Vol 1 No. 1 (1997) Issue Number 1, February 1997

Notes from the Underground

As you read this new journal, you will find yourself among those eaters of the Divine Pomegranate who are compelled to look beneath the daylit world, beyond the details of what we do; to the whys and hows and wherefores of the Craft of the Wise.


University of Southern Colorado
Chas S. Clifton has been practicing the Craft for twenty years and writing about it almost that long. He published Iron Mountain: A Journal of Magical Religion in the mid-1980s, is a contributing editor of Gnosis, and writes an irregular column, “Letter from Hardscrabble Creek,” which appears in several Pagan magazines. He is the author of Ghost Tales of Cripple Creek (Little London Press, 1982), The Encyclopedia of Heresies & Heretics (ABC-Clio, 1992), and edited Nine Apples: A Neopagan Anthology (Artemisia Press, 1979) and four volumes of Llewellyn Publications’ Witchcraft Today series: The Modern Craft Movement (1992), Modern Rites of Passage (1993), Witchcraft & Shamanism (1994), and Living Between Two Worlds (1996). His collaboration with Evan John Jones, Sacred Mask, Sacred Dance, is forthcoming from Llewellyn. He teaches at the University of Southern Colorado.
Writing the history of religion often means simply writing a history of text, of holy books. Yet Neopagan Witchcraft, or Wicca, has no defined holy books; the nearest approximation, the Book of Shadows, is more "a concept than an object". Wicca is a religion without scripture - and proud of it.
One of the classics of Roman literature, Apuleius' Golden Ass freezes, like a snapshot, a moment in time which was of crucial significance to the history, not only of Graeco-Roman Paganism, but of western religion in general.
Most discussions of the variety of Wiccan beliefs start by assuming that there are two basic positions; either one believes literally in personal, named deities, or one does not. The more I talk to non-deist Witches, the more I believe that this is an oversimplification. I'd like to suggest a new model, using not two but three endpoints, to which I have assigned primary colours for convenient reference.

Book Reviews

Do you remember the cartoon of island natives spotting a boat and yelling, "Here come the anthropologists, quick, hide the television set!". Well, this is one of those books. It's an edited collection of essays about Neopaganism and Wicca, and it's not without its problems.


The Pom interviews a notorious pagan editor, John Yohalem of Enchanté: The Journal for the Urbane Pagan, which is available from him at P.O. Box 735, NY NY 10014, and has just published its twenty-second issue, "Rituals of Theatre/Theatre of Ritual" with articles on ancient Egyptian ritual theatre, the Vendetta motif in ritual and theatre, the Passion Play Project in New York, Antero Alli in California, and of course an episode of All My Avatars: The Pagan Soap Opera.