Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started! After 13 years of operation The Pagan Radio Network, one of the most prominent outlets for Pagan and Pagan-friendly music, shut down suddenly on July 21st.
Of the many small occult-oriented publishers Scarlet Imprint is probably one of the most acclaimed, and also one of the most outspoken. Over the years they have taken very public stances on everything from matters political to piracy; at the same time they have published well-received poetry collections and in-depth thoughtful meditations by authors like John Michael Greer. However, while Scarlet Imprint recently branched out into the digital realm in regards to publishing, it doesn’t seem they have found their experiences in the realm of social media as enriching, and they’ve publicly announced their withdrawal from Facebook. “Magicians should be asking themselves very serious questions about how they relate to technology. We engage in this self-interrogation on a regular basis and have come to the decision to leave facebook, the maw that rapaciously devours online traffic, a memetic infestation which trivialises the numinous and significantly alters behaviour patterns for the worse.
On July 22nd the bookstore chain Borders started the process of closing its 399 remaining locations. This move was long predicted by industry watchers as the once-mighty chain wobbled in the face of Amazon.com’s rise (a company it once outsourced to) and costly missteps in non-book merchandise. The last few weeks of media coverage has featured a mixture of fond reminiscences, 20/20 hindsight analysis, and predictions for the future of the book-selling industry. Many of the predictions haven’t been too cheery, for example, the investment site The Motley Fool predicts that Barnes & Noble will ultimately suffer the same fate, noting that “just because B&N will be the last one standing doesn’t mean that it will be standing for long.” Even if the Borders closure is the last domino to topple as the retail book market restructures itself for a post-ebook and post-Amazon world, that development alone could have far-reaching and possibly disastrous consequences for businesses that cater to modern Pagans.
The latest issue (#3) of Thorn Magazine is now out, featuring wonderful writing from Thorn Coyle, Sannion, Erynn Rowan Laurie, Phillip A. Bernhardt-House, Lupa, and yours truly (among many others). Of special note is an article on the future of Pagan journalism and magazine publishing by Jack Lux and Michael Night Sky. In it, the authors interview Ann Newkirk Niven about her recent decision to merge PanGaia and newWitch (into the new Witches and Pagans), Oberon Zell about the up-and-down history of Green Egg, and Keter Elan, former editor of the now-defunct Mezlim magazine. In their conclusion, Lux and Night Sky wonder if Pagan publications are stuck in a transitional time due to the influence of the Internet. “…the purpose of a magazine changes to suit its audience, and Pagan journalism may be fixating on a role for which it is no longer useful …
I just received my contributors copy of PanGaia #50 in the mail*, and enclosed with the issue is a letter from editor Anne Newkirk Niven explaining that due to a reexamination of “preconceptions” she will be ending PanGaia and merging its content and contributors into newWitch magazine. “I have recently come to the conclusion that dividing our editorial into one “popular” magazine and one “serious” one is no longer a functional paradigm. What we really need today, I believe, is a single, united magazine – a Pagan journal of record – that covers a broad spectrum of Pagan lifestyle, theology, and community; equally able to profile Pagan celebrities and deeply engage with the issues of being Pagan in a new millennium.” The new, larger, magazine will be entitled “newWitch: Creating Pagan Community” and will incorporate PanGaia columnists like Judy Harrow and R.J. Stewart, along with the magazine’s “Toe to Toe” department, into newWitch’s existing content (and keeping, I assume, popular newWitch columnists like Isaac Bonewits and Phil Brucato). Niven also claims that by combining these two magazines she’ll be able to get BBI Media’s stable (which includes Sage Woman) back on a regular quarterly schedule.