Where have all the good books gone

Why is it that each and every time I actively brows the vast collection of pagan literature available both hard copy and digital, I am always met with the same books? Books aimed at the beginner which regardless of author or release date seem to closely mimic each other. It seems to be a rare occurrence, these days to come across any type of original literature on the subject of Witchcraft, Wicca and other pagan paths.

I personally would love to read a book that did not contain, colour correspondence, herb correspondence, magickal days of the week, planetary hours, spells, oils and that that famous “how to make” section. Am I alone? I would love to see authors delve into deeper occult topics because there is just so much more to paganism than these run of the mill books on basics that seem to clutter bookshelves across the globe.

I would also like to know why the evolution of pagan literature has become so stunted. Does it have anything to do with the growing movement of practitioners that now identify with the title of “Eclectic”, is it too much of a challenge for authors to try and appease their varied needs?. Or is the on surge of the term “Eclectic” a direct result of a lack of diversity in specific areas of pagan literature. I know myself that I am forced to engage with literature on anthropology, arachnology, quantum mechanics, nutrition, theology, folklore, medicine etc. in order the bridge the literary gape I believe exists.  If Witchcraft for instance, is truly a nature based spiritual path (and I completely believe that it is) then why is information on the topic so narrowed down? Is it a money thing? Is it that books on spell craft sell more than say, books like “The Spiral Dance” whose author (Starhawk) took the time to delve deeper into the greater meaning behind an ancient practice?  Excellent book too by the way and its over 30 years old and selling strong because it has no competition!

Blessings✬

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6 thoughts on “Where have all the good books gone

  1. You partly answered your own question, as to why there are only beginner books out there. Eclectic pagans are, by their very nature, varied in interests and beliefs. After gaining a core knowledge base, we branch out into our personal spiritual explorations; this leads to reading things like you listed (folklore, anthropology, quantum mechanics, etc.). No two eclectics have the same interests, and with paganism being both a lifestyle and a spirituality combined, it’s hard to write a book about any topic for pagans without being too narrow. Nutrition, for example: I’m personally in favor of ethical omnivorism (eating meat ethically and recognizing its source); however, a large number of pagans are vegetarian to some degree. Writing a book on a spiritual implications of nutrition choices would either [a] have to be very general and all inclusive, or [b] have to brush off or push out one group in favor of another. And as you said, books are partly about making money… and it’s hard to sell a book if you narrow its focus to a select piece of the populace right off the bat. I totally agree with you, though, that it makes me sad to walk the local new age section (or surf online stores) and find myself bored with the copy-paste information provided in most books (after all, a smart internet user can access all of that information for free… the books just condense it all into one place).

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    • I suppose that if you look a book singularly then narrow or general would be the only real way to describe it. But what of Volumes? what has become of books that continue on from one another in much the same way as novels or encyclopedias? Sure its a pretty tall order to ask that any author cram a shit tonne of info into just one book without either favoring one topic or inevitably picking apart another. But What I was referring to is that there are so so so many pagan authors who produce more than one book and the second or third or forth book never really venture much further then the original because they haven’t taken the time to completely cover one topic in its entirety.
      If authors of fiction can crank out imaginative tales spanning 5 or 6 books then why don’t pagan authors do the same with factual informative text that go well past the basics, there are certainly enough topics out there.

      Take your topic of ethical omnivorism, if an author were to approach the topic of Ethical Nutrition in volumes containing, omnivorism, vegetarianism, Veganism, Fruitarianism, Raw Foodist etc etc.. Would that not satisfy a greater number of readers.

      I will agree with you as far as collection net based info, the problem there however is the “sifting through” process. locating credible information on the net can be challenging especially if your IT skills are a little lacking.

      Blessings

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      • That’s all true. The only other thing I can think of that would hold an author back is their oaths. They might have TONS of information that they’d love to share, but their coven or tradition might consider it oathbound (even if it’s also found on the internet). When I was in a coven, you weren’t supposed to teach someone who wasn’t “properly prepared”, which meant initiated to at least the first degree; it didn’t matter if all you were teaching them was basic quarter calling or a healing spell. So maybe many of the authors feel limited by their oaths?

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  2. Personally, if you want some variability look at small-press (Scarlet Imprint, Immanion Press) and self-published books. You’ll have to buy them online, but they tend to be print-on-demand which really opens the avenue for wild, impassioned, and specific writings on topics major publishers wouldn’t touch due to being unprofitable.

    And, there is nothing wrong with looking at anthropology and folklore books for more information – in fact, most of the witches and mystics I know would tell you to start there and move into witchcraft/Pagan books later!

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