TWH – Michael Smith, acting director of the New Alexandrian Library, became spellbound as he was packing up books and materials recently donated by the Theosophical Society of Washington, D.C., including four decades of bound volumes of Theosophist magazines dating to 1901. One of Smith’s husbands, Jim Dickinson, became perturbed. “When we were boxing up the Theosophical Society library, my husband Jim yelled at me – a lot,” Smith said, chuckling at the memory. “He kept saying, ‘Put the book in the box so we can move it.’ It was such an incredible collection of all sorts of esoteric topics that I had never seen before.”
Thanks to two Pagan-centric institutions — the New Alexandrian Library, located near Georgetown, Del., and the Adocentyn Research Library, a similar enterprise located in San Francisco’s East Bay — Pagans and the general public alike now have access to thousands of Pagan, metaphysical, and esoteric books and periodicals, including rare and out-of-print works. Both libraries continue to accept donations of Pagan and Pagan-related books.
HUNT VALLEY, MARYLAND –When at any single Pagan conference with a robust lineup of workshops, panels, and rituals, a participant might find it difficult to choose what to attend and what to pass on. When two conferences join forces, those decisions become, at very least, four times as difficult to make. Such was the experience for 3-400 people who attended the combined Sacred Space and Between the Worlds conference in Maryland this past weekend. These two events became one this year through a combination of cooperation and astrology. Sacred Space is an annual conference which is held around this time.
If there was a dominant theme to the 2014 Sacred Space Conference in Laurel, Maryland, it would be Appalachian folk magic, and the teachers from that culture who have emerged within our community. Featured presenter Orion Foxwood, author of “The Candle and the Crossroads: A Book of Appalachian Conjure and Southern Root-Work” spoke to packed rooms that seemed reluctant for their experience with the charismatic teacher to end. Likewise, Byron Ballard, author of “Staubs and Ditchwater: a Friendly and Useful Introduction to Hillfolks’ Hoodoo” gave a rollicking overview of “the joy of hex” to a standing-room only crowd. So, it stands to reason that a panel featuring Foxwood, Ballard, and Linda Ours Rago, author of “Blackberry Cove Herbal: Healing With Common Herbs in the Appalachian Wise-Woman Tradition” (among other works) would come to seem like the capstone of the entire weekend. Moderated by Michael G. Smith, an Elder in The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, the resulting experience was one filled to the brim with stories, laughter, more stories, explanations of differences in geographic terminology for similar folk-magic practices, even more stories, and emotional evocations of their land and culture.
[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.
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! New Alexandrian Library Lays Foundation: At the end of 2011 the New Alexandrian Library officially broke ground on their physical space in Delaware.