Author: M. Macha Nightmare
Trade Paperback, 250 pages
Publisher: ECW Press
Publication date: December 2001
Price & More Info: Click Here
Well, I got this book not long after its publication, and it's taken me
this long to review it. That's because of the amount of information
available in this book.
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, cybercovens, 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.
Reviewed by Daven