Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Requiem for a city

Trying to prepare to teach tomorrow's classes, I have been depressed all day about a city that I knew only as a visitor. This Washington Post writer has me beat, of course:

For those of us lucky enough to have come of age in New Orleans -- even more than for the tourist who falls for her instantly -- the decadent majesty of the city is like a forbidden love. You want desperately to explain the depths of your enchantment, but you know in your heart that others will acknowledge it merely as an easy infatuation or a passing fling. You know they will never awaken at night drunk on the coffee-and-banana fragrance of her docks or the beery sweat of her pre-dawn streets or the humid hum of her streetcar summers. How could they ever understand the depth of your passion?

I find myself going here compulsively.

Did the Tarot card readers of Jackson Square keep turning up The Tower all last week? (If they did not, someone will create a fictional work in which they did.)

M.'s and my experience of being refugees for all of four days last July did make me more sensitive to scenes of people fleeing their homes. In this case, though, it would not surprise me if people from southern Louisiana and Mississippi will probably still be living in tent cities a year from now, a semi-permanent class of refugees.

[A]ccording to Shea Penland, geologist and professor at the University of New Orleans. "When we get the big hurricane and there are 10,000 people dead, the city government's been relocated to the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain, refugee camps have been set up and there $10 billion plus in losses, what then?" he asks.

Interestingly, that was published five years ago.

UPDATE: God punished New Orleans because it was a wicked city, just in case you were wondering. (Link from Andrew Sullivan.)
Falconry in the Dreamtime

Hunting magic is still out there. Scroll down past the falcon photos to read the entry.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

"What's on your iGod?"

Mark Morford has some fun with the "spiritual but not religious" meme. He thinks it's a good thing, too. I'm not sure where the "homogeny" is, however. I see plenty of variety in the passing religious spectacle. But let Morford continue:

I have seen [this profound change] at yoga retreats and Wicca gatherings and in all related offshoots, Druidism and Pantheism and Animism, etc. I've heard it in the talks of modern gurus and nontraditional pastors and felt it in our deep cultural fascination with mystical powers and dream energies and supernatural phenomena, and it is perhaps most visible in the Religion & Spirituality aisle of your bookstore, the most explosive section of the publishing market, $2 billion worth just a few years ago alone, countless thousands of titles shooting up like flowers and very few having to do with how to kneel in abject guilt-addled faith to a solitary sullen disapproving deity and instead almost every single one having to do with how to take some sort of larger view -- or rather, a deeper, inner view, profoundly personal and free of typical religious dogma and churchy groupthink and send us your money now so the pastor can make his Lear payments.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Driving Audhumla

Driving Audhumla is a Pagan road-trip blog by Victoria Slind-Flor that I have been enjoying. Check out "Visiting Paganistan."

The week I spent at the Sacred Harvest Festival was wonderful. It was unlike any other large-scale public Pagan event I've attended before in that it was overwhelmingly family-oriented. We had so many young families, families with adolescents, and young adults, in addition to the usual coterie of folks my age. Particpants mainly came from the upper midwest, with many from "Paganistan," AKA the Twin Cities.
He's ba-ack

After almost a year's absence, The Religious Policeman, the best blog to come out of Saudi Arabia, is back. (No, that is not his real photo.) I thought maybe he was in a prison cell, seriously. In fact, he has left the happy kingdom and moved to England.

A writing sample:

There are those people in Jeddah. They have a Corniche, so they think they're living on the Mediterranean. They tend to smile and laugh. You occasionally see couples furtively holding hands. What libertines.

Then there are people like me who live in Riyadh. We're more proper. No holding hands. Not a lot of smiling either - what is there to smile about in Riyadh?

Then there are the people from Qassim, pronounced Gass-eem. A district centered round Burayda, 200 miles north of Riyadh. Where Wahabbi (who invented our really fun version of Islam) originally came from. Burayda is described in Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide as the "most unfriendly place in Saudi Arabia". And then some. Remember those old movies about creepy New England towns called Spookyburg or Witchville, where some innocent guy wanders in by mistake, it's all knee deep in mist and the silent locals just stare and don't say anything, the guy ends up next morning as a puddle of ectoplasm on the ground? Well Burayda makes those places look like New Orleans. In Mardi Gras.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The logistics of sacrifice (2)

Part 1

Bard College is known for its Classics program. Somewhere on the Web there is a video clip transferred from film of 1930s students in ancient Greek costumes having an Olympic-style competition on the fieldhouse.

This graphic series from Bard attempts to show the stages of a typical Greek sacrifice of a sheep, but it suffers from a degree of prettiness. For instance:

Scene 14: the improbable fire. No ash buildup, and no one gets smoke in their eyes later

Scene 16: Half-raw, half-charred sheep heart. . . yum!

Scene 17: Where did the fire go? Who stripped the bones, and how long did that take? There is archaeological evidence for the burning of bones. Does everyone else stand around getting hungry? One source I read suggested that the meat was often boiled (plain or with onions?); another says that priests (or their agents) could sell their portion of the meat in the marketplace.

Scene 19: That must be wine with a very high alcoholic content!

Still the basics are there. By comparison, Muslims seem not necessarily to bother with altars for their animal sacrifices.

Christianity, too, grew up in a culture, temple Judaism, that practiced sacrifice, as did surrounding cultures. The idea of Jesus-as-sacrifice must have carried a lot of emotional impact then based on what people had seen for themselves, as opposed to being just a dead metaphor as it is now.

It's like "flip side" from phonograph albums or all the steam-power metaphors still in our language: "get fired up," "build up a head of steam." When did you last fire a steam boiler?

When I was a child, I was just grossed out by phrases like "washed in the blood of the Lamb." All bloody--yuck! At least if I had seen blood-splashed altars, it would have meant something to me.

Sometimes the only way to learn is to do it. An essay in The Pagan Book of Living and Dying describes the outdoor cremation of a corpse on a Texas ranch. The deceased friends' had the land, the firewood (old corral rails), and the inclination, and it was what he had wanted. So they build a pyre around the corpse and lit it . . . and then had to wait, because a body in a wood fire does not burn instantly. What to do? They had food, drink, and time--so they played games: volleyball or whatever, just like at a picnic. Of course! You always read about "the funeral games" at the burial of some ancient hero.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Calm before the storm

Over the years, I have noticed that we often have an unusually warm (for the season) night before a snowstorm. It's still August, of course, but I have been on campus the last two days, and that is the way it felt. I go to meetings, clean my office, collect books, etc., all knowing that next week the storm will be here.

The best part so far was a rock-'em, sock-'em speech by Roger Bowen, general secretary of the American Association of University Professors, who came all the way from Washington, D.C., to speak on defending academic freedom (and its limits and responsibilities).

Meanwhile, Jason Pitzl-Waters has put together the first Carnival of the Pagans or Pagan Carnival, whichever term you prefer, and I hope it's not the last. Stop by the Wildhunt Blog and send him your suggestions from the Pagan blogosphere.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Fairy Faith in Nova Scotia

The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries is one of the background books to the Pagan revival, sort of like Rudyard Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill. Graham Harvey and I included some of the Kipling in The Paganism Reader; perhaps we should have included Evans-Wentz too, although I admit to always being a little unsure how to interpret the word "faith" in his title.

The Fairy Faith is also the title of a new video on fairies. A Flash version of the trailer is online. I did like the Eskasoni, Nova Scotia, episode.

The link came from a Colorado Springs Wiccan priestess who said, "I am currently doing research on the Fey preparing to teach a section on working with them to my students..."

Certainly the older Indian woman in the video clip had no interest in "working with." She thought it was wiser to give the fairies a wide berth.

UPDATE: The Paganism Reader gets a five-star review.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The logistics of sacrifice (1)

The Temple of Minerva SulisLooking at an artist's rendition of the Roman temple of Minerva Sulis at Bath, UK, you will see a thin plume of smoke arising from the altar outside the temple. There appears to be no fuel, just smoke.

I got to thinking about animal sacrifice, not the whys and wherefores but the logistics.

My frame of reference here is the ancient Mediterranean, thus ruling out contemporary Santeristas, etc., contemporary extreme Kali worshippers, or even the 16th-century Aztecs, known for their (dis)assembly-line approach to human sacrifice.

For all that, go read René Girard's Violence and the Sacred.

First of all, the altar. One you have graduated from a pile of unhewn stones to a nice block of marble, are you going to build a fire on it? The heat will lead to cracking, spalling, etc. Even if you have just a small fire into which you sprinkle wine, tufts of hair clipped from the victim, handfuls of barley, or whatever, it would be destructive. So do you line the top of the altar with disposable bricks or set a brazier on it? What do the archaeologists say? Has anyone looked at altar stones for signs of fire damage?

One friend suggests looking at Book 23 of the Iliad for suggestions: the sacrifices at the funeral games of Patroklos. I tend not to trust Homer on these matters, though: he was telling An Amazing Tale of Long Ago, with larger-than-life characters who did things in a larger-than-life way.

According to the Oxford Classical Dictionary, some chthonic deities got their sacrifices burned in pits. That makes sense.

As a hunter, I have cut up animals ranging in size from squirrels to elk. I know about blood and guts. After the haruspex has looked at the liver, what then? Is it burned? It won't burn fast! (Lots of fuel needed--who supplies it?) Intestines if fatty would burn better than an ox's stomach, for example. Or all those parts disposed of elsewhere? You don't just burn blood, unless you have a monster bonfire going.

In most cases, the worshippers ate the muscle meat. Fat was often burned: the smell was pleasing the gods and definitely increased the worshipers' appetites. In Fishcakes and Courtesans James Davidson discusses how to the classical Athenians, red meat-eating was all mixed up with religious taboos and sacred violence, whereas fish was "secular," and they could eat all they wanted, when they wanted.

Who gets the hide? The priests (for sale to the tanners, presumably)? If bones are burned, what about horns? The smell! The flies! The ashes!

If you wanted a constant fire going, olive oil would be a better fuel than wood. I suppose you would not want to be downwind either way.

Lots of questions. More later.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Pagan studies, nature religion at AAR-SBL

For anyone attending the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion and Society for Biblical Literature in Philadelphia in November, here is a quick--and not necessarily definitive--list of the Pagan-studies sessions.

First, the all-day Conference on Contemporary Pagan Studies, which has been happening since 1998 in some form but is not an official program unit.

The following program units have at least one Pagan-studies presenter, if not the entire panel:

1. New Religious Movements Group and Contemporary Pagan Studies Consultation, Saturday - 1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m, Michael York, London, UK, presiding. Theme: Neo-Pagan Religions in Central and Eastern Europe: Identity, Community, and Challenge.

2. Platonism and Neoplatonism Group, Sunday - 9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Gregory Shaw, Stonehill College, presiding. Theme: Neoplatonism, Dead or Alive: Is Neoplatonism a Living Tradition?

3. Death, Dying, and Beyond Consultation, Sunday - 9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Christopher M. Moreman, St. Francis Xavier University, presiding. Theme: Continuities and Discontinuities: Contemporary Cross-Cultural Approaches to the Study of Death.

4. New Religious Movements Group, Sunday - 4:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m., Holly Folk, Indiana University, Bloomington, presiding. Theme: Theoretical Issues in the Study of NRMs and NRMs and Their Sacred Texts.

5. Contemporary Pagan Studies Consultation, Monday - 9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Wendy Griffin, California State University, Long Beach, presiding. Theme: Boundaries and Paths to Authenticity.

6. New Religious Movements Group, Monday - 1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Greg Johnson, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder, presiding. Theme: Devoted to the Outdoors: Nature Recreation as Religious Practice.
Appeals court upholds Wiccan parents

An Indiana appeals court has upheld the right of divorced Wiccan parents to expose their children to their religious practices, something that both parents wished to do.

The Indiana Civil Liberties Union argued the case on constitutional grounds -- that the decree trampled on parents' rights to expose their children to the religion of their choice.

But the appeals court didn't rule on the constitutional question. Instead, the appeals court relied on state law, which prohibits courts from limiting parents' authority unless a child is at risk of physical danger, or significant emotional impairment.

More links and details at The Wildhunt blog.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What you will find in The Pomegranate

I have posted a complete table of contents for volume 7 of The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies.

Issue no. 2 is now in press, and I hope it will be available at the Equinox Publishing booth at the American Academy of Religion-Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting in Philadelphia in November. It will be a lively and provocative issue.

Now to further update the "old" web site.

NOTE: My apologies to anyone who tried the table of contents link earlier and got nowhere. Some changes had been made to the FTP access on the host server, and I did not learn about them in time. Now, with the latest version of Transmit, an elegant Mac FTP application, I able to upload files again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Local knowledge

Three cheers for Vera Stucky Evenson, author of The Mushrooms of Colorado. Those white mushrooms were indeed Agaricus campestris. M. and I ate them on last night's pizza, and we're still here 24 hours later. (Yes, I made spore prints too.)

The cat ate some too--he must have liked the oiliness of sauteed mushrooms--but he later left his on the bathroom floor. Cats and fungi: not a good combination.

Local knowledge can be hard to come by. When I taught an environmental-issues section of freshman composition, my student typically knew (or thought that they knew) more about the Brazilian rain forest than about the Wet Mountains, which they could see from the classroom windows, not 30 miles away.

Th Pueblo Mountain Park Environmental Center has taken a good step with the publication of Plants of Pueblo Mountain Park, which fits our ecological niche over here too.

This evening after supper I strapped on my authentic Lithuanian mushroom basket, and M. and I walked the ridge behind the house, picking boletes. "Probably the surest mushrooms to recognize beyond the Foolproof Four [morels, puffballs, shaggy mane, sulfur polymore] are the boletes," writes Lorentz Pearson in The Mushroom Manual.

My eccentric sister in Kaunas provided the basket. She bought it from a street vendor--it looks like an angler's creel, but it lacks the slot in the lid into which to deposit the spotted trout. Maybe it was supposed to be a creel anyway, but since the few Lithuanians I have met were mycophiles, it's a mushroom basket.

It was Germans who started us gathering boletes. Years ago, we were hiking the Horsethief Park trail on the west side of Pike's Peak when we encountered a group of elderly German women with shopping bags--typical Army brides from Colorado Springs--and they were doing some serious mushroom-picking.

They taught us those mushrooms, and then they pointed us one way while they went another way.

One member of that particular demographic established an unfortunate reputation with the local Search and Rescue group. She was so busy one summer afternoon a couple of years ago looking down for edible fungi that she got lost and spent a chilly night in the Wets. And now the S&R people are convinced that all mushroom-hunters are distracted and easily lost.

Local knowledge--what good is "nature religion" without it?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Writers and blogs

Steven Krause, who teaches English at Eastern Michigan University, weighs in on why writers should (not) blog.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Resistance is futile

"We are Zogg." Go here if you dare--and have a fast connection. (Link from Non Fluffy Wicca.)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

In memorium Monica Sjoo

Monica Sjoo, artist, writer, and a key figure in Goddess spirituality, died Monday.

With Barbara Mor, she coauthored The Great Cosmic Mother: Discovering the Religion of the Earth (Harper San Francisco: 1987). She also wrote Return of the Dark/Light Mother and other works.

In an email circulated this week, Starhawk writes of her,

The last time I saw Monica, she came for a night to the Earth Activist Training I was coteaching in England. She presided over the ritual we were having that night in her wheelchair, sitting by the fire like an embodiment of the Crone herself. We told stories, of the walk and the Stonehenge ritual, of Greenham and the antinuclear actions of the eighties, of the early years of the feminist spirituality movement. The younger women activists—and the men—listened with rapt attention to a history most of them had never heard. Monica seemed strong, at peace, complete. That is how I will remember her, her silver hair shining in the firelight, her eyes alight. One of the mothers of the women’s spirituality movement is gone. May the Goddess embrace her, take her into her loving arms, and bring her strong, creative spirit around the circle to rebirth.

A poem she wrote as her son Sean was dying of cancer is here.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Mutilating Pagan art

Via The Cranky Professor, I discovered Towards an Archaeology of Iconoclasm, a blog devoted to early Christian campaign to destroy or at least any earlier art that suggested connection to Pagan thought. The writer is a Danish graduate student in archaeology, Troels Myrup Kristensen. The thesis will attempt to answer questions such as who were the image-breakers? In what contexts does iconoclasm occur? What role did religious violence play in late Roman/early Christian society? What is the larger picture?

The Abrahamic religions' hostility to art continues--witness the Taliban's destruction of the giant Buddhist statues in Afghanistan a few years ago.

Discusing a damaged sculptural group of the Three Graces, Kristensen notes,

There were many different motives for Christians to smash pagan sculpture, and one of them was an aversion to nudity. This is clear from a series of sculptures, whose genitalia have been mutilated.

Genital mutilation. What more is there to say?
Church, state, and sacred sites

No insightful comment here, just a link to a Christian Science Monitor piece on the difficulties of applying law to sacred sites. Kennewick Man gets a mention too. (Remember, boys and girls, "Caucasian" is not the same as "Caucasoid." Even the CSM fumbles that term.)

Saturday, August 06, 2005

What she said

Sunfell, posting at The Juggler, wields her Giant Hammer of Paradigm Busting:

Unity" is another delusion that should be thrown out with PLPT [Perfect Love and Perfect Trust]. We are happily individual, with our individual Circles and practices. Anyone who seeks to unify the community is doomed to fail.

Why do people make such a fuss over "unity," when so often it just means "Do it my way"?
Apples and honey

Even though it was billed as a horror film, and even though no one whom I knew ever endorsed the ending, the 1973 movie The Wicker Man still inspired many of us who were then in the Pagan movement. We loved the idea of a place like Summerisle, a functioning society based on Pagan principles.

The new version that's in the works, starring Nicholas Cage as the interfering policeman and directed by Neil LaBute, moves the island from the Scottish coast to Puget Sound.

But the remake lacks the tension of the original, says this script reviewer.

My problems with this draft all stem from the changes made to the main character. Malus isn't anywhere near as intense or conflicted as Howie; indeed, compared to him, Malus is a relative dork. He is allergic to bee stings and carries his bee sting kit with him when he travels to SummerIsle (along with his rosary beads and self-help tapes). He is a California cop out removed to this isolated Washington community. His very modern manner contrasts with the simplicity of the locals; think Witness but if it were remade as horror-lite.

This island community produces honey rather than apples. The cop's name, Malus (rather than Howie as in the original), is the botanical genus for apples--a little tribute to the original.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The sacred prostitute

In recent decades, two groups have attempted to rehabilitate the so-called "sacred prostitutes" of the ancient Mediterranean world. Part of what we think we know of these alleged customs of temple prostitutes--either women dedicated their virginity to a deity and/or possibly slaves--comes from the Greek geographer and historian Strabo, who lived about 2,000 years ago.

One group did so in the interest of improving the image and social standing of today's sex workers, as does this site:

[M]any contemporary prostitutes turn to the iconography of the “sacred prostitute,” a quasi-historical construct providing a “golden age” when the prostitute’s unique power was honored rather than reviled. Relying on mythology and animal imagery of Near Eastern goddesses, particularly Lilith and Inanna, this strain of discourse constructs a position of political and spiritual sovereignty within which prostitutes can contextualize their work and their political struggles.

Others seek to meld the commercial and sacred roles. They may seek to expand the boundaries of how we express spirituality or view prostitution as service to the Great Goddess. As part of the larger work of Goddess spirituality, the "prostitute" is redefined as "priestess."

The "holy whore" may express a form of gnostic spirituality as well.

Some followers of revived ancient Egyptian religion take a similar line:

The Egyptian sacred 'prostitute' (who was probably a highly regarded as a member of Egyptian society because of her association with different gods or goddesses (such as Bes and Hathor), rather than the street walker that the modern mind imagines) advertised herself through her clothing and make up.

However, this article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz is more skeptical, at least about Egypt:

Surprisingly, the minute one sets aside the Judeo-Christian moral code and excises from the list of "harlots" those who engaged in a provocative line of work such as erotic dancing, there is no evidence, in all the historical findings from the days of the Pharaohs, that sex could be bought for money in the Land of the Nile. (Link via Paleojudaica.)

Clearly the combination of women + sex + religious worship is still a potent one, even to another writer who wants partially to debunk it.

Kama, working name of an Indian-born London prostitute who considers herself to be a devadasi, or sacred prostitute in the Hindu tradition, has a blog too, where she has mentioned that she felt looked down on by British sex-worker activists, who considered her to be a "trafficked woman."

She writes elsewhere,

Being a Devadasi allows me a world view that legitimizes my sexual behaviour so I can enjoy myself without any sense of guilt or regret, it gives me the processes that allow me to genuinely have affection for the men I meet, and a lifestyle that allows me to live independently of South Asian patriarchy while yet maintaining a South
Asian identity.

So there is the new sacred prostitute: economically on her own and framing her life in terms of identity politics.
Ghost story

Boulder, Colo., Wiccan priestess Morwyn has a piece in the current (August 2005) issue of Fate magazine, titled "Exorcism Spanish Style," based on an incident that occurred to her in Santiago de Campostela in 1997.

She owns Dunraven House, the latest incarnation of magical-supplies business that has occupied her since the 1970s--she told me once that she was inspired by similar such stores catering to followers of Umbanda and Candomblé that she encountered when in Brazil on a Fulbright fellowship.

I always tell my nonfiction-writing students that Fate is the place to try to sell a true ghost story.
Banned at Borders?

I was trying to track down a report that The Love Spell: An Erotic Memoir of Spiritual Awakening, by high-profile Wiccan lawyer and priestess Phyllis Curott, had been yanked from bookstores after pressure from social-conservative Christians such as these.

I cannot find anything so far to substantiate that rumor.

What is probably worse, in her social sphere, is getting the snarky treatment from Veiled Conceit, a blog devoted to sarcastic deconstruction of New York Times wedding announcements.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Potter menace

To my mind, the best thing about the Harry Potter books is that kids like to read them, and I generally think that Reading is Good. But I never made the important connection noted by Christian blogger Dan Edelen: Wicca is the first world religion produced in the United Kingdom. J.K. Rowling lives in the UK also. It's no coincidence!

As ever, don't skip the comments.

UPDATE: In a different sort of bitchfest, blogger Lindsay Beyerstein has all the links on Terry Prachett's denunciation of Rowling for not being a proper fantasy-genre writer.

It really pisses [Pratchett and Neil Gaiman] off that such a huge commercial success isn't counted squarely as a coup for the fantasy genre.

On the other hand, they really don't like the fact that a card carrying non-fanboy is kicking asses all over the best seller lists.

There is a sign on the border of every ghetto: "Sal si puedes. Get out if you can."
"Witches" who were about to die

The walls of a dungeon in Palermo, Sicily, have yielded grafitti left by condemned prisoners in the 17th and 18th centuries. Some of the prisoners would have been condemned for sorcery, says this account.

Anyone dragged [to that dungeon] was unlikely to emerge alive as the Inquisition was notoriously ruthless with suspected heretics, soothsayers, blasphemers and friends of the Devil. "In fact, many of the victims were simply intellectuals or artists whom the Church considered a threat to its power," explained the head of restorers, Domenico Policarpi.

Indeed, the average Sicilian back then was probably illiterate and incapable of writing anything much on prison walls.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Extreme Academia

The normally serious people at the American Association of University Professors have produced this.

If, like me, you know these programs only from being occasionally trapped in a high-rise hotel room, this site can help.

Sample: Average Joe

Journal editors deliberately select mediocre articles for their next issues. No one notices.
Pagan archives

I recently sent my eighth carton of Pagan magazines, dating from the 1970s to last year, to the University of California, Santa Barbara.

That particular UC campus is known for its religious-studies department. J. Gordon Melton, a well-known scholar of new religious movements, is also affiliated with the university, although not on the religion faculty. (From an academic perspective, Wicca, Asatru, etc. are "new religious movements", regardless of claims of antiquity that some people make for their traditions.)

Melton brought his own huge collection of material from his Institute for the Study of American Religion to the university library's American Religions Collection. That collection is now being digitized, which should make future study easier.

My last carton contained issues of Enchanté, Hole in the Stone, The Druid's Progress, and some other now-discontinued Pagan 'zines.

It's a hard choice: part of me wants to save everything indefinitely, the way some people save old car parts. The other part of me says that I am not in the archive business and that giving these publications to a real archive will make them available to others, not to mention freeing up significant shelf space in the garage (which can then be filled with Jeep parts).

There are a few boxes of back issues that I do hold on to: Green Egg, the best national Pagan magazine of the 1970s-80s; The Cauldron, continuously published for nearly 30 years now; Nemeton, a West Coast Pagan magazine from the 1970s, and my rarity, issues of The Pentagram, a British Craft newsletter published for a short time in the mid-1960s.