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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: 2/17/2003

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: February 17th. 2003
Times Viewed: 6,029

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost... (by Wren Walker)

(Featured Articles Below)

I'll begin this week's column with a few words of thanks. I appreciate all of the feedback that I receive from our readers whether that comes in the form of praise or critique. It is always nice to hear that someone read a piece and something clicked. It is also gratifying to get constructive criticism. I don't mind that at all. Any thoughts that I may offer up here should never be considered the carved-in-granite absolute final words concerning any topic. They are just my current take or theories on various issues. Either way --whether you agree with my premise on a particular subject or not -- the point is that you took the time to read it -- and to hopefully think about it -- and then perhaps to respond in some way. So, thank you.

Since I devoted some previous column time to the topics of cultural integrity and the preservation of indigenous peoples and lore, I feel it only fair to use a bit of cyberspace here to address what many see as the other side of the coin: Eclectics. (Many Eclectics, in fact, wrote and asked me 'to please be fair' and so, this one is for you.)

I did receive quite a bit of mail from Pagan Eclectics of various beliefs who were alternately confused and miffed over what I wrote. Some of this correspondence indeed falls under the definition of what I would consider constructive criticism. Some of it was a bit pointed than that. If one could condense all of the things that I have been called into one phrase, I guess I could now put E.F.B. after my name. Although how exactly one can be both 'elitist' and a 'fluffy-bunny' at the same time is a new paradigm that I had not considered before. And I don't intend on considering it now or at any time in the future. I just like to think about things from many different angles and that is really all there is to that charge... [Full Article]

Notes from a Pagan Webcrafter...

Many big changes are on the horizon here at TWV, most notably a 'ground up/major rewrite' of your networking section entitled 'Witches of the World v.8.0'. We are but a few weeks away from finishing this and may be in the position to offer some details and troll for some beta testers before months end.

The sheer number of new/updated submissions to Witches of the World here at TWV, continues to grow and grow. Nearly 400 submissions arrive here on a daily basis. We have been extremely faithful to processing and upping these submissions on an 'every other day' basis for over 6 years. Do visit YOUR Area Page for the latest in Pagan Personals, Groups, Events, Shops, Regional listings and much much more.

Rolling in the Heavy Traffic: It's always been about bandwidth (stuff delivered to YOUR web browser from this Website) here at TWV, what we can afford and how we can keep the 'bad guys/gals' out. Where we CAN go (feature/design wise) is directly related to working within our affordable bandwidth allotment (200 gig a month - Dec/Jan came in 'round 206 each). To that end we offer our profound thanks to Uber Webcrafter Elli for her recent help by writing routines that 'slam the door' on the bad robots that suck mucho bandwidth from this site. Her powerful and intelligent code, coupled with the installation of a sweet Unix compression utility has rendered a near 40% reduction in overall bandwidth in the past 13 days. Bless you Elli for your determination in helping us and making this happen, we are forever grateful. [Experience a sampling of Elli's powerful work over at the Flash Silvermoon Website and at her own site:]

What this means to YOU...

Due to this dramatic reduction in bandwidth, TWV is running even faster and we are now poised to serve YOUR needs better. The option for you to upload pictures of your face, your art, your group, your music, and your products are just around the corner. It was never about 'hard disk space' (we have over 13 gig available), it was always about the increased bandwidth from opening the door to mountain of user images/files etc. Look for some bitchen' new features here in the months to come.

Site Wide Email Test THIS WEEK: In the next week or so we will be sending out a Email test to all 52,000 listings here at TWV. We do this quarterly in an effort to clean up dead email contacts. DO NOT RESPOND unless you want ALL of your listings at TWV removed. If you want to be ready for v.8 of WOTW make sure that your listing has a workable email address.... FOR ANY changes to your listings... simply resubmit them with current and accurate information. - any new submissions will replace your old ones when we process.

As always, we are honored to be in your service!

Fritz Jung
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
February 17th. 2003

Notes from Dio...
New Writings and New Topic!

This week we are featuring a really wonderful new essay entitled Queer Initiation. While we've put it in the Gay Pagan section, it might warrant a place in the Pagan Parenting section as well. Whether you' re Gay, straight, parent or not -- don't miss this one!

We are also honored to feature yet another thought-provoking piece by Trish Telesco entitled Community "Business?" - "We often speak very respectfully of the neo-pagan ability to network quickly and effectively. And I would be the last person to say this aptitude isn't "good" -- but it is a power the community needs to use wisely. "

We have three more essays on the Sacred and Profane topic, which has generated an unprecedented response. We have been treated to over twenty-three essays so far, all of which illuminate how deeply and profoundly the Pagan/Heathen community thinks about issues of spirituality and ethics. This week's batch is great!

Next week, we'll feature the last three essays on the "Sacred and Profane" topic. Please don't send us any more on that topic, but turn your thoughts and your pens...uh, I mean the following: (Hey, I'm not that old. Really! Manual typewriters were in use when I was born! And ballpoint pens were too -- I think.....uh, maybe not.....) So, anyway, turn your brains and your keyboards or voice recog software here:

New Community Essay Topic!

Pagan Tribalism
The tribal model of social organization is one often brought up when Pagans are discussing the ideal Pagan society, including the extraordinary social construct known as the Pagan Festival. We talk a lot about how we would like to live in community with other Pagans, and dream about -- or manifest -- co-housing, Pagan neighborhoods, Pagan land, Pagan centers.

So, tell us, what's the dream, what's the reality, and how do we get there from here? We want to know how you dream of living in community with other Pagans and how you've done it or seen it done. Or, why you think it's a really bad idea. What works? What doesn't?

Any thoughtful essays of over 1000 words will be published. Please read our editorial guidelines first, and send your essay to Diotima

New Book Releases for February 2003

The Book section [Link] at Witchvox continues to be hot and since this past September it has clocked in visits from Pagans all over the planet. 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...

Devoted to You: Honoring Deity in Wiccan Practice
by Judy Harrow

Modern Paganism is a religion of choice, one that allows for devotion to many different Goddesses and Gods. This book provides background information and suggestions for working with four of them, each written by a long-time devotee:
  • Anubis - written by Geoffrey Miller
  • Brigit - written by Alexei Kondratiev
  • Aphrodite - written by Maureen Reddington-Wilde
  • Gaia - written by Judy Harrow
Each of the four sections uses the same general model, based on the Deity focus exercise used in Proteus Coven. Readers can apply the same model to create a devotional practice for any Deity whose guidance and energy they would like to call into their lives... [More on this New Book]

Cooking By Moonlight
by Karri Ann Allrich

Using the moon's seasonal lessons in the kitchen is as natural a match as honey and lemon. All women are born with natural instinct. All wise women feel an affinity with the moon. With moonlight guiding our path, we cultivate our deeper intuition and celebrate the seasons directly - with our body, mind and spirit - right in our own humble kitchen. Food becomes more than just fuel. Meals become magical. Magic becomes practical.

By inviting the moon to light our way and guide our steps, we open ourselves to the subtle rhythms of the natural world and honor the tug of intuition that sleeps softly within our bodies. We reawaken powerful goddess energy and bring enchantment back into our every day life. We all have to eat. Why not make meals magical? By using conscious intention and appropriate foods, herbs and spices, we are able to import the sacred feminine into our daily attention. Ritual cooking does not have to be an elaborate enterprise, with pomp and circumstance. In fact, I feel that its power stems from its very simplicity - the intimate, private experience with tools as simple as your favorite wooden spoon... [More on this New Book]

February Releases...
    /ul> Visit Pagan Books at Witchvox today to see what's new and what's HOT.

    MORE New Essays for February 2003... (EVEN more coming next week)

    NEW THIS Week...

    Community "Business?"
    by Patricia (Trish) Telesco

    We often speak very respectfully of the neo-pagan ability to network quickly and effectively. And I would be the last person to say this aptitude isn't "good" -- but it is a power the community needs to use wisely. Words, especially those over the internet are easily misconstrued. Ideas or information trickling down through different people can also loose shape and coherency, not to mention truthfulness. Indeed, the danger in our networking is what we might call the fish story -- it doesn't matter if you caught the fish, how big it really was, if you let it go, or if you got turned over in the boat. The reality is that somebody is either going to embellish this information, or pass it along to those who really have no reason to take interest (or be involved) in this now very muddy adventure.

    Yes, this type of response is very human -- it is also IMO irresponsible and potentially very hurtful. In the last two years many among us have seen the horrific consequences of personal issues being exposed in a public forum, such as that of a coven or an extended community. We have also watch with some dismay as those issues suddenly pop up in discussions half way across the country with total strangers... [Full Article]

    Queer Initiation
    by Aspen

    In many forms of Paganism a new member usually goes through some type of initiation. Usually these are planned ceremonies with certain steps that are performed and certain oaths that are spoken. I'd like to talk to you about another type of initiation; one that is equally -- if not more -- powerful than any type of planned ritual. I'm talking about initiation as a Queer person.

    Now I'm not talking about realizing that you are Gay or Lesbian or Bisexual or Transgendered. Those are things that most of us realize from a very earlier age and it's simply part of us throughout our lives, for better or worse. Nor am I talking about when you have your first sexual encounter. That is an exciting and sometimes scary experience that is a right of passage all its own.

    No, what I'm talking about is the Initiation into the Queer world. A type of Gay Vision Quest that we all must go on to discover the great power and mystery that exists within all of us as Queer people. I bring this up because not too long ago, I went on my own Gay Vision... [Full Article]

    A Perspective on the Sacred and Profane
    by Lisa Mc Sherry & Daniel Myers

    This is a juicy topic, one I've been mulling over for a few weeks now. The difficulty has arisen from one thing: it's been hard to reconcile profane acts like terrorism into my essential notion of a sacred universe. With events like 9/11 lingering in the culture and the day's glorious rainbow after a hard rain, I've been stumped. Then I realized that it boils down to a simple dichotomy: nouns are inherently sacred, but verbs have the potential to profane. While this may seem a bit simplistic, it actually describes how profanity can exist in a sacred universe.

    First, lets take a look at the words "sacred" and "profane" themselves.

    Merriam-Webster states that "sacred" is an adjective that can be defined as "worthy of religious veneration." This fits elegantly into my concept of the universe as an inherently sacred place, where everything in it is worthy of respect and offers an opportunity to expand our individual capacity as a sacred being. We each are a piece of the Divine and each share the goal of increasing the ratio of divinity to humanity... [Full Article]

    Defining The Indefinable
    by L. G. Starr (a/k/a Iko)

    Paul James (the "Gardener Guy" host of HGTV's show Gardening By The Yard ) grumbled a few Saturdays ago about his dislike for the word 'organic' and the term "organic gardening." If I understand Mr. James correctly he in no way is against organic gardening as he has gardened 'organically' for over two decades. However, Mr. James has a general pet peeve with the term 'organic.' He believes the term has become so generally used it now means very little. In its most broad definition, Mr. James believes, to garden organically is to do so without the aid of commercial chemicals. The best term Mr. James has found to use instead of 'organic' is 'natural' gardening. Mr. James concedes there is nothing 'natural' about a garden, and that the only truly natural places are virgin old growth forests and untouched prairies. He also notes much organic or natural matter (i.e. crude oil) would be as or more toxic to a garden as many 'un-natural' chemicals. So in the end, Mr. James is still searching for the word that will itself define his method of gardening. If Mr. James... [Full Article]

    An Argument for the Exercise of Natural Law
    by Lili Fugit

    Is nothing profane? Or is that the actual question? The real question, when directed at Pagans, Wiccans, and Witches, seems to be "Do you have any absolute moral values?" After all, most of us left organized religions that told us what was right and wrong and struck out on our own to figure it out for ourselves.

    The bigger question could be this: does the value we, as members of the Pagan community, place upon free will act to the detriment of moral standards? In other words, just because we generally choose to live our lives without much in the way of a superimposed moral construct, does this mean we cannot discern the absolutes that do exist? Does not having a Bible or Koran, written by other people from other times with other values, mean we are incapable of figuring out what is right and what is wrong?

    During the time of the framing of the United States Constitution there was a revival of interest in the old Roman concept of Natural Law. Its precepts are simple-- a human being can determine what is right... [Full Article]

    From Last Week...

    The Veil of Profanity
    by Mena Laughing Wolf

    In a previous life, the very fact of my existence was profane. The people I chose to befriend were hard and worn. They lived in hatred. They took pleasure in torturing and intimidating others. Their actions were neither sacred nor profane to me because I felt nothing. I saw nothing. My thoughts held no beauty or kindness-only destruction, pain and rage. They were neither sacred nor profane to me. My words were often false and vulgar. Respect was not familiar, for it had never been given to me, so how could I know to give it to others? The sunrise had no meaning because my eyes were closed in a dark room. The sunset was simply a curse. Humanity was a toy to be thrown in a corner on a whim. Violence was as natural in my circle as breathing. My arms and hands were torn and scarred, as was my spirit. Never once did I name any attribute of my life as sacred or profane. My life was void of emotion. My eyes were blind to the truth.

    One day I awakened to a body racked... [Full Article]

    Everything Is Sacred
    by Dawn Blacksun

    The world religions all teach that Divinity created everything. The stars. The planets. The dirt. The humans. And the mosquitoes.

    I believe that Divinity is an overall immanence. It surrounds us, protects us, and is within us, as it is within everything. Everything that Divinity created is infused with its essence.

    There is a common misunderstanding about the sacred. Many of us, as Witches, will freely admit the above as our beliefs, but only for some things. We remember that Divinity created only the “good” (or desirable) things, but forget that it also created the “evil” (or undesirable) things.

    Divinity works on a plane that is much higher than us. As a result, we are incapable at this stage in our soul’s development of understanding Divinity completely. We claim to understand the Universal sense of balance, but we forget it when a disaster occurs and takes the lives of thousands. Our inability to see the “larger picture” clouds our view and we become afraid.

    The word “sacred” is used, in many cases, synonymously with “... [Full Article]

    The Paradox of Fear and Awe
    by John Potter

    It's easy to find the sacred in a forest. Just a few blocks from where I live there is a large, urban park. The vast majority of it is untouched, save for a ball field, some swings and the nature trails, which are not well known enough to ever be crowded. The trees do their part, too, and after about ten minutes at a leisurely pace, even the police sirens fade into a distant hum. It is obviously a sacred place.

    There is energy in that forest, and spirits too, if the accounts are to be believed, more than one amorous teen-aged couple have had the romance scared out of them by mysterious figures that appear in the night and vanish without a trace. It is one of the few places where the deer have room to roam, and the wildflowers a place to dance. Humans, too, find solace in this place. The trails twist and disappear into the woods, foiling one's troubles from following too close behind. Emerging from that green womb, one feels invigorated and at peace with the world.

    I consider it... [Full Article]

    Sacred or Profane...Which is Which?
    by Lady Isis Serena Manalani

    Having been a frequent visitor to this website for nearly as long as I've been a practitioner of the Craft, I have eagerly awaited each month's essay selections and yet never felt the need to offer my own humble opinions on any subject until now. It may be that this month's topic resonated so strongly with me because this is one issue that I have already given a great deal of consideration, and perhaps always will. The question of sanctity versus profanity is one which every Pagan, Wiccan, or Witch confronts and (hopefully) comes to terms with at some point on their spiritual path. While I would be among the first to admit that there are times when differentiation between the two appears to be an easier task than at other times, careful consideration of the impact of our words and actions upon other people and the world around us is what I rely on to help me to sort out whether an action is either sacred or profane.

    Speaking strictly by definition alone, the Riverside Webster's II Dictionary defines "sacred" as, "1. Dedicated to or reserved... [Full Article]

    An Exploration of the Sacred and the Secular (or "How Descartes Turned My Cat into a Clock")
    by Katie Hodges

    Sacred. Holy. Divine.

    I find more magick in the ocean than the desert.
    I find more spirit in a forest than a church.
    I find more wonder in the autumn wind than the summer sun.

    These things are supremely sacred to me but they are all tailored by the flavor of my personal energy. And while I am not alone in these ideas, I am certainly not talking about facts, but simply preferences.

    So I went searching for my own relationship with the idea of sacredness. To be sure, there are things in my life that are sacred. My father's ashes, my Japanese jade carved heads, my wedding ring - these are all sacred objects. There are people in my life who are sacred as well, both living and dead. All of these have something in common. They all demand more respect and reverence than my everyday life. Or do they?

    I began to think about the separation of sacred and secular. As I did, I heard all the voices of... [Full Article]


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