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Witchvox.com Retires Website after 22 years Ending an Era
Category: WebSite News

 

 

On November 15th, The Witches’ Voice, Inc. announced the retirement of the witchvox.com website. For those of us who’ve been around since before social media sites existed, this news plucks the heartstrings. It is like discovering that a favorite haunt of your teen years is closing down long after you last were there. Nothing quite illustrates how far you’ve grown like when the place where you finally “found yourself,” and your real family of choice, closes their doors for the last time, and you can just accept the news, much like the changing of the seasons.

While I am not surprised that the site is shutting down, I’m more than a twinge sad to see the ending of an important era for our Witchcraft Community. I am also grateful for the important work done by the creators and managers of The Witches’ Voice website, lo these last 22 years.

Thank you Witchvox.com for your 22 years, 9 months and 29 days of service. Screenshot of webpage accessed November 19, 2019.

Their message can be found here:

Notice 11/15/2019: The Witches’ Voice Inc will be retiring the witchvox.com website in late December of 2019. Its time has come. If you have any articles or poetry posted here please collect/copy them to your computer*. Over the past couple of years site traffic has dwindled down to a few dozen visitors/posters a day. In anticipation of site retirement we stopped taking any sponsorships donations on 7/1/2018. Next month we will pull ALL data offline and safely archive it. The extremely active Witches’ Voice facebook page featuring Spirit news and information will remain as an online presence.

We thank those you that supported this site over the years. You have changed the world.

In Your Service,
Wren Walker, Fritz Jung, Peg Aloi and Diotima Mantineia

Witchcraft before the Internet

Today it is hard to fathom a world that existed prior to the internet, but like any teen-witch in the early 90’s, I can report that it was really, REALLY hard to find other pagans to talk to back then. There were at least 10 years between widespread access to the internet, and the creation of social media sites like Myspace and Facebook. It took years more before Twitter or Instagram became this ubiquitous thing. I still don’t know how any witches found or founded pagan community before the internet, because it didn’t work out for me.

Legend has it, that pre-internet witches found each other by going to a local witch store and asking around, at which point those withes were obligated to deny their nature three times before accepting you as a student. Or, perhaps you’d find a surreptitiously worded notice on the bulletin board of a new-agey shop, and be able to read between the lines. That method required you to be lucky enough to have a shop like that within hailing distance, and in the southeast US, they were few and far between.

The other method of finding a coven or teaching circle that I heard about too late, was to go to any bookstore, and IF they had any of those early witchcraft books, like Scott Cunningham’s Wicca, or Raymond Buckland’s Big Blue Book, you could flip through the pages, and if magickal providence were on your side, you might find a coven’s business card or flyer clandestinely tucked within those pages.

The Witches’ Voice Changed Everything

Then came Witchvox.com in 1997. I finally found the site in 2002 after I just couldn’t abide my lonely broom closet any longer. This is the very first website I can remember which allowed 0ne to create a safe and anonymous profile that was searchable by location – for individuals, covens, shops, festivals, and open teaching circles. Best yet, the site facilitated messaging between people without revealing one’s own email address. In a time when deep secrecy was necessary, this ability to reach out and communicate discretely was a huge blessing. It was through witchvox that I *finally,* after 10 years of lonely searching, made contact with a local coven. There I met others of like mind, and eventually attended a Litha sabbat as a seeker. Witchvox was the medium through which I received this life-saving miracle, without which I doubt any of the subsequent work I’ve done in the Craft would have come to pass.

Unfortunately, as soon as I’d completed the seeker process with that first coven, I relocated with my family many hours away. In 2003, Greenville, North Carolina, had zero established covens, or findable witches or pagans, on any platform. So with the help of Witchvox.com, I started one.

Witchvox.com built my Local Community

People today regularly remark to me that they wish there was an active pagan community like ours where they live. They appear to be waiting for someone else to sweep into town, wave their magic wand and poof one into being for them. That isn’t how it works, folks. You have to build your own community from the ground up.

2003 was a dark and desperate year for me as a newly-activated witchling, wandering alone in the wilds of eastern North Carolina. Right after Samhain that year, I created a profile on Witchvox.com for a new social networking group I called East NC Pagans. I made an email discussion group on the Yahoogroups platform Remember that old haunt? Through Witchvox, I contacted every single witch and pagan with a personal profile that was within an hour drive of my city.

In a personal message introduced myself, and invited them to join my eastNCpagans yahoogroup. This is how I finally met the priestesses who would mentor me, my Reiki Master, and the Pagans who would eventually start the local pagan festivals. However, it took years to grow that membership.

I also printed business cards with our group link, and hid them in every Pagan and Wiccan book in our local Barnes and Noble bookstore. I put up the requisite surreptitiously-worded flyers in the local crystal shop. However, it was the events listings on witchvox that actually found the seekers who would show up to build our pagan community with me.

 

I recently found one of the old “bookstore” cards among those old paper fliers I kept as mementos…so quaint…

 

Most people who wrote me back, either through witchvox or yahoogroups, were too terrified to meet in public, and we mostly just discussed our fears of losing jobs, our kids, or our parent’s love should our true nature ever be discovered. Having these “friends” on the internet who understood the struggle was so important to me.

For more than a year, I would announce a monthly “coffee night” meet-up, then sit alone in a coffee shop with an innocuous “ENCP” sign on my table, in hopes that any of them would meet me to chat about the Craft. After a few hours I would give up and go home, dejected and lonelier than before. After more than a year, one or two brave folks I’d met through Witchvox were bold enough to show up to have coffee with me in person. Those were the happiest nights!

Then finally in late 2004 a Unitarian Universalist member of our YahooGroup announced a new pagan discussion meeting starting at their church. It was there that I finally met the local P-curious folks. Many of us are still friends 15 years later. In turn, the UUs came to my East NC Pagan coffee night, which grew exponentially every month after that, until we were forced to move our meetings to the UU sanctuary. We scheduled classes and open Sabbat rituals. We held huge Witches’ Ball parties at Halloween as a fundraiser, which would eventually pay for author Christopher Penczak to come to town for a weekend intensive training weekend with us. All thanks to the introductions first made through Witchvox.com.

Over the years I’ve received a hundred messages at least via Witchvox, from seekers inquiring about that first East NC Pagans yahoo group we listed there, or the training circle which eventually formed in 2005. Then, The Sojourner shop was opened by another original member and myself in 2009. From there, The Sojo Circle Coven emerged in 2016, and continues the good work of publicly available witchcraft training and interfaith work. If we follow the roots of these resources, they all lead back to the opportunities created long ago through Witchvox.com.

Unfortunately, as Myspace, and then Facebook, Twitter and other searchable profile sites grew in popularity over the past 15 years, we sort of forgot about Witchvox. What was once the main hub for finding articles, news, and events, has been largely abandoned in favor of Facebook pages, pagan blog sites like Patheos Pagan, and pagan journalism sites like The Wild Hunt. I can’t remember the last time I logged in to update my witchvox profiles, nor list any events there, so I contributed to the dwindling attention.

I am not surprised that those excellent folks who’ve been dedicated to its maintenance for so long have now chosen to retire the platform. I see this progression as a success! Witchvox.com was like the dandelion that produced so much seed, spread by such a strong wind, that they spread so widely, and grew so vigorously, that it is now OK that the original mother-flower now passes. She has already reincarnated as so many new flowers.

Thank You!

In reply to Wren Walker, Fritz Jung, Peg Aloi and Diotima Mantineia, I thank you for your excellent service to building our community when we needed it most. I thank you directly for saving my wee witching life way back in 2002, by introducing me safely to so many others in my area. While I’m sad to see this era end, I agree that it is likely the right time to make this change. Just as the autumn leaves of the last cycle show us how beautiful they are before retiring into dormancy, we appreciate all that was accomplished by the witchvox site over the previous era. Thank you for connecting us to each other, for informing and inspiring our practices for so long. Thank you for archiving the record of our early history, and keeping up that good work via your Witches’ Voice Facebook page. I know we’ll all be paying close attention to what you folks get up to on the next big adventure of modern witchcraft networking!

~Heron Michelle

For additional perspectives about the closing of Witchvox.com, check out these blogs by
Jason Mankey and Aine Llewellyn.

 

An Amazing blast from the past
Category: Member Blogs
Most of today was amazing I finally went to the Reynoldsburg UU church and we had an outside pagan fire service that reminded me of the old days with the TempleUVUP gatherings. Many of that church are druid and I had great conversations with them. We had delicious hummus and peta bread that was better than any other I had before...
 
I did not realize they would be making a detour to Newark to visit the earthworks mounds and Grandville Ohio which was any blast from the past to bad I did not have time to visit Samantha Pandy but yeah my day was too much
 
Of course because this was the last day to get our stuff out my Mother and wife Lady Amaura gave me a hard time and so much for the peace and no anxiety I never get...
No place or PC for founder JP
Category: WebSite News

Well my computer doesn't work so all I have to work on for here is my kindle and a small library. Still worse yet I have to find a new place to live by Samhain of all days so I thought summer was bad my favorite time of year is not starting out so great BUT I will not let it year me down I will make it all work one way or another! For right now Facebook might be or easiest place at the moment since my PC has been letting me down but we will make it through eventually...

Autism and ME
Category: Member Blogs

Apparently I might have Autism and not just OCD and mood swings ect the Doctor says. So that might explain several things and hopefully I can get more help I hope...

Balancing my chakras
Category: Member Blogs

I am working on balancing my chakras especially my ajna (or brow) chakra​.​​ ​Apparently ​I need to take in more supplements and foods that help in keeping the pineal gland healthy and my  regular distribution of melatonin is disruptedas​ it results in depression, mood swings, and seasonal disorders. The pineal gland is also responsible for metabolizing other neurochemicals, such as DMT and pinoline, which coordinate emotional and physical processes on a cellular level.​ ​​I suppose I need some extra serotonin or DMT as well (like I can get that legally)...

Buddhism is good but I can not be one
Category: Member Blogs

Apparently I cannot be a Buddhist because "The Buddhist teaching on impermanence and no inherent existence means that nothing exists by itself and nothing has permanent nature. Thus, there is no possibility of an eternal soul."

 

I believe souls are eternal as energy cannot die but only only transform into something else...

 

 

 

Church is not a christian thing
Category: WebSite News

Most people probably don't believe I go to church and am a very spiritual person (Universal Unitarian Pagan) I go to Delaware UUF (https://www.duuf.org/) but it is the only time my life is not shit and I have good friends to talk to everything is bad...

Tantric or sexual Vampyrism
Category: WebSite News

I do not know why people consider sexual or tantric Vampyrism its own catagory? Those types feed on sexual energy which is similar to pranic Vampyres which is psi feeding

Thieves
Category: Member Blogs

Why does everyone keep stealing shit from the pagans such as Christians and Nazis ect? They even stole there messiah from us...

Dionysus mural called “satanic” and removed Manny Tejeda-Moreno By Manny Tejeda-Moreno
Category: WebSite News

Original Link: https://wildhunt.org/2019/03/dionysus-mural-called-satanic-and-removed.html 

 

LAKELAND, Fla. – On November 2, 2018, The Working Artists Studio Gallery unveiled a the Un-Murals project which aimed to “to promote quality works of Street Art in Lakeland and enhance the value of three urban areas, Downtown, Midtown and Dixieland.” The project was funded by the Lakeland Community Redevelopment Agency, the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority, the Citrus Connection (the mass transit service), and a number of private individual and corporate donors. Overall, 65 works of art were created by 43 professional artists and 22 student or emerging artists from the local area. The artwork was installed as “tapestries” in the target urban areas and the exhibit is expected to run through January 2020.

That is, the remaining exhibit will run through January 2020 because one image has been removed after complaints it was “satanic.” The artwork taken down from the project is a seven-by-nine foot (~2.5m by ~3m) painting called “The Fall of Dionysus” by artist Aaron Corbitt. The artwork was part of a series of five paintings depicting different Greek deities including Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades.

The full series had been installed at the south side of a building at 401 S. Florida Avenue in the Downtown section of Lakeland. Google captured the painting in December 2018.  The artwork faced a parking lot.

The Fall of Dionysus by Aaron Corbitt (pictured) [Courtesy]

Despite its discrete placement it still attracted the attention of a concerned citizen, and ultimately Mayor Bill Mutz according to Kevin Cook, Director of communications for the City of Lakeland.

The Lakeland Ledger reported that Lakeland resident Joel Vann criticized the image in a Facebook post,

“The best I could interpret from looking at it, was that it seemed confusing, dark and satanic like to me,” Vann wrote in response to Corbitt’s Facebook post. “In my opinion, you have many great pieces that are suitable for a public space — however this particular piece is too subjective [and] made for a gallery, not the busiest street in Lakeland.”

Subsequently Corbitt reported on March 23, 2019 on his Facebook site that the painting had been removed. He wrote “It is with a heavy heart that I’ve discovered my tapestry painting ‘the fall of Dionysus’ must be taken down due to complaints that it is “satanic.” I would like to publicly apologize for anyone who is offended by this piece, and also to state that never in my career would I intentionally insult or offend a religion or culture with my artwork.”

Corbitt described that the painting was far from “satanic.” Rather, he said “This painting was forged from love.” The intention behind the painting was a depiction of his personal struggle with alcohol abuse. “My intentions for this painting were strictly personal, dealing only with my abuse with alcohol that led me to a downward spiral that almost cost me everything, my friends, my family, my beautiful dear wife, and ultimately my own life.”

Three of the Corbitt “tapestries” in location [Courtesy]

Corbitt added his understanding of the modern issues inferred from the myths around Dionysus. He suggests that, “In today’s society the Dionysus myth is illuminated as manly, tough, courageous, but alcohol abuse is anything but that. This painting was salvation for me, the emotional impact was almost devastating to relive all the horror I’ve put myself and others through.”

Corbitt’s apology was met with quick responses of support on Facebook. Followers of the post condemned censorship and noted that he need not apologize for his artwork. Mutliple individuals wrote versions of “NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR A PIECE OF ART.” Corbitt was also praised for his vision and his work against his personal demons.

Even local clergy chimed in as shocked at the decision. One pastor of a Christian congregation, Mr. Timothy Sizemore, wrote, “Good grief! I am a pastor of a Christian congregation in Lakeland, Florida and this artwork looks fantastic. And now that I understand the story behind it I find it more impressive. In moments like these, I am embarrassed to identify as ‘Christian….’ If you ever want to come to our church to display your art and talk about how you channelled [sic] your life experience into your art, feel free to contact me at Beacon Hill Fellowship.”

Corbitt added that, “Anger cannot cleanse anger, or ignorance” and says he was also concerned that leaving the image up would result in vandalism. “It was a choice between leaving it up and waiting for it to get vann-dalized [sic], as was threatened by the detractors, or hang it somewhere else. I am a full time artist, gotta pick and choose my battles carefully!”

Although the tapestry was removed, it is not homeless. It is owned by Mr. David Collins of The Working Artist Studio/Gallery, the organization that sponsored the Un-Murals project.

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