OakGrove Archives
Past News and Issues
4th Quarter 2001

Posted 12/29/01 6:50PM:
Fiery ritual saved from ashes
Frank Urquhart.
ONE of Scotland’s most spectacular Hogmanay celebrations, Stonehaven’s ancient fireball ceremony, has been saved from being cancelled.
Organisers feared they would be forced to pull the plug because of a lack of volunteer marshals to control an expected 5,000 crowd. But Lynn Callaghan, the chief organiser, said enough people - some from as far afield as Dundee - had now come forward to allow the event to go ahead.
The fire festival, said to date back to pagan times but revived in the last century, will involve 45 people swinging blazing balls of tar and wood around their heads. The flaming balls, which are then thrown into the town’s harbour, are said to ward off evil spirits for the New Year.

Potter under fire
Adriana Chavez - El Paso Times
The pastor of an Alamogordo church has upset several residents and some El Pasoans for proposing to burn items he has deemed as promoting witchcraft, including the popular "Harry Potter" book series.
Jack Brock, pastor of the Christ Community Church in Alamogordo, said Sunday's demonstration is not a book-burning, but a "holy bonfire."
Ruth A. Coughlin, 70, a concerned Alamogordo resident, said that although Brock has a right to hold his "holy bonfire," it is also a form of censorship.
"It's a reminder of Hitler in 1933," Coughlin said. "Hitler also started out by burning books he also disagreed with, and that's going down the wrong path."

Posted 12/29/01 6:28PM:
Religious ratings
Christian conservatives prefer Frodo to Harry
Michael Paulson, Globe Staff, 12/27/2001
Harry Potter is way ahead of Frodo Baggins in the battle of the box office, but in conservative Christian churches, Frodo rules.
The world of Christian conservatives that shuddered at the wizardry and witchcraft of J.K. Rowling's wildly popular fantasy works about boy wizard Harry Potter is now rejoicing at the revival of interest in the sorcery-packed ''The Lordof the Rings'' by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Catholic publications have been ecstatic over ''The Lord of the Rings,'' with the archdiocesan newspaper in Boston, the Pilot, saying that the movie highlights ''the message of the Gospels'' and the weekly National Catholic Register declaring: ''Move over, Harry Potter. The hobbits are coming.''

Posted 12/27/01 10:37PM:
Was Christmas star a double eclipse of Jupiter?
Richard Stenger - CNN Sci-Tech
(CNN) -- A U.S. astronomer said he has uncovered the first reference to the star of Bethlehem outside the Bible, in the 4th-century writings of a Christian convert who wanted to  hide the astrological roots of the celestial phenomenon.
For centuries, scientists and scholars have debated about the nature of the Biblical light that led the Magi to the newborn Jesus. Some have suggested a comet or supernova.
But Michael Molnar concluded that the star was actually a double eclipse of Jupiter roughly 2,000 years ago.

Posted 12/22/01 8:28PM:
Tuscola County sued over Nativity scene
Saturday, December 22, 2001
CARO -- Two owners of a witch museum here say a Nativity scene on the lawn of the Tuscola County Courthouse crosses the line between holiday decoration and Christian declaration.
Tammra Jocham and her mother, who goes only by Anonka, have sued the county and its Board of Commissioners, claiming the display violates the separation of church and state.
Anonka said that by allowing only the Nativity on governmental property at 440 N. State, the board is playing favorites.

Winter solstice is religious holiday for some
TERRI JO RYAN Tribune-Herald staff writer
From a purely scientific viewpoint, the winter solstice takes place at 1:21 p.m. today, the shortest day of the year, when the sun is at its lowest elevation in the sky. For a host of Central Texans, from pagans and other "earth spirits" to the merely spiritually eclectic, the winter solstice is also a religious holiday.
It has been a sacred time for humanity for thousands of years, since ancient star-gazers and time-keepers marked the dip in the northern sky of the life-giving sun and its eventual return to the zenith. Although many months of cold weather remained before spring, these primitives could anticipate the return of warmer weather and the planting season. The concept of birth, death and rebirth became associated with the winter solstice and with light cutting the darkness.

Wiccan says prison job to aid inmates
2001-12-22 By The Associated Press
"The minute I walk through these walls, I'm an interfaith minister, not a Wiccan," said the Rev. Jamyi Witch, a mother of two whose original name was Jamyi Welch. Conversion efforts "would be wrong," she said.
Word of her work at maximum security Waupun Correctional Institution puzzled some legislators and brought a flurry of phone calls to the state corrections department, pro and con.

Wicca religion of new prison chaplain stirs up  concern, outrage and hostile comments
10:44 PM 12/06/01
Susan Lampert Smith Wisconsin State Journal
WAUPUN - Wisconsin's newest prison chaplain has become the  target of a witch hunt.
Rev. Jamyi Witch was in her first week of work at the Waupun Correctional Institution when the news exploded Thursday that Wisconsin had hired its first Wiccan prison chaplain.
Rep. Scott Walker, R-Wauwatosa, head of the assembly committee that regulates prison, said he was "offended" by Witch's religion and was looking into whether she had been hired in defiance of the state's hiring freeze.
Another legislator, Rep. Mike Huebsch, R-West Salem, threatened Thursday to pull funding from the prison chaplain program, calling Witch's hiring "hocus-pocus" and headlining his press release "Huebsch burns Waupun witch project."
[Note: This is America, so Reps. Walker and Huebsch are certainly entitled to their opinions. However, this works both ways. To express YOUR opinion, you may contact either or both of these assholes by any of several means listed below. - Oak]
Rep. Scott Walker
Room 308 North
State Capitol
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708-8953
PHONE: 608-266-9180
FAX: 608-282-3614
E-MAIL: Rep.Walker@legis.state.wi.us 
Rep Mike Huebsch
419 W. Franklin
West Salem, WI 54669
(608) 786-3512
Room 20 North
Post Office Box 8952
Madison ,WI 53708-8952
(608) 266-0631
(608) 267-0790 - Fax
(888) 534-0094 - Toll Free


Web Posted: December 15, 2001
A Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge has ruled that Portland, Oregon schools discriminated against Atheist students by permitting the Boy Scouts of America to recruit during school hours.
    Judge Ellen Rosenblum added that state officials acted improperly by allowing the practice to continue, and that Oregon School Superintendent Stan Bunn must now craft new regulations, and may not permit the BSA to seek new members from "captive" schoolchildren.

Posted 12/17/01 9:05PM:
Boil, boil, Rams can end toil by reversing the curse
Bernie Miklasz - Post-Dispach Sports Columnist
 NEW ORLEANS - I asked New Orleans coach Jim Haslett about the secret to his success. Why has he been able to defeat the Rams three times in four tries? The Rams have won 75 percent of their games since 1999, but weird and terrible things occur when they play the Saints.
OK, Haslett, 'fess up and tell us what it is.
"We pray a lot," he said.
To whom?
Maybe it's the voodoo priestess that the Saints enlisted before their 31-28 victory over the Rams in last season's NFC wild-card game. The Saints had lost to the Rams at home in the final regular-season game, and something needed to be done to alter the spiritual
The Superdome, home of the Saints, was built on an ancient burial ground. This unfortunate real-estate selection apparently cursed the Saints and led to three decades of bad NFL football in New Orleans. But after the Rams and the Saints warmed up for their playoff game, Yoruba priestess Ava Kay Jones appeared. She set up at the 50-yard line. She dangled a serpent, burned incense and chanted, casting a spell to "rid the dome of all curses."
After a 33-year wait, the Saints finally won an NFL postseason game. The Rams were victims. Ava Kay Jones was the game's MVP.

Palm reading shows intelligence - research
Brain power can be predicted by palm reading, according to new research.
Scientists have discovered that people with learning difficulties have distinctive patterns of lines on the hand.
The lines may also give clues to intelligence generally, according to the research.

'Witch' testifies in slayings
Suspect claims he is 'warlock,' she  says
Charlie Goodyear, Chronicle Staff Writer
A Concord man accused of devising a gruesome murder-extortion plot that claimed the lives of five people last year considered himself a "warlock" as well as legally insane, a self-described "good witch" testified yesterday.
Debra McClanahan was one of the more eccentric witnesses called to testify at a two-week preliminary hearing in Martinez that has already yielded more than its fair share of bizarre stories, outlandish plans and claims of pure evil.

Posted 12/15/01 4:41PM:
Archaeological dig completed at highway project outside London
 Copyright © 2001 AP Online
LONDON (December 14, 2001 11:13 p.m. EST) - Archaeologists pulled the last bones from a seventh-century Saxon settlement Friday, paving the way for the resumption of the highway project that led to the site's discovery.
"It's a very important historical discovery," said Rob Maysfield, who was in charge of the excavations.
"One woman, of high social standing, was found buried with two large gold brooches and an amber and bead necklace. This is a significant find revealing more to us of the pagan times in Britain," he said.

Bones Stop Work On Bypass
Work to build a £21m bypass has been suspended while archaeologists excavate a Saxon settlement containing 19 skeletons.
The skeletons, dating back to the seventh century, have been unearthed on the route of  the Aston Clinton bypass on the A41 in Buckinghamshire.

Posted 12/15/01 3:29PM:
Pauline Campanelli, Artist Who Evoked Rustic Simplicity, Dies at 58
Pauline Campanelli, a painter whose super-realist still lifes were so popular that their sales were rivaled only by those of Andrew Wyeth among living artists, died on Nov. 29 at her home in Pohatcong Township, N.J., a few miles south of Phillipsburg. She was 58.
Her husband, Dan, also a painter, said she died of complications from childhood polio. She had been seriously ill for nearly three years.
Her sensibility was decidedly not that of a folk artist. "Whether it's a swan decoy or a quilt or a chair, I'm just looking at abstract shapes: rectangles, triangles, S-shapes, tall things, round things," she said in an interview in the journal U.S. Art in 1989. "I am very much influenced by Mondrian's compositions."
Another influence on her art was her belief in paganism. She wrote books, some with her husband, about witchcraft and pagan rituals and tried to bring her appreciation of ancient, pre-Christian ways to her rustic life as well as to her art.
Her book "Ancient Ways: Reclaiming Pagan Traditions" (Llewellyn, 1991) told how pagan cultures celebrated holidays, and it sold more than 40,000 copies. The Halloween section not only gave advice on charms and spells, crystal balls and using a tambourine to contact spirits but also gave a recipe for pumpkin bread. The May Day section said washing one's face with morning dew on that holiday would preserve a youthful complexion.

Louisiana school prayer law declared unconstitutional
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- Louisiana's school prayer law, which evolved from allowing a moment of silent meditation to permitting spoken prayer in public classrooms, has been declared unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.
A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 3-0 Tuesday to uphold a judge's 1999 ruling striking the law down. The state had asked the appeals court to reinstate the law.
A 1976 Louisiana law initially allowed for silent meditation. It was amended in 1992 to include the word "prayer" and again in 1999 to remove the word "silent."
The mother of a ninth-grader sued the Ouachita Parish School Board because students had made fun of her son and another boy who did not participate in prayer, calling them "atheist" and "devil worshipper."

Vietnam orders fake temples be shut down
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- Vietnamese authorities have ordered the owners of 42 fake temples at a famous pilgrimage site to demolish their shrines or turn them over to authorities by Saturday.
The move comes in response to public outcry that the false temples were a blight on the famed Perfume Pagoda, officials in the northern province of Ha Tay said Friday.

Posted 12/9/01 9:57PM:
Churches Destroying Condoms
The East African Standard (Nairobi)
Some churches in the Mt Kenya region have been accused of buying off stocks of condoms and destroying them on the grounds that they are promoting immorality among the faithful.
As a result, says Population Services International (PSI), some shopkeepers are no longer stocking condoms for fear of ex-communication. This development is frustrating efforts to combat the Aids pandemic.

Bowing in judo is religious discrimination, athletes claim
Janie McCauley - The Associated Press
SEATTLE -This judo fight just keeps on going.
A U.S. district court judge said Friday he would take several weeks to rule on whether to throw out a case brought by three local judo athletes against the sport's U.S. governing body.
The athletes say being forced to bow to inanimate objects before a competition is religious discrimination. They don't mind bowing to opponents out of respect, but object to ceremonial bowing to judo mats or pictures of the founder of the Japanese martial art. They say they have been barred from competing because they don't want to bow.

Posted 12/9/01 3:32PM:
Don't be so quick to judge Wiccan
Jim Stingl - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
C'mon people, let's give this Wiccan a chance to be an effective chaplain at Waupun Correctional Institution, at least until the first time the inmates turn the warden into a toad.
Providing a dazzling demonstration of how to stir up a public relations nightmare, the state Department of Corrections announced last week that a Wiccan named Jamyi Witch would henceforth administer to the spiritual needs of prisoners at Waupun.
If you're looking for controversy, you might as well announce that the inmates will be allowed outside the prison walls to go caroling through Waupun residential neighborhoods.

Man Cuts Off Penis in Fit of Religious Fervor
BACOLOD, Philippines (Reuters) - A 32-year-old Filipino farmer who believed his penis was driving him to sin sliced it off with a machete in a fit of religious fervor, family members and doctors said on Friday.
Relatives said they found the former security guard lying on the floor, covered in blood and with a portion of his penis missing when they went to his hut on Negros island in the southern Philippines on Monday.
``He is a good son, and one of seven children, He indulged himself by reading the Bible,'' his mother told reporters in Bacolod City 300 miles south of Manila, where the man is now in hospital.

Posted 12/8/01 4:16PM:
Lawmaker proposes new chaplain hiring rule
Walker wants eligibility tied to percentage of prisoners of various faiths
NAHAL TOOSI - Journal Sentinel staff
In response to the state's hiring of a Wiccan as a prison chaplain, a state lawmaker said Friday that he plans to draft legislation making the percentage of prisoners who practice a certain faith an eligibility requirement to be a chaplain.
[Lessee.. according to the article, the majority of the inmates in the state list "none," "missing" or "unknown" as their religious preference. So Walker wants all new chaplains to be atheists?? - Oak]

Posted 12/7/01 9:55PM:
Kebab shop owner wins battle to keep 2,000-year-old statue
An Austrian kebab shop owner has won a 20-year legal battle with Turkey to keep hold of a 2,000-year-old statue of the goddess Hekate.
The Austrian Supreme Court confirmed two lower court  rulings that the owner of the statue need not hand it over to the Turkish state.
The affair began more than two decades ago when the manager of the kebab stand bought the unidentified statue from a German customer for about £1,500.

Posted 12/6/01 8:10PM:
John Elliott and Tom Robbins - The Times (UK)
THE Celts of Scotland and Wales are not as unique as some of them like to think. New research has revealed that the majority of Britons living in the south of England share the same DNA as their Celtic counterparts.
The findings, based on the DNA analysis of more than 2,000 people, poses the strongest challenge yet to the conventional historical view that the ancient Britons were forced out of most of England by hordes of Anglo-Saxon invaders.
[Registration required to view article]

Nahal Toosi - The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The new chaplain at Waupun Correctional Institution is a Wiccan.
And a Witch.
The Rev. Jamyi Witch, who has voluntarily ministered to Wisconsin inmates for at least two years, began her new full-time position at the maximum security facility this week. She is believed to be the first Wiccan chaplain in Wisconsin and one of only a handful nationwide.

Treat the Army of God as a Terrorist Organization
[Online petition by Working Assets]
It is way past time for the Justice Department to recognize that violent anti-choice organizations exist rather than treating each murder and threat as isolated crimes by individual disaffected men.
On December 5th, federal authorities apprehended Clayton Lee Waagner, a self-described ''anti-abortion warrior'' who claimed responsibility for sending hundreds of letters and packages professing to contain anthrax to women's reproductive health clinics across the U.S. and also announced his intent to kill 42 clinic workers in the next few weeks. We applaud law enforcement for capturing this fugitive, who Attorney General Ashcroft described as a ''domestic terrorist.'' However, Waagner and others like him do not act alone. Now is the time to target the organization that enables Waagner, and men like him, to carry out violent acts against innocent people.

Posted 12/5/01 9:39PM:
According to media sources, President George W. Bush appears ready to nominate J. Robert Brame III to serve as a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), despite Brame's long-standing leadership of religious-political extremist groups on the farthest fringes of the Religious Right.
Brame has served as a top official of American Vision, an Atlanta-based group that seeks to replace America's secular democracy with a "Christian" regime based on "biblical law," including enforcement of the harsh legal code of the Old Testament. He has also served as an advisor to the Plymouth Rock Foundation, a Plymouth, Mass., group with similar views.

20th Century Pagan Award
Introducing the 20th Century Pagan Awards presented by WitchSchool.com.
We at Witch School want to Honor our Elders. The best way we can start is by establishing an archive of 20th Century Pagan's Biographies and Stories available at WitchSchool.com and 20thcenturypagans.com.
In order to create a truly honoring archive we want as many of our Elders nominated and recognized for their work and achievements. They need not be big names as many truly exceptional elders are known to very small groups of people.

Robertson resigns from Christian Coalition
NORFOLK, Virginia (AP) -- Pat Robertson resigned Wednesday as president and member of the board of directors of the Christian Coalition, a political force of the religious right.
The religious broadcaster said he plans to concentrate on his Christian ministry.
"I'm going to be 72 in March, and I felt that in these years left to me that the most important thing was for me to focus on the spiritual ministry, where I started back in 1960," Robertson said in a telephone interview from his Christian Broadcasting Network headquarters in Virginia Beach. He founded CBN in 1960.

Posted 12/4/01 9:17PM:
Company that promotes TV psychic Miss Cleo ordered to
pay $75,000 for violating no-call law
Associated Press
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A television psychic hot line has been ordered to pay a $75,000 fine for violating Missouri's no-call law, the state attorney general said today.
The St. Louis City Circuit Court ordered the payment against Access Resources Services Inc., a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., company best-known for promoting Miss Cleo's tarot psychic reading.

EDITOR'S CHOICE Want Instant Karma? Log On
Sarah Alexander
Sarah Alexander, assistant to the IHT's executive editor, gets a daily e-mail with a forecast of her day's fortunes. While most astrology sites offer the traditional Western and Chinese horoscopes, she says a few sites distinguish themselves:

Buy a wand? That'll be 2 galleons, 1knut
LONDON -- The British mint that made "wizard money" for the new Harry Potter film is selling an identical set of coins to the public.
Fans of Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, based on the book by J.K. Rowling, can invest in galleons, sickles and knuts -- the legal tender wizards and witches use to buy broomsticks and wands in Diagon Alley.

Posted 12/3/01 8:43PM:
Pagan holiday
Dorian Falco - STLtoday.com Associate Editor
From its very name, it's clear St. Louis is a Catholic town. Under the surface, however, the city has long nurtured a number of alternative spiritual traditions, including America's first Vedanta Society (founded by Indian mystic Swami Vivekananda), Freemasonry, Ozark Folk religions, and voudoun, which found its way up the Mississippi from New Orleans.
Unless you keep tabs on these things, you might not know that St. Louis also currently
  boasts one of the healthiest Pagan communities in the country. Much of the credit goes to two St. Louis organizations, the Omnistic Fellowship and C.A.S.T., or the Council for Alternative Spiritual Traditions.

The root of wands, cauldrons and spells
History of witchcraft
Roger Highfield - The Daily Telegraph
LONDON - The word wizard means "wise man," and long before Harry Potter, experts in fields as diverse as history, archeology and botany have looked at the evidence for wizardry in the days before Christianity.
Ancient magic wands, for example, may have been found in the Paviland Caves on the south coast of Wales, says Ronald Hutton, a professor of history at Bristol University, and an authority on witchcraft.

'Satan's Grotto' causes concern
Concerns have been expressed about plans for a festive attraction called Satan's Grotto.
The Christmas display at the Edinburgh Dungeon opens to the public on 15 December and features "elves impaled on spikes and robins roasting on an open fire while Santa gently boils in a witch's cauldron".

Navajos Using Mediation
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- A traditional Navajo method for mediating disputes is now a formal part of the tribe's judicial process. Called peacemaking, or Hozhooji Naat'aanii, the process involves bringing two parties together with a mediator to resolve their problems themselves, said Navajo Nation Chief Justice Robert Yazzie. They use their own language, culture and customs, and bypass the court systems of Western culture. The mediators, called peacemakers, are people considered to be wise in their communities and other people listen when they offer advice.

Posted 11/27/01 8:46PM:
Christian school bans Potter books
Associated Press
MELBOURNE, Australia — He's cast a spell on millions around the globe, but boy wizard Harry Potter has failed to enchant a Christian school in southern Australia, which has banned the popular novels.
The Seventh Day Adventist primary school in the Melbourne suburb of Nunawading has stopped students from bringing the stories by British author J.K. Rowling to class, saying they promote witchcraft and the supernatural.
"Some people say they are fantasy works, but they open a door to the spirit world," school principal Jean Mack said Friday.

ASK BETH [Boston Globe advice column]
Jewish girl frets about a spiritual shift
By Globe Staff, 11/27/2001
Dear Beth:
I'm a 15-year-old Jewish girl with a problem. For a year and a half, I've been considering who I am spiritually, and after careful consideration and research, I believe that Wicca, the Earth-based pagan religion, is for me. Wicca is not a cult, and it is not devil worship ing, so you don't have to worry about my hurting myself.

Website Promotes "Day of the Child"
On Saturday, December 1st, 2001, a nationwide event for children will be displayed on behalf or America's children. You can help make history, along with thousands of schools whom we are asking to join in a sharing a nationwide message. In local areas, we are asking ambassadors and local communities to participate in this year's event. to donate to abused and hurting children. Celebrating 13 years of helping hurting children, the Day of the Child vision is to raise awareness and promote healing for victims and survivors of child abuse and lift the future of our children.

An essay for school teachers about Paganism
"You have a Pagan in your classroom:" An essay for school teachers about Paganism by Suzanne "Cecylyna" Egbert, 2000-NOV-2
A student in your school practices a religion with which you may not be familiar. This leaflet is simply to give you information you may need to understand the different experiences this student may share with you, and answer any questions you might have.

Screening Free Speech?
Online Companies Draw Fire for Removing 'Offensive' Postings
Ariana Eunjung Cha - Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 18, 2001; Page H01
Yahoo's message boards are erupting with the kind of free-flowing, impassioned discussions the Internet's creators always dreamed of, with postings about practically every aspect of the hunt for terrorists, the capture of Kabul and mysterious plane crashes.
But what's also revealing is what is being deleted.

Codex Alimentarius - The Plan To Ban All Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and Supplements
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." -  Winston Churchill The whole thing would be a laughable joke except for one thing . . . it's no joke and the plan has already been implemented.
A commission sponsored by the United Nations and the World Health Organization, and supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants to BAN all current over the counter sales of herbs, vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and all other supplements.
[Related site below lets your voice be heard on this issue. - Oak]

Posted 11/24/01 9:14PM:
Wilder pastor's message links Islam, antichrist
Eryn Curfman - The Idaho Statesman
A sign outside a Wilder church stirred a flurry of controversy this week, causing passersby to complain about anti-Muslim sentiment.
The church´s pastor, who put up the sign Monday, said the message reflects not hatred, but the Gospel.
The town´s mayor said he finds the sign offensive, but the city cannot censor the view reflected on the sign.
The sign, outside the Crossroads Assembly of God Church, states: "The spirit of Islam is the spirit of the antichrist."

Posted 11/23/01 11:06PM:
Christian theme park sues over tax status
ORLANDO, Florida (AP) -- A Christian theme park sued the county and state, claiming the park was wrongly denied tax-exempt status as a religious and educational facility.
The request for tax exemption for the Holy Land Experience was turned down in June, when property appraiser Bill Donegan said the park is a business, "not a museum, not a school and not a church."
The lawsuit, filed in Orange County Circuit Court on Monday, seeks to overturn that decision, which could cost the park $28,000 this year and hundreds of thousands in the future. The park was opened in February by Zion's Hope, a nonprofit, nondenominational Christian ministry.

Posted 11/23/01 4:35PM:
Aust school bans Harry Potter
Tanscript - The World Today - Friday, November 23, 2001  12:29
COMPERE: As the publicity and marketing machine for the release of the first Harry Potter movie ramps up, it is being claimed that Harry Potter books may be encouraging a worldwide reading resurgence. But one independent Australian school has decided to ban JK Rowling's famous books about the fictitious young wizard.
In Melbourne the Nunawading Adventist College has refused to allow the books on its library shelves and has banned pupils in the junior school from actually bringing their own personal copies into the school. Luisa Saccotelli in Melbourne reports that the school has been holding Parents Information Night, describing the books as "tools of the devil".

Rowling Seeks Single-Parent Help
The Associated Press,
LONDON (AP) - ``Harry Potter (news - web sites)'' author J.K. Rowling (news - web sites) is calling on the British government to improve the plight of more than one million single-parent families living in poverty.
The best-selling author told a conference in London on Monday it was a scandal so many single parents and their children lived in poverty.
``Lone parents and their children are the poorest groups in our society. We are a wealthy nation, yet we have one of the worst records of child poverty in the industrialized world. It is a scandal,'' Rowling told the National Council for One Parent Families conference.

Afghan Buddhas may be rebuilt
GENEVA, Switzerland -- The two ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan destroyed earlier this year by the Taliban may be rebuilt.
The 1,800-year-old, 53-metre high Buddhas, hewn into a cliff face in the Bamiyan valley in central Afghanistan, were destroyed in March on the grounds that the "idolatrous" sculptures offended Muslims.
The destruction was condemned by the international community as an act of violence.

Witch's spellbinding book casts aside job angst
Wiccan writer says her recipes of simple groceries help protect jobs, aid in networking, can can even ward off computer crashes
DALLAS -- If you're worried about coping with this economic downturn, you could call a career coach for advice. For inspiration, you could read that little book about mice chasing cheese.
Or you could head for the supermarket, where you'll find the ingredients for magic spells to protect your job, change careers, even get a raise.
"It's a witch's form of prayer," says Lexa Rosean, a Wiccan high priestess whose new book, "PowerSpells," was conveniently available in time for Halloween.

Don't worry, future films are in the works
Parts two has begun, and part three is being written
Audrey Woods - The Associated Press
LONDON - No sooner had Harry Potter fans caught their first screen glimpse of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry than the cameras were already rolling on the further adventures of the boy wizard and his pals.
And if anybody worried that the filmmakers might lose interest after Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, rest assured. Screenwriter  Steve Kloves has already dug into Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban -- adventure No. 3.
"We are making seven films," producer David Heyman says. "We have the rights to make all of them with Warners -- we have purchased outright films three and four already."

Online Petition: Freedom of Religion Means Any Religion
To:  The Salisbury Post, North Carolina
We, the undersigned, are outraged at the refusal of a request to list a Pagan/Wiccan Study Group - Magickal Moon in the Salisbury Post, which is located in Salisbury, North Carolina. The reason given for the request by the FAITH Copy Editor was both ignorant and discriminatory. "The Salisbury Post FAITH section is for people who
     believe in God" and "this is not the image that The Post wants to portray."

Pope's Web apology over sex abuse
VATICAN CITY -- Pope John Paul II, in his first message sent to the world via the Internet, has apologised to victims of sexual abuse by priests and other clergy.
The apology came in a document that summed up the themes of a synod of bishops from Oceania held in the Vat ican in 1998.
"Sexual abuse by some clergy and religious has caused great suffering and spiritual harm to the victims," the pope said in the document.

Faiths join hands to celebrate blessings
Service: Speaker says Sept. 11 tragedies have inspired many to examine their lives
Phil Anderson - The Capital-Journal
Perhaps more than any other holiday, Thanksgiving opens the door for adherents of different faith communities to come together in a common spirit of gratitude.
 Such was the case Sunday night, when a crowd of 255 people convened for the 27th annual Community Thanksgiving Service at Christ the King Catholic Church, 5973 S.W. 25th.
 The event was sponsored by Interfaith of Topeka and the Topeka Area Clergy Association.
Representatives from a wide range of faith groups active in the Topeka community took turns leading the service, including those from the Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Native American, Pagan, Sikh and Unitarian Universalist traditions.

ACLU Tells Congress that National ID System Would Be Ineffective, Expensive and Deeply Misguided
Friday, November 16, 2001
WASHINGTON -- Testifying before a House panel this morning, the American Civil Liberties Union said that a national ID system would be ineffective, overly expensive and deeply misguided.
"None of the proposed identification systems would effectively sort out the 'good' from the 'bad,'" Katie Corrigan, an ACLU Legislative Counsel, told the panel. "An identity card is only as good as the information that establishes an individual's identity in the first place.
It makes no sense to build a national identification system at a cost of billions of taxpayer dollars on such a faulty foundation, particularly when possession of the ID card would give you a free pass to board an airplane or avoid security checks at federal buildings and other public places."

Arguments on Ashcroft order that blocks Oregon assisted suicide law
PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) -- When Oregon voters endorsed the nation's only assisted-suicide law for the second time, the U.S. Justice Department said it didn't interfere with federal regulations.
Three years later, a new attorney general disagrees, prompting a showdown between Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft that was set to return to the courtroom Tuesday.

Because I Said So
Laurie Notaro - azcentral.com
Harry's no Evil-doer
Boy, if I had known that the image of Harry Potter could spook certain facets of the religious world as much as he has, I would have taken off my Metallica T-shirt and donned round rimmed glasses and a pointy wizard's hat eons ago!
It seems that various "Christian" groups are ready to drag the 11-year-old IMAGINARY character to Gallows Hill and do what they do best: point and accuse! That's right! Your children aren't safe in the presence of Harry Potter books, which have an overwhelming power to pull your bible school kiddies straight into the black arts! In fact, I even found a website that lists "Twelve Reasons Not To See Harry Potter Movies." Now, I'm certainly not going to duplicate that laughable list here, but here's a sample from it: "Harry Potter's world may be fictional, but the timeless pagan practices it promotes are real and deadly," and "God shows us that witchcraft, sorcery, spells, divination and magic are evil."

The Power of Prayer in Medicine
People Who Are Prayed for Fare Better
Jeanie Davis
Nov. 6, 2001 -- Here's more evidence that -- in medicine, as in all of life -- prayer seems to work in mysterious ways.
In one recent study, women at an in vitro fertilization clinic had higher pregnancy rates when total strangers were praying for them. Another study finds that people undergoing risky cardiovascular surgery have fewer complications when they are the focus of prayer groups.
The fertilization study -- conducted at a hospital in Seoul, Korea -- found a doubling of the pregnancy rate among women who were prayed for, says Rogerio A. Lobo, MD, chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University School of Medicine in New York City. His study appears in  the September issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine.
"It's a highly-significant finding," Lobo tells WebMD. "I'm first to say we don't know what this means."

Two employees fired for Halloween clothes
Terry Rombeck
  If you thought your Halloween was scary, talk to Justin Erickson or Crystal Roberts.
  The two employees of Allen Press said they were fired Wednesday for wearing clothes or accessories to work that had Halloween themes.
Erickson, 26, wore a jack-o'-lantern pin on his dress shirt. Roberts, 22, wore striped orange socks and T-shirt showing Snoopy trick-or-treating.
  Both failed to heed a company memo distributed Monday stating: "Anyone wishing to defy the instruction that Halloween will no longer be observed at Allen Press will lose their employment."

Posted 11/17/01 12:32PM:
Christians find magic in Potter tales
Some use books to teach morals
David Gibson - Newhouse News Service
When Harry Potter first cast his spell on the reading public with the 1998 release of J.K. Rowling's first story about the boy wizard, many Muggles -- er, nonmagical humans -- in the Christian community refused to be charmed.
To these believers, the wildly popular books were little more than manuals to indoctrinate children into the dark ways of the occult. One prominent Southern Baptist pastor called Harry's world of dragons, goblins and supernatural incantations "dangerous, evil and perverted."
Other Christian critics said the 11-year-old's broomstick was a phallic symbol, the lightning-bolt scar on his forehead represented a Nazi swastika or the mark of the Antichrist, and the death of Harry's mother in place of her son was a deliberate effort to turn the male-centered Christian salvation story into a goddess-worshipping avenue to witchcraft.
Now, however, as the second wave of Pottermania hits with the theatrical release of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," many of the early critics have happily succumbed to Harry's magic, and some are even using the books to teach basic Christian values about good and evil and resisting peer pressure.

Posted 11/16/01 9:08PM:
Harry Potter film: invitation to join occult?
Sarah Tippit
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Flying motorcycles and lightning bolts and dragon eggs and phoenix feathers may be keeping some people out of movie houses this weekend.
Not everyone likes bubble, bubble, toil and trouble, and some wish they could swing a magic wand and make the new kid flick ``Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone'' disappear like magic.
Early estimates indicate the much-awaited film based on literature's most famous boy wizard was poised to break box office records on both sides of the Atlantic as it opened on Friday. By most accounts the movie, based on stories by J.K. Rowling (news - web sites), is a healthy fantasy about good versus evil that could prompt meaningful discussions between children and their parents.
While the film has also prompted criticism among some witches for improperly depicting correct broomstick riding technique (bristles must be pointed forward not backward) real life believers in paganism and witchcraft are pleased with the film's positive depiction of witches and believe it could raise their much-maligned profile.

Astronomers Anticipate Meteor "Storm"On November 18th
Most everyone has glimpsed an occasional meteor. But imagine what it would be like to see hundreds – or even thousands – of them in a single night. Such a spectacle may occur in the hours before dawn on Sunday, November 18th. In fact, if astronomers' predictions hold up, skywatchers in North America can expect to see their most dramatic meteor display in 35 years.

De Grandis Teaches Spells, Inner Peace to the Layman
I am a priestess and I never even realized it. Well, at least I have the capacity to be a priestess and I have not yet fully harnessed my power. And it gets better: you can be a priestess or a priest as well. At least that's what Francesca de Grandis says in her book "Goddess Initiation."
The book is a yearlong plan to achieving your own priesthood. What's your priesthood? Well, apparently it's doing whatever makes you happy and finding your destiny. "Goddess Initiation" has monthly lessons, accompanied by rituals, rites, writing exercises, spells and so on that allow you to relax and achieve what you truly want in life. Even if you begin the book not really knowing what you want in life.

Witches ritual burns down house
A US woman is now homeless after a pagan ritual to 'burn' her troubles burnt her house down.
Mary Palmieri let some of her pagan friends perform the ritual at her house in Enfield, Connecticut.
The witchcraft ritual involved burning a piece of paper with Mary's problems written on it. The flames set fire to the house. Mary says next time she will talk to her priest instead.

Posted 11/11/01 3:28PM:
Three centuries later, witch hunt still haunts U.S. town
Diane E. Foulds, DPA - 11/11/2001
SALEM, Massachusetts - The cobblestone streets and Puritan- style houses charm visitors to Salem, a town in the U.S. state of Massachusetts, but the reason most sightseers come is to view the scene of a crime.
It was here in 1692 that a hysteria-gripped community jailed scores of people for witchcraft, ultimately hanging 19 and tossing their bodies into a shallow grave. Another - an elderly man who refused to plead - was crushed to death under stones.
Last week, the Massachusetts Legislature cleared the names of five who had been omitted from a 1711 exoneration, closing the book on an incident that continues to haunt the American public more than three centuries after it occurred.
State Representative Paul Tirone, who helped usher the resolution through the Massachusetts Legislature, said Americans probably feel more ashamed about the Salem witchcraft trials than the war in Vietnam.
"It was a sad time," said an employee at Salem's City Hall who asked that her name not be used. "Most of us aren't proud of that part of our history. We try to focus instead on our seafaring tradition."

Supernatural themes in 'Harry Potter' anger certain conservative Christian critics
ANTHONY BREZNICAN -Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The new Harry Potter movie heading to theaters next week has enflamed a small legion of conservative Christian critics who claim the boy wizard is a tool leading children to witchcraft and sin.
But as anticipation grows for "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," other Christians insist the stories are harmless fantasies about magic and morals.
"I'm so tired of people saying he's evil," says Connie Neal, a Christian  author who has investigated the Potter claims. "They're choosing to interpret the books in a very selective way."

Cemetery worker confesses to selling bodies for occult rites
Nigerian police are preparing to prosecute a cemetery attendant who has confessed to being a supplier of human parts to occult practitioners.
Lagos State Police Commissioner Mike Okiro, says the man was arrested as he was carrying a sack containing two human heads.

Posted 11/11/01 2:38PM:
Psychics join the manhunt
US intelligence agencies are recruiting psychics to help predict future attacks and to find Osama Bin Laden. The recruits, known as "remote viewers", claim to be able to visualise happenings in distant places by using paranormal powers.
The US government established a remote viewing programme, known as Stargate, in the 1970s in an attempt to utilise the skills claimed by psychics to combat communism. The programme, at the Stanford Research Institute in California, was shut down in 1995 after the end of the cold war.
 Now, however, US intelligence agencies are reactivating some of their old paranormal spies.

Topless protesters 'strip-tease for Trees'
EUREKA, Calif. (Reuters) - Nine bare-breasted women briefly halted logging work near California's contested Headwaters Forest on Friday in a protest against what they said was unconscionable logging of redwood trees.
``These gorgeous young women were belly dancing. One logger actually got down on his knees and kissed the ground,'' said Dona Nieto, a California activist who has staged several ``Strip Tease for the Trees'' protests.

Fresh clue to homeopath mystery
Many scientists think it is physically impossible for homeopathy to work - but new research suggests how remedies might be having an effect.
Many homeopathic treatments take ingredients and then dilute them in water many times over.
In some cases, it is believed that the more times a remedy is diluted, the more potent it becomes.

New Vedic City Aims to Create Ideal Municipality
Residents Voted “Yes” on Referendum to Incorporate in state of Iowa
A new city dedicated to creating maximum health, well-being and success for its inhabitants was approved by residents in a vote late last month. Located 2 miles north of Fairfield in southeast Iowa, Vedic City is Iowa’s first new city since 1982 and the 950th city in the state.
Vedic City is the first city in the modern world to be based entirely on the ancient principles of Maharishi Sthapatya-Veda® design and other aspects of Maharishi Vedic Science. “Veda” is the Sanskrit word meaning knowledge. Rogers Badgett, one of the city’s developers, said Maharishi Vedic Science is comprised of 40 approaches, including architecture, community planning, health care, education, music, agriculture, etc. Its goal, he said, is to bring the life of the individual and society in tune with the laws of nature and thus gain support of natural law for every undertaking.

Dispelling the myths about witchcraft
Laura Holmes, news@seacoastonline.com
Debra Wiley says she cringes every time someone asks her, "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?" "I don't walk around asking people, 'Are you a good Christian or a bad Christian?'" says Wiley, a self-proclaimed Wiccan witch from Dover.
Maybe if people were better educated about her religion, she says, they would know better.
Wiley and her friend, Scarlett Ridgway, a Wiccan witch from Portsmouth, have been "out of the broom closet" for many years. Neither of them hide the fact they are witches, but because of 500 years of persecution in Europe and America, and decades of negative stereotyping, many others are not so public.

In The Drug Companies We Trust?
Editorial - Arianna Online
To hear the drug companies tell it, in this time of national crisis, they’ve been as patriotic as Patrick Henry, as generous as Andrew Carnegie, and as selfless as Mother Teresa.
Which would be true if Patrick Henry had proclaimed, “Give me liberty or give me profits!,” Mother Teresa had enlisted Calcutta’s lepers as lobbyists, and Andrew Carnegie had spent millions on self-aggrandizing full-page ads.

Enforceable, Mandatory Vaccination Seen Necessary in Event of Smallpox Attack      WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) Nov 05 - Should smallpox be used as a biological weapon in the USA, public health officials must have the authority to quarantine and forcibly vaccinate the entire population - with the help of the military if needed - an expert said on Monday.
"You can't have a patchy response. There has to be compulsion" to vaccinate in the event of an attack, said Dr. Stephen D. Prior, the research director at the National
Security Health Policy Center. "Each state has different laws and that's one of the problems," he said.
[Registration required to view article]

Posted 11/4/01 9:02PM:
Celebration aims at `ecumenical' unity among pagans
Pagan Day Festival promotes tolerance within, without groups
ANGELA ALEISS - Religion News Service
LOS ANGELES -- On a recent afternoon, Wiccans, Satanists, Druids and sorcerers gathered for the second Pagan Day Festival, an event in which the weird and unusual seem commonplace.
But in a community where members complain of "witch wars" and many view Satanism as little more than a reaction to Roman Catholicism, the festival gave pagan groups a chance to learn about each other, and for the public to learn about them.

Posted 11/4/01 5:08PM
Mystical and modern: Battling diabetes
BAPCHULE, Arizona (AP) -- "Move those feet! Make some dust!"
The 220 students who attend St. Peter's -- all American Indians -- are required to run or walk at least a mile before school starts. A few hours later, each class heads out on another mile-long hike.
On top of that are three weekly physical education classes and a host of diet restrictions: No desserts except fruit. No candy, cookies or cake at class parties. No vegetables left uneaten at lunch.
"Our children have limited freedom," Carpenter says.
They also, for now, have no diabetes. And in the Gila River Indian Community, that's no small feat.

Posted 11/3/01 1:18PM:
Sikhs allege discrimination at airport checkpoints
(AP) -- Followers of the Sikh faith say they have been unfairly singled out for elaborate security checks at airports, sometimes being forced to remove their turbans, an integral part of their religious identity.
Some say racial profiling at airports has been part of a backlash against people of Middle Eastern appearance since the September 11 terrorist attacks, which have  been blamed on Islamic extremists.
Sikhism was founded in India in the 16th century and contains some elements of Islam and Hinduism. Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims because they also wear turbans.
The Sikh Communications Council and the Sikh Coalition say they have each received more than a dozen reports of Sikhs being asked to remove their turbans at airports. For Sikhs, the removal of a turban is as intrusive as a strip search, said Ed Vasquez, spokesman for the council.

Posted 11/3/01 10:43AM:
Model health law empowers states
Drugs, quarantine could be forced
Bloomberg News,, 10/31/2001
ASHINGTON - States would be able to force patients to take medication under model legislation outlining when and how governors can use emergency powers to address public health crises such as recent anthrax attacks.
The model law, commissioned by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also would give people the right to appeal states' decisions to quarantine or isolate them. Individuals with contagious diseases, such as smallpox, wouldn't be able to appeal orders for treatment or vaccination under the law.

Posted 11/2/01 7:58PM:
Massachusetts governor signs bill exonerating five executed as Salem witches
Friday, November 2, 2001 BOSTON - Susannah Martin, hanged in 1692 during the Salem witch trials, can finally rest in peace.
With Salem in the throes of its annual Halloween celebration, acting Gov. Jane Swift signed into law a bill officially exonerating Martin and four others executed during the witch trials hysteria.
"The governor felt that there couldn't be a more appropriate day than Halloween to sign this bill," Swift spokeswoman Sarah Magazine said.

November 1, 2001 -- EXCLUSIVE
Threatening letters mailed to the media before the World Trade Center attacks - bearing striking similarities to the current anthrax-tainted letters - were mailed from Indianapolis, where the deadly bacteria was discovered yesterday, The Post has learned.
[Skipping down..]
Source say investigators are eyeing a number of groups, including radical members of a pagan cult.
The Wiccan group fashions itself as modern-day witches seeking religious freedom, but they are not known to be violent.
Investigators are probing whether a disturbed member of the group may have taken a bizarre turn and is targeting the media and the government in particular.

Ten Commandments monument brings lawsuit
MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) -- Two federal lawsuits were filed Tuesday seeking the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the state judicial building.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore had the 5,280-pound monument secretly moved into the building's lobby in the middle of the night last summer without notifying other justices.
One lawsuit, filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of Montgomery lawyer Steve Glassroth, claims the monument constitutes an endorsement of religion by the state.
The other was filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and by the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama. Both were filed in U.S. District Court in Montgomery.

Trio hanged for witchcraft murder
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A witchdoctor, her husband and assistant were hanged Friday for the murder of a Malaysian member of a state assembly, whom they lured with promises of political power before killing him for money.
Mona Fandey, her husband Mohamed Affandi Abdul Rahman and their helper Juraimi Hussin went to the gallows after exhausting all appeals for the murder of Mazlan Idris in 1993, prison officials said.
The three were sentenced to death in 1995 after a sensational trial which heard how they approached Mazlan with promises of building his career and fortune, then chopped his body into bits and went on a shopping spree with his money.

Sorceress had smugglers under her spell?
BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) - A Colombian sorceress who allegedly entered the international cocaine smuggling business used black magic to soothe her nervous drug runners, police said on Thursday.
Maria Elisinda Vasquez Munoz, known simply as ``the Witch,'' would make her employees swallow many as 70 latex glove fingers filled with cocaine before they boarded planes to Europe, police said.
``She would tell them that the black magic would protect them, that nothing would happen to them,'' said Col. Rodrigo Gonzalez, head of Interpol in Colombia.

Pagans get ready to party on special Halloween holiday
While children trick-or-treat and adults party on Halloween night, pagans will celebrate Samhain, one of their most important holidays and the start of the new year.
Samhain (pronounced "so-when") is the fall festival that recognizes the harvest and remembers ancestors, said Jeff Albaugh, spokesman for the Touchstone Local Council of the International Covenant of the Goddess in the Riverside, Calif., area.
On Oct. 31, the goddess, the earth mother and giver of life, symbolically dies and ends her rule. The lord of the underworld emerges and begins his reign over the dark winter months.

Posted 10/30/01: 9:25PM
HAPPY SAMHAIN from Oak, Amber, Silverdragon and Willow!
We'll be observing this most solemn Sabbat with a ritual at home with friends this year, so there probably won't be any updates on the 31st.  We hope you have a safe, happy and meaningful Samhain, and will resume posting to the site after this holiday.
As the wheel turns again, please remember the victims of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

Desperate soccer team brings in witch to boost chances
A football team is employing a witch to help them escape relegation.
Bottom-of-the-table Deportes Arica are desperately trying to avoid being relegated to Chile's second division.
They hire Eliana Merino to cast out evil spirits from the dressing room, the stadium and even the players' kit.
The witch uses a ritual involving candles and smoke to 'purify' the team before kick-off.

High Court rejects 'moment of silence' case
October 29, 2001
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court rejected a challenge Monday to a state law requiring schoolchildren to observe a daily minute of silence.
The court did not comment in turning down an appeal from opponents who claim Virginia's minute of silence is an unconstitutional government encouragement of classroom prayer in public schools.
The state says the minute of silence does not violate the separation of church and state, because children may meditate or stare out the window for 60 seconds if they choose, so long as they are quiet. The court's action means the daily minute of silence will continue, and opponents are left with no immediate options to challenge it.

Gold Rush ghost stories lure visitors
October 29, 2001
COLUMBIA, California (AP) -- When guests ask for room seven at the Hotel Leger in the old gold mining town of Mokelumne Hill, owner Mark Jennings knows they've heard the legend -- a  rocking chair with a mind of its own, phantom footsteps in the hall, apparitions in a mirror.
Some guests have checked out in the middle of the night, spooked by unusual noises, Jennings says.
But more often visitors seek out the hotel -- particularly in October -- because of its reputation, which includes "Edith," a ghost Jennings blames for removing candles from a candelabra in the parlor.

Halloween's full moon is rare treat
October 30, 2001
MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- For the first  time in 46 years, this year's Halloween ghosts and goblins can trick or treat by the light of a full moon. They won't get another chance until 2020, astronomers said.
Wednesday night's full moon will look like an orange jack-o-lantern rising from the east at dusk, said Jack Horkheimer, executive director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium.

Retailer rouses sales with potions and oils
Witch Work's items aim to help with health, love, money
Maureen McDonald / Special to The Detroit News
MADISON HEIGHTS -- Look out Muggles, Jacqui Elliott is the real deal. Unlike the fantasy people in Harry Potter novels, Elliott, 45, was born the day before Halloween and makes her living selling essential oils prepared by moon cycles and blessed on an altar.
   Elliott retails Faerie Nectar, Lady's Medicine Potion, Love Potion, Higher Magick and Stress Ease, but the best seller on her Web site, www.witchworks.com, is Fast Money Potion.
   "The ladies come from all over looking for the fast money oil. They all have stories on how it works for them," said Yvonne Burnham, owner of Yvonne's Mystic Boutique in Lewiston, New York. "Once you spread it around your desk and your wallet be prepared. You'll be swamped with business."

Posted 10/28/01 12:19PM
Scientific Proof Of Global Consciousness May Be Emerging
September 11 Attacks Registered Strongly
Bernadette Cahill
Science may be on the verge of proving what the spiritual community has claimed all along about prayer  and meditation: that group consciousness exists and it can show up on a worldwide scale.
The events in the US on September 11 provided the latest indications of this possibility, when devices around the world registered significant anomalies before, during and for some time after the attacks.
As yet, scientists are not exactly sure what their results mean, but they do admit that something significant has occurred – and it has done so in similar circumstances before.

Posted 10/27/01 9:02PM
Witches hope to communicate with WTC victims
Douglas Todd - Religion News Service
Oct. 27, 2001 09:59:44
It's Halloween and North America's witches are finding their own special ways to deal with terrorism and war.
Halloween (Oct. 31) is the new year, or Samhain, for the continent's tens of thousands of witches, who are also known as pagans. It is the day they believe the veil separating the living from the dead is thinnest - and communication with the spirits of the departed is most auspicious.
"Pagans are thinking about the extremely high number of people who have died very abruptly since Sept. 11," says Grove Harris, project manager of Harvard University's Pluralism Project, which highlights the multireligious nature of North America. Harris also happens to be a witch.

Posted 10/27/01 12:26PM
Samhain - Happy New Year!
online.ie     22 Oct 2001
Seems a bit odd this time of year, as we gather together costumes, carve pumpkins, collect tinder for bonfires, and hang images of goblins, ghouls and witches about our surroundings, doesn’t it? Yet if you had lived in Ireland many centuries ago, this would
have been your New Year celebration!
The Celts considered time to be cyclical or circular rather than linear, with eight 'stations' of the year marking the passing seasons. These important dates were marked with specific rituals and customs, among them fire-festivals. The two most important fire festivals were Beltane, on May 1st, marking the beginning of summer, and Samhain, on Novermber 1st, signifying the arrival of winter. Several lesser festivals marked the passage of time in between these two calendrical polarities.

Holidays a good time to 'thin' veil
Jerry Johnston - Deseret News columnist
In the past, when Americans said "happy holidays," everyone knew which holidays they meant.
But times have changed.
As the country grows — and grows more aware — a whole Christmas list of winter holy days have been added. There's the Muslim "Ramadan" and Baha'i "Day of Covenant" in November, "Hanukkah" for Jews and "Kwanzaa" for African-Americans in December, not to mention the Hindu, Shinto and Sikh holy days coming up in January.
And this year, more than any time in decades, those holidays promise to be filled with reflection, resolve and worship.
Tragedy turns the mind that way.

Posted 10/24/01 10:10PM
'Biggest ever' fireworks display in city
FIRE burn and cauldron bubble ... it's the witching time of year again.
And the real Celtic version of Hallowe'en is a far more magical affair than the 'trick or treat' US import.
Samhain Hallowe'en Parade and Festival, which takes place this Sunday, celebrates the ancient fire festival when the dead were allowed to revisit the living.

Lisa Smith - MSN
Even today, many Wiccans, pagans, and others who subscribe to nature-based
religions are not quite out of the office broom closet.
Witchcraft and its modern form, Wicca, have their roots in seasonal, pre-monotheistic folkways. Pagans, such as Druids, adhere to earth-based beliefs. Though different, Wiccans often refer to themselves as pagans to avoid explaining a rather complex belief system. All Christians aren't Southern Baptist or Catholic, and neither are all pagans Wiccan or Witches.
Though difficult to get an accurate count, most estimates put the pagan community in the United States at one million.

Arab-Americans concerned about treatment
Candy Crowley - CNN Senior Political Correspondent
(CNN) -- Dearborn, Michigan, is a fairly typical American city. The Detroit suburb is the home to minivans and mini-malls, bakeries and ballparks.
These days, like so many other U.S. cities, it is also full of flags and sadness.
 But the sadness in this hometown of Henry Ford has taken on deeper resonance. Dearborn is also the home to a large Arab-American population. One in four adults in this city of 91,000 is Arab-American; 58 percent of the children are Arab-American.
And these citizens find themselves victimized in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Posted 10/22/01 11:03PM
ACLU argues over Gideons' right to distribute Bibles at public school
McMINNVILLE, Tenn. - When Debi Dunn's 11-year-old son came home from with a pocket-sized New Testament, she was not pleased.
Dunn is among the parents upset that members of Gideons International were allowed to distribute the books to fifth-graders at Dibrell Elementary School in Warren County.
"I'm full-spirited, but I don't know what they're teaching my child that I might teach different," Dunn said.
Roy Pierce, the human resources director for Warren County schools, said the Gideons have distributed the books to students in the county for at least 20 years, and the district has no plans of changing the practice.

Scarves wrap up UT students' solidarity
Jeannine F. Hunter, News-Sentinel staff writer
She's white, Roman Catholic and before this week, Ashley Maynor's patriotism was never questioned.
For the University of Tennessee sophomore, the half-day she spent wearing a head covering worn traditionally by Muslim women was an eye-opening experience.
In one of her classes Friday, she was asked if she was an Afghan sympathizer or a true American.

Posted 10/22/01 9:02PM
Comedian Rowan Atkinson Fears Laws
LONDON (AP) - Satirists could face prison sentences under new laws making it a crime to incite religious hatred, comedian Rowan Atkinson said Wednesday.
Atkinson, creator of bumbling misanthrope Mr. Bean, wrote in a letter to The Times newspaper that he felt ``great disquiet'' about the proposals, which were outlined Monday as part of a government package of anti-terrorism measures.
  Home Secretary David Blunkett said the rules - which make incitement to religious hatred a crime punishable by up to seven years in prison - were designed to stop ``racists, bigots and hotheads'' from exploiting the current global crisis to stir up hatred.
But Atkinson said the law cast too wide a net and could, potentially, criminalize films such as Monty Python's biblical satire ``Life of Brian.''

"Uh, you want fries with that?"
 It's called "The Veggie Van" and it's fueled with used vegetable oil from fast food restaurants. During the summers of 1997 and 1998, the Veggie Van took America by storm, logging over 25,000 miles on biodiesel fuel and appearing on the Today Show, Dateline, and CNN. Author and filmmaker Joshua Tickell drove the Veggie Van across the US and wrote the book on making fuel from vegetable oil.

Halloween may offer welcome diversion
October 22, 2001 Posted: 1:58 PM EDT (1758 GMT)
Thurston Hatcher - CNN
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- The Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site was prepared for some rough going after the terrorist attacks.
The famed former prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, relies heavily on its annual Halloween tour for funding, but officials said they feared this year's event might be a bust in the September 11 aftermath.
 "We had deep concerns about it," program director Sean Kelley said. "We had already begun discussions about how we would have to scale back operations if there was  a drop-off in attendance, which seemed very likely."
But something curious happened October 13, when more than 3,000 people visited "Terror Behind the Walls," breaking the event's single-night record.

Do you believe in the Bell Witch?
NICOLE GARTON - Tennessean.com Staff Writer
Something was trying to get in.
Asleep beneath her quilt in 1817, Betsy Bell awoke in the dark to a sound. A knock at the door.
But no one was there.

Religious leaders say terrorism legislation threatens freedom of speech
The Associated Press
Muslim and Christian groups have released a joint statement saying the anti-terrorism bill before Congress would victimize immigrants and stifle legitimate dissent by giving too much authority to federal law enforcement.
The mix of churches and religious organizations agreed steps must be taken to fight terrorism, but said increasing surveillance without extensive judicial oversight would violate free speech and due process rights.
"The goal of our national security should be defending our freedom, not limiting it," the statement said.

Students Wear Head Scarves to Promote Unity
Efforts Made to Educate Public About Islamic Traditions
ERIN WILCOX - Contributing Writer
Monday, October 22, 2001
UC Berkeley students struck out at stereotypes about Muslim women Friday, encouraging students to wear head scarves and green arm bands as signs of understanding and solidarity.
The event, which featured women of many religions and backgrounds wearing the traditional head scarves, called hijabs, followed a teach-in Thursday night.

Ancient temple to Ishtar found
Baghdad - Iraqi archeologists have uncovered a temple dedicated to the goddess Ishtar at the ancient city of Babylon, 56 miles south of Baghdad, the weekly Tikrit newspaper reported on Sunday.
"Cuneiform inscriptions on the 25 artifacts found at the temple indicate that the building dates back to the old Babylonian era, and to the reign of King Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC) in particular," Tikrit quoted a source at the Antiquities and Heritage Department as saying.
Ishtar was the goddess of love in Babylonia and Assyria. Under various names, the cult of the mother goddess was universal in the ancient Near East.

Posted 10/13/01 1:25PM
College staff find chilling free speech climate
NEW YORK (AP) -- Around the country, college faculty and staff who express opinions on the terrorist attacks and U.S. bombardment of Afghanistan are facing rebuke in public and private, suspension and investigation. At least two professors were asked to leave their schools as a security measure.
Colleges campuses take pride in nurturing debate, but that tradition is being tested in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington. People across the political spectrum are feeling the chill.

Posted 10/12/01
New age faiths coming of age
JERI WESTERSON For The Californian
Not everyone enters a church, synagogue or mosque to worship. Some literally worship the ground they walk on ---- the sky, the stars, the wind, and nature itself. Pagans, Wiccans, New-Agers ---- call them what you will, but those who practice these Earth religions say they are just as genuine as the faith of a Christian or a Jew.
Life partners Stephanie Zarrabi and Raven Grimassi own Raven's Loft in Escondido, a metaphysical book and gift store, characterizing themselves as "dealers in the quaint and curious." In the tiny store are displayed fairy figurines, sculptures of gods and goddesses, incense, candles, oils, crystals, pentagrams and books with such titles as "Earth Divination, Earth Magic: A Practical Guide to Geomancy" and "Astral Travel for Beginners." They consider themselves practitioners of old Earth religions, delving into Wiccan rituals, with a belief in a pantheistic approach to divinities.  As Grimassi puts it, it is a "veneration of the natural order of things."

Posted 10/8/01
Firewalking too hot for some
Bonding, team-building exercise leaves a dozen employees with burns
ELAINE WALKER - Knight Ridder
More than 100 members of Burger King's marketing department walked barefoot over an 8-foot strip of glowing, white-hot coals as part of a corporate bonding experience at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla.
Firewalking was supposed to show them that by reaching beyond their limits, they can achieve things they never thought possible. Instead, about a dozen Burger King employees suffered at least first- and second-degree burns on their feet.
"We certainly didn't intend for that to happen," Burger King spokesman Rob Doughty said.
[Well, duh! Ironically, a blurb on the Burger King website says, "Burning is for questions. Flame-broiling is for burgers." - Oak]

Posted 10/6/01
 Afghan Buddhas resurrected in China
 A Chinese entrepreneur is attempting to resurrect the giant Buddhas destroyed by the Taleban regime in Afghanistan by building replicas of them in China.
The project is the idea of Liang Shi-mian, who expects them to be finished early next year.
He has begun building a towering red stone version of one of the Bamiyan statues in his country's Buddhist heartland.
Some 375 stonecutters and carvers are working all hours to complete the 121ft sculpture by March, the one year anniversary of the destruction of the originals.

Schools’ ‘God bless America’ signs draw complaint
Tonya Maxwell, STAFF WRITER
Posted: 10-06-01 01:30
ASHEVILLE — A woman has filed a complaint with the Buncombe County school system that takes issue with signs reading "God Bless America" on school grounds.
"It’s illegal and they know it," said Ginger Strivelli, who says she represents 200 pagans in the region as the leading priestess with the Appalachian Pagan Alliance. "This is not Afghanistan. We don’t have a state religion, but that’s what they’re trying to do, make Christianity the state religion."
She has asked Buncombe County School Superintendent Cliff Dodson to remove or replace the signs with a "more diversely tolerant phrase." She asked that signs read, "May All Gods Bless America" or "Bless America."

9th Sacred White Buffalo Calf Born
September 26, 2001:  Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the Original Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations of the Sioux, sent these words on learning of this latest birth....
White Buffalo Calf Woman's spirit would make her presence known, a sign of great changes signifying the Crossroads.  I never dreamed I would live to witness this momentous time.
     Eight other white buffalo have since stood upon Mother Earth.  White Buffalo Calf Woman's spirit has announced her message of support in this time of great danger, and she continues to announce the message in the birth of each White Buffalo--each one of them a Sign, each one a fulfillment of ancient Prophecy as well as a new Prophecy for our times.

Banned Books Week in O'Hara raises awareness of censorship
Wednesday, October 03, 2001
Rick Nowlin, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
To get children to really want something, tell them they're not allowed to have it.
That was the idea behind a scavenger hunt called "Find the Forbidden Books" last week at Lauri Ann West Memorial Library in O'Hara.
The library welcomed children in grades six and up to participate in a hunt for 10 books, scattered about the library, that have been pulled from library shelves in the past because of their controversial content.
The event was in celebration of Banned Books Week, which took place nationwide Sept. 22-29.

Posted 10/1/01
Pagans `come out of the broom closet' for Pride Day
The Associated Press
Posted October 1 2001
HOLLY HILL · No goats were sacrificed, no spells were cast, and there was no chanting by old crones wearing pointy hats. Except for all the black T-shirts and the one guy wearing plastic horns, these pagans could have blended into a bingo crowd.
At Holly Land Park on Saturday, people whose spiritual beliefs have nothing to do with Moses, Jesus or Muhammad gathered for this area's first Pagan Pride Day. The reason, according to an oft-heard comment, was to let pagans "come out of the broom closet."

Judicial Watch Press Release
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest law firm that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and abuse, reacted with disbelief to The Wall Street Journal report of yesterday that George H.W. Bush, the father of President Bush, works for the bin Laden family business in Saudi Arabia through the Carlyle Group, an international consulting firm. The senior Bush had met with the bin Laden family at least twice.

Local Muslims thank public for support
Associated Press, 9/28/2001 18:55
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) Government leaders joined local Muslims Friday at City Hall who thanked Maine citizens for their support in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Muslims, Arabs and others have been harassed and attacked elsewhere in the country. While there have been reports of harassment in Maine, the state has not seen the kind of violence reported elsewhere.

Saturday, September 29, 2001
Religion not issue in custody case
ANN S. KIM, Associated Press Writer
Copyright © 2001 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.
PORTLAND — The Maine Supreme Court on Friday affirmed a lower court's decision to terminate the parental rights of a woman who claimed her case was harmed by references to her Wicca faith.
The women argued that her rights to free exercise of religion were violated when it was mentioned that she was a Wiccan. She argued that Wicca was an "unusual and historically disfavored religion" and that references to "witchcraft" and "paganism" tainted the proceedings.

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