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[Witch Way] Volume #1 Issue #5 -- Death And Transformation
October 13, 2008
Hi, Happy Samhain!

Ken's Korner

Autumn has fallen itís the season of Death, and preparing for the dark months to come. This month has been interesting for me so far. I find myself moving again, and starting over. While I hate moving, and even more I hate the need to impose on friends, I can honestly see how this situation is good for me.

I have a new job at a descent wage, though I donít know how long the contract will last. Living with friends will allow me to pay off the debts I have incurred while I was unemployed, so that when Iím back on my feet, I can start fresh. I wish I was rich, and didnít have to worry about such things, but I have the chance to get there now.

Thatís what this time of year represents. The death of the old, so that when Spring comes it has a fresh start. No need to fight light and soil, because the old growth has been cleared away by the natural cycle. Thatís how I see my situation. A clearing away of what hasnít worked, to may room for new ideas and ways of doing things when they come.

Summer has always been my favorite season, itís warm and the world is alive. I think we all wish things in our lives could remain forever, but life is change, and change is good. Itís taken a very long time for me to come to this realization.

I used to hate change. I always looked at the negative side of it. Jobs ended, girlfriends left, it snowed and I have to be at work. I was a pessimist. I hated change. No matter how bad life was, I had adapted and become comfortable. Change was bad.

Now, I try to look at the positive side of things. We live a Path of duality, for every bad thing there is a good thing too. Every cloud does have a silver lining. It may sound trite, but itís true.

One job ends, but you may get a better one next. A girlfriend leaves, but Iíve noticed that every time, the next woman I become close to is much closer to what I want in a mate. It still snows, and I still have to go to work, but now I have a 4WD with anti-lock brakes.

Change is what you make of it. If all you ever look at is the negative, your life will be filled with negativity. We all have those days when it all just seems too much to take, but Iíve noticed that the happy people donít have perfect lives, they just donít dwell on how bad things are. Our spirituality is based on change, the Wheel of the Year never stops, it just rolls on. You have the choice of embracing that change, or being run over by it.

I choose to embrace the change, and look forward to the good things that will come. Not all of it will be good of course, but as long as I can see the positive potential, life is good. The Celts marked Samhain as the end of the old year, and the beginning of the new. Are you going to mourn the end of the old year, or rejoice at the beginning of a new one?

New stuff on the website

If you've subscribed to the RSS feed, you already know what's new, but for those that don't;

We've added two new sections to the site Witchcraft History and Witchcraft Videos.

Both sections are sparce at the moment. We've found several videos of rituals that were shot by a group in New York state, that give a very good example of group ritual, that we've put up for you to watch.

The History section has a piece on Witchcraft in Elizabethan England. Our hope is to eventually have a comprehensive section on where we as Witches come from, so that we can prevent history from repeating.

We've added a new article by Swedishfairy, on Harvest Dolls which is an update to her WitchWay article from a couple of months ago.

Carridwen Brennan, who's article on ATUM appears in this issue, also has written a piece on Kabbalah in the divination section.

In the Beginning Witchcraft section, I've added an article on Witchcraft Symbols, which shows and summarizes the symbols associated with Witchcraft. There are more symbols, and I don't go far in depth on each of the symbols, but it is a good overview to get you started.

It's been a busy month at CyberWitchcraft, and with Samhain and Yule coming up, it's only going to get busier! Let us know what you think, and what you want to see by replying to this email, or going to the Contact Page.

This is your website, I'm simply taking care of it.

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Time of The Season

Welcome to Death, I hope you enjoy it!

This is the season of death. The world around us is dying. The weather is turning cold. The warmth and green of Summer is changing to the death and decay of Fall. Most of us live in cities, and go to a job isolated from the land. Weíve lost the connection to the land and seasons because we no longer rely on it for survival.

In times past, the seasons had a much stronger hold upon us. As the weather turned cold, and the harvest was brought in, everyone wondered if they would make it through the Winter to come. Death was much closer then.

Weíve lost our connection to the seasons because they no longer dictate what or how much we eat. Fall is the time of turning leaves and beautiful colors, itís no longer the time of the last harvest and hording before food becomes scarce.

Our ancestors saw the world dying around them, and knew that it would have a direct effect on them. They also knew that it was only a transition. The world was not dead forever, it would come back to life next Spring. This was the basis behind their beliefs. Nothing is permanent, not even Death.

Most of us see this time of the year as Halloween, a time to dress up and party. Our ancestors partied too. They celebrated the last harvest with the traditions that have been handed down to us. The difference is that their celebration at the end of October was a celebration of the passing of Summer. Think of it as an old fashioned Irish Wake.

In fact, most of our Halloween traditions were brought to North America by the Irish. In Ireland, they used to carve hollowed out turnips with horrific faces. Theyíd put a candle in the turnip, and call it a Jack Oílantern. The Irish were also the ones who brought the custom of trick or treat to us. How did this come about?

Our ancestors were what most of us would call superstitious. They believed in all sorts of supernatural phenomenon. The dead could come back in a form of half life, or undead. Ghosts of the long dead could roam the land, and frequently did, especially in dark forests. It seemed only natural that in this time when the land is dying, when it was more in tune with death, and that the dead would find it easier to inhabit this dying world.

Halloween was the one night of the year when the dead, as well as more sinister forces could roam freely. People started dressing as the dead as a way of going unnoticed by the roaming spirits. Trick or treating started as a way to appease those spirits. If a ghost showed up at your door, it was wise to have food on hand for them.

As Witches, we try to reconnect with the land and the seasons. We hold our Sabbats just as our ancestors did, or we try to build some semblance of them. We weave new traditions with the old. We hold Witches Balls, and go trick or treating with our kids. With kits you can buy in stores, we can now carve intricate scenes on pumpkins, but I canít remember the last time I saw anyone bob for apples.

This Samhain, remember the honored dead of your life. Put out an extra plate of food, and enjoy the feelings you used to feel when they were around. Think of those youíve lost in the last year and beyond. As long as you hold them in your thoughts, are they really gone?

Have a happy Samhain, enjoy the parties, and may the new year bring all that you wish.

ATUM-ATC Prison Ministry

by Carridwen Brennan, HPs & Chaplain

The Alexandria Temple (and Academy) of Universal Metaphysics is a Colorado Non-Profit Religious Corporation affiliated with the Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC, headquartered in Index, WA) and a Federally recognized 501(c)(3). We do Wiccan/Pagan prison and jail ministry.

There is a real need for the Templeís services. As of January 2008 there are 500+ inmates within the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) self-declared Wiccan. This is approximately 2% of the inmate population and covers all 27+ (state and private) facilities. (This percentage can reasonably be extrapolated to other states and Federal facilities.)

Corrections staff are not usually well informed about any minority faith and, therefore, not well equipped to respond to the spiritual needs of these inmates. We believe that positive spiritual focus is critical for offendersí ability to overcome their criminal thinking and behaviors, thus ending the virtually inevitable revolving door of recidivism. Wicca/Witchcraft, with its focus on personal responsibility and the ethical admonition found in the Rede (ďHarm NoneÖĒ) offers a unique and potentially transformational path for personal spiritual growth to these individuals.

The current operation of the Prison Ministry and Parolee After-care programs consists of several functions:

  • ATUM provides staff members (2) and associate volunteers (7) visiting several prisons on a regular basis to meet with inmates, providing religious services, instruction and spiritual guidance; staff members also visit county jails and other state and Federal prisons, on request, to provide these services;
  • ATUM sponsors volunteers (mentors) who write to inmates, answering questions on Wicca and providing spiritual guidance.
  • ATUM also donates new and used religious and self-help books to prison and chapel libraries for the spiritual welfare of inmates.
  • We provide re-integration services through community outreach and a volunteer spiritual mentor program.
  • Staff members are available to answer any questions chaplains and administrators may have, and currently advise several chaplains (at state and Federal levels) on an on-going basis.
  • ATUM maintains a website with information and resources.
The Temple currently provides two unpaid chaplains to CDOC and four to Jefferson County Jail.

The Prison Visit Program is important because it allows opportunities for inmates to ask questions and get feedback on their spiritual process; to witness and participate in worship and meditation practices with experienced practitioners, thereby gaining a deeper understanding of their faith.

  • It helps build a sense of connection with the broader Wiccan community.
  • It allows staff the opportunity to ask questions; putting a human face on the Wiccan faith and demystifying it.
  • The program shows Wiccans in the ďworldĒ to be concerned, involved and responsible citizens.
There are currently 7 volunteers going ďinsideĒ.

The Correspondence Mentor Program allows ATUM staff and volunteers to provide services to more inmates over a broader area; it fosters personal connection from within the community to the inmates; it assists them to feel a meaningful spiritual and personal contact with the greater community; it allows inmates to develop positive connections prior to their release from prison.

The Corrections Staff Advisory Program has presented an informational in-service to 90+ Federal (BOP) senior chaplains, made a presentation to all CDOC wardens and participated in religious diversity training for all CDOC facility chaplains.

To help out with ATUMís ministry or in your own area, please e-mail us. Our snailmail is ATUM, PO Box 140177, Edgewater, CO 80214

If you have an article you'd like to submit as a guest author for Witch Way, or for the main website, go to the Contact Page and click Submissions in the drop down box. Let me know what the article is about, and I will reply back to you so that you can attach it in an email.

Articles for Witch Way should be around 500 words, and those for should be around 2000 words.

If you have any comments or suggestions, you can go to the Contact Page on the website, or simply reply to this email. This newsletter and the website are created for you, your thoughts and ideas are important to us.

Until next month, may you be blessed in all that you do, or as we usually say,

Blessed Be,
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Ken Biles

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