A seedling reaches for the sun.
“Something old, something new, Something borrowed, something blue And a silver sixpence in her shoe.”
—Old English doggerel describing the items in a good luck charm for a new bride
Like most of our publishing ventures, Witches & Pagans was born from equal parts of necessity (always the great-aunt, if not Queen of Invention), inspiration, and perspiration. Back in April, I wrote a business-like letter to PanGaia subscribers detailing our decision to fold PanGaia into newWitch to form a new, bigger magazine, which, at the time, we dubbed newWitch: Creating Pagan Community. The intention was (at least) two-fold: to reduce our scheduled frequency to one I could actually manage (two quarterly magazines, plus one twice-yearly journal) and to reunite our readership (previously divided by style and perceived age.)
In the summer editorial of SageWoman, I described how much the decision to close down PanGaia cost me, primarily in egocentric pride. I also was beginning to see that this decision, originally born from necessity, held the potential for transformation.
Meanwhile, the readership of PanGaia responded to the news of the change, largely with much-appreciated statements of support, but tinged with apprehension: many PanGaia readers complained about being identified with the newWitch audience. As Rowan Waterstone wrote in The Wild Hunt, “I’m pagan, but don’t identify as a witch. I already feel marginalized in a predominantly Christian society. Now I have this weird sense that I’m marginalized here, too.” Her response (and others) told us that many PanGaia readers didn’t resonate with the “W” word and didn’t want to be shoehorned into a community of Witches.
What to do? I kept saying to friends and colleagues, “What I’m trying to create is a ‘Pagan journal of record’ — a magazine that covers the Pagan community with style and substance.” We started throwing new titles around the office, but most seemed forced (newPagan, PaganToday), too cute by half (WitchyPagan) or too esoteric (The Magus).
One day, someone asked me to describe who the readership of this relaunched beauty was going to be. “Well, Witches and Pagans, I imagine,” I responded briskly, and bingo!, we had our new name.
Our new baby has dozens, if not hundreds, of goddess-parents in the field of Pagan journalism. Our connection to this literary community is more intimate than most; as small commercial printers in the 1990’s, my husband and I printed, bound, and mailed many of the earliest Pagan periodicals ranging from second-generation Green Egg to New Moon Rising to Pagan Muse & World Report. I like to think that we absorbed some portion of the brilliance, inspiration, and dedication of the publishers with whom we worked. Props are due, as well, to the talented editors who have contributed to our efforts: Lunaea Weatherstone, Mary Barker, and Christina Eisenberg of SageWoman; Diane Conn Darling and Elizabeth Barrette of PanGaia; and Dagonet Dewr and Kenaz Filan of newWitch. We wouldn’t be here today without them. Gracias.
We are now newly-inspired to bring the Pagan/ Wiccan/ Witchy/ Heathen/ Druid/ Goddess/Esoteric community what we think of as the love-child of newWitch and PanGaia: a magazine for both beginners and learned sages, full of inspiring people, enchanted places, and real-life Pagan practice — with just a twinkle of magical fun for good measure.
In this issue, we explore the many worlds of faerie, magick, and enchantment ranging from the deep earth traditions of Celtic and Cherokee Fae to the glittering brilliance of the modern fairy festival and the swashbuckling fantasy of the Renaissance Faire. We’ll meet the brilliant (and beautiful) tribal songstress
S. J. Tucker and have a close encounter with elder and loremaster R. J. Stewart. We’ll explore the life of 19th century Irish fairy ally Ella Young, pause to ponder the true meaning of the most magical word in the world, muse over the connection between Paganism and ancient monotheisms, and listen to the voices of ancient Irish standing stones. Plus, we’ll hear from our constellation of regular contributors on topics ranging from best spellcasting days from Lammas to Samhain, to the effect age has on magick, to how to befriend household Fae and much more. We’ve also included a rousing reader tussle over articles in previous issues (not to mention an armpit hair or two), inspiring poetry, and, of course, advice from Good Witch/Bad Witch. We’ve packed this issue as full as we could (can you see the marks where we sat on the suitcase?) and hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did creating it. Enjoy!
Find out more in Witches&Pagans #19 - The Faerie Issue