Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Call for Writers: Minority Voices in Paganism

Feel Free to Post This Elsewhere

Megalithica Books, an imprint of Immanion Press (Stafford, U.K./Portland, OR, U.S.A) is seeking submissions for an anthology on people of color working in magical communities. This anthology will be an opportunity to get the voices and experiences of minorities within the Pagan community out to the world and address some of the challenges, stereotyping, frustrations and the beauty of being different within the racial construct of typical Pagan or Wiccan groups. These communities include (but are not limited to) groups and individuals working in Wicca, Voodoo, Umbanda, Shaman, and other Pagan paths.

Many of the roots of Paganism have come from the lands of people of color yet the mainstreaming of Wicca has elevated images of worship and deity that connect with Celtic, Greek or Roman cultures. This can have an exclusive effect on those who’s culture or ancestry fall outside of those categories. Interestingly enough people of color within Paganism are often walking between the worlds of their birth ancestry and culture and that of their spiritual culture. This anthology is an opportunity to share your stories and experiences with others around being a minority in our spiritual community.

Here are some suggested topics to give you an idea of the focus of this anthology.
  • Your experience of integration into the Pagan community
  • Magical work
  • Ancestor work
  • Integrating your birth culture with your spiritual workings
  • Personal experiences and thoughts around how being of color within the Pagan community was significant.
  • What magical work are you doing now? How do you describe it? Do you work alone, in a group, or in several settings?
  • Your birth culture and spiritual workings
  • Stereotypes and prejudice
  • Being the only person of color in a coven, group or community
  • Sharing your culture and history with other Pagans
  • Cultural history
  • Sub-culture of African Americans, Hispanics or other minority groups within Wicca or Paganism.
  • Is there a sense of acceptance within the magical community you work in? Do you encounter resistance in your magical community or acceptance?
  • What do you feel is needed to be more inclusive of racial diversity in Pagan communities
Rough drafts are due July 15, 2010. These drafts will be edited in a back-and-forth process with the editor. Essays should be 1500-4000 words, although if your work falls outside those limits, do submit it – we can discuss this during the editing process. Drop us an email if you are unsure whether your idea fits into the content. The sooner you start the communication process the better, as after the deadline we won’t be considering additional ideas.

Essay requirements:
  • Citations for all quoted, paraphrased, or otherwise unoriginal material
  • Bibliography of works cited
  • Prefer APA format
Do write in your voice! If you’re academically inclined or trained, feel free to be as intelligent and technical as you like. If your work entirely talks in the first person about your own experience, please include this also. There is a wide range of voices, and we are interested in being as inclusive of style as possible.

Accepted contributors will receive a free copy of the anthology when it is published and additional copies sold at 40% off the cover price to contributors. All contributors will be provided with a contract upon final acceptance of their essays, not when they are accepted for editing. If your essay is not accepted for the anthology, we will tell you after the first round of edits.

The anthology will be edited by Crystal Blanton. She is the author of an upcoming pagan/occult nonfiction book called Bridging the Gap; Working Within the Dynamics of Pagan Groups and Society. She may be found online at and her email address for this anthology is

Immanion Press is a small independent press based in the United Kingdom. Founded by author Storm Constantine, it expanded into occult nonfiction in 2004 with the publication of Taylor Ellwood’s Pop Culture Magick. Today, Immanion’s nonfiction line, under the Megalithica Books imprint, has a growing reputation for edgy, experimental texts on primarily intermediate and advanced pagan and occult topics. Find out more at Immanion Press.

Monday, 22 March 2010

The Little Book of Ancient Charms

Author: T. F. Thisleton-Dyer
ISBN: 1901163067

This book is indeed little, being only 36 pages.  It was written in 1878 and is currently published by Oakleaf Books, in a very rough and ready manner.   The typeface is a little small for these tired eyes, but it was still an enjoyable little read.

The book covers charms for various medical conditions, as found across the British Isles.   There is a small selection of remedies given for each malady.  One particular favourite is the use of the actual hair of the dog to counteract intoxication which has been replaced, in modern times, with the imbibing of more of the alcohol that caused the complaint in the first instance.

There are footnotes should the reader wish to investigate further, but these lack detail and there is no bibliography.  

A charming read.

Rating: 3½/5. 

Friday, 12 March 2010

Ha Ha Lili - Sa Dingding

Here is the latest video offering from Sa Dingding, the Chinese musician and artist whose new album, "Harmony" has just been released on CD this week. I wrote a review of her first album, "Alive" here.

The song is called "Ha Ha Lili"; the full title apparently translating to "The Story of Heaven and Earth".

Sunday, 7 March 2010

How to know?

I recently finished reading a book by Stuart Piggot, "The Druids" and thought the information presented therein was reasonable, discussing what is known about the historical druids, with a little rant at the modern movement beginning with the romantics. The book was written in 1974 and was a slim, paperback volume, and written in an easy to digest style.

During a discussion on some of the historical texts, I struck a problem, this paragraph:

The Druids (Ancient Peoples and Places Series)"There are two pieces of Celtic gnomic or proverbial wisdom recorded by the classical writers, and one attributed specifically to the Druids, that deserve comment here. Diogenes Laertius attributes to 'Gymnosophists and Druids' certain 'riddles and dark sayings', 'teaching that the gods must be worshipped, and no evil done, and manly behaviour maintained'. This is a statement in typically Celtic triadic form, and it is interesting to find what must be another version of it in an Irish tale, The Colloquy of the Elders, which dates from the end of the twelfth century, but may incorporate earlier material. Here St Patrick talks to one of the old pagan Celtic heroes, Caelte, and asks him: 'Who or what was it that maintained you so in your life?'; to which comes the answer, 'Truth that was in our hearts, and strength in our arms, and fulfilment in our tongues' – essentially the same three qualities in slightly different order."

I couldn't figure out how the author thought these two statements were similar in any way. I posed the question on a few forums, hoping for some answers, all the while feeling I was being stupid. So far, the responses I have had tell me I was not being stupid and the author is making a connection where there isn't one. Now, I am questioning if there are other parts of the book I shouldn't trust. But, how am I to judge? I have no background in archaeology, history, linguistics or any other field which might allow me to discern the truth. How do other, non-academic people like me manage this? I read what I can, but obviously if I can't evaluate the information critically, I might be treading down the wrong path.

I want to learn the truth, as far as we can know it today, but I am finding I am getting lost in the mire because I am unfamiliar with the landscape.

What can I do?

All suggestions welcome.