Can’t Buy Me Love

Anne Newkirk Niven
On My Mind by Anne Newkirk Niven, PanGaia editorial

Can’t Buy Me Love
by Anne Newkirk Niven


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“My experience is what I agree to tend to; only those items I notice shape my mind.”
William James

As the editor of three magazines, I see a lot of spam. Entirely too much of it consists of a veritable sandstorm of press releases for bizarre, superfluous, and downright stupid products. Among the most egregious I’ve seen recently are the following notable examples:

At (real name!) you can pick up fashion faux-pas fixers that erase unsightly bumps, lumps and imperfections. Products include Commandos no-undie undies, Hollywood Fashion Tape and Miss Oops Deodorant Sponges. At the advanced age of forty-eight, I’ll admit to plenty of “unsightly bumps,” but whatever “Hollywood Fashion Tape” is (I have visions of sparkly duct tape being deployed in, let us say, delicate locations) I am certain that I can spend the rest of my life happily ignorant of the finer points of acquiring and (gasp!) applying it.

Read more: Can’t Buy Me Love

Heathenism: a return to tribal-based religion.

Witches & Pagans #24 - Heathen & Northern TraditionsToday’s Northern traditions represent an entirely different way of doing religion.

I’m writing this editorial the day after Thanksgiving, which seems to me an eminently appropriate occasion to address the conundrums of Northern/Heathen culture. Why? Because, like Thanksgiving Day, Heathen/ Northern traditions are centered in trying to promote the bonds of kinship and family tradition.

I’d like to begin by acknowledging that I have little first-hand experience with Heathen rituals and theology; I’m a thorough-going Neo-Pagan and my personal experience lies entirely within the rather porous boundaries of West Coast Paganism. But I’ve been fascinated for some time with what I’ve observed of Germanic-based reconstructionist religion, and thus the concept of this issue — our most detailed look at a specific tradition to date — was born.

Read more: Heathenism: a return to tribal-based religion.

If one of us are chained, none of us are free.

Witches & Pagans - Law & Chos

Our treatment of Pagan prisoners and ex-cons is a litmus test of a sustainable Pagan culture.

This was supposed to have been the “Law & Chaos” issue of Witches & Pagans but it turned out more like the “Law & Order” issue. I always imagined that — like the dual-themed PanGaia #37 (“Good and Evil”) which turned out to simply be the “Evil” issue — that one side of this topic would overwhelm the other, but I never imagined that the forces of Law would prevail.

Once upon a Full Moon, not so very long ago, Paganism2 (at least on the West Coast) was all about “running nekkid through the woo-ids/drinking fermented fluids,”3 but everywhere I look today I see attempts to bring order to that juicy-but-hard-to-sustain chaotic culture. Whatever happened to Hippy-Dippy Paganism?

Read more: If one of us are chained, none of us are free.

Nothing to fear but fear itself.

Witches & Pagans - The Garden IssueThe battle for Pagan civil rights begins at home.

“We must hang together, gentlemen...else, we shall most assuredly hang separately.” — Benjamin Franklin

I took a call yesterday from a subscriber that got me thinking about the media, Pagan civil rights, and, eventually, Pagan self-respect.

My caller began by telling me how angry she was about the ridicule being heaped on Witches (and, by reference, on Paganism in general) in connection with the campaign of Christine O’Donnell.

O’Donnell — for those of you who turned off your media feeds during the mid-term campaign this fall and, honestly, who could blame you — was the Tea Party darling and Senate candidate from Delaware who “outed” herself as having “dabbled in witchcraft” as a teen.This admission didn’t work out so well; her first major TV ad focused on disavowing her past by declaring, “I am not a witch. I’m not anything you’ve heard ... I’m you.”

Read more: Nothing to fear but fear itself.

Green is the new Black

Witches & Pagans #21 - The Garden IssueThe future of the world is in plant magic.

“The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.” — George Bernard Shaw

In this issue we look at how we humans are working with the energy of plants to create a more sustainable, healthy environment. The green magic of plant life is truly the root, branch, and leaf of all life on earth: without chlorophyll — the green pigment at the center of the energy-transforming biochemistry of photosynthesis — life as we know it would simply not exist. (There is nonphososynthesis-dependent life dwelling at the bottom of the ocean, but it’s not much like us.1) So we begin at the beginning: with the green magic of plant life.

In the Jewish/Christian Bible it is called the Garden of Eden (Eden in Hebrew means “delight”) while in the Qur’an it is simply the Garden, thus implying that all gardens are places of ecstasy, joy, and abundance.2

That’s certainly the case for the subject of our featured interview, award-winning author, psychic-clairvoyant, and Garden Witch extraordinaire Ellen Dugan. Author of a dozen books on the magical intersection between botany and the Craft, Ellen takes us on a guided tour of her work (get a look at her real-life garden, too!) in her interview with Charlyn Walls.

Read more: Green is the new Black

All Our Relations?

Witches & Pagans #20 - The Animal IssueThere’s no easy answers to cross-species relationships.

The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men. — Alice Walker

I don’t live with any non-human companion animals, but often wish I could. Allergies to every fur-bearing mammal I have ever encountered and the adamant veto of my dear husband has kept our home petless for most of our family’s existence. (There was a series of companion rodents about a decade ago, but I gradually became allergic to them as well, and pets in cages never really agreed with us anyway.)

Perhaps my hominid-only life is why I’m repeatedly drawn to the topic of animal magic; while assembling this issue I discovered to my surprise that this is the fourth time this topic has been covered by one of our magazines. Reading through our previous efforts, I was struck by the number of articles we’ve featured focusing on specific animals, including insects (“Welcoming the Multi-Legged Goddess”), horses ( “The Divine Charger”), and ravens (“To Fly with the Raven”)1 as well as ferrets (“For the Love of Ferrets”), wolves (“Wolf: from Mammal to Metaphor”), bats (“Bats: the Cutest Superheroes You’ve Never Met”), and bears (“The Bear Whisperer”).2 There’s even an entire issue dedicated to cats!3 (That one can’t be attributed to personal interest, since I am so not a cat person.)

Read more: All Our Relations?

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