting on a mixture of the Chieftains and the Pogues and dancing around my apartment.
Now that Imbolc is again approaching, my thoughts turn back to that day last year, and to Brigid. Who she is to me, how she interacts with my life, and how I will celebrate Imbolc this year. To me, she... [Full Article]
by Karl Lembke
As the year 2003 of the common era dawns, we turn our attention to the question, "is nothing profane?" If everything is sacred, nothing can be profane. In the same way, if everything is good, nothing can be evil. If nothing is cold, then everything is hot. If we deny the existence of one side of a dichotomy, does the other side mean anything? And indeed, if everything is sacred, then what does "sacred" mean?
We argue that everything is sacred, because everything ultimately comes from, or is a part of the Gods. The Gods created all that exists and everything partakes of Their essence. All that is around us has some attributes of the Divine. In The Witches' Qabala, Ellen Reed writes... [Full Article]
Everything Is Not Sacred
by Zoe Grace
Yes, I know the above statement is not all PC and flowery, but I don't care. This is a concept near and dear to my heart and I care about the Pagan community and where it is going. I care that many of us go around shooting down all the "old" stereotypes about Witches...i.e. ugly, mean, worship Satan, boil babies, while at the same time...creating new stereotypes...have orgies, do drugs, no morals.
If you think I'm exaggerating, think again. While I have no problem with people going "skyclad" I do have a problem with supposedly "public" Pagan events, where people are dancing around naked, putting on a big show. If you want to go skyclad, do it, but do it in a private setting, where it actually is a sacred act... [Full Article]
The Nature Of Sacrilege
by L. Hunter Cahill
This is such a heady subject and so open to interpretation and misinterpretation that we will spend some time on definitions.
Perhaps just as all words undergo an evolution over any considerable period of time some of the words we use here will evolve in our minds during our perception of this article. The point of this article is the interpretation of sacrilege, the definition that is used by the Pagan community as a whole and by Wiccans in particular, both as a whole and also by each practitioner as an individual. The influence that we choose to exert is a powerful thing; the words we'll look at here go back to our understanding of "good and evil" with what is beneficial generally being thought to be good and what is harmful thought to be evil. To the mundane this would seem to suffice; however, the primary meaning of the word "Occult" is "beyond the range of ordinary knowledge," so lets go for it shall we? The purpose of this article... [Full Article]
Sanctity and Profanity: An Individual's Response
by Wolf's Voice
There are many things in the world that are sacred and are within the realms of sanctity. Ancient forests, canyons, gentle babbling brooks, great rivers, mangrove swamps, open fields and pristine glaciers so blue that they rival the sky in beauty. Great places of worship too - places of peace and contemplation where people could walk in, sit down and be still for just a moment in this often-busy society, light a candle or incense sticks and whisper a prayer or two. Sacred space, our own inner sacred space. Within our rooms, our own secret gardens or little patches of green.
There are many things, things of sanctity, things of great beauty and joy. A child's laughter. A rainbow in the sky. The song of songbirds and the dance of dragonflies in the air, light like faeries. The singing of songs thanking the skies, the stars, the sun and the moon. To us, these things, these places... they are sacred and remind us, indeed, urge us towards sanctity. Our hearts glow within us when we... [Full Article]
Rule of Three
This past holiday season has been very enlightening for me. I usually try to hold myself above it, looking down my nose a bit at the commercialism. Well I do try, but I too get caught up in it.
In times past this slightly snooty attitude has been a façade, a cover, if you will, for the fact that I simply could not afford to buy gifts. You see, my credit is still gasping and swooning over some of the decisions made in my youth, hence the inability to charge myself silly with the ever present Lord Visa or Lady Discover. There is also a tiny bit of fear that my children are going to become little Fisher Price spokespeople. This year, however, things were different; money was sent as a Christmas present, and with the speed of thought, I decided to spend it on gifts... [Full Article]
| Essays from Last Week... |
What is Sacred?
by Ardeith Carter
I believe that determining what is 'Sacred' is a matter each person, or each community, must decide for themselves. Down through the ages, all over the world, various animals have been considered 'Sacred' . . . not to be harmed or killed for food. Sometimes these animals havebeen a tribe's, or clan's, or individual's totem animal which they are either forbidden orrequired to eat. In either case, the animal is considered 'sacred' and treated with much respect.
In some cases, the 'sacred' thing was the body of the ruler, who was declared the 'son of theGods,' or the priest-class, who were the spokespersons of the gods. Of course there were alsodemented people who were 'sacred' because they were 'touched by the gods.' Then one must consider the areas of land that are declared 'sacred.' These areas are often burial grounds, springs, or mountains where spiritual rites are conducted or the Gods are thought to dwell.
Unfortunately, in some cultures, acts of violence are considered a 'sacred' duty. That is,a duty required by the religious or cultural traditions. Before we are too quick to judge suchtraditions... [Full Article]
The Light and the Dark - Musings on the Sacred and Profane
by Mark James
Taking my dog for its usual walk along the disused railway line to the canal, I come across a drum of oil that has been abandoned in some bushes at the side of the path. The drum is leaking and I can already see that the plant life in the immediate vicinity is starting to die off.
How would I react?
I could alert the Environment Agency (a UK government body with responsibility for such things) who would send a team to the site to safely dispose of the oil and repair as much damage as they could.
I could ignore the oil and walk on.
I could tip the drum over and spill the oil, thus causing even more damage.
As a responsible person, not to mention a Pagan, I would, of course take the first option and even though it would inconvenience me: I would have to wait at the site until they arrived to make certain that no one took either of the other courses of action... [Full Article]
Wrong and Horrible? Yes. Profane? No.
by John S. TarBurner
OK, I'm coming at this from a reconstructionist point of view. With that in mind, here it goes.
Within Paganism, I think that there's a misconception that being pantheistic equals the absence of wrong. By pantheism I'm talking about the stand that says everything's sacred. When pantheism is contrasted with Christianity this might make sense from a Christian standpoint, but within Pagan belief it's a little off. Briefly, Christianity makes right and wrong, sacred and profane, easy to sort out: What's Sacred is the human church which is endowed with sacredness through the redemption and rebirth brought on by accepting Jesus and his message. So what's Sacred is the "Body of Christ" and by extension, all the moral principles that follow from that establishment, i.e. what the church declares to be moral. What's wrong is easy to sort out too: anything outside of the Body of Christ and the church is thereby profane and by extension wrong. While this theological standpoint may seem old fashioned, the consequences of it color our ideas of right and wrong to this day.
What this belief does is lower the... [Full Article]
Is Nothing Profane?
by Elijah Jordan
People are entitled to call anything sacred, or everything sacred, or even to claim that nothing is sacred. What is important is that their beliefs and actions do not harm or inconvenience anybody to an unacceptable level, and that if they do, their right to practice these 'sacred' acts be taken away. Therefore, a group can claim as much as they like that their act of sacrificing babies is sacred--they will, and should, be forbidden from doing so.
This raises the important question: 'What is harm?' On a basic level, harm is something that takes away a person's will or dignity, acts that undermine the value of life of the individual. This general idea is formulated in the Rede (an harm it none, do thy will). So, basically, call anything sacred and feel free to do it--so long as it doesn't get in the way of anyone else.
However, it is impossible to go through life without doing harm. Life depends on death, cannot exist without it, and whatever I or anyone else does, it always has the potential to harm someone, whether directly... [Full Article]
Is Nothing Profane?
by Cassandra E. Coleman
I wondered at the true meaning of the two words profane and sacred. So as a dictionary-thumping, English-buff type Pagan, I had to go look them up to see what their meanings are.
Profane: to treat something sacred with irreverence; desecrate.
Sacred: consecrated, holy; set aside for the worship of a god or deity.
Now I know you are wondering why I would place the dictionary meanings here, but bear with me! As a Pagan I have been asked many times what I think is profane and what I think is sacred. For me, sacred is anything a person keeps as a part of his or her own heartfelt beliefs, be it a stone, a tree, or a cross. I find a home to be my most sacred of all places. Profanity, on the other hand, is much harder to explain.
If I were to walk into a church and spit on the floor, I would consider it a profane act, though the religion expressed there is not my own. Yet I see many, many people do just that when they walk into a wooded... [Full Article]
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