A Reading List For Prospective Wiccan Novices

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Richard Ballard

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Apr 14, 2003, 11:50:44 AM4/14/03
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Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.

[RB comment: I have provided a discussion of Wicca-related
definitions in an accompanying message entitled "Definitions
for Prospective Wiccan Novices".]

The evening of April 30th [midnight May 1st Stonehenge time]
brings the sabbat Beltane (pronounced Beel-teen or Bell-tayn),
a celebration of fertility and life above all else. Beltane
marks summer's beginning and is a time to celebrate the
eternal wheel of reincarnation and the return of the Wiccan
God. Beltane falls opposite Samhain [midnight October 31st
Stonehenge time, winter's beginning] on the Wheel of the Year.
Beltane (the final phase of planting) and Samhain (the third
and final harvest) are the two most important sabbats.

Many Pagans believe that the name Beltane derives from the
English word 'balefire' meaning 'boon' or 'extra'. European
monarchs marked the Beltane sabbat's beginning by lighting
balefires, typically on high hills -- having sex with ladies
from the families of lesser nobility was included within the
balefire ritual. Lesser nobility then could light their own
balefires on lower hills (and themselves have sex with ladies
from the families of lesser nobility or commoners), and could
begin their own Beltane celebrations. The ritual sex included
within the balefire celebrations equates to the Aristocracy's
(e.g., the King's, Baron's, or local landowner's) 'first night'
privileges -- the Aristocracy's right to control who could
marry whom and the Aristocracy's right to bed any young lady
first on her wedding night. The balefire ritual replenished
the Aristocracy's energy and symbolically blessed the young
lady bedded by the Aristocrat. The balefire ritual also
maintained the continuity of the Aristocracy -- 'the pecking
order' is a time-honored tradition.

During Beltane, Pagan commoners celebrated having survived Winter's
hardship and renewed their sense of community under their monarch
and nobility. The balefires symbolized the warmth and vigor of
the life-giving Sun and a commitment to maintain the Pagan family.
The balefire ritual also focused the Aristocracy's power within
the minds of their subjects: "We control the farm land and winter
will return -- wanna eat?" Monarchs and nobility provided much
food and drink to be served during Beltane celebrations -- a treat
and a relief after Winter's sparse, drab fare.

Dancing around the May Pole is another Beltane tradition. In Pagan
times the May Pole was constructed by removing all but the topmost
branches from a communal pine tree. White and red ribbons that
represented the Pagan Goddess and God, respectively, were attached
to the tree beneath the remaining pine branches. Woman holding the
white ribbons and men holding the red ribbons danced around the
May Pole, interweaving the white and red ribbons around the
May Pole. The May Pole represented a phallus, the untrimmed topmost
pine branches represented pubic hair, and the interwoven ribbons
represented the female birth canal surrounding the phallus.

With this sabbat approaching many Wiccans are discussing Wicca
more openly, and many of their friends are hearing about Wicca
for the first time. These friends might ask "How can I learn
about Wicca?"

Texts are one source of quality Wiccan information, and texts
do not contain oathbound secrets. If One wants to recommend a
list of Wiccan texts to friends I recommend the following
Wiccan novice's texts (and recommend that they be read in the
order given):

1) "Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner"
by Scott Cunningham.
5 stars -- A Practical Guide for the Solitary Wiccan

Scott Cunningham is well-regarded within the Wiccan community
and his "Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner" is very
popular, particularly with prospective Wiccan novices. Yet
some people discredit Mr. Cunningham because his Tradition
permits Wiccan solitary worshippers to self-initiate. Other
people discredit Mr. Cunningham because they believe that he
does not differentiate between witches and Wiccans.

In "Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practioner" Scott Cunningham
expresses a philosophy (mirroring the agnostic philosophy of
twice Nobel Laurate Lord Bertrand Russell) that ethics are of
greater importance than strict adherence to religious dogma. In
consequence, sincere worshippers *can* self-initiate under Mr.
Cunningham's stated philosophy and Wiccan Tradition. BTW, this
liberal philosophy also is consistent with the Seax-Wica Tradition
described by Raymond Buckland in "The Tree: The Complete Book of
Saxon Witchcraft".

Integral to many Wiccan Traditions (e.g., Cunningham, Buckland) is
the tenet that Wiccan Covens and solitary worshippers are free to
define and modify their Traditions. There is *no requirement*
that a Wiccan solitary worshipper have any contact or
correspondence with a (lineaged) Wiccan Coven or High Priest/ess.
There is *no requirement* that a self-initiated Wiccan solitary
worshipper serve a 'year-and-a-day' apprenticeship prior to
becoming a Wiccan solitary worshipper. Likewise, Covens are
*not bound* to require a 'year-and-a-day' apprenticeship prior
to initiating Coven members.

Scott Cunningham *did* differentiate between witches and Wiccans.
Reading the entire text is best, but prospective Wiccan novices
can verify quickly the difference in Scott Cunningham's definitions
by comparing his definitions for 'Wicca' and 'Witch' given on pages
203 and 204 of the above-referenced text.

Wiccan Coven members might disagree with Mr. Cunningham's
statements. I equate their disagreement with a difference of
Wiccan Tradition. I believe that Wiccan Covens and solitary
worshippers (and authors) are free to define and modify their
own Wiccan Traditions.

2) "Inside A Witches' Coven" by Edain McCoy.
5 stars -- Common Sense Discussion of Joining A Coven

3) "The Sabbats: A New Approach to Living the Old Ways"
by Edain McCoy.
5 stars -- A Celebration Of The Pagan Sabbats

Ms. Edain McCoy is controversial within the Pagan community.
Magick sometimes is described as being left- or right-handed
magick. Left-handed magick tends to be dark (obscuring),
domineering, *chaotic* magick with little regard for ethics or
morality. [Imagine the most misleading pre-election political
advertisements possible -- a perfect example of chaotic,
left-handed magick.] Left-handed magick often is associated
with satanism and has gained popularity in the past several
years. Right-handed magick tends to be light (illuminating),
non-interfering *benign* magick. Ms. McCoy specializes in
wholesome light magick. I believe that Ms. McCoy's critics
are criticizing Ms. McCoy's wholesome light magick more than
they are criticizing Ms. McCoy.

Some accuse Ms. McCoy of poor scholarship, and criticize the
Irish 'Witta' Tradition that she presents in her book "Witta:
An Irish Pagan Tradition". Their principal arguments are
that 'Witta' is not linguistically correct in the Celtic
tongue, and that the Irish could not have worshipped a 'potato
Goddess' because the Irish potato was a New World vegetable.

I believe these arguments can *not* be supported. First,
Gerald Gardner *invented* Wicca in the mid-1900's. The Irish
potato existed in Ireland long before the mid-1900's -- the
Irish potato is *prehistoric* in a Wiccan sense. Furthermore,
the right of Wiccan Covens and solitary worshippers (and Wiccan
authors) to define and modify their own Traditions is a central
Wiccan tenet -- Ms. McCoy's Irish 'Witta' Tradition and Gerald
Gardner's Gardnerian Wicca Tradition are equally valid. I
equate a statement "Your Tradition contains errors or blatant
falsities" to the statement "Your Tradition differs from my
Tradition". The work of Wiccan authors reflects their own
Traditions.

Furthermore, I believe that the Irish potato *is* an Old World
vegetable, and was found on the European continent (including
the British Isles). My "College Edition, Webster's New World
Dictionary of the American Language (... based upon and includes
material from Webster's New World Dictionary, Encyclopedic
Edition)", c 1953, 1954, ... 1966 states 'potato ... [Sp. patata,
var. of batata, sweet potato < a Haitian word] ...'. I acknowledge
that French is the 'official' language of Haiti, but Haitian
slaves were Africans. (Attempts to enslave the South/Central
American Indians failed because Indians captured and isolated
from their tribes and families quickly perished without their
freedom.) I believe it likely that while affluent Haitian
planters dined on French cuisine, their imported African slaves
ate poor food (including *sweet potatoes*), food that the imported
African slaves named in their African tongue. Concerning the
reference to the Spanish word patata, first the Arabs and then
the Moors (i.e., Moroccans/Mauritanians) each occupied the
southern portion of the Iberian peninsula for a separate 200 year
period -- 400 years of occupation. This occupation presented an
opportunity for African roots (both food and linguistic) to affect
Spanish culture, architecture and language.

I have observed *no evidence* that Irish potatoes are a New World
vegetable. Corn (maize) is a New World vegetable. During the
Irish potato famine the United States attempted to provide famine
relief by sending corn (commonly eaten in the United States) to
the Irish. The Irish refused to eat corn because they considered
corn to be cattle feed. I am originally from the Corn Belt, and
I know that some varieties of corn are so tough that they are fit
*only* for cattle feed. [Many people in the United States would
refuse to eat 'grits', particularly if they have dental problems
exacerbated by age and/or poor nutrition. There were few 'dentists'
(irony acknowledged) in Ireland at the time of the Irish potato
famine.] The starving Irish would have gratefully accepted wheat
("... Give us this day our daily bread ...") -- the United States
sent corn. I recommend that skeptics read the novel "The Jungle"
by Upton Sinclair -- many United States' GIs read that novel
*after* returning from World War I.

Irish potatoes were a mainstay of the Irish diet, and it is
appropriate that Wittans associate potatoes with the
fertile Goddess.

I believe that Ms. McCoy's usage of the word 'Witta' and
including potatoes within her Irish Wittan Tradition is
appropriate -- the usage harms no one. If an individual
(or author) wants to incorporate a given word or concept within
their own Tradition that is their right as long as they are not
hindering others' worship. ***Self-determination is a Wiccan
right.*** I believe that comments criticizing Ms. McCoy's
scholarship and her Witta Tradition are biased personal attacks
against Ms. McCoy and her wholesome Wittan Tradition.

Individuals have responded to earlier versions of my "Reading
List For Prospective Wiccan Novices" by claiming that *I* am
guilty of poor or weak scholarship because I have *not* recommended
that prospective Wiccan novices study ancient and arcane Wiccan
texts. By design my "A Reading List For Prospective Wiccan Novices"
is oriented towards *novices* -- individuals with little prior
knowledge (and no commitment) to Wicca, the craft, Paganism, or
satanism. I believe that prospective Wiccan novices are *not*
interested in (and do *not* value) arcane historical detail. My
list is *not* oriented towards Pagan scholars and does *not* claim
to be oriented towards Pagan scholars. When I feel that an arcane
historical text is suitable (or *not* suitable) for prospective
Wiccan novices I identify the text and I provide the reasons for
my beliefs. But my primary emphasis is identifying ***well- and
clearly-written texts that describe current Wiccan practices***,
*not* arcane Wiccan/Pagan history texts. Ms. McCoy's texts are
well- and clearly-written, and her texts address current topics
relevant to prospective Wiccan novices. I highly recommend
Ms. McCoy's wholesome texts to prospective Wiccan novices.

4) "The Practice of Witchcraft Today: An Introduction to
Beliefs and Rituals" by Robin Skelton
5 stars -- A detailed overview of Wiccan practices for the
advanced novice

5) "The Tree: The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft"
by Raymond Buckland
5 stars -- The Saxon Wiccan's Free Will Book of Spells

=====================================

I recommend the following text *despite reservations*:

6) "Wicca for Men: A Handbook for Male Pagans Seeking A
Spiritual Path" by A. J. Drew
4 stars -- A Readable Text with a Misleading Title

Most Wiccan Traditions emphasize the Wiccan Goddess and
women's issues over the Wiccan God and men's issues. Author
A. J. Drew offers a Wiccan Tradition with better female/male
balance: the Tradition honors the Goddess and God equally,
and its rituals provide meaningful roles for women and men both.
Nevertheless, I believe this readable and informative text does
*not* live up to its title because Mr. Drew does *not* discuss
witchcraft and Wicca from a strictly male-oriented viewpoint.
"Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner" by Scott
Cunningham emphasizes ethics over dogma and suggests how
solitary worshippers can modify Wicca to fit their beliefs. I
believe that Mr. Cunningham's text is better suited for those
seeking a strictly male-oriented viewpoint of Wicca.

I am *not* a member of 'Creation's Covenant'.

=====================================

I recommend the following text *despite reservations*:

7) "The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion
of the Great Goddess" by Starhawk
5 stars -- A Witchcraft Tradition and Political Manifesto

"The Spiral Dance..." relegates the Horned God and men to a
weak supporting role. *No-where* in the Twentieth Anniversary
Edition of "The Spiral Dance: ..." (original text plus two
appendices giving Tenth Anniversary comments and Twentieth
Anniversary comments, respectively) does Starhawk state that
she is a Wiccan. Starhawk states (pp. 6,16) that her Reclaiming
Tradition has roots in Victor and Cora Anderson's Faerie
Tradition. Nevertheless, this text is very well-written and
provides detailed insight into a non-Wiccan feminist Tradition
not available in other texts.

=====================================

My reviews of these texts appear on the Amazon.com
website. All of the reviews appear in one place. To
access these reviews:

A) Access "http://www.amazon.com" (no quotes);
B) Click on "Friends & Favorites";
C) Under the category "Search for Friends"
Enter "rjballard"
Click GO
D) Scroll to the bottom of this short webpage
E) Click "See all of Richard Ballard's reviews"
F) Scroll down this page (and successive pages)
to the reviews of interest.

=====================================
I specifically do *not* recommend:

8) "Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner"
by Scott Cunningham
3 stars -- A Disappointing Sequel

Scott Cunningham's excellent first text "Wicca: A Guide For
The Solitary Practitioner" defines a Tradition based upon belief
in the Wiccan Goddess and the Wiccan God, concern for the
Earth, social consciousness, and the right not to be dominated
by others. This Tradition is flexible, and Mr. Cunningham offers
suggestions how solitary Wiccans can modify this Tradition to
better suit their individual philosophy and needs.

I believe Mr. Cunningham's sequel "Living Wicca: A Further Guide
for the Solitary Practitioner" addresses no well-defined audience
for the following reasons: It assumes knowledge a Wiccan novice
will not have, but does not supply details needed by experienced
Wiccans. The sequel weakens the free and open Wiccan concepts
that Mr. Cunningham presented in his first text for the solitary
practitioner. In many ways the sequel discounts solitary Wiccan
practice and directs the solitary practitioner toward Coven
membership -- contradictions to statements and philosophies that
Scott Cunningham expressed in his excellent earlier text "Wicca:
A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner".

I can *not* recommend this text because I believe these
inconsistencies defeat the sequel's stated purpose.

I am *not* a member of the 'Church of All Worlds'. I am *not*
a member of 'The Church of Satan'. I am *not* a member of
'The Temple of Set'.

=====================================

I specifically do *not* recommend:

9) "To Ride A Silver Broomstick: New Generation Witchcraft"
by Silver RavenWolf
4 stars -- New Generation Witchcraft is *not* Wicca

I believe Ms. Thayer (Silver RavenWolf) utilizes Wiccan concepts
plus New Age concepts to define New Generation Witchcraft. The
result is not Wicca: A) Ms. Thayer provides (pp.14-15) a
definition of Wicca unlike any Wiccan definition that I have seen
elsewhere; B) I believe that Wicca, with its worship of both The
Wiccan Goddess and The Wiccan God, should be a gender-neutral
religion. Ms. Thayer's statements (pg 274) indicate that New
Generation Witchcraft is not gender-neutral; C) Most Wiccan
traditions follow The Rede. New Generation Witchcraft explicitly
ignores ethics (Chapter 21), and I believe that several of
Ms. Thayer's writings are contrary to The Rede.

My belief is that New Generation Witchcraft is attractively-
packaged New Age occultism, but it is not Wicca. New Generation
Witchcraft appears to be designed for a parent having difficulty:
the parent can form a family Coven, an exclusive Coven that
avoids outsiders to the detriment of the children's (and the
parents') social development.

I can *not* recommend New Generation Witchcraft to prospective
Wiccan novices or their families.

=====================================

I specifically do *not* recommend:

10) "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft"
by Denise Zimmermann and Katherine A. Gleason
3 stars -- A nice Craft text with serious omissions

"The Guide ..." is very professionally produced. I believe its
primary audience is women in transition (e.g., discharged career
women, divorcees, empty-nesters and widows) who seek new motivation.
"The Guide ..." discusses a range of New Age topics and provides
a nice discussion about the Wiccan religion and witchcraft, but it
omits discussion of domineering, left-handed witchcraft. [E.g.,
some spells are punitive, some witches practice necromancy, and
some Coven initiations include (a-hem) secret rituals and (a-hem)
binding commitments.] I believe that "Wicca: A Guide For The
Solitary Practitioner" by Scott Cunningham plus "Inside A Witches'
Coven" by Edain McCoy provide a better and clearer introduction
for prospective Wiccan novices.

"The Guide ..." reads like professionally-prepared marketing
literature, but I can *not* recommend "The Guide ..." to
prospective Wiccan novices because of the omissions discussed
above.

=====================================

I specifically do *not* recommend:

11) "True Magick: A Beginner's Guide" by Amber K
3 stars -- A Weak Introduction To Witchcraft

I believe this text is written in a style and level of detail
suited for middle-school-aged children. It is a broad shallow
overview of witchcraft. It contains serious errors (it equates
witchcraft and Wicca) and omits to differentiate between solitary
Wiccan worship and Wiccan Coven membership. It does not discuss
Coven social structure or binding initiation rituals -- serious
omissions in an introductory text.

I believe that middle-school-aged children would be better served
by discussing Scott Cunningham's "Wicca: A Guide For The
Solitary Practitioner" plus Edain McCoy's "Inside A Witches'
Coven" with their biological parents and/or legal guardians.

I can *not* recommend "True Magick: A Beginner's Guide" to
prospective Wiccan novices because of the errors and omissions
discussed above.

=====================================

I specifically do *not* recommend:

12) "Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers,
and Other Pagans in America Today" by Margot Adler
4 stars -- A Paganism Survey Text Unsuited For Beginners

Margot Adler's "Drawing Down The Moon: ..." was originally
published in 1979. The Revised and Expanded Edition is
copyright 1986 with an 'Appendix III: Resources' added in 1997.
I believe that Paganism is a dynamic, very rapidly changing
culture. (For example satanism, a religion that some people
include under Paganism, is *not* discussed within Ms. Adler's
text.) Due to its age I consider "Drawing Down the Moon: ..."
a historical description. I believe that prospective Wiccan
novices want current information about modern Wicca and Paganism,
*not* historical descriptions.

"Drawing Down The Moon: ..." is written like a sociological
survey text. I have read this lengthy text completely *twice*,
and I believe it is dry, difficult reading for a prospective
Wiccan novice. Unlike other Wiccan and witchcraft texts,
"Drawing Down The Moon: ..." does *not* include personal
experience descriptions. I believe that prospective Wiccan
novices want descriptions of *modern* Paganism and witchcraft.
I believe that "Inside A Witches' Coven" by Edain McCoy and
"The SABBATS: A New Approach to Living the Old Ways" by Edain
McCoy include better descriptions (including personal
experience descriptions) of modern Paganism and witchcraft.

I can *not* recommend "Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids,
Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today" to
prospective Wiccan novices for the reasons discussed above.

I am *not* a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan or a satanist.

=====================================

I specifically do *not* recommend:

13) "Mastering Witchcraft: A Practical Guide for Witches,
Warlocks, & Covens" by Paul Huson
4 stars -- The History and Tools of Dark Magick

I believe Wicca is a magick user's religion celebrating human
fertility and the Earth's fertility -- a beneficient religion.
I believe that witchcraft is goal-oriented use of magick and
magickal tools with *no* ethical and *no* moral constraints --
potentially evil magick use that contradicts the Wiccan Rede
("An Ye harm none, do what Ye will"). I do *not* equate
witchcraft to Wicca.

"Mastering Witchcraft: ..." provides Paul Huson's historical
views of daemons (fallen angels). Mr. Huson attributes magick
to the Nephilim, the children of the 'sons of God' (Genesis 6:4)
who mated with the daughters of man. The Nephilim exist in other
cultures' histories -- e.g., the Norse Giants and the Greek Titans.
According to Mr. Huson the Nephilim perished during the Great
Flood, but their spirits survived due to their angelic nature.
Mr. Huson states that the Nephilim are able to reincarnate and
that ***all magickal knowledge is derived from them***.

Paul Huson's text is interesting, but it concentrates on
domineering left-handed magick including gambling with your soul
(pg. 6), the legal consequences of intimidation (pp. 28 and 174),
poison rings (pg.44), adulterants for food, drink, and cigarettes
(pp. 102 and 189), planetary (torment) spells for indifferent
or neglectful lovers (pp. 107-111), the Dumb Supper [a silent
supper communing with a dead spouse (and I believe punishing
a separated or divorced spouse)] (pp. 111-115), love dissolution
spells (pp. 125 and 189-190), binding the victim's soul or deep
mind (pg. 136), mandrake root and devil's weed (pg. 146), the
basis of vampire and werewolf legends (pg. 152), banishing
(pg. 169), exorcism fumigations (pg. 170), ligature (pp. 179-180),
bondage and sensory deprivation [the witch's bridle/cradle
(pg. 180) and hoodwinks (pg. 220)], and erection of a psychic
booby trap (pg. 185).

I believe that Mr. Huson's text "Mastering Witchcraft: ..." is
unfair and is antithetical to a magick-users' religion
celebrating the Earth's and human fertility. I believe this text
concentrates more on ****dominating/mastering people**** than
upon mastering witchcraft.

I can *not* recommend "Mastering Witchcraft: A Practical Guide
for Witches, Warlocks, & Covens" to prospective Wiccan novices
for the reasons discussed above.

I am *not* a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan, or a satanist.

=====================================

I specifically do *not* recommend:

14) "The Book Of The Law" by Aleister Crowley
3 stars -- An Interesting Presentation of Ethics

Aleister Crowley's "The Book Of The Law" is a seminal work
for some magickal disciplines and is much discussed among Wiccans,
but I do *not* recommend that prospective Wiccan novices study
"The Book Of The Law". I believe that "The Book Of The Law"
is *totally* unsuitable for novices due to its cryptic style.
I also believe that any novice attempting to read "The Book Of
The Law" would quickly give up in frustration.

Crowley's "The Book Of The Law" is cryptic reading until a person
discovers the key, but the nature of the key is controversial and
subject to (mis)interpretation. While scholars interpret the key
as a matter of faith, I believe that most Magickians interpret the
key differently based solely upon the language of 21st Century
popular culture. Also (in a manner analogous to Islamic tenets
concerning the Quran) "The Book Of The Law" warns *against* casual
study of "The Book Of The Law" by the unknowledgeable.

I believe that "The Book Of The Law" is *totally unsuitable* for
prospective Wiccan novices due to its cryptic nature, and due to
the fact that its warning against casual study makes it a topic
of *unknowledgeable speculation*.

I am *not* a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan, or a satanist.

=====================================

I specifically do *not* recommend:

15) "MAGICK In Theory And Practice" by Aleister Crowley
4 stars -- Aleister Crowley Revealed

Aleister Crowley's "MAGICK In Theory And Practice" (MTP) is a
seminal work for some magickal disciplines and is much discussed
among Wiccans, but I do *not* recommend that prospective Wiccan
novices study MTP. I believe that MTP is *totally* unsuitable
for novices due to its cryptic style, and that any novice
attempting to read MTP would quickly give up in frustration.
[After having read many Wiccan texts and more than one year's
participation in Wiccan-related Internet newsgroups, I read MTP
twice taking copious notes before I felt that I understood the
text.]

Crowley's MTP discusses his ritual magick, but MTP is cryptically
written and subject to (mis)interpretation. Furthermore, there
is similarity between some rituals appearing in the "The Satanic
Rituals" by Anton LaVey (founder of 'The Church of Satan') and
rituals discussed within MTP. I believe that Anton LaVey was
*very* familiar with MTP.

I believe that "MAGICK In Theory And Practice" is *totally
unsuitable* for prospective Wiccan novices due to its cryptic
nature and its apparent similarity to satanic rituals. MTP is
valuable reading for scholars with sufficient knowledge to
differentiate between magick and satanism.

I am *not* a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan, or a satanist.

=====================================

Some question the appropriateness of my providing *any* comments
concerning Wicca, witchcraft, Paganism or satanism. I believe that
detachment is valuable -- *not* having vested interests can bring
objectivity. In addition, I offer information -- ***my information
can be ignored with little effort***. I do *not* tell people how
to worship or practice magick in their circles or in their own homes.
And a list of Wicca-related texts based upon my study of Wiccan-,
Craft-, Pagan- and satanic-related texts and participation in Wiccan-
related Internet newsgroups threatens no one.

The comments contained herein are my opinions. This message
was not solicited or remunerated by Amazon.com, any author, or
their agent(s).

Some people do not agree with my opinions.
I am *not* a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan or a satanist.
I am a single man who lives alone in his private home.

My home is my sanctuary.
*****Come as a friend or don't come at all.*****
No players in I owns.

Richard Ballard MSEE CNA4 KD0AZ
--
Consultant specializing in computer networks, imaging & security
Listed as rjballard in "Friends & Favorites" at www.amazon.com
Last book review: "Tantra: The Art of Conscious Loving"

Richard Ballard

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Jun 3, 2003, 11:56:44 AM6/3/03
to
<*> Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Issued approximately twenty-one days before each sabbat -- last
updated on June 3, 2003. Part Two of this message follows in a
subsequent message. Each issue's new and significantly changed
paragraphs begin with a <*> marker.

<*> [RB comment: I have provided a discussion of Wicca-related
definitions in earlier messages entitled "Definitions for
Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two of Two Parts)".]

June 21 (midnight June 22 Stonehenge time), the Northern
Hemisphere's Summer Solstice, is the sabbat Midsummer. This
sabbat was called Vestalia in ancient Rome and Alban Heflin
in the Anglo-Saxon tradition. Summer Solstice marks the longest
day(light) of the year, the height of the Sun's (symbolizing
the Wiccan God's) power.

The Midsummer sabbat celebrates fertility. The Wiccan Goddess
is heavy with pregnancy, new farm animals soon will be born,
and the Earth is green with crops and vegetation -- yet
fertility rites continue both to ensure an abundant harvest
and also to ensure the continued prosperity of Pagan
families. The Midsummer sabbat also celebrates the Sun which
warms the fertile Earth, and the strength of the Horned God
and father. Midsummer balefires symbolize the strength of the
Sun and the Pagan father, and (a-hem) fertility celebrations
often accompany the lighting of the balefire.

Some Wiccan Traditions alternate their God personna. The
Holly King rules as Horned God from the Summer Solstice (Midsummer,
June 22nd) through the Winter Solstice (Yule, December 22nd), and
the Oak King rules as Horned God from the Winter Solstice (Yule,
December 22nd) through the Summer Solstice (Midsummer, June 22nd).
These Traditions might stage a Midsummer ritual battle symbolizing
the Holly King vanquishing the Oak King -- in a Yule ritual battle
the Oak King will vanquish the Holly King. This 'changing of
the Kings' marks the annual cycle of the sun.

In Greek mythos the goddess Persephone (Proserpine) was
abducted by Pluto (the God of the Underworld). Persephone's mother
Ceres (the Goddess of fertility and abundance) mourned and the
Earth grew barren. The Earth survived only through the intervention
of the other Gods. The other Gods forced a compromise where
Persephone alternately spent six months aboveground (Summer) with
her mother Ceres, and six months belowground in Hades (Winter) as
Pluto's queen and consort. The earth (and Persephone) was fertile
and warm during the six summer months Persephone spent with Ceres.
The earth (and Persephone) was barren and cold during the six winter
months Ceres mourned Persephone's time as Pluto's consort.

In the Twenty First Century with its high divorce rates
other analogies can be drawn. Children of divorced parents often
live with each of their biological parents during a portion of
the year. Midsummer (end of the school year) and Yule (semester
break) are times when childrens' transition between parents
might occur. And the 'changing of the Kings' can symbolize
separation and divorce -- a new and loving partner vanquishing
an indifferent, abusive, or (morally-)bankrupt partner.

<*> Many tribes view Midsummer as a time for family closeness.
Scandinavians celebrate Thing-Tide just after the time of Midsummer
-- Thing-Tide is a gathering of families to conduct business
before celebration and feasting. St. John's Day is celebrated
in Ireland just before the time of the Midsummer Sabbat -- some
Irish believe that faeries cart off prized livestock and
unsuspecting human revelers (particularly young maidens) on
St. John's Day. German folklore contains numerous stories of
unwise persons who wandered into the woods during Midsummer
never to return -- consider 'Hansel and Gretel', where the
witch attempts to bake Hansel and keep Gretel as a servant.

The association of Midsummer with family closeness (and the
stories of family members disappearing during Midsummer) might be
related related to the myth of Persephone's abduction by Pluto.
The Holly King / Oak King Tradition might be related to the myth
of Persephone serving two rulers -- Pluto the god of Hades and
Persephone's mother Ceres, the goddess of fertility and abundance.

Midsummer sabbat is the traditional time to gather magickal
and medicinal plants to dry and store for winter use. (This
practice explains why Midsummer sabbat is called Gathering
Day in Wales.) The Celtic Druids gathered their sacred
mistletoe (the golden bough) on Midsummer sabbat. The North
American Miami Indians gathered buckeyes (horse chestnuts)
to fashion into protective amulets and jewelry. Lavender can
be gathered for use as an aphrodisiac incense. Pine cones
can be fashioned into powerful amulets for protection,
fertility and virility.

With this Sabbat approaching many Wiccans are discussing


Wicca more openly, and many of their friends are hearing about
Wicca for the first time. These friends might ask "How can I
learn about Wicca?"

<*> Texts and films are one source of quality information, and
texts and films do not contain oathbound secrets. If One wants
to provide a list of Wiccan references to friends I recommend
the following references (and recommend that they be read/viewed
in the order given):

<*> Individuals have responded to earlier versions of this
message by claiming that *I* am guilty of poor or weak scholarship


because I have *not* recommended that prospective Wiccan novices

study ancient obscure Wiccan texts. By design my reference
list is oriented towards *novices* -- individuals with little


prior knowledge (and no commitment) to Wicca, the craft, Paganism,
or satanism. I believe that prospective Wiccan novices are *not*

interested in (and do *not* value) obscure detail. My list is


*not* oriented towards Pagan scholars and does *not* claim to be

oriented towards Pagan scholars. When I feel that an obscure
reference is suitable (or *not* suitable) for prospective
Wiccan novices I identify the reference and I justify my beliefs.


But my primary emphasis is identifying ***well- and clearly-written

references relevant to current Wiccan practices***. Ms. McCoy's

texts are well- and clearly-written, and her texts address current

topics relevant and attractive to prospective Wiccan novices.
Ms. McCoy's texts reflect a wholesome Pagan ethic that helps
distinguish Wicca and other forms of Paganism from witchcraft
and satanism. (And Ms. McCoy apparently lives within the oaken
forests of southern Indiana, an area I know personally.) I highly


recommend Ms. McCoy's wholesome texts to prospective Wiccan novices.

<*> 4) "Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages"
by director Benjamin Christensen
5 stars -- A valuable seventy year old reference

<*> "Haxan: ..." is a 1929 silent film that was updated in 1967
with an avant garde jazz score and narration by William Burroughs
(author of "The Naked Lunch"). "Haxan: ..." clearly is prejudicial
against witches, yet I consider "Haxan: ..." a valuable reference
for two reasons. First, "Haxan: ..." graphically documents public
perception of witchcraft and demonic possession in the year 1929.
In addition, "Haxan: ..." graphically documents that public perception
of witchcraft and demonic possession has *not* changed much since the
year 1929.

<*> "Haxan: ..." discusses persecution of witches during 'The Burning
Times' (also discussed in "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Wicca and
Witchcraft" listed later in this message). "Haxan: ..." (and "The
Complete Idiot's Guide ...") does not discuss the possibility that
The Burning Times were initiated when livestock and peasants ate
wet ergot-infested grain, developed epileptic-like seizures, and
overzealous inquisitors interpreted the seizures as evidence of
demonic possession. "Haxan: ..." portrays witches simultaneously
as drawn to sensual demonic rituals, and as cold and sexually
dysfunctional women seeking the financial security that accompanies
marriage.

<*> My interpretation of "Haxan: ..." is that marriage to an abusive
husband can seem like demonic possession (particularly if poor
finances or societal custom preclude the escape that divorce offers),
and that marriage to an abusive or indifferent husband can create
a sexually dysfunctional woman. I also admit the possibility that
in a paternalistic society (such as colonial America) where divorce
was not permitted, accusing a wife or woman lover of witchcraft was
one method to terminate an unhappy relationship. Current United
States society is more gender-neutral -- as a result either partner
can falsely charge the other when an unhappy relationship exists.

<*> IMO many people (including Wiccans, witches, satanists and other
Pagans) have difficulty distinguishing Wicca (a religion) from
witchcraft (goal-oriented magick use). Ethics, morality and
religion appear nowhere with Haxan's witches. IMO ethics and morality
*must* be included with Wiccan tenets if Wicca is to be
distinguishable from generic witchcraft and satanism.

5) "The Practice of Witchcraft Today: An Introduction to


Beliefs and Rituals" by Robin Skelton
5 stars -- A detailed overview of Wiccan practices for the
advanced novice

6) "The Tree: The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft"


by Raymond Buckland
5 stars -- The Saxon Wiccan's Free Will Book of Spells

<*> 7) "Tattoo" starring Bruce Dern and Maude Adams
4 stars -- A flawed Creation story

<*> "Tattoo" is *not* a story of Wicca or witchcraft, but some
Wiccan initiation rituals require that the initiate accept the
Coven's sigil tattoo before initiation. "Tattoo" is the story
of an obsessed tattoo artist who drugs and kidnaps a woman.
The woman awakens to find she has become the tattoo artist's
canvas and that the tattoo artist is consecrating her body with
tattoos -- the obsessed artist is creating his Goddess.

<*> Being tattooed is a permanent and painful commitment.
"Tattoo" portrays creation of large exquisite pastel tattoos.
"Tattoo" does portray physical pain during tattooing, but
opaque body paint was used to simulate the pastel tattoos.
Most tattoos utilize dark colors that are easy to repair in
case of abrasion, flaking due to winter dryness, or sunburn
peeling -- pastel inks are difficult to patch successfully.
Tattooed skin requires care to maintain tattoo beauty. To
maintain her exquisite pastel tattoos' beauty, the woman
portrayed in "Tattoo" would be forced to become a hothouse
plant.

<*> I recommend that any person interested in getting tattooed
read the two Frequently Asked Questions documents (FAQs)
provided periodically on the rec.arts.bodyart Internet newsgroup.
Reading these FAQs will answer many questions, and will help
interested persons ask informed questions when evaluating
tattoo artists and their facilities. I further recommend that
anyone being tattooed follow their tattoo artist's skin care
instructions.

<*> I have no tattoos.

<*> 8) "Skin Art" by director W. Blake Herron
3 stars -- Branded for slavery

<*> "Skin Art" is *not* a story of Wicca or witchcraft. "Skin Art"
is the story of Southeast Asian women who are purchased and
imported to work in a local Oriental bordello. Prior to working
in the bordello each woman's entire back and shoulders are covered
with an ornate tattoo. The bordello's customers find the tattoos
stimulating, while the painful tattooing process is part of the
bordello's submissiveness training.

<*> I include "Skin Art" in this list because of a personal
experience. I once attended a college repertory event at the
school year start. The audience included a young woman whose
head was shaved and whose scalp held a partially-completed
dragon tattoo in black outline. A woman might want to tattoo
a body part that is normally covered by clothing, but why hide
a tattoo where a future spouse was unlikely to discover it?
I know only one justification: the young woman was an extortion
victim and the hidden tattoo was verification to be used in
extortion claims against the woman's future husband.

<*> Branding by tattooing [less frequently by thermal branding]
sometimes occurs in the United States, but more often women are
bound by indebtness (e.g., car payments) and several hungry
children in a poor domestic economy.

<*> I have no tattoos.

*****End of Part One*****

The comments contained herein are my opinions. This message
was not solicited or remunerated by Amazon.com, any author, or
their agent(s).

I am _not_ qualified to provide legal or medical opinions.


The comments contained herein are my opinions.

Some people do not agree with my opinions.


I am *not* a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan or a satanist.
I am a single man who lives alone in his private home.

My home is my sanctuary.
*****Come as a friend or don't come at all.*****
No players in I owns.

Richard Ballard MSEE CNA4 KD0AZ
--
Consultant specializing in computer networks, imaging & security
Listed as rjballard in "Friends & Favorites" at www.amazon.com

Last book review: "Cults In Our Midst: ..."
by Margaret Thaler Singer

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jun 3, 2003, 12:42:33 PM6/3/03
to
<*> Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Issued approximately twenty-one days before each sabbat -- last
updated on June 3, 2003. Part One of this message appeared in
an earlier message. Each issue's new and significantly changed

paragraphs begin with a <*> marker.

<*> [RB comment: I have provided a discussion of Wicca-related
definitions in earlier messages entitled "Definitions for
Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two of Two Parts)".]

I recommend the following text *despite reservations*:

9) "Wicca for Men: A Handbook for Male Pagans Seeking A


Spiritual Path" by A. J. Drew
4 stars -- A Readable Text with a Misleading Title

Most Wiccan Traditions emphasize the Wiccan Goddess and
women's issues over the Wiccan God and men's issues. Author
A. J. Drew offers a Wiccan Tradition with better female/male
balance: the Tradition honors the Goddess and God equally,
and its rituals provide meaningful roles for women and men both.
Nevertheless, I believe this readable and informative text does
*not* live up to its title because Mr. Drew does *not* discuss
witchcraft and Wicca from a strictly male-oriented viewpoint.
"Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner" by Scott
Cunningham emphasizes ethics over dogma and suggests how
solitary worshippers can modify Wicca to fit their beliefs. I
believe that Mr. Cunningham's text is better suited for those
seeking a strictly male-oriented viewpoint of Wicca.

<*> While the statement makes me uncomfortable, I must praise
A. J. Drew's candor. On page 154 Mr. Drew discusses self-
initiation into Creation's Covenant's Wiccan Tradition, and
states "This is not a decision you should take lightly. If
you were raised in a traditional Western religion, you are
about to throw away the religion of your parents and their
parents."

I am *not* a member of 'Creation's Covenant'.

I recommend the following text *despite reservations*:

10) "The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion

=====================================

=====================================

11) "Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner"

I specifically do *not* recommend:

12) "To Ride A Silver Broomstick: New Generation Witchcraft"


by Silver RavenWolf
4 stars -- New Generation Witchcraft is *not* Wicca

I believe Ms. Thayer (Silver RavenWolf) utilizes Wiccan concepts
plus New Age concepts to define New Generation Witchcraft. The
result is not Wicca: A) Ms. Thayer provides (pp.14-15) a
definition of Wicca unlike any Wiccan definition that I have seen
elsewhere; B) I believe that Wicca, with its worship of both The
Wiccan Goddess and The Wiccan God, should be a gender-neutral
religion. Ms. Thayer's statements (pg 274) indicate that New
Generation Witchcraft is not gender-neutral; C) Most Wiccan
traditions follow The Rede. New Generation Witchcraft explicitly
ignores ethics (Chapter 21), and I believe that several of
Ms. Thayer's writings are contrary to The Rede.

My belief is that New Generation Witchcraft is attractively-
packaged New Age occultism, but it is not Wicca. New Generation
Witchcraft appears to be designed for a parent having difficulty:
the parent can form a family Coven, an exclusive Coven that
avoids outsiders to the detriment of the children's (and the
parents') social development.

I can *not* recommend New Generation Witchcraft to prospective
Wiccan novices or their families.

I specifically do *not* recommend:

13) "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft"


by Denise Zimmermann and Katherine A. Gleason
3 stars -- A nice Craft text with serious omissions

"The Guide ..." is very professionally produced. I believe its
primary audience is women in transition (e.g., discharged career
women, divorcees, empty-nesters and widows) who seek new motivation.
"The Guide ..." discusses a range of New Age topics and provides
a nice discussion about the Wiccan religion and witchcraft, but it
omits discussion of domineering, left-handed witchcraft. [E.g.,
some spells are punitive, some witches practice necromancy, and
some Coven initiations include (a-hem) secret rituals and (a-hem)
binding commitments.] I believe that "Wicca: A Guide For The
Solitary Practitioner" by Scott Cunningham plus "Inside A Witches'
Coven" by Edain McCoy provide a better and clearer introduction
for prospective Wiccan novices.

"The Guide ..." reads like professionally-prepared marketing
literature, but I can *not* recommend "The Guide ..." to
prospective Wiccan novices because of the omissions discussed
above.

I specifically do *not* recommend:

14) "True Magick: A Beginner's Guide" by Amber K


3 stars -- A Weak Introduction To Witchcraft

I believe this text is written in a style and level of detail
suited for middle-school-aged children. It is a broad shallow
overview of witchcraft. It contains serious errors (it equates
witchcraft and Wicca) and omits to differentiate between solitary
Wiccan worship and Wiccan Coven membership. It does not discuss
Coven social structure or binding initiation rituals -- serious
omissions in an introductory text.

I believe that middle-school-aged children would be better served
by discussing Scott Cunningham's "Wicca: A Guide For The
Solitary Practitioner" plus Edain McCoy's "Inside A Witches'
Coven" with their biological parents and/or legal guardians.

I can *not* recommend "True Magick: A Beginner's Guide" to
prospective Wiccan novices because of the errors and omissions
discussed above.

I specifically do *not* recommend:

15) "Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers,

I specifically do *not* recommend:

16) "Mastering Witchcraft: A Practical Guide for Witches,


Warlocks, & Covens" by Paul Huson
4 stars -- The History and Tools of Dark Magick

I believe Wicca is a magick user's religion celebrating human
fertility and the Earth's fertility -- a beneficient religion.
I believe that witchcraft is goal-oriented use of magick and
magickal tools with *no* ethical and *no* moral constraints --
potentially evil magick use that contradicts the Wiccan Rede
("An Ye harm none, do what Ye will"). I do *not* equate
witchcraft to Wicca.

"Mastering Witchcraft: ..." provides Paul Huson's historical
views of daemons (fallen angels). Mr. Huson attributes magick
to the Nephilim, the children of the 'sons of God' (Genesis 6:4)
who mated with the daughters of man. The Nephilim exist in other
cultures' histories -- e.g., the Norse Giants and the Greek Titans.
According to Mr. Huson the Nephilim perished during the Great
Flood, but their spirits survived due to their angelic nature.
Mr. Huson states that the Nephilim are able to reincarnate and
that ***all magickal knowledge is derived from them***.

<*> Paul Huson's text makes me uncomfortable, but I must praise
Mr. Huson's candor. On page 6 Mr. Huson states "Whether you
believe the Christian bugaboos and fear to lose your soul in
return for the powers or, like us, gamble well spent, is up
to you." Mr. Huson goes on to discuss the legal consequences


of intimidation (pp. 28 and 174), poison rings (pg.44),
adulterants for food, drink, and cigarettes (pp. 102 and 189),
planetary (torment) spells for indifferent or neglectful lovers
(pp. 107-111), the Dumb Supper [a silent supper communing with
a dead spouse (and I believe punishing a separated or divorced
spouse)] (pp. 111-115), love dissolution spells (pp. 125 and
189-190), binding the victim's soul or deep mind (pg. 136),
mandrake root and devil's weed (pg. 146), the basis of vampire
and werewolf legends (pg. 152), banishing (pg. 169), exorcism
fumigations (pg. 170), ligature (pp. 179-180), bondage and
sensory deprivation [the witch's bridle/cradle (pg. 180) and
hoodwinks (pg. 220)], and erection of a psychic booby trap
(pg. 185).

I believe that Mr. Huson's text "Mastering Witchcraft: ..." is
unfair and is antithetical to a magick-users' religion
celebrating the Earth's and human fertility. I believe this text
concentrates more on ****dominating/mastering people**** than
upon mastering witchcraft.

I can *not* recommend "Mastering Witchcraft: A Practical Guide
for Witches, Warlocks, & Covens" to prospective Wiccan novices
for the reasons discussed above.

I am *not* a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan, or a satanist.

I specifically do *not* recommend:

17) "The Book Of The Law" by Aleister Crowley


3 stars -- An Interesting Presentation of Ethics

Aleister Crowley's "The Book Of The Law" is a seminal work
for some magickal disciplines and is much discussed among Wiccans,
but I do *not* recommend that prospective Wiccan novices study
"The Book Of The Law". I believe that "The Book Of The Law"
is *totally* unsuitable for novices due to its cryptic style.
I also believe that any novice attempting to read "The Book Of
The Law" would quickly give up in frustration.

Crowley's "The Book Of The Law" is cryptic reading until a person
discovers the key, but the nature of the key is controversial and
subject to (mis)interpretation. While scholars interpret the key
as a matter of faith, I believe that most Magickians interpret the
key differently based solely upon the language of 21st Century
popular culture. Also (in a manner analogous to Islamic tenets
concerning the Quran) "The Book Of The Law" warns *against* casual
study of "The Book Of The Law" by the unknowledgeable.

I believe that "The Book Of The Law" is *totally unsuitable* for
prospective Wiccan novices due to its cryptic nature, and due to
the fact that its warning against casual study makes it a topic
of *unknowledgeable speculation*.

I am *not* a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan, or a satanist.

I specifically do *not* recommend:

18) "MAGICK In Theory And Practice" by Aleister Crowley

=====================================

*****End of Part Two*****

The comments contained herein are my opinions. This message
was not solicited or remunerated by Amazon.com, any author, or
their agent(s).

I am _not_ qualified to provide legal or medical opinions.


The comments contained herein are my opinions.

Some people do not agree with my opinions.


I am *not* a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan or a satanist.
I am a single man who lives alone in his private home.

My home is my sanctuary.
*****Come as a friend or don't come at all.*****
No players in I owns.

Richard Ballard MSEE CNA4 KD0AZ
--
Consultant specializing in computer networks, imaging & security
Listed as rjballard in "Friends & Favorites" at www.amazon.com

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jun 3, 2003, 5:57:15 PM6/3/03
to
In article <20030603115631...@mb-m27.aol.com>,
rball...@aol.com (Richard Ballard) writes:

><*> Many tribes view Midsummer as a time for family closeness.
>Scandinavians celebrate Thing-Tide just after the time of Midsummer
> -- Thing-Tide is a gathering of families to conduct business
>before celebration and feasting. St. John's Day is celebrated
>in Ireland just before the time of the Midsummer Sabbat -- some
>Irish believe that faeries cart off prized livestock and
>unsuspecting human revelers (particularly young maidens) on
>St. John's Day. German folklore contains numerous stories of
>unwise persons who wandered into the woods during Midsummer
>never to return -- consider 'Hansel and Gretel', where the
>witch attempts to bake Hansel and keep Gretel as a servant.

It probably is more accurate to state that Hansel was
to be roasted.

<snip>

><*> 8) "Skin Art" by director W. Blake Herron
> 3 stars -- Branded for slavery
>
><*> "Skin Art" is *not* a story of Wicca or witchcraft. "Skin Art"
>is the story of Southeast Asian women who are purchased and
>imported to work in a local Oriental bordello. Prior to working
>in the bordello each woman's entire back and shoulders are covered
>with an ornate tattoo. The bordello's customers find the tattoos
>stimulating, while the painful tattooing process is part of the
>bordello's submissiveness training.
>
><*> I include "Skin Art" in this list because of a personal
>experience. I once attended a college repertory event at the
>school year start. The audience included a young woman whose
>head was shaved and whose scalp held a partially-completed
>dragon tattoo in black outline. A woman might want to tattoo
>a body part that is normally covered by clothing, but why hide
>a tattoo where a future spouse was unlikely to discover it?
>I know only one justification: the young woman was an extortion
>victim and the hidden tattoo was verification to be used in
>extortion claims against the woman's future husband.

Consider the following excerpt from Psalm 23
(King David's Psalm):

"... Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
thou anointest my head with oil,
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
for ever."

I am not a Biblical scholar, but I associate with Psalm 23
a Biblical injunction: "I shall not lie down with my enemies."
("I will not submit.")

I am forced to assume that the abovementioned woman
with the scalp tattoo hoped to hide her tattoo from her
future husband. I also am forced to assume that some
person held either photographic or video records of the
woman with her scalp tattoo engaged in activities that
compromised her possibility for a good faith relationship
with her future husband. I hope that the woman found
candor in her heart.

><*> Branding by tattooing [less frequently by thermal branding]
>sometimes occurs in the United States, but more often women are
>bound by indebtness (e.g., car payments) and several hungry
>children in a poor domestic economy.
>
><*> I have no tattoos.

<snip>

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jun 5, 2003, 7:03:03 PM6/5/03
to
In article <20030603124222...@mb-m27.aol.com>,
rball...@aol.com (Richard Ballard) writes:

><*> Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
>Issued approximately twenty-one days before each sabbat -- last
>updated on June 3, 2003. Part One of this message appeared in
>an earlier message. Each issue's new and significantly changed
>paragraphs begin with a <*> marker.
>
><*> [RB comment: I have provided a discussion of Wicca-related
>definitions in earlier messages entitled "Definitions for
>Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two of Two Parts)".]

<snip>

<snip>

I specifically do not recommend:

19) "The Satanic Witch" by Anton Szandor LaVey
5 stars -- satanic witches prefer cleverness to magick

Anton LaVey is the founder of 'The Church of Satan'. In
"The Satanic Witch" Mr. LaVey discusses his lessons for satanic
witches. Mr. LaVey's witches are temptresses who have made pacts
with the devil and use clever sexual ploys to "cloud men's minds
and make simpering idiots out of them." Mr. LaVey dismisses a
Wiccan as somebody who "either is kidding herself or has much
to learn."

IMO the Wiccan religion must include morality and ethics (so-called
'good faith') to distinguish Wiccan worship from generic witchcraft.
Mr. LaVey teaches his satanic witches to use bad faith ploys to
exploit men. Clever bad faith ploys might make a golden first
impression, but the gilt quickly wears thin -- satanic witches
do *not* have lasting relationships. And once the gilt fades,
the satanic witch moves to the next partner, and the next, and
the next. This constant whirling might create a constant revenue
stream for the satanic witch and her Coven, but it whirls her life
constantly. And in a downsizing United States domestic economy,
the opportunities for new partners will become fewer and meaner.
Where will the satanic witch find herself (and her children) when
the merry-go-round runs out of brass rings?

IMO honor and good faith are powerful magick that must be included
within Wiccan worship. In "The Satanic Witch" Mr. LaVey teaches
his satanic witches the use of bad faith ploys to exploit men
partners. In teaching these bad faith ploys I believe that
Mr. LaVey is exploiting his own satanic witches. And in the
long run Mr. LaVey's satanic witches help nobody, including
themselves and their children. I can *not* recommend Mr. LaVey's
"The Satanic Witch" for these reasons.

Osric

unread,
Jun 5, 2003, 9:02:34 PM6/5/03
to
You again?

THE Cast Iron Bitch

unread,
Jun 6, 2003, 9:20:23 AM6/6/03
to

"Osric" <os...@fyrnsede.org> wrote in message
news:RKRDa.1025$pT6.1...@news.uswest.net...

Heh. It might piss off some people to scroll aaaaaaalll the way down here
just to read "You again?" But it struck me as funny! ;D
--
"Don't worry, dear, us Witches will always be alright... Remember, we happen
to other people."
~Nanny Ogg~

>


Richard Ballard

unread,
Jul 11, 2003, 2:06:42 PM7/11/03
to
Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Issued approximately twenty-one days before each sabbat.
Part Two is contained in a subsequent message titled "A Reference
List For Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part Two of Two Parts)".
Helpful definitions were included in earlier messages entitled
"Definitions For Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two of
Two Parts)". Each issue's new and significantly changed paragraphs

begin with a <*> marker.

<*> August first Midnight Stonehenge time (July 31st 7:00 PM CDT
in my locale) is the sabbat Lammas [an Anglo-Saxon word meaning
loaf-mass (bread) and the most commonly-used name for this sabbat].
In old Irish a variant Lunasa means 'August'. Lammas also is known
as Lughnasadh (Loo-nahs-ah), First Harvest, and the Sabbat of the
First Fruits. Lammas honors the Sun God Lugh (Loo) and his queen
Dana, but Lammas principally is a grain festival. In ancient
Phoenicia this festival honored the grain god Dagon, and a
significant portion of the harvest was sacrificed to him.
Similarly, Native Americans celebrate early August as a grain
festival and call it the Festival of the Maize. Corn, wheat,
barley, and other Northern Hemisphere grains are ready for
harvesting by early August. Lammas is the first of the three
harvest sabbats and a celebration of the Earth's fertility. Corn,
wheat, potatoes and other crops harvested around Lammas are
considered fertility plants and can be employed within Lammas
rituals.

<*> In Romania's Transylvanian Alps (high in the Carpathian Mountains
and the legendary home of Dracula) a fertility ritual involving
animal sacrifice is practiced the first Sunday of August. A live
sow is slain ritually on the high slopes of Mt. Chefleau in thanks
for the abundant harvest, the sow's blood is allowed to flow into
the earth, then the peasants touch their hands to the wet ground
and mark the sign of the cross (for protection and self-blessing)
in wet blood on their foreheads. Some groups mimic this
Transylvanian custom, honoring the pig as an efficient converter
of grain into lean meat during abundant times. Many groups use
red wine to symbolize blood during their rituals. Other groups
might mimic this Transylvanian custom exactly (i.e., blood from
animal ritual sacrifice) or even utilize human blood (e.g., from
a deliberate cut). Recalling that the Lammas sabbat *does*
celebrate fertility, some groups might employ human menstrual blood
during their Lammas ritual. And it is conceivable that some groups
might employ human virginal blood within their Lammas ritual (i.e.,
a female virgin has her first sex as a part of the group's Lammas
ritual).

With this sabbat approaching, many Wiccans are discussing


Wicca more openly, and many of their friends are hearing about
Wicca for the first time. These friends might ask "How can I
learn about Wicca?"

Texts and films are one source of quality information, and

Individuals have responded to earlier versions of this


message by claiming that *I* am guilty of poor or weak scholarship
because I have *not* recommended that prospective Wiccan novices
study ancient obscure Wiccan texts. By design my reference
list is oriented towards *novices* -- individuals with little
prior knowledge (and no commitment) to Wicca, the craft, Paganism,
or satanism. I believe that prospective Wiccan novices are *not*
interested in (and do *not* value) obscure detail. My list is
*not* oriented towards Pagan scholars and does *not* claim to be
oriented towards Pagan scholars. When I feel that an obscure
reference is suitable (or *not* suitable) for prospective
Wiccan novices I identify the reference and I justify my beliefs.
But my primary emphasis is identifying ***well- and clearly-written
references relevant to current Wiccan practices***. Ms. McCoy's
texts are well- and clearly-written, and her texts address current
topics relevant and attractive to prospective Wiccan novices.
Ms. McCoy's texts reflect a wholesome Pagan ethic that helps
distinguish Wicca and other forms of Paganism from witchcraft
and satanism. (And Ms. McCoy apparently lives within the oaken
forests of southern Indiana, an area I know personally.) I highly
recommend Ms. McCoy's wholesome texts to prospective Wiccan novices.

4) "Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages"


by director Benjamin Christensen
5 stars -- A valuable seventy year old reference

"Haxan: ..." is a 1929 silent film that was updated in 1967


with an avant garde jazz score and narration by William Burroughs
(author of "The Naked Lunch"). "Haxan: ..." clearly is prejudicial
against witches, yet I consider "Haxan: ..." a valuable reference
for two reasons. First, "Haxan: ..." graphically documents public
perception of witchcraft and demonic possession in the year 1929.
In addition, "Haxan: ..." graphically documents that public perception
of witchcraft and demonic possession has *not* changed much since the
year 1929.

"Haxan: ..." discusses persecution of witches during 'The Burning


Times' (also discussed in "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Wicca and
Witchcraft" listed later in this message). "Haxan: ..." (and "The
Complete Idiot's Guide ...") does not discuss the possibility that
The Burning Times were initiated when livestock and peasants ate
wet ergot-infested grain, developed epileptic-like seizures, and
overzealous inquisitors interpreted the seizures as evidence of
demonic possession. "Haxan: ..." portrays witches simultaneously
as drawn to sensual demonic rituals, and as cold and sexually
dysfunctional women seeking the financial security that accompanies
marriage.

My interpretation of "Haxan: ..." is that marriage to an abusive


husband can seem like demonic possession (particularly if poor
finances or societal custom preclude the escape that divorce offers),
and that marriage to an abusive or indifferent husband can create
a sexually dysfunctional woman. I also admit the possibility that
in a paternalistic society (such as colonial America) where divorce
was not permitted, accusing a wife or woman lover of witchcraft was
one method to terminate an unhappy relationship. Current United

States society is more gender-neutral -- either partner can falsely


charge the other when an unhappy relationship exists.

IMO many people (including Wiccans, witches, satanists and other


Pagans) have difficulty distinguishing Wicca (a religion) from
witchcraft (goal-oriented magick use). Ethics, morality and
religion appear nowhere with Haxan's witches. IMO ethics and morality

*must* be included within Wiccan tenets if Wicca is to be


distinguishable from generic witchcraft and satanism.

5) "The Practice of Witchcraft Today: An Introduction to
Beliefs and Rituals" by Robin Skelton
5 stars -- A detailed overview of Wiccan practices for the
advanced novice

6) "The Tree: The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft"
by Raymond Buckland
5 stars -- The Saxon Wiccan's Free Will Book of Spells

I recommend the following film *despite reservations*:

7) "Tattoo" starring Bruce Dern and Maude Adams
4 stars -- A flawed Creation story

"Tattoo" is *not* a story of Wicca or witchcraft, but some


Wiccan initiation rituals require that the initiate accept the
Coven's sigil tattoo before initiation. "Tattoo" is the story
of an obsessed tattoo artist who drugs and kidnaps a woman.
The woman awakens to find she has become the tattoo artist's
canvas and that the tattoo artist is consecrating her body with
tattoos -- the obsessed artist is creating his Goddess.

Being tattooed is a permanent and painful commitment.


"Tattoo" portrays creation of large exquisite pastel tattoos.
"Tattoo" does portray physical pain during tattooing, but
opaque body paint was used to simulate the pastel tattoos.
Most tattoos utilize dark colors that are easy to repair in
case of abrasion, flaking due to winter dryness, or sunburn
peeling -- pastel inks are difficult to patch successfully.
Tattooed skin requires care to maintain tattoo beauty. To
maintain her exquisite pastel tattoos' beauty, the woman
portrayed in "Tattoo" would be forced to become a hothouse
plant.

I recommend that any person interested in getting tattooed


read the two Frequently Asked Questions documents (FAQs)
provided periodically on the rec.arts.bodyart Internet newsgroup.
Reading these FAQs will answer many questions, and will help
interested persons ask informed questions when evaluating
tattoo artists and their facilities. I further recommend that
anyone being tattooed follow their tattoo artist's skin care
instructions.

I have no tattoos.

I recommend the following film *despite reservations*:

8) "Skin Art" by director W. Blake Herron
3 stars -- Branded for slavery

"Skin Art" is *not* a story of Wicca or witchcraft. "Skin Art"


is the story of Southeast Asian women who are purchased and
imported to work in a local Oriental bordello. Prior to working
in the bordello each woman's entire back and shoulders are covered
with an ornate tattoo. The bordello's customers find the tattoos
stimulating, while the painful tattooing process is part of the
bordello's submissiveness training.

I include "Skin Art" in this list because of a personal


experience. I once attended a college repertory event at the
school year start. The audience included a young woman whose
head was shaved and whose scalp held a partially-completed
dragon tattoo in black outline. A woman might want to tattoo
a body part that is normally covered by clothing, but why hide
a tattoo where a future spouse was unlikely to discover it?
I know only one justification: the young woman was an extortion
victim and the hidden tattoo was verification to be used in
extortion claims against the woman's future husband.

Consider the following excerpt from Psalm 23
(King David's Psalm):

"... Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
thou anointest my head with oil,
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
for ever."

I am not a Biblical scholar, but I associate with Psalm 23
a Biblical injunction: "I shall not lie down with my enemies."
("I will not submit.")

I am forced to assume that the abovementioned woman
with the scalp tattoo hoped to hide her tattoo from her
future husband. I also am forced to assume that some
person held either photographic or video records of the
woman with her scalp tattoo engaged in activities that
compromised her possibility for a good faith relationship
with her future husband. I hope that the woman found
candor in her heart.

Branding by tattooing [less frequently by thermal branding]


sometimes occurs in the United States, but more often women are
bound by indebtness (e.g., car payments) and several hungry
children in a poor domestic economy.

I have no tattoos.

*****End of Part One*****

The comments contained herein are my opinions. This message
was not solicited or remunerated by Amazon.com, any author, or
their agent(s).

I am _not_ qualified to provide legal or medical opinions.

I got no problems
20:51:00
20:52:00
'Life in the trailer park'
is a *long* sentence

Richard Ballard MSEE CNA4 KD0AZ
--
Consultant specializing in computer networks, imaging & security
Listed as rjballard in "Friends & Favorites" at www.amazon.com

Last book review: "Combatting Cult Mind Control"
by Steven Hassan

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jul 11, 2003, 2:15:01 PM7/11/03
to
Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Issued approximately twenty-one days before each sabbat.
Part One is contained in an earlier message titled "A Reference
List For Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One of Two Parts)".
Helpful definitions were included in earlier messages entitled
"Definitions For Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two of
Two Parts)". Each issue's new and significantly changed paragraphs

begin with a <*> marker.

I recommend the following text *despite reservations*:

9) "Wicca for Men: A Handbook for Male Pagans Seeking A
Spiritual Path" by A. J. Drew
4 stars -- A Readable Text with a Misleading Title

Most Wiccan Traditions emphasize the Wiccan Goddess and
women's issues over the Wiccan God and men's issues. Author
A. J. Drew offers a Wiccan Tradition with better female/male
balance: the Tradition honors the Goddess and God equally,
and its rituals provide meaningful roles for women and men both.
Nevertheless, I believe this readable and informative text does
*not* live up to its title because Mr. Drew does *not* discuss
witchcraft and Wicca from a strictly male-oriented viewpoint.
"Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner" by Scott
Cunningham emphasizes ethics over dogma and suggests how
solitary worshippers can modify Wicca to fit their beliefs. I
believe that Mr. Cunningham's text is better suited for those
seeking a strictly male-oriented viewpoint of Wicca.

While the statement makes me uncomfortable, I must praise

=====================================

=====================================

Paul Huson's text makes me uncomfortable, but I must praise


Mr. Huson's candor. On page 6 Mr. Huson states "Whether you
believe the Christian bugaboos and fear to lose your soul in

return for the powers or, like us, consider the gamble well

I specifically do *not* recommend:

19) "The Satanic Witch" by Anton Szandor LaVey


5 stars -- satanic witches prefer cleverness to magick

Anton LaVey is the founder of 'The Church of Satan'. In
"The Satanic Witch" Mr. LaVey discusses his lessons for satanic
witches. Mr. LaVey's witches are temptresses who have made pacts
with the devil and use clever sexual ploys to "cloud men's minds
and make simpering idiots out of them." Mr. LaVey dismisses a
Wiccan as somebody who "either is kidding herself or has much
to learn."

Mr. LaVey teaches his satanic witches to use bad faith ploys to


exploit men. Clever bad faith ploys might make a golden first
impression, but the gilt quickly wears thin -- satanic witches
do *not* have lasting relationships. And once the gilt fades,
the satanic witch moves to the next partner, and the next, and
the next. This constant whirling might create a constant revenue
stream for the satanic witch and her Coven, but it whirls her life
constantly. And in a downsizing United States domestic economy,
the opportunities for new partners will become fewer and meaner.
Where will the satanic witch find herself (and her children) when
the merry-go-round runs out of brass rings?

IMO honor and good faith are powerful magick that must be included

within Wiccan worship. Mr. LaVey teaches the opposite --
Mr. LaVey teaches the use of bad faith ploys to exploit men


partners. In teaching these bad faith ploys I believe that
Mr. LaVey is exploiting his own satanic witches. And in the
long run Mr. LaVey's satanic witches help nobody, including
themselves and their children. I can *not* recommend Mr. LaVey's
"The Satanic Witch" for these reasons.

I am *not* a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan, or a satanist.

=====================================

Some question the appropriateness of my providing *any* comments
concerning Wicca, witchcraft, Paganism or satanism. I believe that
detachment is valuable -- *not* having vested interests can bring
objectivity. In addition, I offer information -- ***my information
can be ignored with little effort***. I do *not* tell people how
to worship or practice magick in their circles or in their own homes.
And a list of Wicca-related texts based upon my study of Wiccan-,
Craft-, Pagan- and satanic-related texts and participation in Wiccan-
related Internet newsgroups threatens no one.

Ultimately, each reader must judge individually.

*****End of Part Two*****

The comments contained herein are my opinions. This message
was not solicited or remunerated by Amazon.com, any author, or
their agent(s).

I am _not_ qualified to provide legal or medical opinions.

I got no problems


20:51:00
20:52:00
'Life in the trailer park'
is a *long* sentence

Richard Ballard MSEE CNA4 KD0AZ


--
Consultant specializing in computer networks, imaging & security
Listed as rjballard in "Friends & Favorites" at www.amazon.com

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jul 14, 2003, 3:51:11 PM7/14/03
to
I received a large number of substantive comments on this
document. Rather than waiting until 21 days before the
Mabon sabbat to issue a version containing the revisions, I
am reissueing the Lammas version in its entirety. Additions
and revisions are marked with a <*> marker.

*****Beginning of document*****


Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Issued approximately twenty-one days before each sabbat.

Each issue's new and significantly changed paragraphs begin
with a <*> marker.

Part Two is contained in a subsequent message titled "A Reference
List For Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part Two of Two Parts)".
Helpful definitions were included in earlier messages entitled
"Definitions For Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two of
Two Parts)".

August first Midnight Stonehenge time (July 31st 7:00 PM CDT


in my locale) is the sabbat Lammas [an Anglo-Saxon word meaning
loaf-mass (bread) and the most commonly-used name for this sabbat].
In old Irish a variant Lunasa means 'August'. Lammas also is known
as Lughnasadh (Loo-nahs-ah), First Harvest, and the Sabbat of the
First Fruits. Lammas honors the Sun God Lugh (Loo) and his queen
Dana, but Lammas principally is a grain festival. In ancient
Phoenicia this festival honored the grain god Dagon, and a
significant portion of the harvest was sacrificed to him.
Similarly, Native Americans celebrate early August as a grain
festival and call it the Festival of the Maize. Corn, wheat,
barley, and other Northern Hemisphere grains are ready for
harvesting by early August. Lammas is the first of the three
harvest sabbats and a celebration of the Earth's fertility. Corn,
wheat, potatoes and other crops harvested around Lammas are
considered fertility plants and can be employed within Lammas
rituals.

In Romania's Transylvanian Alps (high in the Carpathian Mountains

<*> Interestingly, "Haxan: ..." depicts demonic skin as rough and
patterned. Depending upon your perspective, the depiction either
is lizard-like or resembles the rash that occurs in later stages
of syphilis infection.

I have no tattoos.

I have no tattoos.

*****End of Part One*****

<*> The comments contained herein are my opinions. This message
was not solicited by Amazon.com, any author, any artist, or their
agent(s), publisher(s), producer(s) or distributor(s).

<*> I am *not* an Islamic scholar.

<*> I am *not* legally qualified to provide medical, psychological,
legal, financial or religious opinions, but I have discussed some
issues with my Attorney and have read extensively in these areas.
I have strong opinions.

I got no problems
20:05:15 20:05:15

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jul 14, 2003, 4:01:15 PM7/14/03
to
I received a large number of substantive comments on this
document. Rather than waiting until 21 days before the
Mabon sabbat to issue a version containing the revisions, I
am reissueing the Lammas version in its entirety. Additions
and revisions are marked with a <*> marker.

*****Beginning of document*****


Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Issued approximately twenty-one days before each sabbat.

=====================================

=====================================

<*> Scott Cunningham's excellent first text "Wicca: A Guide For


The Solitary Practitioner" defines a Tradition based upon belief
in the Wiccan Goddess and the Wiccan God, concern for the Earth,
social consciousness, and the right not to be dominated by others.

This Tradition is free and flexible, and Mr. Cunningham suggests


how solitary Wiccans can modify this Tradition to better suit

their individual philosophies and needs.

<*> IMO the sequel "Living Wicca" ..." discourages solitary worship
in favor of Coven membership. IMO "Living Wicca: ..." systematically
removes the freedom and flexibility from the Tradition that Scott
Cunningham defined in "Wicca: ..." , leaving *no remaining advantage*
to the original (solitary worshipper oriented) Tradition and
suggesting that somebody who chooses to become a Wiccan would be
better served by joining a Coven. I do *not* support this attitude.
IMO people choosing to become Wiccans are best served by combining
solitary worship with Circle membership. (A Circle is a social group
that meets to discuss Craft-related issues but that does *not* include
the oath-bound information or the binding oaths of obedience included
in Wiccan Coven initiations.) Wiccan solitary worshippers joining
Circles do not sacrifice their personal autonomy through oaths of
obedience to a Coven High Priest/ess, and Circle membership offers
most of the social and discussion advantages of Coven membership.

<*> ***I can not overstress this issue.*** A Coven's High Priest/ess
has the right to squelch 'improper discussion'. As individuals grow
(and as different people assume the High Priest/ess's office),
keeping oathbound obedience to the Coven High Priest/ess's authority
might pose difficult and unanticipated problems. Liberal Coven
members might chafe under a conservative High Priest/ess's authority.
Conservative Coven members might chafe under a liberal
High Priest/ess's authority. Wo/men Coven members might chafe
under a particularly strong and chauvinistic High Priest/ess's
authority. And many Coven oaths include penalties for leaving
Coven membership.

<*> In some Wiccan Traditions, the High Priest/ess designates couples
for each sabbat celebration (possibly including the coupling of
Wiccan parents' children). IMO this social whirl does not reinforce
romantic love or stable (biological) family relationships. Teaching
is teaching, but IMO this sabbat-related social whirl is wasteful.
Partners invest their time and energy in each other, but repeatedly
switching partners at each sabbat destroys earlier investments.

<*> And where is it written that a High Priest/ess's authority is
limited to Coven-specific matters? Where is it written that the
High Priest/ess can not intervene in Coven members' mundane concerns
such as housing and use of spare/guest bedrooms?

<*> In addition, "Living Wicca: ..." was written late in
Scott Cunningham's life, probably during the last stages of his
terminal illness. IMO the writing styles of "Wicca: ..." and
"Living Wicca: ..." are *markedly different*. I must wonder if
ghost-writers (with their own opinions and agendas) co-authored
"Living Wicca: ..." ***without *** strong supervision from
Scott Cunningham.

<*> I can *not* recommend "Living Wicca: ..." because its de facto
Coven-bound orientation runs counter to its title statement, and
because I believe that Wiccan solitary worshippers who participate
in Circles achieve most of the benefits that Covens offer without
sacrificing their personal autonomy through binding oaths of
obedience.

<*> Margot Adler's "Drawing Down The Moon: ..." was originally


published in 1979. The Revised and Expanded Edition is
copyright 1986 with an 'Appendix III: Resources' added in 1997.
I believe that Paganism is a dynamic, very rapidly changing

culture. [For example satanism, a dominance attitude/philosophy
and a religion (documented in 1969) that some people include
under Paganism, is increasingly significant in 21st Century
United States society. Satanism is *not* discussed within
Ms. Adler's text.] Due to its age and omissions I consider
"Drawing Down the Moon: ..." an outdated historical description.

=====================================

<*> Some people question the appropriateness of my providing _any_


comments concerning Wicca, witchcraft, Paganism or satanism. I

believe that detachment is valuable -- _not_ having vested interests


can bring objectivity. In addition, I offer information -- ***my

information can be ignored with little effort***. I do _not_ tell


people how to worship or practice magick in their circles or in

their own homes. And IMO a list of Wicca-related definitions based
upon my studying Wiccan-, Craft-, Pagan- and satanic-related texts
and participating in Wiccan-, craft- and Pagan-related Internet
newsgroups threatens no one.

*****End of Part Two*****

<*> The comments contained herein are my opinions. This message
was not solicited by Amazon.com, any author, any artist, or their
agent(s), publisher(s), producer(s) or distributor(s).

<*> I am *not* an Islamic scholar.

<*> I am *not* legally qualified to provide medical, psychological,
legal, financial or religious opinions, but I have discussed some
issues with my Attorney and have read extensively in these areas.

I have strong opinions.

I got no problems


20:05:15 20:05:15

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jul 24, 2003, 4:11:00 PM7/24/03
to
I received a large number of substantive comments on this
document. Rather than waiting until 21 days before the
Mabon sabbat to issue a version containing the revisions, I
am reissueing the Lammas version in its entirety. _New_
additions and revisions are marked with a <*> marker.

*****Beginning of document*****
Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Issued approximately twenty-one days before each sabbat.
Each issue's new and significantly changed paragraphs begin
with a <*> marker.

<*> Part Two is contained in a subsequent message titled


"A Reference List For Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part Two
of Two Parts)". Helpful definitions were included in earlier
messages entitled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan Novices

(Part One/Two/Three of Three Parts)".

Interestingly, "Haxan: ..." depicts demonic skin as rough and

<*> I have no tattoos, but I know people who have extensive,
difficult-to-patch pastel tattoos. I know the care
these people take to keep their extensive pastel tattoos
looking attractive.

<*> IMO the two rec.arts.bodyart FAQs are well-written
and informative. These FAQs stress the skin care
required to prevent damage to pastel tattoos, and
the FAQs stress health considerations required
during and after tattoo application.

<*> I provide additional information concerning tattoos
and thermal branding of human skin later in this document.

<*> Many tattoos are applied using saturated color (e.g.,
primarily dark black, but also dark red and dark blue)
inks exclusively. The advantage of using saturated
color inks is that should the tattooed area later become
damaged due to abrasion, skin dryness or sunburn,
the tattoo can be patched without 'color match' problems
-- e.g., dark black is dark black, etc.

<*> When tattoos employing pastel colored inks are damaged,
the tattoo artist can encounter 'color match' problems
similar to the paint matching problems that auto body
shops encounter. ***Light-colored pastel inks are difficult
to exactly color match, particularly if the skin damage
changes the underlying skin's characteristics (e.g., as
the result of bad sunburn).***

<*> Individuals receiving tattoos employing pastel-colored
inks must be especially careful that their tattoos do not
become damaged if they want to maintain the beauty of their
pastel-colored tattoos. *I have no tattoos*, but I know
people who have extensive, difficult-to-patch pastel tattoos.
I know the care these people take to keep their extensive
pastel tattoos looking attractive.

<*> IMO the two rec.arts.bodyart FAQs are well-written
and informative. These FAQs stress the skin care
required to prevent damage to pastel tattoos, and
the FAQs stress health considerations required
during and after tattoo application.

<*> In November 1998 I downloaded the "rec.arts.bodyart:
Alternative Bodyart FAQ" from the Ohio State FAQ website.
I do not know if the "rec.arts.bodyart: Alternative Bodyart
FAQ" still is available on the Internet. This FAQ discusses
thermal branding of human skin. ***The "rec.arts.bodyart:
Alternative Bodyart FAQ" is a very uncomfortable document.***

<*> IMO the rationale for thermal branding of human skin (rather
than tattooing) are:

<*> 1) Rite of passage in some organizations and societies
<*> 2) Economical and fast alternative to group tattooing
<*> 3) No possibility of infection from a red hot branding iron
<*> 4) Once healed, thermal brands are free from the maintenance
problems associated with (pastel-colored) tattoos
<*> 5) Punishment and deterrent (For example, pain inflicted
as an example both to the affected individual and also to the
witnessing overall group. This ain't Nirvana, but it *is*
another way to enforce a binding oath of obedience. Some people
might prefer having a gun put to their head.)

*****End of Part One*****

The comments contained herein are my opinions. This message
was not solicited by Amazon.com, any author, any artist, or their
agent(s), publisher(s), producer(s) or distributor(s).

I am *not* an Islamic or Judaic scholar.

I am *not* legally qualified to provide medical, psychological,
legal, financial or religious opinions, but I have discussed some
issues with my Attorney and have read extensively in these areas.
I have strong opinions.

$600K for a starter house in LA?
I got no problems
20:50:05 20:50:05

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jul 24, 2003, 4:23:44 PM7/24/03
to
I received a large number of substantive comments on this
document. Rather than waiting until 21 days before the
Mabon sabbat to issue a version containing the revisions, I
am reissueing the Lammas version in its entirety. _New_
additions and revisions are marked with a <*> marker.

*****Beginning of document*****
Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Issued approximately twenty-one days before each sabbat.
Each issue's new and significantly changed paragraphs begin
with a <*> marker.

<*> Part One is contained in an earlier message titled


"A Reference List For Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One
of Two Parts)". Helpful definitions were included in earlier
messages entitled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan Novices

(Part One/Two/Three of Three Parts)".

=====================================

=====================================

Scott Cunningham's excellent first text "Wicca: A Guide For


The Solitary Practitioner" defines a Tradition based upon belief
in the Wiccan Goddess and the Wiccan God, concern for the Earth,
social consciousness, and the right not to be dominated by others.
This Tradition is free and flexible, and Mr. Cunningham suggests
how solitary Wiccans can modify this Tradition to better suit
their individual philosophies and needs.

IMO the sequel "Living Wicca" ..." discourages solitary worship


in favor of Coven membership. IMO "Living Wicca: ..." systematically
removes the freedom and flexibility from the Tradition that Scott
Cunningham defined in "Wicca: ..." , leaving *no remaining advantage*
to the original (solitary worshipper oriented) Tradition and
suggesting that somebody who chooses to become a Wiccan would be
better served by joining a Coven. I do *not* support this attitude.
IMO people choosing to become Wiccans are best served by combining
solitary worship with Circle membership. (A Circle is a social group
that meets to discuss Craft-related issues but that does *not* include
the oath-bound information or the binding oaths of obedience included
in Wiccan Coven initiations.) Wiccan solitary worshippers joining
Circles do not sacrifice their personal autonomy through oaths of
obedience to a Coven High Priest/ess, and Circle membership offers
most of the social and discussion advantages of Coven membership.

***I can not overstress this issue.*** A Coven's High Priest/ess


has the right to squelch 'improper discussion'. As individuals grow
(and as different people assume the High Priest/ess's office),
keeping oathbound obedience to the Coven High Priest/ess's authority
might pose difficult and unanticipated problems. Liberal Coven
members might chafe under a conservative High Priest/ess's authority.
Conservative Coven members might chafe under a liberal
High Priest/ess's authority. Wo/men Coven members might chafe
under a particularly strong and chauvinistic High Priest/ess's
authority. And many Coven oaths include penalties for leaving
Coven membership.

In some Wiccan Traditions, the High Priest/ess designates couples


for each sabbat celebration (possibly including the coupling of
Wiccan parents' children). IMO this social whirl does not reinforce
romantic love or stable (biological) family relationships. Teaching
is teaching, but IMO this sabbat-related social whirl is wasteful.
Partners invest their time and energy in each other, but repeatedly
switching partners at each sabbat destroys earlier investments.

<*> And where is it written that a High Priest/ess's authority is
limited to Coven-specific matters? Where is it written that the
High Priest/ess can not intervene in Coven members' mundane concerns

such as housing and use of spare/guest bedrooms? I discuss housing
issues extensively in my accompanying "Definitions for Prospective
Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two/Three of Three parts)" messages.

In addition, "Living Wicca: ..." was written late in
Scott Cunningham's life, probably during the last stages of his
terminal illness. IMO the writing styles of "Wicca: ..." and
"Living Wicca: ..." are *markedly different*. I must wonder if
ghost-writers (with their own opinions and agendas) co-authored
"Living Wicca: ..." ***without *** strong supervision from
Scott Cunningham.

I can *not* recommend "Living Wicca: ..." because its de facto

Margot Adler's "Drawing Down The Moon: ..." was originally


published in 1979. The Revised and Expanded Edition is
copyright 1986 with an 'Appendix III: Resources' added in 1997.
I believe that Paganism is a dynamic, very rapidly changing
culture. [For example satanism, a dominance attitude/philosophy

and a religion (***documented in 1969***) that some people include

=====================================

<*> I purposefully have not included any Internet website URLs
within my listed references. In the 21st Century many people
question the importance of textual references. That something
has been published indicates that a publisher has judged that
the content financially merits publication, and indicates that
a copy editor has (at a minimum) reviewed the content -- rough
indications of content quality control. While librarian
professional organizations apparently have citation rules for
Internet online academic journals, these journals typically
supplement and mirror the contents of paper professional
journals (archived by the Libary of Congress). The websites
cited in the Pagan community are not archivally stable, revising
webpage content is as difficult as revising a form letter, and
a record of webpage content changes is *not* maintained for
later public scrutiny.

<*> Some people question why I have not included their favorite
Wiccan historical texts within my reference list. I have addressed
this concern repeatedly. IMO *not committed* prospective Wiccan
novices are interested in current Wiccan practices, not arcane
historical texts. I have limited time for discretionary reading
and I have limited my current scope to those materials that I
believe *not committed* prospective Wiccan novices will find
most interesting -- that's fair.

<*> Others are free to bring descriptions of arcane texts and
history to the Internet. I document my opinions based upon my
reading and upon activities hap pening in my locale. Others can
assemble descriptions of arcane Wiccan history texts of interest
to *committed* Wiccans and can provide those descriptions on the
Internet. I consider that task outside of my current scope --
I might reconsider in the future. In the mean time I do *not*
want to dilute my current efforts on behalf of *not committed*
prospective Wiccan novices and 'throw the baby out with
the bath water'.

Some people question the appropriateness of my providing _any_
comments concerning Wicca, witchcraft, Paganism or satanism. I
believe that detachment is valuable -- _not_ having vested interests
can bring objectivity. In addition, I offer information -- ***my
information can be ignored with little effort***. I do _not_ tell
people how to worship or practice magick in their circles or in
their own homes. And IMO a list of Wicca-related definitions based
upon my studying Wiccan-, Craft-, Pagan- and satanic-related texts
and participating in Wiccan-, craft- and Pagan-related Internet
newsgroups threatens no one.

*****End of Part Two*****

The comments contained herein are my opinions. This message


was not solicited by Amazon.com, any author, any artist, or their
agent(s), publisher(s), producer(s) or distributor(s).

I am *not* an Islamic or Judaic scholar.

I am *not* legally qualified to provide medical, psychological,
legal, financial or religious opinions, but I have discussed some
issues with my Attorney and have read extensively in these areas.
I have strong opinions.

$600K for a starter house in LA?
I got no problems


20:50:05 20:50:05

Richard Ballard

unread,
Aug 10, 2003, 9:26:54 AM8/10/03
to
I have further researched the origin of the Irish (white) potato.
I consider the origin of the Irish (white) potato a Wiccan
_non-issue_ for the reasons I provide below. I hope that this
revision ends the Wiccan Irish potato issue.

"You may fire when ready, Gridley."

In article <20030724161046...@mb-m03.aol.com>,
rball...@aol.com (Richard Ballard) writes:

<snip>

<*> IMO this controversy is a Wiccan _non-issue_. After some
preliminary (and flawed) research of my own, several readers
suggested Internet website references discussing the origin of
the Irish (white) potato:

<*> "http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/sustainable/peet/profiles/c15potat.html"
(no quotes); excerpts from "Sustainable Practices for Vegetable
Production in the South" by Mary M. Peet, Ph.D. Professor, Department
of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University.

<*> "http://history-magazine.com/potato.html" (no quotes); article
'The Impact of the Potato' by Jeff Chapman on the "History Magazine"
website.

<*> "http://www.cup.org/books/kiple/potatoes.htm" (no quotes);
excerpts from "THE CAMBRIDGE WORLD HISTORY OF FOOD" edited by
Kenneth F. Kiple and Kriemhild Conee` Ornelas (the most detailed
reference).

<*> These website references indicate that the Irish (white) potato
originated in the South American Andes Mountains and propagated
naturally throughout large areas of South America, Central America
and the southern United States. Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers,
who first observed the potato in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador
adopted the Quechua name, papa. The first specimens, arguably
short-day S. tuberosum ssp. andigena forms from Colombia, probably
reached Spain around 1570. All European potato varieties in the
first 250 years were derived from the original introductions, which
constituted a very narrow gene pool that left almost all potatoes
vulnerable to devastating viruses and fungal blights (e.g., the Irish
crop failures and famine) by the mid-nineteenth century. The use of
(?) manure fertilizer did not help the situation. The references
also note that some early Spanish chroniclers misused the Indian word
batata (sweet potato) as the name for the Irish (white) potato.

<*> Why is this origin controversy a Wiccan _non-issue_? Irish
(white) potatoes reached Europe in the 1570's. Gerald Gardner
*invented* Wicca in the 1950's when he invented the so-called
Gardnerian Wiccan Tradition. This means that Irish (white) potatoes
in Europe are _prehistoric_ by Wiccan standards. Ms. McCoy states
that Irish (white) potatoes are sacred in her (later) Wittan
Tradition. Irish (white) potatoes were a mainstay of the Irish


diet, and it is appropriate that Wittans associate potatoes with

the fertile Goddess. And Irish (white) potatoes in Europe predate
both Gardnerian Wicca and Ms. McCoy's Irish Witta Traditions.

<*> The right of Wiccan Covens and solitary worshippers (and Wiccan


authors) to define and modify their own Traditions is a central

Wiccan tenet. Ms. McCoy's liberal Irish 'Witta' Tradition and
Gerald Gardner's conservative Gardnerian Wicca Tradition are equally


valid. I equate a statement "Your Tradition contains errors or
blatant falsities" to the statement "Your Tradition differs from
my Tradition". The work of Wiccan authors reflects their own

Traditions. If an individual (or author) wants to incorporate a


given word or concept within their own Tradition that is their
right as long as they are not hindering others' worship.

***Self-determination is a Wiccan right.*** Ms. McCoy is free
to define her own Wittan Tradition -- the usage harms no one.

<*> IMO comments criticizing Ms. McCoy's scholarship and her Irish


Witta Tradition are biased personal attacks against Ms. McCoy and

her wholesome Tradition (attacks from the other side of the bog?).

<*> I include Ms. McCoy's texts within my reference list because


my primary emphasis is identifying ***well- and clearly-written
references relevant to current Wiccan practices***. Ms. McCoy's
texts are well- and clearly-written, and her texts address current

topics relevant and attractive to _ not committed_ prospective


Wiccan novices. Ms. McCoy's texts reflect a wholesome Pagan ethic
that helps distinguish Wicca and other forms of Paganism from
witchcraft and satanism. (And Ms. McCoy apparently lives within

the oaken forests of southern Indiana, an area I know well.) I
highly recommend Ms. McCoy's wholesome texts to _not committed_
prospective Wiccan novices.

The comments contained herein are my opinions. This message
was not solicited by Amazon.com, any author, any artist, or their
agent(s), publisher(s), producer(s) or distributor(s).

$600K for a starter house in LA?
I got no problems
20:00:15 8:00:15

Richard Ballard

unread,
Aug 10, 2003, 11:05:44 AM8/10/03
to
In article <20030810092645...@mb-m13.aol.com>,
rball...@aol.com (Richard Ballard) writes:

>I have further researched the origin of the Irish (white) potato.
>I consider the origin of the Irish (white) potato a Wiccan
>_non-issue_ for the reasons I provide below. I hope that this
>revision ends the Wiccan Irish potato issue.
>
>"You may fire when ready, Gridley."
>
>In article <20030724161046...@mb-m03.aol.com>,
>rball...@aol.com (Richard Ballard) writes:
>
>>I received a large number of substantive comments on this
>>document. Rather than waiting until 21 days before the
>>Mabon sabbat to issue a version containing the revisions, I
>>am reissueing the Lammas version in its entirety. _New_
>>additions and revisions are marked with a <*> marker.
>>
>> *****Beginning of document*****
>>Copyright 2003 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
>>Issued approximately twenty-one days before each sabbat.
>>Each issue's new and significantly changed paragraphs begin
>>with a <*> marker.

<snip>

>the fertile Goddess. ...

The "History Magazine article URL referenced above is
particularly relevant. It details how Western Civilization
was undernourished throughout much of its early history,
and how infant mortality rates decreased and population
swelled wherever the potato was introduced into Western
diets -- very relevant to the fertile Goddess. [Remember
that the next time you fill your gasoline (petrol) tank
with gasoline costing significantly more than one dollar
per gallon.]

> ... And Irish (white) potatoes in Europe predate
>both Gardnerian Wicca and Ms. McCoy's Irish Witta Tradition.

Ironywaves

unread,
Aug 12, 2003, 10:57:21 AM8/12/03
to
I thought I read you were a Christian, Richard? Why do you post all this
stuff, then? What's your motive?
Dockery

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Ironywaves

"Richard Ballard" <rball...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20030812104401...@mb-m07.aol.com...
> In article <9277e0be.03081...@posting.google.com>,
> hierony...@my-deja.com (hieronymous707) writes:
>
> >rball...@aol.com (Richard Ballard) wrote in message
> >
> >>Public confrontations are not appropriate when a person
> >>(who you did not recognize immediately and whose identity
> >>still is uncertain) did *not* request assistance.
> >
> >Public confrontations of the sort you describe are actually
> >part and parcel of a foreman's responsibilities, and are not
> >only appropriate, but essential. Of course, that doesn't mean
> >that the foreman ever actually has to get really confrontational.
> >In fact, I'd probably say that I'm generally a very big
> >proponent of the 'show and tell' philosophy of foremaning,
> >which doesn't really require that you confront too much, but
> >which can actually give you quite a workout.
>
> Bubba, you are starting to sound the the guards in the
> film "Cool Hand Luke".
>
> Two Sundays ago while jogging in the park I encountered
> a young woman with freshly shaved head, wild eyes and
> bright red complexion -- she looked like she was hysterical.
> She was walking towards a religious fest. I glanced at her
> as I jogged past -- she looked wildly at me but said nothing
> and specifically did *not* request assistance. I did not
> know if she was experiencing epiphany or was in trouble,
> but she did *not* speak or request my assistance. I kept
> jogging after one quick glance. ***A man hesitates to
> approach a single woman in the park.***
>
> Hours later I realized that without the red complexion and
> with a full head of hair I probably would have recognized the
> young woman -- I thought I knew her but had not recognized
> her earlier. This troubled me -- why was the young woman
> silent? I wished that I had given the young woman more than
> one quick glance but it was too late. I had *no justification*
> to return to the park and search for the young woman at the
> religious fest -- somebody might consider me a stalker. My
> sleep that night was troubled.
>
> This event has no relationship to being a foreman or a
> manager, Bubba. Unfortunately, 21st Century society
> and sexual politics has evolved such that gentlemanly
> concern can get a man into trouble, and might prevent
> woman from receiving needed assistance. (Another example:
> What does a woman fear more -- being stranded at night on
> any lonely road (including Interstate Highways) with a
> broken vehicle, or the passerby who stops to ask if she
> requires assistance? There are animals in the night woods,
> Bubba.) Had the young woman spoken to me I would have stopped,
> but she was silent. I had no justification to stop, and my
> sleep that night was troubled -- I kept visualizing her face.

Richard Ballard

unread,
Aug 12, 2003, 4:32:50 PM8/12/03
to
In article <vji05rh...@corp.supernews.com>,
"Ironywaves" <irony...@knology.net> writes:

>I thought I read you were a Christian, Richard?
>Why do you post all this stuff, then? What's
>your motive?
>Dockery

This discussion is not related to Christianity.
I was describing an event which happened to me
while jogging in the city park. I responded to
a comment about confrontations. IMO confrontations
are not related to management. In addition, frankly
I wondered if I had failed to assist "a damsel
in distress", an issue impossible to resolve.

<URL snipped by RB -- URL gone>

One additional comment: Above you state "I thought I
read you were a Christian, Richard?" Everytime that
somebody on Pagan-related Internet newsgroups makes a
"I thought you were a Christian" related comment, I
wonder why they are attempting to hold me to a higher
standard of morality than they themselves apparently
follow. This has happened to me repeatedly.

Ironywaves

unread,
Aug 12, 2003, 5:30:34 PM8/12/03
to
"Richard Ballard" <rball...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20030812163250...@mb-m18.aol.com...

> In article <vji05rh...@corp.supernews.com>,
> "Ironywaves" <irony...@knology.net> writes:
>
> >I thought I read you were a Christian, Richard?
> >Why do you post all this stuff, then? What's
> >your motive?
> >Dockery
>
> This discussion is not related to Christianity.
> I was describing an event which happened to me
> while jogging in the city park. I responded to
> a comment about confrontations. IMO confrontations
> are not related to management. In addition, frankly
> I wondered if I had failed to assist "a damsel
> in distress", an issue impossible to resolve.

<URL snipped by RB -- URL gone>

http://willdockery0.tripod.com/

> One additional comment: Above you state "I thought I
> read you were a Christian, Richard?" Everytime that
> somebody on Pagan-related Internet newsgroups makes a
> "I thought you were a Christian" related comment, I
> wonder why they are attempting to hold me to a higher
> standard of morality than they themselves apparently
> follow. This has happened to me repeatedly.

Could be, Richard.
Will

Richard Ballard

unread,
Aug 12, 2003, 8:00:31 PM8/12/03
to
In article <vjin6tt...@corp.supernews.com>,
"Ironywaves" <irony...@knology.net> writes:

>"Richard Ballard" <rball...@aol.com> wrote in message
>news:20030812163250...@mb-m18.aol.com...
>
>>In article <vji05rh...@corp.supernews.com>,
>>"Ironywaves" <irony...@knology.net> writes:
>>
>>>I thought I read you were a Christian, Richard?
>>>Why do you post all this stuff, then? What's
>>>your motive?
>>>Dockery
>>
>>This discussion is not related to Christianity.
>>I was describing an event which happened to me
>>while jogging in the city park. I responded to
>>a comment about confrontations. IMO confrontations
>>are not related to management. In addition, frankly
>>I wondered if I had failed to assist "a damsel
>>in distress", an issue impossible to resolve.

<URL snipped by RB -- URL gone>

>>One additional comment: Above you state "I thought I


>>read you were a Christian, Richard?" Everytime that
>>somebody on Pagan-related Internet newsgroups makes a
>>"I thought you were a Christian" related comment, I
>>wonder why they are attempting to hold me to a higher
>>standard of morality than they themselves apparently
>>follow. This has happened to me repeatedly.
>
>Could be, Richard.
>Will

Won't.

More below.