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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Eostre Invocation

Color of the day: Amber
Incense of the day: Frankincense

The Christian feast of Easter, which is held in the spring, has retained the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess who may have been associated with the spring season. This is the goddess Eostre, whose name is connected to the word for “east,” and probably also to the concept of dawn. Springtime, dawn, and the New Moon are often associated with growth and new beginnings. Elsewhere in the Germanic world, a goddess known as Erce was invoked for the abundance of the land, and these two goddesses may be connected. Here is part of an ancient magical invocation to the Earth goddess in spring:

Erce, Erce, Erce,
Mother of Earth,
Fields growing and flourishing,
Bringing forth and strengthening
Bright fruits and wide barley-crops.
Hail to you, Earth,
Mother of human beings.
May you spring up in the Embrace of the Sky God
And be filled with food
For the use of mortals.

By: Sharynne NicMhacha

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sydney Archbishop Warns Against Occult Forces

In his Easter message this weekend, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen has warned of the occult.

The Archbishop is particularly concerned about people using the supernatural to contact deceased loved ones.

Dr Jensen told ABC radio's AM program there has been a surge of interest non-traditional religions.

"There's become a great deal more freedom than there used to be decades ago, with mind and spirit stuff; new age religions," he said. Full Story

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Wiccan Necklace May Have Been Reason For Discharge

A Starbucks employee who wore a Wiccan necklace to work raised material fact questions as to whether she was fired because of her religion, concluded a federal district court in Oregon, denying summary judgment to her employer. She was fired purportedly for a third corrective action notice when she failed to report for a scheduled shift. But the employee said she told her manager she would not be there due to an injury she sustained at work. (Hedum v Starbucks Corp, DOr, 90 EPD ¶43,107)

Her managers' repeated, pervasive and disparaging remarks about her necklace, prompting her to contact HR about permitted jewelry, and her coworkers' display of Christian religious jewelry with impunity, created an inference of bias. Full Story

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

School Bible Battle Ends, First Amendment Wins

Unconstitutional Bible classes have been popping up in public schools all over America in recent years — and most of them go unchallenged.

But that may be about to change.

On March 5, a West Texas School district agreed to stop teaching a Bible elective that critics charge is devotional, not academic.

The agreement ends a lawsuit brought last May by the American Civil Liberties Union and the People for the American Way Foundation on behalf of eight parents in Odessa, Texas, where the course is currently taught in two high schools. Full Story

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Starhawk Deported From Israel

[Original Title: American activist and feminist Starhawk denied entry and deported from Israel. Thursday March 13, 2008 by Mary Firth - IMEMC News Report]

Starhawk, well known American anarchist activist was deported by the Israeli government on Thursday. Altho (sic) she practices the Pagan religion, she is very proud of her Jewish heritage.

Starhawk, author of many works celebrating the Goddess movement and Earth-based, feminist spirituality arrived in Tel Aviv Wednesday, 12 March.

She was in Palestine to help teach a permaculture course in the northern West Bank as well as working with earth activists to develop a project in the Bethlehem area. Full Story

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wiccans Aren't So Different From Other Faiths

While Christians prepare to celebrate the good news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ this Easter, a lesser known religion is preparing for a major celebration of its own.

As the Earth's axis tilts the northern hemisphere back toward the sun, followers of Wicca, a nature-based religion, will celebrate Ostara, a holy day of seasonal rebirth and renewal, during the vernal equinox on Thursday. In Traverse City, the Rev. Harry C. Dorman is eagerly awaiting the seasonal change. Full Story

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Practicing Pagans Praise And Promote Religious Passion

The Marshall University Pagan Association, a Neo-Pagan organization on campus, is focusing on educating students about its religion as well as providing a place for Pagans to worship.

"Neo-Paganism includes everything, including Wicca," said Marty Laubach, faculty advisor to the MUPA. "Some Pagans follow different traditions. Some follow Norse traditions or Egyptian traditions, while some follow the Western Messianic traditions. Paganism is an umbrella, it's a place where they all connect to one another." Full Story

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Festival of Quinquatria

Color of the day: Brown
Incense of the day: Honeysuckle

The old Roman festival of Quinquatria honors the goddess Minerva. Minerva is the goddess of wisdom and learning. She is often seen accompanied by an owl. She is also the goddess of arts and crafts, and is especially fond of weaving. Make today a day of weaving in your own festival of Quinquatria. Even if you are not a weaver, you can create some form of weaving: weave your words into small charms of blessings as your greet your friends and co-workers; weave together a few stems of fresh flowers or a few strips of colored paper to create a small item of color and beauty; weave together some strands of dough to create a tasty treat or even some strands of your own hair to give you a touchable reminder of the wisdom and beauty of Minerva.

By: Winter Wren

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ancient Druids Show And Tell?

Could it be the ancient Druids are going public?

Last month in Stanway, England, archaeologists uncovered what is thought to be the first Druid grave ever found. According to a report published in the journal British Archaeology, the contents of a wooden burial chamber dating to 40-60 A.D. included a wine warmer, cremated human remains, a cloak pinned with broaches, divining rods, surgical instruments, a strainer last used to brew a tea containing the herb artemesia and other objects suggestive of the Druids.

Since theirs was an oral tradition, not much is known about their specific practices.

A new book by herbalist and present-day Druid Ellen Evert Hopman of Belchertown aims to fill in some of the gaps. Full Story

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Athens’ Wicca Presence Growing

Editor’s note: Because of the stigma surrounding Wicca, sources are identified by their first names only.

Not many people are told they are going to hell on a regular basis, but Sabrae, an Athens resident, has heard it plenty of times over the 20 years she’s practiced Wicca. However, she said she has seen a change in the general reaction to her beliefs.

Although largely misunderstood by many, Wicca is the fastest growing religion in the country, according to the 2001 American Religion Identification Survey. The study found that Wicca’s number of adherents is doubling about every 30 months, from 8,000 in 1990 to 134,000 in 2001. Full Story

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

He’s Bewitched

Godsmack frontman Sully Erna was among the 100 Wiccans who flew in from around the country over the weekend for a surprise 75th birthday party for Laurie Cabot, the Official Witch of Salem.

“Before I met Laurie, I was in a really low point in my life,” Sully told the crowd. “I owe Laurie everything. (She) changed my life around.” Full Story

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Judge Recommends Denial Of Inmate Request For Religious Items

A judge has recommended the dismissal of an inmate’s lawsuit that seeks to bring a plastic sword and other religious items into the South Dakota State Penitentiary.

Darrell Hoadley of Lead is serving a life sentence for his role in the 2000 torture killing of Chester Poage. He sued prison officials in February 2007, asking a judge to require items be allowed into the prison which would facilitate practicing the ancient pagan religion of Asatru. Full Story

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mysterious Pits Shed Light On Forgotten Witches Of The West

Evidence of pagan rituals involving swans and other birds in the Cornish countryside in the 17th century has been uncovered by archaeologists.

Since 2003, 35 pits at the site in a valley near Truro have been excavated containing swan pelts, dead magpies, unhatched eggs, quartz pebbles, human hair, fingernails and part of an iron cauldron.

The finds have been dated to the 1640s, a period of turmoil in England when Cromwellian Puritans destroyed any links to pre-Christian pagan England. It was also a period when witchcraft attracted the death sentence. Full Story

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Ohio Library Sued For Canceling Religious Meeting

A federal lawsuit accuses a suburban library of violating the rights of a conservative group whose members were told they could not use a community meeting room for singing and praying.

Citizens for Community Values, a Cincinnati-based group that spearheaded the 2004 amendment that bans gay marriages in Ohio, says in the lawsuit filed Friday that the Upper Arlington Public Library was wrong to cancel a meeting planned for Feb. 27.

Library Director Ann Moore told the group it could not hold the meeting if it included religious elements, according to the lawsuit. Full Story

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Protection Spell

Color of the day: Ivory
Incense of the day: Lily

If you feel you’re the subject of a curse or psychic attack, or if you’ve had a run of bad luck, try this spell. On a piece of plain paper write out the problem. If you suspect a specific person of causing you harm, keep the individual in mind. Write an affirmation declaring you’ll no longer be a victim. After writing your affirmation, smudge the paper with soot and crumple the paper. Build a ritual fire or light a work candle. As the flames grow, sprinkle ground cloves over the fire for purification. Toss the crumpled paper into the flames. Watch it be consumed and speak these words in a firm voice:

From paper to fire,
From fire to ash,
From ash to ember,
This curse must surrender.
So mote it be!

By: James Kambos

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Gary Gygax, Dungeons & Dragons Creator, Dies

Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy game Dungeons and Dragons and helped start the role-playing phenomenon, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69.

He had been suffering from health problems for several years, including an abdominal aneurysm, said his wife, Gail Gygax.

Gygax and Dave Arneson developed Dungeons and Dragons in 1974 using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys, and eventually was turned into video games, books and movies. Full Story

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Why Don't We Care About Stonehenge?

The winter light is kind to the stones. Its mild greyness reveals the beauty of the blue lichen that has grown for thousands of years over their surfaces and even, from the right point on the path, lets you see the sinister shape of a bronze-age dagger carved into bleak rock. I'd love to be able to say it's an encounter that leads me far from the modern world into eerie reveries - but that would be a lie.

In the misty, rainy morning, pairs of bright white lights keep appearing on the near horizon, and across the grass there is the unholy spectacle of a continuous flow of cars and trucks on the A303. Amazingly, this crowded road is soon going to get worse. In February, it was revealed that Tesco plans to build a gigantic warehouse near Andover, from which it is estimated a Tesco juggernaut will emerge every minute - many of them on to the A303. Full Story

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Witchcraft Pardon Plea Rejected

MSPs have rejected calls for the last woman to be convicted under witchcraft legislation to be pardoned.

Helen Duncan, from Callander, served nine months in Holloway prison in 1944 after telling a seance a warship had sunk, before the news was made public.

She was convicted under the Witchcraft Act of 1735 for pretending to exercise or use any kind of "witchcraft" or "sorcery" to tell fortunes.

The petition was rejected unanimously by the committee and follows the same decision by the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who refused a similar request last year.

Committee member Nigel Don of the SNP said: "I feel we've got better things to talk about. Full Story

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

For Annadale Wiccan Family, Tensions Brew With Neighbors

It's a perfectly ordinary, prosperous South Shore neighborhood with the usual accouterments: Manicured lawns and hedges, well-maintained split-levels, late-model rides in the driveways.

All in all, more ho-hum than hocus-pocus, you might say.

Except for the house with the witchy weather vane and cauldron out front. And the massive stained-glass pentacle. And the two residents who say their devotion to Wicca -- a religion rooted in ancient witchcraft -- has made them the victims of neighborhood ridicule and harassment.

Ivy Colmer Vanderborgh, her husband and her mother live in one half of a duplex on Oceanview Avenue.

Their Annadale neighbors say they are disrupting the neighborhood. Full Story

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Feeding Of Strays Spells Trouble

There was more fuel on the fire yesterday for the nasty brew of cross-allegations being volleyed by a family that practices a witchcraft religion and the people who live near them on Oceanview Avenue in Annadale.

Neighbors came forward to complain that the family's penchant for feeding stray cats in the neighborhood had brought rats and pigeons around. The residents believe the rodents and birds are attracted by the food left out for the stray cats.

Ivy Colmer Vanderborgh and her mother, Marlene Colmer, said in the Sunday Advance that their adherence to Wicca made them a target of angry neighbors in Annadale -- something the neighbors disputed from the get-go in interviews with the paper.

Police said yesterday the family was not the victim of religious persecution in Annadale, but a source of frustration. Full Story

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Monday, March 03, 2008

The Academic Zodiac

We all know that the most difficult part of academic life is the uncertainty. Depending on the field, the outcome of many years of study is often determined by the arbitrary whims of Fortuna more than by our own accomplishments or desires.

The wheel spins one way, and you are tenured at Yale. The wheel spins another way, and you are writhing on the ground, covered in boils, an adjunct at a branch campus of an underfunded state university.

Nevertheless, many ways exist to maximize your chances for success in the academic cosmos, or outside of it, if necessary.

See for yourself whether your sun sign captures your academic identity and prophesies the fields in which you surely will meet with the greatest success. Full Story

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Singing Spell

Color of the day: Yellow
Incense of the day: Juniper

Music and singing can raise your energy and make you feel happy. No matter where you are today, find a place to sing. It doesn’t matter if you sing well or not, this is just for you. Sing in the shower, in your car—anywhere. Sing anything—a lullaby, advertising jingle, a song from the radio, or something you made up yourself. While you sing, visualize your best and most confident self. You can pretend to be a rock star and play air guitar, or maybe you’re on Broadway starring in a musical production, or serenading a loved one. Sometimes we forget that these kinds of fantasy acts are good for us. Magically, you can use this time to focus on fulfillment of a need. As you sing, express your heart’s desire and draw it close to you. Do more than merely sing—sing with intent.

By: Ember

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Hamilton's Pagans Subject Of New Paperback

They tend to keep a low profile, but the pagans of Hamilton are now the subject of a guide explaining what they are all about.

Burlington resident and Mohawk College instructor Neil Jamieson-Williams has self-published a book called A Field Guide to Modern Pagans in Hamilton, Ontario.

It is a primer on modern pagans and how to observe them, and includes several pagan group profiles in Hamilton.

He believes the 149-page paperback is a good resource for anyone studying modern pagans, 75 to 80 per cent of whom in Canada are Wiccans. Full Story

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