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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Andrew Chumbley

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Witches with Their Feet on the Ground

As a movement, the modern Old Craft has tended to be characterized by a verbal style that I can only call “opaque.”

Anyone who has ever tried to work her way through the letters of Robert Cochrane (1931-1966), Father of modern Old Craft, will know what I'm talking about. Cochrane hints, but rarely tells. He's very good at dropping a few evocative details, then drawing the veil back over. He writes, as my friend and colleague Bruner Soderberg once rather acidly observed, “to impress rather than to inform."

His would-be successors, alas, have often tended to follow suit. Particularly notorious for the opacity of his prose was mage Andrew Chumbley (1967-2004), whose books have got to be among the most-collected and least-read titles on the shelves of modern Witchdom.

Chumbley seems immune to clear exposition. He will never say “mystery” when he can possibly say arcanum, “flying ointment” instead of unguentum sabbati. Maybe there really are people out these who are impressed by high school Latin, but personally, I'm not one of them.

Old Craft thrives here in the American Midwest. What both intrigues and impresses me about Midwest Old Craft is its very lack of opacity. Rather, the standard Chumbleyian style of “I know something you don't know” obfuscation seems to us a pomposity, a bore: in fact, an admission of poverty. It strikes us—whether rightly or wrongly—as a ploy to cover lack of substance.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    By its very nature, Old Craft defies clear exposition. It's best transmitted through evocation: story, dance, song. And surely it
  • Ian Phanes
    Ian Phanes says #
    Can you recommend any Old Craft books that are "crisp, clear, succinct"?
What Makes Midwestern Paganism Different?

Over the course of our decades-long friendship, writer and activist Macha Nightmare has remarked to me on more than one occasion that paganism here in the Midwest has a more distinctively “regional” feel to it than in most other places.

(Macha, please correct me if I'm misquoting.)

Macha has traveled more widely than I have across the many-colored world of Pagandom, but—from what I've seen—my own experience tends to bear out her observation.

So one New Moon the coven sat down to discuss the matter.

What makes Midwestern Paganism different? Here's what we came up with.

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  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    I agree with Mark about the similarities between Paganstani and us Left Coasties. Certainly the primacy of place has increased si
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Part of my intent with this piece (it's a poor writer that needs to speak of intent, but so be it) was to poke some gentle fun at
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    I can get on board with that. Steven was also.pointing out, politely, the good things.about Paganistan. Theres plenty about oursel
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    OK, fair enough. I think it's tricky, parsing pride of place vs. thinking our place is "better" than some other place. Because for
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Tony Kelly of the Pagan Movement in Britain and Ireland always used to say that "Mabh [=Earth] is nowhere more beautiful than wher

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