Code of Conduct



    1. Our first and foremost goal at PaganSquare is to create a safe and friendly environment for as large and diverse a community as possible. Members of all backgrounds are welcome, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and religious affiliation. This code of conduct outlines our expectations for all those who participate in our community, as well as the consequences for unacceptable behavior. We invited all those who participate in PaganSquare to help us create safe and positive experiences for everyone.

    2. Although PaganSquare and its content is oriented primarily towards paganism and its associated religious movements (e.g. Wicca, Heathenry, Gnosticism, indigenous folk beliefs, etc.), we welcome believers and even non-believers of all kinds so long as they agree to adhere by the rules outlined herein and to participate with respect and good intent.

    3. A supplemental goal of this Code of Conduct is to increase Pagan Square citizenship by encouraging participants to recognize and strengthen the relationships between our actions and their effects on our community. Communities mirror the societies in which they exist and positive action is essential to counteract the many forms of inequality and abuses of power that exist in society. If you know someone who is making an extra effort to ensure our community is welcoming, friendly, and encourages all participants to contribute, we want to know.

    4. Conversely, alert community moderators if you notice a dangerous situation, someone in distress or violations of this Code of Conduct, no matter how inconsequential your concern may be. If you feel you have been falsely or unfairly accused of violating this Code of Conduct, you should notify the Administrator with a concise description of your grievance. You can contact our Site Administration, Alan Niven, thru or 503-430-8817.

    5. ONE FINAL NOTE: PaganSquare and BBI Media do not necessarily endorse your statements or those made by any other user, even if we allow them to be made; we reserve the right to end your service at any time, without alert or explanation; you use our service at your own risk.

    1. PaganSquare is not a free zone where "anything goes." While we encourage healthy, on-topic debate PaganSquare is provided by and owned by BBI Media and by partaking in it you are agreeing to abide by our published terms of service. Those who do not follow these rules may have their service (including right to post, to comment, etc.) terminated.

    2. On a similar note, whatever the Administrators (admins) and Moderators (mods) say goes, so long as their directives do not otherwise violate the rules. These rules cannot cover everything and so while we do not mean to intervene often or arbitrarily, we expect community members to comply.

    3. By posting to PaganSquare you de facto acknowledge the non-exclusive right of PaganSquare and BBI Media to make use of your content (which you retain ownership of), without your explicit permission. Such uses may include (but are not limited to):

      1. We may feature your post;

      2. Other users may quote or link to your post;

      3. If you post a review of a product or service we may share your post with the relevant persons and websites (such as the company whose product you have reviewed).

    1. Although many of BBI Media's other products are pay-for-access, PaganSquare is itself available for use free of charge. You do not have to pay in order to access PaganSquare.
    2. lthough BBI Media has republishing rights to any content you post to PaganSquare, you too may republish your content without consulting either PaganSquare or BBI Media. We will not charge you, block you, or any other way try to hinder your ownership or use of said content.
    3. We respect your privacy and will not sell your information nor distribute it illegally. Any information you provide to us will be used solely to either improve your service or in extraordinary cases when required by secular law. (cf, by subpoena by a court of law, etc.)

    4. You may end your service at any time you choose to, without consulting either PaganSquare or BBI Media. Any content you have already posted will, however, remain online indefinitely, unless you remove it yourself.


    1. IMPORTANT NOTICE: Violations of the following rules may result in temporary suspension or permanent banning of your account.

    2. You may not flame/insult/provoke/troll other users. Do not use pejorative language and above all respect others' right to disagree with you. Intimidating, harassing, abusing, discriminating against, or demeaning users based on their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion (or lack thereof), or disability is completely unacceptable. You also may not aggressively and/or repeatedly attempt to proselytize or convert others to what you believe.

    3. You may not hack our website nor alter its source code; nor impersonate any person or entity, including, but not limited to, PaganSquare staff, nor falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity; forge headers or otherwise manipulate identifiers in order to disguise the origin of any content transmitted through PaganSquare.

    4. You may not upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any material that contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment; disrupt the normal flow of dialogue, cause a screen to "scroll" faster than other users are able to type, or otherwise act in a manner that negatively affects other users' ability to engage in real time exchanges; nor interfere with or disrupt PaganSquare or servers or networks connected to it, nor disobey any requirements, procedures, policies or regulations of networks connected to the Site in a manner that damages, disables, overburdens or impairs the Site.

    5. You may not use PaganSquare to provide material support or resources (or conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, or ownership of material support or resources) to any organization(s) designated by the United States government as a foreign terrorist organization pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.


    1. IMPORTANT NOTICE: Violations of the following rules will result in a warning and possibly the deletion of your post or comment. Repeated and/or sustained violations despite warnings may result in a temporary suspension or permanent banning.

    2. Do not post, link to, or otherwise distribute copyrighted material to which you do not own the copyright. Exceptions may be allowed for fair use or depending on the nature of the license employed (e.g. Creative Commons).

    3. Do not post, link to, or otherwise distribute material of a sexual nature. Exceptions may be allowed if the material directly pertains to the subject matter in question and is determined (in our sole judgment) to be non-pornographic in nature.

    4. Do not post, link to, or otherwise distribute reward-based advertisements or other exclusively promotional content. Do not aggressively ask for money for yourself, for another individual, or for any for-profit (or non-profit) cause.

    5. Do not post links without any accompanying text or any original content.

    6. Do not post or share the private information (e.g. email address, phone number, birth name, religious identity, etc.) of any other person who has not already volunteered that information themselves.

    7. Do not interfere with any other party's use and enjoyment of the Site; "stalk" or otherwise harass any other person or entity; and/or encourage conduct that would violate this Agreement or any law or give rise to civil or criminal liability.

    8. Do not dispense advice as though you were a medical doctor or other licensed professional. Any discussions of medical modalities must be accompanied by a disclaimer such as: "Nothing contained in this blog is intended to constitute, nor should it be considered to be, medical advice. Nothing contained in this blog is intended to give rise to a doctor-patient relationship."


    1. Do not do unto others what you would not have done unto yourself.

    2. Be careful with your wording; language can be obtuse and imprecise (particularly online) and it is easy to misread a person's intended meaning.

    3. Be polite, even when others are not.

    4. If an argument gets too intense, simply back off and give yourself some space.

Poetry Guidelines

Witches & Pagans Poetry Guidelines

Witches&Pagans covers the Pagan, Heathen, Wiccan and polytheist communities; our readership includes Gaians, Pagans, Scientific Pantheists, Quakers, Christians, atheists, and others. Witches&Pagans gladly accepts contributions of poetry relevant to our subject matter and goals. Please include your preferred contact information and a brief bio with all submissions. We need your check-cashing name, pen name if you use one, postal address, email address, phone number, and a brief bio. Put that at the top of the manuscript itself, not just the email message to which the file is attached. We cannot accept submissions without a way to reach you! See our general guidelines for details about anonymity.

Magazine Needs: Witches&Pagans accepts poetry in a wide range of forms and styles, but we are very selective. (We have to be; we only have room for a few poems per issue, and we receive a lot more than that.) The technical aspects of your work must be flawless. If it's supposed to have a specific meter or number of syllables, count them on your fingers if that's what it takes. If it's supposed to rhyme, the rhymes should be perfect unless you deliberately use near-rhyme in a consistent way. If you can’t handle rhyme or meter well, try free verse instead. If you use a specific form, such as a sonnet, then you must follow its rules precisely.

Please make sure you send us material relevant to our coverage. We get a lot of feminist, fluffy New Age, Christian, and random literary poems that we can’t use. We rarely use straight nature poetry, either, which is probably our biggest single category of off-topic submissions. Poetry for Witches&Pagans needs to have a definite spiritual/magical aspect, and usually – though not always – a Pagan motif. Poetry matching one of our upcoming themes is especially welcome.

General Tips: Writing good poetry takes practice, so don’t be surprised if it takes you several attempts before we accept one of your poems. Although Witches&Pagans has very high standards for acceptance, you do not have to be published or even experienced to submit material for our consideration, so take a chance and show us what you can do. Here are some helpful ideas on expanding your poetic knowledge and skills:

1) Get to know poetry. The more you read, the better your discernment will get, telling you what’s good and what’s not. Read both classic and contemporary poetry, especially in the field(s) you want to write. 2) Study the literary techniques used in poetry so that you understand how they're supposed to work. Then you’ll have a better idea what can go wrong and how to fix it, when it comes time to revise your poems. 3) Talk about poetry with other poets, editors, and Pagans. It's fun, and broadens your analytical skills. An ideal way to do this is to join a poet’s group, or a general writer’s group that welcomes poets. There you can have discussions and critique each other’s work. 4) Watch for poetry workshops, panels, readings, and other activities at whatever magical/spiritual events you attend. With the right group of people, you can learn a lot in just one or two hours. 5) Don't be afraid if an editor requests changes in a poem you’ve submitted; you can discuss whether or not you agree. Don't be afraid to edit your own poetry. In fact, don't be afraid of poetry.

Length: Usually we publish short to medium poems, but a really good poem has a chance even if it's longer. We suggest a maximum length of 100 lines per poem; please bear in mind that we are more likely to publish shorter rather than longer poems, as Witches&Pagans does not specialize in this type of writing. The average length for a poem is 22 lines; most are between 20-30 lines; we’ve published a few gems under 15 lines. Ideally a poem should fit in one column of one page. Witches&Pagans usually prints 2-5 poems per issue.

Compensation: As a community resource, Witches&Pagans does not pay cash for submissions, but we will send you two (2) copies of the issue in which your poetry appears, as well as a 1 year (3 issues) subscription. Other exchanges, such as gift subscriptions or advertising space, may be discussed with the editor, Anne Newkirk Niven.

Rights: Witches&Pagans requires the following rights for publication: onetime digital and periodical rights for publication in a single issue of the magazine (in its print and digital formats). All other rights revert to the author.

Submissions: Include a cover letter with your contact information and a few words about yourself. Witches&Pagans does not accept simultaneous submissions, nor unsolicited reprints or reworkings. Submit 3-5 poems at a time. The best format is an rtf file attached to an email message; another good one is plain text pasted directly into an email message. Submissions should go to:

Anne Newkirk Niven


P O Box 687
Forest Grove, OR 97116.

An “Airhead” Comes to the Goddess

Witches & Pagans #25 - The Magick of Air An “Airhead” Comes to the Goddess
From the breath in our lungs to the towers of academe, Air affects us all.

The element of Air has a wide range of associations in modern neo-Pagan usage: it is the element of new beginnings, of flying/ feathered creatures, and of the mind. In my personal West-Coast eclectic practice, Air is also associated with the direction of the East. Above all, to me, Air represents the qualities of all things ordered and classified by the intellect. Its emblematic tool is the athame — the ceremonial black-handled, double-bladed, unsharpened ritual dagger of Wiccan regalia — which represents the “sharpness” of the well-disciplined mind.

As a native “Airhead” (my sun and Mars are both in Libra, with my moon in Gemini) religion has long been an intellectual obsession. Even as a child, my tendency to argue and joust over points of theology got me into trouble. (In fact, my first skirmish with fundamentalism happened in third grade, when I got my whole family bounced out of a church for arguing theology with my Sunday School teacher .)

This fascination with religion led me on a merry chase from middle-of-the-road Protestantism through C.S. Lewis-influenced Anglicism to the progressive wing of the United Methodist church. That was where the Goddess found me, deep in the bowels of the Graduate Theological Union library on “Holy Hill” in Berkeley in the fall of 1985.

Read more: An “Airhead” Comes to the Goddess

Out of the Frying Pan…

When it comes to passion, we’ve got it. Common sense, not so much.

As most readers of this magazine are undoubtedly aware, we Pagans had a wee bit of media attention earlier this spring. A “Fox and Friends” segment in February characterized Wiccans as “compulsive Dungeons and Dragons players or middle-aged, twice-divorced older rural women working as midwives.” The reaction in the Pagan community was nothing short of explosive: within days, more than 40,000 of us signed petitions at and demanding an apology. In less than a week, a chastened Fox pundit offered his “sincere [ahem] regrets.”

Another triumph for truth, justice, and the American way? Well, maybe. As soon as the brouhaha blew up I was struck by how much attention was being paid to Fox & Friends’ trollish shenanigans and how little to the good news that formed the actual foundation of the story. The decision by the University of Missouri to include Wiccan holidays in their inter-faith campus calendar is a concrete example of the increasingly respectful treatment that Pagan faiths are receiving these days, the fruit of decades of anti-defamation work by groups like the Lady Liberty League. But in spite of this genuinely excellent news, there was hardly a mention of this angle of the story in the coverage by Pagan pundits. With the notable exception of the Covenant of the Goddess — which made a thank-you to the University part of their press release — the buzz consisted almost entirely of righteous indignation.

Read more: Out of the Frying Pan…

Paganism and the Planet

Elizabeth Barrette
Impressions by Elizabeth Barrette, PanGaia editor.

Paganism and the Planet
by Elizabeth Barrette


Click for full description.I am myself and what is around me, and if I do not save it, it will not save me.
   — Jose Ortegay Gasset

We are a part of the Earth, and the Earth is part of us. We are not cogs in some cosmic clock; we are cells in a body, our lives bound up inextricably with that of the whole biosphere. We can survive outside it to about the extent that our blood cells can survive outside our bodies: briefly.

Right now the chief difference between Paganism and most other religions is that we remember this, while a majority of other religions have forgotten it. Some people really like that cogin-clock metaphor. They like the idea that the world is mechanical: regular, reliable, meticulous. They like the idea that no individual person, animal, plant, or species is unique and irreplaceable. If it wears out or dies out, no problem; you can just throw it out and get a new one. Except the world doesn’t actually work that way.

Read more: Paganism and the Planet

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