Current Actions:
  • Milwaukee Paper Muses Over Pagan Symbols
  • JAG to Air Wiccan Episode
  • Become a Contact Pagan
  • WADL Creates Free Pagan Activist Banners
  • Political Pagans Group Opens
  • Day of Silence for Religious Tolerance and Freedom
  • Use Druidism for Fun and Profit
  • College Pagan Organizations Unite
  • Pagan Private School Opens in Fall
  • Vote No In ABC News' Poll: Should Ten Commandments Be Hung In Courtrooms?
  • Tripod Deletes the Pagan Pages which Cybersitter Blocks
  • Email your Senators to Protect Online Rights
  • Infomercial Airs Bashing Witchcraft and Hinduism
  • FCC Okays Religious Discrimination in Hiring
  • Major Search Engines to Practice Net.Censorship

    Milwaukee Paper Muses Over Pagan Symbols

    The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Easter article reflects on the many symbols associated with Easter, saying in part:

    The conventional wisdom scattered across Internet sites and tucked into reference books says that the Easter bunny and eggs are old pagan symbols of fertility and the end of the dark days of winter.

    The word Easter is derived from the name of a northern European fertility goddess, sometimes spelled Eastre or Oestre, according to the 8th century writings of St. Bede.

    But symbols are subject to interpretation.

    "A symbol means what its maker intends for it to mean," said Kevin Orlin Johnson, a bestselling Catholic author who is working on a book about holidays. "You get eggs and rabbits and all kinds of other things associated with holidays that are universal symbols.

    "Almost all of our holiday customs are a lot more recent than people think," added Johnson, whose biography lists a doctorate in architectural history, with minors in psycholinguistics and international business. "There's no continuity between what we do today and what some extinct pagan religion did thousands of years ago."

    The article is by Tom Heinen, the paper's religion reporter. With the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance estimating between 500,000 and a million Wiccans in the United States alone, not to mention uncounted Asatruar, Santerians, Druids, etc., one could almost say there are no "extinct Pagan religions" anymore. Certainly a religious journalist should be aware of us. Drop him a note below to comment on the article!

    This form will let you send email to Tom Heinen and the letters to the editor column of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel at the same time. You may choose some of the points listed already to inspire your own short note to them. Don't forget to include your name and contact information. You can read our other tips for letters to the editor here.

    If you live in Wisconsin, you may also want to contact them to offer your services as a Pagan correspondent or fact-checker.

    CBS's JAG To Air "Wiccan" Episode

    April 25th's episode of JAG is summarized on their website as:

    "The Witches of Gulfport"
    8:00pm et/pt

    Mac goes undercover to help Harm investigate charges of sexual misconduct against Chief Petty Officer Merker who is the leader of the Wiccans, a local witches coven with many Navy members. The female seaman who brought the charges claims she was seduced when she fell under the man's spell, but Merker claims the sex was consensual. The Wiccan's attorney is sharp and claims his client is the unfortunate victim. However, Mac learns that another young woman suffered the same fate. He convinces her to testify and Merker is found guilty.
    Later, Mac learns that Mic Brumby was also thrown into a compromising position while undercover in the Royal Australian Navy.

    The contact url for CBS is,1611,412,00.html

    Become a Contact Pagan

    Member Gwynarion Starseeker writes,

    "How many of you sat down in your break room at work and started talking to your coworkers about what a terrible thing the papal apology was and then answered questions about paganism for two and a half hours? How many of you are walking around today when half of the American population is getting drunk or looking forward to it, telling them what an awful man Patrick was and all of the abuses that he committed against the pagan peoples of Ireland out of a petty desire for revenge? (wear a helmet and a cup if you do.) How many of you have called your local news organizations to give them your name and number so that they can call you in case they have any questions or want to check their facts on something?"

    To facilitate this action by all our members, we now have a page listing United States newspapers by state and the email addresses for "letters to the editor." Soon, we hope to have a form letter that YOU can send your local editor to offer your services as a Pagan contact person; until then, a quick note with your address and phone number, explaining your experience with Paganism and your willingness to help, should further Pagan awareness more than anything else we could do!

    WADL Creates Free Pagan Activist Banners
    Steve Foster, President of the Witches Anti-Discrimination League (WADL), announces the creation and availability of fun and timely Pagan unity & military banners for Web sites:
    Banner themes include "Pagan Unity," "I'm Pagan and I Vote For My Rights," "Proud Patriotic Wiccan," "Vote: Make Magick Happen," and many others. Wear them with pride!

    New "Political Pagans" Egroup

    From: Griselda Jarnsaxa

    Bright Blessings everyone!

    I just wanted to take a moment to let y'all know that I have a mailing list called "Political Pagans", dedicated to the topic of political issues around the world, from the Pagan perspective. It's been kind of slow lately, and I'm trying to revitalize it now. If you'd like to subscribe and start a conversation there, I think it'll be informative, stimulating and fun!

    You can subscribe at: or by sending an e-mail to:


    Religious Right Director, Pagans In Action Council for Truth

    Day of Silence

    [Webeditor's note: This is a really great idea! It may be too late to do this on the same day as Susie's group, but any day you choose can be just as effective. It's a really great consciousness-raiser for any time of the year!]

    From: Susie
    It just occured to me to suggest to people an idea I've been doing for quite a while, this year we choose Dec. 18th as the date. It's a Friday.

    On this day, in support of religious tolerance and freedom just don't speak all day. It really gets a point across, as long as people know why you aren't speaking. This is where we get to the important part. Carry around a little sign that gets the point across, last year ours read:

    Day of Silence (big letters across the top)

    Please respect the wishes of those who wish not to speak today in memory of the millions of people throughout history and every day that are hurt or killed in the name of religious intolerance. Recall Rome, Mecca, the Holocaust, the Witch trials, think of events such as the crusades. Remember the voices never heard and think of those you are not hearing.
    How could you make a difference?

    You would not believe the response you get from people. And what is even better, the wording makes it possable to be used by ANYONE. You can have Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and everyone you know doing it with you and it will make them think. Sometimes the best way to get someone to support you is through making them see your side, if they can reach out to their own religion and see the pain of people they can see that others have pain as well and need help and they will help.

    So please, if you don't do anything else, please have everyone you know tell everyone they know and the world will see a problem while it is happening. You can even carry around a little slip of paper that says what the i typed at the beginning of the letter. Thank you, and remember the date is December 18.

    Use Druids For Fun and Profit

    Post Cereal has launched a media campaign using stereotypes of Druids to sell Honey Comb cereal. Simultaneously, Kraft, Sony, and YTV, a Canadian children's television station, is running a "Summer Fun To the Extreme" contest, which focuses on celebrating the Solstice as the RETURN of summer. Their Solstice page enthuses inaccurately, "The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, and the first day of summer! It has been celebrated by sun-worshippers, druids and pagans since the dawn of time! And what is a summer celebration without extreme sports, loud music and the YTV Gang?" The contest's website shows stereotypes of Druids (depicted on their website as faceless folks in brown cowls) engaged in "in-line skating, mountain biking, skateboarding and wakeboarding." (Note: that link may not work after the 20th of June, 1998, but try it anyway.) According to the contest rules, it is the Kraft Extreme Summer contest; however, neither employees of Kraft, Sony, nor YTV are allowed to enter, so they are probably equally responsible for this program.

    To paraphrase the website, "It's an extreme summer where you can win extreme prizes in exreme sports for extreme summer fun to the EXTREME!!! pagans pagans druids pagans! be like guys in brown cowls who are skateboarding! celebrate a midsummer to kick off summer! yeah baby! Cultural appropriation is EXTREEEEEEEEME!!!!"

    A quick web search for Post Cereal almost immediately turns up an address showing that Kraft Foods is a division of Post Cereal - hence the sudden appearance of Druids everywhere. Go straight to the source.... email and snail mail addresses for YTN and Post will appear here ASAP. Meanwhile, go to the supermarket and look on the back of a cereal box.

    Dear Folks,

    While discussing issues about Pagan community-building on the Pagan Leaders list, we got onto the subtopic of networking college organizations. As many of you know, my brother Robert has been involved with the United Pagan Ministries at Cornell University, and he's always looking for more contacts. So if you work with or know of any college Pagan group, please drop him a line. Wouldn't it be nice to publish a list of colleges with Pagan organizations so that Pagan students could go somewhere they would feel spiritually welcome? I'm including a snippet from the relevant post below.

      Bright blessings,
      Elizabeth Barrette

    > From: "Rev. Robert Brown"
    > Our ministry at Cornell would be (and is) willing to coordinate such an
    > endeavour, and lend it the stability of our staff/faculty commitment
    > plus the administrative boon of our anchor in Cornell United Religious
    > Work. The challenge is primarily one of finding the contacts and
    > keeping them current enough to pull it together.
    > Jerrie has been gracious enough to tip me off to other groups when her
    > web gets word of them. . . Tara and I connected through this list
    > itself. Does anyone else have groups (either student groups, campus
    > ministries, or otherwise) that they work with who might be interested in
    > this effort? Feel free to pass along my contact information to them.
    > However we eventually pull it together, I do think it's a great idea if
    > it works.

    > Rev. Robert Brown
    > United Pagan Ministries
    > Cornell United Religious Work
    > Anabel Taylor Hall
    > Cornell University
    > Ithaca, NY 14853

    Pagan Private School Opens in Texas

    At last, a Pagan private school has been founded. Deep Woods Apothecary will be opening its doors this September in Arlington, Texas. The school will begin teaching grades 7-12 right away, and add kindergarten through 6th as soon as possible. Although it will be officially listed as a private school, Deep Woods will be open to everyone. Director Mindy Purcell hopes to keep admission low, planning a $25/month fee only if their grants don't come through.

    Several fund raisers are in the works to benefit the school, including a Casino Night on June 18 at Linda's Food and Spirits, 1224 W. Arkansas in Arlington. For more info on the fundraisers, or to make a direct donation, contact Deep Woods Apothecary at (817)261-6535.
    Thanks to
    Michelle for the info!!

    Vote No In ABC News' Poll: Should Ten Commandments Be Hung In Courtrooms?

    Monday, May 04, 1998 at 16:12:12 (EDT)

    ABC News online features an article right now about a man named Revered Schenck who has picked up the baton in Judge Moore's battle to hang the Ten Commandments in his courtroom. They write, "Schenck is no Charlton Heston, but he knows his way around stone tablets. His Ten Commandments Project held a news conference today in Washington to call for the enthusiastic display of the Thou Shalt and Shalt Nots in schools and government buildings nationwide. Custom-made stone tablets, engraved with the Ten Commandments and headed for legislators' offices, were on display afterward. A clutch of congressional allies who sponsored 'Ten Commandment' resolutions in the House and Senate were also there." These resolutions, according to John Cox, aide to Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions, affirm that such displays are acceptable and "a very positive expression of our core beliefs." Congressmembers did not tell reporters who "we" were and why "our core beliefs" were exclusive of most of the world's religions and most of the citizens of their country.

    Rev. Schenck says, "The problems we face in America are moral problems, which cannot be solved legislatively or judicially.... We need a moral code to address them. There is no better educational and moral code than the Ten Commandments. And we think there's no better place to start promoting them than the highest offices in the land, namely the Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court."

    Read more and VOTE!

    Pagan Webpages are Getting Zapped!

    CyberSitter, one of the most virulent and bigoted net.filtering programs, is now being used as an excuse to delete Pagan webpages. On Wednesday, April 29th, Tripod deleted "Rowan's Pagan Playground" without warning. Upon being contacted, Tripod told Rowan her page was deleted because she had a copyrighted graphic on her site. Confused, she asked them which graphic it was, and they told her it was the graphic that said "This Pagan site is blocked by Cybersitter," as shown here in smaller size:

    cyberblocking graphic

    She was given no chance to protest before they cancelled her account.

    UPDATE, May 1st:

    To Tripod's credit, they responded to the Pagan community's outrage as quickly as they did to Cybersitter's. Jason Macauley of Tripod's membership services wrote Rowan to say, "After further review of your site and the nature and background of the complaint, we are inclined to agree with you and have returned the site to our severs. Your password and everything else about the account will remain the same, and if you experience and further difficulties please feel free to contact me. We deeply apologize for jumping the gun on this issue." Rowan's account has been reinstated and she is currently backing the whole site up. (Which, incidentally, is a very good idea and you should all do it immediately and regularly.) Rowan will be moving off of Tripod if she can find another suitable server, but she emphasizes that "This whole situation has shown a problem that exists. Followup needs to be done in this situation to make sure no one, NO ONE ever goes through the kind of torment and pain I did. Even if it was for only one day."

    We are currently investigating as to the legal use of logos in a "right to protest" situation; if you have any info on this, please email us.

    As Wren of Witches' Voice says, "We would like to have this info readily available to other sites who may face this situation, so that they can inform their servers and ISP's. A LOT of Pagan sites are flying'Blocked By CyberSitter' logos and we want to avoid any further 'acts of deletion.'"

    Wren's Nest has more information on this case, including valuable relevant copyright law, part of which states that

    (4) The following shall not be actionable under this section:

      (A) Fair use of a famous mark by another person in comparative commercial advertising or promotion to identify the competing goods or services of the owner of the famous mark.

      (B) Non commercial use of a mark.

      (C) All forms of news reporting and news commentary.

    The American Family Association recently (March 11, 1998) sent out an action alert to its members, asking them to contact various Senators towards getting Internet censorship bills passed. They say that Senate Bill 1619, which would require net.filtering software in school libraries, is not enough. Members are pressed to support Senate Bill 1482, which would place strict restrictions on (S. 1482) that would require commercial pornographers on the World Wide Web to shield their pornography from children.

    Subject: Be warned All Wiccans and Pagans
    Date: Mon, Mar 16, 1998 21:47 EST
    Message-id: <>

    This is a letter that I hope all pagans, and Wiccans alike read.
    This is about a grevious miscarrage of justice that has happened to my mother who is a senior citizen (65 yrs). In Aug of 1997 her house which was fully insured through Farmers Insurance caught fire due to a electrical short. She lost everything. Including her Altar, Tools and Grimores.
    This fire was proven by the fire department to be caused by a electrical short due to old defective wiring.
    What makes this even more horiffic, is the fact that Farmers Insurance refuses to pay her for the loss, stating that since she is a pagan why should they. They have refused to pay for anything, regardless of the fact that she has receipts for her furniture, clothes etc.
    They have stalked her, threatened her, and have accosted her at her home. Through this type of abuse it has caused her health to go down hill, she now has high blood pressure, ulcers, bad nerves, she is ready for a nervious breakdown and heart disease.
    She has been forced to live in a 20' 1978 motor home with two other people and her two full grown dogs, this she had to buy due to the fact that it was the only place that she could get into and at least live like a human, she had purchased this in Aug.
    If you feel that this type of abuse is unwarrented, that there should be no company that has the right to cause harm to others, then please write me at Box 90462, Henderson Nv, 89009. Or email me at my home page here ,ALFEN86557's Home Page.
    If we stand together we can change the laws that are against the pagan and wiccan community as a whole. Through this I can take the email and the letters to my state board of insurance regulators along with my state officals, and make a statement that we as a community shall no die out with a whisper. We demand the same rights as others, with out the fear of violence.
    Through these emails we can have the goverment recognize us, and hear our voices.
    If you have ever been shown contempt for because of your beliefs, send me a email or a letter at ALFEN86557's Home Page .
    If you have been denied a job, a loan, or shown contempt for please write me at R. J. Boldt Box 90462, Henderson NV, 89009 or email me at ALFEN86557's Home Page .
    If you too want to stop this harrassment, this blantant disregard for our rights, then lets stand together.
    Through your help we all can put a end to the harrassment, the contempt and the hatred that we as a community had to endure for thousands of years.
    Let us stand together and fight for what is Right, our Freedom to have our Rites.
    Please post this to other email addresses, and let others know that together we shall pervail.
    Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet again.

    Infomercial on Overcoming Us With Christianity

    One of our members, Katarina, writes:

    "While channel surfing very late Friday night or very early Saturday morning (around 3am EST) I came across a program that caught my attention because of someone who identified themselves as the "White Witch of Buckingham". It turns out the show, which is a paid advertisement, is called Let There Be Light and is sponsored by the International Bible Society. The White Witch of Buckingham and her comment on the number of occultist and Pagans in Great Britain were part of the shows description of the "dark" which can be overcome by Christianity. There was also a comment about some little Hindu girls, in which the commentator said something about watching them sing and dance to their Hindu gods. He knew they had received the gospel the day before and this was a case of "real darkness to real light."

    "I was disturbed to see Witchcraft and Paganism classified as dark, but also by the way the Hindu worship was depicted as dark. As this is a paid advertisement it is likely to be on again. No email or mailing address was given, but they did list the following phone number 1-800-476-5917."

    FCC OK's Religious Dicrimination in Hiring

    The Boston Globe has an article about the FCC changing its rules so that religious broacasters can now discriminate during hiring based on religion.

    Excerpts are included.

    The entire article should be read for accuracy and completeness.

    Loch Sloy!
    Lowell McFarland
    The Boston Globe
    FCC lets religious broadcasters use faith as hiring criterion

    By Diego Ribadeneira, Globe Staff, 03/07/98

    Religion Notes

    The Federal Communications Commission has adopted a proposal permitting religious broadcasters to use religious affiliation or belief as an employment criterion at a religious radio station. The proposal supercedes other antibias rules that prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion.

    ''We believe that it is reasonable to conclude that it may be appropriate for all employees of religious broadcasters to share a common commitment to a licensee's basic religious objective and mission,'' the FCC stated last month.

    The policy had been sought by the umbrella organization National Religious Broadcasters.

    Is there a controversial moral issue in the news that you want to comment on? Perhaps you want to tell other readers about a particularly good worship service you recently discovered. Or maybe you take issue with something we write, or have ideas for future columns.

    It doesn't matter: We want to hear from you. Those comments, along with news for Religion Notes, may be sent by mail to The Spiritual Life, c/o Diego Ribadeneira, P.O. Box 2378, Boston, MA 02107-2378; via e-mail to; or by fax to (617) 929-3186.

    This story ran on page B02 of the Boston Globe on 03/07/98.

    CNET news tells us that Inktomi, "one of the hottest online search technology companies" has announced a partnership with blocking software maker N2H2. Together they plan to build a Net index for children that excludes links to pornography and other adult-oriented content.

    Some of the "adult-oriented content" targeted, according to CNET, includes "Sites with hate speech or those promoting alcohol use, gambling, or sexually explicit matter or advertisements." On the positive side, Inktomi and N2H2A will create a list of thousands of online educational materials.

    According to Inktomi's web site, their search engine technology is used worldwide, on Hotbot, Microsoft Network, Universo Online, OzEmail Ltd., Goo.

    CNET argues that the new search index would offer an alternative for those who want to avoid pornographic sites without banning. "The search engine will simply not deliver any results that fit in the 'objectionable' categories, particularly pornography," Peter Nickerson, a former educator who founded N2H2, announced. "The kids go to the search engines and type in 'toys' and they are constantly being bombarded with the introduction to pornographic sites." Nickerson might be interested to know that in fact, a search on AltaVista for "toys" turned up 89,225 entries, beginning with 21st Century Toys: Related Links, McDonald's Foreign Toys, Net Toy Forum - Spawn and McFarlane Toys, Yahoo! JAPAN - Recreation:Toys, Hands-on Toys, Days Gone By larger picture for Toys Item:B03TY8 (a cast-iron train), Toys Drift Buttle Tournament, Adaptive toys and games, and Days Gone By larger picture for Toys Item:B09TY17 (an old set of Statue of Liberty dominoes). A cheery ad for Toys 'R' Us was featured atop the page. No pornography was found.

    The search engine has yet to be named and is planned to launch sometime this spring, doubtless showering us with another round of fascinatingly spurious and paranoid net.pornography articles. Inktomi has a high-profile name in search engine technology, and N2H2 has brand power in the educational market. This is the company which brought us Bess, a server-based net.filtering program which censors not only web pages but also chat rooms and newsgroups. Inktomi has no problem with this; their general manager, Alex Edelstein, says, "We were impressed by N2H2's real comprehensive grasp of how to run filtering as a service with a focus on constant updating, and a really good track record with school districts, and people who care about this, like parents and educators. Typically search directories [for children] use a process of 'inclusion'--they hand-picked the sites. But there is a limit to what you can do even if you put a lot of people on it. Our site will add a whole new dimension."

    Inktomi will essentially block all the sites Bess does.

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    Last updated April 11, 2000.