OakGrove Archives
Past News and Issues
12/31/99: Wow, what a year it's been! "The grove" has had over 7000 visitors now, and has grown better and better with suggestions, news and stories contributed by family and friends. Several people wrote to say the text was too hard to read. I guess my old monitor provided somewhat better contrast than my new one, because when I checked the site after setting up the new PC, I could really see what folks were trying to tell me! That's why I'm increasing the font size on the pages now, starting with this column.

Amber and I just celebrated our first anniversary together, as we were (legally) married December 28, 1998. (We get to have another anniversary celebration March 27 for our handfasting, too!)

What's planned for 2000? Well, first I need to clean the place up a bit. It's time to archive some files, including the "OakGrove Pinup Calendar". It was cute and gave me an excuse to practice some work with tables in html, but it just wasn't worth the trouble in the long run. The "parenting" page has grown a little, with the addition of new urls and a couple of new projects, and will get even better soon; One complaint I've heard from several Pagan parents is a lack of stories about our religion written with children in mind. I've been collecting a few and will be looking for more, and will be working on getting these items posted so keep checking back. I also want to get back to business with the "festivals" page, so let's get those announcements in, folks!

Here's something for Pagan parents who want to talk to others: The Blessed Bee Family Newsletter site finally got their discussion forum working and it looks like this time it's going to work right; Check out "The Buzz" at http://www.blessedbee.com/discuss_frm.htm.

12/19/99: Yule's almost here, and Amberflame's been making like Martha Stewart; The kitchen has been a wonderful symphony of good aromas, both sweet and savory, and the house is hanging with the symbols of the season. The altar is decorated with tinsel and greenery, and the tree is about to break under the weight of all the ornaments placed on it by Willow and Silverwing.
Yep, it's the time of year again where we give thanks for the returning light at the dead of winter, sit in the livingroom floor by the fire, and eat candy out of our socks!

Family news: Silverwing has made great headway with her music and performed with her 5th grade beginner band recently. Amber was under the weather and couldn't attend, but Willow and I enjoyed the show. You'd think the kids had rehearsed a lot longer than the 12 short weeks, as they never missed a lick or hit a sour note! Needless to say, this "Pagan Papa" sat and watched while blinking back tears of pride!

What's hot?: President Clinton has announced the latest version of the religious-liberty guidelines for public schools. See the story at: http://www.freedomforum.org/newsstand/1999/12/18address.asp, and the text of the guidelines and other statements can be seen at the U.S. Department of Education site at http://www.ed.gov/inits/religionandschools/index.html.

From Amber, Silverwing, Willow and me, We hope you have a Wonderful Yule and a Happy Year 2000!

11/16/99: Last night I received a request for help from a friend. She has a friend who's been diagnosed with liver cancer and is planning a healing ritual for him Thursday, Nov.18 at 10:00PM Eastern time. Anyone who wishes to participate is invited to light a candle and say a prayer for Ken at that time. You may also wish to post a get-well message in the Hearthfire Shrine at the Prayercall page.

11/13/99: Help!!! I just realized that almost everything on my Festivals page was out of date, and deleted the stuff that had already passed by. After a bit of scrounging around the web, I've found a few new ones coming up soon, but I know there's got to be more out there, especially with Yule right around the corner!.
If you know of any festivals, gatherings or workshops coming up in the next few months, please let me know and I'll add your information to the Festivals page!

11/6/99: *Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me...*
I won't officially turn 43 until Monday, November 8th, but Amberflame and the kids let me sleep late today while they went out shopping. When they returned I had to a) hide my eyes while they stowed away my surprises (hopefully 1. socks and 2. drill bits), b) unload the groceries from the car, then c) go sit down while they put everything away. I was also presented with 14 roses: A white one from Silverwing, a pink one from Willow, and a dozen red from my loving wife, "Just because men should get flowers too..." (Ahh... It's *GOOD* to be king!) Besides spoiling me rotten with extra sack time and roses, I've also had some time today to do a little pruning and planting in "the grove": Check out the new "can do" rainy day projects and seven new links in Pagan Parenting!

I also got some cool news the other day from Lauren Foster-Macleod at The Blessed Bee Newsletter. I'd submitted a couple of stories for publication and they've both been accepted! "Stalking the Wild Yule Tree" will hit print in their Winter issue, and "Have Kids, Will Travel: A Festival Survival Guide for Pagan Parents" should appear in the Spring issue.. Woo-HOO! (Now I guess I need to go dig out my tweed jacket and pipe, huh?)

10/26/99: Those familiar with Green Egg Magazine will remember laughing at the hilarious antics of The
Little Witches Coven and Marching Society, a series of tales by Pagan humorist Liath MacTire. Well,
it seems that even the Little Witches take Samhain seriously, and this year is no exception!
So for your holiday enjoyment and contemplation, by special permission of the author, OakGrove is
pleased to present a never-before-published installment of
Notes from the Little Witches Coven and Marching Society: Little Witches - Samhain.

10/25/99: Along with the celebration of Samhain, this it the time of year that we get ready to see ghosts,
goblins and other strange apparitions at our doors: That's right, it's almost Halloween!
While we humans know this is all fun for the kiddies, sometimes our four-legged friends just don't
understand and can be frightened by all this unusual activity.
To help keep your pets safe, here's some tips from our good friend, Arianne ShadowWalker:

I would like to use the opportunity to alert fellow pet lovers of the hazards of this upcoming Holiday.
Please keep your pets indoors during Halloween, as there have been numerous reports of pet abductions
and other cruelties to animals, especially black cats during this time. It is sick to think about, but I wanted
to let everyone know. With the stress the animal is going through with strange people coming to the door,
it is best to keep them in a separate room with the door closed, to prevent them from trying to run out of
the house every time the door is opened. If in the event you pet does escape,here is an excellent site with
advice on what to do: http://www.petrescue.com/notes/find.htm

Blessed Be, and Divine Do!

10/19/99: Here's a couple of items too hot to shuffle off to the Festivals Page: The Magickal Cauldron
is co-sponsoring a Military Pagan Appreciation Picnic at the Museum of Aviation, Robins AFB, Warner
Robins, Ga on Sunday, November 14th, 1999 to give the Military Pagans a chance to meet the civilian
Pagans who support them, and give the civilian Pagans a chance to meet those who fight for their

Also, check out the AKASHA Samhain broadcast with Special Guests Fritz Jung and Wren Walker of
The Witches Voice on the 2kool4 radio channel at Virtually Canadian Broadcasting on the internet. The
netcast is scheduled for Sunday, October 31st at 7pm EST with host Kate Whittaker: Fritz and Wren
share their stories and personal insight on a variety of topics including Samhain as opposed to
Halloween, and we get the delightful treat of listening to Fritz's CD, "The Celtic Feast of The Dead"!

10/10/99: 1st Amendment Rights violated in Jasper, Alabama
Okay, now I'm convinced that the world's gone totally nuts: According to the Associated Press, the
Walker County, Alabama School Board has ruled that no student may display religious jewelry. In this
case, however, the jewelry in question is a cross worn by 11-year-old Kandace Smith, a Christian.
Attorney for Walker County Schools, Russell Robertson, defended the decision, said that the rule
requiring Smith to keep her cross tucked inside her shirt did not violate her freedom of religious
expression. For the full story, click here.
This, my friends, is a load of crap. I defend Pagans' rights to wear our pentagrams, and I stand just as
firm defending Christians' rights to wear their crosses. I invite anyone reading this to join me in writing to
protest this policy.

To express your opinion to the Walker County School Board on this matter, contact:
Alan Trotter, Superintendent
P O Box 311
Jasper, AL 35502-0311
Phone: (205) 387-0555
Fax: (205) 384-0810
E-mail: wcbe@oakman.tds.net

10/2/99: Finally, more family news: We attended the 1999 Mabon Festival held recently at a Pagan
community near us. As usual, we had a blast! The highlight of the event this time, however, wasn't the
drumming or the energy raised in the circle; It was witnessing "The Cremation of Bob". Although still
buzzing from the excitement of seeing some old friends, as well as the general festive feeling one gets
from attending a spiritual weekend getaway, we're also looking ahead to Samhain: Amberflame usually
goes all out, decorating and cooking for the event. Sometime in the next week or so I'll be getting
costumes together for the more secular activities associated with this sabbat, as the kids will be ready to
storm the town trick-or-treating with their friends. We're also debating whether or not we can get the
house in order to hold a party, but maybe this year... Who knows?

9/27/99: Update on Roswell Schools - BOARD: STUDENTS MAY WEAR PENTAGRAMS-Todd
Fugua, Rosewell Daily Record (9/21/99)
"In the face of controversy and protest and under the possible threat of lawsuits, the Roswell School
Board voted to approve a proposed change to the school district's dress code and allow student to
wear, among other things, pentagrams." (See the full story HERE.)

9/21/99: Wow, how this year has flown by... The kids are back in school and keeping ol' Oak hopping! Silverwing and Willow both appeared in a local production of "Rumpelstiltskin" by the Missoula Children's Theatre, involving a full week of Yours Truly running back and forth to the High School for rehearsals. The play was over an hour in length, and after only four days of rehearsal the cast of approximately 50 local area children put on two almost flawless performances! I have to admit, I had tears in my eyes when Silverwing belted out her solo... and Willow was so cute in her "busy bee" costume, especially with the big grin she had on her face when she got to "sting" one of the villager characters.
Silverwing has also joined the school band; She's in 5th grade this year and decided she wanted to learn music. I wish she'd hurry up; Trumpet practice at 7:00 AM is bad enough without listening to sour notes!
We've got at least one more festival to attend this year... (I just can't leave well enough alone!) ...this weekend we'll be attending a Fall Equinox festival near Gatlinburg, TN. (Sorry, this one's not on the Festivals page, as it's an "invitation only" event, but I have just added a whole passel of other new events tonight, so check it out anyway!) It's beginning to get chilly here in east Tennessee so we'll definitely have to bundle up for this one, but it should be a blast!
Guess that's about it for now... Enjoy your stay in "the grove" - Oak

9/12/99: Students' First Amendment Rights violated in Roswell, NM

ROSWELL, N.M. - The pastor of a Christian church in Roswell on Wednesday applauded a school board decision that prohibits students from wearing pentagrams, even as religious symbols.
"To most people, the symbol represents satanists," said Steve Smothermon, pastor of the interdenominational Church on the Move. "The pentagram is not a healthy sign for our kids. It's not right."
The Roswell school board voted 2-2 Tuesday night on the issue of whether the symbol of some pagan religions should be allowed as part of the school dress policy. Since the vote was a tie, the current policy banning the symbol remains. © 1999 Amarillo Globe-News
For the whole story, click here.

8/30/99:  Bi-Lo Blues
Bi-Lo, a regional chain of grocery stores in the Southeastern U.S., offers a special program for its customers as a way to give back to the community.  The way it works is that schools, churches and other non-profit organizations sign up with the program, then when Bi-Lo Bonus cardholders shop, they can designate the enrolled organization of their choice to receive a portion of the profits from their purchases.  Pretty neat, huh?

Not really.  Recently Darla Kaye Wynne, Assistant National Director of  Witches Against Religious Discrimination, Inc. (WARD) attempted to join the program but was told by Bi-Lo representative Joyce Smart Buchanan that WARD did not meet their guidelines.  I wrote to Bi-Lo regarding WARD's status with the program and J. Gray, Consumer Relations confirmed that "This organization has been denied."
Just my opinion, but I guess that exclusion of an organization fighting religious discrimination means that 1) by default, Bi-Lo supports religious discrimination, and 2) Bi-Lo isn't interested in doing business with the Pagan community.  No problem there; They won't be getting any of my business anytime soon!

To contact Bi-Lo to express your opinion:

Joyce Smart Buchanan
Fax:  864-987-8775
Phone:  864-234-1757
Email:  JSmartBu@aholdusa.com
Snailmail:  Bi-Lo
 ATTN: Joyce Smart Buchanan
P.O. Box 99
Mauldin, SC  29662
J. Gray - Consumer Relations
7/16/99: One problem many Pagan parents face is finding suitable alternatives to the public school system. Unless you live in a major city, it's unlikely you have an alternative to homeschooling, and that brings its own problem in many locales; several states require homeschooling parents to work through a "cover school" in order to provide for administration and documentation unless the parent has a teaching certificate. Unfortunately, Pagan cover schools are also practically non-existant. One recently formed in Alabama by Church of the Spiral Tree and is called "Sacred Grove Academy". Sacred Grove was created to meet the needs of Alabama homeschoolers, but will consider registration in other states with cover school requirements if requested. For more information go to their web site: http://www.mindspring.com/~spiraltree/homeschool.html

7/15/99: I recently was pleasantly surprised when I received a complimentary copy of the premier issue of a new magazine called The Blessed Bee: A Pagan Family Newsletter, from the publishers of SageWoman and PanGaia. This new, first of its kind publication promises to be a valuable resource, and I've already sent in for a subscription! I highly recommend this new magazine for all Pagan parents, or anyone else involved with Pagan children.
For more information contact: Blessed Bee, Inc., PO Box 641, Pt. Arena, CA 95468,
or call toll-free: 1-877-253-7723.

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