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Year: 2004 ...

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Weekly Update: 7/21/2003

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: July 21st. 2003
Times Viewed: 3,259

Community Art: this week we are honored to feature a fab piece by Tony Everett (Australia) to set the tone for our update... (You may email your comments to Tony at evertones72@hotmail.com)
The Shadow Knows...

by Sia

There is a question that often comes up in the Earthwise Community. It is this:

"Why are there so many books and classes at levels 101 to 303 but no classes or books that seem to go past level 3?"

I believe that those classes do indeed exist. I believe that they have little to do with ritual, clothing, holidays, spells, books or tools and everything to do with personal growth. These classes are not offered by a Priest or Priestess, except where they teach by example. Instead, Life itself offers us these classes. In a Trickster-like fashion, it offers us the test first and the lesson afterward. If we survive the lesson, we will have reached the next level.

The challenge here involves claiming our power, living responsibly and accepting the consequences of our choices.

Carolyn Myss [WebSite] writes in her book, Sacred Contracts, that all great teachers teach the 3 C's; that is: Consciousness, Choices & Cause and Effect.

Whether the teacher is at a dojo or showing how us to care for our car or offering a class in Earthwise Spirituality, they are teaching the three C's as these pertain to their field of knowledge. For example, my mechanic wants me to be conscious of my car's needs, to realize what happens if I don 't take care of my car and to make right choices (such as changing my oil in good time). Spiritual teachers work with the same principals.

Some people are drawn mainly to the toys, the costumes and the fun involved in our path. Some of them are, sad to say, in full flight from adulthood. They want unicorns and moon beams and money spells. They like to think of themselves as rebels and tend to have a "look at me" attitude towards their practice. There is less rebel and more faddist in their make-up than they know.... [... continued]



Gaian Mind 2003 (at Four Quarters Farm)
by Chris Carter

Gaian Mind was all about bigger and better than last year, and with over 550 attendees was one of the largest events ever held at Four Quarters. Not only were performers called from as far away as Europe, but it was not uncommon to meet attendees from the west coast or from far northern Canada. I even met a couple from South America. With last year's success, word is getting around that something special is going on here, and the event is growing. This was certainly a challenge for both the Four Quarters and Gaian Mind staff to manage. However, it seems they were more than up for the task.

At front gate registration, attendees were greeted by a welcoming party to make sure they knew the 'Laws of the Land', the unique policies that set a tone of respect for the land and people. For many attending, this would be their first visit to an Earth Religious site, so it was important that the values of this community be made known so that this cross cultural event may be a success. All in all this was successful, with the land left in good condition and the strong sense of tribe already present among the trance dance scene readily harmonized with the community spirit that defines Four Quarters... [Full Review]

New Teen Essay

Present and Future
by Brighid

Yes, it does seem that Pagan, Wiccan, and other spiritual faiths have been gaining popularity over the last few years. It also seems that teenagers are becoming more aware of religion, too. With shows like "Charmed" and "Buffy," how can teens not be interested? I think that it's one thing to be interested, but how far can it go?

I know that many people like shows that involve magic, but is it really good? Even though it's encouraging youngsters to learn more about the topic, I don't think that it's all that great. ... [Full Article]

NEW 'Sacrifice' Essays
(Round THREE)

A Sacred Gift
by Stachia Ravensdottir

Sacrifice. The very word conjures up feelings of dread and images of darkened rooms with blood-stained altars. But what does it really mean? It is generally considered to be a painful thing, something you try to endure with good grace if you are unable to avoid it. Something we only do because it's "good" for us, whether we want to or not. Something we can give up fairly easily, like giving up chocolate for Lent. Should sacrifice be sought out as a means of spiritual growth? Or is it just a holdover from a sin/redemption-based theology; just so much excess Judeo-Christian baggage? While the concept of sacrifice is central to Christianity, what role does it play in Paganism and Witchcraft?

The word sacrifice comes to us through Middle English and Old French from the Latin sacrificium; sacer (which means sacred) + facere (to make). To sacrifice is to make sacred.

Webster gives us four definitions of the word sacrifice. We can certainly disregard the last definition (a sale at a price less than the cost or actual value), but I think the first three are... [Full Article]

What Sacrifice Means to Me
by Mobius

Sacrifice can mean so many different things in different situations. I think that our lives are so wrought with it that sometimes it loses its meanings.

The first sacrifice I want to take on is animal sacrifice. Recently I was reading a book on general Wicca (I like to keep informed on what new people entering the Craft are reading), and it talked about how Wiccans and Neopagans don't practice animal sacrifice and how the general concept was wrong. Personally I disagree with this. I think animal sacrifice in the correct context is a wonderful idea, however not normally practical. When early Pagans sacrificed animals they normally didn't just slice their throat and kill them and leave them to rot, they said a prayer for the animal, offered them up to their gods, slaughtered the animal and cooked it for the group in a religious ceremony. The Native Americans thanked the spirit of the animals they hunted for food for sacrificing their lives for the lives of the tribes that hunted them. They used every aspect of the animal that they could for the good of the people. They ate the... [Full Article]



Witch Hunts - Exposing The Lies
by Kerr Cuhulain

(Over 300,000 Page Views...)

This Week... Ex Pagan 4 Christ (Part 1 of 2)

22 year old Keziah Thomas of London, England, is the creator of the Ex Pagan 4 Christ web site (Link). She bills this as a "true story of deliverance from Paganism". In fact it is an imitation of earlier accounts of people claiming to be former Satanic cult members. Unlike many earlier stories she does not claim to be a former Satanic leader: This is likely due to the objections of people like myself who have pointed out that the large number of people clamoring for attention by making such claims could not have all been the "big boss". Of course you get more attention by claiming to have been the former leader than by making a claim that you were the former janitor. Like the people that you will soon see that she is imitating in this site, Thomas claims that Neo-Pagan religions are a "harmless façade" for a leadership level of Satanism. "I was once a witch and a pagan," Thomas claims, "and experienced the truth behind the nature-worshipping, peaceful facade to the reality of Satan's mastery over paganism." ... [Full Article]



New Essay Topic for July... Sacrifice!

Sacrifice is a word fraught with emotional implications. It is generally considered a painful thing, to be avoided if possible and endured with good grace when unavoidable, or approached as a kind of spiritual medicine -- tastes awful, but good for you.

While the concept is central to Christianity, the idea of sacrifice also plays a large part in Pagan mythology. As we approach the harvest season, we'd like to know what sacrifice means to you, and what role it plays in your tradition or spiritual path. Is sacrifice really always bad, always painful? Should it be sought out as a means of spiritual growth, or is the idea of sacrifice as spiritual just a holdover from a sin/redemption-based theology that has no place in Paganism?

Any thoughtful essays of over 1,000 words will be published. Please read our editorial guidelines first, and send your essay to Diotima

The deadline for this topic is 7/20, but we will post the essays as we receive them. Please keep in mind that we will not post responses to previously posted essays.

Your voice counts! Please consider adding your thoughts to this collection of essays and join in the exchange of ideas throughout the worldwide Pagan community.



West Memphis 3!
by Peg Aloi

Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. were teenagers when they were arrested and convicted for the murder of three children in their conservative, mostly-Christian community. These guys have been in prison for more then TEN YEARS now. If not for the effect of various media, and efforts by supporters to make sure the media continued to cover their case, their plight would not be known to the world at large. In 1996, a documentary film called Paradise Lost was released that had a significant impact on their plight, and people far beyond the small Arkansas town where this happened were now learning about what has come to be seen as a travesty of American justice. Interviews and articles in various news media followed, including The Witches' Voice . It's an important issue for us, since Damien was involved with Wicca at the time of his arrest, and it was his supposed "dabbling in the occult" which made the local police (who were obsessed with "satanic cults" at the time) finger him as a suspect in the first place... [Full Article]

br>Some of Last Week's Features at Witchvox...


If The Hissy Fits...
by by Wren Walker

"Never underestimate the restorative powers of a really good hissy-fit." *

This week's column could have just as easily been entitled: Everything I Know About Pagan Interactions I Learned From My Cat. But since Fritz rejects any title long enough to overflow onto another line -- and EIKAPIILFMC really makes no sense at all -- Hissy Fits, it is. Most of the dictionaries state that a 'hissy fit' is an outburst of anger or a tantrum. Ruby, on the other hand, prefers to think of the hissy fit as a valid means of communication: short, to the point and unlikely to be misconstrued as anything other than as a warning to back the furk off.

As some of our regular readers know, three weeks ago we adopted two kittens from our local Humane Society. Since Ruby has never been an only child, we thought that she might miss Dixie (a.k.a. Pissy Face) and would enjoy some feline companionship. Our two new black as midnight additions to the family -- Djinn-Jinn and Lee-Lu -- seemed to be just what we were looking for. Three very long weeks and several cat psychology books later, we are inching along towards an integration of sorts. And, Ruby is finally talking to us again.... [... continued]



Texas Religious Freedom Circle
by Veritus

We live in a time that can be considered amazing, alarming, exciting, intimidating, captivating, harrowing, exhilarating and frightening all at the same time. Above all we live in a provocative world. No matter which side of the political spectrum on which you rest, all must agree that since September 11, 2001, our way of life United States has been put through an arduous series of tests. The deplorable acts of a small percentage of an otherwise honorable faith have forced our leaders to react. Those reactions have led to many battlegrounds regarding life beyond the tragedy. One issue that seems to be at the forefront of the fray is religious freedom. Many of our political leaders are taking a more strident stance than they have in the past regarding the definition of a "valid" religion and interpretations of what our founders intended when setting up our country... [Full Article]



Drum & Splash...
by by Etain Wilson

If you were looking for a low-impact way to celebrate the July 4th holiday, at Four Quarters was it! Following the amazing Gaian Mind PsyTrance Dance Festival of the weekend before (I attended both), this ninth annual Drum & Splash ran five days from July 2 - 6. Hundreds came out for this alternative holiday weekend, while fifty or more campers stayed for both events. This year Four Quarters offered a combined registration deal, which promises to be increasingly popular in years to come. Several people I spoke to have already marked out these dates for their vacation next year.... [Full Review]



Back to Zero
by Wren Walker

I don't care how many years that you have under your Pagan belt or how many candles were set ablaze upon your last birthday cake. No matter what your chronological age may be or how many years (or months or days) that you have been following a Pagan path, as I end this particular series of essays I would also like to leave you with this one piece of completely unsolicited advice: Start over.

Yep, I am hereby recommending a good old-fashioned mid-life crisis for everyone. Now I know that the words 'mid-life crisis' conjure up images of some balding fifty-ish executive guy who suddenly decides to get a toupee, join the neighborhood gym and trade his forty-year-old... [Full Article]



Summer Solstice Celebration in VA
by Irene Jericho

Saturday morning dawned gray and moist, but the damp from the previous night's storm quickly burned off and by 10 a.m. glints of sunshine were speckling the forest floor with gold. The Pocahontas State Park campground was a bustle of activity... vendors laying out their wares, early-bird festival attendees browsing the stalls as they appeared, workshop leaders preparing their classes and festival staff making the rounds to see if anyone needed help. The air of festival was unmistakable. Even at that early point in the day, one could tell that the Summer Solstice Celebration would be wonderful. The other members of Revel Moon and I unloaded our gear early with the help of many kind (and strong) souls and went off to browse the wares..... [Full Article]



The Unbinding of Fenrir:
Restoring the Hand of Tyr

by RuneWolf

I have followed the Spirit of Wolf for many years now. During that same approximate time span, I have also followed the Way of the Northern Gods, both Celtic and Nordic, as I personally have come to understand it. Not surprisingly, I have found that my loyalties to Wolf and to the Northern Gods have, on occasion, come into conflict, particularly in regard to the myths surrounding the binding of Fenrir, the Fenris Wolf. I have always felt that Fenrir got a pretty raw deal from the Aesir. Fortunately, modern Paganism does not require that we always agree with what our Gods did and do... [Full Article]

Sacrfice
by Ares Hearthfire

Sacrifice. No one word says more about dedication to a cause than this. We hear this word all the time. Even in sports you hear phrases like "Taking One for the Team." Sacrifice...it's a deadly word, it's a sacred word, it's a word given to people that give themselves for others to gain.... [Full Article]



Propitiatory Sacrifice/Participatory Sacrifice
by Jennifer

Sacrifice.... I look at that word and I think of the old con job where Father-God asks us to trade in something precious in order to earn Life Immortal. It might be a cow. Or our first-born children. Or our souls. This is known as propitiatory sacrifice, in which believers give up some dear object, or inflict harm upon themselves, to appease a wrathful deity.... [Full Article]



Does Sacrifice Have Its Place?
by Yehecatl Quipoloa

Sacrifice is perhaps one of the most controversial topics in Paganism. Many Pagans today would deny that it has a place in their own practices, and who could blame them? Sacrifice has had many negative connotations attached to it over time; what our ancestors once performed as a sacred act has come to conjure images of murder or Christian beliefs on guilt and penance. Does it deserve this image, or has sacrifice been given a bad rap?... [Full Article]



Sacrifice, Then and Now
by Toni Silvano

I spent the 1960's attending Catholic Grammar School in New York City. As I recall, "sacrifice" was one of our first grade spelling words. We were taught that in order to secure our place in "Heaven" and attain everlasting life, we needed to give up some of the things that brought us pleasure. To a seven-year-old, those things were as simple as a favorite toy, game, or food. I recall letters coming home to my mother asking her to sacrifice part of her income by tithing to the church.... [Full Article]



No Sacrifice At All!!
by StarrDancer

Sacrifice is an often-misunderstood word. Most people see sacrifice as something harsh and bloody. This is not always so. Sacrifice is an adjective that more or less describes what has happened to us in order to evolve into something else. Someone else. Something better. We all have sacrificed something over the course of our lives in order to obtain something more, but when push comes to shove we as humans have a tendency to stop at the word "sacrifice" and wonder if it's worth it. .... [Full Article]



The Nature of Sacrifice
by RuneWolf

I went to one of my favorite oracles - www.dictionary.com - to do a little prep work for this essay. I was aghast at some of the words contained in the entries for "sacrifice:"

Slaughter -- Victim -- Immolate -- Destroy -- Kill -- Suffer...

Wow! Talk about your heavy negative energy! And yet, amongst all these harsher terms, I found: "The offering of anything to [the Gods],...consecratory rite." Ah, there we go! Much more to my liking. ... [Full Article]



Lessons of Sacrifice
by Willow Silvermoon

Sacrifice to me has always meant the ultimate love or the ultimate defeat. When a sacrifice is a part of an ultimate love, the self is put aside for another. When in an ultimate defeat, while not necessarily a bad thing, a person acknowledges the setback and then takes the sensible road out. Personal trials are always going to pop up at one point or another to teach us the lessons we need and, therefore, shouldn't be constantly sought after as in other faiths. There have been a couple of very good examples in my life and both teach very good lessons... [Full Article]



The Importance of Sacrifice in Worship
by Rebecca Martin

The word "sacrifice" has become loaded with many negative associations over the years. It usually conjures up images of suffering for the sake of others, or in a historical context, the image of ancient altars heaped high with burnt animal offerings and Mesoamerican priests ripping out human hearts. These scenes are usually viewed with revulsion by modern people or used as an example of how backward and/or misguided ancient people were in their worship. While sacrifice can include these things, this is not always what sacrifice entails. If done in the right spirit, sacrifice can foster a great relationship with a deity or deities... [Full Article]






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