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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 94 - 1/13/2003
Who Would Make Your Pagan/Heathen Who’s Who List?
If you were compiling the Pagan/Heathen equivalent of the famous ‘Who’s Who’ list of influential people, which Pagan or Heathen names would make it on your list? Why did you choose these people?
Which non-Pagans, but still people who are/were influential in some way to issues important to Pagans, should be on the list?
What qualities or accomplishments did you consider to be the most important in making your choices?
Finally, which people of your own acquaintance would make your private ‘most influential people in my life’ list?
| Reponses: There are 91 responses posted to this question.
|| Reverse Sort
| My Votes ||Jan 16th. at 8:29:09 pm EST|
|Emma Gonzalez (NYC) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I had forgotten about Why Wiccans Suck! I read that site & got a kick and the pants & got serious! about my new path. [[+Jen Forrester, did you really want the author to say Wicca sucks! You should do ((_this_)) instead like I do!?? I didn't think so..+]]
I would also like to add Joseph Campbell, even tho he's not a pagan! But I have his whole lecture tape set and no one knows as much about paganism as he does. I learn more every time I listen.
And Alestair Crowley, because none of us would be here if he hadn't made it popular again! [[+And I'm not a Thelema either!+]]
| Daven's Journal As A Fine Example Of Info.dissemination ||Jan 16th. at 10:18:40 pm EST|
|Silverspring (Nor CAL) ||Age: 36 - Email |
This site is one of the best I have ever seen for well researched, well thought out informationa nd resources, instead of the absolute dreck and drivel FILLING the net and obscuring the values, beliefs and very souls of pagans today. No load of obnoxious gifs, no nonsense, no assine "sparkly trails" or fairies floating on the page, making it impossible to load! If you are a seeker looking for SERIOUS information instead of crap/pap, this is a fine place to start.
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| Publish Or Perish ||Jan 17th. at 12:19:39 am EST|
|Aurora (Pennsylvania) ||Age: 22 - Email - Web|
It seems to me that most of the Pagan Who's Who are authors. The ones who have written the most seem to have the most fame. There is a tendency for quantity to override quantity. What I am about to say next does not mean that I have not found wisdom in the works of the following authors.
Doing a search on Amazon for Silver RavenWolf, I got 30 hits. That's 30 books of Wiccan non-fiction and fiction she has written or collaborated on since To Ride A Silver Broomstick came out in 1993. 30 books in 10 years. She is a best selling pagan author and a lot of people buy her stuff first, because bookstores stock it and she has a very conversational, almost light-hearted tone.
In searching for the late Scott Cunningham on Amazon, I got 49 hits. The earliest publishing date I found was Magical Herbalism in 1983. Several of these hits can be discounted, because apparently there is more than one Scott Cunningham. So, I estimate approximately 30 titles in 20 years. Many of Scott Cunningham's books are references however, like Magical Herbalism, the Encyclopedia of Gem, Crystal and Metal Magic, Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs.
These are probably the two best known Wiccan authors.
However, not to be forgotten are Starhawk, Margot Adler, The Farrars, and of course, Gerald Gardner himself. But there are Wiccans who don't have the foggiest of what any of what Gardnerian Wicca means or what the man's books said, because he wasn't there to tell us the same thing over and over again. He didn't have an agent, and he predates Llewellyn. You can't walk into your local B Dalton and find his latest best seller. The number of Wiccans/Pagans in the country has probably doubled in the past ten years. And in those ten years, the market has been flooded with introductory Wicca texts. I believe this encourages shallowness of faith. THe seekers stop seeking, thinking they've found all they can find. All these authors I have mentioned are my Pagan who's who. But I feel there are many in the New Generation of Witches (to borrow a term from Silver RavenWolf) who don't understand where Wicca came from. We have to understand our past as a religion to have a clear view of our future. So when you're out at Barnes and Noble picking up the latest pack of Tarot cards or a book of quick and easy spells to make life perfect, Check out Spiral Dance and Drawing Down the Moon.
Non-Pagans that I feel have influenced me -- Stevie Nicks, Tori Amos, The Dixie Chicks (I wanna walk not run, I wanna skip and not fall, I want to look at the horizon and not see a building standing tall...)
My friend SiouxWolf started me on the path a long time ago with Amber K's True Magick. Circle sisters Verde and Eleisyn are also big influences. We are all helping each other seek how to be better stronger women. My mom also influenced me to think for myself and not just blindly follow someone who claims to be an authority.
The qualities I use for determining this is mostly the strength of influence. It saddens me that the Pagan Who's Who of today seems to be comprised of high-yield authors. It reminds me of the bureacracy of academia. Those who do not publish, perish, and are forgotten by the community. Remember that the path is not just a book tour.
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| Dion Fortune ||Jan 17th. at 12:24:06 am EST|
|Sue Brown (Washington) ||Age: 999 - Email |
For me it was Dion Fortune as she was part of the Golden Dawn and had wrote very good material on the occult including Psychic Self-Defense, perhaps one of the best. This gave me a great deal of insight into the world of the Occult and she was one of the few I felt who managed to succeed in being positive in her Magick Practices, unlike many others in the Golden Dawn that turned to more black magic, not mentioning names, as realize one is quite popular and considered genius, and perhaps so, but I preferred Dion Fortune's approach to it. Just casting my vote for one I feel was one of leaders towards a pagan type ritual magick, in a sense.
| I Wish To List And Honor: ||Jan 17th. at 1:43:23 am EST|
|karrie9 (Kenosha, WI) ||Age: 42 - Email |
What matters to me? Purpose, Attitude, Willingness to Explore, Clarity, Influence of the Healthy-Provoking Type, Character, Actions to Match, Dedication, Excellence and Honor.
Isaac Bonewits for his most excellent, outstanding, ground breaking, excellent, concise work as well as many years of dedicated work in many capacities.
Phyllis Currott for her excellence in writing, shining example, influence on many others, and her chosen projects.
Kerr Cuhulain gets a special welcome and honoring for his books, message of personal responsibility and awareness, and his "Witch Hunts - Exposing The Lies" on witchvox.
Selena Fox for her activism, written and other work in many areas, including Circle Sanctuary and her support for Rev J. Witch & many others.
Amber K for her most excellent work and clear focus.
Starhawk for her rather prolific work and activisim, as well as her most captivating way with words.
Dark Wyccan for his well put and timely message of specifically regarding balance, ethics, and honesty.
Wren and all the Witchvox staff for their daily work and dedication that enables so much for so many.
For the crone who introduced me to Wicca and various disciplines: Ginnie, you are amazing and your gifts are still giving. I know you are still working and doing a great service not only for your community, but it goes beyond that.
Mary K. Greer for work with Tarot and Tarot For Yourself workbook.
Vicki Noble for her excellent work with Motherpeace.
Personal ty's and mention:
Chrissy, ty you for your many notes and support!
Prairie Witch, Ivy W (CA), Alpha Wolf, Warwick, Crone Mosh, Heath, Masha, El, Grey hare, and many others... you know who you are.
Others I Desire to Honor and Mention (dont' know if they are pagan):
Debbie Ford for The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.
Margo Adair for her Working Inside Out Tools For Change and other work over the years.
| My Three Choices For Who's Who ||Jan 17th. at 2:47:23 am EST|
|Ruadhan O'Sheridan (Salt Lake City, Utah) ||Age: 35 - Email |
First of all, I want to say that if any of these people find out about this nomiation of mine, I will probably be roasted alive and served on toast in Hollandaise sauce. However, here goes . . .
My first choice of nomination would be Michael Finnegan Rhys, current First Officer of COG, as well as First Officer for the last two years. For many years in his local community of Salt Lake City, Utah, Finn in his own way nurtured the local pagan community in a way no other person has. He, along with others, created what was Quickbeam Circle, which made paganism, and witchcraft in particular, accessible to the seasoned, solitary or seeker in a place where Craft was mostly underground. An entire new, and younger community coalesced about this group in its many incarnations over the course of 14 years and helped to network the beginnings of new covens, marriages, and organizations locally that would never have happened to this point without Quickbeam. Later, just before the demise of Quickbeam Circle, Finn stepped aside as "community desires" diverged from his vision. He has changed many of his former personal focuses toward Interfaith work and service, building bridges, and supporting new community endeavors such as Salt Lake City's first Pagan Pride Celebrations last Mabon. Although there is no COG presence in Salt Lake save himself, his words are still listened to by a variety of people of all levels of experience in this community. He will be the first to say he has no people skills, but he has a way of expressing local concerns or mythological imagery with a storyteller's skill. He articulately speaks of current focus or past perceptions abandoned with clarity, mirth and the excitement and enthusiasm of the newest seeker and keeps the listener curious as to what may come next. He can deliver advice or insights that both inspire or anger, but with a ring of authority that keeps one's attention rivetted.
My second nominee would be Betsy Ashby. Not for the work she does keeping the Gathering of the Tribes in Virginia going, but for another reason that some people might find "negative". Betsy Ashby is the owner and founder of the Witch Wars yahoo group which is an unmoderated and uncensored mailing list of everything from high ideals and speculation to venomous attacks and airing of grievances for the larger pagan community. This underutilized forum could be the clearinghouse of issues and communities in seemingly unresolveable conflict. This service can be used as a place for people to air grievances, concerns or even bring both sides of conflict together for possible resolution, or merely for both sides to air their sides. Betsy has taken a topic that all of us would like to avoid or deny and has put a new spin on it--seeing if this forum can make a positive difference, or at least being an experiment and crucible of pagan thought, interaction and even vitriol. Betsy participates with an even, yet light hand, but that seems to be the magick of letting the forum take one where it will. She may be the anchor and listmom that can make all of this happen, but she also gives one the sense that she is on this journey with us, wherever it will lead us.
My third nominee would be M. Macha Nightmare. I had the great pleasure and opportunity to meet and get to know a little bit this woman who has taken pagan awareness and clergy training into a very uncomfortable area for most of us: death. Pagans in general talk of death as a part of life, but it is still something that is not often discussed, experienced or is even fearful to us. Macha teaches through her workshops a guide to navigating the reefs that death presents us with both mundanely, spiritually and among our communities. I was moved to tears by the power of the visualization exercise that was part of the workshop I attended. This information and experience are both things I highly recommend to pagans as a new perspective on what has become part of trite expressions and Samhain observances in the Pagan world. I particularly have to recommend this workshop to any who are or aspire to be clergyfolk in our communities. M. Macha Nightmare is also a very approachable and friendly woman who showed great interest in our local community, environment and connections.
So each of these people spin considerable threads in the web of our larger community, but in places where we do not often look; between the webs, behind a leaf or around the edges. I am not sure how familiar folks may be with any one of these folks, but each of them are worth your future attention and support.
| My Vote Is For Starhawk ||Jan 17th. at 8:57:40 am EST|
|Rhiana (Hawaii) ||Age: 33 - Email |
She's out there applying her magick and her brains to issues that threaten Momma Gaia and all of Her children. Instead of offering us "fluffy bunny" or self-serving new age hype to pad her own pocketbook, she writes books, lectures and spends a lot of time on the front lines (and behind bars) protesting things like the poisoning of different regions by nuclear radiation. She takes all the meaning behind Wicca and applies it where it's urgently needed--to help save the planet and make a real difference here. Her books are extremely well researched and written, and THE FIFTH SACRED THING seems chillingly to be accurate with the current Bush Administration. I'm an activist on that front, and there is a lot of things he's doing that isn't in the mainstream media that are really alarming, such as armed military troops standing over forced "vaccination" shots to children in public schools throughout the country as mock "anti-terrorist" drills. There are no exemptions, and the shots cause illness, some seizures, and a few deaths. Many well reputed doctors are saying the shots are dangerous, and severely weaken the immune system. These are the same shots tested on US soldiers in the Gulf War that are responsible for "Gulf War Syndrome".
Magick is about causing change. And with that comes a lot of responsibility to ourselves, our children, our communities, our home (Gaia). Starhawk has a deep integrity and is an incredible model of what you can do with knowledge and magick as your tools. So many times when I was disheartened about an issue, I discover that the action/ritual worked, and we feel the sly smile on the Goddess's lips.
I am deeply grateful for the impact this woman has made on my life, and for the work she has done to serve all of us. Not to mention she substantially elevates the image of "witch". Thank you, sister.
| The Most Influential Pagans In My Life Today. ||Jan 17th. at 2:12:02 pm EST|
|Lynne Coughlin-Penrod (Long Beach,WA) ||Age: 32 - Email |
I would have to say first of all,Catrina Lewis,for being the one to have bought me my first real wiccan book. We study together off and on since July of 1994. The most famous pagan I know is Sully EErna of Godsmack, his lyrics just hit the right notes for me and they have a meaning that anyone can determine for themslves.Then there is my good friend Steve E. ,he may no longer be with us but he watches over me, he was a high priest as a young man then chose to be a solo practioner.
| Community Folks ||Jan 17th. at 4:39:23 pm EST|
|maxomai (Portland, OR) ||Age: 29 - Email |
Most of the people I would nominate to the "Who's Who" list are not famous authors or other unreachable super-stars, but local community leaders. They provide the real backbone for the Pagan movement.
So my nominations -- which are not meant to be all-inclusive, as this is just off the top of my head, and which probably contain spelling errors and other errata:
Brig Rainweaver, co-founder, Lyceum of Trees, Portland, Oregon
Sienna Newcastle, former owner of Laughing Bird bookstore and current director of M.A.G.I.C., in Vancouver, Washington
Gerald del Campo, author and Qabalist, Portland, Oregon
Rowan, director of Portland Reclaiming, founder of the Magical Activism Cluster, Portland, Oregon
Sebastian Rowanson, founder of Pagans' Night Out, Portland, Oregon
| Greetings Pagan America And All The Ships At Sea. ||Jan 17th. at 4:53:13 pm EST|
|Walter Winchell (New Richmond, WI) ||Age: 37 - Email |
Let's go to press.....
First, one needs to define the principles involved. That is, what are the qualitifications? How does one get on a who's who list? There are, after all, a lot of Pagan and Heathens who have done good things, yet no one has ever heard of them. Conversely, there are a fair number of more or less total idiots who are famous for one reason or another, but have not done the world or their communities much good. And there is an even larger group of famous, productive, Pagan and Heathen authors who are definite "up and comers", but who have not yet achieved the enduring positive influence to go on such a list.
Ok, my method: I will include Pagans, Heathens and CRs who have had the most influence on people within their communities. Note that my inclusion of someone is NOT necessarily an endorsement of them, their views, or their behavior.
1. Gerald Gardner: Come on, would there be modern Pagans without him? Well, sure, but they'd all be Asatru. The guy who founded the modern Pagan movement has to be #1.
2. Starhawk: How many thousands of feminist and leftist Pagans got started with Stahawk's books? How many thousands of no longer leftist Pagans got started with Starhawk's books? If you became a Pagan between 1979 and 1990, chances are it was either her book or Margot Adler's book which taught you about Paganism. In addition , she practically created the whole idea of Pagan Activism, and influenced a whole generation of Pagans, even if they didn't start with her. To put it another way, her writings directly changed the spiritual beliefs of about 100,000 to 150,000 people, at the absolute minimum.
3. Margot Adler: She only wrote one book that I know of, but it was VERY influential. Once again, if you became Pagan between 1979 and 1990, she probably had some influence of your life. This means another 100,000 to 150,000 people were changed by Margot Adler's one book.
4. Scott Cunningham: Scott's books were awfully simple and accessible. Too simple, perhaps, in many opinions. But, man, were they accessible. If you became Pagan between about 1990 and 1995, chances are you got many of your ideas, both right and wrong, from Scott Cunningham. Ok, well that's about another 150,000 or so people whose lives he influenced.
5. Silver Ravenwolf: A lot of people don't like her, and I have mixed feelings personally. Still, anyone who is a one-person industry has to be included in a who's who list. At least half the Pagans, and most of the fluffies, who got started after 1995 did it with a Silver Ravenwolf book. That's anywhere from 500,000 to a million people. Fluffy Bunny Wicca wasn't invented by Silver Ravenwolf, but she sure spread it around. And in so doing, made the Pagan Community a lot bigger, a lot stronger, and quite a bit more annoying.
6. Raymond Buckland: Bucky has seen better days, and some of his writings are, ah, a little embarassing. Do YOU think you really could forge an athame on a kitchen stove? Do you really think he met a Pict named Aidan Breac (Bucky pronounces it Bee-ack), who taught him Pecti-Wita? Still, he WAS the first public Wiccan in North America, and if you got into it before 1979, chances are he introduced you to Paganism. Now, that's only 50,000 to 100,000 people, but at a very early date.
7. Wren and Fritz: Netpagans extraordinaire, these two are helping to forge the Pagan Community on the net into a politically aware, coordinated, powerful force. They have made the Pagan Community far more focussed, far less diffuse, and generally a better place. The coordination on TWV has almost certainly made a huge difference in a number of cases around the country. People who would have gotten away with bad behavior against Pagans ten years ago, today get half-a-million protest letters, thanks to Wren and Fritz.
8. Isaac Bonewits: He sure looked more imposing fifteen years ago, didn't he? Today, Isaac is a bit of a has-been, but he essentially created modern American Pagan neo-Druidism. The NRDNA, ADF, Keltria, and a whole raft of other groups all owe their existence to his fertile imagination and inspiration. Celtic Reconstructionism is essentially a reaction against Isaac's ideas, which makes him, ironically, its founder, in a bass-ackwards sort of way.
1. Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson: The most influential guy you've never heard of, Sveinbjorn pulled Asatru out of its post-WWII doldrums, and essentially re-founded it, on more scholarly, less right-wing lines. Without him, there would be Germanic Heathens, but they would mostly be Nazi Skins, and not Asatru as we know it.
2. Stephen R. McNallen: He should probably get a boobie prize for the whole embarassing Kennewick Man caper, and for some of his remarks in recent years to the press, but he DID found the first North American Asatru organization, the Viking Fellowship, back in the '70s.
3. Stephen Flowers, aka Edred Throsson: Ok, so he's a Setian, also known as a Satanist in Egyptian drag. And, he did indeed let that influence how he does his Asatru. Still, he founded the Ring of Troth, and was the biggest promoter of Asatru from the mid-80s to the mid-90s. Without him, Asatru would today be about half as big, or less, and even more populated by racialists and other people even less desirable than Setians.
4. Stephan Grundy, aka Kveldulf Gundarsson: What is it with Asatru guys named "Steve"? Kveldulf's books took over after Edred self-destructed, and kept Asatru going. In the Ring of Troth, his work is practically Holy Writ, and still the most influential stuff in a large majority of American kindreds and hearths. _Rheingold_ was a damn fine novel, too.
5. Garman Lord: Another guy you've never heard of, Garman founded Theodism, Anglo-Saxon Tribalist Heathenry. Theodism isn't big, and probably never will be, but it has had a host of imitators, including lots of Celtic, Baltic, Slavic, and what-not tribalists. If theods, tuatha, toutas, or other tribes ever get big, they'll owe it to Garman.
1. Tadhg MacCrossan: A very unpleasant little man, and forgotten today, but his book "The Sacred Cauldron" pretty much introduced CR to America, from France, where it had existed for fifty years. Almost all CRs are to some extent still working on a project which MacCrossan started, and doing better at it than he did.
2. John Wright, aka Iain Mac an tSaior: The founder of Clannada Gadelica, and its leading light for about ten years, he has defined many of the issues, attitudes, and practices of contemporary CR. Unfortunately, the flaming self-destruction of CnG also has left a large number of tuatha living in virtual seclusion, afraid of outside contact.
3. Alexei Kondratiev: The leading CR scholar today, tho' he does not call himself CR. Still, his research, books, and ideas are a major influence on what makes up the modern CR ideology. Also French, despite the Russian name. Are you noticing a French Connection here?
4. Erynn Rowan Laurie and John Machate: Leaders in early CR on the West Coast, and her ideas are still influential. Still, she doesn't do or write as much as she used to, so her stock is falling......
5. Virutally every CR around: CR is so small that almost anyone active in it at all will have some influence, and maybe a lot. A few honorable mentions include: Breandan Warren-Maxwell, Kym NiDeoreainn, Terry Carey, Greaghior macIain, Aedh Rua UiMhorrighu, and Padraig macIain, all of whom will no doubt be seen as legends by future generations..........
| My Who's Who ||Jan 17th. at 5:50:35 pm EST|
|Mordewis ap Llys (Asheville, NC) ||Age: 50 - Email - Web|
| Who's Who: Honorable Folks ||Jan 17th. at 6:55:48 pm EST|
|carl de malmanche (alt.religion.wicca.moderated) ||Age: 34 - Email |
Often in the list of Who's Who we get to see the authors, the travellers, and other personality types. Forgotten are the everyday folks that contribute so much of the true heart of any endeavour.
In this vein I would nominate Baird Stafford from the alt.pagan and alt.religion.wicca and .wicca.moderated as being a real comunity builder. He has been a stone of compassion and work since long before the 'net became public or fashionable. I would also bet that he plays his part in life offline as well.
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