Pagan Protocol

Pagan Protocol
by L. S. Alabaster
Corvid Media, 2006

 

There is no such thing as common sense. To assume, amidst oceans of cultural differences, that any one set of values is universal would negate the needs for guides like Ms. Manners or Pagan Protocol.

LS Alabaster braves the fierce individualism of the Pagan world to set down a few standards in this concise guide to proper Pagan behavior. From how to act with your sweetheart(s), to the preferred code of behavior for media appearances, Lady Susan Alabaster tsks and tuts her way through some of the more notorious aspects of our subculture. Never before has anyone presented an actual book of protocol for Pagans, and while there are points, such as the propriety and timelines of thank-you notes, that come direct from the mores and customs mainstream society recently lost, it is tailored to the needs of this voluntary —and somewhat marginal — subculture.

While there is a promise of some anecdotes and “amusing stories,” for the most part the tone of the book is dry information sometimes weighed down with outright lecturing. It’s the paradox of presenting manners to adults: yes, this needs to be said, but unless it’s said in the right way, it will simply result in a rebellion.

In her favor, Alabaster makes it clear that traditions differ in circle etiquette behaviors. She also comes from the school of thought that conflicts are best kept private, and when possible, suppressed. While some may argue roundly with the approach, her recommendations come from experience and are worth practicing.

It would be entertaining (though unlikely) to see more Pagan newcomers greeted with a copy of Pagan Protocol, and even more amusing to see an advice column appear. The book would make a good addition to any “welcome to Paganism” package, although as someone’s experience progresses, it is far more likely that the book would be used for a good thwack over the head of any miscreants.

DIANA RAJCHEL.

RATING: 3 Broomsticks

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