Here's the second book I've written about in just over a month that I can't actually review because I contributed to it.
After my chapter on Pagan London in Essays in Comtemporary Paganism, I've written a short commentary on Wicca in Paganism 101: An Introduction to Paganism by 101 Pagans.
This new publication brought out through Moon Books was a very exciting and original project to be involved with. As editor Trevor Greenfield said: "Paganism 101: An Introduction to Paganism by 101 Pagans is a book written by the Moon Books community… 101 people came together to write this unique collaboration. It features twenty introductory essays from leading writers such as Emma Restall Orr, Mark Townsend, Brendan Myers, Jane Meredith, Alaric Albertsson and Rachel Patterson and includes supporting vignettes from those at the heart of the Pagan community. It’s been endorsed by Ronald Hutton, Philip Carr Gomm, Mike Stygal and others. Nevill Drury described it as a 'breakthrough in itself'."
Early last year, Trevor of Moon Books put out an invitation for 101 pagans to contribute to the book - a play on the title"101" being a basic class in a subject. The idea was that leading authors would write an a chapter about different sphere of paganism. The first section has chapters entitled Druid, Heathen, Witch, Wiccan, Shaman, Christo-Pagan, Goddess Follower and Eclectic, written by different experts in those fields. Other pagans - from all walks of life - would then provide a short commentary on each chapter.
Being a Gardnerian Wiccan, albeit a very eclectic one, I offered to comment on David Salisbury's chapter about what Wiccans do. David Salisbury is an author I respect a lot and I particularly like his book The Deep Heart of Witchcraft, so I wasn't at all surprised to find that his chapter for Paganism 101 was full of very common sense advice for those wanting to embark on a path of Wiccan spirituality. In fact, I felt there wasn't very much I could add as an introductory piece, so I ended up writing about how being Wiccan affects what I do in my daily life and also how keeping a daily diary in the form of my blog has really helped me to learn more about the Craft. I've now had a chance to read all the other chapters and found them to be just interesting and inspiring.
The second part of the book is a section called What We Believe and covers such things as deities, nature, ethics, the afterlife, ancestors and the past and present. That is followed by a third section, What We Do, covering ritual, magic, prayer and meditation, healing, herbalism and celebrant work. All told, this provides a very comprehensive overview of different pagan paths, beliefs and practises.
The fact that it is put together by so many experts in these area - both established writers and those who are primarily practitioners - means that readers can get a balanced overview of what it means to be a pagan today. It is very useful for people like me, who might be experienced in one area - Wicca and witchcraft in my case - to find out more about what people following other pagan traditions do and believe. The book is also ideal for giving complete beginners who are trying to find the right path enough information to set them on the way.
Publisher Moon Books says on its website: "Paganism 101 is an introduction to Paganism written by 101 Pagans. Grouped into three main sections, Who we are, What we believe and What we do, twenty topics fundamental to the understanding of the main Pagan traditions are each introduced by essay and then elaborated upon by other followers and practitioners, giving the reader a greater flavour of the variety and diversity that Paganism offers. With introductory essays from leading writers such as Emma Restall Orr, Mark Townsend, Brendan Myers, Jane Meredith, Alaric Albertsson and Rachel Patterson and with supporting vignettes from those at the heart of the Pagan community, Paganism 101 offers a truly unique insight."
Paganism 101, published by Moon Books, is due out at the end of February, but can be ordered via Amazon.
Links and previous related posts
Paganism 101: An Introduction to Paganism by 101 Pagans