Witch at Large: Ruminations from a Grey Perspective

Seeing Paganism in terms of being a movement, explorations of our history, societal context, comparisons to other religious movements, and general Pagan culture.

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PantheaCon Book Purchases

Although I’ve been trying to lighten up the bookshelves in my home by donating some books to Pagan libraries, loaning out many (which seldom seem to return home), and simply putting some books I’ve read “in circulation,” such as leaving them at my gym or giving them to someone else to read with no expectation of getting them back.  However, that doesn’t mean a bibliophile such as me has ceased buying books altogether.  In spite of limited funds for non-essentials, I do consider books to be essential to my life, so I still buy them, albeit much more selectively than I’ve done in the past.  I especially tend to purchase books of poetry, even more especially if I know the poet, and/or anthologies in which their work is published.  I feel strongly about supporting the arts as much as we can; this is one of my ways of supporting the arts.

I returned home from PantheaCon with only two new books; I restrained myself. 

One is Gus diZerega’s Fault Lines: The Sixties, the Culture Wars, and the Return of the Divine Feminine.  I’ve been reading parts of earlier iterations of this work, and, having lived a life that fits into the title, I’m eager to read it when I don’t have plenty of reading piled up that pertains to projects I’m working on.  The cover is jarring, perhaps as it should be considering the subject matter, but it’s not appealing to me.  As they say, “you can’t tell a book by its cover.”

The other book features the work of a poet I’ve only been aware of for the past two years or so but whose work touches my soul.  From the Prow of Myth, by Michael Routery, contains many praises and invocatory poems inspired by Greek and Irish myth, as well as others appealing to those with Pagan sensibilities.

I facilitate the Wiccan circle[1] at San Quentin State Prison.  Since I’m personally very goddess-oriented, and the inmates are all male, I’m always on the lookout for ‘good god stuff.’  I’ve found several pieces in Michael’s book that I intend to incorporate into the liturgy I’m using with the inmates.  So thanks, Michael, and good luck with the book!  Good luck to Gus with his new book, too!


[1]   “Wiccan circle” is the name either chosen by the inmates or assigned by prison authorities.  This circle, which its members consider to be something of a coven, has a name of its own as well.  By the nature of its membership and the disparity of their experiences, their educational backgrounds, and their individual and collective interests, this circle is more accurately broadly Pagan.  

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Aline O’Brien (M. Macha NightMare), Witch at Large, has circled with people of diverse Pagan paths throughout the U.S., and in Canada and Brazil.  Author of Witchcraft and the Web (2001) and Pagan Pride (2004), and co-author, with Starhawk, of The Pagan Book of Living and Dying (1997), Macha has also contributed to anthologies, periodicals, textbooks, and encyclopedias.  A member of the American Academy of Religion, the Marin Interfaith Council, and the Nature Religion Scholars Network, Macha also serves as a national interfaith representative for the Covenant of the Goddess (CoG) and on the Advisory Board of the Sacred Dying Foundation.  Having spent the last eleven years developing and teaching at Cherry Hill Seminary, the first and only seminary serving the Neopagan community, Macha now serves on its Board of Directors. An all-round Pagan webweaver, she speaks on behalf of Paganism to news media and academic researchers, and lectures at colleges, universities and seminaries. www.machanightmare.com


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