Bringing Race to the Table: Exploring Racism in the Pagan Community, edited by Crystal Blanton, Taylor Ellwood, and Brandy Williams Megalithica Books, 9781905713981, 295 pp. (incl. author biographies), 2015
A striking collection of essays, current and diverse, Bringing Race to the Table: Exploring Racism in the Pagan Community
is a work of dedication and power. Crystal Blanton
, author, editor of two previous books on the topic of diversity, Patheos blogger, Wild Hunt contributor and social worker -- in addition to a priestess and witch -- delivers a must-read text in conjunction with her two coeditors, Taylor Ellwood
and Brandy Williams
.Blanton does a stellar job showcasing voices from many perspectives. The diverse authors of the essays come from across the lines of gender, race, socio-economic class, spiritual practise, and education. Bringing Race to the Table
makes room for many rarely discussed viewpoints, even in advanced circles or books. This makes for a full spectrum and undeniable look at the built-in mechanisms of discrimination that have followed so many of us from the overculture into Paganism
. The calling-out and of racist, sexist, gendered, and classist behaviour is one string in the fabric Blanton weaves. Another is the choice to not perpetuate these actions in our own lives, but to turn toward the struggles many of our brothers and sisters live with daily. Read More
is one of my sister writers at the Patheos Pagan
channel and she’s also the author of the newly published book All Acts of Love and Pleasure: Inclusive Wicca
from Avalonia Press
. I had the opportunity to catch up with her recently and I asked her about her practice and her new book: what inspired it, what drove it, and how it connects to issues that are currently hot topics in the Pagan
community.Sable Aradia: So tell those who might not be familiar a little about you. What is your background in the Craft?
Yvonne Aburrow: I was initiated into Gardnerian Wicca in 1991. The thing that made me realise that I am a Pagan was reading Puck of Pook's Hill
, by Rudyard Kipling. I was lucky enough to find a coven that was also interested in our connection to the land and local deities and spirits. I am also interested in Hinduism
, and Norse, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic
, Sumerian, and Roman Paganism, and my personal or household deities include deities from several different pantheons. I enjoy the earthy and sensual aspects of the Craft, and I believe that Wicca
is a partnership with the deities, rather than them serving us, or us serving them. Read More
Anthologies provide themed essays from a variety of writers, allowing the reader to sample an assortment of styles and opinions. Finding new writers can be difficult for the average person, there's so much out there that's useless, or worse. Anthology pieces always vary in quality, and are frequently contradictory when taken as a whole, but that can be part of their charm.Generation Hex
was released last year, edited by Jason Louv and published by the folks at Disinformation.com.It's a collection of essays written by magickians under thirty, several of whom I'm familiar with online, and some I've not spoken to for years. I found it a great nostalgic piece, despite the fact it was supposed to be cutting edge; it more reminded me where I've been, and where I've found others. It's the kind of book you can read to know you're not alone. Read More
Personality aspecting (heretofore known simply as “aspecting”) is the art of invoking, for varying lengths of time not necessarily limited to ritual space, aspects of the self other than the ego. We as humans are capable of utilizing the entire range of the psyche, though through conditioning and habit we tend to be narrowed down to a sliver of preferred patterns known as the ego. Part of this is sheer necessity of communication. We’re used to identifying people by their behaviour patterns, and anyone who acts noticeably “out of character” may be questioned. Read More
Real Energy: Systems, Spirits, And Substances to Heal, Change, And Grow, by Phaedra & Isaac Bonewits
New Page Books, 288 pp.
If you’re looking for a book that provides you a thorough examination of the basic concepts of energy work, in terms of both personal energy and environmental energy then you’ll find that this book is right up your alley. Phaedra and Isaac do a wonderful job of explaining energy and its connection with elemental energy, astrology, natural resources, Chinese belief systems, and more.
This book is theory intensive. They provide a few basic exercises so readers can work with the concepts, but their focus is more so on explaining the why and how of energy work. I would’ve liked to have seen more focus on practice, and particularly some intermediate and advanced energy work, but even without that the theory in the book can provide readers an opportunity to experiment if they are willing to take the concepts and run with them.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about energy work and what it involves. You’ll also get a dose of Bonewits humor, always good for giving you a moment to take a break and think, “Did they really say that?”