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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Beltane Flames Are Special To Pagans Like Me

As I believe in the sacredness of nature and that the Divine is present in all things, I seek to attune to Her rhythms and honour the seasons. As a Pagan, I celebrate the eight seasonal festivals and on Mayday celebrate Beltane, one of four fire festivals.

Beltane is traditionally celebrated on May 1. It originates over 2,000 years ago as a festival to mark the beginning of summer, when cattle were driven between two "lucky" bonfires before being led to summer pastures.

In recent centuries, people also passed through the Beltane flames for protection or blessing. Full Story

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Romania Legalizes Witchcraft

Romania's first official witch was registered Monday after months of negotiations with the government that finally introduced witchcraft as a legal occupation.

31-year-old Gabriela Chukur will stay in history as the country's first legal witch, after she registered a company dealing with "astrology and contacts with the spiritual world", media reported.

All over Eastern Europe women tend to believe in the powers of witches and some often resort to their help when settling a love score, healing a broken heart, or punishing a rival. Full Story

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Beltane Keynote Speaker Urges Pagan Revival

Oberlin campus heard calls on Sunday night for resistance towards the infiltration of the United States government by a new neo-conservative Christian movement. This time, however, it was from Sam Webster, a Pagan priest and keynote speaker for last weekend’s Beltane conference.

In his lecture “Pagan Restoration,” Webster called for action and solidarity among Pagans of the European tradition to organize and defend their spirituality from being swallowed by the Christian onslaught.

In his second visit to campus — he expounded a year ago on the main ideas espoused by Paganism as it has manifested in the United States — Webster warned of the disappearance of Pagan thought, spirituality and ritual, including Beltane, the Pagan “Bright Fire” festival that was held Saturday afternoon in Tappan Square. He then gave strategies for its revival and global restoration. Full Story

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Zimbabwe Outlaws Practice of Witchcraft

Zimbabwe has outlawed the practise of witchcraft following a raft of amendments to legislation drawn up by the former colonial regime.

From July this year, witchcraft will be a criminal offence punishable by a fine or a five-year jail term, the country's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said.

Until President Robert Mugabe assented to the amendments last week, Zimbabwe's Witchcraft Suppression Act, a holdover from the colonial era, made it illegal to call anyone a witch, meaning nearly all cases went unreported. Full Story

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Maypole Festivals: Dancing To Celebrate Spring

Never did the woods ring to such a merry peal as we of the Maypole shall send up!" cry the pagans in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Maypole of Merry Mount." In the story, set in the 1630's, Puritan spoilsports soon arrive to chop down the pole. But for today's maypole dancers, things usually go more smoothly.

The May Day dance may seem a trifle outdated, but every spring in communities here and there across America, celebrants follow the ancient custom, erecting a maypole, usually cedar or birch, and dancing around it, typically weaving colorful ribbons around the pole as they go. Sometimes the dancers are just celebrating springtime; other times the revelry is explicitly tied to pagan fertility rites or ethnic history.

The maypole dance has seduced people in Europe and America for centuries. Full Story

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Pagans Call For Equal Access To Classes

Witches, druids and wiccans want the right to teach religious education in Queensland schools.

Members of the Pagan Awareness Network, which represents about 500 Queensland followers, want Queensland Premier Peter Beattie to explain his plans to exclude some groups from religious education classes.

"We want the same rights and religious freedoms as any other religion," PAN Inc. president David Garland said yesterday. Full Story

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Llewellyn Goes Political After School Board Decision

The Brunswick County Board of Education may have acted on faith earlier this month by moving forward with a policy to allow religious groups to hand out scripture to high school students.

But leaders of two politically active civil rights groups believe the board has committed something akin to legal blasphemy.

In the draft policy approved earlier this month, the school board must allow all faiths into high schools, “with the exception of those works which defame other religious faiths.”

Llewellyn Worldwide, a company that publishes New Age books on metaphysical studies, mysticism, witchcraft, astrology, paganism and Wicca, among others, is ready to hold board members to their word.

Steven Pomije, a publicist for Llewellyn, recently sent a letter to Milligan requesting the school board consider allowing free distribution of the company’s books to students. Pomije also offered to arrange for pagan organizations in the state to visit county high schools.

In an e-mail interview, Pomije said as a rule Llewellyn only distributes books at trade shows and festivals. But after reading about the Brunswick County school board’s discussion of allowing religion in schools on Witchvox.com, a leading pagan website, Pomije took another route. Full Story

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Top 10 Books On Witch Persecutions

James Morrow is the author of The Last Witchfinder, an historical novel about the birth of the scientific worldview, centred around one woman's audacious crusade to bring down the Parliamentary Witchcraft Act of 1604.

"We tend to regard belief in witches as a rather low order of credulity, something belonging to the medieval period or perhaps even the dark ages. The startling and instructive fact is that demonology overlaps and to some degree participates in modernity.

The Witchcraft Statute of James I remained on the books until 1736. Several prominent members of the Royal Society, including Henry More and Joseph Glanvill, believed wholeheartedly in witchcraft, and even Robert Boyle speculated that the famous démon de Mâcon affair might have proved the reality of evil spirits. Add to this the bedeviling circumstance that the various "proofs" of Satanic compact - swimming the witch, pricking her imp-teats - boasted a certain weird Aristotelian logic, and we can begin to understand why the legal extermination of alleged Satanists lasted nearly three centuries." Full Story

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Open To Interpretation

There is no clear definition for the New Age movement. It is simply a term that lumps together a wide variety of beliefs, customs and practices, from acupuncture to astrology, Gnosticism, Wicca and various indigenous belief systems that have only recently been acknowledged in the West.

It has proven to be a powerful base of belief for people of all ages, religious and cultural backgrounds, many of whom used it to find the ethical and spiritual leadership they desired, but found missing from traditional forms of religion. Full Story

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Friday, April 21, 2006

UU Takes A Look At Neopaganism

Leif Syrdahl, an anthropology instructor at Porterville College, will present “Do No Harm, a Look at Neopaganism and the Modern Wiccan Movement in the United States.”

Syrdahl, who has a master's degree from California State University, Chico, will speak on misconceptions about witchcraft in the United States. Full Story

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Russians Turn To Mysticism

Elizabeth Jackson: In Russia, a mystical row has broken out between Orthodox priests and practitioners of the 'dark arts' – witches and warlocks.

The mystics claim they can perform miracles. And more and more Russians are turning to black magic to cure their woes.

But the Russian Orthodox Church is fighting back. It's set up a rehabilitation centre to treat the victims of the supernatural. Full Story

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tarot Card Reader And Woman Of Mystery

In the dim light, under a dramatic application of makeup, Wanda Weegie appears to be a handsome woman. But Wanda also is a witch — a white witch, she insists.

“White magic,” she says, “can do no harm to anybody.” She materializes at Crush every Wednesday night, in a jeweled turban and fringed shawl, to read tarot cards, create charms and concoct love potions.

A nightclub may not be the first place you’d look for a mystical experience, but the setting works. Crush is set up on multiple levels, and long swaths of fabric transform a platform into a fortuneteller’s tent. The flickering candles, low cocktail tables and long, soft sofas would do for a séance, although I don’t believe the ancients employed a disco-leaning DJ to invoke the spirits. Full Story

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Woman Wants Harry Potter Books Removed

Laura Mallory has three children who attend J.C. Magill Elementary School in Loganville, Georgia. She is asking the school board to remove the popular series from libraries in the state's largest school system.

The mother of four says she has not read any of the Potter books in their entirety, but she says she has read portions of the books, which she says glorify witchcraft. Full Story

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Quest For The Goddess

Men are always on the lookout for the perfect woman.

But Ottawa native and author Tim Ward takes it one step further. He's not looking for the perfect woman. He's looking for the perfect goddess.

In Savage Breast, Ward, the author of four books, embarks on a three-year quest to connect with the lost goddess of his European ancestors. It's an attempt to discover whether being cut off from the feminine divine has played a role in the relationship men have with women. Full Story

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Bunny, Eggs Hatched From Pagan Tradition

Despite the rain, Easter egg hunts were held throughout the Bayshore last weekend, continuing a springtime tradition that has roots dating back at least 4,000 years, long before the onset of Christianity.

Celebrated each year on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring, Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, believed by Christians to have risen from the dead three days after he was crucified by Roman soldiers.

But what does a man rising from the dead have to do with hiding eggs and eating chocolate bunnies?

The Rev. John Fell is a theologian with a doctorate degree in sacred theology from the Alphonsian Academy in Rome. He is pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church, Bernardsville.

"I know it's a German term," Fell said when asked about the church's take on the Easter Bunny. "I know it was brought by German immigrants to the United States."

Germany's Jakob Grimm, of the Brothers Grimm fame, thought so too.

Grimm wrote about the origins of the Easter Bunny, or "Osterhase," in 1835, stating that both the Easter Bunny and decorated Easter eggs related back to the goddess Eostre. Full Story

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Religious Rebuff To Pagans

Pagans are facing a rebuff in their demand to be given a place on a Westcountry's council's religious education committee. Cornwall County Council's cabinet will be recommended at Truro today to reject the request made by the Pagan Federation and the Order of Bard, Ovates and Druids.

[County children, young people and families' services director Dean] Ashton said: "Pagans form a small number in Cornwall and so there is no effective community to represent." Full Story

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Pagans Wanted

A Snettisham-based pagan group is looking for like-minded people to join its ranks.

Harvest Moon Moot meets on the last Wednesday of every month in a function room in the village's Queen Victoria pub, 7.30pm to 10pm.

The group enjoys regular talks by guest speakers on a range of subjects, including crystals, tai chi, goddesses, meditation, tarot, complimentary therapies and astrology. Full Story

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

When Sweden's Witches Come Out To Play

Brightly colored feathers in blues, reds, yellows and glaring pinks tied to long willowy twigs sold beside daffodil buds tip off the arrival of the Easter season in Sweden. The local supermarkets in their weekly adverts also exploit the food associations of chicks, lamb, paskmust, eggs, sweets and the obligatory “paskkaring” or Easter witch to draw in customers gearing up for the upcoming gluttony of Paskafton.

Easter celebrations and traditions for the secular Swede are nearly as sacred as Christmas to the Swedish culture. Even devout atheists pay respect to the long-standing traditional norms that the holiday dictates in Sweden. Easter is a big deal to the entire country.

Children dressed as witches give a clear indication that Swedish Pask origins predate Christianity. Full Story

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Feminine Kingdom

A thousand years after the Pyramids were built, Queen Hatshepsut, widow and half sister of King Thutmose II, ascended Egypt's throne when the latter died prematurely in 1473 B.C. As regent for her infant nephew and stepson, Thutmose III, she was not the first woman to rule Egypt. But, for reasons that remain unknown, a few years into her regency, Hatshepsut discarded the title "queen" and became "king." She claimed double legitimacy—as King Thutmose I's eldest daughter and by virtue of her mythic self-propagated descent from the great god Amun.

Because Egyptian kings were near-divine and crowned for life, Hatshepsut could not then abdicate in favor of her stepson. She became his senior co-ruler and controlled the Two Kingdoms, Upper and Lower Egypt, until her death 20 years later.

Although there were many allusions to a powerful female pharaoh, her name remained missing for centuries from Egyptian history. That's because 20 years after her death, Thutmose III ordered an inexplicable attack on Hatshepsut's legacy. Full Story

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Local Wiccans Ordained For Weddings

Penticton pagans will soon have a new way to tie the knot — or in their case, the hands.

At a ceremony scheduled to take place in Kelowna on April 15, Mike Zult from Penticton and Diane Morrison from Vernon will be authorized to perform legally binding marriages in the Wiccan tradition.

Zult, also known as Lord Grunnar in Wiccan circles, is a lay high priest in the South Okanagan congregation of the Congregationalist Wiccan Association of British Columbia.

His congregation, as well as the North Okanagan Congregation that serves Vernon and Kelowna, have worked for years to establish a foundation of regular rituals and other Wiccan spiritual services to support local pagans, he said.

That work has now paid off with both groups being raised to full temple status and he and Morrison being ordained as a high priest and priestess with the right to perform legal marriages, he said. Full Story

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Being Goth Rarely Equates To Evil

The goth subculture is filled with many stereotypes. Some of them, such as wearing black clothes and listening to certain genres of music, are relatively harmless and for the most part, true.

It's the other stereotypes, such as a penchant for violence and an affinity for Satanism, that often bring the goth world scrutiny.

The three Winslow Township High School students who authorities said planned to systematically execute classmates and teachers during a lunch period have been described by their peers as goths. According to classmates at Winslow, the three fit the usual stereotypes -- they wore long, black trench coats and makeup, and had chains dangling from their pants. They had multiple piercings and often dyed their hair in a variety of colors.

The group's alleged ringleader is, in his own words, a "gothic teenager." Full Story

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Witchcraft Lawsuits Clear Court Hurdle

Therapists keep their own records of patient sessions.

That provides a level of privacy for the client.

But that privacy also creates a hurdle for clients who feel they have been abused and seek justice in civil court.

Two former patients of Letitia Libman, a former psychiatrist with Delnor-Community Hospital, jumped that hurdle on the second try with a court ruling Thursday.

Kane County Judge F. Keith Brown ruled even though there are no separate medical records backing up the allegations by Kenneth Sutter and Deanna Whetstine, he would allow their cases to go forward.

The four lawsuits spell out allegations that fall into two categories: witchcraft and sexual misconduct. Full Story

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Christian Newspaper Comments on Wicca Case

It’s not often that this newspaper becomes part of a story.

As should typically be the case, we report the news, rather than make it ourselves.

Recently, however, Florida Baptist Witness became part of a developing story before the Florida Supreme Court in a case that, if wrongly decided, could have far-reaching consequences for this newspaper and our readers, and possibly for all churches in the Sunshine State.

On March 17, the Florida Supreme Court granted a motion from the Witness and The Florida Catholic to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in the case Wiccan Religious Cooperative of Florida, Inc. v. Jim Zingale, et. al. The brief was officially filed March 1.

In a case that has only recently received attention, the Wiccans brought a lawsuit against the state after one of its representatives was erroneously charged sales tax for the purchase of the Satanic Bible and the Witch’s Bible Compleat, religious publications that are not subject to sales tax under Florida Statute 212.06(9). Rather than seeking a refund, the Wiccans filed suit, claiming the statute is unconstitutional because it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Full Story

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Talking Tarot

In high school, Alysse Doane, McClouth sophomore, started planning her week with tarot cards. Every Sunday afternoon, sitting cross-legged in her room, Doane would shuffle and cut her deck of cards. Selecting five cards by their “vibrations,” Doane would eagerly flip them over to see what her week had in store.

For Doane, tarot card reading is less a practice of psychic powers and more a form of entertainment and family tradition. Tracing a tradition of Tarot readings as far back as her great-grandmother, Doane and her family have turned regularly to the cards for fun and direction.

“It’s more for guidance than fortune telling,” Doane says.

The ancient art of tarot — interpreting 72 cards depicting vices, virtues and other vital forces — is shrouded in misconceptions. Blaming religion and television, psychics deny rumors of witchcraft, scam artists and the idea of a fixed destiny. Instead, these specialists claim Tarot is about counseling and personal progress. But because this card-related custom is so diversified and personalized, its true purpose and powers ultimately are left to the individual to decide. Full Story

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Pagan Claims She Was Fired Due To Bias

The former companion of a self-proclaimed vampire is claiming the Princeton School District pushed to have her fired from her job as a school bus driver because of her pagan beliefs.

Julie Carpenter, of Princeton, has filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing the school district of religious discrimination.

Stephen Befort, a University of Minnesota Law School professor, said federal law protects pagans against employer discrimination, so the case will depend on whether the school district can show it had other reasons for seeking to have Carpenter fired. Full Story

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Going By the Swing

I would like to devote this week’s column to pendulum dowsing, an ancient science which dates back over 5,000 years and is used to check energy levels and find answers to the unknown.

It has got nothing to do with magic and you need not be a psychic to use it.

Anyone can learn how to use dowsing to provide answers. Using the pendulum as a communication device, an individual will be able to activate his or her hidden telepathic abilities.

This is because it creates a bridge between the logical and intuitive parts of our mind.

Just like how our television and radio pick up unseen communication waves, the pendulum acts like an antenna that receives information from the vibrations and waves emitted by people, places, thoughts, things and surroundings. Full Story

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Removing an Unwanted Person Spell

One of our readers wrote: "Great site! How do I find a coven in Phoenix? What spell do I use to make someone in my office go away?"

Not sure how you can find a coven in Phoenix. Maybe one of our readers can help. But here's a modern spell to remove an unwanted person from your life.

Take an index card and write the person you want removed from your life's name on it. Place the index card inside of a balloon, fill it with helium and let it go. The balloon will carry the energy of the person along with it and he or she will quickly move along.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

High Priest's Curse Threat To Fatboy Slim

A witch has threatened to put a curse on Fatboy Slim's Loch Ness concert.

White witch Kevin Carlyon fears Fatboy's dance grooves will scare off Nessie and ruin a ritual to help childless couples.

The High Priest of Loch Ness fears the DJ's tunes will spoil the mood as the couples make love by the waterside.

The 47-year-old is planning to curse the venue at Dores to prevent 20,000 concert-goers turning up. Full Story

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Cord Conception Spell

[Editor's Note: It's really getting nice outside, so in honor of Spring, we offer this fertility spell.]

To conceive a child, find yourself a good strong cord and tie knots in it. Each knot should represent your goals and desires. Place the cord in a private safe place where it won't be disturbed. When you are prepared to conceive, remove the cord from its safe place and insert it into a glass of water. Allow it to soak overnight and untie the knots before engaging in intercourse.

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Bell, Book & Candle Casts Spell on Dover

Helen Haughey didn't ride to work on a broom, and if you've seen her dressed in black and wearing a pointy hat while stirring a cauldron of witch's brew, it was probably Halloween or she was just jerking your leg a bit.

But she is a witch, and she's proud of it. She also co-owns a downtown Dover business -- Bell, Book and Candle -- that caters to practicing Wiccans and other pagans. She says there's enough demand to make for an operation that brings in "well into six digits" each year.

"It is surprisingly large," Haughey said of Delaware's witch population. "We have witches everywhere. All this is is a religion, another way to worship God." Full Story

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