(Daily Spirit News)
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By keeping abreast of the latest news and updated information, as well as having ready access to critical resource tools, we, as Witches, Pagans, Wiccans, or Heathens can not only empower ourselves, but also develop programs to educate our local towns and cities on who we are and what we do.
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Welcome Members of the Press
Halloween and Witches - it's that time of year again!
Newspapers, magazines, radio and television programmers will soon be sending their reporters out into the field to do that seasonal coverage piece on pumpkin patches, costume parties, harvest celebrations and, of course, Witches.
Good reporters-and picky editors- always want to answer the basic questions of who, what, when, where and how in any article written for the public. So to make everyone's job a little easier-Oh! Those deadlines!-we have set up the following page for your convenience and information with links provided for additional research.
WHO are these Witches anyway?
Witchcraft and Witches:
A practitioner of a nature-based/revering or folk belief system, art or religion. Not all Witches follow the same belief system. Some practice what is called the "Old Religion" which has its roots in Pagan pre-monotheistic folkways and beliefs and which usually follows the agricultural seasonal cycles. Many Witches believe in a polytheistic deity structure usually based upon the local gods and goddesses of the area of origin. Witches may practice alone as 'solitaries" or in covens. There are also family groups or traditions that trace their practices and beliefs within the same close group throughout several generations. Some Witches consider Witchcraft to be a religion while others simply practice witchcraft as a magical art.
Paganism is not a single religion, but an umbrella term for all those religions other than the Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. A Pagan is a person who follows one of those "other" faiths. Many Witches, Wiccans, Reconstructionists, and other Neo-Pagans simply identify themselves as "Pagan" or "Neo-pagans" when talking with others who may not be familiar with the complexity of the different belief systems. This can make it sound like "Paganism" is a religion instead of a collection of religions. Neo-paganism should also not be confused with the "New Age" movement, as Pagans are almost exclusively involved in distinctive religions while New Age spirituality draws from many sources and esoteric spiritual techniques which are generally added as an extra layer on top of whatever religion one normally follows.
Note: The word 'Pagan" itself comes from the Latin paganu(m), for "someone who is not from the city, rather from the country." In Late Latin, this turned into pagensis, "one who is from the country," and this ultimately became the French pays and the Spanish Pa's, both meaning "nation."-(From Etymologically Speaking at www.westegg.com/etymology/)
A modern religion of Witchcraft is called "Wicca." Traditional Wicca is based on the teachings of Gerald Gardner, is coven (group) based and each coven can trace its lineage (line of teaching passed on by initiated Traditional priests and priestesses) back to Gardner himself. There are offshoots of Gardnerian Traditional Wicca such as Alexandrian Wicca, Georgian Wicca and many others. Traditional Wicca is considered a 'mystery' religion, one that requires initiation by the coven and has a "degree system" or different levels of rank based upon coven training and the readiness of the initiate to accept the duties and responsibilities of that degree. Traditional Wiccan covens have a core of inner knowledge-often called the "Book of Shadows"-which is shared only with initiated Wiccans. Most Traditional Wiccans believe in the balance of male-female divinity. Traditional Wiccans are seldom solitary except for those 'Elders'-usually former priests and priestesses-who may have retired from active coven involvement, have taken a voluntary sabbatical or do not have access to a Traditional coven in their area.. ( Full Intro Profiles)
Powerful "What is" LINKS/Books:
WHAT do Witches do on Halloween?
First, most Witches call the holiday, 'Samhain' (pronounced SOW-en). Samhain has its roots in ancient Celtic countries. 'Halloween' is a Christian-based holiday superimposed over an old pagan festival.
Witches, Wiccans and other pagans celebrate the seasonal changes in nature. Samhain is typically seen as a last Harvest Festival before winter and a time to reflect on the year past in order to make plans for the new year to come.
Powerful Samhain/Halloween LINKS:
Can we film or conduct interviews during such an event?
Many pagan groups hold public events at this time of year. Some are held out-of-doors (weather permitting) in parks or backyards. Others celebrate privately with close friends and family. The weekend of October 29th through November 1st is the popular time for this celebration of Samhain. Some groups will celebrate a bit sooner or later for either astrological or personal reasons.
Check with the local groups in your area (see links below) if you want to get a Witch to interview. Check EARLY! Last minute requests are generally seen as rude and intrusive.
Remember that this is a religious holiday for most pagans and not just an excuse to party. Please be respectful of requests for privacy during ceremonial proceedings and do not interrupt the services. Certainly take notes for further clarification after the service has concluded. ASK if you are unsure on what something means. Just DON'T ask the Witches to dress-well, you know- "Witchy" for the photo shoot. Some will have traditional robes, some won't. Their choice.
Local Events and Contact LINKS:
No one knows for sure but we do know that the number is increasing rapidly. Our best estimate here at The Witches' Voice is about 1 million in the U.S. and 3 million worldwide. Adherents.Com estimates about One million Neo-pagans worldwide in its list of the world's major religions.
NOTE: The Witches' Voice is one of the largest Pagan and most active sites on the net, but just one of the numerous sites that focus on Witchcraft, Wicca and Paganism. Visit our annotated listing of 5,000 Pagan Web Sites (broken down by category) for a more diverse selection of the Neo-Pagan community.
WHY would anyone want to be a Witch?
A: People are generally drawn to Witchcraft, Wicca and other pagan paths for several reasons. Many women feel left out of more mainstream religions because of the lack of feminine divinity. For them, the Wiccan concept of the Goddess as Mother of all Living fills an empty space in their spiritual search.
As a nature based religion, Witchcraft also appeals to those who feel a strong need to "get back to the Earth" and places a major importance on protecting the environment, which we feel that we are a part of, not apart from.
People drawn to the mystical find pagan belief systems much more accommodating as we do not see anything unnatural about psychic ability or the use of magick to create needed changes in one's life. Some people pray, some people chant, we happen to use spells, projections and magick. It is a very satisfying-and natural- way to live and celebrate Life!
The freedom to practice religion -or no religion-as you choose-whether it be Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or Pagan-is the freedom to follow your spirit and your heart. This precious freedom must be defended, protected and treasured by all or it will no longer be guaranteed for anyone.
For permission to reprint articles found on The Witches Voice, fact-checking or personal interview, contact: TWV Chairperson, Rev. Wren Walker (Contacts Page).
For technical information, statistics, community overviews or a personal interview, contact: TWV webmaster, Rev. Fritz Jung (Contacts Page).
For further information on Samhain or for a personal interview, contact: TWV Media Coordinator: Peg Aloi (Contacts Page).
For further information on Samhain or for a personal interview in the greater Washington DC Area, contact: TWV Media Coordinator: Diotima Mantineia (Contacts Page).
For local contacts by state or by country: Visit our Witches of the World Pages..
For a comprehensive listing of 5,000 Witch/Pagan Web Sites: Visit our Pagan Links Pages.
In Your Service,
Wren Walker & Fritz Jung
The Witches' Voice Inc.
October 1st., 2002
Technical: Creation, Layout and design of The Witches' Voice Web site by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G4 Computer
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