~ March 2008
Saudi Arabia: Halt
Woman’s Execution for ‘Witchcraft’
Continued . . .The judges relied on Fawza
Falih’s coerced confession and on the statements of witnesses who
said she had “bewitched” them to convict her in April 2006. She
retracted her confession in court, claiming it was extracted under
duress, and that as an illiterate woman she did not understand the
document she was forced to fingerprint. She also stated in her
appeal that her interrogators beat her during her 35 days in
detention at the hands of the religious police. At one point, she
had to be hospitalized as a result of the beatings.
The judges never investigated whether her confession was voluntary
or reliable or investigated her allegations of torture. They never
even made an inquiry as to whether she could have been responsible
for allegedly supernatural occurrences, such as the sudden impotence
of a man she is said to have “bewitched.” They also broke Saudi law
in multiple instances, ignoring legal rules on proper procedures in
The judges did not sit as a panel of three, as required for cases
involving the death penalty. They excluded Fawza Falih from most
trial sessions and banned a relative who was acting as her legal
representative from attending any session. Earlier, her
interrogators blocked her access to a lawyer and the judges, and
denied her the right to professional legal representation, thus
depriving her of the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses
against her. She claims that some of the witnesses were unknown to
her and that others had made statements against her only as a result
Saudi Arabia does not have a written penal code, and “witchcraft” is
not a defined crime. The Law of Criminal Procedure of 2002 grants
defendants the right to be tried in person, to have a lawyer present
during interrogation and trial, and to cross-examine any prosecution
witnesses. The law obliges law enforcement officers to treat
An appeals court ruled in September 2006 that Fawza Falih could not
be sentenced to death for “witchcraft” as a crime against God
because she had retracted her confession. The lower court judges
then sentenced her to death on a “discretionary” basis, for the
benefit of “public interest” and to “protect the creed, souls and
property of this country.”
“The judges’ behavior in Fawza Falih’s trial shows they were
interested in anything but a quest for the truth,” Stork said. “They
completely disregarded legal guarantees that would have demonstrated
how ill-founded this whole case was.”
On November 2, Saudi Arabia executed Mustafa Ibrahim for sorcery in
Riyadh. Ibrahim, an Egyptian working as a pharmacist in the northern
town of `Ar’ar, was found guilty of having tried “through sorcery”
to separate a married couple, according to a Ministry of Interior
To read the letter from Human Rights Watch to King Abdullah, please
For more information on Saudi Arabia, please visit:
Kids Realm ~ Bunny Craft
by: Amanda Formaro
This cute little bunny fell asleep inside of one of your Easter
eggs! Shhh, don't wake him--he needs his strength to deliver those
What you'll need:
• ½ egg shell
• Wooden doll stand
• 2 large white pompoms
• 4 medium white pompoms.
• 1 miniature pink pompom
• scrap of black felt
• Pink and white acrylic paint
• White felt
• White craft glue
• Thin white ribbon
How to make it:
• Be sure egg shell is clean and dry.
• Paint outside of egg shell pink.
• Paint the doll stand with a mixture of white and pink paint. Let
• Glue the eggshell to the doll stand.
• Add some glue to the inside of the egg shell. Place one of the
large white pompoms inside the egg shell. Glue the other large white
pompom on top of the first one.
• Glue two medium white pompoms to the inside of the egg shell so
that they show at the top of the shell (paws).
• Glue the other two medium pompoms to the head for cheeks.
• Glue the miniature pink pompom in between the two cheeks.
• Cut two long ears from the white felt and glue to the top of the
head at the sides. Fold them downward and glue the ends to the egg
• Cut two small crescent shaped slits from the black felt and glue
on to head for sleepy eyes.
• Tie ribbon around the bottom of the egg shell and form a bow, trim
• Pompoms can be purchased in large value packs with different
colors and sizes.
• Be sure to check the craft stores following each holiday for major
clearance priced items.
• You could get even more creative and add a sleeping cap to the
project by cutting a piece of pastel colored felt and rolling into a
cone. Glue it to the top of the head and bend the end downward and
glue to bunny’s back.
Pope rules out Feminist Theology
By: Malcolm Moore
Continued . . . Instead, it said
that the traditional form of "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" had to be
respected. The alternative phrases originated in North America and
started to become popular only in the past few years. The new
phrases are particularly popular in the Church of England. It was
recently reported that guidelines to bishops and priests advised
them to avoid "uncritical use of masculine imagery". The Catholic
Church and the Church of England are split over feminist issues. The
Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the Pope, met in
Rome last year, but admitted that the ordination of women priests
was a "serious obstacle" to closer ties. The Pope, who wrote the
latest ruling, has been a strong opponent of feminism in the
Catholic Church. In his book, The Ratzinger Report, he wrote: "I am,
in fact, convinced that what feminism promotes in its radical form
is no longer the Christianity that we know; it is another
religion."Rosemary Radford Ruether, a professor of feminist theology
at the Graduate Theological Union in California, said that among
"liberal" Catholics, the Pope "is not our Pope". The Vatican said
anyone baptised under the feminist terms could invalidate their
marriage. Cardinal Urbano Navarrete, who wrote a formal commentary
on yesterday's ruling, gave warning that anyone who attempted to
baptise someone with a gender-neutral form would be penalised. "It
is seriously illegitimate and unjust," he said. Monsignor Antonio
Miralles, a professor at the Pontifical Holy Cross University, said
the new baptism "subverts faith in the Trinity" because it does not
make the relationship between the three persons clear. "God is
eternally Father in relation to His only begotten Son, who is not
eternally Son except in relation to the Father." Meanwhile, the Pope
also spoke out against gay marriage and abortion before his first
trip to the United States before Easter. He praised Americans who
respected the "institution of marriage, acknowledged as a stable
union between a man and a woman".
First Wiccan Chaplain in History To Meet with
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Update on Patrick McCollum at US Commission on Civil Rights -
February 8, 2008
Remarks Delivered Before Commission
Continued . . ."It is an
honor to be invited to participate in the dialogue and to share a
Wiccan's point of view," said McCollum. "Those in minority faiths
are seldom given the opportunity to be heard, even when the issue
concerns their rights. I am hopeful this invitation is indicative of
what we can expect going forward and that there truly is a desire on
the part of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to ensure that
inmates receive equal treatment, and a willingness to better serve
Rev. McCollum has been a member of Circle Sanctuary, an
international Wiccan church for nearly thirty years and has been an
activist for Wiccan and Pagan civil rights through the Lady Liberty
League (LLL) which the church sponsors. He was part of the LLL team
which succeeded in getting the US Department of Veterans Affairs to
add the pentacle to its list of emblems of belief that can be
inscribed on the veteran gravestones it issues.
As LLL's National Coordinator of Prison Ministries, McCollum has
worked for inmates rights at state and federal correctional
institutions across the nation for more than a decade. Rev. McCollum
recently became the Director of Prison Chaplaincy for Cherry Hill
Seminary (CHS), which offers graduate level education to Wiccan and
Pagan chaplains serving in institutional settings. In addition,
McCollum is also chair of the National Correctional Chaplaincy
Other speakers at Friday's meeting include representatives from
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, American
Civil Liberties Union Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief,
Homeland Security, Office of the Deputy Attorney General as well as
the Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
The briefing will be held beginning at 9:30 am on Friday, February 8
at U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 624 Ninth Street NW, Room 540,
For a complete list of speakers and other details, see U.S.
Commission on Civil Rights official press release.
For More Info Contact Circle Sanctuary and Lady Liberty
LeaguePatrick speaking in Washington DC in July 2007
Ostara Meditation - The Potential Within
by Karen Tate
Continued . . . Keeping your
eyes closed you allow the movie screen of your mind to switch on.
And you see you have just transported to the most beautiful meadow.
The sun is shining high in the bright blue sky and you feel its
warmth. You see flocks of birds overhead and hear their calls. The
clouds are like fluffy wads of cotton in the heavens. Lowering your
eyes, as you look around, you see a grove of trees before you. You
hear the tap, tap of the red-headed woodpeckers on the ancient
trunks. There are spatterings of flowers growing here and there.
Blue irises. Yellow daffodils. You look down and see you are
standing in a field of green clover. You notice some of the leaves
have three leaves and others four. You feel truly lucky to be in
alive and embraced in nature’s garden.
Then you realize you hear the rush of water behind you and feel a
light spray of wetness. Turning around, you see a magnificent
waterfall. You feel drawn to move toward the flowing water, being a
creature of water that you are. As you walk toward the life-giving
liquid, you see the other creatures that the water has also
attracted. There are frogs and turtles making their way along the
banks of the waterfall pool. Fish are abundant in the waters. Purple
water lilies float upon the surface. There is even a timid young doe
getting a drink. Then you notice playing in some high grasses just
alongside the waters edge - a clutch of white rabbits. Some are
nibbling the green blades of grass, others are taking care of their
young ones, all are busy playing in Gaia’s garden.
Moving closer to the waterfall, you notice there seems to be a path
of stones that will take you behind the falling water. You sense the
cool darkness there and it calls to you. Stepping along the path,
you reach out for a tree to steady you. As you do, you notice that
the branches are filled with birds and their joyful songs uplift
your spirits even higher. Your keen eyes notice the many nests in
the branches and one nest, very close to you, holds several pale
blue eggs. Soon the mother bird is back tending this nest and you
continue along your stone path leading behind the waterfall. You are
grateful for the glimpse of life you saw within the nest.
Soon you are behind the waterfall and your eyes have to adjust to
the darkness. You realize this cave behind the water’s edge goes
deep into the mountain. You feel perfectly at ease as you begin to
go deeper within the cave. There is a peace and security in its
coolness that lures you still deeper within. Looking down, you
notice some squirrels retrieving nuts they’d hidden among the rocks.
And the white rabbits you saw earlier are also here. They take no
notice of you, so you decide to sit upon a large rock perfectly
positioned to be a comfortable seat. Here you enjoy simply watching
the rabbits and squirrels go about doing the things that they do.
Suddenly you see a white mist that seems to emanate from the rear of
the deep chasm before you. The mist swirls and moves toward you and
around you - piquing your curiosity. You wonder at your fearlessness
but you feel secure in this womb-like space. Within seconds the mist
seems to take a more solid shape and you hear a voice. “Do not be
afraid. I am here to teach you that which you seek.”
Trusting and curious, you sit and wait for what might happen next.
Within a few seconds the mist has taken the form of a beautiful
woman who reaches out her hand and touches the top of your head,
gifting you with vision.
You see in this vision, a woman on a throne, flanked by two lions.
To her right is her consort on his throne. You see that the
consort’s skin is a pale green like the flowering earth. From a
large seed on his lap, you see vines and flowers growing full. They
entwine around his royal chair and encompass his body, becoming his
clothing. Then, in what seems like time lapsed photography, the
green growth matures, growing larger, fuller and more abundant. The
Divine Feminine tells you to look upon his face as it morphs from
one face to another - and without knowing exactly how, you intuit
that you are seeing the faces of the great old gods or consorts of
Goddess - Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, Attis, and Jesus. The flowering,
dying, and rising kings. And she smiles at you saying, “They are
The Queen Goddess touches your head again and the scene changes.
Your seat is now within a nest-like enclosure and all around are
colored eggs. You see red ones, blue ones, yellow, and green eggs.
Some have symbols on them. Flowers, spirals, ankhs, crosses, wavy
lines, inter-locked triangles. She points to one egg and you know
you are meant to touch it. As you do, you hear the words, “Ah the
Garden - There is wisdom and magic in the dirt!” You smile at Ostara
in amazement - yes, you know her by her name now. She is the Goddess
She points to another egg - which you touch. Again you hear words.
This time you hear, “When I let go of who I am, I become who I might
be.” This makes you smile and you exchange an understanding glance
with Ostara, who points to a yellow egg just within reach. Then you
hear, “Within you there is an inner seed of radiance waiting to
grow.” You are aglow with these truths and hope, and you hardly
notice the mist that was Ostara is beginning to fade. Slowly, slowly
you are alone once again - alone in the dark womb of Gaia. But as
you look down, there at your feet, there remains one red egg. You
know this egg is yours to keep. As you reach down and touch it, you
are gifted with one last seedling of truth that might grow within
you. Sit a minute with the red egg and let that wisdom enter your
heart and mind.
If you haven’t received the message yet - don’t let yourself worry.
It will come. Take the red egg with you. Take it home and put it
upon your altar as a constant reminder of the wonders of this
journey and the potential of both Spring and the dark places.
You rise now and begin to exit the cave. You take one last look at
the white rabbits as they frolic in the safety of the Mother’s
embrace. As you reach the stone pathway leading outside, the bright
sunlight warms your skin once again and you decide to sit for a
moment on the bank of the pool. As you lower your feet into the
water so teeming with life, the sudden shock of cold transports you
back here with us. Quickly and safely. When you are ready, you can
open your eyes. == And look upon Ostara’s eggs awaiting you.