Many people start out their reading about Paganism by reading classic Pagan titles and authors. This is, however, not something I personally suggest, and I want to explain why.
It’s based on three core principles:
- Our community learns and grows and changes over time.
- Practical aspects change too – health, safety, adaptations.
- Books are basically static.
Note: it’s not that these books aren’t worth reading. Just that I think they aren’t the best choice anymore for the first books someone reads. I usually suggest people start reading them after reading some core basics (like the six topics suggested on my good starting books page) and otherwise getting familiar with current community practices and approaches through ongoing discussion (magazines, blogs, forums), local community events, or some combination.
Continue reading Classic Pagan books
This page collects useful websites and things to read online – keep checking back, as I’ll continue to add material as I come across it.
The Wild Hunt:
Jason, the blogger behind this site, has covered the Pagan community for years, and the site is a wealth of information about notable Pagans, upcoming and historic events, and all sorts of other news. If you hear commentary about an event you can’t make sense out of, there’s a chance you can sort it out by reading here. A great place to add to your regular reading to keep up with news, events, and other topics of interest.
The Witches’ Voice:
Mentioned already as a great networking resource, Witchvox sees a lot of viewers. Each week, they also post about 10 essays or articles. These tend to be mixed in all senses – some are re-hashes of stuff that’s been discussed to pieces in various sources, but some are new and original approaches to a topic. Some are aimed at beginners to the topic, some are aimed at people with a great deal of experience. Still, it’s worth browsing, and you’ll often see an essay here come up for further discussion on various forums and lists.
This blog, from a magician and occultist living in London, has a lot of fascinating discussion of theory and philosophy behind magic. (Note that he comes at this from a different background than religious witchcraft, so some concepts might be new to you.) He also links to some great resources.
[last edited January 14, 2011]
This essay focuses in more depth on some deeper issues around online teaching and learning. It’s not meant to say “Yes” or “No” – but rather to be realistic about what you might and might not be able to learn.
(Much of this essay is based on an article I did for the Ecauldron.com newsletter in 2005, though I’ve added some further notes and ideas.)
Continue reading Online training – more to think about
It can be sort of scary to send an email to a stranger about a subject that’s new to you. You don’t know when you’ll hear back, or how friendly they’ll be. Fortunately, you can do some things to make it easier for yourself
Continue reading Making a first contact by email
There’s a lot of conversation out there about online privacy issues. They’re especially potent for people in any minority community – any group where there are sometimes misunderstandings about what we do, why we do it, and what it means for the other people around us.
Continue reading Pagans, privacy, and online conversation
I spend a fair bit of time in new-folk friendly Pagan online spaces. People ask a lot of questions – but many of their questions are hard to answer because it’s not really clear what they’re asking.
Some questions are way too broad to answer in a single post (“Tell me everything you know about Wicca”). Some are vague (“I’ve read a bunch of books, and I don’t know what to do next.”) Some leave out important details (“I came across this word in a book, and can’t find it anywhere, and what does it mean?” is a lot easier to answer if someone tells you where they saw the word in the first place.)
So, this document is an attempt to provide information on asking better questions. It’s inspired by a fabulous document on how to ask technology questions, called How To Ask Questions The Smart Way. I’ve kept the basic structure – but adapted a number of aspects for both Pagan topics, and for the kinds of resources people often use for these questions. I’ve also used largely Wiccan (or eclectic) examples – both because those are the questions that I tend to answer the most, but also because they’re among the most common types of questions.
Continue reading Asking Pagan questions the smart way
Online conversations about Paganism and various paths have great things to offer, but you should keep some things in mind.
Continue reading Online conversations
As described on the index, this is a longer and more detailed look at a range of different issues in Pagan and magical groups. You can click on the commentary link at the bottom of each section to go to even more specifics and examples. (Each commentary section links to the next one, for easy navigation.)
- Engage your brain – only you can decide what you see and feel.
- Be realistic – you’re looking for healthy, supportive settings, not perfection.
- Learn over time – you want to see how groups respond to challenging situations as well as common ones.
- Adapt these questions to the specific group – not all questions will apply to every setting.
Continue reading CARE : Deeper questions