Old Teen Essays
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Article ID: 4502
Age Group: Adult
Posted: February 26th. 2001
Wren is starting her spring-cleaning a little early this year. She usually does these major 'nest-cleanings' at Beltaine and Samhain, but since the weather here in mid-Florida has been a bit warmer than usual, she simply finds herself in the mood to do it now.
Looking over the bookshelves-and at all of the on-the-floor book stacks and the under-the-bed book piles and the in-the-closet-somewhere book nooks-she decided that some of these books simply need to find a new home. Like book lovers everywhere, Wren thinks that tossing a book out into the trash bin is akin to engaging in some sort of literary blasphemy. So what do we do with all of those Pagan books that we have held onto for years and now have simply 'outgrown'?
Consider donating them. Your local public library-like all libraries in the U.S.-work with limited funds. They may welcome book donations, especially hardcover editions. Hardcovers do last longer, but that doesn't mean that paperbacks are not useful. In fact, even if the library already has a paperback copy of some of your books on the racks, they welcome back-up copies of popular titles. There is also the maybe-conspiracy that we hear mentioned from time to time that Pagan related materials continue to 'disappear' from library shelves. Some of this vanishing act is the result of theft, but there may indeed be something to the theory that certain groups check out Pagan books and don't return them-just to get them off the shelves. In any case, do check with your library or even start a Pagan book drive in your neighborhood/group for such a purpose.
Another venue where Pagan books are welcome is in the Pagan prison ministries. Prisons all have different standards on what sort of Pagan materials that prisoners are allowed. Generally, any media depicting nudity, tool/mead making techniques or violent/ baneful spells is prohibited. Many of the basic 'new seeker' books (such as Cabot, RavenWolf or Cunningham) however rarely include this type of material and can be donated. If you already know of a group in your state that conducts a Pagan prison ministry, do contact them (or check out the TWV networking section to see who may be doing what and where) and ask if they could use your old books.
W.A.R.D. has one of the most extensive Pagan-oriented prison ministries in the country. Darla Kaye Wynne (AKlover@aol.com) wrote in response to our inquiry: "We would be very interested in receiving donations for the prison ministry program. We currently serve 18 facilities in NC/SC. Anything received would be greatly appreciated! Our mailing address for this would be: WARD, Inc., 44 Walnut Street, Great Falls, SC 29055."
Morgan Pierceheart, a Pagan who just returned from a military stint in Bosnia, wrote us that Pagan troops in that area are in great need of materials. He writes: "Please encourage your readers to consider mailing books to the troops here in Bosnia." And so we shall. The best way to do this is by sending them to: Morale Welfare and Recreation, attn: Soldier Support Library, Eagle Base, Operation Joint Forge. APO AE 09789 or to the Chaplain's Office at: Chaplain's Office, Eagle Base, OJF, APO AE 09789.
Other ideas include starting a local Pagan neighborhood book swap or holding a semi-annual "Really Cheap Pagan Book Sale" to help raise money for local/national/international causes. Many Pagan groups-and especially the Pagan festival organizers who are raising money to buy land-hold raffles and auctions at events. Check out the events being planned in your area-or the promos for those that you plan to attend-to see if a raffle/auction will be held. Contact the event folks and ask if they would like your donations of books, magickal items, etc.
Books collected from coven members can also become part of an 'initiation welcome kit' and when signed by the members of the group can become a treasured memento of a very special occasion.
Well, Wren is doing pretty well so far. We've got three boxes of books ready to go-two for Pagan festival raffles and one for the WARD prison ministry. Now, what else just simply HAS to go?
Photo credit: The picture to your upper right is from the personal altar of Robyn & Brahm (Website: http://tigerhaus.tripod.com/Brahms/ from Guthrie, Kentucky (USA). "The book in the photo is one of our new ones from our line at the bookworks, I had to have one too." Bless YOU Robyn & Brahm for sharing your magick with us all.
There's So Much Stuff In My Closet, There's Barely Enough Room In There For Me!
Well, that's another subject for another time. Getting back to the non-human stuff in the closet though, how about those old blankets and towels? Take them to your local animal shelter. Too many candlesticks and incense burners and-what IS that thing anyway? Consider the raffle idea for your own group or plan to hold a Pagan neighborhood yard sale for a charitable organization. What fun! Sure, you'll probably come back with more stuff than you brought to sell, but heck-it's for a good cause, right? Places like Goodwill will take old appliances and so give disabled people an opportunity to work by repairing and reconditioning them for resale.
Still got that material or yarn for that project that you never got around to actually doing? And are you are really, really tired of feeling guilty every time you set eyes on it? Think up an easy project for the kids to work on at the next Pagan meeting, gathering or festival. Making masks from paper plates and then threading colorful yarn all around the edges should keep them busy for a while and they'll look quite fashionable at the circle later, too! Cutting the material into squares for quilt projects or for making handbags/magickal pouches works for older kids. Remember dressing up in your mom's clothes when you were young? (Some folks think that Pagans never really got over this and that is why Pagan fashions tend to be so..um.... interesting.) Bring some of those frilly old goodies (and scissors to make length adjustments for safety reasons) and costume jewelry to your next gathering and let the kids go wild. Put on a Young Pagan fashion show! With the right announcer, this could get quite entertaining for all ages. Future Pagan Elders (older teens) can work on coven flags or banners or create their own symbolic emblems if they get together at events often enough. A Youth banner exchange between young adult groups across the country might be an interesting project as well.
End of life issues-while difficult to bring up in casual conversation-may prompt you to start thinking about what you want done with your personal magickal items when you exit this realm. If you want something intensely personal to 'go with you', do let someone know. Write it down somewhere. Talk about it. Who you'd like to 'gift' other items to or how you would like them to be ritually disposed of is not only a good topic for a 'workshop' (hint. hint.), it is also a good reason to call for a special family or coven meeting. Sure, we could always contact you at Samhain, but a little hint in the here and now would certainly give those who are left behind a head start on carrying out your final wishes. By the way, when Wren's time comes, don't send flowers; send feathers. It's a phoenix thing. Also going down the chute into the flames lying on featherbed sounds nice and comfy. (Wren: There. One more 'last request' logged for posterity. Check that one off my list!)
We have a sort-of rule here in the Jung household: If something new comes in, something else has to go out. Practitioners of feng-shui- and those Pagans who are conscious of energy exchanges- feel that nothing new can come into one's life unless you make a space for it first. We can just imagine some Goddess looking down and saying. "Oh yes indeed. I would love to gift them with this...but just where in Caledonia would they PUT it?" We don't know about you, but if a Goddess really, really wants to give us something, we want to make sure that special spot is all set aside well in advance in order to receive it!
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