I think that it is pretty easy to see what the next Path for Pagan Publishing is likely to be, now that Pagans have really (really) got “How-To” Ritual Books down. As we can judge from the three notable works cited below, I believe that the Age of the Magickal Memoir or Biography is upon us.
Philip Heselton has been investigating Gerald Gardner’s backstory for the better part of the 2000s. His first two books definitively settled the question of “Did Gerald Gardner ‘make up’ Wicca” in favor of “From what source did he get it”? incredibly, in the 40-something years since Gardner’s death, there has not been a biography of the man credited with starting the Neo-Pagan movement- until Mr. Heselton’s game-changing Witchfather: A Life of Gerald Gardner. Not unusually (for a work with no real precedents) this will remain the sine qua non work on Gardner- until someone else comes along, to contribute another “take” of equal value (here’s the thing: Mr. Heselton has now raised the stakes kind of high in the field of Gardner biography). Volume I was reviewed here at the Juggler by Scott, who reviewed Volume II here.
As most things will in the world, Wicca and Neo-Paganism (once established) spread to New York City- where occult writer and publisher James Wasserman became enamored of the Thelemic Traditions of Aleister Crowley. His memoir of the Magickal Scene in New York in the ’70s and early ’80s In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966-1989 not only captures the spirit of the Occult Renaissance of the time, it covers the establishment of the Tahuti Lodge, one of the most prominent groups dedicated to Crowley’s work in the world. Other than in Drawing Down the Moon, the Magickal “Moveable Feast” in the Big Apple during this unique period of its history has not been touched upon, making this work a must-have for the library of any scholarly minded Pagan.
Of course, the scene in New York at the time was far too large and fertile, and the number of individuals involved too great, to be justly covered in one volume. All the more excellent, then, that Michael Lloyd’s Bull of Heaven: The Mythic Life of Eddie Buczynski and the Rise of the New York Pagan has just been released. Whereas Mr. Wasserman considers the Happening from his own Thelemic point-of-view, Mr. Lloyd researches the life of Eddie Buczynski, an important player in those days and the founder of the Minoan Brotherhood, a Magickal Tradition for Gay Men that continues to the present. I have not had the chance yet to read Mr. Lloyd’s work, but he provided a Guest Post at The Wild Hunt and was interviewed on the podcast Eat My Pagan Ass.
These works are important (hence my prediction that we will see more like them), because they establish our History- a significant thing for a new Movement. A People without a History are a People un-moored in Time.