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Chess on the Net

An online community where those with the best moves always mate.

In the Valley of the Kings

Breaking new ground in Egypt -- and on the Web.

Autumn Tapestry

The traditional art of weaving -- in code.


What better place for bibliophiles, bibliopoles, bibliotaphs, and bibliomaniacs to congregate?

Car Talk

It's not just on NPR.

The Official Guide to Bedlam

The teeming, chaotic, utterly bizarre world of popular music on the Web -- brought to you by MTV and Yahoo!.

Shakespeare's Theatre

A multimedia tribute to the reopening of the Globe.

For more, see the complete Web Citations Index.
September 24, 1997
Witches' Voice
Historically, it hasn't been easy to be a witch. That may be changing, however: thanks to the Internet, witches from all over the world can now share their stories and traditions, organize against infringements of their rights, sell their products, and strive to improve their public image. Among witches, this is a significant development: A Witch Imageby one estimate close to seventy percent of witches are online, and there are now more than six hundred sites on the Web dedicated to paganism, witchcraft, and Wicca (the religion that many witches practice). One of the most popular and extensive of these sites is The Witches' Voice, a news and education network for the supernaturally inclined.

Those who don't know much about modern witchcraft might want to start by reading the site's FAQ section, where witches are defined as practitioners of "a nature-based religion which recognizes the feminine in divinity and follows the seasonal cycles" and where such questions as, "Why do Witches wear black?" and "Do Witches cast spells?" are answered. (No, not all witches wear black -- many prefer green or purple -- and yes, witches do cast spells, but the word is misunderstood.)
A Witch's Table
Like many other advocacy groups, The Witches' Voice uses the Internet to organize protest and garner media support. The Witches' White Pages offers tips on how to talk to the media and provides sample letters that one can send to those who discriminate against witches. (One such letter, addressed to store owners, politely but sternly points out that witchcraft is a legally recognized religion and threatens a witch boycott of stores that continue to sell masks portraying witches as "hags with green faces and warted noses.")

The Witches' Voice also serves as a community center. Many witches gather in the Magic Beans coffeehouse, an active live-feed message board where online hugs seem to be more popular than withcraft pointers. Other features include a bulletin board where various members have posted pictures of their cats (most of which aren't black or sinister-looking), an updatable database of witch gatherings around the country, and links to everything from the Organization of American Druids to the Military Pagan Network.

CandleAccording to the site's organizers the witch community has long been fractured by "witch wars," making it difficult for the community to wield any real clout. But there has been a growing movement toward pagan unity in the last year or so, fueled mainly by the connections witches have made over the Internet. Finally, witches may have found a home out of the broom closet.

Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
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