- Category: Witches & Pagans Editorial
As most readers of this magazine are undoubtedly aware, we Pagans had a wee bit of media attention earlier this spring. A “Fox and Friends” segment in February characterized Wiccans as “compulsive Dungeons and Dragons players or middle-aged, twice-divorced older rural women working as midwives.” The reaction in the Pagan community was nothing short of explosive: within days, more than 40,000 of us signed petitions at change.org and causes.com demanding an apology. In less than a week, a chastened Fox pundit offered his “sincere [ahem] regrets.”
Another triumph for truth, justice, and the American way? Well, maybe. As soon as the brouhaha blew up I was struck by how much attention was being paid to Fox & Friends’ trollish shenanigans and how little to the good news that formed the actual foundation of the story. The decision by the University of Missouri to include Wiccan holidays in their inter-faith campus calendar is a concrete example of the increasingly respectful treatment that Pagan faiths are receiving these days, the fruit of decades of anti-defamation work by groups like the Lady Liberty League. But in spite of this genuinely excellent news, there was hardly a mention of this angle of the story in the coverage by Pagan pundits. With the notable exception of the Covenant of the Goddess — which made a thank-you to the University part of their press release — the buzz consisted almost entirely of righteous indignation.
- Category: Witches and Pagans
Element of Fire
That’s Faerie songstress and bard Sharon Knight on the cover, lending her enchanting presence to this special issue on the Element of Fire.
Get Fired Up: Thrill at the wonder, glory, and (let’s face it) danger of dancing with Fire in Phil Brucato’ guide to Pagan fire dancing “Brave Enough to Burn” and travel to the Land of Enchantment, as Amanda Morris shares the inside scoop on her magickal homeland in “A Witches’ Guide to New Mexico.”
Meet Bright Stars: This issue guest-stars a quartet of fascinating Pagan notables. Enjoy a conversation with Llewellyn author Thea Sabin (Wicca for Begginners and A Teaching Handbook for Wiccans and Pagans); thrill to our exclusive sit-down with the one-and-only gothic tribal mistress Sharon Knight of Pandemonaeon; and up-and-coming Australian witch and author Gede Parma.
Light Up Your Magick: Susan Harper teaches us to bring the mercurial element of Fire into our daily lives, Bri Saussy sheds light on Pagan uses for those ubiquitous Novena candles, and Cathie Rayes discusses what to do when “mirror spells” just aren’t enough.
PLUS Raven Grimassi on making herbal ashes for magickal work; myth and lore of trees; ancestral Fire worship; candle magick with Deborah Blake; solitary practice from Teo Bishop; John Michael Greer spikes Pagan myths about the “good olde days,” and Fritz Muntean warns us of the dangers of white-washing the “W” word. Pagan short fiction and poetry, a rousing guest editorial by Valentine McCay-Ridell on the place of politics in Paganism, letters from readers, no-holds-barred reviews, and lots more! 88 pages, published in spring of 2013.
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- Category: Witches & Pagans Editorial
An “Airhead” Comes to the Goddess
From the breath in our lungs to the towers of academe, Air affects us all.
The element of Air has a wide range of associations in modern neo-Pagan usage: it is the element of new beginnings, of flying/ feathered creatures, and of the mind. In my personal West-Coast eclectic practice, Air is also associated with the direction of the East. Above all, to me, Air represents the qualities of all things ordered and classified by the intellect. Its emblematic tool is the athame — the ceremonial black-handled, double-bladed, unsharpened ritual dagger of Wiccan regalia — which represents the “sharpness” of the well-disciplined mind.
As a native “Airhead” (my sun and Mars are both in Libra, with my moon in Gemini) religion has long been an intellectual obsession. Even as a child, my tendency to argue and joust over points of theology got me into trouble. (In fact, my first skirmish with fundamentalism happened in third grade, when I got my whole family bounced out of a church for arguing theology with my Sunday School teacher .)
This fascination with religion led me on a merry chase from middle-of-the-road Protestantism through C.S. Lewis-influenced Anglicism to the progressive wing of the United Methodist church. That was where the Goddess found me, deep in the bowels of the Graduate Theological Union library on “Holy Hill” in Berkeley in the fall of 1985.
- Category: Reviews
Reconnecting to the Magic and Spirit of Nature
by Jesse Wolf Hardin
New Page Books, 2004
The day I received my review copy of Gaia Eros, my husband and I went to bed and took turns reading Jesse Wolf Hardin’s luminous essays aloud long into the night. At one point the sound of wolves howling came in through our cabin’s open windows. Their voices wove in and out of my husband’s voice as he read about sacred self-indulgence and the power of longing, heightening the meaning of Hardin’s words.
- Category: Working with Land Spirits
by Phil Brucato
Where are you, right this minute? If you’re like most of us, you’re probably sitting inside an air-conditioned house, maybe with a TV or computer humming away in the background, electric light on overhead and the smell of fast food wafting through your living space.
Aren’t we Pagans? Don’t we revere Nature? Didn’t we renounce the gods of books in favor of a gospel spoken every moment by the Earth? Yes? Then why are so many of us sitting inside with feet propped up on coffee tables, remote in one hand and cheeseburger in the other? As summer arrives, is there any good answer for that question?
Really. Go outside.
Normally, this column focuses on Paganism and popular culture. Not all culture, though, comes from books, games, music, or the Internet. As I pondered my next article, my roommate Cory and I got on a rant about Pagans who spend their lives wrapped up in air-conditioned cocoons. That’s when I knew what I had to write about this issue: not about passive media culture, but about the active culture just outside the culture of the living world.