Saturday, 30 August 2014

It isn't the Economy (stupid)

'It's the Economy, stupid', said Bill Clinton during his presidential campaign. Well, some people would like us to think that the Scottish Referendum is about 'the Economy' or more precisely about 'what's in it for me' (as shown in a ridiculously biased TV programme the other night) with in particular the misguided query 'but can we use the pound?' There is also of course a fear of sudden change and a number of people who are thinking that if we vote 'Yes', we will wake up on the 19th of September in a different county and with nothing - financial or otherwise - working.

This is of course quite wrong. The 19th is when the serious work of negotiation will start - changes will be worked out by people of goodwill (and there are a lot of these around, despite the extreme polarisation shown on TV) and the detailed plans will be made for the eventual transition in 2016. This vote really is not about 'the Economy' or the currency, but the current economic situation has MADE IT POSSIBLE to imagine, vote for, plan for, implement new futures in an Independent Scotland.

So, a couple of weeks back, I made a little poem that some friends have already seen. So here it is now, with a little revision. (Like everything else I write, it's still 'draft'.)

It’s not the economy (stupid)

It cannot be about ‘Economy’.
The siller matters, yes, in what it shapes;
the way we’ve gone - like others of the west -
creating worlds of trade and bold adventure,
through works of skill, of measurement and making,
of hand and brain, to make a wealthy nation,
(resourced by wind or oil or electronics)
has caused some things to happen. That is so.

Which lends, now, possibility: A choice;
that chance that so few other lands may take,
a vote enabled, not compelled, but free.
that’s where we are now – where we’ve worked to be.

To take a place to stand,
to choose, make a decision,
place a cross on paper, cast a vote,
so many things are possible.
Three hundred years ago, it was not so.
Scotland, bankrupt, betrayed by ‘allies’,
one outcome only, union. The economy ruled.

But that is past, three hundred years ago.
Time and tide move, turn and change, return
By Solway, or by Firth of Forth or Tay
we come to vote on who we are, today,
and who we could be, with so many, shared,
histories we’ve made with lands abroad
and lands so near -
India, France, Ireland, England, Canada -
we travel still, cast nets of words and wit,
explorers of the globe, we look beyond
to new horizons or to weel-worn paths
to each shape our new meanings.

Because you vote now:
not for a government, or a budget spending,
not for a generation, or a small line seeing,
but for three hundred years, or more, your visioned view:
of lives, of futures, dependent now on you.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Head, heart – or both together!

I used to say it was a ‘Head or Heart’ thing. I don’t think, any more, that it is. For, not only Heart, but Head says, weighing up the arguments – it is possible, so go, YES.

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m talking about the Scottish Referendum.

At first, I thought it was romanticism versus pragmatism, but knew that ‘romanticism’ – the ‘heart’ bit – had for me a good grip. I remember my father once saying, to some friends of mine very many years ago, that I was a practical romantic, that being the ‘worst’ kind. Not worst in terms of anything negative, worst in terms of trying to talk around.  But today, having seen what I have of both campaigns, head and heart are pulling together.

Head says, this is possible. Head says, the figures, the economy makes it possible. Head says, check out all the figures, all the possibilities, all the political arguments on both sides. Head says, look at what you don’t necessarily ‘like’ – look at the debates from the right and from the left. Look at the levels of detail given, in places you may not expect.

Heart says, the economy should not be the main reason to vote, simply because the economy does make it possible. That’s possible, not necessarily easy.

Head and Heart together say that after a YES vote, there will be work. Not everybody will be better off, certainly not instantly. But the main argument for me is that having choice, having the chance of change, having the chance to create a more equal society, opens an opportunity that has to be taken. And that is now, for me, at least as much Head as Heart.

I’ve just been watching the BBC news, and was rather disgusted by the (to me) ‘No’ slant placed on Salmond’s new Declaration at Arbroath: disgusted not just because the news was spun that way, but more because the ‘no’ campaign – as reported – is so intensely negative. Why?  The parties who claim we are ‘better together’ cannot agree, for reasons which are historical and political, on what their vision of Scotland is. Many, alas, in these parties (south of the border) appear to see Scotland as an irrelevance, and add-on, and this view appears shared by much of the so-called ‘national’ broadcasting. During the time I lived in England, the only time Scotland – one tenth of the UK population and very considerably more of its land-mass – was mentioned in ‘national’ news was when there was some kind of problem. At least, the referendum has changed that somewhat. But even today, we are bombarded with ‘national’ things which turn out to be English things; as, this week, discussion of English/Welsh/Northern Irish A-levels results. This was in turn mostly about English students – all this being fine and dandy (if the potential student populations of Wales and N. Ireland agree they had fair representation?) except that one-tenth of the university-headed population of the ‘UK’ had been doing something else, with results already posted, which had been reported as a ‘regional news’ thing.)

But back to the ‘no’ campaign. If ‘no’ predominates, what happens then?  We do not know. However much they talk about Salmond (who is not my favourite politician, by the way) refusing to articulate a ‘plan B’, there is no sense that I can make out of what would happen to Scotland following a ‘no’ vote. One party – one only – supports a Federal system, and has done so for a century or more. But it’s too late for that. If we drift back, conceptually, to the time of the Act of Union, a Federal Union seems to have been the favoured version within Scotland – but it did not happen, instead of which we had an incorporating union with some caveats and modifications – reassurances about the Scottish legal system and the Scottish Kirk. At the time of union, a federal system might well have worked, with a ratio of around 1:3 between the populations of Scotland and England. Even 272 years later, at the time of the 1979 Scottish Assembly referendum (at which a Yes vote predominated but was discounted) a devolved Scottish Assembly had potential to lead gradually to a federal system. But what followed that vote was an increasing focus on London, the drawing off of young Scots south, the continued depletion of our country, despite the resources that had become evident.

I think that we cannot now go back. A federal system is not a possible goal, or at least not through a ‘no’ vote. The main English parties do not favour this, and the ‘powers’ promised need to be regarded with great caution. After all, we have that model of the failed 1979 vote and the promises made at that point that ‘something better’ would be proposed if we voted ‘no’ then. How long did it take! How many people did not vote because they were led to expect that ‘something better’?

So for me, today, ‘head’ says that an independent Scotland is possible – and that there are a range of views within the Yes campaign, people from different positions in the political spectrum (yes, including conservatives), who are presenting their approaches. After a YES vote they are pledged to work together to enable and negotiate the ‘first version’ of our Scotland. Then, an election in 2016, in which the different political stripes argue their cases, but all based in the terms which have been negotiated after September 18th 2014 by the joint team, we vote for who we want to represent us in Edinburgh. 

And, ‘heart’ cautions me that there are many people who do not wish to be separated, in a ‘different country’, from their children, their siblings, their cousins who are now in England for jobs and have their families there. I can feel this, sympathise. But the phenomenon of ‘The Scot Abroad’ is one that has lasted for many years and we have kin in many places – in my own case most closely in Canada, but also in Australia and New Zealand, in South Africa and India, as well as those now in England. So, we may need to find a way to deal with Heart, while knowing, from financial evidence and from the lack of cohesion of ‘no’, that Head says a resounding YES.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

I don't know how to be 'a poet'

This is one of the mysteries, to me, on how a person declares themselves to be 'X', whatever that 'X' may be. From various research findings, men are better at this than women - it may be something about learnt confidence and entitlement. Some things are more clear than others, as in having a degree in something, being employed to do something (teacher, sociologist, etc.)

But anyway, this is a piece I wrote the other evening. It is a wee thing changed from the version I sent to a friend then, but not much, so is still rather 'draft'. And though it's in part about the above, it's also much about those who have expressed their meanings and now are not heard, and the fear of 'death' disturbing me ('timor mortis conturbat me') is about their, my, our, silencing.

The friend I sent the first draft to assured me that some people do still remember Henryson, Dunbar and the others.... but do you? Who now does remember the Makars, if it is not your trade or practice to so remember them? (And for all you English friends, have you ever heard their names?)

Anyway, here it is -

-------

I don’t know how a person is named ‘poet’
respected even, acknowledged in some sense,
as giving something which encapsulates
meaning, politics, humour  - poking fun
as social critique, of their own seen bent
creating something that then grips
imaginations, feelings, knowings, senses:
yet words promoted, told to us as gold.

So what separates poetry from myth?
(And so much myth is poetry.)

I don’t have a degree in poetry
(other things, yes, worked for, not in that)
so I continue, in my small way, weaving
words, wit, maybe wisdom of a kind
where I can, where it may be heeded,
to bring meaning, focus, assonance,
alliteration, where it matters -
or even rhymes -
to tease a hearer’s response with their own words…

(maybe it matters not, as who would read or speak this stuff?)

Yet in this place, the echoes fall
older hearings, voices silenced
time and death wait for us all -
by what (or whom) is poetry licenced?
or is that licence so constrained
that only they may speak who’re trained?


So now, I bring to mind the Makaris,
the shapers, sounding rhyme and words before,
who spoke to Scotland’s people, from their knowledge,
their hearts, their being, springing from the land,
within their words of weaving, crafting, making,
piecing honour, spinning webs of history
to lords or bishops, kings or commons, all.
I think on those who, hearing, gave devotion
I echo words respecting craft and grace…

But who speaks for them now? Who will recall,
Henryson, Lindsay or all else? When Dunbar wrote
he mourned the loss of many gone before.
Their words are not remembered: so for us,
words die in breathing, some deserved, some lost:

and as a Makar of this latter day,
timor mortis conturbat me.

Friday, 3 January 2014

A new venture


Today I spent a couple of hours writing ‘interview’ responses for the Wild Hunt Blog – they are now up there at http://wildhunt.org/2014/01/interview-with-jenny-blain-sacred-landscapes-and-seidr.html.  The reason – I’m planning to teach an online course for Cherry Hill Seminary, starting this month. This will be on landscape, Animism, Heathenry, delving a bit into the Eddas and into seidr.

So, something different, and yet based in the research I’ve done and my own understandings of landscape. I would like students to start with where they are, looking at what is around them and how they relate to that context.  I won’t say more about the course here just now though.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Petition to capitalise 'Paganism'

Posting this here. I have signed it - I sometimes capitalise 'Pagan' and 'Paganism', sometimes don't, but that depends on the specifics of meaning intended by the author (e.g. me) and not by somebody else's house-style. So here is the petition.
If you would like your name added please contact the Coalition of Scholars in Pagan Studies.

---------

                        FROM:           
                        Coalition of Scholars in Pagan Studies
                        PO Box 758, Cotati, CA 94931-0758 USA
                        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CapitalizePagan
                        CapitalizePagan@yahoogroups.com
                        Contact: Oberon Zell (Oberon@mcn.org)
TO:            
Chicago Manual of Style
ATTN: Anita Samen, Managing Editor
The University of Chicago Press
1427 East 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637

AP Stylebook
The Associated Press
P.O. Box 415458
Boston, MA 02241-5458

To the Editors of the Associated Press Stylebook
and the Chicago Manual of Style: A petition

November 30, 2013

Dear Editors,

We the undersigned are a coalition of academic scholars and authors in the field of religious studies, who have done research into contemporary Paganism, and written books on the subject. Pagan studies represents a growing field in academy and the American Academy of Religion has had “Contemporary Pagan Studies” as part of its programming for more than a decade. We are approaching you with a common concern.

The word “Pagan” derives from pagus, the local unit of government in the Latin-speaking Roman Empire, and thus pagan referred to the traditional “Old Religion” of the countryside, as opposed to Christianity, the new religion with universal aspirations. Paganism, therefore, was by definition pre-Christian religion. Over time, with the expansion of the Roman Church, “pagan” became a common pejorative by Christians toward any non-Judeo-Christian religion.

In the 19th century, the terms pagan and paganism were adopted by anthropologists to designate the indigenous folk religions of various cultures, and by Classical scholars and romantic poets to refer to the religions of the great ancient pre-Christian civilizations of the Mediterranean region (as in the phrase, “pagan splendor,” often used in reference to Classical Greece).
           
Today, the terms Pagan and Paganism (capitalized) refer to alternative nature-based religions, whose adherents claim their identity as Pagan. Pagans seek attunement with nature and view humanity as a functional organ within the greater organism of Mother Earth (Gaea). Contemporary Pagans hearken to traditional and ancient pagan cultures, myths, and customs for inspiration and wisdom.
           
Thus contemporary Paganism (sometimes referred to as “Neo-Paganism” to distinguish it from historical pre-Christian folk traditions) should be understood as a revival and reconstruction of ancient nature-based religions, or religious innovation inspired by them, which is adapted for the modern world. Paganism is also called “The Old Religion,” “Ancient Ways,” “Nature Worship,” “Earth-Centered Spirituality,” “Natural Religion,” and “Green Religion.”

The Pagan community is worldwide, with millions of adherents in many countries. Moreover, increasing numbers of contemporary Hindus, First Nations activists, European reconstructionists, indigenous peoples, and other polytheists are accepting the term “Pagan” as a wide umbrella under which they all can gather, distinct from the monotheists and secularists. They are using it positively, not to mean “godless” or “lacking (true) religion.”

Therefore it is understandably a matter of continuing frustration to modern self-identified Pagans that newspaper and magazine copy editors invariably print the proper terms for their religion (i.e., “Pagan” and “Paganism”) in lower case. Journalists who have been confronted about this practice have replied that this is what the AP and Chicago Stylebooks recommend.

But names of religions—both nouns and adjectives—are proper terms, and as such should always be capitalized:

Religion:            Christianity            Judaism            Islam            Buddhism            Hinduism            Paganism           
Adherent:            Christian            Jew            Moslem            Buddhist            Hindu            Pagan           
Adjective:            Christian            Jewish            Islamic            Buddhist            Hindu            Pagan           

This list could be expanded indefinitely for every religion in the world. As you can see, Paganism, like all faith traditions, should be capitalized.

Pagan and Paganism are now the well-established chosen self-designations and internationally-recognised nominal identifiers of a defined religious community. The same terms are appropriately lower-case only when they refer to ancient “pagans” since, in that context, the term does not refer to a discrete movement or culture. In short, “Pagan” and “Paganism” now function much as “Jew,” “Judaism,” “Christian,” and “Christianity” do.             
(—Graham Harvey Contemporary Paganism, NYUP, 2nd edition 2011)

The current journalistic convention of printing lower case for these terms seems to have originated with the Associated Press Stylebook, first published in 1953.  However, a new era of religious pluralism has emerged over the past sixty years. The terms “Pagan” and “Paganism” are now being capitalized in a variety of publications, texts, documents, and references, including religious diversity education resources such as On Common Ground: World Religions in America, The Pluralism Project, Harvard University, and Inmate Religious Beliefs and Practices, Technical Reference Manual, Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Department of Justice.

In order to assure greater accuracy in 21st century journalism, we hereby petition the AP and Chicago Stylebooks to capitalize “Pagan” and “Paganism” when speaking of the modern faiths and their adherents in future editions.

Thank you.
Signatories



1.     Cairril Adaire (founder, Our Freedom Coalition: A Pagan Civil Rights Coalition; founder, Pagan Educational Network)
2.     Margot Adler, M.S. (National Public Radio; Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1982; author: Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today, 1979, 1986, 1996, 2006)
3.     Eileen Barker, PhD, FBA, OBE (Professor Emeritus in Sociology with Special reference to the Study of Religion at the London School of Economics; Founder and Chair of INFORM [Information Network Focus on Religious Movements]; author of over 300 publications on the subject of minority religions)
4.     Carol Barner-Barry, Ph.D. (Professor Emerita, University of Maryland; author: Contemporary Paganism: Minority Religions in a Majoritarian American, 2005)
5.     David V. Barrett, Ph.D. (London School of Economics and Political Science; British sociologist of religion who has written widely on topics pertaining to new religious movements and western esotericism; author: The New Believers: A Survey of Sects, Cults & Alternative Religions, 2001; A Brief Guide to Secret Religions, 2011)
6.     Helen Berger, Ph.D. (resident scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center, Brandeis University; Professor Emerita of Sociology, West Chester University, PA; author: A Community of Witches: Contemporary Neo-Paganism & Witchcraft in the United States, 1999, 2013; with Evan A. Leach and Leigh S. Shaffer, Voices from the Pagan Census: Neo-Paganism in the United States, 2003; Witchcraft and Magic in the New World: North America in the Twentieth Century, 2005; with Douglas Ezzy, Teenage Witches: Magical Youth and the Search for the Self, 2007)
7.     Jenny Blain, Ph.D. (Recently retired from Sheffield Hallam University, previously taught at Dalhousie University, Canada, and now on faculty for Cherry Hill. Co-editor with Graham Harvey and Doug Ezzy of Researching Paganisms, 2004; author of Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic: Ecstasy and neo-Shamanism in North European Paganism, 2002; with Robert Wallis, Sacred Sites, Contested Rites/Rights, 2007; also numerous articles and chapters on Heathenry and Seidr, and on Pagan engagements with Sacred Sites.)
8.     Jon P. Bloch, Ph.D. (Professor, Sociology Department, Southern Connecticut State University; author of New Spirituality, Self, and Belonging: How New Agers and Neo-Pagans Talk About Themselves, 1998)
9.     Raymond Buckland, Ph.D., D.D. (founder of Seax-Wica; Originator Gardnerian Wica in America; author: The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-Paganism, 2002; Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft, and more than 50 other titles.)
10.  Dennis D. Carpenter, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Wisconsin; author: Spiritual Experiences, Life Changes, and Ecological Viewpoints of Contemporary Pagans; co-founder, Pagan Academic Network.)
11.  Chas Clifton, M.A. (Colorado State University-Pueblo (retired); Co-Chair of Contemporary Pagan Studies Group, American Academy of Religion; editor: The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies; author: Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca & Paganism in America, 2006; with Graham Harvey, The Paganism Reader, 2004)
12.  Vivianne Crowley, Ph.D. (Formerly professor at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King’s College, University of London, specializing in psychology of religion. She is on the Council of the Pagan Federation where she focuses on interfaith issues. She is the author of many books on Wicca, Paganism and spiritual psychology, including Wicca: A comprehensive guide to the Old Religion in the modern world.)
13.  Carole Cusack, Ph.D. (Professor of Religious Studies, Chair Studies in Religion, Arts and Social Sciences Pro-Dean, University of Sydney, Australia;  co-editor, Journal of Religious History; co-editor, International Journal for the Study of New Religions; author: Invented Religions, 2010)
14.  Marie W. Dallam, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Honors College, University of Oklahoma; Co-Chair, New Religious Movements Group, American Academy of Religion)
15.  Frances Di Lauro, Ph.D. (Lecturer, Undergraduate Coordinator, Writing Hub, School of Letters Art and Media, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The University of Sydney, Australia)
16.  Maureen Aisling Duffy-Boose (President Emeritus, Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) 2005-2010; VP Emeritus, Pagan Pride International 2003-2013; Board Chair, Utah Pride Interfaith Coalition 2002-2005; Founding Priestess, Four Dragons Clann, 1734 Witchcraft, 2011)
17.  Robert S. Ellwood, Jr., Ph.D. (Emeritus Professor of Religion, University of Southern California; author of Religious & Spiritual Groups in Modern America, 1974, 1988; Many Peoples, Many Faiths, 1976; 10th edition with Barbara McGraw, 2014)
18.  Douglas Ezzy, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Tasmania; published extensively in academic journals and academic monographs on contemporary Paganism, Witchcraft and religion)
19.  Holly Folk (Associate Professor of Liberal Studies, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA)
20.  Rev. Selena Fox, M.S. (Senior Minister, Circle Sanctuary; founding editor, CIRCLE Magazine; co-founder, Pagan Academic Network; diversity educator, U.S. Department of Justice; author: When Goddess is God (1995); contributor to Religions of the World (2002), Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America (2006), U.S. Army Chaplains Manual (1984), other works)
21.  Elysia Gallo (Senior Acquisitions Editor for Witchcraft, Paganism, and Magic at Llewellyn Worldwide; Vice President of Twin Cities Pagan Pride)
22.  Wendy Griffin, Ph.D. (Professor Emerita and Chair of the Department of Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies at California State University, Long Beach; Academic Dean, Cherry Hill Seminary; Founding Co-chair of the Pagan Studies Group for the American Academy of Religion; Co-editor of the Alta Mira's Pagan Studies Series; editor: Daughters of the Goddess: Studies of Healing, identity and Empowerment, 2000)
23.  Raven Grimassi (Director of the Fellowship of the Pentacle, author: Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, 2000, and other award-winning books on Pagan-related themes)
24.  Charlotte Hardman, Ph.D. (Honorary Fellow, retired senior lecturer, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University; co-author: Paganism Today 1995; Other Worlds 2000)
25.  Graham Harvey, Ph.D. (Head of Department of Religious Studies, The Open University, UK; President, British Association for the Study of Religion; co-author: Paganism Today, 1995; Contemporary Paganism, 1997; with Chas Clifton, The Paganism Reader, Routledge, 2004; Food, Sex and Strangers: Understanding religion as everyday life, 2013)
26.  Irving Hexham, Ph.D. (Professor of Religious Studies at University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; author with Karla Poewe: New Religions as Global Cultures, 1997; Understanding World Religions, 2011; and many other works on new religious movements)
27.  Ellen Evert Hopman, M.Ed. (Druid Priestess; Co-founder and Vice President for nine years, of The Henge of Keltria Druid Order and co-founder and Co-Chief for five years of The Druid Order of White Oak; author with Lawrence Bond, People of the Earth: The New Pagans Speak Out, 1995; with Lawrence Bond, Being a Pagan: Druids, Wiccans, and Witches Today, 2001; and other volumes)
28.  Lynne Hume, Ph.D. (Associate Professor and Research Consultant, University of Queensland, Australia; Faculty, Cherry Hill Seminary, Bethel, VT; author of Witchcraft and Paganism in Australia, 1997; The Religious Life of Dress, 2013; co-author, with Nevill Drury of The Varieties of Magical Experience, 2013)
29.  Ronald Hutton, Ph.D. (Professor, Department of Historical Studies, Oxford University; author: Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft, 2000)
30.  Christine Hoff Kraemer, Ph.D. (Instructor, Theology and Religious History, Cherry Hill Seminary; author of Seeking the Mystery: An Introduction to Pagan Theology, 2012 and Eros and Touch from a Pagan Perspective: Divided for Love’s Sake, 2013)
31.  James R. Lewis, Ph.D. (co-founder of the International Society for the Study of New Religions and editor-in-chief of the Alternative Spirituality & Religion Review (ASSR). Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Tromsø in Norway; Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Wales, Lampeter; author: Magical Religion & Modern Witchcraft, 1996; The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions, 1998; Peculiar Prophets: A Biographical Dictionary of New Religions, 1999; Witchcraft Today: An Encyclopedia of Wiccan and Neopagan Traditions, 1999; with Murph Pizza, Handbook of Contemporary Paganism; The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements; with Jesper Petersen, Controversial New Religions; The Encyclopedic Sourcebook of New Age Religions; Odd Gods: New Religions and the Cult Controversy; Legitimating New Religions)
32.  Scott Lowe, Ph.D. (Professor, Philosophy and Religious Studies at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; Co-General Editor, Nova Religio)
33.  Sabina Magliocco, Ph.D. (Professor of Anthropology and Folklore at California State University, Northridge; author: Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America, 2004; Neopagan Sacred Art & Altars: Making Things Whole, 2001)
34.  Ven. Rev. Patrick McCollum (Director of Public Chaplaincy, Cherry Hill Seminary; Chaplaincy Liaison, American Academy of Religion; Minority Faith Chair, American Correctional Chaplains Association; Executive Director, National Correctional Chaplaincy Directors Association; President, Patrick McCollum Foundation; Religion Advisor, United States Commission on Civil Rights; Recipient, Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Advancement of Pluralism; publications: California Department of Corrections Wiccan Chaplains Manual, 1998; Courting the Lady, 2000; Religious Accommodation in American Jails, 2013)
35.  J. Gordon Melton, Ph.D. (Institute for the Study of American Religion; The Encyclopedia of American Religions, 1991; with Isotta Poggi, author of Magic, Witchcraft, and Paganism in America: A Bibliography, 2nd ed., 1992; Religious Leaders of America, 1999)
36.  Brendan Myers, Ph.D. (Professor at CEGEP Heritage College, Gatineau, QC, Canada; faculty, Cherry Hill Seminary; author of The Earth, The Gods and The Soul - A History of Pagan Philosophy: From the Iron Age to the 21st Century, 2013)
37.  M. Macha NightMare/Aline O'Brien (American Academy of Religion; Nature Religions Scholars Network; Marin Interfaith Council; United Religions Initiative; Interfaith Center of the Presidio; Association for the Study of Women and Mythology; Biodiversity Project Spirituality Working Group. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Cherry Hill Seminary; the Advisory Council of the Sacred Dying Foundation; former Adjunct Faculty at Starr King School for the Ministry. Books: The Pagan Book of Living and Dying: Practical Rituals, Prayers, Blessings, and Meditations on Crossing Over (with Starhawk) 1997; Witchcraft and the Web: Weaving Pagan Tradition Online, 2001; Pagan Pride: Honoring the Craft and Culture of Earth and Goddess, 2004)
38.  Joanne Pearson, Ph.D. (co-author with Richard H. Roberts & Geoffrey Samuel of Nature Religion Today: Paganism in the Modern World, 1998; (ed), Belief Beyond Boundaries: Wicca, Celtic Spirituality and the New Age, 2002; A Popular Dictionary of Paganism, 2002; Wicca and the Christian Heritage: Ritual Sex and Magic, 2007)
39.  Christopher Penczak (faculty member at North Eastern Institute of Whole Health; founder of the Temple of Witchcraft, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit church; co-owner of Copper Cauldron Publishing; author: The Living Temple of Witchcraft, 2008; 2009—and over two dozen other books)
40.  Sarah M. Pike, Ph.D. (Professor of Comparative Religion, California State University, Chico; author of Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and The Search for Community, 2001; New Age and Neopagan Religions in America, 2004)
41.  Richard H. Roberts, Ph.D. (Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies, Lancaster University; co-author with Geoffrey Samuel & Joanne Pearson of Nature Religion Today: Paganism in the Modern World, 1998)
42.  Kathryn Rountree, Ph.D. (Professor of Anthropology, Massey University, New Zealand; author of Embracing the Witch and the Goddess: Feminist Ritual-makers in New Zealand, 2004; Crafting Contemporary Pagan Identities in a Catholic Society, 2010; Archaeology of Spiritualities, 2012)
43.  Michael Ruse, Ph.D. (Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL; author: The Gaia Hypothesis: Science on a Pagan Planet, 2013)
44.  Geoffrey Samuel, Ph.D. (Cardiff University, UK, as well as an honorary attachment at the University of Sydney; author: Civilized Shamans, 1993; co-author with Richard H. Roberts & Joanne Pearson of Nature Religion Today: Paganism in the Modern World, 1998; The Origins of Yoga and Tantra, 2008; Religion and the Subtle Body in Asia and the West, 2013)
45.  Bron Taylor, Ph.D. (Professor of Religion & Nature, University of Florida; Fellow, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society; Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München; Editor, Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture; author of Encyclopedia of Religion & Nature, 2005; Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future, 2010; Avatar and Nature Spirituality, 2013; Civil Society in the Age of Monitory Democracy, 2013)
46.  Robert J. Wallis, Ph.D., FRAI, FSA (Professor of Visual Culture; Associate Dean, MA Programmes, School of Communications, Arts and Social Sciences; Convenor of the MA in Art History and Visual Culture; Richmond University, the American International University in London; author of Shamans/neo-Shamans, 2003; and numerous articles on contemporary Paganisms, neo-Shamanisms and their engagements with prehistoric archaeology in Britain)
47.  Linda Woodhead, M.B.E., D.D. (Professor of Sociology of Religion at Lancaster University, UK. She studies religious change in modern societies, and is especially interested in how religion has changed worldwide since the late 1980s. Between 2007 and 2013 she was Director of the “Religion and Society” research programme in Britain, which involved 240 academics from 29 different disciplines working on 75 different projects. Her books include Everyday Lived Islam in Europe (2013), A Sociology of Religious Emotions (2011), Religions in the Modern World (2009), The Spiritual Revolution (2005) and A Very Short Introduction to Christianity (2004). She is a regular commentator and broadcaster on religion and society.)
48.  Michael York, Ph.D. (Faculty, Cherry Hill Seminary; retired Professor of Cultural Astronomy and Astrology with the Bath Spa University’s Sophia Centre; he directed the New Age and Pagan Studies Programme for the College’s Department for the Study of Religions and co-ordinated the Bath Archive for Contemporary Religious Affairs. He continues to direct the Amsterdam Center for Eurindic Studies and co-direct the London-based Academy for Cultural and Educational Studies. Author: The Roman Festival Calendar of Numa Pompilius, 1986; A Sociology of the New Age and Neo-pagan Movements, 1995; The Divine versus the Asurian: An Interpretation of Indo-European Cult and Myth, 1995; Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion, 2003; Historical Dictionary of New Age Movements, 2004)

49.  Oberon Zell, D.D. (co-founder and Primate, Church of All Worlds, 1962 [incorporated 1968; 501(c)(3) 1970]; co-founder, Council of Themis, 1968; Publisher Emeritus, Green Egg magazine, 1968-ff; co-founder, Council of Earth Religions, 1974; founder, Universal Federation of Pagans, 1990; founder, Grey Council, 2002; founder and Headmaster, Grey School of Wizardry, 2004; Secretary, Sonoma County Pagan Network, 2010-2013; author: Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard, 2004; Companion  for the Apprentice Wizard, 2006; with Morning Glory Zell, Creating Circles & Ceremonies, 2006)