Building a Wiccan Library as a Broke College Student
Article ID: 14840
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: February 5th. 2012
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I just recently read Peg Aloiís article Leaves of Gold: Finding Those Rare Occult Books here on the Witchesí Voice again, and thereís always one statement she makes that pops out to me: ďPagans like books.Ē Well, I canít really deny that that statement definitely applies to me. Even before I came to Wicca, I loved books. Iíd always beg my parents for a trip to Barnes and Noble or whatever bookstore we happened to be close to. I kept flashlights and little book lights in my room and would spend many a good night staying up late reading. And I remember (very fondly) enjoying Shakespeareís plays at the tender age of fourteen, while many of my classmates couldnít get past the archaic language or understand any of what was going on.
Every time I go home for break, I always look on the bookshelf in my room (and the great number of books piled on the floor) with a sense of pride and excitement, and I wonít deny that I still spend many late nights reading and rereading many of my books.
So when I first came across Wicca, one of the first things I did was look for books and things to read. Though Iím not the biggest fan of academic research, I always enjoy researching any interesting topics I come across (often using Wikipedia, I admit, but always looking for other sources if something truly sparks my interest) . And one of the first things I realized when I started looking at Wiccan and, eventually, other Neopagan books and sources was that there are so many of them! Whereas, from what Iíve heard and read, in the past Wiccan literature was very limited and hard to find, nowadays there seems to be no end to the number of books I find and page through. Perhaps the Internet has spoiled my generation and certainly many others, but I have to say, if I hadnít had the Internet, I might never have even considered Wicca as a spiritual path (or worse, never have even known it existed) . Even today, Iím often floored by how many books I find as I browse through Pagan websites and online stores, and Iím still usually equally as floored at the amazing variety of these Wiccan and Neopagan books and sources.
One of the biggest problems, for me, was in building my own Wiccan library. Peg Aloi mentioned in her article how Wiccans and other Pagans not only love reading books but also love surrounding themselves with books. I donít consider myself any exception to this statement (you should see the sheer amount of literature Iíve got in my room at home) , but surrounding myself with Wiccan booksÖ well, I canít say itís completely unfeasible, but it hasnít really happened yet. Being a college student in todayís economic situation, finding money to build this library always seems like a nigh-impossible task. Sure, I have a summer job that I enjoy and have been working at ever since I graduated from high school, but most of the money goes towards my education (usually helping my parents pay my tuition, paying for my textbooks and, being an art major, paying my materials fees) . As a result, there never seems to be enough money left over to spend on this library. And whatever money I would have to spend I usually keep a close eye on, being somewhat financially conscious (and knowing my habit to splurge on my other hobbies whenever I feel like I have a lot) . So, while I feel the God and Goddess have blessed me with good employment (knowing many other college students havenít had the luck Iíve had in finding a job) , finding the money to set aside for my own library hasnít been possible yet.
However, perhaps the biggest problem for me has been the notion that I need to hide this library from those who would not understand. Though my close friends have known and accepted for a while that I chose Wicca as my spiritual path, Iíve only come out of the broom closet to my immediate family very recently. Itís been less than a year since I came out to my sister, and itís been less than half a year since I came out to my parents. For so long, I was scared they would reject me if they ever found out, and, even though I know thatís not true (nor has it ever been true) , I still find it hard to bring myself to buy hardcopies of Wiccan books or even check them out of the library. Though my parents have accepted my choice and the reasons behind my choice, they know very little of Wicca themselves and I always worry about whether they would understand. The same fear has kept me from coming out to the rest of my family or even talking about it on Facebook, though this doesnít worry me as much. Still, this often prevents me from looking for hard copies of the books I want, and it saddens me.
And then thereís my dad. I love him deeply, but he has stated quite clearly to me his belief that magic (and/or magick) of any kind does not exist. He accepts the spirituality, ideology and ethics behind Wicca, but heís convinced that Iíd only be having delusions of power if I talked to him about the spells I work. And heís kind of forceful with this belief as far as the rest of the family is concerned. So what would happen if I brought home books about spells and color magick? What would he say? Well, to be quite honest, I donít really want to find out. Not while Iím living at home, anyways.
Despite all of this, I havenít given up hope. Why should I? Iím only 22. Iíve still got my life ahead of me, leaving plenty of time to build this dream library. And itís not as if I havenít started already. Many of the books I read and have at home these days are urban fantasy with some ties to Witchcraft, Wiccan and other Pagan faiths (though Iím usually able to pick apart the fiction from the fact) . Iíve been accumulating a small PDF library on my laptop of Pagan books, nonfiction and fiction alike (though Iím always happier when adding nonfiction to it) . And Google Books has always been a lifesaver whenever I want to look for new books or simply cannot find the books I want anywhere else. I always chuckle a little when I look at my ďTo ReadĒ bookshelf (which currently has 78 books listed and, with the Goddessí blessing, will keep growing) .
So being a college student and trying to surround myself with books, as Peg Aloi suggests? I say from experience that, although itís definitely very difficult, it is possible. Even with a limited budget, even with family who doesnít always understand. And I truly thank the God and Goddess for this. No matter what may come my way, Iíll keep striving for that dream library and the day I can surround myself with books.
"Leaves of Gold: Finding Those Rare Occult Books" by Peg Aloi,
http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usma and c=books and id=4848
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