Weekly Update: 1/3/2005|
Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: December 31st. 2004
Times Viewed: 3,919
| 12 hours, 10 minutes ago|
Bush Signs Bill Allowing 2004 Deductions For Tsunami Aid
President Bush on Friday signed legislation allowing people who donate to Indian Ocean tsunami relief to claim deductions on their 2004 tax returns, if they write the check before the end of the month.
The bill, passed by voice vote in both the House and Senate, was aimed at encouraging private donations for relief operations. Without the law, taxpayers would have had to wait until next year to claim a tax deduction for contributions made this month.... [Read More] - (5) - [Add Your Thoughts]
Hail and welcome...
On this, our 414th. weekly update (featured below), we, the Witchvox staff offer our deepest regrets to the families and friends devastated by last week's horrific tragedy from the Tsunami (140,000 dead as of this writing)... It is incredibly inspiring to witness the quick and generous offerings of support coming from all over the planet. We dedicate our community work this week to the givers of this planet.
Thank YOU: Wren and Fritz offer our profound thanks to Witchvox staff members Diotima and Runewolf for coordinating, editing and delivering our weekly features... They have done this without fail for years and we simply can't thank them enough. - Our deepest thanks also go out the the hundreds of you that have become or continue to be Witchvox sponsors. - You pay to keep this site online and your belief in this community effort is an inspiration to us all.
Changes (and lots of 'em): We are kicking off the new year by 'jumping off the cliff' with WAMS (the Witchvox Article Management System) - This new structure will finally marry Articles and Essays to user accounts, offering more intelligent structure to the entire site... Parts of this code are shaky so please bare with us whilst we do some fine-tuning. Also planned for the next couple of weeks is the installation of the Zend Performance Suite... This site controller will give our MYsql database a big time break. - Fact is, the pages at TWV are too LIVE, every page you hit makes LIVE call to the database. By (finally) working with 'cached pages' (every five minutes) we should be able to reduce the SQL calls by 70%, giving substantial relief to our overtaxed server. GEEK SPEC. - In just the past 4 days our MYsql database has processed 16,789,408 requests (that's 47.22 every second)
What this SQL mumbo-jumbo means that we will be able to 'push' this page and others with much more information.
RSSin': Our recent implementation of RSS feeds for Wren's Nest and Site Features has been very popular and in the past 5 weeks has experienced just over 100,000 grabs... IF you are RSSin' Witchvox 'news' into your php or PostNuke site - Please let us know so we can thank you and see how it looks. - Look for more feeds this year...
2005... Wow! Opportunity awaits and do know that our Whiteboard is still laced with some 200 plus 'must doos' for this site. - Ideas are cheap, time to implement them is always where the struggle lies. Also know that we should see a bit more time to hammer some of these 'ideas' during q1 2005.
Thanks to all of you that feed this site with your magic and heart. You continue to create something wonderful for Pagans all over the World.
The Witchvox Staff
When Disaster Strikes
by Mandolin [8,708 reads]
As I sat to write this essay I could not help but reflect upon an old saying about a butterfly beating its wings in China and causing a breeze in Oregon. Natural disasters are hard for people to understand because we want to know why things happen beyond the simple cause and effect. Not just mechanically or scientifically "why, " but morally, existentially "why."
Whenever a man-made act of destruction occurs, it is easy, if shameful, to see how it was caused. Wars, genocide, and the destruction of our environment can all be traced back to specific events and circumstances that were created by human beings. The murderer, the rapist, the corporate fat cat, the genocidal dictator - these all become the focus of our collective outpouring of anger and the need for justice when we feel we... [Full Essay]
Do We Need Public Worship Space?
by Susan [a Witchvox Sponsor] [7,568 reads]
That is a central question that needs to be answered as the Pagan paths become more populated and popular. Where are we going as a culture? What are our goals?
I believe the time has arrived when we will need to have public space. Since I am relatively new to the Pagan path, I have limited experience but I interact on a regular basis with many belonging to other groups as well as to my own. I base my essay discussions with them, and on personal experience.
A very large problem with the circle being on private property directly connected with someone's home is what it implies: ownership of the group. When one person or household consistently reminds the group that there is no need to go anywhere else to have a circle/ritual/event since they have a perfectly good one RIGHT THER... [Full Essay]
Also Featured This Week...
Pagan Clergy - Who Qualifies? by Jon "Athrawon" Edens [7,310 reads]
Exactly who is clergy? And what does it take to be a member of the Pagan clergy? These two questions have been raised over the years and heatedly debated since they first came to people's minds.LetÕs begin by first defining what clergy is, their duties, and then their qualifications.The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines clergy as "1: a group ordained to perform pastoral or sacerdotal functions in a Christian church, 2: the official or sacerdotal class of a non-Chri... [Full Essay]
Clergy: Priest and Priestess to Others by Blaze [7,225 reads]
In my twenty years as a Pagan, I have always believed that I am the priestess of my own spiritual practice. By saying that "I am priest and priestess in my own spiritual practice, " I am making a strong, empowering statement of my own ability to develop and manage my interactions with the powerful Spirits of the sacred world. By that statement I am stating categorically that I do not need to rely on the service of another human to facilitate my direct ecstatic experiences of the Divine. I can st... [Full Essay]
Corporations as Modern Vampiric Godforms by Pentilian [7,427 reads]
In America, being an individual is thought to be extremely important, but what is individualism? Individualism is defined by Webster's as "the conception that all values, rights, and duties originate in individuals." Each person gets indoctrinated with advertisement 24/7 from the radio, television, and magazines and even when they go to the bathroom. Corporations attempt to jam each cranny of our psyche with advertisements that promote a duty to purchase and values of consumption. A perso... [Full Essay]
Email From Gaia by Tree Higgins [7,441 reads]
Suppose everyone in the world, including heads of state and corporate suit types, woke up this morning and found an email from Earth sitting in their Inbox. What would it say? Maybe it would read like this: To: All HumansFrom: Gaia (Earth for all you non-Pagans who don't know my name!) Re: Being NeighborlyHow are you? I've been meaning to get in touch with you since you came on board but have been busy taking care of this and that. Anyway, welcome to the world! I'... [Full Essay]
From Atop My Cauldron by Ardeith Carter [7,272 reads]
I climb up here, atop my cauldron, and look around at the world, and wonder, "What are they thinking?" Or is anyone thinking at all, a'tall.I've heard/read a lot of lamentation over the last election, and I want to shake someone and say, "So, get over it!" We lost, this time. But there are going to be Congressional elections in two years, and we can make a big difference there. If we can get enough people motivated to register to vote, and to actually bother going to the polls and voting... [Full Essay]
|The Current Essay Topic...|
Churches, community centers, seminaries, universities...most religions have physical structures where they practice, teach, socialize with others of like mind, and serve the community. Looking into the future, do you see any or all of these things being established for Pagan religions? We already have a few buildings dedicated to one or more of these purposes here and there, but very few. What is your view of the future? How will we make Pagan structures happen -- or do we even want to? If you have been or are involved with one that is already established, what have you found that works, and what doesn't?
The Deadline for this topic is Jan.30 2005.
Oh? You want to write about something else?
Any thoughtful and postive essays of over 1,000 words will be considered. Please read our editorial guidelines first, and send your essay to Diotima
The Journey Into Witchcraft - Labyrinth
Journey Into Witchcraft: Labyrinth Views: 146,694
Author: Starrfire Price
Category: Witchcraft Level: All
The purpose of this book is not to tell you ÒhowÓ to practice Witchcraft, instead it is a means to assist you with ÒwhyÓ. The questions of why you feel what you feel, why you possibly practice certain ways, and why you are possibly in the place you are now.
This book is to act as a companion for the reader based on personal experiences and beliefs not dogma and guidelines. It allows the reader to come to their own conclusions relating to Witchcraft while hopefully gaining the understanding that it's perfectly acceptable to agree or disagree with common ideologies and theories of today.
No two people will find their practices to be identical because we are all unique and possess unique thoughts and experiences.
When you define Witchcraft for yourself, it should be based on your life and ... a href='http://www.witchvox.com/books/dt_bk.html?id=574'> [Full Book Profile] a href=http://www.witchesway.net> [Author's Website]
| 'Bardic Circle 2005' at Witchvox:|
Featured this week...
The Wiccan Grace - by Castalia [Audience: 444]
This piece is simplicity in paganfolk music. Not the sweet sounds of Castalia's characteristic harp here, but the rhythms of pagan bodies celebrating our sacred relationship with the Lord of Providence and the Lady of Witchery.
Written by Willaim Grey so that there would be a pagan prayer, this poem was readily adopted by pagans all over. I set it to music, as I am won't to do with my favourite powerful lyrical poems, and sing it in celebration of the joys of our spiritual connection with ou... (Go To Performance)
The Welcoming - by Michelle Mays [Audience: 366]
In the Spirit of the New Year, I offer The Welcoming. It is a Blessing song for a new child.
Since the release of The Promise Cd, The Welcoming song has been used as a base of hundreds of baby blessings across the US.
The Welcoming was written as an expression of Celebration and the out poring of love, joy, and happiness at the birth of a special child. Within the song you will hear many blessings that were given to this special child at her Welcoming Celebration. The Blessings w... (Go To Performance)
She Dances With Fire - by Soren [Audience: 590]
"She Dances With Fire" is a sad, but hopeful, love song. It is a personal expression of the deep sorrow that comes from knowing that "she" is out there somewhere; but, that we may never meet - except in dreams. Perhaps you suffer similarly? If so, please accept this song as a gift. And, please, don't lose faith in your soul mate or they may lose faith in you. :-) ... (Go To Performance)
Look for the Moon - by Peter Conover [Audience: 324]
First performed in concert at Pagan Spirit Gathering, 1995.... (Go To Performance)
Editors Note: If you want to share your mp3 file and your story, log in a add your performance... To experience the performances already posted... CLICK HERE.
Last Week at Witchvox...
| Leadership is a Verb |
by Erin Aubry
I recently completed a college course on corporate management and leadership. The course was a real snooze because the instructor covered common sense stuff that everyone already knew: managers and leaders should be honest, knowledgeable, able to see the "big picture," etc. But a novel idea caught my attention during the third session. I temporarily awoke from my stuffy classroom-induced stupor when I heard the instructor explain that leadership is not a noun like the dictionary says it is. Leadership is a verb.
Leadership is a process that anyone can engage in. The process involves guiding and motivating other people to reach their full potential for the benefit of the entire organization or community. While some people do seem to be "natural-born leaders" because of their personality or intellectual powers, everyone has the ability to learn the leadership process to some extent.... [Full Article]
Pagan Clergy - Who Qualifies?
An Asatru Perspective
by Gary Penzler
Why A Priesthood? In some faiths, such as Catholicism, one may pray directly to deity, but it is helpful to go through an intermediary, such as the saints, or better yet, the priesthood. In some others, such as Wicca, one is both permitted and encouraged to pray directly to the divine, and as a result, the faith considers every skilled practitioner to be their own priest/priestess.
Asatru (and its variants, sometimes going by Heathenism, Odinism, Theodism, Germanic/Teutonic Paganism, etc.) tends to pride itself on being direct and practical. Anyone may and should contact deity directly, and a priesthood is not necessary. Nonetheless, a priesthood exists. Why?
What we do today is modeled on how things were done long ago, before our faith all but disappeared for a thousand years. Worship rituals for smaller occasions tended to be done as a family or household, and were led by... [Full Article]
Priestess1 for One
by Gail Wood
Solitary. The word conjures up images of windswept and lonely landscapes without access to other humans, especially people with similar spiritual beliefs. In many cases, this is the correct scenario and Pagans are solitary by necessity. More and more, Pagans are solitary practitioners by choice. Even in the midst of nearby thriving communities, Pagans choose solo practice for a variety of reasons. There are also people like me who maintain both a group and solitary practice. I am proud to be an active member of a coven, a tradition and a community, but I still identify myself as a solitary practitioner. I serve as the priestess of that solitary practice.
To be a priestess for myself is joyful. I know that I can, with confidence stand before the Goddess and God and feel their presence. Through my own rituals and meditations, I feel the presence of the Divine inside me and around me. I have experienced their... [Full Article]
| A New Yule Tradition |
by Shelly O'Brien
Yule is a time for spending time with family and friends. It is a time to look back on our lives and then look forward to our futures. For most of us this is a delightful time full of fun and joy.
However, those who have the most fun and deep emotional attachment to Yule-time are our children.
My children have been looking forward to this season all year long. My oldest daughter is six and to her this stuff of Yule is old hat; she has the traditions down pat. But for my youngest children, this year is the first time that they will truly participate. My youngest children are identical twin girls who will be three on January sixth. So some minor changes to our usual traditions and holiday preparations had to be made this year.
The week before American Thanksgiving my oldest daughter began to ask when we would be getting our Yule tree. At the time I said the fifteenth of December. This meant very little to her and she continued to repeat the question, although the frequency had dropped to about twice a day instead of five or six... [Full Article]
How the Moon Affects Health
The moon is in all things our primary day-to-day influence, and this influence may be modulated (but never cancelled out!) by the phase fraction in which it finds itself, and by how it relates at any given time with other astrological elements. The first phenomenon is the more obvious, affecting the moon's appearance. As it passes through the phases, there is a leading edge of the bright image that crosses and illuminates the dark disk and a trailing edge that returns the disk to darkness. In our "modern" analytic mode, we would measure this by degrees of passage across the surface, percent dark versus light, rate of change, etc., and develop formulas to predict all this. However, in the human race's first 34,850 years of existence, we were not accustomed to comparing big things to little markers (like millimeters). We observed the phenomena and came up with explanations involving Gods and Goddesses for each phenomenon separately, and over the millennia generated... [Full Article]
Attune YOUR Magic - Phases of the Moon 2005
by Gary Reed
The Moon has always seemed a mysterious and powerful force to people everywhere. She moves the tides and guides the flow of magickal energies. Learning her ways, we can make our own magick join with Hers...
Successful magic depends on many factors. One of the most obvious things to consider is the timing of your spells and rituals with the phases of the Moon. When the Moon is waxing, it is growing larger in the sky. This phase lasts until the exact time of the Full Moon. From Full Moon to New Moon, is the waning phase where the Moon seems to disappear; until finally it is not visible to the eye for three nights. For this reason, this phase is sometimes called the Dark of the Moon or the Black... [Full Article]
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