Reading this book was an unexpected joy.

Having perused other titles on the subject, my expectations were fairly low when I picked up this slim, unprepossessing book. However, once I started reading, I found myself smiling and nodding, as the author explained in simple, clear prose, what cyberspace is, how to dive into it, how to find Pagans once you are there, and what to do with them once they are found.

Reading the very practical, clear instructions McSherry gives in The Virtual Pagan on both the technical and communication aspects of navigating the serpentine labyrinths of the Pagan Internet was invigorating. She gives the newbie a very clear, precise understanding of how the Internet works, and what benefits a solitary Pagan can get by connecting with other Pagans online. McSherry all but holds the Internet novice’s hand while they take their first fumbling baby steps online, and guides them through the sometimes-confusing realms of online communication.

Her chapters on interacting with other Pagans online are among the most concise and accurate portrayals of what to expect out of interpersonal
communication on the ‘Net. Her protocols for “netiquette” (rules governing polite online communication) are valuable gems that should be emblazoned upon every Pagan’s desk and her guidelines of what a cyber (and traditional) coven is and is not are of value to everyone in the Pagan community, whether they venture online or not. Her accurate portrayals of both positive and negative Pagan personality types that are often encountered on the Web tell me that the author has spent many hours working within the virtual Pagan community, and her experience has been written down and given to the reader in a highly usable and understandable form.

I most enjoyed her sections on how to handle flames and personality conflicts, as well as her suggestions for forming the “group mind” of a
cyber coven. She gives ideas that work to bring a cyber coven which has never met in the flesh closer together so that their magical workings gain as much strength as the rites of any “real world” working group. Her understanding of cyber magic is fresh, practical and unsuperstitious — some thing that this rational Witch can get behind.

All in all, I can find little to complain about in this book, other than the very dry looking cover art. I just fear that the cover will dissuade readers from picking it up, because it is by far the best book on the subject I have yet read.

~review by Barbara Fisher

Author: Lisa Mc Sherry
Red Wheel Weiser, 2002

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