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Pagan Blog Project: B is for Books

At every stage of my pagan journey, books have been an important part. I'm a loner and a do-it-yourselfer, so seeking out a person-teacher was something I never really considered. Add to that the fact that I discovered paganism in the 90s before the internet really hit it big, and books were easily the best option.

So we have several boxes of Llewellyn in the attic. Occasionally someone borrows them, and I would never get rid of them (they are books, after all) but I don't get a lot of use out of them these days.

We have also five full shelves of scholarly and modern heathen titles and three of Hellenic titles, and an uncertain number of Celtic and Egyptian texts.

These days I am more and more likely to go for a Kindle version due to aging eyes and the font-enlarging option on the ebook reader, but I really like a paper book I can hold in my hands.

I do find, though, that these days I find myself spending less time among the books (depending on what I am working on at any given moment, of course--certainly when I am doing ADF study program work I have stacks of books on hand at all times). A lot of this is just that I don't need them as reference as often as I did when I was less experienced. I don't generally need an external reference to write a group heathen ritual, I have written enough of them :); however, if I were called on to prepare a group Hellenic rite I would want to look over some references, because I haven't done one in over a decade. Sometimes it's that I've already read everything I can find on a given topic.

But some is that, for one sort of reading, the internet has in great part replaced the book: anecdotal material and personal experience. I have a few books featuring this sort of knowledge (for example, Being a Pagan by Ellen Evert Hopman and Lawrence Bond) but they were rare, and I suspect they are rarer now.

Actually, a lot of the books I buy now happen to be self-published, which is a wonderful thing--there are so many people with good information and knowledge to share whose work would never see paper if not for self-publishing. And not for a lack of quality--it's just that many of these books are never going to be of broad enough interest to attract a traditional publisher. But if you are someone who is interested in their comparatively narrow subject matter, they are like gold.


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