by M. Macha Nightmare
ECW Press, 2001
Review by Erin
I have been online for about 3 years now, and sporadically online since the Witches’ Voice came online in 97, however, in all that time there has not been a more needed reference on the Online Pagan Experience.
This book is a comprehensive look into the Pagans on the Internet, how they interrelate, who they know, some of the groups available for the novice, some netiquette, some advice and some information. There is a mini web directory that has a lot of online favorites of most Online Pagans in it, such as The Witches’ Voice, Drak.net, and The Church of All Worlds. All of these organizations have been cornerstones of the online pagan experience (called hereafter OPE).
Macha looks to have done her homework. She had a mailing list set up expressly to research the OPE and to ask questions on. She solicited the opinions of the online pagan and it did not seem to matter if you had 30 years or 30 minutes experience. She got all kinds of responses from the community as well.
She mentions many major sites, email newsletters, groups, cyber Covens, and other societies (and I was chagrinned to find out just how close I came to being in several of these at the same time she was actively looking for thoughts). Apparently unique to this work is her list of references. Most of it is made up of Internet Sites, with their full URL’s listed out.
Now, if what I have said above confused you and you don’t know what that jargon means, Macha takes the time to explain the “in” terms to the novice so they can understand the concept from a working level. She may not say that the URL is a “Universal Resource Locator” and how those URLs operate in theory, but she does say that the URL is the address of the website and the WebPages, that without a URL, you can’t read the information.
She points out anecdotal evidence that we are more widespread than first imagined, mainly because we have the opportunity to be out of the broom closet and still be anonymous at the same time. She offers thoughts on what happens next and where we go now and points out that Pagans at least are using the Web as it was intended to be used as. It’s the biggest Pagan library imaginable. While everyone else seems to be concerned with piddling around with this new technology and finding out what the limits are, posting WebPages and telling everyone about themselves and their cats, Pagans seem to be more inclined to use the awesome research abilities of the Web and compile that information into usable pages that give accurate information to those who come looking for it.
My only qualm is that the book is a little hard to get through. It helps if you have a computer right there in front of you while you are reading the book, but it’s not necessary.
I do appreciate her thoughts about online rituals. It’s good to know that I’m not insane in my perceptions of what happened.
Regardless of whether or not you like the Internet, no one can afford to be ignorant of the net, nor can they afford to be technophobic about computers. The Craft of the Wise is moving out of the shadows and into the light of cyberspace, fully able to hold it’s own now with any group or religion out there. Christianity may have a lock on our airwaves and be censoring what we can and can’t see on our televisions, but we Pagans have a lock on the Internet and we will be coming in on that DSL connection that the Christians have to their house.
I give this book 4 1/2 stars out of 5. Good work Macha.
Originally posted 2012-09-02 06:32:12. Republished by Blog Post Promoter