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This review has been a long time in creation although I have owned a copy of Macha Nightmare's Witchcraft and the Web since just after its release. Not because I did not know what to say about it, but because it is stuffed with information, and I have taken my time to read it all the way through. This book deserves to be on every Pagan's bookshelf, right next to Adler's Drawing Down the Moon and Starhawk's The Spiral Dance. Ms. Nightmare has done an incredible survey of Paganism online and produced a well-researched and documented view of the online Pagan experience.

 

The author admits at the beginning (and throughout the book) that she herself has very little understanding of or interaction with others online. But, when she decided to write this book she decided to be as comprehensive as possible. She created a mailing list expressly to research this book and to provide a forum for asking questions about Internet experiences and society. She made contact with and solicited the opinions of many online pagans, treating those with little Internet experience as equally informative as those with multiple decades' worth. Her educational journey is the backbone of this book. Witchcraft on the Web has an excellent collection of references for websites and terminology so the novice can understand the concept from a working level.

 

I found fascinating her anecdotal evidence that Pagans are more widespread than first imagined, mainly because we have the opportunity to be out of the broom closet and still be anonymous at the same time. She offers thoughts on what may happen next and where we may be now, pointing out that Pagans at least are using the Web as it was intended to be: the biggest Pagan library imaginable. While many people seem to be concerned with expanding the limits of technology and posting personal web pages, Pagans seem to be more inclined to use the awesome research abilities of the Web to create useable pages that give accurate information to those who come looking for it.

 

Using her perspective as a "terraspace witch" as a neutral viewpoint, Macha Nightmare has created a valuable resource documenting the history of Pagans online. An excellent work, and highly recommended.

 

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: M. Macha Nightmare

ECW Press 2001

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