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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: 8/4/2003

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: August 4th. 2003
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Greetings Witches, Pagans, Wiccans and Heathens,

While each turn of the Wheel seems to prompt us here at TWV to reflect and reevaluate, this past week was really more of a punch in the gut. Site traffic continues to be up (Last Month 494,126 visitors consumed 2,445,121 pages of information). Financial support continues to fade away. And what we are looking at here...Well, what are we looking at here?

Everything. We are looking at everything. We are looking at the possibility of closing down because we cannot afford to stay up beyond the end of September. We are looking at the possibility that the lack of financial support may mean that most of you no longer find what we do here useful enough to be worthy of Your Contribution . We are considering even that TWV may have simply run its course (and that's ok).

Our deal with you and with our Gods has always been a simple one: We would maintain the site for you as long as the community support for it was there... Is it? We just don't know at this point. However this turns out, we do know this: It has been an honor and a privilege to serve you.

48 Hours Later...
update: 8/5/2003 (evening)

(Featured Articles Below)

Well, praise the Gods (and our beloved Witchvox sponsors) for not-so-small miracles. When we posted the news of our financial situation 48 hours ago and asked for your help, we expected perhaps a few dozen responses. Our crystal ball must have been low on batteries that day because we never envisioned the type of real response that our plea might generate.

Thanks to the generous support from over 300 new sponsors (who pledged/sent amounts anywhere between $2-$250.), we now have enough funding for the rest of this year and a little more as a hedge against emergencies.

The response from you really was incredible. (It was more than that -- much, much more -- but we are at a loss for words right now and will expound more about this in the next update. Your emails and phone messages -- so full of kindness, concern and encouragement -- moved us to tears on more than one occasion.) And since we've always been honest with you, we feel it only right to let you know that the initial emergency financial situation has resolved.

So thank you to all of you who have come forward in the past two days. We will work at getting your sponsor kits and/or a verification of your donation out to you to as soon as possible. Please be patient. We never expected this level of support, (or this volume of email) and it will take a while to match up all the PayPal contributions/ personal checks with the info already in our database. Present sponsors or listed contacts will be flagged. And because we care about your privacy, we will not list you publicly without your permission.

And if you would still like to send something, we certainly will adore you for doing so. All future funds contributed will continue to put us further ahead and securely into the upcoming year. We are upfront sort of folks here and we simply couldn't continue to accept your hard earned cash before making you are aware of these updated facts on our financial situation. We hope that you will continue to support this community resource throughout the year.

So we love you, we thank you and we promise to personally pummel anyone who dares to say to us that Pagans do not care about 'community'.

A Huge UPDATE - This week we kick things off with a passionate Rant from Wren detailing our frustration with the theft of our good name (for personal profit), community reactions, attacks on other Pagans, and much to think about... Also featured this week: Details on how you can support TWV with your credit card via PayPal, timely Witchvox reviews of 'Sirius Rising' by Don/Daniella Waterhawk and 'Hands of Change' by Steven E. Repko, a power new piece by Kerr, a wonderful new Trad profile on Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism and your first round of Practical Magick Essays. It's also worth noting that last week saw a massive amount of new networking submissions for YOUR area (over 1,100 new events, groups, Pagans, links etc...). To experience these features simply scroll down on this page.

Want Some Milque with that Toast...

by Wren

"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."" *

"I mean it, Wren. This sort of crap has got to stop." I could hear My Friend's anger and frustration crackling through the phone. Even as my mind started to comprehend what he was telling me, one cluster of brain cells still took a few seconds off in order to note that it was probably a very good thing indeed that we owned a cordless phone. If I had been directly connected to anything directly connected to my old Friend, I am sure that I would have been blown off of the balcony. The resulting electrical arc might then have set off the fire alarm... and that surely would have caused the cats to scatter in three of the four directions -- but not before kicking over the potted fern (again) or dumping their water goblet and soaking the carpet (again) -- and I was already having a bad enough day as it was.

So was my Friend. "These peeps (He actually called them something else.) are going around telling folks that I am some sort of scam artist and a fraud.... that I am traveling around the festival circuit 'selling' Native American spirituality... and that not only am I not Native American or a Vietnam War Vet, but that I am out there deceiving people for my own fun and profit."... [... continued]

NEW Tradition Profile...

Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism

Composed by: Erynn Rowan Laurie, Aedh Rua O'Morrighu, John Machate, Kathryn Price Theatana, Kym Lambert ní Dhoireann, ed. by Erynn Rowan Laurie

The idea of reconstructionist Pagan religions has been around since at least the mid 1970s and is discussed in Margot Adler's 1979 edition of Drawing Down the Moon. Some organizations, like ADF, have been doing reconstruction work for many years, but their focus was never purely or particularly Celtic.

Many individuals were in dialogue about what constituted genuine early Celtic religion and spirituality, and how to educate others about the differences between Wicca and the various forms of Celtic Paganism. These discussions initially took place in Pagan publications and around the fire at Pagan gatherings starting in the early 1980s. With the growth of the internet, dialogue on PODSnet Celtic, the GEnie network, Celtic-L and other online forums became the critical factor leading to a rapid spread of information after 1989. The phrase Celtic Reconstructionist (CR) began to gain common use during 1992 and 1993 to describe individuals who were trying to understand, research, and re-create an authentically Celtic path for modern Pagans.... [Full Article]

Sirius Rising 2003
by Don and Daniella WaterHawk

What a trip Daniella and I had, getting to Brushwood this year. We arrived 3 days late (blew our transmission=$2500..ka ching), stayed in crappy hotels till it was fixed, but made it nonetheless. Pulled into Brushwood and was warmly greeted by Theresa & Darlene Barney (owners) and a whole slew of wonderful people that we only get to see once a year. All info/registration stuff were in an envelope for us ready to be signed, and then down to the field we went. And at the field it was in full swing.....driving by the Stone Circle, we saw the morning meeting in progress with a large group of people ( thanks to those that facilitated in our place), children running around the pool area and colors and sounds that you can only hear when one is at Brushwood. Because of our late... [Full Review]

The 6th Annual Hands of Change Pagan Picnic
by Steven Repko

Saturday August 2, 2003 Lammas Weekend. After hideous weather reports all week the 6th Annual Hands of Change Pagan Picnic, went off without a hitch. I was told that it poured like crazy at 10:00 AM, but by the opening circle at 11:00 AM and for the rest of the day not a drop fell, in fact it turned out to be a really nice summer day. Johnson Park is a beautifully green spot right on the river with tons of shade, the smell of burgers and the rich forest floor helped provide the perfect backdrop for this event.

This year's picnic was particularly auspicious, as this was the 5th Coven anniversary of Hands of Change, Happy Five Guys! Members from many of the covens and groups in the state were on hand to share in the reverie along with a big pile of solo attendees and pagan families. This year's sabbat theme was the coven as a family and you would have thought that this was a family reunion if you didn't know better; it just felt that nice.
[Full Review]

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

NEW 'Practical Magick' Essays
(Round ONE)

Practical Magick
by Veritus

"Twinkle-twinkle-twink," says the television speaker. The screen shows Samantha's face morphing back into a more normal expression after having repeatedly wrinkled her nose. Oh what kind of hi-jinks was Tabitha up to this time? What kind of magical mother-in-law-born disaster did Samantha have to correct? I tell you one thing, she certainly knew about the practical uses of magick, even as she struggled to live a normal "mortal" life. Darrin was a lucky man.

But real life is not "Bewitched," and real magick is pretty far removed from what was portrayed on the boob tube. As real Witches, we live each day in a world that challenges us to find a way to put our spiritual beliefs into practice. Almost all religions, including the varied beliefs most of us practice, began with the purpose of explaining how the world came to be and how systems that are hard to understand work. A closely related second purpose for the existence of belief systems is to show adherents ways to deal with day-to- day problems and the stresses of... [Full Article]

Practical Magick
by StarrDancer

First I suppose we should establish a line as to what is considered practical and what is not. Shoes are considered practical, if they are comfortable. Computer software programs are considered practical if they are user-friendly. Cookbooks are considered practical if they are easy to understand and foolproof. So one would consider something easy to use and understand to be practical? There just seems to be so much more to this than what any one person thinks is practical and what one doesn't. To me practical is something that benefits my family and me. Makes my home easier and better to live in than someone else's and makes me look at the world as a nice place in which not to be afraid of my own shadow. To be able to relate to my intimate world and not be so consumed with that which I cannot control.

It is true in today's society we have more say-so over what we can do and that too is considered practical but yet there is still so much more involvement to be had than just politics. We use fairly practical reasoning to raise our... [Full Article]

Witch Hunts - Exposing The Lies
by Kerr Cuhulain

(Over 300,000 Page Views...)

This Week... Breaking the Spell: The Hidden Traps of Wicca (By Catherine Sanders)

;In a section with the caption "What is Wicca?" Sanders begins by giving us some basic and reasonably accurate definitions of simple terms, including the Wiccan Rede and the Three Fold Law, that have been taken from sources such as the Encarta on-line encyclopedia. She comments that "What's important to notice are the common themes of worshipping nature and using spiritual forces to get results. Most anyone who calls himself or herself a Wiccan, goddess worshipper or witch practices these things. Another important thing to remember is that Wicca is not the same thing as Satanism. In fact, most witches don't believe in Satan at all." Keep this comment in mind because in a moment you'll see her singing an entirely different tune. .... [Full Article]

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

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... [Full Article]

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... [Full Article]

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]

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]

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]

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]


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