PanGaia #39
Pagan Culture & Community
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PanGaia #39 - Pagan Culture & Community
In this issue, our contributors explore the many facets of contemporary Paganism. In our polyglot community of Pagans/Wiccans/Heathens and polytheists, one of the first questions in "How do we know who is one of us?" Ritual initiation has been a traditional method of welcoming new members. But in our current world of do-it-yourself culture, what constitutes initiation? Kenaz Filan explains how a religion maintains its identity and group boundaries, how ritual brings newcomers across boundaries into the group and the effects of ritual on individual and group consciousness in "Initiation Rites: More than Skin Deep." Plus a lively Toe-to-Toe debate "Do We Need Formal Initiation?" offers up a variety of opinions on self- and group-initiation.

Further along this path, groups may soon come to grapple with the question of whether there is a place fo clergy in the group, and understanding how clergy works (or doesn't) is critical. Genevieve Williams explores the vocation of professional service in "Lights, Camera -- Priestess?" How Pagans come to their communities -- and what kind of things may turn us away -- is examined by Archer in "Bumps Along the Pagan Path."

Culture is also highly-defined by the creations of the group, and this issue spotlights several unique styles of Pagan creativity. Barbara Fisher describes an ephemeral artform originally from India and now making headroads in North America in "Footsteps of the Goddess: Discovering the Sacred Art of Rangoli." We also have not one, but two articles on the music of popular culture, "Best of Pagan Song" and "Beyond the Bardic Circle." Pagan fiction is represented in "Tales Seldom Told: Pagan Fiction Comes of Age."

We've also got a story of a close encounter with wilderness in "Medicine Bear," an anti-commercialism of Paganism rant from R. J. Stewart, an Eldering ritual for men, wolf pack etiquette from naturalist Cristina Eisenberg, Joanna Powell Colbert on the "Zero" card in tarot, Judy Harrow on the place of psychology in the Craft, labyrinths in myth (and history), a double handful of reviews, letters from readers, and much more. 80 pages, originally published in Autumn of 2004.


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