witches&pagans #23

Title: witches&pagans #23 (Summer 2011)

Publisher: BBI Media

Price: $6.95US

My first and only experience with Pagan magazines was with a locally produced magazine in the Denver area in the ’90s.  So when offered the chance to review witches&pagans, I agreed.  My first impression was of the color cover and hefty weight.  My thoughts were that Pagan magazines have come a long way since the ’90s.  So, I admit, I was a bit disappointed to find that the color only extend to the first and last two pages which were all advertisements. Understandable, however, as color is expensive. The next thing I noticed was that this issue was longer than I expected at almost 100 pages.

Flipping through I saw a lot of black and white photos but very little artwork.  I found that very surprising and disappointing.  I expected lots of artwork.  My next impression was of the great many advertisements, so many that it was sometimes a bit distracting but completely understandable for the generation of revenue.  Glancing at the contents page, I see this is the Law and Chaos issue (Summer 2011, #23).  Four interviews, two with people I’d heard about but knew little.  Having three interview articles back to back was a little dull.  Personally I would have liked to see them spaced with other items.  One interview was with three people on the subject of chaos magick, something I was interested in learning about but gave up trying to read.  In my opinion, one ought to keep the interview order the same throughout the piece instead of flipping them all around.  It was chaotic, which, while this was on chaos magick, made it difficult to keep the three individuals distinct.

I very much enjoyed the fictional piece, “Lies, Truth and the Color of Faith” by Gerri Leen which actually left me wanting not only more of that story but more stories like it.  It reminded me very much of some of Anne McCaffery’s space stories.  The poetry section was a bit thin but maybe I’m expecting too much given the magazine’s theme for the issue.  The Places section described the areas of the back country of Pennsylvanian that Pagans may find appealing.

There were meatier articles, too.  An article titled “Second Class Faith” by Satyros Phil Bucato was a good lead into the interview with Patrick McCullum.  It is unfortunate that the section titled “Blooming Behind Bars:  Voices of Pagan Prisoners” was stuck in the middle of the article, without enough to differentiate it *from* the article.  I was initially confused over which page went with which section.  The rest of the magazine was their many contributor columns covering a range of topics from Dionysos to magickal law to children, book and tarot reviews and the final column titled “My Path.”

All in all I found the magazine to be an intriguing look into the Pagan community despite the layout concerns.  I look forward to perusing the magazine in the future.

[Melia Suez is the editor of From Cave to Sky: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Zeus (Bibliotheca Alexandrina).]

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