The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Pagan books/web sites-dynamic or drivel?
Books written by, for and about Pagans and Pagan beliefs fill the shelves of bookstores and Pagan web sites abound on the Internet. But do they really do a good job of reflecting Pagan beliefs, training new seekers or educating the non-Pagan public? What are YOUR recommendations?
| Reponses: There are 46 responses posted to this question.
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| More Information Is Better Than No Information. Eventually, The Global Community Will... ||Sep 4th. at 8:34:10 pm EDT|
|Sephira (Eileen Biggerstaff) (Fremont, California US) ||Age: 40 - Email |
More information is better than no information. Eventually, the global community will, as Mary Summer Rain stated in one of her books "a point of saturation" and will move on to educating themselves on another subject.
I get asked my advice a lot on these subjects and much of my own crusade is in "presentation" of witches as ordinary people with an extrodinary perception of the world.
I stopped shoving my religion in peoples faces, that includes wearing ritual clothing as my everyday wear. I found that even my star was hindering my own progress because I was challenging people to ask me and my beliefs are my own business, period.
I don't disguise who I am or what I believe. Likewise I don't push it on others. If I do that, I am no better than a Christian Fundamentalist, or door knocking Mormon or Jehovah's Witness...and that thought is abhorrant to me.
Besides, as with all else in this world, not everything is meant for everyone. The appropriate voice will find its intended target, whether to dissuade or encourage.
| I Think That Pagan Books/websites Do, In Fact, Do A Great... ||Sep 4th. at 8:59:31 pm EDT|
|Weaver (Norfolk, Virginia US) ||Age: 27 - Email |
I think that Pagan books/websites do, in fact, do a great job in training new seekers. This is how I came to know my heart's home as a Witch. I also believe that a great deal of good is done in representing Pagan beliefs.
AS for the education of non-Pagans, well, if they go about seeking on their own, they are sure to find what they are looking for. In that I mean that if they go looking for the hokey fictional dribble that they have been fed all along, that is what they will find. If they go looking for real answers, those answers are there for the finding. Will all non-Pagans come away with the "real deal" on Paganism? Not if they only read one book, or only look at one website.
The problem with many monotheistically raised people is that they look for the fast easy answer. They do this because they are taught that what the preacher says is God's word and to question it is to question God. They are taught to believe what they are told, and so they do. It's hard for these people to seek out the truth when they are trained that the only truth that they need is what they are given. This truth, as we have seen, comes from others like them who have simply accepted what they were told by others who either did the same, or hushed truths that were there, because those truths were contrary to their own beliefs.
| I Think The Books And Sites Are Very Helpful. I Used The... ||Sep 4th. at 10:49:55 pm EDT|
|Mike Johnson (Canton, Ohio US) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I think the books and sites are very helpful. I used The Witche's Voice to locate a store close to me I never knew existed, and get a lot of very useful books. An Encyclopedia to magical and religious symbols, and "A Witches Bible"... very useful and informative, IMO.
| I Have A Very Nice Collection Of Pagan Books, But It Is... ||Sep 4th. at 11:41:54 pm EDT|
|Kerri galloway (Windsor, Ontario CA) ||Age: 18 - Email |
I have a very nice collection of pagan books, but it is quite small. I find that alot of the books out there are absolute rubbash.
The Witchcraft/Occult/New Age sections of the large franchise bookstores seem to be stocked up to the ceiling with crap. And it's quite sad. My own personal collection consists mostly of Cunningham, Dunwich, and Stepanich. Stockboys at bookstores seem to be quite misinformed about what belongs in the Witchcraft section and what does not. I have seen, unfortunately, in many bookstores copies of the infamous "Malleus Malficarum" aka The Witch Hunter's Handbook.
Now, I'm all for history, but this book should have never been published in the first place not to mention now when pagans are trying their best to be accepted by the general populous. Believe me, I'll be writing a not so nice letter to the obviously demented publishers of this heinus book. I have also seen other books which have no right being on any bookshelf.
One such book had in it an entire section on curses and hexes, as if this is not bad enough some of these so called curses and hexes involved hiding dog dropping in someone's house and urinating on their porch.
These sort of book do not belong on bookstore shelves. It's absolutely dispicable what people will publish, buy and read. My advice is to get in touch with someone who has been practicing for a while and ask what their picks are for book. Experience is a wonderful tool.
| I Have Read Many Pagan Books And Websites And I Believe That... ||Sep 5th. at 5:55:41 am EDT|
|Erica (Layton, Utah US) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I have read many pagan books and websites and I believe that they do help new pagans learn the way. Depending on who and what they are writing that is. Just like with anything else you have to be careful of what you read. Some of it is drivel but a lot of it is helpful.
| If One Realizes That, As With Most Other Things, Pagan Books, Or... ||Sep 5th. at 10:19:47 am EDT|
|diana rhode (amherst, Virginia US) ||Age: 68 - Email |
if one realizes that, as with most other things, pagan books, or books on any subject, are 90% garbage, and the rest really helpful. as one grows and learns, one is much more able to distinguish the difference. to begin with it is helpful to be guided by someone who is conversant with your chosen subject. one really must learn to develope and trust one's intuition regarding choices of any kind.
| I Hear Alot Of People Complaining About Particular Publishing Houses With Respect... ||Sep 5th. at 12:15:23 pm EDT|
|Autumn (New York, New York US) ||Age: 33 - Email |
I hear alot of people complaining about particular publishing houses with respect to that they publish garbage books. Now, I'm not saying I completely disagree. With the increased attention paganism is getting by seekers and/or those who wish to just get information, yep, there is some trash out there on the market. But then again, spirituality is highly personal and subjective and thus opinions and theories will differ greatly as well. Sure we all know that one cannot (at least most people I know) make a brand new car materialize out of thin air. But wouldn't that be cool? I digress.
My personal recommendation to anyone who asks me is: Read anything and everything that "speaks" to you from the title. IF it does turn out to be mostly trash, then fine.........we can learn from trash as well as from the best-written most intelligent pagan or Wiccan book on the market. Actually what I tend to tell seekers is that once they've read one or two beginner's books, put down the "Craft" type books for awhile and read Psychology, Anthropology, Mythology, Folk stories, books on other religions(after all many neo-pagan groups do borrow concepts from other places), books on general herbology (if being an herbal expert is something you think will assist you in your spirituality). Because the fact is that alot of books on the craft become redundant after awhile. And yes, there is some misinformation.
I did begin by reading Llewellyn books. And if I had not read those or found them IN Barnes and Noble, I may not have realized that others believed as I did or that I was in fact a pagan inside already. I may never have thought to seek out my local metaphysical bookstore. The first 4 books I read were: To Ride a Silver Broomstick (please hold your puke sounds to a dull roar because though I've learned much since then being in a traditional coven, this book gave me alot to think about, the basic wheel of the year, some ideas for helping me with meditation and a sense that what I was getting into wasn't EVIL....which is a difficult thing to overcome coming from certain backgrounds), To Stir a Magick Cauldron and Spiral Dance. Since then I've read as much as I can get my hands on and whatever interests me at the moment. Maybe my needs have matured. Maybe that was a good place to begin for ME.
Reading as much as you can is never a bad thing in and of itself. It's when you get your opinions only from books instead of using books as a source for personal exploration of your own personal views that reading anything can be bad. Question everything!
| When I Started Down My Path Of Pagan Studies 28 Years Ago... ||Sep 5th. at 1:23:50 pm EDT|
|Sunfell (unknown) ||Age: 39 |
When I started down my path of Pagan studies 28 years ago, most of the books available were badly printed facsimilies of old occult tomes, complete with blurry type, poorly reproduced artwork, and vaporous references. Sadly, today's books are hardly better- just hashed over for today's eager teen consumers. And I guess that's my biggest gripe. Paganism and Wicca are a Teen Fad, and Adult Pagans and grizzled old vets like me are pretty much left to fend for ourselves, or special order palatable books like "Zelator" and "People of the Earth". Everything else is "Pagan 101"- meant for starry-eyed beginners or faddish teens, or worse, poorly researched and presented. Fluff like "how to turn a person into a toad" is shelved beside Crowley's stuff, which, in the hands of beginners is asking for trouble. I look at it as being Pagan Darwinism. The ones who get stuck in the fluff usually give up and drop out. If they cannot see beyond the obvious nonsense in the pages of their $19.95 magickal whoopie cushion, what does that say about their common sense and insight? Or willingness to find out the facts? Harsh? Perhaps. Now, don't think I'm down on teens because their 'fads' control the output of the 'bigger' publishers. I started down my path as a teen. But unlike today's beginners, I had to work hard to sift the nuggets of fact from the vast pile of chaff presented to me as 'truth' and "ancient lore". That process created in me a very powerful BS detector and deep trust in my own research capabilities, which have served me well. Today's teens have an even larger pile of fluff to sort through. If they win through, they can go beyond the fluff-bunny 101 stuff to the real reward of living a fulfilling Pagan life free of the mythical nonsense which plagues us.
I really cannot comment on most Pagan sites on the Web, because I tend to run screaming from those who have the bad manners to run music on startup, or have to many huge graphics or multiple animations. Lose the music, make your graphics smaller, and use the spell checker. And limit animations to ONE per page. BB MYSNC Sunfell"
| Hummmmmm, Oy Gevauld! What A Couldron Of Worms! i Really Get... ||Sep 5th. at 1:35:56 pm EDT|
|Silver MayKitten (Springfield, Missouri US) ||Age: 55 - Email |
Hummmmmm, Oy Gevauld! What a couldron of worms! I really get upset at some of the _*CRAP*_ that pretends to be responsible and useful pagan literature. But there are a lot of good books out there too. Perhaps Lluellen in trying in their mission to expose _every_ pagan viewpoint has caused us to suffer a torrent of Goddessless drivel, but they are also providing a soapbox from which the nuttiest witches can expoud their theories. Thank goddess we havn't found a witch Rush Limbaugh yet.
I guess whatever the subject, there is junk books on the subject and trustworthy as well as opportunist authors. I know I am kinda angry at computer book publishers who print three junk titles for every book that can be used as a good source of information. *(Did you attend my last yard sale?)* Giving the devil his due, Tim O'Reilly has done a marvelous job of publishing only quality computer books; now if only we could get a craft publishing house to set up sinilar quality guidelines . . .
| I Think There Are Some "wiccan" Or "pagan" Books That Are Completely... ||Sep 5th. at 4:24:28 pm EDT|
|Fiana (Janesville, Wisconsin US) ||Age: 24 |
I think there are some "wiccan" or "pagan" books that are completely absurd, like one I recently saw in a bookshop titled something like "How to turn your ex into a toad and etc." . I would however definitly reccomend books by Starhawk, and Scott Cunningham, these are the ones I think people can learn the most from
| I Love To Read. Ever Since I Was Five Years Old, I... ||Sep 5th. at 4:44:08 pm EDT|
|Jessica (Denver, Colorado US) ||Age: 18 - Email |
I love to read. Ever since I was five years old, I would read anything that came my way. And in all that time I've read more trash then treasure. But the treasure has stuck with me. The same thing applys to pagan books. There are countless sorces of information, some good, some bad, and some down-right weird. A few lines into the book, or even a glance at the table of contents will give you a good indication of what catagory the book would fall in. I've found that the truth that good pagan books hold will come out much more stongly to a true seeker then the sensational lies the the weird books have in them. When you come across new material, give them the Rede Test (is it harmful to yourself or others?) and the ever-true Golden Rule (would you like it if someone did it to you?). A little common sense is needed when you are looking into something new. And if you are compleatly unsure about whether what you have discovered is useful to you, pray. The Lord and Lady won't let you down.
| Boy This Is A Rough One. For Those New Who Are Confused... ||Sep 5th. at 5:31:44 pm EDT|
|fey (hubbard, Ohio US) ||Age: 38 - Email |
Boy this is a rough one. For those new who are confused or need a general area to start their are many good books out there to help build a basic foundation.
Silver Ravenwolfs ( except teen witch...but that is another story..)
These are a few authors that could grant insight as well as: Starhawk, Margot Adler, Amber K. So the wealth of literature is well...but there is always gonna be crap along side it because the ones out to make a buck have to have there paws in too.
But I do not beleive books are the be all know all. I think they can give you ideas, lend creativity or spark it but ultimately the magick lies within yourself. The path may be littered with books, but you still have to take that final leg of it with in to know your true self.
And on line I would say the ratio of good sites versus bad sites is pretty equal. Because there are so many children out there with sites.
But there are very many great ones you just have to be patient.
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