[The following is a guest post from Michael Smith. Michael Smith, Gwydion Stormcrow, has been practicing Wicca, Magick, and various esoteric disciplines since 1989. He has been active in the pagan community since 1993 when he became a member of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel (ASW), a Wiccan organization in the Mid-Atlantic region. He is an Elder of the ASW and is currently serving as High Priest of Coven of the Rowan Star, a coven in that Tradition. He is also involved with the Tradition's New Alexandrian Library.]
(Skimmers, the bold is for you! )
The New Alexandrian Library (an Indigogo fundraising drive) is a project that has been in process since 2000, when the idea was first presented to the larger pagan community at the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel (the Assembly) at the first Between the Worlds Conference. The dream was and remains to create an academic-quality repository for the writing, art, cultural artifacts and wisdoms of religions and practices in the esoteric traditions (‘Pagans’, for lack of a more convenient label).
The primary aims of the Library are: 1) to secure the resources to ensure the Library is wholly owned and administered by Pagans and contributes to the real-asset community infrastructure; 2) provide ongoing stewardship for our communities’ work and essence; and 3) make the collected materials as convenient as possible for the community to access. Ultimately, the Library will be a resource to support new academic study and research to further develop our community for centuries to come.
It is vitally important at this time that we create and maintain real pagan infrastructure. The transition from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius threatens the continued dominance of the current mass religions and they have reacted by trying to institutionalize their faiths in the secular realms of government and law. The ‘major religions’ fear diminishing dominance in the new Age and that has resulted in collections of pagan materials being marginalized or made unavailable in and by the large non-pagan institutions that now hold them – even more than when we were just considered ‘unimportant’. Many collections are difficult to access or are maintained in obscurity. Much of the accumulated wisdom of pagan people has been lost in past times of transition. We must make serious effort to create structures to ensure as a much as possible gets through this transition.
This Library will be/is owned and stewarded by a Wiccan organization, in services to the wider esoteric community. The collections will not be marginalized in some dark, inaccessible backroom of an indifferent institution. The whole purpose of this project is to ensure that our culture, philosophy, wisdom and creation have another stage to be seen, studied and expanded!
Assembly members believe so strongly in this need that 80% of the funds to build the project has come from Assembly members (>$150,000 to date) and several members have donated shared ownership of ~100 acres of forest to the ASW and the Library project. The land, the structures and all of its materials will be in the stewardship of a Pagan Tradition. Plans are also being made, of course, to establish long-term resources for maintenance of this living treasure of our community.
Mind you, of course, none of us are rich. We share this to let you know that we are not just spending other people’s hard earned donations – that we put our money where our mouth is. But, make no mistake, this cannot happen to its potential without the financial support of the wider community to create and maintain this vital resource.
As our many of our seminal teachers, visionaries, leaders and thinkers pass to the next life – their collected wisdom is often lost. We have all heard stories of decades of newsletters, articles, teachings, research, vision, and other inspiration being lost because there was simply no place for these collections to go. Often times, non-pagan family members do not recognize the value of their loved ones’ work to the larger pagan community. Sometimes, it is simply thrown out.
Each time this happens it is a tragic loss to the entire community. Every living tradition must have connection to its roots, ancient and modern, to help feed it’s grow and evolution. The Library, in network with other efforts like it, will be a solution to this challenge, providing our community Elders with a resource that can receive, preserve and honor their work.
And, of course, researchers, academics, teachers, seekers and the curious must have access to the collection to inspire deeper understanding of our history, theologies, worldviews, and concepts – as well as greater appreciation of the viewpoints of other esoteric paths. The Library will continue its efforts to make sure that as much of the collection as possible is accessible via the web, inter-pagan-library lending and onsite visits. In this way, the Library will be a cornerstone of the new magickal renaissance, encouraging expansion of esoteric theory and philosophy and of honest and open interchange of ideas and experiences between paths.
We are nearing fruition of over a decade of work. The Library is rising! It is heart stirring to walk out to the site and see the physical manifestation of this idea coming to life, the dome rising into the air like the dawning sun, the coming of a new light of understanding into the world – and our pagan world.
We do not ask for your financial support lightly. We are in this for the long haul to benefit the current generation of witches, pagans, magicians, shamans, druids, and everyone else and to leave behind a growing legacy of learning, scholarship, experience and ecstasy for future generations. We are the Ancestors of the lines of magickal thinkers and doers in the future. Even as we have built upon that which was left to us from ancient and not-so-ancient times, so too will our work become the foundation upon which our heirs will build. Help us all leave a heritage worthy of honor to those that follow. With your donations, New Alexandrian Library will become a part of the foundation and legacy we leave, with optimism and blessings, to the future.
If you believe in this vision of our esoteric community surviving and thriving into the new Age with vigor and foresight, make a donation to the New Alexandrian Library at our Indigogo fundraising drive (http://igg.me/p/190140).
To date, 686 people have visited the indigogo campaign. If everyone that visited donated only $50-75 (and got a sweet chant CD or two as a thank you!), we would have enough to birth this important pagan asset and have a weatherproof, concrete, long-lived repository for a great collection of the esoteric community’s thoughts, teachings and essence – for all of us!
Be a part of the coming Magickal Renaissance. Thank you!