Article 1, Page 2Druid, Scholar, Author, Teacher, Poet
Interview with Robin Herne, England
Robin talks about his take on Druids, locality, poetry and teaching
and even the Pooka's Pageant.
Article 2, Page
6Wiccan Author, Writers Coach and Publisher
Interview with Mary Caelsto
Mary talk about being Wiccan, writing pagan based romantic novels,
publishing and helping other writers learn
Article 3, Page 11Embracing Heathenry
Interview Heathen author Larisa Hunter
Larisa, discusses her latest book what she was trying to accomplish
with it and even some new projects.
4, Page 15Wordsmith, Teacher, Publisher and More
Interview with Kevan Manwaring, England
Kevan talks of being a Bard, being a poet, writer, publisher and
teaching writer workshops, and a bit on
Article 5, Page 18The Winding Path of a Druid
Interview with Rev. Christopher Temple
He talks about being a druid, its purpose in the 21st Century,
the ADF, and his role in Whispering Lake Grove.
6, Page 24Teacher, Author and Druid
Interview with Graeme K. Talboys / Scotland
Graeme talks about his being a teacher both in schools and in
museums, author and co-author and a solitary Druid.
7, Page 30Re-formed Congregation of the Goddess—International
Interview with Jade River
Jade, as a Dianic Elder Priestess, tells us a bit about her part in
the development of women's spirituality
and the Dianic
In the December 2012 Edition:
Runic Reflections: Laguz An excerpt: "...for the ancient Heathens all things resided in the waters of the Well of Memory. The whole fabric of
the cosmos was flowing water up and down and through the World Tree. Water cannot be held, but it can wash over an open hand
or an open mind. Let go of what you cannot hold. Let go of life if you would grasp it."
New Heathen Music from Cedar Spirits: The debut full length journey from Cedar Spirits features a collaborative offering
from two Pacific Northwestern ritual folk artists, known to the community as novemthree and Cycle of the Raven Talons (formerly
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Before It's News
10 January 2011 -- Superstitions
have been part of Romanian culture for centuries. Even current President Traian Basescu and his aides have been known to wear
purple on certain days, supposedly to ward off evil. Belief in witchcraft and fortune telling has long been tolerated
by the Orthodox Church in Romania. Though some witches were imprisoned under his regime, the late Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, had their own personal witch.
One of those who had been imprisoned by Ceausescu in 1977 is now speaking out
against the new law, and plans to curse the government for putting a tax burden on witches. Some others are joining
her in angry protest, but some witches and fortunetellers welcome the taxation as a welcome acceptance of the use of their
spiritual beliefs to earn income as legitimate professions under the law.
On January 1, when
the new tax went into effect, witches gathered on a bridge over the River Danube to throw mandrake into the water, a poisonous herb. Harvested for its unique root, mandrake is roughly shaped in the form of
a man with two legs, two arms, and a bristly head, it has been regarded as especially potent if harvested from the
ground under a gallows, where a dying man's energies were thought to have endowed the plant with more power.
Mandragora officinarum is a relative of belladonna, and while sometimes figuring in poisonings, usually because it has been mistaken for
borage, it has long been used in curses and spells. The prominent Queen witch, Bratara Buzea, 63, plans to
supplement her curse with a concoction of cat sh*t and some part of a dead dog (that was not named in the articles I read,
nor was how the dog became dead).
The tax witches and fortunetellers are expected to pay is a rather hefty 16% of
their income (reportedly, a fortuneteller typically charges about $10-$20 for a reading), with required additional payments
into health and pension programs. Income taxation should also allow them to claim the cost of procuring the
above-mentioned mandrake, cat sh*t, dog parts, and other employment-related purchases as tax deductions. Queen
Buzea doesn't see this as a benefit, saying that "We do harm to those who harm us. They want to take the country out of this
crisis using us? They should get us out of the crisis because they brought us into it."
You don't have to be a witch to see the logic in
this. Forget Tea Bags, I'm joining the Mandrake Party.
-- Read more in articles in:
Pagan movement steps in
to help India's witches
Thursday October 12, 04:41 AM
KOLKATA (Reuters) - Followers of a global pagan witchcraft
movement plan to introduce their beliefs in India to curb the persecution and killing of hundreds of witches every year. Witchcraft
has been practised by women in rural, isolated communities in India for centuries but in recent years witches have become
ostracised. Many have even been murdered by neighbours or family who blame them for doing the work of evil spirits.
In the past five years, police say they have reports of more than 700 women
being killed as witches or witch doctors in eastern India alone. But the real figure could be many times higher, they say..
Now, followers of the Wicca faith from the United States, Britain and India plan to introduce their religion in the
eastern city of Kolkata to promote awareness of witchcraft and provide support for harassed witches.
"People from different walks of life and even governments had asked me to institutionalise
Wicca, but I was waiting for the right moment," Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, a prominent social activist who practices Wicca, told
"Now is the time we stood up against people who persecute and kill innocent
women," said Chakraverti, adding that the Indian "Wiccan Brigade" would also register complaints of persecution and coordinate
with police to ensure cases were brought to trial.
Around 100 people have already signed up to take a training programme in Wiccan
philosophy, literature and psychology and the students will also set up a grievance cell where persecuted women can register
their complaints, she said.
Like many Pagan religions, Wicca practises magic and witches believe that the
human mind has the power to effect change in ways that are not fully understood by science.
In their rituals, as well as honouring their deities, witches also perform spells
for healing and to help people with general life problems.
In India, many witches practise the Dakini Vidya form of witchcraft, where women
invoke the Mother Goddess to draw spiritual strength, a belief which has similarities to the Wicca faith in a Great Mother.
In remote India, where literacy is low and lives are governed by superstition,
villagers often persecute witches and blame them for natural disasters or for illness, death or theft in a village.
"They cannot afford medicines for ailments and often put the blame squarely
on innocent women and later kill them," said Chakraverti, who studied the Wiccan faith at a chalet in Canada's Laurentian
Chakraverti has also written two books on Wicca -- one of which, The Sacred
Evil, was adapted for the big screen earlier this year.
Witchcraft across the world is experiencing a renaissance of sorts after centuries
of bad press, led by television characters such as Buffy, Sabrina and the ladies from Charmed.
Internet sites have also encouraged pagans -- worshipping as wiccas, druids,
or shamans -- to come out of the broom closet.
|Commentary - Articles - Pagan 101
|"Our Fellowship" at Catriona's Adventures in Cyberland
Orthodox Jews Look for Mates
December 19, 2003 -- Family
is at the center of Orthodox Jewish life. But in New York recently, concerned Jews turned out for the third Shidduch Emergency
Conference to address a growing crisis: the difficulty many Orthodox Jews have finding a mate these days. Opinions differ
on the causes. But Becky Braun, a widow with four daughters who is looking for a husband, says experience has taught her that
even the available Mr. Rights sometimes have commitment issues. "The divorced people never stop hating their wives," she told
the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, "and the widowed people never stopped loving their wives."
-- Opinion Journal
- No, Not the Same
Different Faiths May Talk. Will They Ever
- Not So Charming: African Herbalist Shot Dead
- Matchmaker, Matchmaker:
Orthodox Jews Look for Mates
- Values in Video Games
- Pagan News Links
- Our Fellowship/Body & Soul Links
Values in Video Games
Video games have become an $11.7 billion dollar industry in America --
currently generating more revenue than movies. But the content of many best-selling video games are full of explicit sex and
violence, leading many parents and lawmakers to call for new crackdowns. Kim Lawton looks at the controversial debate over
the values being promoted through video games and what legislative measures some states are taking to prevent the marketing
of violent games to children.
Some argue that the games ultimately can provide valuable lessons to
kids. According to Professor Henry Jenkins at MIT, "What it potentially does is introduce a notion of choice and consequences.
And I think this is a very moral and ethical question." But critics such as Daphne White, one of the nation's leading crusaders
against violent entertainment, says such games desensitize kids to violence: "The messages for most of these games, especially
the ones young boys are playing, are: violence is fun; violence is entertaining ... When you spend hours playing these games,
you are getting those kinds of ideas in your head, as opposed to ideas of empathy, compassion, values of helping people, or
doing anything socially constructive." (Rebroadcast from May 30, 2003)
No, Not the Same
Different Faiths May Talk. Will They Ever Understand?
December 19, 2003 -- "Borscht
is reddish, Manischewitz is bluish. Merry Christmas from somebody Jewish." It's the season for interfaith dialogue, and Hallmark,
as usual, is leading the way. But as we begin the annual rush to insist that Hanukkah and Christmas are really, you know,
sort of the same because they both celebrate peace on earth--they don't . . . Hanukkah commemorates a battle--it might be
useful to remember that theological discussions among serious people of different faiths are full of difficulties, as they
should be, and confined within certain limits.
As much as anyone in modern Jewish life, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik understood
this. Though Soloveitchik, who died in 1993, felt that Jews and Christians could discuss the dignity of man or the difficulty
of finding sanctity in a secular world, he was wary of hoping for more. As one of his disciples says: "Attempts at vacuous
commonality at the expense of rich, substantive differences would have been anathema to his integrity."
As it happens, Rabbi Soloveitchik--or "the Rav," as he came to be known--is
the subject of an exhibit now traveling the country, celebrating the centenary of his birth. Sponsored by an institute named
for him, it depicts his life and work in photos and manuscripts.
And who, exactly, was Soloveitchik? He was born in Pruzhan, Poland, the
descendant of an illustrious line of rabbis. He proved to be a prodigy of Talmudic study, and great things were predicted
for him. No one, though, could have imagined that he would become a guiding light for religious Jews in America, helping them
to understand their relation to the dominant, non-Jewish culture.
Soloveitchik was uncompromising in his practice of traditional Judaism,
but philosophically he ranged widely. His most famous work, "The Lonely Man of Faith" (1965), is littered with footnotes to
philosophers from Descartes to Kierkegaard. (This is hardly surprising, given his rigorous education at the University of
Berlin.) The book takes its theme--the dual nature of man--from contradictory details in the Genesis account of man's creation.
Man appears there, Soloveitchik argued, as both a "majestic" creature who dominates the natural world and as a lonely servant
searching for an intimate relation with God.
After coming to America in 1932, Soloveitchik would insist on the importance
of secular studies as a route to greater religious understanding. Such a belief is evident at the Maimonides School in Brookline,
Mass., founded by the Rav and his wife in 1937 and still thriving. (Indeed, every year a high percentage of the school's graduates
go on to Ivy League colleges.)
But Soloveitchik did not believe in synthesizing religious and secular
studies. Mark Gottlieb, Maimonides' current principal, argues that the Rav wanted students to maintain "the integrity of each
discipline and not to assume that there is a theological solution at the end of the road." Still, Soloveitchik argued that
religious Jews must engage the surrounding culture. On the occasion of Vatican II, he published an article that urged finding
solidarity with Christians on social and ethical matters--while recognizing that, on theology, one religious community might
never truly understand another.
Although Soloveitchik believed that it was possible to lead a fully Jewish
life in America, he knew that his adopted country presented challenges. A rare aspect of the Maimonides school is that women
and men receive an equal Torah education. Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter, dean of the Soloveitchik Institute in Brookline, explains:
"In Europe, young boys were sent to school for religious study, while the girls were just supposed to imbibe whatever knowledge
they needed on their own." In America, Soloveitchik saw, one couldn't simply imbibe Judaism. "One needed to have the full
advantage of an intensive Jewish education," Rabbi Schacter says.
The Rav eventually became a leader of the Religious Zionists of America,
which emphasized the importance of the state of Israel for sheltering Jews from persecution and for enabling them to live
a more Jewish life. Still, he believed, according to Shalom Carmy, the editor of some of Soloveitchik's works, that "when
religion functions with the state, it can lead to religion's ceremonialization and vulgarization."
Soloveitchik seems to have felt at home in America, and perhaps for good
reason. Even if "interfaith dialogue" has its limits, isolation and misunderstanding are not the only alternatives. At the
height of his influence in the Jewish world, the Rav delivered "The Lonely Man of Faith" as a lecture at St. Joseph's Seminary
-- by Naomi Schaefer in Opinion Journal
Not So Charming: African Herbalist Shot Dead
Ashi Terfa, a traditional doctor in central Nigeria, has been shot dead
by a patient, Umaa Akor, who was testing the potency of an anti-bullet charm the herbalist had prepared for him.
To confirm its efficacy, the herbalist tied the charm around his neck and
insisted that Akor should fire a gun at him. The experiment proved fatal for the herbalist and his skull was shattered, police
spokesman Bode Fakeye added. He died immediately.
Man Shot Dead
"Akor went for an insurance against bullets
and contacted Terfa to prepare it for him," police spokesperson Bode Fakeye said. "To confirm its efficacy, the herbalist
tied the charm around his neck and insisted that Akor should fire a gun at him. The experiment proved fatal for the herbalist
and his skull was shattered," he added. "He died immediately".
He said the suspect had appeared in court
for culpable homicide, but had been release on bail. "The motive to kill could not be established against the suspect since
the herbalist asked him to shoot to test the charm," he added.
-- News24, 17th December 2003.
-- This and many
other items posted daily at The Pagan Prattle.
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