The Holy Oak Journal

Holy Oak Church of All Worlds - Gainesville, Florida - Yule 1998

Welcome to the first online issue of The Holy Oak Journal, the news, information, and opinion site of the members of the Holy Oak Church of All Worlds, an independent congregation of the Church of All Worlds. This site does not represent CAW or any other Neo-Pagan, Pagan, or Wiccan group or individual - only the authors. Some of what you read here may be controversial, but just remember that once slavery was so hotly debated that it contributed to a civil war. Also remember that as a religious body Pagans are much different from Christians, and that Christianity has so dominated our culture that many of our assumptions about what is right and wrong are based on it's value system. One of the functions of this Journal is to explore uncharted ideas and beliefs. It is also about one small group of people in one small religion in a small college town in Florida. But sometimes big things start small. These are our thoughts and dreams, poems and articles, activities and plans. And none of them are small.

Email your correspondences and contributions to


On Sunday December 20 the Holy Oak Branch will hold its Yule Celebration at Moon Goddess. The festivities will begin around 5 with a potluck dinner, and the Circle will be around 7ish. Please bring your favorite dish to share (coffee, sodas, chips provided) and come in full ritual garb. We gather to honor the longest night and the beginning of the sun's ascent. We gather to honor the Lord & Lady from whom all blessings (& challenges) flow. We gather to know each other in this dark but hopeful time of year. We gather to call the Sun back from the cold lands and pay homage to the birth of the God from the Mother's bountiful womb. Bring songs and poems of hope and praise, write a chant or share baked bread. Together we start another year on our journey!
On Fri December 11, Moon Goddess presents a Pagan Fashion Show, including examples of Faerie/Gypsie, Neo-Hipster, Goth, and ritual attire. It's going to be outrageous and more fun than a full frontal lobotomy. Come, enjoy yourself, and (if you haven't already) check out G'ville's first and only Pagan store! That night will also initiate our Coffee House. Every Friday and Saturday nights the store will be the place to be and be seen as we meet to hotly debate and discuss cutting edge topics, get wired on java, and either save the world or pull down civilization (depending on our mood)! Don't miss this chance to get into the thick of it, or just relax and enjoy this meeting of minds and hearts. Paul will be your host on Friday nights, and who knows what can happen with this volatile combination! Anything! Hedonistic rituals invoking alien hoards! Blood sacrifices of lizards and mosquitos! Recitations of ancient texts describing the apocalyptic return of Daffy Duck amid the turmoil of mud-wrestlingling-infested anarchic collapse! Or we could just play backgammon.
Sat., Nov. 21, was my croning. It was a beautiful and moving event for me, attended by the Stewart, Bethany, Nuriya, and Logan--my oldest pagan friends--and by Clint and Rhea--my newest (and youngest) pagan friends. Regretfully, many of my waterkin were unable to attend for various reasons. Prior to the arrival of the other guests, Stewart honored me with gorgeous body art--flowers and vines on my breasts; a robin between them; tree trunks and roots on my thighs; a kundalini serpent up my spine; Hindic (?) emblems on my hands, feet, and forehead; serpents on my right upper arm; moon and star on my left upper arm. An omne?--the crescent moon on my upper left arm still remains when all else has faded away. Bethany blessed me with pranic healing--and a "pranic" pipe. She and Stewart also gave me a lovely pair of Chartres Labyrinth earrings. And Bethany brought the "Women's Community" shawl, a lovely thing worn by many women at cronings, birth blessings and other women's rituals. Famished, we feasted first on Stewart's delicious rice and spaghetti with marinara. Stewart put a special blessing at my doorway--a design in flour trimmed with lemons and lavender blossoms. We began with smudging by Stewart the Sagemaster; salt and water sprinkling by Bethany; and circle-casting by Logan. Quarters were called with regard for the age-enhancing attribute/blessings of each element/direction. The quarter candles were ones I had taken to a previous esbat to be used and blessed by the Nest. I asked that they be used to bless my aging/croning and my new home. Nuriya used her special ritual wand to doubly bless each quarter candle. Clint and Rhea each brought their own magical prescence to the celebration. We had a joyous power-raising. Each person spoke about what they would like age to bring them. Then, choosing "one word" each to summarize the ideal aging experience, we chanted, "Wisdom, wonder, joy, fulfillment, good harvest, 100 birthday presents!!!!" When power had been raised, we grounded, drank Mr. Bailey, and listened to great music by Logan, including one of his own creation. We talked more about age and aging, crones we had known. At last, we closed the circle. And there were warm, loving hugs from everyone. It was truly beautiful!
Along with the usual wonder, magic, and mischief of a good Pagan Gathering, this years event witnessed a bit of controversy. The Bardic Circle was dedicated to the god Bizarro and, being the Samhain season, to the Dark. Thirty minutes before Circle, Pagan music began pouring from a boombox. But not the usual stuff. These were dark metal Pagan bands, and several folks expressed dismay at the unfamiliar sounds. The first performers were five Goths who weaved their distinct dance around the fire. In contrast, Elsbeth did her Madiera, My Dear performance and a rendition of the story of Inanna's decent to the Underworld. The original writer of the "sheep" song explained how that particular ditty got started and sang the original version. Finally, there was a fire-breather from Brazil who dazzled the audience with his antics. In attendance at the Gathering were Clint, Ruth, Ned, Debra, Mike (Debra's bud), Logan, Dea, and Paul. Paul gave a talk on Radical Paganism, and Debra gave a workshop on making herbal tinctures. Good wholesale connections were made for Moon Goddess, and the hot tub's Pagan Soup often had a distinctive Gainesville flavoring to it.
GAINESVILLE On Halloween night the Grand Opening was held for Gville's first and only Pagan store: Moon Goddess. Located at 4018 NW 6th Ave, MG is fast becoming a focus for the regional Pagan community, hosting not only the Opening, which was catered and included various dance and musical performers, but also classes and workshops. Items are accepted on a consignment basis, and Adam, Lee, Donna, Logan and all the folks at the shop invite everyone to participate. Give a workshop, display items to sell, such as art or crafts, or buy shares of stock for $20 each. Inventory is growing, and currently includes incense, candles, hard-to-find books, cauldrons, stained glass, crystals and stones, paintings, and clothing.
Samhain is the darkest Sabbat of the Year. It falls at mid-Autumn and celebrates death and the transition to the Otherworld and, perhaps, the womb. This year proved also to be a whirlwind of activities. On Friday night, October 30, the Alachua Pagan Alliance held its Ritual on the property of Moon Goddess; lead by Hazel, participants included Logan, Ruth, Phoenix, Alexis, and Paul, and was observed by several others. We traveled to the Underworld and met our revered ancestors. Mine looked pretty good, too. :) On Saturday the 31st was Moon Goddesses Grand Opening and Halloween Party; deliciously catered by Rob, the evening was splendid, with a ribbon cutting, raffle drawing, musicians, and dancing. Thanks to DJ, Adam, Lee, Tori, and all the others who worked to make this event such a success. Then on the first of November, Holy Oak Branch celebrated Samhain with a ritual lead by Ruth with help from the ubiquitous and wonderful DJ. All hail the sweet darkness of rest and rejuvination! After this Samhain weekend, we could all use it.

  • 12/1 - APA Meeting
  • 12/4 - Esbat @ Jonesville
  • 12/11 - Moon Goddess Fashion Show - 8 pm @ the Store
  • 12/20-21 - Moon Goddess Yule Vigil - bring your teddy bear
  • 12/20 - Branch Yule Celebration - @ Moon Goddess


    Paul MoonOak

    This year's Bardic Circle was different and controversial because the Bard was getting bored with the same songs and stories, and decided to dedicate the Circle to the god Bizarro and, it being the Samhain season, the Dark. First, I invited Cat (daughter of the site owner) and four of her Goth buds to be a part of Circle. Then I borrowed a boombox and, about 30 minutes before time to start, put in a CD of Pagan music. But not the usual mellow stuff. This was a Pagan band that played dark metal, and it was cranked. Elsbeth came up to me, obviously upset, and said she didn't like the music, that it was too loud, and that she couldn't come to Circle. I explained that it was dark Pagan music, that she shouldn't bale out just yet, and to try and accept that this was Pagan music, just not what she was used to. To her credit, she later came to me and said that eventhough she still didn't like dark rock, it had been an enlightening experience in mutual toleration.

    I asked Cat and company to come in full Goth garb and perform. And they did, beautifully, weaving a spidery dance around the fire. I can tell you they were all nervous as hell. Then Cat spoke about her Satanism, and though I hadn't planned it, it was a good test of our vaulted Pagan tolerance of diversity. Then the Circle went on as usual, with stuff that isn't, and never has been, to my personal taste, but so what? I'm there to share different talents and performances, from whatever tradition. It was the time between Samhain and Yule, the only time we as a community acknowledge and honor the Dark Side.

    The next morning at Council, it seemed like a full hour of folks talking about that Circle. I wished to present a challenge to our assumptions and comfortable routine, and evidently that happened. People spoke of their fears, discomforts, even bad dreams, about the Dark at Bardic. They seemed to be reciting in their hearts and minds the archaic notion that light is always good, and therefore dark must be bad, evil, threatening. And threatening I think it is, but only to the way even Pagans view it. The darkness brought to that Circle had nothing to do with harm, violence, or spiritual choas. It was the other side of day, the polar opposite of cute little faeiries, bless them, dancing happily on daisies. And I know that if I try to hide from the Dark, it will only fester and wound me. I also have to say that because the music was not only dark but rock (and obviosly powerful), I noticed a distinct generational thang going on: almost everyone who hated the music and the message was older, and almost everyone who had a great time was younger. It's too bad. But I suspect that it will be Xers and Yers that will revel in that powerful dark, as well as the powerful light, with music unique to the next century, not just 1960's folk or ancient styles preserved from the past, but pounding, joyful, angry, determined electric riffs, growling bass, and haunting melodies - from right now.

    Paul MoonOak

    Just about everyone I know has been going through significant changes in their inner and outer lives. For me it's been a time of inner confusion and uncertainty, but, as a friend of mine pointed out, that's what changes, even good changes, sometime feel like. This was not a very satisfying reminder, but it is true. Moon Goddess has opened, people are changing their jobs, moving (or not moving), and growing. Such wonderful chaos! Tiring, but ultimately good. So let me throw a little more stuff into the swirling brew: those of you who are active in the Branch need to take a first or closer look at CAW as a church. CAW was the first "Earth Religion" in the U.S. to attain a 501(c)(3) federal recognition, just like any other church. We are currently 32 years old; not bad for a galloping grok flock of die-hard individualists and powerful leaders! The most amazing people I know are involved in CAW in some way: the futurists, the movers and shakers, the organizers of Paganism as an out-of-the-broomcloset religious movement of the 21st century. The question is: are you one of us?

    There are two aspects of CAW which many people who are otherwise attracted to us find daunting. One, we have dues: $52 a year...or $1 a week. Money is green energy, and since so much of what we do requires this medium of exchange, we seek to generate it and use it wisely. Why not use capitalism itself to change capitalism and the world? If you cannot afford $52 a year, we will find a way around it. Money is not the master; everyone is included in our church regardless of income. Two, there are papers to write. Yes, papers, as in research papers. CAW is an intellectually dynamic church, and we know that to push the future in our direction we need all the tools we can accumulate, including an firm educational background and the ability think and reason, and to be able to communicate these thoughts effectively to others. If you have trouble with this, see the Minister. But I encourage all of you to investigate CAW, and those of you already in the church, please find out what Circle you are in and begin working on moving inward. CAW is one of the ways that we can walk our talk, that we can contribute to the changes in the culture that we hope to manifest. It isn't difficult; hell, if I can do it, anybody can. But it does require a spiritual and religious committment to what we believe and who we are. Make It So!

    I record the following members of the Branch as follows. Please email me with additions or corrections.

  • Paul - 6 - CAW member
  • Logan - 2 - CAW member
  • Donna - 4 - CAW member
  • Stewart - 2
  • Bethany - 2
  • Nuriya - 1
  • Rhea - 1
  • Dea - 2? - CAW member
  • Pete - 2 - CAW member
  • Ruth - 2
  • Dave - 1
  • Clint - 1
  • Debra - 2

    When I first began teaching my particular brand of Paganism (what I believed was the direction to go into the next millennium) I wasn't sure what to call it. I finally settled on "Radical" Paganism, eventhough that word wasn't completely satisfying either, because I felt that the word in its original meaning, that of "root," accurately described what I was doing: creating a "grassroots" movement and going to the roots of many deep assumptions that even Pagans make about what's right and wrong and how we should live our lives. So let me explain two basic principles of Radical Paganism, the roots of my philosophy from which all else springs.

    First, I believe in the ultimate manifestation of The Rede. Remember the Rede states that "If It Harm None, Do As You Will." Now what would it be like if a group built a small community on an island in the Bahamas based on Radical Pagan principles? Well, all behavior would be accepted so long as it didn't harm anyone. Harm being a little vague, its meaning would be pinned down as involuntary physical injury or any kind of violence. Violence is unacceptable in all its forms. But besides these, do as you wish. Now this sounds okay at first, but think a moment: suppose a 13 year old boy crawls into a crone's tent and wants to have sex? Suppose she takes it upon herself to teach him sexual skills? If both parties desire it, then its acceptable. Period. No squabbling over morals or personal opinions; it becomes the exclusive business of the people involved in the activity, and no one else (up to the point where there is involuntary physical injury or violence - and then it becomes everyone's business). Notice it's "physical" injury, not getting your feelings hurt. Psychological trauma, such as being taught, as I was, to be in constant fear of damnation, is not included. Even a parent who constantly berates and criticizes his child has the right to do so because they may feel it's good to "toughen them up" or some other justification. We may not like it; we may as neighbors go over and try to spend time with the young person, but ultimately its not our right to impose our belief system on the parent. Much as I personally hate this caviat, much as I might like to go over there and say "Hey, you're hurting you kid's soul, Stupid!" (and I might even do it one day), I still could not make a law which said you couldn't psychologically abuse your offspring because my idea of "abuse" may not be someone elses. Again, the line would be if the young person were being physically injured or if there was violence going on. Then we should step in. This is what's meant by the ultimate manifestation of The Rede.

    Second, I believe we ought to be activists in defense of our religion. It's an old tradition in this country that everybody except the original (1776) power base, land-owning caucasian men, has to work for equal rights, and I don't think Pagans are going to be any different. We must stand up in increasing number, stepping out of the broomcloset, so that we are known as Pagans as well as good neighbors, friends, family members, and coworkers. If there comes an instance of religious descrimination to you, your group, or the community in your region, stand up against it, speak up, write articles and letters, help organize as much as possible to counter the descrimination with information and activities aimed at letting the general public know who we are, that we're a legally recognized religion, and that though we have major differences, we aren't dangerous (except, perhaps, to those who feel only one moral system should be permitted). APA once had a Parade on Religious Freedom Day, and APA itself is an example of our community reaching out to cowens. Action is what it sometimes takes, because words often only go so far. Fortunately, the Constitution is usually behind us, and expect there to be much struggle between the First Amendment and the politicized Christian majority. With such issues as having sacred substances like cannibus or mushrooms in circle, being skyclad, top-free rights, sexual freedom being championed by Pagans, look for a colorful, though peaceful, transition period as the old guard loses its iron grip on America.


    IN THE LAND OF WINTER....Richard Grant
    STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND....Robert Heinlein - what? you haven't read it yet? Slacker!
    BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE....Annette Klause - a story of a unusual young woman and her unusual but close pack. Sound familiar?
    BLOODLINE OF THE HOLY GRAIL....Laurence Gardner - did Jesus really die at Golgotha? Did his direct decendents settle in Provence and then Britain? Are they still alive today?


  • Congrats to Ruth who was Croned in a rite of passage on 11/21 in her new home
  • Paul is contemplating a Homeschool Group to meet weekdays next school year at Moon Goddess. Please email for more info. (Will be covered more in future issues)
  • Congrats to Donna on her Scionization!
  • Congrats to Tam, Katie, Sef, & Phoenix on their Coming of Age!
  • Gaiama, the official APA & progressive community newsletter, is now online @
  • According to Radical Pagan dating, November 1, 1998 was Autumn 10, was the 10th day of Autumn, 11,998 years after the approximate end of the last ice age (adjusted to the regular calendar). Paul is currently working on developing this seasonal calendar for sale @ MG
  • As I was clicking through an online version of the Florida Statutes, I came across the statute that prohibits marriage between two people of the same sex, and I realized that I wanted to start doing such ceremonies, and that we as a religion have Constitutional protections keeping laws out of our religious decisions and beliefs which the laws themselves don't have. One way of testing this Constitutional protection in the courts is to start marrying each other as we will and then challenge the legal prohibitions as unconstitutional.