On June 19, 1999, an article in The Atlanta Journal and Consititution stated that "
Readers responding to last week's ethics question overwhelmingly voiced their belief that Wiccans have the constitutional right to practice their religion --- even on military installations. 'I support the right of people of all religious backgrounds and faiths to practice as their beliefs and hearts require,' Teresa Downing commented. 'Religious freedom is one of the cornerstones of our country.' ... 'People of other religions...
On June 11, 1999, The Freedom Forum Online offered an Associated Press article reporting that Religious groups urge Christians to boycott Army over Wiccans. The Houston Chronicle published a similar article stating that "conservative Christian organizations this week called for a nationwide boycott of the Army, demanding it reverse its policy of accommodating soliders with alternative religious beliefs."
On June 8, 1999, The Washington Post published an article
on the current situation of Wiccans in the military. The first Wiccan
group to be recognized by the military was the Fort Hood Open Circle,
which was formed two years ago at the largest military post in the
nation, Fort Hood, Texas. Since then, groups have formed on military
bases in Louisiana, Alaska, Okinawa, and Florida. The group in Fort
Hood drew public attention in March 1999, when they invited a
photographer to witness their spring ceremony and photos were printed...
On May 18, 1999, Representative Bob Barr's press release
called for the exclusion of the Wiccan religion and Witchcraft from the countries' military bases. Barr's attack has been countered by many voices from within the Pagan community. The Witches' Voice reports that "John Machate, Coordinator/CEO of the Military Pagan Network responded in a letter to Congressman Barr, "This is a direct attack on the Constitution of the United States. All religions are protected, not just those...
On March 31, 1999, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis
reported that a battle between the Winter School District in
Wisconsin and Burklin Nielsen, a 16-year-old student at Winter High
School, has been resolved. Nielsen filed a complaint with the
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction claiming that her freedom
of religion was violated when she was prevented from accessing
material over the internet about Wicca in a school computer lab for
public use during non-school hours. Nielsen, a Lutheran, was the
target of many small-town rumors...
On March 22, 1999, a settlement was announced by the ACLU of
Michigan concerning the case between a Wiccan teenager and the
Lincoln Park School District of Michigan. For more information on the
details of the settlement, see
On March 19, 1999, The Boston Herald featured an article
on Pagan celebrations of the vernal equinox, which honor the arrival
of spring and Eostra, the Teutonic goddess of spring. Pagan lore
recounts that a rabbit so wanted to please Eostra that it laid sacred
eggs in her honor. The rabbit then decorated the eggs and presented
them to Eostra. She was so pleased with the eggs that the rabbit was
sent across the land to distribute the eggs. Although vernal equinox
celebrations differ from coven to coven, many Pagans do paint the
On February 20, 1999, The Detroit News published an
editorial noting that a 17-year-old high school student in Lincoln
Park High School, Crystal Seifferly, is suing the school system for
not giving her the right to wear a pentagram, the symbol of her
Wiccan faith. In an attempt to curb violence and gang activity within
the school system, the principal of the high school announced a
policy that would target "inappropriate activities" such as
"graffiti," "gang colors/styles," "cult dress/styles," "black nail
polish," and "Pentagram...
On December 25, 1998 Pagan Education Network released a press release stating that "The Pagan Educational Network, Inc. is proud to announce the founding of the Pagan Community Fund. This fund, formerly known as the Wiccan Community Fund, provides cash assistance to Pagans in need. Recipients may use the assistance to put food in the cupboard, pay bills, recover from some natural disaster, or fund legal efforts in the case of religious discrimination."
On December 23, 1998 the New York Times reported that 33 participants in a
Winter Solstice celebration were charged with trespassing. The Staten
Island beach is technically closed after dusk, and the ritual fire
was seen as problematic. "Ms. Henes, 53, said she had held at least
15 solstice ceremonies on South Beach and never run into a problem
before. 'In the past,' she said, 'sometimes the Fire Department has
come because someone has seen the fire, and we say, look, this is our
religion, and they have been very respectful and...
On November 1, 1998, the Chicago Tribune issued an
article concerning a television advertisement that was run by acting
Massachusetts Governor Paul Celluci in his bid for election. In the
advertisement, which is supposed to attack the priorities of his
opponent Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, a
"black-hatted, green-faced crone" was featured while an announcer
said that Harshbarger once threatened to prosecute a Christian group
for harassing a group of Wiccans in Salem. In reaction to the
advertisement, a rally was...
On October 31, 1998, the St. Petersburg Times published an article entitled, "Witches Rejoice, Reflect on Halloween." Robin Spaulding, a Wiccan priestess who lives in northeast St. Petersburg, says that "on Samhain, that is the time you are most likely to communicate with the spirits that have passed on." Susan Granby of the Compass Coven in St. Petersburg suggests that Samhain is both a celebration of life and a time to say farwell to the spirits of those who have died this year.
On October 31st, while many Americans celebrate Halloween as trick-or-treating and costume-wearing, Wiccans celebrate Samhain or Hallowmas, which is the Wiccan New Year.
Two articles were written which engage Halloween as a Wiccan holiday. On October 29, 1998, the Los Angeles Times published an article entitled, "Their Guiding Light." Ruth Barrett, instructor and co-founder of Circle of Aradia in Southern California, describes Samhain as the "night where the veil between worlds is thinnest: between this world and the spirit...
On September 20, 1998, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
reported that Christina Francis and Rick Beckner had exchanged
wedding vows on September 19th in Scout Lake Park in Greendale, WI.
Describing the Pagan community of her youth in Milwaukee as "very
hush-hush," Francis now sees the Pagan community as "more comfortable
with visibility," such that she is now able to enjoy her wedding
ceremony in a public park. Francis and Beckner were joined in a
ceremony known to Wiccans as second-degree handfasting, which is a