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

Weekly Update: 7/28/2003

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: July 28th. 2003
Times Viewed: 6,354

Occulture UK 2003: This week we are honored to feature a stunning image from the fine folks that put on the Occulture Fest (this past week in the UK) - thanks Jon... Experience their Magick at on the web
The Bard and the Poser...

by Sia

Over the years, I have seen a set of character traits in action which effect our community in ways that are both positive and negative. This archetypal set is: The Bard and the Poser.

The strength of the Bard is that of brilliant story teller, learned advocate, truthful historian, imaginative teacher, wise counselor and creative artist. From song writers to programmers, within groups and as solitaries, our people use this Companion archetype to create in many ways and forms. Bards inspire others to reach for their fullest potential and they show us how to tap into our creative being.

The Bard archetype is honorable, trustworthy and truthful. This Companion has the necessary talents and skills to perform well on a variety of Life's stages. When in effect, the Bard shows our community to best advantage.

The Shadow Side of the Bard is the Poser, the Con Artist, and the Liar. This Shadow re-writes our personal and collective history so that we always appear to be wiser, kinder and greater than we really are. This part likes to put the blame for our bad behavior on the other person, on circumstance or on the culture at large. It tends to give us far too much credit for what we have accomplished and is not grateful to those who have helped along the way.

Where the Bard sees abundance, the Poser sees lack. Where the Bard offers friendship, the Poser uses people. The Poser is that part that excuses, rationalizes, evades, forgets, and denies.

The Bard takes pride in work well done. This side knows it takes effort, training, practice, polishing, reworking and learning in order to create. The Bard sees both the big picture and the details and knows that life and art are best defined as works in progress. A true Bard is always willing to learn from others who are more skilled and experienced than they are. The Bard is original, the Poser copies. What a Bard creates, a Poser steals... [... continued]

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The Staff of The Witches' Voice, Inc.

New Essay Topic... "Practical Magick"

Do you think that magick is a practical tool that can and should be used to help you and others get through the ups and downs of daily life, or do you use it solely as a tool for personal transformation? Or perhaps you feel that personal transformation *is* practical! Let us know what you think about the practical applications of magick.

The deadline for this topic is September 21st., 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.

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

Did Women Invent the Ancient Art of Yoga?
by Vicki Noble

My Awakening to Yoga

Yoga "happened" to me in 1976. Without any conscious foundation or prior framework of understanding, yoga erupted from within my body as a shamanistic healing crisis that came ready-made with its own solution. My chronic illness had become physically debilitating after ten years of miserable tension headaches and a pre-ulcerous stomach condition. A spontaneous healing occurred when I gave up on prescription drugs and called out in desperation for help from some invisible listening force. I began having ecstatic sensations and liberating transformations that were without precedence in my life, but wholly welcome. I had powerful dreams and visions, like those I described in Shakti Woman, that led me to the teachings of yoga and shamanism for understanding. My very first "out of body" experience paved the way for all the others by providing a significant female context:

I was awake in the middle of the night for some unknown reason, hanging in a light trance state in my bed and feeling what I thought was sexual energy, when suddenly I simply flew out of the top of my head and... [Full Article]

New Gay Pagan Essay

The Perfect Androgyny
by Bird

Wicca has something that none of the Abrahamic faiths celebrate. Wicca has the Divine Androgyne. The Goddess dwells in the God and vice versa. In the symbolic Great Rite, the athame is placed in the chalice, while often reciting, "as the male is to the female." As a gay man, I simply cannot view this as the exaltation of the heterosexual model. If this view is promoted then Wicca will turn into another religion that denies full personhood to gltb people. Instead I will translate the act of the Great Rite as a radical exploration into my own personhood. The athame and the blade are joined at the saying of the sacred words. What does this mean to me? That I am free. I am free to be sensitive, compassionate, and nurturing. I am also free to be strong, aggressive, a warrior, and sexual. I am the yin and the yang. They blend into one another... [Full Article]

Witch Hunts - Exposing The Lies
by Kerr Cuhulain

(Over 300,000 Page Views...)

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

Thomas's story gets even more bizarre in the next section, "Who is Your Lord?" In an account reminiscent of Pazder's Michelle Remembers, Thomas claims that Asmodeus offered to conduct a ritual in which she could have sex with Lucifer himself. "I was about to know Lucifer better by seeing him in the flesh, having intercourse with him and receiving his mark on me!" Thomas claims. "I had to fast for two days," Thomas continues, "and remain within the protective circle (into which witches draw gods and spirits so they cannot harm them)." Wiccans, Pagans, Satanists and Ceremonial Magicians will all tell you that one doesn't "draw gods and spirits" into the circle "so they cannot harm them." The magical Circle is considered a protection from influences outside the circle. For this reason Ceremonial Magicians call spirits into a triangle outside of the circle, otherwise the circle cannot protect them. Wiccans do "draw down" the gods into the circle, as do the followers of some Afro Caribbean religions. However, the gods, lwas or whoever is called are there at the invitation of the celebrants. Obviously you don't call them into the Circle if you want to be protected from them.... [Full Article]

NEW 'Sacrifice' Essays
(Round THREE)

by Talyn

I am the youngest daughter of a traditional Christian, large, fertile family. All of my siblings, both younger and older, grew up, found partners and had children. They have all remained faithful to the Christian religion we were all raised in. But not me; I have been Pagan for 26 of my 39 years. I was adamant I would never marry or have children. I had other plans for how I was going to leave my mark the world. I was going to work as a healing health care professional, caring for others and incorporating my belief system by providing holistic care to those with end of life issues. I was going to live a life of service, excitement and travel. For the first eight years after graduating from college I lived the life I had planned, traveling around the country working as a contract medical professional. I visited the wide-open plains in the Midwest, the Pacific Coast and the Great Northwest. Yes, life was just as I had envisioned it, rich and carefree. But that was before I fell in love. At that point having a child became an obsession. I wanted to create life... [Full Article]

Sacrifice as the Restoration of Balance
by Lili Fugit

The concept of sacrifice is universal, dating back through all of human history, crossing all ethnic and religious boundaries. Some of the first written stories deal with the Sumerian Goddess Inanna making a series of sacrifices, including the sacrifice of herself and then that of her faithless lover Dumuzi, in order to attain the wisdom of the Underworld.

In a general [modern] Pagan context, sacrifice is a valuable tool in making historical and personal connections to rituals and ceremonies of civilizations long gone. Specifically to those who practice Witchcraft and varying forms of folk magick, sacrifice is a means of keeping a balance within the universe. It is nothing if not a great equalizer. It is more than mere quid pro quo, though the argument could be made that there is nothing mere about exchanging one thing for another, particularly on the spiritual plane. Sacrifice is very much about aligning oneself with whatever one wishes to express or attain. In doing this everything is kept level because nothing is taken away without giving back... [Full Article]

Sacrificial Cleansing
by AnsuzCrow

Sacrifice is a concept that did not become clear to me until the night of Beltane, 2000. Previously, the word held all the standard misconceptions that modern society places upon it. It was this very same preconceived notion that left me in chills every time I heard the word. If ever the word were spoken around me, I would have sudden visions of animals lying upon altars. I wanted nothing to do with sacrifice. It was this unique Beltane night that changed my view of what sacrifice is and quite possibly my world altogether.

To be wholesome, I must begin with a series of events that made that night so special. In February of 2000, I enrolled in the United States Job Corps. After hordes of paperwork and a bit of time to get into the campus routines, I began to feel at home. I was at a place where I would receive training for a trade in addition to room and board. The biggest bonus of all - it was free. What could be better than that?... [Full Article]

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...

The Shadow Knows...
by 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..... [... 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.... [Full Review]

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]

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]

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]

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."'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 - - 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]


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