Definitions For Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part Two of Four Parts)

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Richard Ballard

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Dec 2, 2003, 6:44:45 AM12/2/03
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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.

Parts One, Three and Four are contained in concurrent copyrighted
messages titled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan Novices
(Part One/Three/Four of Four Parts)", respectively. I provide
an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in subsequent
copyrighted messages entitled "A Reference List for Prospective
Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two of Two Parts)", respectively.

<*> IMO sexuality is an integral part of Paganism and Wicca.
On a monthly basis I provide copyrighted messages titled
"A neo-Tantra Reference List (Part One/Two of Two Parts)"
on this Internet newsgroup.

E) The Wiccan *Rede* is the best-known Wiccan tenet. Depending
upon the Tradition one follows, the Rede might be a binding rule,
the Rede might be considered advice, or the Rede might be ignored.

The most common statement of the Wiccan Rede is 'An ye harm
none, do what ye will'. I have observed several different
(Wiccan Tradition-dependent) interpretations of this eight-word
statement -- the words 'harm', 'none', 'do' and 'will' are
subject to interpretation. An obvious example: Does 'harm
none' refer to members of the given Wiccan Coven, to members
of the given Wiccan Tradition, to all Wiccans, or to
humankind? Furthermore, I have observed statements of the
Wiccan Rede that go on for pages like a legal contract, and
I have observed Wiccan Traditions that effectively ignore the
Wiccan Rede completely. I am _not_ comfortable with all
Traditions' interpretation of the Wiccan Rede.

There are many valid Wiccan paths -- Gardnerian Wicca was the
first Wiccan Tradition but many other Wiccan Traditions exist.
The Wiccan Gardnerian Tradition reflects English socioeconomic
culture 50 years ago. Gardnerian Wicca was initiated by
upper-income British who were able to hire low/middle-income
servants as 'apprentices'. I believe that many prospective Wiccan
novices would find the traditional 'year-and-a-day' apprenticeship
_not_ acceptable if that apprenticeship took the form of _mandatory
and unbreakable servitude_. (I am discussing an apprentice's loss
of the ability to _drop out_ of an apprenticeship program by
terminating the associated service period voluntarily and early.
***I am discussing loss of freedom of choice***. A Lot can happen
during a 'year-and-a-day' apprenticeship. Some paths are one-way
paths having *no possible return* -- this hap pens too many times.)
Of course, different Wiccan Covens might interpret Gardnerian
Tradition differently, but I believe the right of Wiccan Covens,
Coven members, and Wiccan solitary worshippers to modify their
Traditions is _mandatory_.

I believe that _most_ States' common laws forbid mandatory and
unbreakable servitude, and forbid harm during an apprenticeship.
Yet I believe I know at least one state that _does_ allow
'Bills of Attainder' -- the equivalent of a mandatory and
unbreakable servitude. I believe the legal age to sign a
contract in that state is _age fourteen_. The contract can
be written to include monetary penalties or clauses that extend
the contract without pay for poor service -- potentially
never-ending servitude. ***Most fourteen-year-olds can NOT
read 'legalese'.*** Imagine the following conversation:
'Don't think of it as a legal contract -- think of it as your
own customized version of the Wiccan Rede, the first oathbound
entry in your _Book Of Shadows_.' I believe that 'Bills of
Attainder' are _not legally enforcable_ outside of two states
within the United States, but a potential legal mess (and other
hatefulness) is possible. And poor apprentices might _not_ have
the resources to obtain necessary legal help.

<*> A similar difficult (and universally applicable) situation
exists when Wiccan parents (or legal guardian/s) force their
underage children (or wards) to become Wiccan Coven members,
a situation which IMO resembles being drafted without chance
of deferment into 'the Wiccan Army'. Most Traditions require
prospective Wiccan novices under 18 years of age to provide
a written statement of parental permission before beginning
Wiccan study. That is _much_ different than rejecting
prospective Wiccan novices under the age of 18, particularly
if the novices' parents (or legal guardian/s) are Wiccan Coven
members. A particularly unfortunate situation results if the
Wiccan Coven's Tradition includes a penalty if (upon reaching
adulthood) the children decide to leave the Wiccan Coven --
i.e., go AWOL from 'the Wiccan Army'. Wiccan oaths need _not_
include penalties for 'walking away' from a Wiccan Coven.
Raymond Buckland's Seax-Wica Tradition is an example of a
Wiccan Tradition that includes no penalty for leaving or
re-entering a Coven.

Interestingly, while age 18 is the legal 'age of sexual consent'
in most of the United States, unmarried children are not declared
legal adults and remain under their parents' supervision in most
of the United States through age 21. This three year period can
represent a 'limbo' period for unmarried children of Wiccan parents
-- they are sexually but not legally mature.

<*> I recommend that Wiccan parent/s (and legal guardian/s) avoid
situations where underaged children (or wards) become _bound_
Coven members. (And I acknowledge that my own Methodist
experience includes voluntary church membership.) One purpose
of Wiccan initiation (after a period of study) is to expose the
initiate to secret oathbound material, material previously
hidden from the initiate -- a new ball game. I recommend that
prospective Wiccan novices 'Caveat emptor' -- let the buyer
beware.

<*> My comments might seem fanciful, but my comments
have basis in myth and popular culture. Like the fable
'Hansel and Gretel' reflects ancient Germanic fears
concerning walking in the forest during the Midsummer
sabbat, the fable 'Rumpelstiltskin' is Germanic myth
concerning deals made for women's firstborn children.
[An anonymous dwarf agrees to spin a roomful of straw
into gold (wealth) in exchange for (a-hem) a woman's
firstborn child.]

<*> More recently, consider the lyrics
from the song "Sympathy for the Devil":

<*> " ... Pleased to meet you,
'hope you guess my name.
But what's puzzlin' you
is the nature of my game. ..."

IMO this anonymity theme suggests a question concerning the
_symbolism_ underlying the global custom of wearing masks
both during masquerade balls and also during certain public
celebrations.

<*> I interpret the Biblical discussion of The Garden of Eden
differently than others. My interpretation is that the serpent's
(satan's) tempting Eve to 'eat from The Tree of Knowledge'
involved the act of physical intercourse between the serpent
(satan) and Eve. My interpretation is that Eve later tempted
Adam to 'eat from The Tree of Knowledge' by the act of physical
intercourse between Adam and Eve. And Eve was pregnant ...

I believe that the Gardnerian Wiccan Tradition is outdated in
21st Century United States society. Gardnerian Wicca has been
augmented by a number of other Traditions (including Cunningham
and Buckland) that do _not_ require initiation by a lineaged Coven
and/or High Priest/ess. These liberal Wiccan Traditions place
fewer restrictions upon Coven members and solitary worshippers. I
also believe that traditional Wiccan Covens (with their requirement
to complete a 'year-and-a-day' service apprenticeship _prior_ to
Wiccan initiation) are experiencing recruiting problems --
particularly if apprenticeship duties are _not_ pleasant.

If a person decides to become a Wiccan, Wiccan *Circle* membership
(combined with Wiccan solitary worship) is a free alternative to
Wiccan Coven membership. A Wiccan Circle is a social and discussion
group that IMO offers most of the benefits offered by Wiccan Covens,
but Circle members retain their autonomy and make no binding
commitment of obedience to a High Priest/ess. The difference
between a Circle versus a Coven is the difference between an
unmoderated Internet newsgroup (like ARW) versus a moderated
newsgroup (like ARWM). Internet newsgroup moderators act like
a Coven High Priest/ess, controlling what activities and
individuals are permissible. Covens (like moderated Internet
newsgroups) are controlled and always orderly, but some individuals
and issues are not permitted. Circles (like unmoderated Internet
newsgroups) sometimes chaotic, but they are uncensored and free.

Another important difference between Internet newsgroups and
Wiccan Circles, versus Wiccan Covens is that anyone and anybody
can walk away from an Internet newsgroup or Wiccan Circle without
penalty. Some Wiccan Coven Traditions include penalties for leaving
the Coven. And as different people fill the High Priest/ess role
(as in George Orwell's novel "Animal Farm", all High Priest/ess's
experience and perspectives are not equal) and as Coven Traditions
evolve, an individual might become less comfortable with their Coven
membership (and its penalty for leaving the Coven).

IMO anybody who has decided to make a Wiccan commitment should
investigate solitary worship plus Wiccan Circle membership (a choice
that does _not_ sacrifice personal autonomy) versus Wiccan Coven
membership (with its binding oath of obedience to the Coven
High Priest/ess.)

Most Wiccan accept the Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wiccan
Traditions, but discount other recent Wiccan Traditions as
'trivialized', 'popularized' or 'fluffy bunny'. IMO the
basic issue here is conservative Wiccan opinion versus
liberal Wiccan opinion. I am not a Wiccan or Pagan, but my
liberal opinion is based partially upon "Wicca: A Guide For
The Solitary Practitioner" by Scott Cunningham and partially
upon "The Tree: The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft"
by Raymond Buckland that discusses the Seax-Wica Tradition.
The fact that conservatives accept more than one Wiccan
Tradition (e.g., Gardnerian and Alexanderian) implies that
further variation is possible.

IMO _not committed_ prospective Wiccan novices should get
an opportunity to vote. That vote can be for solitary worship
(with optional membership in a social and discussion Circle)
versus Coven membership, that vote can include choosing one
of several existing conservative or liberal Traditions (and
modifying the selected Tradition as desired), or the vote can
be to stay home and never go to the Wiccan polling place.
_Not committed_ prospective Wiccan novices have free will.

I find it fascinating that everybody assumes that Starhawk is
a Wiccan despite the fact that _nowhere_ 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.

I find it fascinating that lineaged Wiccans question the
validity of Wiccan Traditions other than the Gardnerian
Tradition and the Alexanderian Tradition, but nobody bats
an eyelash when somebody equates Dianic witchcraft (a
tradition in which the God and men _at best_ play a weak
supporting role) with Wicca.

I believe prospective Wiccan novices find Gardnerian Wicca
not relevant to their 21st Century 'popular culture' -- 'Oh,
that's my mother's Oldsmobile' (apologies to General Motors).
I also believe that Wiccan parents often are uneasy about
the pairing choices the Wiccan High Priest/ess makes during
rituals and sabbats for the parents (and sometimes for the
Wiccan parents' children).

I recommend that prospective Wiccan novices considering joining
a Wiccan Coven _learn in detail_ that Coven's Wiccan Rede
interpretation. Some Coven _Books of Shadows_ contain
oath-bound material known only to Coven members, but a Coven's
Wiccan Rede interpretation should be _freely discussable_.
Prospective Wiccan novices are _not_ yet Coven members. [In
some Covens, apprentices do not become Coven members until after
a year-and-a-day apprenticeship, personal acceptance, and Coven
(a-hem) initiation]. Prospective Wiccan novices might be affected
adversely by a Coven's Wiccan Rede interpretation. ***I believe
that potential apprentices MUST know if the Wiccan Rede protects
them during their apprenticeship, MUST know if they are free
to terminate their apprenticeship and not join the Coven, and MUST
know the responsibilities and _penalties_ on them (and their family)
if they terminate their Wiccan apprenticeship.*** If this
information is _not_ freely available, I recommend that a person
_not_ make a Wiccan Coven commitment.

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 stress retaining personal autonomy and housing based upon
my own experiences. In my locale we have a local corruption of
the word 'mason'. The corruption is "Ma's own" and the
implication is that Ma owns the house and holds the house keys,
an awkward attitude to face if you are a single man living in
his private home. (BTW, there are a number of boarding houses
in my locale.) I am sensitive to this topic, particularly given
Wiccan Covens with secret binding oaths of obedience.

<*> Currently IMO the United States domestic economy is being
buoyed artificially by 'printing press credit' -- interest
rates are at historic lows. Currently the United States'
domestic economy is burdened by United States involvement in Iraq,
in Afghanistan, in the former Yugoslavian states of Bosnia and
Serbia, and in South Korea. (The armistice that 'ended' the
Korean War did not resolve that war and its issues -- no country
surrendered.) I mention these issues because of their potential
effect on international perception of the United States as a
strong ally and reliable economic trading partner, with resultant
effect upon the United States domestic economy.

<*> Currently the State of California has an operating deficit
that exceeds $50 billion dollars, raising taxes is not politically
acceptable, California suffered extensive property damage as the
result of summer's end wildfires, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
deposed former Governor Gray Davis in a recall election. Other
states have significant operating deficits and also are unwilling
to raise taxes. Government faced with chronic deficits will provide
fewer services (including housing services). A Wiccan Coven's
binding oath of obedience could be used to house indigent Coven
members (or their friends) in another person's private residence,
a right that Government does _not_ have under the United States
Constitution. IMO individuals should consider _seriously_ the
daily implications of taking any Wiccan Coven's binding oath of
obedience. That binding oath of obedience could affect your daily
life in your (formerly) private residence.

<*> I expect this issue to grow as the United States domestic
economy continues to downsize and people exhaust their credit
resources. There already is much un(der)employment, and housing
is an expensive commodity. In Los Angeles the price of a
'starter home' is reported to be in the $600K range. The
price of constructing a new home in the St. Louis area recently
was reported to have risen $10K due to plywood cost increases,
and St. Louis heating fuel costs are expected to rise
significantly this winter compared to last winter.

Membership in a Circle (a social and discussion organization)
does not require any binding oath of obedience, and there is no
penalty for leaving a Circle's membership. Covens have different
methods to solve their problems. Some of the methods are
entrepreneural. IMO there are real advantages for somebody who
chooses to become a Wiccan to learn _exactly_ what benefits Covens
offer beyond 'solitary worshipper who participates in a Circle'
before taking Coven binding oaths of obedience. And ask the cost.
Life is full of mysteries. Some mysteries are very expensive
to explore.

<*> I classify a number of groups and philosophies under Paganism.
Another popular (and hostile) phrase in my locale is "You two",
implying "Zoning allows up to three unrelated people to live in
a single family house. You submit, and either marry a
divorced/single mother, or take in an unmarried couple or needy
boarders (with or without children)."

<*> Wiccans are included within my locale's Pagan groups that
attempt to affect housing use. A shortage of elderly housing
in my locale causes Wiccans to be concerned about housing for
senior women (who often have expended their home equity to
survive in an economy paying record low interest on long-term
FDIC-insured CDs). Wiccans mindful of the Wiccan Goddess's
Crone persona are among the strong advocates for "You two"
boarders.

I am not a Pagan and as a private residence owner I experience
_social pressure and hostility_ from Pagans (among others) as a
result of local housing availability/affordability concerns.
When I first encountered these social attitudes I was incredulous.
I have encountered these attitudes repeatedly over a several year
period, and consider the attitudes an unfair popular/Pagan solution
to social welfare problems that the Government is not addressing.
My response is to remember that it is easier _not_ to invite a
guest into your private residence than to ask that guest to leave.

Once people establish legal residence (as opposed to being
invited guests) in _your_ residence, they are free to invite _their_
(unknown) friends to visit. Invited guests in a private residence
have the right to leave. Boarders in a boarding home situation have
additional legal rights.

<*> Boarding minor children (i.e., under 21 years of age) in a
residence empowers legal complications. Government cannot legally
enter an all-adult private residence unless invited or accompanied
by a search warrant issued by the Courts. When a person accepts
minor children (including college students under 21 years of age)
as residents within their home or apartment, social welfare agencies
assigned to safeguard childrens' rights, health, and safety gain the
warrantless right of physical access to that private residence,
accompanied by the police if necessary.

<*> While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe
that accepting pregnant adult women as residents in a private home
or apartment grants the same warrantless uninvited physical access
privileges to social welfare agencies tasked with providing
prenatal care and wellness care to pregnant women, accompanied
by the police if necessary.

<*> While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe that
accepting the elderly as residents in a private home or apartment
grants the same warrantless uninvited physical access privileges
to social welfare agencies tasked with safeguarding health and safety
for the elderly, accompanied by the police if necessary.

<*> While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe that
allowing guests' animal pets (e.g., cats and dogs) within a private
residence _awkwardly_ grants the same warrantless uninvited physical
access privileges to municipal animal control agencies tasked with
humane treatment for animals and for maintaining public safety,
accompanied by the police if necessary.

<*> And if a bad boarder or bad invited guest (either maliciously or
by illegal action) invites officialdom (or minor children) into a
private residence ...

<*> In an environment of hostile Government harrassment, IMO this
de facto loss of legal safeguards associated with Court issuance
of search warrants before entry is a _significant_ loss both of
personal privacy and of civil rights. In an environment of hostile
Government harrassment, charitable actions result in _significant
loss of civil rights_ for the private residence owner.

BTW, a local civil servant (who I had _not_ been introduced to)
walked up to me one day and said "We will house four people on your
house's second floor -- you can live on the third floor." I said
nothing -- I turned and silently walked away from her. It is
_unwise_ to challenge a civil servant in her place of employment.
Historically, organized and coordinated _social pressure_ has been
used by several communal societies, by the military, and by English
boys' boarding schools. Shunning (which can include de facto
'denial of service' -- e.g., 'by the book' work slowdowns and
extraordinary bureaucratic delays) is an example of organized and
coordinated social pressure. Another example of organized and
coordinated social pressure is selective enforcement of laws and
regulations. (E.g., the police normally ignore jaywalkers in your
neighborhood's business district, but somehow you always receive
a ticket when you jaywalk. Sufficient accumulation of unpaid
jaywalking tickets is grounds for arrest and detainment. You
can not afford to pay the accumulated tickets' fees.)

Some people's attitude is that in terms of housing, my cuup
runneth over and I am being selfish not boarding others in my
private home. I consider such _social pressure and hostility_
an unfair attack on my personal freedom. I control the use of
my private home and whom I invite as guests (if any). To my
knowledge the United States Government has not (yet) instituted
'the housing police'. The United States Constitution contains
NO stipulation that allows Government to forcibly house civilians
in your private home. Of course, should martial law ever be
declared within the United States, Constitutional rights would
be suspended and ???

<*> Given our downsized domestic economy (with its shrunken tax
revenues), given the many Army base closures that have occured
during the past decade, and given our volunteer Army with a
higher married percentage than a drafted Army, I believe that
military housing shortages are a current and ongoing problem
in the United States. If Army Reserve and National Guard
reenlistment rates fall as a result of heavy use (and resulting
financial hardship while) in Iraq, greater reliance on the
enlisted volunteer Army will aggravate the military (and civilian)
housing shortage problem. The solutions to the military family
housing problem are increased tax revenues applied to military
housing, or resumption of the Selective Service Draft and
reinstitution of the conscripted bachelor(ette) Army, options
that have been discussed on the national news media.

*****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.

I got no problems.
Other people got problems.
00: 21 _8 02 03/35 06 09

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,
Jan 14, 2004, 11:04:56 AM1/14/04
to
Copyright 2003, 2004 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.

Parts One, Three and Four are contained in concurrent copyrighted
messages titled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan Novices
(Part One/Three/Four of Four Parts)", respectively. I provide
an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in subsequent
copyrighted messages entitled "A Reference List for Prospective
Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two of Two Parts)", respectively.

IMO sexuality is an integral part of Paganism and Wicca.

A similar difficult (and universally applicable) situation


exists when Wiccan parents (or legal guardian/s) force their
underage children (or wards) to become Wiccan Coven members,
a situation which IMO resembles being drafted without chance
of deferment into 'the Wiccan Army'. Most Traditions require
prospective Wiccan novices under 18 years of age to provide
a written statement of parental permission before beginning
Wiccan study. That is _much_ different than rejecting
prospective Wiccan novices under the age of 18, particularly
if the novices' parents (or legal guardian/s) are Wiccan Coven
members. A particularly unfortunate situation results if the
Wiccan Coven's Tradition includes a penalty if (upon reaching
adulthood) the children decide to leave the Wiccan Coven --
i.e., go AWOL from 'the Wiccan Army'. Wiccan oaths need _not_
include penalties for 'walking away' from a Wiccan Coven.
Raymond Buckland's Seax-Wica Tradition is an example of a
Wiccan Tradition that includes no penalty for leaving or
re-entering a Coven.

Interestingly, while age 18 is the legal 'age of sexual consent'
in most of the United States, unmarried children are not declared
legal adults and remain under their parents' supervision in most
of the United States through age 21. This three year period can
represent a 'limbo' period for unmarried children of Wiccan parents
-- they are sexually but not legally mature.

I recommend that Wiccan parent/s (and legal guardian/s) avoid


situations where underaged children (or wards) become _bound_
Coven members. (And I acknowledge that my own Methodist
experience includes voluntary church membership.) One purpose
of Wiccan initiation (after a period of study) is to expose the
initiate to secret oathbound material, material previously
hidden from the initiate -- a new ball game. I recommend that
prospective Wiccan novices 'Caveat emptor' -- let the buyer
beware.

<*> My comments might appear draconian, but the United States
is in a period of economic downsizing characterized by rising
housing, energy and food costs combined with few new jobs
being created. When the economy downsizes, some people are
less prosperous while other people become impoverished -- the
new poor. Loss of prosperity brings loss of options --
poverty brings further loss of options. People naturally make
the best deal possible, but offered situations become poorer and
scarcer in a downsized economy and some offered situations are
not pleasant or worse. The phrase no longer is used, but the
phrase 'wage slaves' was common in the recessionary late-1970's.

My comments might seem fanciful, but my comments
have basis in myth and popular culture. Like the fable
'Hansel and Gretel' reflects ancient Germanic fears
concerning walking in the forest during the Midsummer
sabbat, the fable 'Rumpelstiltskin' is Germanic myth
concerning deals made for women's firstborn children.
[An anonymous dwarf agrees to spin a roomful of straw
into gold (wealth) in exchange for (a-hem) a woman's
firstborn child.]

More recently, consider the lyrics


from the song "Sympathy for the Devil":

" ... Pleased to meet you,


'hope you guess my name.
But what's puzzlin' you
is the nature of my game. ..."

IMO this anonymity theme suggests a question concerning the
_symbolism_ underlying the global custom of wearing masks
both during masquerade balls and also during certain public
celebrations.

I interpret the Biblical discussion of The Garden of Eden

<*> ***I can not overstress this issue.*** A Coven's High Priest/ess
has the right to squelch 'improper discussion' within the Coven.

effect upon the United States domestic economy. Recently the
value of the United States dollar has fallen compared to the
value of other countries' currencies. And the United States
currently is working with Canada and with its Central and
South American neighbors to create an "American Free Trade Zone"
similar to the European Union -- no more 'Imperialist Yanquis'!

Currently the State of California has an operating deficit
that exceeds $50 billion dollars, raising taxes is not politically
acceptable, California suffered extensive property damage as the
result of summer's end wildfires, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
deposed former Governor Gray Davis in a recall election. Other
states have significant operating deficits and also are unwilling
to raise taxes. Government faced with chronic deficits will provide
fewer services (including housing services). A Wiccan Coven's
binding oath of obedience could be used to house indigent Coven
members (or their friends) in another person's private residence,
a right that Government does _not_ have under the United States
Constitution. IMO individuals should consider _seriously_ the
daily implications of taking any Wiccan Coven's binding oath of
obedience. That binding oath of obedience could affect your daily
life in your (formerly) private residence.

<*> I expect this issue to grow as the United States domestic
economy continues to downsize and people exhaust their credit

resources. There already is much un(der)employment, few new
jobs are being created, and housing is an expensive commodity.


In Los Angeles the price of a 'starter home' is reported to be
in the $600K range. The price of constructing a new home in

the St. Louis area was reported to have risen $10K due to
plywood cost increases, regular gasoline costs over $1.65US
per gallon in St. Louis, and St. Louis area heating fuel costs
are expected to rise significantly in the coming months.

Membership in a Circle (a social and discussion organization)
does not require any binding oath of obedience, and there is no
penalty for leaving a Circle's membership. Covens have different
methods to solve their problems. Some of the methods are
entrepreneural. IMO there are real advantages for somebody who
chooses to become a Wiccan to learn _exactly_ what benefits Covens
offer beyond 'solitary worshipper who participates in a Circle'
before taking Coven binding oaths of obedience. And ask the cost.
Life is full of mysteries. Some mysteries are very expensive
to explore.

I classify a number of groups and philosophies under Paganism.


Another popular (and hostile) phrase in my locale is "You two",
implying "Zoning allows up to three unrelated people to live in
a single family house. You submit, and either marry a
divorced/single mother, or take in an unmarried couple or needy
boarders (with or without children)."

Wiccans are included within my locale's Pagan groups that


attempt to affect housing use. A shortage of elderly housing
in my locale causes Wiccans to be concerned about housing for
senior women (who often have expended their home equity to
survive in an economy paying record low interest on long-term
FDIC-insured CDs). Wiccans mindful of the Wiccan Goddess's
Crone persona are among the strong advocates for "You two"
boarders.

I am not a Pagan and as a private residence owner I experience
_social pressure and hostility_ from Pagans (among others) as a
result of local housing availability/affordability concerns.
When I first encountered these social attitudes I was incredulous.
I have encountered these attitudes repeatedly over a several year
period, and consider the attitudes an unfair popular/Pagan solution
to social welfare problems that the Government is not addressing.
My response is to remember that it is easier _not_ to invite a
guest into your private residence than to ask that guest to leave.

<*> While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe
that once people establish legal residence (as opposed to being


invited guests) in _your_ residence, they are free to invite _their_
(unknown) friends to visit. Invited guests in a private residence
have the right to leave. Boarders in a boarding home situation have

additional legal rights -- paying rent (usually) creates a contractual
situation under the common law.

Boarding minor children (i.e., under 21 years of age) in a
residence empowers legal complications. Government cannot legally
enter an all-adult private residence unless invited or accompanied
by a search warrant issued by the Courts. When a person accepts
minor children (including college students under 21 years of age)
as residents within their home or apartment, social welfare agencies
assigned to safeguard childrens' rights, health, and safety gain the
warrantless right of physical access to that private residence,
accompanied by the police if necessary.

While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe


that accepting pregnant adult women as residents in a private home
or apartment grants the same warrantless uninvited physical access
privileges to social welfare agencies tasked with providing
prenatal care and wellness care to pregnant women, accompanied
by the police if necessary.

While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe that


accepting the elderly as residents in a private home or apartment
grants the same warrantless uninvited physical access privileges
to social welfare agencies tasked with safeguarding health and safety
for the elderly, accompanied by the police if necessary.

<*> In my locale, local government is considering empowering the
local police to assist in the detection and detainment of illegal
immigrants. I do not know how this initiative would affect
police's ability to enter private residences without a
Court-issued search warrant (particularly when flown under the
banners of antiterrorism and Homeland Security).

While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe that
allowing guests' animal pets (e.g., cats and dogs) within a private
residence _awkwardly_ grants the same warrantless uninvited physical
access privileges to municipal animal control agencies tasked with
humane treatment for animals and for maintaining public safety,
accompanied by the police if necessary.

And if a bad boarder or bad invited guest (either maliciously or


by illegal action) invites officialdom (or minor children) into a
private residence ...

In an environment of hostile Government harrassment, IMO this

Given our downsized domestic economy (with its shrunken tax

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

Last book reviews: "Necronomicon" & "Necronomicon Spellbook"
by Ed Simon

Richard Ballard

unread,
Mar 6, 2004, 12:43:56 PM3/6/04
to
Copyright 2003-2004 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.

Parts One, Three, Four and Five are contained in concurrent


copyrighted messages titled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan

Novices (Part One/Three/Four/Five of Five Parts)", respectively.

My comments might appear draconian, but the United States

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

Currently IMO the United States domestic economy is being

In Los Angeles the price of a 'starter home' reportedly is


in the $600K range. The price of constructing a new home in

the St. Louis area reportedly has risen $10K due to
plywood cost increases, regular gasoline costs over $1.70US
per gallon in St. Louis with further increases forecast, and
St. Louis area heating fuel costs rose significantly this
past winter.

When I first encountered these social attitudes I was _incredulous_.


I have encountered these attitudes repeatedly over a several year
period, and consider the attitudes an unfair popular/Pagan solution
to social welfare problems that the Government is not addressing.
My response is to remember that it is easier _not_ to invite a
guest into your private residence than to ask that guest to leave.

While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe

In my locale, local government is considering empowering the


local police to assist in the detection and detainment of illegal
immigrants. I do not know how this initiative would affect
police's ability to enter private residences without a
Court-issued search warrant (particularly when flown under the
banners of antiterrorism and Homeland Security).

While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe that
allowing guests' animal pets (e.g., cats and dogs) within a private
residence _awkwardly_ grants the same warrantless uninvited physical
access privileges to municipal animal control agencies tasked with
humane treatment for animals and for maintaining public safety,
accompanied by the police if necessary.

<*> And if a bad boarder or bad invited guest (either maliciously
or by not legal action) invites officialdom (or minor children)


into a private residence ...

<*> In an environment of hostile Government harrassment, IMO this


de facto loss of legal safeguards associated with Court issuance
of search warrants before entry is a _significant_ loss both of
personal privacy and of civil rights. In an environment of hostile
Government harrassment, charitable actions result in _significant

loss of civil rights_ for the private residence owner. And IMO
nothing kills charity faster than coercion.

BTW, a local civil servant (who I had _not_ been introduced to)
walked up to me one day and said "We will house four people on your
house's second floor -- you can live on the third floor." I said
nothing -- I turned and silently walked away from her. It is
_unwise_ to challenge a civil servant in her place of employment.
Historically, organized and coordinated _social pressure_ has been
used by several communal societies, by the military, and by English
boys' boarding schools. Shunning (which can include de facto
'denial of service' -- e.g., 'by the book' work slowdowns and
extraordinary bureaucratic delays) is an example of organized and
coordinated social pressure. Another example of organized and
coordinated social pressure is selective enforcement of laws and
regulations. (E.g., the police normally ignore jaywalkers in your
neighborhood's business district, but somehow you always receive
a ticket when you jaywalk. Sufficient accumulation of unpaid
jaywalking tickets is grounds for arrest and detainment. You

can not afford to pay the accumulated tickets' fees ...)

<*> Some people's attitude is that in terms of housing, my cuup


runneth over and I am being selfish not boarding others in my
private home. I consider such _social pressure and hostility_
an unfair attack on my personal freedom. I control the use of

my private home and who I admit as guests (if any). To my


knowledge the United States Government has not (yet) instituted
'the housing police'. The United States Constitution contains
NO stipulation that allows Government to forcibly house civilians
in your private home. Of course, should martial law ever be
declared within the United States, Constitutional rights would

be suspended and only Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA
(iron Ma), now contained within the Department of Homeland Security]
knows what could happen.

<*> Given our downsized domestic economy (with its shrunken tax


revenues), given the many Army base closures that have occured
during the past decade, and given our volunteer Army with a
higher married percentage than a drafted Army, I believe that
military housing shortages are a current and ongoing problem

for the United States. If Army Reserve and National Guard
reenlistment rates fall as a result of financial hardship and
increasingly heavy use in Iraq, greater reliance on the


enlisted volunteer Army will aggravate the military (and civilian)
housing shortage problem. The solutions to the military family
housing problem are increased tax revenues applied to military
housing, or resumption of the Selective Service Draft and

reinstitution of the conscripted bachelor/ette Army, options
that have been discussed on the national news media. I discuss
these issues further in accompanying messages "Definitions For
Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part Four/Five of Five Parts)".

*****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.

I got no problems.
Other people got problems.
00: 21 _8 02 03/35 06 09

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: "Guerrilla Television" by Michael Shamberg

Richard Ballard

unread,
Mar 6, 2004, 2:21:46 PM3/6/04
to
In article <20040306124331...@mb-m03.aol.com>,
rball...@aol.com (Richard Ballard) writes:

>Copyright 2003-2004 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.
>
>Parts One, Three, Four and Five are contained in concurrent
>copyrighted messages titled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan
>Novices (Part One/Three/Four/Five of Five Parts)", respectively.
>I provide an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in
>subsequent copyrighted messages entitled "A Reference List
>for Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two of Two Parts)",
>respectively.

Starting this issuance, I provide an accompanying list of


Wicca-related references in subsequent copyrighted messages
entitled "A Reference List for Prospective Wiccan Novices

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

>IMO sexuality is an integral part of Paganism and Wicca.
>On a monthly basis I provide copyrighted messages titled
>"A neo-Tantra Reference List (Part One/Two of Two Parts)"
>on this Internet newsgroup.

Sorry 'bout dat.

Richard Ballard

unread,
Apr 11, 2004, 2:31:48 PM4/11/04
to
Copyright 2003-2004 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.

Parts One, Three, Four and Five are contained in concurrent
copyrighted messages titled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan
Novices (Part One/Three/Four/Five of Five Parts)", respectively.
I provide an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in
subsequent copyrighted messages entitled "A Reference List for

Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two/Three of Three Parts)",
respectively.

<*> Interestingly, while age 18 is the legal 'age of sexual consent'


in most of the United States, unmarried children are not declared
legal adults and remain under their parents' supervision in most

of the United States through age 21. The three year period
between age 18 and 21 is a 'limbo' period for unmarried young
adults -- they are sexually but not legally mature.

I recommend that Wiccan parent/s (and legal guardian/s) avoid
situations where underaged children (or wards) become _bound_
Coven members. (And I acknowledge that my own Methodist
experience includes voluntary church membership.) One purpose
of Wiccan initiation (after a period of study) is to expose the
initiate to secret oathbound material, material previously
hidden from the initiate -- a new ball game. I recommend that
prospective Wiccan novices 'Caveat emptor' -- let the buyer
beware.

My comments might appear draconian, but the United States
is in a period of economic downsizing characterized by rising
housing, energy and food costs combined with few new jobs
being created. When the economy downsizes, some people

lose prosperity while other people become impoverished --
the new poor. Loss of prosperity brings loss of options, and

newsgroups) sometimes are chaotic, but they are uncensored and free.

Another important difference between Internet newsgroups and
Wiccan Circles, versus Wiccan Covens is that anyone and anybody
can walk away from an Internet newsgroup or Wiccan Circle without
penalty. Some Wiccan Coven Traditions include penalties for leaving

the Coven. And as different people join the Coven and fill the
High Priest/ess role, and as Coven Traditions evolve, an
individual might become increasingly less comfortable with their
Coven membership and its penalty for leaving the Coven. (As in
George Orwell's novel "Animal Farm", all peoples' Traditions and
all High Priest/ess's experiences and perspectives are not equal.)

IMO anybody who has decided to make a Wiccan commitment should
investigate solitary worship plus Wiccan Circle membership (a choice
that does _not_ sacrifice personal autonomy) versus Wiccan Coven

membership with its binding oath of obedience to the Coven
High Priest/ess.

Most Wiccan accept the Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wiccan

<*> I recommend that prospective Wiccan novices _learn in detail_
a Coven's Wiccan Rede interpretation before joining a Coven.
Some Coven _Books of Shadows_ contain oathbound material known
only to Coven members (e.g., a Coven's not yet repaid debts),


but a Coven's Wiccan Rede interpretation should be
_freely discussable_. Prospective Wiccan novices are _not_

High Priest/ess's unbending authority. Conservative Coven members
might chafe under a liberal High Priest/ess's openness. Wo/Men


Coven members might chafe under a particularly strong and chauvinistic

High Priest/ess's dominance. 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 dilutes 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 stress retaining personal autonomy and housing based upon
my own experiences. In my locale we have a local corruption
of the word 'mason'. The corruption is "Ma's own" and the
implication is that Ma owns the house and holds the house keys,
an awkward attitude to face if you are a single man living in
his private home. (BTW, there are a number of boarding houses
in my locale.) I am sensitive to this topic, particularly given
Wiccan Covens with secret binding oaths of obedience.

<*> IMO the United States domestic economy currently is being


buoyed artificially by 'printing press credit' -- interest

rates are at historic lows. The United States' domestic
economy is weakened by United States military involvement
in several foreign countries, most notably in Iraq. This
economic weaknesss affects international perception of the


United States as a strong ally and reliable economic trading

partner, weakening international confidence in the United States
and in the stable value of the United States dollar. Recently


the value of the United States dollar has fallen compared to

the value of other countries' currencies -- important because
OPEC petroleum prices are denominated in dollars and OPEC is
raising its dollar-denominated petroleum prices. And additional
United States dollars spent for OPEC petroleum are _not_ being
invested in needed critical domestic infrastructure. [E.g.,
in March 2004 (not the hottest month in the Northern Hemisphere)
the state of California experienced air-conditioning-related
electric power disruptions.]

<*> Government faced with chronic deficits will provide fewer services


(including housing services). A Wiccan Coven's binding oath of
obedience could be used to house indigent Coven members (or their
friends) in another person's private residence, a right that
Government does _not_ have under the United States Constitution.

IMO individuals should consider _seriously_ the mundane implications


of taking any Wiccan Coven's binding oath of obedience. That
binding oath of obedience could affect your daily life in your
(formerly) private residence.

I expect this issue to grow as the United States domestic


economy continues to downsize and people exhaust their credit
resources. There already is much un(der)employment, few new
jobs are being created, and housing is an expensive commodity.
In Los Angeles the price of a 'starter home' reportedly is
in the $600K range. The price of constructing a new home in

the St. Louis area reportedly has risen $10,000US due to


plywood cost increases, regular gasoline costs over $1.70US
per gallon in St. Louis with further increases forecast, and
St. Louis area heating fuel costs rose significantly this
past winter.

Membership in a Circle (a social and discussion organization)
does not require any binding oath of obedience, and there is no
penalty for leaving a Circle's membership. Covens have different
methods to solve their problems. Some of the methods are
entrepreneural. IMO there are real advantages for somebody who

chooses to become a Wiccan to learn _exactly_ what benefits a Coven
offers beyond 'solitary worshipper who participates in a Circle'.

And if a bad boarder or bad invited guest (either maliciously


or by not legal action) invites officialdom (or minor children)
into a private residence ...

<*> In an environment of Government suspicion, IMO this de facto


loss of legal safeguards associated with Court issuance of
search warrants before entry is a _significant_ loss both of

personal privacy and of civil liberties. Some people will consider
my statement paranoid, but during her April 2004 testimony
before the 9/11 Commission, Ms. Condeleeza Rice (President
George W. Bush's National Security Advisor) mentioned Government
discussions about reducing civil liberties to aid the 'War On
Terrorism'. Ms. Rice's comment is significant because Homeland
Security can become an all-encompassing banner under which
far-reaching permanent societal changes are dictated. This
environment of Government suspicion creates a situation where
charitable actions result in _significant loss of civil liberties_
for the private residence owner. No private residence owner
wants the Government to help them OUT in the name of Homeland
Security. And IMO nothing kills charity faster than coercion.

BTW, a local civil servant (who I had _not_ been introduced to)
walked up to me one day and said "We will house four people on your
house's second floor -- you can live on the third floor." I said
nothing -- I turned and silently walked away from her. It is
_unwise_ to challenge a civil servant in her place of employment.
Historically, organized and coordinated _social pressure_ has been
used by several communal societies, by the military, and by English
boys' boarding schools. Shunning (which can include de facto
'denial of service' -- e.g., 'by the book' work slowdowns and
extraordinary bureaucratic delays) is an example of organized and
coordinated social pressure. Another example of organized and
coordinated social pressure is selective enforcement of laws and
regulations. (E.g., the police normally ignore jaywalkers in your
neighborhood's business district, but somehow you always receive
a ticket when you jaywalk. Sufficient accumulation of unpaid
jaywalking tickets is grounds for arrest and detainment. You
can not afford to pay the accumulated tickets' fees ...)

Some people's attitude is that in terms of housing, my cuup


runneth over and I am being selfish not boarding others in my
private home. I consider such _social pressure and hostility_
an unfair attack on my personal freedom. I control the use of
my private home and who I admit as guests (if any). To my
knowledge the United States Government has not (yet) instituted
'the housing police'. The United States Constitution contains
NO stipulation that allows Government to forcibly house civilians
in your private home. Of course, should martial law ever be
declared within the United States, Constitutional rights would
be suspended and only Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA
(iron Ma), now contained within the Department of Homeland Security]
knows what could happen.

Given our downsized domestic economy (with its shrunken tax

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

"All Rights Reserved"?
If I 'right' must I reserve?

Richard Ballard

unread,
May 28, 2004, 3:05:31 PM5/28/04
to
Copyright 2003-2004 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.

Parts One, Three, Four and Five are contained in concurrent
copyrighted messages titled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan
Novices (Part One/Three/Four/Five of Five Parts)", respectively.
I provide an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in
subsequent copyrighted messages entitled "A Reference List for
Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two/Three of Three Parts)",
respectively.

IMO sexuality is an integral part of Paganism and Wicca.


On a monthly basis I provide copyrighted messages titled
"A neo-Tantra Reference List (Part One/Two of Two Parts)"
on this Internet newsgroup.

E) The Wiccan *Rede* is the best-known Wiccan tenet. Depending
upon the Tradition one follows, the Rede might be a binding rule,
the Rede might be considered advice, or the Rede might be ignored.

The most common statement of the Wiccan Rede is 'An ye harm
none, do what ye will'. I have observed several different
(Wiccan Tradition-dependent) interpretations of this eight-word

statement -- the words 'harm', 'none', 'do' and 'will' all are


subject to interpretation. An obvious example: Does 'harm none'
refer to members of the given Wiccan Coven, to members of the
given Wiccan Tradition, to all Wiccans, or to humankind?
Furthermore, I have observed statements of the Wiccan Rede

(excerpted in my Part Three message) that go on for pages like
a legal contract. And I have observed Wiccan Traditions that


effectively ignore the Wiccan Rede completely. I am _not_
comfortable with all Traditions' interpretation of the
Wiccan Rede.

<*> There are many valid Wiccan paths. Gardnerian Wicca was the


first Wiccan Tradition but many other Wiccan Traditions exist.
The Wiccan Gardnerian Tradition reflects English socioeconomic
culture 50 years ago. Gardnerian Wicca was initiated by

upper-income British who were able to hire low- and middle-income
servants. Servants led a much different life than their
prosperous masters, a difference depicted in the BBC / PBS
T V series "Upstairs, Downstairs" (whose title refers to the
different lifestyles in the upstairs servants' quarters versus
the downstairs masters' quarters). I believe that many prospective


Wiccan novices would find the traditional 'year-and-a-day'

apprenticeship _not_ acceptable if that apprenticeship was


_mandatory and unbreakable servitude_. (I am discussing an
apprentice's loss of the ability to _drop out_ of an apprenticeship

by terminating the associated service period voluntarily and early.
***I am discussing loss of freedom of choice***. A Lot can happen
during a 'year-and-a-day' apprenticeship. Some paths are
one-way paths having *no possible return* -- this hap pens too many
times.) Of course, different Wiccan Covens might interpret

Gardnerian Tradition differently, but I believe the right of Pagan
Traditions and their members, of Wiccan Covens and their members,
and of Wiccan solitary worshippers to modify their Traditions
is _mandatory_.

<*> I believe that _most_ States' common laws forbid mandatory and


unbreakable servitude, and forbid harm during an apprenticeship.
Yet I believe I know at least one state that _does_ allow
'Bills of Attainder' -- the equivalent of a mandatory and
unbreakable servitude. I believe the legal age to sign a
contract in that state is _age fourteen_. The contract can
be written to include monetary penalties or clauses that extend

the contract _without pay_ as a penalty for bad service -- i.e.,


potentially never-ending servitude. ***Most fourteen-year-olds

can NOT read legalese.*** Imagine the following conversation:


"Don't think of it as a legal contract -- think of it as your
own customized version of the Wiccan Rede, the first oathbound
entry in your _Book Of Shadows_." I believe that 'Bills of

Attainder' are _not legally enforceable_ outside of two states


within the United States, but a potential legal mess (and other

chaotic hatefulness) is possible. And poor apprentices might
_not_ have the resources to obtain legal assistance.

A similar difficult (and universally applicable) situation
exists when Wiccan parents (or legal guardian/s) force their
underage children (or wards) to become Wiccan Coven members,

a situation which resembles being drafted without chance


of deferment into 'the Wiccan Army'. Most Traditions require
prospective Wiccan novices under 18 years of age to provide
a written statement of parental permission before beginning
Wiccan study. That is _much_ different than rejecting
prospective Wiccan novices under the age of 18, particularly
if the novices' parents (or legal guardian/s) are Wiccan Coven
members. A particularly unfortunate situation results if the
Wiccan Coven's Tradition includes a penalty if (upon reaching
adulthood) the children decide to leave the Wiccan Coven --
i.e., go AWOL from 'the Wiccan Army'. Wiccan oaths need _not_
include penalties for 'walking away' from a Wiccan Coven.
Raymond Buckland's Seax-Wica Tradition is an example of a
Wiccan Tradition that includes no penalty for leaving or
re-entering a Coven.

Interestingly, while age 18 is the legal 'age of sexual consent'


in most of the United States, unmarried children are not declared
legal adults and remain under their parents' supervision in most
of the United States through age 21. The three year period
between age 18 and 21 is a 'limbo' period for unmarried young
adults -- they are sexually but not legally mature.

I recommend that Wiccan parent/s (and legal guardian/s) avoid
situations where underaged children (or wards) become _bound_
Coven members. (And I acknowledge that my own Methodist
experience includes voluntary church membership.) One purpose
of Wiccan initiation (after a period of study) is to expose the
initiate to secret oathbound material, material previously
hidden from the initiate -- a new ball game. I recommend
that prospective Wiccan novices 'Caveat emptor' -- let the
buyer beware.

<*> The United States is experiencing economic downsizing characterized
by rising housing, energy and food costs while few new jobs are


being created. When the economy downsizes, some people lose
prosperity while other people become impoverished -- the new poor.
Loss of prosperity brings loss of options, and poverty brings further

loss of options. (E.g., a apartment dweller who loses his/her
apartment and cellular telephone essentially disappears socially.)
Offered situations become scarcer and poorer in a downsizing economy
and some offered situations are not pleasant (or worse). The phrase


no longer is used, but the phrase 'wage slaves' was common in the
recessionary late-1970's.

<*> My comments might seem fanciful, but my comments
are based upon myth and popular culture. As the fable


'Hansel and Gretel' reflects ancient Germanic fears

concerning walking in the dark forest during the Midsummer


sabbat, the fable 'Rumpelstiltskin' is Germanic myth
concerning deals made for women's firstborn children.

[An _anonymous_ dwarf agrees to spin a roomful of straw


into gold (wealth) in exchange for (a-hem) a woman's

firstborn child. The woman can keep her (a-hem) child
only if she can guess the dwarf's name correctly.]

More recently, consider the lyrics
from the song "Sympathy for the Devil":

" ... Pleased to meet you,
'hope you guess my name.
But what's puzzlin' you
is the nature of my game. ..."

IMO this anonymity theme suggests a question concerning the
_symbolism_ underlying the global custom of wearing masks
both during masquerade balls and also during certain public
celebrations.

My interpretation of the Biblical discussion of The Garden of Eden


is that the serpent's (satan's) tempting Eve to 'eat from The Tree
of Knowledge' involved the act of physical intercourse between the
serpent (satan) and Eve. My interpretation is that Eve later
tempted Adam to 'eat from The Tree of Knowledge' by the act of
physical intercourse between Adam and Eve. And Eve was pregnant ...

I believe that the Gardnerian Wiccan Tradition is outdated in

Twenty-First Century United States society. Gardnerian Wicca has


been augmented by a number of other Traditions (including Cunningham
and Buckland) that do _not_ require initiation by a lineaged Coven
and/or High Priest/ess. These liberal Wiccan Traditions place
fewer restrictions upon Coven members and solitary worshippers. I

also believe that traditional Wiccan Covens (whose apprentices


complete a 'year-and-a-day' service apprenticeship _prior_ to

Wiccan initiation) are experiencing recruiting problems because
some Wiccan apprenticeship duties are _not_ pleasant.

<*> *Circle* membership (combined with solitary worship) is a
free alternative to Wiccan Coven membership. A Circle is a
social and discussion group that offers most of the benefits
of Wiccan Covens, but Circle members retain their autonomy and
make no binding commitment of obedience. The difference


between a Circle versus a Coven is the difference between an
unmoderated Internet newsgroup (like ARW) versus a moderated
newsgroup (like ARWM). Internet newsgroup moderators act like
a Coven High Priest/ess, controlling what activities and
individuals are permissible. Covens (like moderated Internet
newsgroups) are controlled and always orderly, but some individuals
and issues are not permitted. Circles (like unmoderated Internet
newsgroups) sometimes are chaotic, but they are uncensored and free.

Another important difference between Internet newsgroups and

Circles, versus Wiccan Covens is that anyone and anybody

can walk away from an Internet newsgroup or a Circle without


penalty. Some Wiccan Coven Traditions include penalties for leaving
the Coven. And as different people join the Coven and fill the
High Priest/ess role, and as Coven Traditions evolve, an
individual might become increasingly less comfortable with their
Coven membership and its penalty for leaving the Coven. (As in
George Orwell's novel "Animal Farm", all peoples' Traditions and

all High Priest/ess' experiences and perspectives are not equal.)
IMO anybody who is considering making a Wiccan commitment also
Should investigate Circle membership plus solitary worship (a
choice that does _not_ sacrifice personal autonomy).

Most Wiccans acknowledge the Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wiccan


Traditions, but discount other recent Wiccan Traditions as
'trivialized', 'popularized' or 'fluffy bunny'. IMO the
basic issue here is conservative Wiccan opinion versus
liberal Wiccan opinion. I am not a Wiccan or Pagan, but my
liberal opinion is based partially upon "Wicca: A Guide For
The Solitary Practitioner" by Scott Cunningham and partially
upon "The Tree: The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft"
by Raymond Buckland that discusses the Seax-Wica Tradition.

Because conservatives acknowledge more than one Wiccan Tradition
(Gardnerian and Alexanderian), further variation is possible.

IMO _not committed_ prospective Wiccan novices should get
an opportunity to vote. That vote can be for solitary worship
(with optional membership in a social and discussion Circle)

versus Coven membership. That vote can include choosing one


of several existing conservative or liberal Traditions (and

modifying the selected Tradition as desired). Or the vote


can be to stay home and never go to the Wiccan polling place.
_Not committed_ prospective Wiccan novices have free will.

I find it fascinating that everybody assumes Starhawk is


a Wiccan despite the fact that _nowhere_ 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.

I find it fascinating that lineaged Wiccans question the
validity of Wiccan Traditions other than the Gardnerian
Tradition and the Alexanderian Tradition, but nobody bats

an eyelash when somebody equates Dianic witchcraft with
Wicca. Dianic witchcraft has a Tradition in which the
God and men _at best_ play a weak supporting role.

<*> I believe prospective Wiccan novices find Gardnerian Wicca


not relevant to their 21st Century 'popular culture' -- "Oh,

that's my mother's Oldsmobile" (apologies to General Motors,
which is in the process of discontinuing their Oldsmobile
vehicle line). I also believe that Wiccan parents often are


uneasy about the pairing choices the Wiccan High Priest/ess

makes for the parents (and sometimes for the Wiccan parents'
children) during rituals and sabbats.

I recommend that prospective Wiccan novices _learn in detail_
a Coven's Wiccan Rede interpretation before joining a Coven.
Some Coven _Books of Shadows_ contain oathbound material known
only to Coven members (e.g., a Coven's not yet repaid debts),
but a Coven's Wiccan Rede interpretation should be

_freely discussible_. Prospective Wiccan novices are _not_


Coven members. [In some Covens, apprentices do not become
Coven members until after a year-and-a-day apprenticeship,
personal acceptance, and Coven (a-hem) initiation]. Prospective
Wiccan novices might be affected adversely by a Coven's Wiccan Rede
interpretation. ***I believe that potential apprentices MUST know
if the Wiccan Rede protects them during their apprenticeship, MUST
know if they are free to terminate their apprenticeship and not join
the Coven, and MUST know the responsibilities and _penalties_ on
them (and their family) if they terminate their Wiccan
apprenticeship.*** If this information is _not_ freely available,
I recommend that a person _not_ make a Wiccan Coven commitment.

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


has the right to squelch 'improper discussion' within the Coven.
As individuals grow (and as different people assume the

High Priest/ess' office), keeping oathbound obedience to the Coven
High Priest/ess' authority might pose difficult and unanticipated


problems. Liberal Coven members might chafe under a conservative

High Priest/ess' unbending authority. Conservative Coven members
might chafe under a liberal High Priest/ess' openness. Wo/Men


Coven members might chafe under a particularly strong and chauvinistic

High Priest/ess' dominance. And many Coven oaths include penalties
for leaving Coven membership.

<*> In some Wiccan Traditions, the High Priest/ess designates couples
for each sabbat celebration (including the coupling of Coven members'
children). IMO this wasteful social whirl does not build romantic love
or build enduring family relationships. Partners invest their time
and energy in each other, but repeatedly switching partners wastes
earlier investments.

Is a High Priest/ess' authority limited to Coven-specific matters?
***Can a High Priest/ess intervene in Coven members' mundane
issues such as housing and use of spare/guest bedrooms?***

I stress retaining personal autonomy and housing. My locale's
language includes a popular corruption of the word 'mason':
"Ma's own". "Ma's own" means that Ma owns the house and holds
the house keys, an impossible situation when you are a single man
living in your private house. (BTW, my locale contains a number
of boarding houses.) Wiccan Covens with secret binding oaths of
obedience can complicate this situation.

<*> IMO the United States domestic economy currently is artificially
buoyed by 'printing press credit' -- interest rates are at
historic lows (but are rising). And the United States' domestic
economy is seriously weakened by overseas military involvement.
This situation weakens international confidence in the United States
and in the value of the United States dollar. The weakening of
international confidence in the United States dollar is important
because global petroleum prices are denominated in dollars and
petroleum prices are rising. And additional United States dollars
spent for overseas military involvement, Homeland Security and


petroleum are _not_ being invested in needed critical domestic

infrastructure or in developing energy alternatives. [E.g., in


March 2004 (not the hottest month in the Northern Hemisphere) the
state of California experienced air-conditioning-related electric
power disruptions.]

Government faced with chronic deficits will provide fewer services


(including housing services). A Wiccan Coven's binding oath of
obedience could be used to house indigent Coven members (or their
friends) in another person's private residence, a right that
Government does _not_ have under the United States Constitution.
IMO individuals should consider _seriously_ the mundane implications
of taking any Wiccan Coven's binding oath of obedience. That
binding oath of obedience could affect your daily life in your

(formerly) private house.

I expect this issue to grow as the United States domestic
economy continues to downsize and people exhaust their credit
resources. There already is much un(der)employment, few new
jobs are being created, and housing is an expensive commodity.
In Los Angeles the price of a 'starter home' reportedly is

$600,000US. The price of constructing a new home in the


St. Louis area reportedly has risen $10,000US due to

plywood cost increases, regular gasoline costs over $1.90US


per gallon in St. Louis with further increases forecast, and
St. Louis area heating fuel costs rose significantly this

last winter.

<*> Membership in a Circle (a social and discussion organization)


does not require any binding oath of obedience, and there is no

penalty for leaving a Circle's membership. Covens use different
methods to solve their problems and some of the methods are
entrepreneurial. IMO anybody considering becoming a Wiccan
should learn _exactly_ what benefits a Coven offers beyond


'solitary worshipper who participates in a Circle'. And ask

the cost of Coven membership -- life is full of mysteries, and
some mysteries are very expensive to explore.

Another popular (and hostile) phrase in my locale is "You two",
implying "Zoning allows up to three unrelated people to live

within a single-family house. You submit, and either marry a


divorced/single mother, or take in an unmarried couple or

needy boarders (with or without children)." In my locale
Wiccans are among the groups that attempt to control housing.
Wiccans seek housing for senior women (who often have spent
their own home equity surviving in an economy paying record
low interest rates on long-term FDIC-insured CDs). Wiccans


mindful of the Wiccan Goddess's Crone persona are among the

strong advocates for "You two" boarders in my locale.

<*> I am not a Pagan and as a private house owner I experience


_social pressure and hostility_ from Pagans (among others) as a
result of local housing availability/affordability concerns.
When I first encountered these social attitudes I was _incredulous_.

I have encountered these attitudes repeatedly over a multiyear
period, and IMO these attitudes are a not fair popular/Pagan solution
to social welfare problems that the Government is _not_ addressing.


My response is to remember that it is easier _not_ to invite a

guest into your private house than to ask that guest to leave.

<*> While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe


that once people establish legal residence (as opposed to being

invited guests) in _your_ private house, they are free to invite


_their_ (unknown) friends to visit. Invited guests in a private

house have the right to leave. Boarders in a boarding house situation
(usually) have additional legal rights -- paying rent (usually)


creates a contractual situation under the common law.

<*> Boarding minor children (i.e., under 21 years of age) in a
private house empowers legal complications. Government cannot legally
enter an all-adult private house unless invited or accompanied


by a search warrant issued by the Courts. When a person accepts
minor children (including college students under 21 years of age)

as residents within their private house, social welfare agencies
assigned to safeguard children's' rights, health, and safety gain
the warrantless right of physical entry to that house, accompanied


by the police if necessary.

<*> While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe
that accepting pregnant women as residents in a private house
grants the same warrantless uninvited physical entry privileges


to social welfare agencies tasked with providing prenatal care and
wellness care to pregnant women, accompanied by the police if necessary.

<*> While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe that
accepting the elderly as residents in a private house grants the same
warrantless uninvited physical entry privileges to social welfare


agencies tasked with safeguarding health and safety for the elderly,
accompanied by the police if necessary.

<*> In my locale, local government is discussing assigning the


local police to assist in the detection and detainment of illegal

immigrants. I do not know how this assignment would affect
police's ability to enter private houses without a
Court-issued search warrants (particularly when entering waving


the banners of antiterrorism and Homeland Security).

<*> While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe that
keeping pets (e.g., cats and dogs) within a private house _awkwardly_
grants the same warrantless uninvited physical entry privileges to
municipal animal control agencies tasked with ensuring humane treatment


for animals and for maintaining public safety, accompanied by the
police if necessary.

<*> And if a bad boarder or bad invited guest (either maliciously,
by not legal activity or by hot pursuit) invites officialdom (or
minor children) into a private house ...

<*> I use the phrase 'private house' repeatedly. Private house
owners have different privacy rights than renters. Unless presented
with a Court-issued search warrant, private house owners control
right of legal entry into their houses. In rental situations the
landlord and his designees have legal right of entry for maintenance
and other purposes. Similarly, the landlord or his designee has
the right to invite police into a rental dwelling. And once police
gain legal entry to a dwelling, the legal concept of 'discovery'
applies. The legal concept of 'discovery' states that evidence
discovered after police gain legal entry to a dwelling is admissible
in Court.

<*> In an environment of Government suspicion, IMO this de facto

loss of legal safeguards against warrantless entry and against
warrantless discovery is a _significant_ loss both of personal


privacy and of civil liberties. Some people will consider
my statement paranoid, but during her April 2004 testimony

before the 9/11 Commission, Ms. Condoleezza Rice (President


George W. Bush's National Security Advisor) mentioned Government

discussions about reducing civil liberties to aid the 'War Against


Terrorism'. Ms. Rice's comment is significant because Homeland
Security can become an all-encompassing banner under which

far-reaching permanent societal changes are dictated -- security
can become the State religion. This environment of Government


suspicion creates a situation where charitable actions result in

_significant loss of civil liberties_ for the private house owner.
No private house owner wants the Government to help them OUT in


the name of Homeland Security. And IMO nothing kills charity
faster than coercion.

BTW, a local civil servant (who I had _not_ been introduced to)
walked up to me one day and said "We will house four people on your
house's second floor -- you can live on the third floor." I said
nothing -- I turned and silently walked away from her. It is

_foolish_ to challenge a civil servant in her place of employment.


Historically, organized and coordinated _social pressure_ has been
used by several communal societies, by the military, and by English
boys' boarding schools. Shunning (which can include de facto
'denial of service' -- e.g., 'by the book' work slowdowns and
extraordinary bureaucratic delays) is an example of organized and
coordinated social pressure.

<*> Another example of organized and coordinated social pressure
is selective enforcement of laws and regulations. E.g., the


police normally ignore jaywalkers in your neighborhood's business
district, but somehow you always receive a ticket when you jaywalk.

Sufficient unpaid ticket accumulation is grounds for arrest and
jailing. United States law does not include "debtor's prison",
but if you can not afford to pay fees on accumulated tickets ...

Some people's attitude is that in terms of housing, my cuup
runneth over and I am being selfish not boarding others in my

private house. I consider such _social pressure and hostility_
a not fair attack on my personal freedom. I control the use of
my private house and who I admit as guests (if any). To my


knowledge the United States Government has not (yet) instituted
'the housing police'. The United States Constitution contains
NO stipulation that allows Government to forcibly house civilians

in your private house. Of course, should martial law ever be


declared within the United States, Constitutional rights would
be suspended and only Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA
(iron Ma), now contained within the Department of Homeland Security]
knows what could happen.

<*> Given our downsized domestic economy (with its shrunken tax
revenues), given the many Army base closures that have occurred
during the past decade (and a new wave of additional base closures
is coming), and given our volunteer Army with its higher married


percentage than a drafted Army, I believe that military housing

shortages are a current and ongoing problem in the United States.


If Army Reserve and National Guard reenlistment rates fall as a

result of financial hardship and increasingly heavy (overseas) use,
greater reliance on the married volunteer Army will aggravate the
military (and civilian) housing shortage. The increasing military
family housing problem requires increased tax revenues applied


to military housing, or resumption of the Selective Service Draft
and reinstitution of the conscripted bachelor/ette Army, options

being discussed on the national news media.

Richard Ballard

unread,
May 28, 2004, 8:07:23 PM5/28/04
to
Copyright 2003-2004 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Each issue's new and significantly changed paragraphs begin
with a <*> marker.

In article <20040528150504...@mb-m04.aol.com>,
rball...@aol.com (Richard Ballard) writes:

>Copyright 2003-2004 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.
>
>Parts One, Three, Four and Five are contained in concurrent
>copyrighted messages titled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan
>Novices (Part One/Three/Four/Five of Five Parts)", respectively.
>I provide an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in
>subsequent copyrighted messages entitled "A Reference List for
>Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two/Three of Three Parts)",
>respectively.
>
>IMO sexuality is an integral part of Paganism and Wicca.
>On a monthly basis I provide copyrighted messages titled
>"A neo-Tantra Reference List (Part One/Two of Two Parts)"
>on this Internet newsgroup.

<snip>

police's ability to enter private houses without Court-issued


>search warrants (particularly when entering waving the banners
>of antiterrorism and Homeland Security).
>
><*> While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe
>that keeping pets (e.g., cats and dogs) within a private house
>_awkwardly_ grants the same warrantless uninvited physical entry
>privileges to municipal animal control agencies tasked with ensuring
>humane treatment for animals and for maintaining public safety,
>accompanied by the police if necessary.
>
><*> And if a bad boarder or bad invited guest (either maliciously,
>by not legal activity or by hot pursuit) invites officialdom (or
>minor children) into a private house ...
>
><*> I use the phrase 'private house' repeatedly. Private house
>owners have different privacy rights than renters. Unless presented
>with a Court-issued search warrant, private house owners control
>right of legal entry into their houses. In rental situations the
>landlord and his designees have legal right of entry for maintenance
>and other purposes. Similarly, the landlord or his designee has
>the right to invite police into a rental dwelling. And once police
>gain legal entry to a dwelling, the legal concept of 'discovery'
>applies. The legal concept of 'discovery' states that evidence
>discovered after police gain legal entry to a dwelling is admissible
>in Court.

<*> The law is subtle, and right of legal entry and the legal
concept of discovery both are powerful. Right of legal entry and
discovery are complicated when deputized officers take second jobs
as process servers or as bill collectors. (In my state,
police officers are deputized on a statewide basis instead of a
municipalwide basis. Fire fighters also are deputized in my
state.) Visits by process servers or by bill collectors usually are
not pleasant. If a (deputized) process server or a (deputized)
bill collector is invited into a private house, the (deputized)
visitor is free to examine the house for the purpose of legal
discovery, seeking evidence later admissible during Court proceedings.
And if a private house owner argues strongly with a (deputized)
process server or a (deputized) bill collector, the private house
owner might be arrested and charged with 'Threatening An Officer'.

<*> Owners have no obligation to admit process servers or
bill collectors into their private houses unless presented with
a Court-issued warrant. Deputized officers within a private house
can use their powers to create chaotic legal situations. And
owners seldom benefit by voluntarily allowing deputized officers
to enter their private houses.

><*> In an environment of Government suspicion, IMO this de facto
>loss of legal safeguards against warrantless entry and against
>warrantless discovery is a _significant_ loss both of personal
>privacy and of civil liberties. Some people will consider
>my statement paranoid, but during her April 2004 testimony
>before the 9/11 Commission, Ms. Condoleezza Rice (President
>George W. Bush's National Security Advisor) mentioned Government
>discussions about reducing civil liberties to aid the 'War Against
>Terrorism'. Ms. Rice's comment is significant because Homeland
>Security can become an all-encompassing banner under which
>far-reaching permanent societal changes are dictated -- security
>can become the State religion. This environment of Government
>suspicion creates a situation where charitable actions result in
>_significant loss of civil liberties_ for the private house owner.
>No private house owner wants the Government to help them OUT in
>the name of Homeland Security. And IMO nothing kills charity
>faster than coercion.

<snip>

Richard Ballard

unread,
May 30, 2004, 11:46:00 AM5/30/04
to
Copyright 2003-2004 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Each issue's new and significantly changed paragraphs begin
with a <*> marker.

In article <20040528200714...@mb-m29.aol.com>,
rball...@aol.com (Richard Ballard) writes:

<snip>

<*> [A worse situation is being confronted by (deputized) process
servers or (deputized) bill collectors at a public gathering
(e.g., a concert, a street fair or a peaceful public protest)
after your companions or you have consumed alcoholic beverages,
opening you to legal charges of 'Public Intoxication' and
'Drunk and Disorderly Conduct'.]

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jul 15, 2004, 8:41:42 AM7/15/04
to
Copyright 2003-2004 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.

Parts One, Three, Four and Five are contained in concurrent
copyrighted messages titled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan
Novices (Part One/Three/Four/Five of Five Parts)", respectively.
I provide an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in
subsequent copyrighted messages entitled "A Reference List for
Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two/Three of Three Parts)",
respectively.

IMO sexuality is an integral part of Paganism and Wicca.
On a monthly basis I provide copyrighted messages titled
"A neo-Tantra Reference List (Part One/Two of Two Parts)"
on this Internet newsgroup.

I recommend that Wiccan parent/s (and legal guardian/s) avoid


situations where underaged children (or wards) become _bound_
Coven members. (And I acknowledge that my own Methodist
experience includes voluntary church membership.) One purpose
of Wiccan initiation (after a period of study) is to expose the
initiate to secret oathbound material, material previously
hidden from the initiate -- a new ball game. I recommend
that prospective Wiccan novices 'Caveat emptor' -- let the
buyer beware.

The United States is experiencing economic downsizing characterized


by rising housing, energy and food costs while few new jobs are
being created. When the economy downsizes, some people lose
prosperity while other people become impoverished -- the new poor.
Loss of prosperity brings loss of options, and poverty brings
further loss of options. (E.g., a apartment dweller who loses

his/her apartment and cellular telephone essentially disappears.)


Offered situations become scarcer and poorer in a downsizing economy
and some offered situations are not pleasant (or worse). The phrase
no longer is used, but the phrase 'wage slaves' was common in the
recessionary late-1970's.

My comments might seem fanciful, but my comments

(Ma derated? Mom's in control?) newsgroup (like ARWM). Internet


newsgroup moderators act like a Coven High Priest/ess, controlling

which activities and individuals are permissible. Covens (like


moderated Internet newsgroups) are controlled and always orderly,
but some individuals and issues are not permitted. Circles (like
unmoderated Internet newsgroups) sometimes are chaotic, but they
are uncensored and free.

Another important difference between Internet newsgroups and
Circles, versus Wiccan Covens is that anyone and anybody
can walk away from an Internet newsgroup or a Circle without
penalty. Some Wiccan Coven Traditions include penalties for leaving
the Coven. And as different people join the Coven and fill the
High Priest/ess role, and as Coven Traditions evolve, an
individual might become increasingly less comfortable with their
Coven membership and its penalty for leaving the Coven. (As in
George Orwell's novel "Animal Farm", all peoples' Traditions and
all High Priest/ess' experiences and perspectives are not equal.)
IMO anybody who is considering making a Wiccan commitment also

should investigate Circle membership plus solitary worship (a


choice that does _not_ sacrifice personal autonomy).

Most Wiccans acknowledge the Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wiccan
Traditions, but discount other recent Wiccan Traditions as
'trivialized', 'popularized' or 'fluffy bunny'. IMO the
basic issue here is conservative Wiccan opinion versus
liberal Wiccan opinion. I am not a Wiccan or Pagan, but my
liberal opinion is based partially upon "Wicca: A Guide For
The Solitary Practitioner" by Scott Cunningham and partially
upon "The Tree: The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft"

where Raymond Buckland discusses the Seax-Wica Tradition.


Because conservatives acknowledge more than one Wiccan Tradition
(Gardnerian and Alexanderian), further variation is possible.

IMO _not committed_ prospective Wiccan novices should get
an opportunity to vote. That vote can be for solitary worship
(with optional membership in a social and discussion Circle)
versus Coven membership. That vote can include choosing one
of several existing conservative or liberal Traditions (and
modifying the selected Tradition as desired). Or the vote
can be to stay home and never go to the Wiccan polling place.
_Not committed_ prospective Wiccan novices have free will.

I find it fascinating that everybody assumes Starhawk is
a Wiccan despite the fact that _nowhere_ 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.

I find it fascinating that lineaged Wiccans question the
validity of Wiccan Traditions other than the Gardnerian
Tradition and the Alexanderian Tradition, but nobody bats
an eyelash when somebody equates Dianic witchcraft with
Wicca. Dianic witchcraft has a Tradition in which the
God and men _at best_ play a weak supporting role.

I believe prospective Wiccan novices find Gardnerian Wicca

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


for each sabbat celebration (including the coupling of Coven
members' children). IMO this wasteful social whirl does not build
romantic love or build enduring family relationships. Partners
invest their time and energy in each other, but repeatedly
switching partners wastes earlier investments.

Is a High Priest/ess' authority limited to Coven-specific matters?
***Can a High Priest/ess intervene in Coven members' mundane
issues such as housing and use of spare/guest bedrooms?***

I stress retaining personal autonomy and housing. My locale's
language includes a popular corruption of the word 'mason':
"Ma's own". "Ma's own" means that Ma owns the house and holds
the house keys, an impossible situation when you are a single man
living in your private house. (BTW, my locale contains a number
of boarding houses.) Wiccan Covens with secret binding oaths of
obedience can complicate this situation.

<*> IMO the United States domestic economy currently is artificially

buoyed by 'printing press credit'. Interest rates are at


historic lows (but are rising). And the United States' domestic
economy is seriously weakened by overseas military involvement.
This situation weakens international confidence in the United States
and in the value of the United States dollar. The weakening of
international confidence in the United States dollar is important

because global petroleum prices are denominated in dollars. And


additional United States dollars spent for overseas military
involvement, Homeland Security and petroleum are _not_ being

invested in needed critical domestic infrastructure (e.g.,
sub/urban mass transit to reduce our dependence upon gas guzzling
private vehicles) or in developing energy alternatives. [E.g.,


in March 2004 (not the hottest month in the Northern Hemisphere)
the state of California experienced air-conditioning-related

electric power disruptions. IMO these service outages signal
problems beyond un$crupulous energy trading.]

Government faced with chronic deficits will provide fewer services
(including housing services). A Wiccan Coven's binding oath of
obedience could be used to house indigent Coven members (or their
friends) in another person's private residence, a right that
Government does _not_ have under the United States Constitution.
IMO individuals should consider _seriously_ the mundane implications
of taking any Wiccan Coven's binding oath of obedience. That
binding oath of obedience could affect your daily life in your
(formerly) private house.

<*> I expect this issue to grow as the United States domestic


economy continues to downsize and people exhaust their credit
resources. There already is much un(der)employment, few new
jobs are being created, and housing is an expensive commodity.
In Los Angeles the price of a 'starter home' reportedly is

$600,000US, and housing prices in Chicago reportedly are
skyrocketing. The price of constructing a new home in the


St. Louis area reportedly has risen $10,000US due to
plywood cost increases, regular gasoline costs over $1.90US

per gallon in St. Louis (with permanent further increases likely
IMO after the Presidential elections), and St. Louis area heating
fuel costs rose significantly this past winter.

Membership in a Circle (a social and discussion organization)
does not require any binding oath of obedience, and there is no
penalty for leaving a Circle's membership. Covens use different
methods to solve their problems and some of the methods are
entrepreneurial. IMO anybody considering becoming a Wiccan
should learn _exactly_ what benefits a Coven offers beyond
'solitary worshipper who participates in a Circle'. And ask
the cost of Coven membership -- life is full of mysteries, and
some mysteries are very expensive to explore.

Another popular (and hostile) phrase in my locale is "You two",
implying "Zoning allows up to three unrelated people to live
within a single-family house. You submit, and either marry a
divorced/single mother, or take in an unmarried couple or
needy boarders (with or without children)." In my locale
Wiccans are among the groups that attempt to control housing.
Wiccans seek housing for senior women (who often have spent
their own home equity surviving in an economy paying record
low interest rates on long-term FDIC-insured CDs). Wiccans
mindful of the Wiccan Goddess's Crone persona are among the
strong advocates for "You two" boarders in my locale.

I am not a Pagan and as a private house owner I experience


_social pressure and hostility_ from Pagans (among others) as a
result of local housing availability/affordability concerns.
When I first encountered these social attitudes I was _incredulous_.
I have encountered these attitudes repeatedly over a multiyear
period, and IMO these attitudes are a not fair popular/Pagan
solution to social welfare problems that the Government is
_not_ addressing. My response is to remember that it is easier
_not_ to invite a guest into your private house than to ask that
guest to leave.

<*> While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe
that once people establish legal residence (as opposed to being
invited guests) in _your_ private house, they are free to invite

_their_ (unknown) friends ('vite 'em inns?) to visit. Invited


guests in a private house have the right to leave. Boarders in
a boarding house situation (usually) have additional legal rights
-- paying rent (usually) creates a contractual situation under
the common law.

<*> Boarding minor children [i.e., under 18 years of age in
my state, a age determined by the state's age of legal majority
unless the child's age of legal majority has been _individually_
delayed by Court order (e.g., for delinquency or in cases of mental
retardation)] in a private house empowers legal complications.


Government cannot legally enter an all-adult private house unless
invited or accompanied by a search warrant issued by the Courts.

When a person accepts minor children [including college students
under (state dependent) 18 years of age] as residents within their


private house, social welfare agencies assigned to safeguard
children's' rights, health, and safety gain the warrantless
right of physical entry to that house, accompanied by the police
if necessary.

While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe


that accepting pregnant women as residents in a private house
grants the same warrantless uninvited physical entry privileges
to social welfare agencies tasked with providing prenatal care and
wellness care to pregnant women, accompanied by the police
if necessary.

While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe that


accepting the elderly as residents in a private house grants the
same warrantless uninvited physical entry privileges to social
welfare agencies tasked with safeguarding health and safety for
the elderly, accompanied by the police if necessary.

In my locale, local government is discussing assigning the


local police to assist in the detection and detainment of illegal
immigrants. I do not know how this assignment would affect

police's ability to enter private houses without Court-issued


search warrants (particularly when entering waving the banners
of antiterrorism and Homeland Security).

While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe that


keeping pets (e.g., cats and dogs) within a private house
_awkwardly_ grants the same warrantless uninvited physical entry
privileges to municipal animal control agencies tasked with
ensuring humane treatment for animals and for maintaining public
safety, accompanied by the police if necessary.

And if a bad boarder or bad invited guest (either maliciously,


by not legal activity or by hot pursuit) invites officialdom (or
minor children) into a private house ...

I use the phrase 'private house' repeatedly. Private house


owners have different privacy rights than renters. Unless presented
with a Court-issued search warrant, private house owners control
right of legal entry into their houses. In rental situations the
landlord and his designees have legal right of entry for maintenance
and other purposes. Similarly, the landlord or his designee has
the right to invite police into a rental dwelling. And once police
gain legal entry to a dwelling, the legal concept of 'discovery'
applies. The legal concept of 'discovery' states that evidence
discovered after police gain legal entry to a dwelling is admissible
in Court.

<*> The law is subtle, and right of legal entry and the legal


concept of discovery both are powerful. Right of legal entry and
discovery are complicated when deputized officers take second jobs
as process servers or as bill collectors. (In my state,
police officers are deputized on a statewide basis instead of a
municipalwide basis. Fire fighters also are deputized in my
state.) Visits by process servers or by bill collectors usually are
not pleasant. If a (deputized) process server or a (deputized)
bill collector is invited into a private house, the (deputized)
visitor is free to examine the house for the purpose of legal
discovery, seeking evidence later admissible during Court proceedings.

<*> And if a private house owner argues strongly with a (deputized)
process server or a (deputized) bill collector, the deputized
officer can pull out his/her badge and identify him/herself. Then
the private house owner can be arrested, be charged with
'Threatening An Officer' and be hauled away, leaving the private
house open for further leisurely inspection for discovery purposes.

<*> [A worse situation is being confronted by (deputized) process
servers or (deputized) bill collectors at a public gathering
(e.g., a concert, a street fair or a peaceful public protest)
after your companions or you have consumed alcoholic beverages,
opening you to legal charges of 'Public Intoxication' and

'Drunk and Disorderly Conduct'. The deputized process servers' /
bill collectors' on duty fellow officers might be nearby.]

<*> Owners have _no obligation_ to admit process servers or


bill collectors into their private houses unless presented with
a Court-issued warrant. Deputized officers within a private house
can use their powers to create chaotic legal situations. And
owners seldom benefit by voluntarily allowing deputized officers
to enter their private houses.

In an environment of Government suspicion, IMO this de facto


loss of legal safeguards against warrantless entry and against
warrantless discovery is a _significant_ loss both of personal
privacy and of civil liberties. Some people will consider
my statement paranoid, but during her April 2004 testimony
before the 9/11 Commission, Ms. Condoleezza Rice (President
George W. Bush's National Security Advisor) mentioned Government
discussions about reducing civil liberties to aid the 'War Against
Terrorism'. Ms. Rice's comment is significant because Homeland
Security can become an all-encompassing banner under which
far-reaching permanent societal changes are dictated -- security
can become the State religion. This environment of Government
suspicion creates a situation where charitable actions result in
_significant loss of civil liberties_ for the private house owner.
No private house owner wants the Government to help them OUT in
the name of Homeland Security. And IMO nothing kills charity
faster than coercion.

<*> BTW, a local civil servant (who I had _not_ been introduced to)


walked up to me one day and said "We will house four people on your
house's second floor -- you can live on the third floor." I said

nothing -- I turned and just walked away. It is _foolish_ to


challenge a civil servant in her place of employment.
Historically, organized and coordinated _social pressure_ has been
used by several communal societies, by the military, and by English
boys' boarding schools. Shunning (which can include de facto
'denial of service' -- e.g., 'by the book' work slowdowns and
extraordinary bureaucratic delays) is an example of organized and
coordinated social pressure.

Another example of organized and coordinated social pressure


is selective enforcement of laws and regulations. E.g., the
police normally ignore jaywalkers in your neighborhood's business
district, but somehow you always receive a ticket when you jaywalk.
Sufficient unpaid ticket accumulation is grounds for arrest and
jailing. United States law does not include "debtor's prison",
but if you can not afford to pay fees on accumulated tickets ...

Some people's attitude is that in terms of housing, my cuups


runneth over and I am being selfish not boarding others in my
private house. I consider such _social pressure and hostility_
a not fair attack on my personal freedom. I control the use of
my private house and who I admit as guests (if any). To my
knowledge the United States Government has not (yet) instituted
'the housing police'. The United States Constitution contains
NO stipulation that allows Government to forcibly house civilians
in your private house. Of course, should martial law ever be
declared within the United States, Constitutional rights would
be suspended and only Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA
(iron Ma), now contained within the Department of Homeland Security]
knows what could happen.

<*> Given our downsized domestic economy (with its shrunken tax
revenues), given the many Army base closures that have occurred
during the past decade (and a new wave of additional base closures
is coming), and given our volunteer Army with its higher married
percentage than a drafted Army, I believe that military housing
shortages are a current and ongoing problem in the United States.
If Army Reserve and National Guard reenlistment rates fall as a

result of financial hardship and increased heavy (overseas) use,


greater reliance on the married volunteer Army will aggravate the
military (and civilian) housing shortage. The increasing military
family housing problem requires increased tax revenues applied
to military housing, or resumption of the Selective Service Draft

and reinstitution of the conscripted bachelor/ette Army (an issue
increasingly under discussion on the national news media).

*****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.

"All Rights Reserved"?
If I 'right' must I reserve?

I got no problems.
Other people got problems.

00: 18+ _8 02 03/35 06 09

Richard Ballard

unread,
Sep 1, 2004, 9:19:41 AM9/1/04
to
Copyright 2003-2004 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.

Parts One, Three, Four and Five are contained in concurrent
copyrighted messages titled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan
Novices (Part One/Three/Four/Five of Five Parts)", respectively.
I provide an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in
subsequent copyrighted messages entitled "A Reference List for
Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two/Three of Three Parts)",
respectively.

IMO sexuality is an integral part of Paganism and Wicca.
On a monthly basis I provide copyrighted messages titled
"A neo-Tantra Reference List (Part One/Two of Two Parts)"
on this Internet newsgroup.

I recommend that Wiccan parent/s (and legal guardian/s) avoid
situations where underaged children (or wards) become _bound_
Coven members. (And I acknowledge that my own Methodist
experience includes voluntary church membership.) One purpose
of Wiccan initiation (after a period of study) is to expose the
initiate to secret oathbound material, material previously
hidden from the initiate -- a new ball game. I recommend
that prospective Wiccan novices 'Caveat emptor' -- let the
buyer beware.

<*> The United States is experiencing economic downsizing with
net loss of jobs and rising living costs. When the economy


downsizes, some people lose prosperity while other people become
impoverished -- the new poor. Loss of prosperity brings loss of

options, and poverty brings further loss of options. (E.g., an

*Circle* membership (combined with solitary worship) is a

buoyed by 'printing press credit'. Interest rates currently are
rising, which raises inventory costs, encourages inventory
reduction, reduces manufacturing demand, and encourages
manufacturing and retail (less to sell) layoffs. And the
United States' domestic economy is seriously weakened by the
Iraqi occupation [as of 8/2004 costing ~$130 billion dollars of
United States deficit spending -- money siphoned away from domestic
uses (e.g., Government services, housing construction and
new product development)]. IMO the Iraqi occupation is a
regrettable (due both to its human cost and also due to its effect
upon global Islamic opinion of the United States) _indirect cost_
of guaranteeing a reliable energy supply.

<*> This situation weakens international confidence in the


United States and in the value of the United States dollar.

Loss of international confidence in the United States dollar
further raises interest rates charged on money borrowed to
pay the United States' recurring monthly trade deficit.
This rise in interest rates can occur directly, or can occur
indirectly through further decrease in the international


value of the United States dollar.

<*> The weakening of international confidence in the
United States dollar also is important because global petroleum
prices are denominated in United States dollars. Were
per barrel petroleum prices denominated in a different currency,
currency market fluctuations would _directly and chaotically_
effect the per barrel petroleum price paid in the United States,
the chaos further raising energy companies' operating costs.

<*> And additional United States dollars spent for Homeland Security
and for higher-priced energy are _not_ being invested in needed
_critical_ domestic infrastructure (e.g., sub/urban mass transit
to reduce United States dependence upon gas guzzling private
vehicles) or in developing energy infrastructure and renewable
energy sources. [E.g., in March 2004 (not the hottest month in


the Northern Hemisphere) the state of California experienced

air-conditioning-related electric power disruptions (at any cost).


IMO these service outages signal problems beyond un$crupulous
energy trading.]

<*> Government faced with chronic deficits will provide fewer
services (including housing services, education and wellness/aid
to dependent children). A Wiccan Coven's binding oath of


obedience could be used to house indigent Coven members (or their
friends) in another person's private residence, a right that
Government does _not_ have under the United States Constitution.
IMO individuals should consider _seriously_ the mundane implications
of taking any Wiccan Coven's binding oath of obedience. That
binding oath of obedience could affect your daily life in your
(formerly) private house.

<*> I expect this issue to grow as the United States domestic
economy continues to downsize and people exhaust their credit

resources. There already is much un(der)employment, we are
experiencing a net loss of jobs, and housing is an expensive


commodity. In Los Angeles the price of a 'starter home'

reportedly is $600,000US and housing prices in Chicago reportedly


are skyrocketing. The price of constructing a new home in the
St. Louis area reportedly has risen $10,000US due to

plywood cost increases, per barrel petroleum prices hit
record levels in 8/2004, and United States residential heating
(natural gas) prices have risen steadily over the past two years.

While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe


that once people establish legal residence (as opposed to being
invited guests) in _your_ private house, they are free to invite
_their_ (unknown) friends ('vite 'em inns?) to visit. Invited
guests in a private house have the right to leave. Boarders in
a boarding house situation (usually) have additional legal rights
-- paying rent (usually) creates a contractual situation under
the common law.

Boarding minor children [i.e., under 18 years of age in

The law is subtle, and right of legal entry and the legal


concept of discovery both are powerful. Right of legal entry and
discovery are complicated when deputized officers take second jobs
as process servers or as bill collectors. (In my state,
police officers are deputized on a statewide basis instead of a
municipalwide basis. Fire fighters also are deputized in my
state.) Visits by process servers or by bill collectors usually are
not pleasant. If a (deputized) process server or a (deputized)
bill collector is invited into a private house, the (deputized)
visitor is free to examine the house for the purpose of legal
discovery, seeking evidence later admissible during Court proceedings.

And if a private house owner argues strongly with a (deputized)


process server or a (deputized) bill collector, the deputized
officer can pull out his/her badge and identify him/herself. Then
the private house owner can be arrested, be charged with
'Threatening An Officer' and be hauled away, leaving the private
house open for further leisurely inspection for discovery purposes.

<*> [A worse situation is being confronted by (deputized) process
servers or (deputized) bill collectors at a public gathering
(e.g., a concert, a street fair or a peaceful public protest)
after your companions or you have consumed alcoholic beverages,
opening you to legal charges of 'Public Intoxication' and

'Drunk and Disorderly Conduct'. An 'entrapment' situation
occurs if the deputized process servers' / bill collectors'
on-duty fellow officers are waiting conveniently nearby.]

Owners have _no obligation_ to admit process servers or
bill collectors into their private houses unless presented with
a Court-issued warrant. Deputized officers within a private house
can use their powers to create chaotic legal situations. And
owners seldom benefit by voluntarily allowing deputized officers
to enter their private houses.

In an environment of Government suspicion, IMO this de facto
loss of legal safeguards against warrantless entry and against
warrantless discovery is a _significant_ loss both of personal
privacy and of civil liberties. Some people will consider
my statement paranoid, but during her April 2004 testimony
before the 9/11 Commission, Ms. Condoleezza Rice (President
George W. Bush's National Security Advisor) mentioned Government
discussions about reducing civil liberties to aid the 'War Against
Terrorism'. Ms. Rice's comment is significant because Homeland
Security can become an all-encompassing banner under which
far-reaching permanent societal changes are dictated -- security
can become the State religion. This environment of Government
suspicion creates a situation where charitable actions result in
_significant loss of civil liberties_ for the private house owner.
No private house owner wants the Government to help them OUT in
the name of Homeland Security. And IMO nothing kills charity
faster than coercion.

BTW, a local civil servant (who I had _not_ been introduced to)

during the past decade, and given our volunteer Army with its


higher married percentage than a drafted Army, I believe that
military housing shortages are a current and ongoing problem in

the United States. In 8/2004 (as a result of Army Reserve and
National Guard falling reenlistment rates?) the Pentagon announced
that 70,000 United States' overseas soldiers, their families and
their support personnel would be recalled to the United States
over the next ten years. These 70,000 military families will
require additional United States housing. The increasing military


family housing problem requires increased tax revenues applied to
military housing, or resumption of the Selective Service Draft and
reinstitution of the conscripted bachelor/ette Army (an issue
increasingly under discussion on the national news media).

<*> IMO these housing-related economic issues make some Wiccan
Covens' 'binding oaths of obedience' hazardous to private home
owners' property rights.

*****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.

"All Rights Reserved"?
If I 'right' must I reserve?

I gut no problems.
Other people gut problems.

zayton

unread,
Sep 1, 2004, 7:56:07 PM9/1/04
to

"Lady Chatterly" <@dev.null> wrote in message
news:67a9fba....@chatterly.sympatico.ca...
> In article <20040901091941...@mb-m15.aol.com>,

> rball...@aol.com (Richard Ballard) wrote:
> >
> >Copyright 2003-2004 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.
>
> Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.
>

I wonder if the bot harvested this from "I Know Why the Caged Bird Comes"?

Joe


Richard Ballard

unread,
Sep 2, 2004, 6:43:22 AM9/2/04
to
In Message-ID: <fktZc.3838$Np2....@bignews4.bellsouth.net>,
"zayton" <zay...@bellsouth.net> writes:

>"Lady Chatterly" <@dev.null> wrote in message
>news:67a9fba....@chatterly.sympatico.ca...
>
>>In article <20040901091941...@mb-m15.aol.com>,
>>rball...@aol.com (Richard Ballard) wrote:
>>

>>>Copyright 2003-2004 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.
>>

>>Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.
>
>I wonder if the bot harvested this from "I Know Why the Caged Bird Comes"?

I am _not_ a Wiccan, a witch, a Pagan or a satanist. People
ask me "Why are you providing these definitions on the Internet?"
One reason is that I first heard about Wicca in an acquaintance's
chance comment, and learning details about Paganism and Wicca has
cost me (and continues to cost me) much time and trouble. Another
reason I provide these definitions is the flood of negativism on
the Pagan- and Wicca-related Internet newsgroups. It appears that
everybody has a license to criticize and complain, but few have a
license to make a positive contribution.

As to responding negatively to ad hominem (i.e., personal) attacks,
well ... I am a silly MENSA member who conserves energy for his
daily three mile jog (carrying a pair of three pound handweights)
in his neighborhood's arboreal park.

Richard Ballard

unread,
Oct 12, 2004, 7:38:15 AM10/12/04
to
Copyright 2003-2004 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.

Parts One, Three, Four and Five are contained in concurrent
copyrighted messages titled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan
Novices (Part One/Three/Four/Five of Five Parts)", respectively.
I provide an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in
subsequent copyrighted messages entitled "A Reference List for
Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two/Three of Three Parts)",
respectively.

IMO sexuality is an integral part of Paganism and Wicca.
On a monthly basis I provide copyrighted messages titled
"A neo-Tantra Reference List (Part One/Two of Two Parts)"
on this Internet newsgroup.

I recommend that Wiccan parent/s (and legal guardian/s) avoid
situations where underaged children (or wards) become _bound_
Coven members. (And I acknowledge that my own Methodist
experience includes voluntary church membership.) One purpose
of Wiccan initiation (after a period of study) is to expose the
initiate to secret oathbound material, material previously
hidden from the initiate -- a new ball game. I recommend
that prospective Wiccan novices 'Caveat emptor' -- let the
buyer beware.

The United States is experiencing economic downsizing with

<*> I believe prospective Wiccan novices find Gardnerian Wicca


not relevant to their 21st Century 'popular culture' -- "Oh,
that's my mother's Oldsmobile" (apologies to General Motors,

which has discontinued their Oldsmobile vehicle line). I

IMO the United States domestic economy currently is artificially


buoyed by 'printing press credit'. Interest rates currently are
rising, which raises inventory costs, encourages inventory
reduction, reduces manufacturing demand, and encourages
manufacturing and retail (less to sell) layoffs. And the
United States' domestic economy is seriously weakened by the
Iraqi occupation [as of 8/2004 costing ~$130 billion dollars of
United States deficit spending -- money siphoned away from domestic
uses (e.g., Government services, housing construction and
new product development)]. IMO the Iraqi occupation is a
regrettable (due both to its human cost and also due to its effect
upon global Islamic opinion of the United States) _indirect cost_

of guaranteeing a reliable United States energy supply.

<*> This situation weakens international confidence in the
United States and in the value of the United States dollar.

New tax cuts in a deficit Federal spending environment further
weaken international confidence in the dollar's value.


Loss of international confidence in the United States dollar
further raises interest rates charged on money borrowed to
pay the United States' recurring monthly trade deficit.
This rise in interest rates can occur directly, or can occur
indirectly through further decrease in the international

value of the United States dollar. (E.g., rising per barrel
petroleum prices reflect a _real_ decline in the dollar's value).

And additional United States dollars spent for Homeland Security
and for higher-priced energy are _not_ being invested in needed
_critical_ domestic infrastructure (e.g., sub/urban mass transit
to reduce United States dependence upon gas guzzling private
vehicles) or in developing energy infrastructure and renewable
energy sources. [E.g., in March 2004 (not the hottest month in
the Northern Hemisphere) the state of California experienced
air-conditioning-related electric power disruptions (at any cost).
IMO these service outages signal problems beyond un$crupulous
energy trading.]

Government faced with chronic deficits will provide fewer


services (including housing services, education and wellness/aid
to dependent children). A Wiccan Coven's binding oath of
obedience could be used to house indigent Coven members (or their
friends) in another person's private residence, a right that
Government does _not_ have under the United States Constitution.
IMO individuals should consider _seriously_ the mundane implications
of taking any Wiccan Coven's binding oath of obedience. That
binding oath of obedience could affect your daily life in your
(formerly) private house.

<*> I expect this issue to grow as the United States domestic
economy continues to downsize and people exhaust their credit
resources. There already is much un(der)employment, we are
experiencing a net loss of jobs, and housing is an expensive
commodity. In Los Angeles the price of a 'starter home'
reportedly is $600,000US and housing prices in Chicago reportedly
are skyrocketing. The price of constructing a new home in the
St. Louis area reportedly has risen $10,000US due to

plywood cost increases, per barrel petroleum prices are at
historic highs, and the rise in United States residential heating
(natural gas) costs is a Presidential campaign issue.

[A worse situation is being confronted by (deputized) process

during the past decade (with additional closures scheduled in 2005),


and given our volunteer Army with its higher married percentage than
a drafted Army, I believe that military housing shortages are a
current and ongoing problem in the United States. In 8/2004 (as
a result of Army Reserve and National Guard falling reenlistment
rates?) the Pentagon announced that 70,000 United States' overseas
soldiers, their families and their support personnel would be
recalled to the United States over the next ten years. These
70,000 military families will require additional United States
housing. The increasing military family housing problem requires

increased tax revenues (the _opposite_ of tax cuts) applied to

military housing, or resumption of the Selective Service Draft and
reinstitution of the conscripted bachelor/ette Army (an issue

increasingly under discussion in Congress).

IMO these housing-related economic issues make some Wiccan
Covens' 'binding oaths of obedience' hazardous to private home
owners' property rights.

*****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.

"All Rights Reserved"?
If I 'right' must I reserve?

I gut know problems.

Richard Ballard

unread,
Dec 1, 2004, 11:24:22 AM12/1/04
to
Copyright 2003-2004 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.

Parts One, Three, Four and Five are contained in concurrent
copyrighted messages titled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan
Novices (Part One/Three/Four/Five of Five Parts)", respectively.
I provide an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in
subsequent copyrighted messages entitled "A Reference List for
Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two/Three of Three Parts)",
respectively.

I recommend that Wiccan parent/s (and legal guardian/s) avoid


situations where underaged children (or wards) become _bound_
Coven members. (And I acknowledge that my own Methodist
experience includes voluntary church membership.) One purpose
of Wiccan initiation (after a period of study) is to expose the
initiate to secret oathbound material, material previously
hidden from the initiate -- a new ball game. I recommend
that prospective Wiccan novices 'Caveat emptor' -- let the
buyer beware.

The United States is experiencing economic downsizing with
net loss of jobs and rising living costs. When the economy
downsizes, some people lose prosperity while other people become
impoverished -- the new poor. Loss of prosperity brings loss of
options, and poverty brings further loss of options. (E.g., an
apartment dweller who loses his/her apartment and cellular
telephone essentially disappears.) Offered situations become
scarcer and poorer in a downsizing economy and some offered
situations are not pleasant (or worse). The phrase no longer
is used, but the phrase 'wage slaves' was common in the
recessionary late-1970's.

<*> My comments might seem fanciful, but my comments are based
upon myth, popular culture and literature. As the fable

I believe prospective Wiccan novices find Gardnerian Wicca

<*> We live in interesting economic times. IMO the United States
domestic economy currently is artifically buoyed by 'printing press
credit' with rising interest rates to follow. And the United States


domestic economy is seriously weakened by the Iraqi occupation

[as of 8/2004 costing ~$130 billion dollars of deficit spending --
money siphoned away from creating jobs and housing].

<*> IMO the barrel of petroleum (formerly a abundant commodity
with a stable price) has become the new global currency, with
all countries' currencies indexed to the price of the barrel of
petroleum. High demand and short supply dictate that petroleum
prices will continue to rise -- a de facto reduction in the value
of all countries' currencies. (I.e., rising energy costs
impoverish everybody.) The high cost of Homeland Security
further raises living costs, siphoning money away from creating
jobs and housing. I expect these issues to grow as the


United States domestic economy continues to downsize and
people exhaust their credit resources.

<*> Government faced with chronic deficits will provide fewer


services (including housing services, education and wellness/aid
to dependent children). A Wiccan Coven's binding oath of
obedience could be used to house indigent Coven members (or their

friends) in another person's private house, a right that


Government does _not_ have under the United States Constitution.
IMO individuals should consider _seriously_ the mundane implications
of taking any Wiccan Coven's binding oath of obedience. That
binding oath of obedience could affect your daily life in your
(formerly) private house.

Membership in a Circle (a social and discussion organization)


does not require any binding oath of obedience, and there is no
penalty for leaving a Circle's membership. Covens use different
methods to solve their problems and some of the methods are
entrepreneurial. IMO anybody considering becoming a Wiccan
should learn _exactly_ what benefits a Coven offers beyond
'solitary worshipper who participates in a Circle'. And ask
the cost of Coven membership -- life is full of mysteries, and
some mysteries are very expensive to explore.

<*> Another popular (and hostile) phrase in my locale is "You two",


implying "Zoning allows up to three unrelated people to live

within a single-family house -- fill your house." In my locale


Wiccans are among the groups that attempt to control housing.
Wiccans seek housing for senior women (who often have spent
their own home equity surviving in an economy paying record
low interest rates on long-term FDIC-insured CDs). Wiccans
mindful of the Wiccan Goddess's Crone persona are among the
strong advocates for "You two" boarders in my locale.

I am not a Pagan and as a private house owner I experience
_social pressure and hostility_ from Pagans (among others) as a
result of local housing availability/affordability concerns.
When I first encountered these social attitudes I was _incredulous_.
I have encountered these attitudes repeatedly over a multiyear
period, and IMO these attitudes are a not fair popular/Pagan
solution to social welfare problems that the Government is
_not_ addressing. My response is to remember that it is easier
_not_ to invite a guest into your private house than to ask that
guest to leave.

<*> While I am not qualified to provide legal opinions, I believe


that once people establish legal residence (as opposed to being
invited guests) in _your_ private house, they are free to invite
_their_ (unknown) friends ('vite 'em inns?) to visit. Invited
guests in a private house have the right to leave. Boarders in
a boarding house situation (usually) have additional legal rights
-- paying rent (usually) creates a contractual situation under

the common law. And boarders in your private house inadvertantly
can create opportunities for (or can invite) police and/or
social service agencies to enter your private house _without_
a Court-issued search warrant.

<*> Warratless searches are a problem because legal 'discovery'
states that evidence discovered after police gain access to a
private house is admissible in Court. For example, Homeland Security
concerns raise the possibility of warrantless house searches in
locales with immigrant populations. And an _anonymous_ report
that a boarder abuses his/her pet can precipitate a warrantless
search of your private house by Municipal Animal Control agents
accompanied by police free to make legal discovery.

<*> Owners seldom benefit by voluntarily allowing deputized officers
to enter their private houses. Deputized officers within a private


house can use their powers to create chaotic legal situations.

Deputized police officers and (in my state deputized) fire fighters
sometimes take second jobs as process servers or bill collectors.
Visits by process servers or bill collectors usually are _not_ pleasant.


If a (deputized) process server or a (deputized) bill collector is

invited into a private house, s/he is free to examine the house for
legal discovery purposes, seeking evidence admissible during later
Court proceedings.

<*> And if a private house owner argues strongly with a (deputized)


process server or a (deputized) bill collector, the deputized
officer can pull out his/her badge and identify him/herself. Then
the private house owner can be arrested, be charged with
'Threatening An Officer' and be hauled away, leaving the private

house open for unwitnessed leisurely inspection for legal discovery
purposes. Owners have _no obligation_ to admit process servers or


bill collectors into their private houses unless presented with
a Court-issued warrant.

<*> This de facto loss of legal safeguards against warrantless entry
and against warrantless discovery is a _significant loss_ both of
personal privacy and of civil liberties. During her April 2004
testimony before the 9/11 Commission, (then National Security Advisor)
Condoleezza Rice mentioned Government discussions about reducing


civil liberties to aid the 'War Against Terrorism'. Ms. Rice's
comment is significant because Homeland Security can become an

all-encompassing banner under which far-reaching permanent changes
are enacted -- security can become the National religion. In this
suspicious environment, charitable actions result in _significant


loss of civil liberties_ for the private house owner. No private
house owner wants the Government to help them OUT in the name of

Homeland Security. IMO nothing kills charity faster than coercion.

<*> Increasingly in 21st Century society I observe personality
polarization -- people assume dominant or submissive personalities.
The people demanding entry to private houses as boarders are the
people most likely to dominate the household -- a recipe for
unhappiness. The word 'obnoxious' is not popular in the
21st Century.

<*> Private house owners have different privacy rights than renters.


Unless presented with a Court-issued search warrant, private house
owners control right of legal entry into their houses. In rental

situations the landlord and his/her designees have legal right of entry
for maintenance and other purposes. Similarly, the landlord or his/her


designee has the right to invite police into a rental dwelling.

<*> BTW, a local civil servant (who I had _not_ been introduced to)


walked up to me one day and said "We will house four people on your
house's second floor -- you can live on the third floor." I said
nothing -- I turned and just walked away. It is _foolish_ to

challenge a civil servant in their place of employment.

<*> Some people's attitude is that in terms of housing, my cuups


runneth over and I am being selfish not boarding others in my
private house. I consider such _social pressure and hostility_

a not fair attack on my personal freedom. To my knowledge the


United States Government has not (yet) instituted
'the housing police'. The United States Constitution contains
NO stipulation that allows Government to forcibly house civilians
in your private house. Of course, should martial law ever be
declared within the United States, Constitutional rights would
be suspended and only Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA
(iron Ma), now contained within the Department of Homeland Security]

knows what could happen. The novel "We The Living" by Ayn Rand
(ISBN 0-525-94054-5) graphically depicts loss of property rights
and loss of privacy rights due to housing shortages in the
Soviet Union after the Bolshevik Revolution. IMO the civilian
and military housing shortage in the United States only can worsen
in the upcoming years.

<*> Summarizing, IMO these housing-related economic issues make


some Wiccan Covens' 'binding oaths of obedience' hazardous to

private house owners' property rights and civil liberties.

Richard Ballard

unread,
Dec 2, 2004, 8:51:31 AM12/2/04
to
Copyright 2003-2004 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Each issue's new and significantly changed paragraphs begin
with a <*> marker.

In article <20041201112403...@mb-m20.aol.com>,
rball...@aol.com (Richard Ballard) writes:

>Copyright 2003-2004 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.
>
>Parts One, Three, Four and Five are contained in concurrent
>copyrighted messages titled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan
>Novices (Part One/Three/Four/Five of Five Parts)", respectively.
>I provide an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in
>subsequent copyrighted messages entitled "A Reference List for
>Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two/Three of Three Parts)",
>respectively.

<snip>

><*> This de facto loss of legal safeguards against warrantless entry
>and against warrantless discovery is a _significant loss_ both of
>personal privacy and of civil liberties. During her April 2004
>testimony before the 9/11 Commission, (then National Security Advisor)
>Condoleezza Rice mentioned Government discussions about reducing
>civil liberties to aid the 'War Against Terrorism'. Ms. Rice's
>comment is significant because Homeland Security can become an
>all-encompassing banner under which far-reaching permanent changes
>are enacted -- security can become the National religion. In this
>suspicious environment, charitable actions result in _significant
>loss of civil liberties_ for the private house owner. No private
>house owner wants the Government to help them OUT in the name of
>Homeland Security. IMO nothing kills charity faster than coercion.

<*> I can understand skeptics ridiculing my statement
"... security can become the National religion. ..."
I justify my statement by comparing the United States'
response to the tragic events of 9/11 versus the
response of our Canadian neighbor. _Both countries
face a terrorism threat._ The cold Canadian winters
increase the Canadian energy import problem. And
Canadians are a free people.

<*> But while the United States undertook the largest
Federal restructuring in its history by forming the
_highly visible_ all encompassing Department of
Homeland Security, our Canadian neighbors went
about their daily business -- I observe no similar
antiterrorism effort in Canada. If similar Canadian
antiterrorism organizations exist, the Canadian
antiterrorism organizations are _not_ highly visible
and apparently are _not_ intruding into peoples'
daily consciousness. The Canadian response
is different (and pleasanter).

<*> 'Religion' is an emotion-laden word, and the
United States Constitution mandates separation
between Church and State. I am forced to
criticize a United States Federal implementation
policy that creates an unnecessarily intrusive
National religion intruding upon my daily consciousness.

<snip>

Richard Ballard

unread,
Dec 28, 2004, 6:38:27 AM12/28/04
to
Copyright 2003-2004 by Richard J. Ballard -- All Rights Reserved.
Each issue's new and significantly changed paragraphs begin
with a <*> marker.

In article <20041201112422...@mb-m20.aol.com>,
rball...@aol.com (Richard Ballard) writes:

>Copyright 2003-2004 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.
>
>Parts One, Three, Four and Five are contained in concurrent
>copyrighted messages titled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan
>Novices (Part One/Three/Four/Five of Five Parts)", respectively.
>I provide an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in
>subsequent copyrighted messages entitled "A Reference List for
>Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two/Three of Three Parts)",
>respectively.

<snip>

><*> We live in interesting economic times. IMO the United States


>domestic economy currently is artifically buoyed by 'printing press
>credit' with rising interest rates to follow. And the United States
>domestic economy is seriously weakened by the Iraqi occupation
>[as of 8/2004 costing ~$130 billion dollars of deficit spending --
>money siphoned away from creating jobs and housing].
>
><*> IMO the barrel of petroleum (formerly a abundant commodity
>with a stable price) has become the new global currency, with
>all countries' currencies indexed to the price of the barrel of
>petroleum. High demand and short supply dictate that petroleum
>prices will continue to rise -- a de facto reduction in the value
>of all countries' currencies. (I.e., rising energy costs
>impoverish everybody.) The high cost of Homeland Security
>further raises living costs, siphoning money away from creating
>jobs and housing. I expect these issues to grow as the
>United States domestic economy continues to downsize and
>people exhaust their credit resources.

<*> During the second half of 2004, the price of a barrel of
petroleum fluctuated between forty and fifty dollars. Petroleum
price instability poses an additional problem -- how can energy
companies plan future operations when their raw material prices
(and resultant profit) are unpredictable? A _stable_ gradually
rising petroleum price is better than fluctuating prices
(particularly when the reasons for the price fluctuations are
_not_ understood), because predictable petroleum prices
facilitate the energy companies' future planning and orderly
daily operation.

<*> Few acknowledge the existence of 'housing impaired' people
within our society. Most people are aware that people sometimes
desert their residences without paying back rent or utilities.
Landlords call these cases 'night moves', because without giving
notice the people move the evening before their announced eviction
date. (Several years' unpaid property taxes also can trigger a
sheriff's sale and a night move.) Few people consider how life
changes after a night move.

<*> I respect the utility companies. The utility companies perform
an important function, they perform their function reliably in all
weather, and the utility companies often operate in a price-regulated
environment. The utility companies must bill their customers.
Common sense dictates that when a customer vacates a residence
without paying past due utility bills, the utility will not start
service at a new residence until the existing past due bill is paid.
The night mover might not be able to pay past due utility bills,
might not be eligible to be a utility customer, and can _not_ start
a new residence without utility service. The night mover is
'housing impaired', and is forced to live in another's residence
until past due utility bills are paid.

<*> Night movers become boarders, become (permanent?) house guests
or become indigent. I am going to make an observation.
I have observed men sleeping on steam grates in winter.
I _never_ have observed women sleeping on steam grates in winter.
My observation suggests that indigent women are better able
to find housing ...

<*> In a downsizing domestic economy with few jobs being created
(or net loss of full time jobs), the ranks of the housing
impaired are growing. This problem also affects the families
of Armed Forces Reserve and National Guard soldiers serving
overseas, earning significantly less salary than their
civilian jobs would provide.

<*> Landlords and the utility companies must bill in order to
continue operations. This problem is the fault of a poor
domestic economy -- _not_ the fault of landlords or the
utility companies. As to sheriff's sales due to several years'
unpaid back taxes, I must wonder aloud why municipalities
instead don't file liens against the affected real estate
to be repaid with interest when the real estate eventually
is sold.

"All Rights Reserved"?

Richard Ballard

unread,
Jan 11, 2005, 6:20:05 AM1/11/05
to
Copyright 2003-2004 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.

Parts One, Three, Four and Five are contained in concurrent
copyrighted messages titled "Definitions For Prospective Wiccan
Novices (Part One/Three/Four/Five of Five Parts)", respectively.
I provide an accompanying list of Wicca-related references in
subsequent copyrighted messages entitled "A Reference List for
Prospective Wiccan Novices (Part One/Two/Three of Three Parts)",
respectively.

I recommend that Wiccan parent/s (and legal guardian/s) avoid


situations where underaged children (or wards) become _bound_
Coven members. (And I acknowledge that my own Methodist
experience includes voluntary church membership.) One purpose
of Wiccan initiation (after a period of study) is to expose the
initiate to secret oathbound material, material previously
hidden from the initiate -- a new ball game. I recommend
that prospective Wiccan novices 'Caveat emptor' -- let the
buyer beware.

The United States is experiencing economic downsizing with
net loss of jobs and rising living costs. When the economy
downsizes, some people lose prosperity while other people become
impoverished -- the new poor. Loss of prosperity brings loss of
options, and poverty brings further loss of options. (E.g., an
apartment dweller who loses his/her apartment and cellular
telephone essentially disappears.) Offered situations become
scarcer and poorer in a downsizing economy and some offered
situations are not pleasant (or worse). The phrase no longer
is used, but the phrase 'wage slaves' was common in the
recessionary late-1970's.

My comments might seem fanciful, but my comments are based

We live in interesting economic times. IMO the United States
domestic economy currently is artificially buoyed by 'printing press


credit' with rising interest rates to follow. And the United States
domestic economy is seriously weakened by the Iraqi occupation
[as of 8/2004 costing ~$130 billion dollars of deficit spending --
money siphoned away from creating jobs and housing].

IMO the barrel of petroleum (formerly a abundant commodity


with a stable price) has become the new global currency, with
all countries' currencies indexed to the price of the barrel of
petroleum. High demand and short supply dictate that petroleum
prices will continue to rise -- a de facto reduction in the value
of all countries' currencies. (I.e., rising energy costs
impoverish everybody.) The high cost of Homeland Security
further raises living costs, siphoning money away from creating
jobs and housing. I expect these issues to grow as the
United States domestic economy continues to downsize and
people exhaust their credit resources.

<*> During the second half of 2004, the price of a barrel of
petroleum fluctuated between forty and fifty dollars. Petroleum
price instability poses an additional problem -- how can energy
companies plan future operations when their raw material prices
(and resultant profit) are unpredictable? A _stable_ gradually
rising petroleum price is better than fluctuating prices
(particularly when the reasons for the price fluctuations are
_not_ understood), because predictable petroleum prices
facilitate the energy companies' future planning and orderly

daily operation. (During low price fluctuations I wonder if
the Federal Government purchases petroleum both to refill the
Strategic Petroleum Reserve and also to help maintain an
orderly petroleum market?)

Government faced with chronic deficits will provide fewer
services (including housing services, education and wellness/aid
to dependent children). A Wiccan Coven's binding oath of
obedience could be used to house indigent Coven members (or their
friends) in another person's private house, a right that
Government does _not_ have under the United States Constitution.
IMO individuals should consider _seriously_ the mundane implications
of taking any Wiccan Coven's binding oath of obedience. That
binding oath of obedience could affect your daily life in your
(formerly) private house.